Khadaji's Whatcha Readin' Thread - September 2015 Edition

I am about a fourth of the way through The Last Witchfinder, by James Morrow, and I am totally caught up in it. I nearly gave up after the first three or four pages as it seemed pretentious and annoying with its late 1500s speech, but I caught the rhythm and the sly beauty of Morrow’s writing, and am hooked.

The heroine, Jennet, and her loathsome witchfinder father have arrived in Plymouth colony to hunt…what else? witches, as he expects to receive a bounty for each one, including Red Indians, who are obviously all in league with the Evil One.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is a straight stand-alone thriller, and probably my favorite so far. Then The Ridge, The Cypress House, *So Cold the River, etc…*all good, with a smidge of the supernatural. He also writes crime novels (the Lincoln Perry series), which I haven’t read yet, but I’m looking forward to them.

Thanks for asking!

Eagerly awaiting Shepherd’s Crown - I don’t have my copy yet - and The Hollow Boy.

Meanwhile, I just finished People I Want to Punch in the Throat. It’s light but very satisfying for those moms, like me, who are somewhat socially awkward AND can’t deal with the super-competitive parenting style that seems to abound, at least in my neck of the woods. I’m also reading Possession by A.S. Byatt; I’m about half-way through. This literary tale of missing letters and an unknown relationship between two 18th century writers has me gripped tightly now.

On audio, I’m listening to a couple of interesting items: Mort(E) by Robert Repino in the house and Half a War by Joe Abercrombie in my car. I can hardly bear to get out of the car! Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series has left me riveted right along, and this entry is no different. Mort(E) is a tougher sell, very unusual, about an invasion of mega-ants that causes dogs, cats, etc. to become sentient, grow hands, walk upright, and form their own societies in a war-torn world. It’s not like-able, exactly, but it’s interesting thus far.

OMG. Somebody over at Goodreads said, “This is the best book I ever read.” That’s it; I can’t read another word of it. That just makes me so sad.

Women in clothes can’t be literature. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Home) Finally got around to reading “The Martian”, by Andy Weir. Less than 100 pages in, but I am already enjoying it.

(Lunch) Almost finished with “Omega” by Charles MacDevitt. The omega is hitting the planet, and most of the inhabitants are heading for the hills. About forty pages to go…

Just “X”? Not “X is for something that begins with X”? Man, she’s really phoning it in now :slight_smile:

Ugh, hated it. The protagonist was so whiny and self-pitying I gave up after my obligatory 50 pages.

I’m still digging Salman Rushdie’s 1991 essay collection Imaginary Homelands (now he’s discussing South American literature and magical realism, which he loves), although it’s not a quick read by any means. I’m also on the home stretch of Robert Parker’s first Spenser book, The Godwulf Manuscript, published in 1973. Very much an artifact of its time, and Spenser is more of a jerk than I remember from the later books (not to mention the very-different TV show).

Glad I’m not the only one who found The Goldfinch unreadable.1

Wikipedia says that “The Barsac Mission” was first serialized in 1914. In comparison, H.G. Wells’s “The War in the Air” from 1907 also had heavier-than-air flying machines (not to mention a radio distress call).

Finished One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson. This pivotal season in American history is covered. Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, Sacco and Vanzetti, Jack Dempsey and Al Capone are just some under the spotlight. Hugely enjoyable. I’ll have to look up some more Bryson.

Here’s just one of my favorite nuggets in the book: Al Capone was born and raised in Brooklyn. His eldest brother Vincenzo ran away to the West in 1908 at the age of 16. The family received one letter from him in 1909, sent from Kansas, and then never heard from him again. However, he eventually became a Prohibition agent known as Richard “Two Gun” Hart. He modeled himself on his hero, the cowboy film star William Hart, even dressing like him, complete with big cowboy hat, tin star on the breast and a pair of loaded holsters around his waist. In that pivotal summer of 1927, Al Capone was at the height of his power in Chicago, while Vincenzo as “Two Gun” Hart was working in South Dakota as a personal bodyguard to President Coolidge, who spent most of that season vacationing there.

Next up: The Cold Six Thousand, by James Ellroy. A hit man arrives in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 to fulfill a contract and becomes immersed in the JFK assassination cover-up.

Jules Verne died in 1905, so the material that he wrote clearly predates 1905. The problem is, I don’t know exactly what was in that material, and how much was added by Michel later.

It’;s been a few years since I read The War in the Air, but I don’t recall anything about radio distress calls in it. The brief description on Wikipedia doesn’t mention any, either

I started reading Hollow City, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, last night. I’m fifty pages in, and the first fifty pages are just as wonderful as the first book. So far, I’m pleased with my choice.

And the third in that series comes out near the end of this month, yay!

Picked up another non-fiction (which I feel much safer about since somebody here recommended it), Heads In Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-called Hospitality. Already I’ve learned that the front doors of hotels don’t even have locks. Makes sense! In a few days I will be spending a night in a hotel, so hopefully I don’t learn anything too disturbing by then. :smiley:

I finished A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson, which is supposed to be a stand-alone companion to her Life After Life, but I felt like having read the first one really enhanced the experience. At its heart it’s a war story, about an English bomber pilot during WWII and the emotional impact this experience had on him. I liked it, and would recommend to fans of things like Any Human Heart or My Real Children.

I also read a YA romance novel, Forever for A Year, by B.T. Gottfried, which is literally entirely about a teen romance. It was pretty good for what it is (and has been getting some press for being fairly explicit about their sexual relationship, but in terms of the quality of the book overall, it’s probably too much press). Another YA, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King was meh … it’s an interesting idea – how does a teenager respond when given a glimpse of a horrific, misogynistic future – but something about the characters never really feeling too fleshed out is off-putting.

A great recent read was a middle reader, Absolutely Almost, by Lisa Graff, which I loved because it was about a kid who was struggling in school for no particular reason. I would recommend for readers in about the 4th - 6th grade range.

Finished Parker’s first Spenser detective story, The Godwulf Manuscript, which ended a little abruptly but was overall worth a read.

Next up: T.S. Hottle’s The First One’s Free, a recent sf novel set on an isolated human colony world. Anyone else read it?

I recommend “Killer of Men”.

If you liked this Bryson particularly, you might enjoy At Home next. It has lots of historical detail on, well, the home: why things have evolved to be the way they are, how they might have been in centuries past, etc. Most of Bryson’s stuff is travel writing. I enjoy it all though my very favorite is probably A Walk in the Woods.

I don’t know if you’ve already read his stuff, but if not, pick up Erik Larson, too. He does amazing non-fiction that reads like fiction in The Devil in the White City, Isaac’s Storm, and others. Fascinating works!

I’ll second Devil in the White City. Fabulous read! I was glued to it for a couple of days. :slight_smile: