Whatcha Readin' Apr 2011 Edition

Happy spring! And yet, we had snow here last night. Not much mind you, but some none-the-less.

Finished Wise Man’s Fear and quite enjoyed it. I think now I’ll go back and reread both the The Name Of The Wind and *Wise Man’s Fear.

*Am in the middle of Spirit Dances (Luna Books) by C. E. Murphy which I believe is the sixth in the Joanne Walker Shaman series. I think she gets a little better with each book.

Am in the middle of Shaman, Healer, Heretic: An Olivia Lawson, Techno-Shaman Novel (Volume 1) which I bought because I thought it might have some similarity to Ms. Murphy’s books. So far I am finding it to be uninspired and mediocre.

Last Month’s thread.

Nothing, nadda, bubkiss, zilch. I am reading Shelby Foote’s The Civil War, a Narrative. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I come here seeking guidance. Something for the Kindle, please.

I’m currently reading “Inside: Life Behind Bars in America” on my kindle app.

It’s making me want to rewatch OZ.

I’m taking advantage of a U.S. trip to amass a s***load of books, not all of which I have started yet. But a couple that are ongoing or which I just finished:
David Wellington’s Monster Island, the first in his trilogy of zombie books. I’m not altogether sure what to think. It wasn’t a bad read at all, but the premise seemed a bit strange, even for zombie books. A little like Brian Keene’s The Rising, if ultimately, so far, less bleak. Will probably go on with the next books, but only after a break.
Still ongoing: Andrew Delbanco’s Melville: His Life and His Work, which also leaves me ambivalent. I’m with Delbanco on a number of his interpretations, but others seem just weird and vague and comparatively unsubstantiated. It’s a far more general and casual interpretation than I would have desired. Melville didn’t leave us a lot to go on, of course, but still, a more stringent proving of his ideas would have been desirable.
James Hornfischer’s Neptune’s Inferno on the U.S. Navy off Guadalcanal in 1942 is one of the things I got here, and I’m enjoying it very much. It’s a very interesting book, I have to say, even though I’ve read numerous accounts of the engagements.

That was a great show, wasn’t it?

And Elendil’s Heir, what do you think of Chernow’s book so far? I absolutely love it.

Fiction: 61 Hours - Lee Childs

Yup. It’s been a few years, so it would be almost like seeing it for the first time… :smiley:

I ordered a few books from Mystery Lovers book store in Pittsburgh, and saw they had some books featured by local author Kathleen George – detective stories set in Pittsburgh. So I checked some out of the library. First read Taken, a kidnapping story, now on The Odds, about a family of abandoned kids getting crosswise of a drug dealer and the police detectives trying to catch him after a teenager died from some dirty heroin. Very good – I’ll read more.

I have nothing on hold OR checked out from the library. This feels weird.

I just finished Tony Hillerman’s Dance Hall of the Dead and Evelyn Waugh’s*** A Handful of Dust.*** The former was just okay. The latter was hilarious and occasionally quite touching… but it has an out-of-left-field “WTF???” ending. I’ve heard that, originally, the American publiushers made Waugh change the ending… and it’s not hard to see why, even though the weird ending is (strangely enough) much more plausible than the conventional “happy” ending.

I just started Elmore Leonard’s La Brava.

Lately, I’ve been alternating between Edgar Award-winning mysteries and the Modern Library’s Best 100 Novels of the 20th Century.

Yes, I finished A Handful of Dust myself just last week and wrote in last month’s thread:

"A bit odd though is that the book almost seems like two different stories, as the mood completely changes once Tony sets sail for Brazil in the wake of his marital troubles. In fact, it seems that Waugh, as an ending, tacked on a short story he had written earlier called “The Man Who Liked Dickens.” The copy I have includes an alternate ending he had to write when an American magazine wanted to serialize it but could not due to some sort of copyright issue with it ending with that short story. I think I actually like the tacked-on ending better myself."

Meanwhile, I’m now about 2/5 through Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men, which won a Pulitzer. A novel about the rise and demise of Southern populist politician Willie Stark, modeled closely on real-life Louisiana politician Huey “The Kingfish” Long. It’s really very good.

I’m on a George Pelecanos kick right now. I’m going to read all his Karras/Clay books and the Nick Stefanos trilogy. I’ve finshed The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, and A Firing Offense. I’m about to start The Sweet Forever, and then go on to Nick’s Trip, Shame the Devil, and Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go. These are very well written hard-boiled crime stories that take place in Washington D.C. The ones in the 80s remind me of my youth here.

I’ve also read True Grit. The book’s unreliable narrator lends nuance that couldn’t be captured by either movie. It’s well written and wry, though not laugh out loud funny.

Thanks, I just got it. I will report back.

Just finished Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder. Well worth the read I’d say - though of course, relentless in its horrors. A necessary summary to the partial and conflicting accounts of the terrors of the totalitarian era, it included much I did not know, or only partially understood.

Me too! Just finished Split Images. Love Leonard!

I went to a book signing on Friday to pick up a copy of Won’t Get Fooled Again: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia. Unterberger wasn’t able to get an interview with either Pete or Roger, but he did an amazing job of researching the story. If you’re a fan of the band at all, this is a must read book.

You want some more Civil War or other U.S. history recommendations? If so, say the word.

FoieGrasIsEvil, I’m not very far into the Chernow bio of Washington, but so far, so good. His Hamilton book is magnificent, if you get the chance. I haven’t read Titan, his book on John D. Rockefeller, but I hear it’s very, very good, too.

Why is it that as I’ve aged I like books like Chernow’s more and more? I would never have read a book like that in my teens or early twenties unless I had to. I must have attained a healthy appreciation for history in recent years!

I’m starting on Michael Koryta’s The Cypress House. The only other thing I’ve read by him was So Cold the River, and that was pretty decent.

Once you have some history of your own and have overcome some of the obstacles which life throws at you, I think you begin to appreciate how the great men and women of the past did so.