I read a couple of books I picked up the Book Fair many months ago, Booksigning 101 by Rob Watts ( https://www.amazon.com/Book-Signing-101-Expectations-Professional/dp/097619161X ) and The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal ( https://www.amazon.com/Little-Red-Writing-Book/dp/1582975213/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Little+Red+Writing+Book&qid=1570013352&s=books&sr=1-1 ) Good, but generally obvious (if you think about it, which people often don’t) , information in both.
I picked up a copy of a book I’d been looking for a long time – Nero Wolfe of West 35th Street by William S. Baring-Gould. I’d read many of his other books, including his Annotated Sherlock Holmes and his bio of Sherlock Holmes. This was in the same vein. I still haven’t read all of Nero Wolfe, so the book filled in a lot of things without divulging the endings of the stories, which is useful. What I find annoying is Baring-Gould’s efforts to not only straighten out the ambiguities in Wolfe’s history* but to link him into Sherlock Holmes’ family tree. I don’t buy his speculations in that direction. But at least baring-Gould isn’t as bad as Philip Jose Farmer with his “Wold Newton family” nonsense attempt to link virtually all of 19th and 20th century pop fictional characters into a single family.
I also picked up Re Stout’s Nero Wolfe book Trio for Blunt Instruments, which I hadn’t read, but have wanted to. I’m in the midst of it now.
My bedside reading is Ben MacIntyre’s For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond. I stumbled upon it in a used book store, and it’s the best book on Bond I’ve readin a long time, with a biography of Fleming filed with pictures and details I hadn’t encountered before, along with speculations about Fleming’s inspirations for character, plots, and gimmicks for the Bond books I hadn’t seen before, either.
On audio I gave up on Michael Chrichton and Douglas Preston’s Micro. It was getting too dumb and predictable. I found Katherine Howe’s The Physik Book of Dale DEliverance in the library and started listening to it. It’s pretty good in general, but I’m severely annoyed that the Ph.D. candidate protagonist severely screws up the history of the Salem Witchcraft trials – and during her oral qualifying exam, at that! To have one of her professors then comment on her knowledge as “excellent” really hurts after that. But I’m going to give the book a chance.
(In case you’re wondering – she says that no historians took the idea of witchcraft seriously – not true. Some have assumed that witchcraft WAS practiced at Salem, and have made the case for it. The historians generally don’t believe in the reality of supernatural phenomena, though. Furthermore, she says that Cotton Mather was a prosecutor at Salem. He wasn’t, and had no real connection with the case or the court, aside from defending them and their decisions. He seems only to have visited Salem once during the trials, but had no jurisdiction there.)
*Rex Stout, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, did not make an effort to keep his detectives backstory straight or even consistent. You can understand Wolfe’s exact weight fluctuating, but it’s annoying that Stout kept changing the exact number of his street address, and the size of the globe in Wolfe’s office. Not to mention the nature of the “peephole” picture in his office). Doyle was just as bad. From such ambiguities arise Dr. Watson’s middle name of “Hamish”, which never appears in the Canon.