Khadaji's Whatcha Reading Thread - October 2019 edition

October… came in like a wrecking ball, it was 77F on the Wasatch Front last week, 40F on Sunday and mid 50s for the rest of the week. I guess summer is finished here.

But we’re all still reading, right?

I am about 2/3s of the way through “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens and loving it waaaaaaaaaaay more than I thought I would, The prose is a little too flowery for my taste in places, but Ms Owens does know when to rein it in and get back to the plot. Her characters are fabulous, and so realistic I want to reach into my phone and bang a few heads together!

So whatcha all reading?


Khadaji was one of the earlier members of SDMB, and he was well-known as a kindly person who always had something encouraging to say, particularly in the self improvement threads. He was also a voracious, omnivorous reader, who started these threads way back in the Stone Age of 2013. Consequently when he suddenly and quite unexpectedly passed away, we decided to rename this thread in his honor and to keep his memory, if not his ghost, alive.

Last month’s thread: Alas poor summer, thy time is done

In NYC, we’re going to have a final blast of heat for the next two days…high 70 s tomorrow, up to 90 on Wednesday. Then we drop down to typical good reading weather for October.

I’m immersed in Walter de la Mare at the moment, reading his poetry and “children’s stories” which no sane parent would read to a child. And the adult stories, which are even more eerie. Next up is Memoirs of a Midget.

*Someone came knocking at my wee small door
Someone came knocking I’m sure, sure , sure
I listened, I opened, I looked from left to right
But nothing was stirring in the still dark night…
*

Yeah. Don’t read de la Mare to your kids.

I just started rereading Treasure Island to my fifth-grader. I vaguely remembered thinking it got off to a slow start, but that’s not remotely true. We’re like five chapters and three nights in, and it’s already full of bloodthirsty pirates and betrayals and doubloons and violence and curses and death. This shit is AWESOME.

Might I suggest David Cordingly, if you’d like to do “supplemental materials”? His non fiction books about pirates are a great read.

Just started an audiobook of Jeff Toobin’s American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst (2016). I really enjoyed his book about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent history, The Nine, and hope this hits the same high mark.

Started but on the shelf for the moment: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, about mass incarceration and the American criminal justice system today, and The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer, a pastiche in which Sherlock Holmes meets, and is treated for his cocaine addiction by, Dr. Sigmund Freud. Hope to get back to them soon.

Still working my way through The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I’m not loving it, but I’m still engaged enough to continue. I was hoping for a fantasy adventure book, and it is one, but I think the author was hoping to write a transcendent love story and be admired for her “lyrical prose” (a phrase that has become a red flag to me). I mean, when I read passages such as

I damn near throw it down.

Well gag…
As I once described: Prose so purple several European countries tried to crown it King…

My lord, what a terrible passage that was. The worst of it is that the author surely did think she was being extremely deep and wise.

I very much like DZedNConfused’s line about purple prose…

Thank you! blush

I just started reading an Irish comedy-suspense novel named A Man With One of Those Faces. It’s been wonderful so far. Well-written with delightful characters.

I finished reading the 131 Days series from Keith C. Blackmore. The novels focus on the lives of gladiators in a pseudo-Roman city, and I loved each of them.

OH! I have that one on my Kindle! I will have to bump it up in the queue.

Hope the “blush” wasn’t purple, or…well, you know :slight_smile:
You’re welcome!

I couldn’t wax poetic if you gave me all the 19th century romantic poets in one volume…

Wax on! Wax off!

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.

After a protracted stretch of non-fiction - mostly about trees, dirt, and weather, I;m finally getting around to reading Farrell’s Studs Lonigan. Enjoying the portrayal of a Chicago neighborhood a century ago. Will likely read all 3.

I’m looking forward to reading all the glowing five-star reviews I expect it to be given over at Goodreads. :smiley:

CalMeacham: When was the peephole picture in Wolfe’s office anything but a painting of a waterfall?*

I’ve always questioned Wolfe’s taste in art. A waterfall picture is something a suburban housewife would buy to hang in the living room, as long as it matched the sofa. He couldn’t have invested some of those big fees in a few original Cezannes or Picassos?
*Hey! Maybe the waterfall in the painting was the Reichenbach, where Wolfe’s Pop Pop famously died? …not in the face, please.

In the early stories it wasn’t yet a waterfall. I don’t have my Baring-Gould with me, but I think it was a bridge at first. During WWII it was apparently replaced by a painting of the Washington Monument, according to this source – Stout Fellow: A Guide Through Nero Wolfe's World - O. McBride - Google Books
That source also claims that the waterfall was mistaken for a Van Gogh in one story, so that places it outside the realm of suburban wall art.