Whatcha Readin' (June 09) Edition

I learned about Handling Sin, by Michael Malone, here on a favorites thread, and it was widely praised. Although I still haven’t read it, I just saw that twenty years later, he’s written another, similar novel, The Four Corners of the Sky, just out in May. Just a FYI for his readership here.

I just finished “Revolutionary Road.” Now I’m reading “Love is Eternal,” Irving Stone’s historical fiction about Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. I really like it, but I can tell it’s going to take me a while to read. I’m also plodding through “Nicholas Nickleby.” I tend to struggle with Dickens (with the exception of “A Christmas Carol”) and sometimes wonder why I keep trying!

Twickster, those Deanna Raybourns sound great, I put them on my list for summer reading.

As predicted, I am still hacking my way through Austerity Britain, which continues to be both enjoyable and dense.

Because it is too large of a volume for me to take to work, I read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness on the subway. Gosh, this was good. YA, vaguely science fiction – set on a colonized planet where the settlers encountered some kind of virus that made telepathy possible, only in the worst way you can imagine, where you can’t stop broadcasting your thoughts, and can’t escape listening to the thoughts of others. Also, animals can talk. It is the first book of a series that doesn’t exactly stand alone, so I will definitely pick up the second one which I think was just recently published.

Learn any more interesting stuff about Clement Atlee?

After school finally finished, I got to finish* To Kingdom Come*, and The Limehouse Text, both part of the Sherlockian series by Will Thomas. The latter was much better than the former. Now to locate The Hellfire Conspiracy

Oh yes, they’re hilarious. :slight_smile: I still have some in my TBR pile, but I had to take a break from the series to catch up on other stuff which is going overdue at the library.

Right now I’m into The Crimson Petal and The White, by Michel Faber, and loving it. It has kind of a trashy feel, like Forever Amber or something, but the writing is really great. Sometimes, I stop and go back over a perfect sentence or two.

Maybe she is methodically planning your next vacation. Your next solo vacation.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.

I’m finding it a struggle. I was really looking forward to it but I found that the joke wore thin pretty early on. Now its getting to the point where I get frustrated when he deviates from P&P to include the zombies.

I havent picked it up in a while but I must make more of an effort to get it finished.

The focus of the book is more about the everyday person in England, so the author starts with a particular policy, say the nationalization of the mines, and then goes through a lot of primary source material about what Joe Average Miner had to say about the mines, and then what kind of house he lived in, and what his family could expect to pay for groceries, and what he did in his leisure time, things like that. It’s especially awesome for American readers who have read a lot of British novels from this period. I know we pick up on a lot of things just from context, but there have been a lot of times in this book where I’ve said to myself “Ahh, so that’s what that is!” about little details like household products, cars, or food from that time period.

just got my latest delivery:

Iron Angel - Alan Campbell
(re-reading Scar Night before I start though)
Fantasy - City hanging from chains over the pit to Hell type idea. Really looking forward to it.

Foundation - Asimov
Finishing up Empire in Black and Gold by someone Tchaikovsky
Another fantasy where the different peoples take on an Insect aspect. Not bad but going stale after the initial “oo” factor wears off.

*Devices and Desires - K.J.Parker *- another fantasy about revenge essentially.

*The Kite Runner *- part way through - jolly good, but I tend to need a little escapism in my free time now

I’m readingAmerican Wife. I’m about 2/3 way through and really enjoying it, but I’m a little apprehensive about reviews saying it falls apart in the last third. Can’t say enough about how good the first part is, though.

Fret not – I liked it all the way through.

I remember a review for the comedy Chicken Run, saying it was actually one of the best portrayals of the little details of British life immediately after WW2 of any recent movie. :wink:

Vein of Iron by Ellen Glasgow. It’s about a family living in Virginia. The story starts in 1900. Little Ada is waiting for her father to come back from town. She has given him $1.50 she earned so that he can buy her a wax doll with real hair. Ada explains that the family doesn’t have much money. Her philosopher father has lost his congregations (he doesn’t believe in the Virgin Birth) and the parlor in the family home is now a school room. He’s allowed to teach “profane” stuff.

I can’t believe how excited I was to see whether Ada got the doll she wanted, and how disappointed I was for her when daddy came home with a doll with china hair!

I really like Ellen Glasgow. This is only my second book from her. She reminds me a bit of Harriette Arnow.

I happened to catch Guillermo del Toro on a talk show last night, and was completely surprised to learn he’s co-authored a horror novel - The Strain, written with Chuck Hogan. According to del Toro, it’s a return to the more traditional horrific vampire story (as opposed to the romantic meme currently popular). I was sufficiently intrigued to order it up for my Kindle even though it’s apparently the first of a planned trilogy (I ordinarily eschew series) and have been reading apace in bouts of insomnia since 3 a.m. when it was delivered.

I’m about to finish Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. Next up is either The Killer Book of Serial Killers or French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792-1815.

Finished News of a Kidnapping. It’s a good read, and I learned something about a place and time I’d only glimpsed briefly in short newspaper stories.

Next up: The Mission Song, by John le Carre. I’m giving him another chance. While I’ve not read all of his recent stuff – for example, I did not read The Constant Gardener, only saw the film – I’ve found his earlier Cold War writings much better. I’ve been somewhat disappointed in varying degrees with everything of his I’ve read after The Night Manager, what I found to be his last really good one.

I didn’t care much for Saturn’s Children. OK premise, but it got muddy and unfocused in the middle, I thought.

Thanks for reinforcing my desire to read Macaulay. I have his other books on my list, just not my Read Now list.

LOL I just picked this up today, mostly because of del Toro. The man is a gifted storyteller when the medium is film. I figured I’d risk $14 and see how well he does without being able to actually provide the visuals.

Hypno-Toad, how is that tobacco book, and who wrote it?

ETA: I also have The Sky People by S. M. Stirling, Island In The Sea Of Time by Stirling, and The Immortality Option by James P. Hogan (after a quick trip to the library). The Hogan book is a sequel to a novel of his called Code Of The Lifemaker, a witty and intriguing look at a world discovered by humans which is populated by self-aware, self-replicating (although imperfectly self-replicating) robots. I know I read TIO when it came out, but I don’t remember it at all. I own COTL and have read it many times, so this should be an interesting read.

Listening to The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, read by Michael Boatman. It’s a children’s book which I am listening to because my son’s teacher read it to the class. It’s good enough to pass the time, but not impressive. The message is basically “racism is bad, mmmkay” although I think the old black man is a Jamaican stereotype, for true, mon.

It’s about a black man and a white boy who survive a shipwreck and are stranded on an island. It’s fortunate that I had already decided to ditch this at the end of the week because my library website posted spoilers! Grrrrrr!

I enjoyed it very much. Here it is.