Whatcha Readin' June 2012 Edition

:smiley: I read both Vonnegut and Rand at about the same age and enjoyed them both. IMHO - that’s the best time of life to read those authors; tho Vonnegut’s the one I find myself coming back to years later. I’m not sure I could make it thru Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead again so easily.

About 1/3 through Tomorrow, When The War Began, I like it so far. I’m having a hard time seeing, at this stage, how the premise can carry through six more books, though.

Also rereading Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. They seem old-fashioned now, for some reason; they were bleeding-edge horror when I first read them, in the mid 80s.

Recently finished the Spellman series and a couple of Graham Masterton’s Manitou books.

Finished Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) by Jennifer Estep, the first in a series that one review described as “Harry Potter meets Clash Of The Titans.” It kind of works as a description.

More accurately though, instead of wizards you have mythology - many myths, not just the Greek myths - but it is a similar theme. Young descendants of the gods/godesses/heros from mythology go to school to learn to use their powers.

I’ve read her other series and given it a not-bad review (not really enthusiastic, but not bad.)

I enjoyed this series more (well, this first one.) It was light and fun and I’ll read the rest.

One small word of caution to parents who might be tempted to think of this as YA - there is some sex in this. The protagonist is 16 and so of an age where it wouldn’t be unheard of for characters to be experiencing sex. It isn’t too explicit (no detailed descriptions) but at one point Gwen Frost is following some suspects and it turns out that they are going somewhere private so that the girl can give the guy a BJ.

So a parent may wish to screen the books before deciding if they are appropriate.

Been trying to go through some of classics that came with my E-reader that I got a couple of Christmases below. Just started Tale of Two Cities. Seen the movie but never read the book.

This line may me stop and think some, especially the bolded part.

Finished Stein And Candle Detective Agency an interesting idea, poorly executed. It is detective pulp fiction, but with a supernatural twist. I was hoping for something akin to Garret or Dresden, but it wasn’t even close to being in their class. Heck, even Simon Green’s stuff is better.

In other words, skip it.

I just finished Hemingway’s “Garden of Eden” and really liked it. That isn’t surprising, though. Hemingway never disappoints me. I have now started “When Father and Son Conspire” by Joe Amato. It’s about some local murders that happened during the farm crisis of the 1980s. I was a child at the time but remember it vividly. The 30th anniversary is next year so I want to read both books about the murders. I’m also reading the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, against my better judgment. A friend convinced me to try the series.

Just finished Redshirts by John Scalzi. I was home sick yesterday and read it in one sitting. Really good, really funny, anyone who liked Galazy Quest will love this book. Just started Roadside Picnic the new translation of the Strugatsky brothers classic. I haven’t read it since the early 90s. but it still holds up. The Pratchett Baxter collaboration The Long Earth is next on the to read list.

I also wrapped up The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner. Not bad, but it felt a bit forced in places.

I don’t think I would dig it, but damn, that’s a catchy title. I’d like to have just the book jacket to put on whatever I might be reading out in public. :slight_smile:

I read Rex Stout’s Homicide Trilogy on a business trip, and started John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which I’ve never read before.

I was killing time at Barnes and Noble yesterday and somehow walked out with Twelve by Jasper Kent. It’s fantasy/historical fiction about a group of vampires that help defend Russia from Napoleon in 1812. I’m not a big fantasy reader (though I did enjoy both A Song of Ice and Fire and Anno Dracula recently), so this isn’t something I’d usually get, but the setting seemed interesting. Started it last night and it’s pretty good.

I also picked up The Sherlockian, a mystery novel about the search for a lost Arthur Conan Doyle journal, so I guess that’ll be next.

This was a productive weekend of reading for me; I finished three books that I’d been reading for awhile up to now:

The Shack by William Paul Young, a Christian-themed novel about love, loss, and evil in the world despite God’s presence. It was meh. Poorly-written and sidesteps some big questions about Christianity.

My Queen and I by Willie Hamilton, a scathing 1975 critique of the Royal Family by an antimonarchist Member of Parliament. I came across several references to Hamilton’s book in my recent reading of royal bios, and thought it might be worth a look. Hamilton was critical of the Royal Family’s tax-free status, secretiveness, elitism and uselessness, in a nutshell. He didn’t pull his punches.

At the Mountains of Madness by I.N.J. Culbard, a graphic novel based on the famous H.P. Lovecraft novel about an Antarctic expedition gone terribly wrong. Sort of had a Tintin feel to it, but of course much darker and nastier by the end. Worth a look, if you like Lovecraft.

I finished the first Sookie book. I can’t decide if I liked it enough to give the second one a try or not. I decided to pick up Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I’m liking it so far.

I started Arsenals of Folly by Richard Rhodes. Making of the Atomic Bomb is the best pop-sci-history books I’ve read, so am looking forward to it. Though I was hoping it would be a larger history of the Cold War and the development of ICMBs (picking up where Dark Sun left off) but it looks like its focused on just the nuclear disarmament talks at the end of the Cold War.

Read thru the Kindle version of Buzz Aldrin’s memoir: Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon - as you might guess from the subtitle, it starts with the events of Apollo 11 (which are wonderfully described and easily the best part of this book) and traces his life from that high point. Aldrin provides very little biographical background on his childhood or what led him to becoming the second man to step foot on the moon; but does not stint on sharing what happened afterwards.
While I admire Aldrin’s courage in describing his struggles with alcoholism and depression; and certainly appreciate all he has done and continues to do for the future of space travel, he seemed a little glib at times and the last few chapters felt almost too “Isn’t my life grand?”; it rang a bit hollow for me, especially knowing that he has now divorced the “love of his life” described in these pages.
Regardless, the memoir was an enjoyable read, and provided some insight into not only Aldrin’s life, but that of the environment that shaped this reluctant celebrity. I still think Mike Mullane is top on my list of astronauts I’d like to meet, but Buzz would definitely be on the short list (tho I guess I shouldn’t buy him a drink :smiley: )

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Nearing the end of The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers. While this is only the third book of his I’ve read, I think I’m going to place him in the same category as Neal Stephenson - Powers expects a lot from his readers, and rewards them accordingly.
I probably should have taken notes along the way and/or had Wikipedia handy to check the bios of Byron, Keats & Shelley to see how much/little liberty Powers took with their life stories to tell this story of how these literary men’s Muses were, in fact, vampires. It’s been a challenging, but enjoyable read & think I’ll tackle Powers’ newest novel Hide Me Among the Graves (which looks to be a sequel of sorts) sooner rather than later.

My favorite was A Stolen Tongue. I loved the narrator his earnestness. I expected more from *Witches on the Road Tonight. *

Agree. This really didn’t live up to the hype. I have an advance copy with the press release and I just don’t get all these quotes. And on the back of the book: “Hilarious and utterly winsome.” :confused: It wasn’t a bad book, and had some insight, but hilarious?

I just read Complication by Isaac Adamson. A man whose brother died in Prague five years before is going through his father’s effects after the father’s recent unexpected death, and finds a letter implying that the brother’s death was not what it seemed to be. The father had an airline ticket to Prague, so the son goes there and mystery ensues. All about a fabulous antique watch, a drunken detective, severed body parts . . .

There’s a Shutter Island-style twist at the end that I found unnecessary as the book was satisfying enough without it.

I loved this book.
Now reading Angel’s Flight by Alice Duncan, a 1920s-set mystery about the secretary to a private eye. She’s trying to expose some phony spiritualists when a party guest, modeled on Hedda Hopper, drops dead. The main character is an old-money Boston girl whose mother is a disapproving battleaxe. I would like it better if she were a real flapper who knew the lingo, because she’s too wide-eyed for my taste.

That still sounds better than the book I thought you meant: http://www.amazon.com/Angels-Flight-Harry-Michael-Connelly/dp/0446582778/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339465261&sr=8-1

No, but both titles refer to the same 1901 funicular railroad in downtown Los Angeles! Billed as “The Shortest Railway in the World.” The narrator of my book rides it to work every day and pays a nickel; the fare is now 50 cents, or a quarter if you have a metro pass.

Finished the next two in the Frost series by Jennifer Estep.

Despite not being in the target demographic at all, I enjoy this series. It is clearly targeted at high-school girls and is filled with teen angst and all that. But I page past those pages and the over-all plot isn’t bad. (OK, it isn’t great lit, but it passes the time.)

I will read the next one.

Well, I was reading ***Rick Steves’s Amsterdam, Brussels and Bruges ***in preparation for my upcoming vacation to Amsterdam and Brussels. I finished that and decided (for reasons I don’t entirely recall) to have another spin through Steven Brust’s The Phoenix Guards, written as a bit of a tribute to (and affectionate parody of) The Three Musketeers. It’s good fun all 'round.

Bonus: I was reading it one night and posted a quote I particularly liked on a MUCK I frequent. Someone else in the room guessed that the quote was Twain. I sent the whole exchange via email to Steve Brust, who responded with many gracious thanks almost instantly! :smiley:

Finished “Gabby”, about Gabrielle Giffords. Finished a “Reacher” novel and was reminded why I haven’t read one in awhile. Started a James Lee Burke novel that I haven’t read yet.