Whatcha Readin' Mar 2011 Edition

March is here - in like a lion, out like a lamb - or something like that.

I am halfway through (and just about to put down) *John Dies At the End, *which is hyped as

Trying too hard to be both zany and scary it unfortunately fails at both. The weirdness does not seem to serve a purpose, other than to be wacky, and the frights never came because at no time did it seem like it could be real, or engage me in caring about any of the characters.

It has gotten some good reviews here, so many of you may like it - but I will tell you that I think if you aren’t enjoying it after the first few chapters, you probably won’t change your mind by sticking with it. I might be tempted to finish it - but The Wise Man’s Fear shipped today and I am way more interested in it.

Hereis Feb’s link.

Finished reading Robert Goldsborough’s Nero Wolfe novel Death on Deadline and Isaac Asimov’s Casebook of the Black Widows and am starting on the 19th century feminist utopian novel Mizora by Mary E. Bradley Lane and Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Agatha and the Airship City, a print novel obviously inspired by their Girl Genius webcomic.

At Goodreads, I don’t usually give books the full five stars, because that’s their highest rating and I figure it should go to the kind of books that change your life and will be ranked among your favorites forever. This book is neither of those things, but I’m still going to give it the five, because I was so riveted and enjoyed it so much, and really, what more can you ask of a book? I’m not usually the kind of person who can figure out the mystery or the twist in a plot, but even if you are, I think you’ll find some surprises in this one.

(Darn that Goodreads rating system anyway, I always struggle with it).

Next up, I’m trying to give The Last Kashmiri Rose a fair chance because a friend recommended it. So far, many cardboard characters. How many pages is “a fair chance” anyway?

Fifty pages. If it hasn’t hooked you by then, it probably never, ever will. Life’s too short to slog through books you don’t have to.

I usually say the same, but since it was a friend’s recommendation, I wonder if it might not be easier to just finish the damn thing than to tell her I didn’t like it. sigh
Fifty pages, then. Maybe it’ll improve.

I think I read that.

<checks Goodreads>

Ouch. Two stars.

I don’t have a set rule for how long I’ll give a book. It depends on the type of problem. I can tolerate flat characters a lot longer than I can tolerate some other things.

A bit over one-third through A Passage to India, by EM Forster. An excellent read.

Just started A Game of Thrones last night. Through 50 pages, it seems pretty good.

I read The Dream Master by Robert Zelazny on a flight over the weekend. It’s pretty short. Boring. Not his best. But I could see some elements of Inception in the story, which was kind of neat. Not sure if that book was any kind of inspiration for the film.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography. I’ve been putting off reading it for a few years because Charles Schulz is such a hero of mine and I wasn’t not ready to hear that if not for drawing a successful comic strip, he’d have been a crack-smoking serial killer, or whatever those early reviews said.

Maybe I can get some mileage out of giggling at the truth of your review. :slight_smile:

I’m in the middle of reading the original Tarzan books. I’m in the middle of the second one. So far the first one was good through the end and the second one has gotten much better when Tarzan got back to Africa and became a ‘savage’ again. He was much to perfect and unbelievable in ‘the real world’.

I usually give it about a 1/4 to 1/3 of a book. I have found some gems that might have been over looked if I hadn’t.

I used to always finish a book, but as I have aged, I have more money and less time, so I give up on books I don’t like now.

I just finished that and am about halfway through the sequel, A Clash of Kings. The series was recommended to me by someone who knows I am a sci-fi fan and that I’ve delved very little into the fantasy realm. I enjoyed it well enough to run out and buy the sequel the day I finished it. I’ll be curious to get your perspective on it.

I’m also reading – very slowly – Peter Sagal’s The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things (And How To Do Them). I’ve been underwhelmed thus far, which is why I haven’t picked it up lately. But I’ll finish it at some point.

And who hates you and wants you to suffer like all Martin fans are suffering waiting for the sequels! :smiley:

I’m reading The Windup Girl but have kind of gotten stalled on it. It’s an interesting future dystopia novel set in Thailand in a world where oil has been depleted and the “calorie wars” have occurred during which man made plagues have wiped out most crops and introduced many new rapidly mutating diseases. Problem is, it’s a pretty grim story and none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, even the titular “windup girl”, an artificially created woman whose origins lead to a characteristic clockwork motion. I’ll probably finish it eventually, but it’s not a page-turner.

A Game of Thrones is the first “fantasy” book I’ve ever picked up. That’s right, I never even read LOTR. But I do like sci-fi and the fact that this is becoming a series on HBO, who typically knows how to produce a good series, really got me interested.

I had heard this going into it, so hopefully they keep coming as I catch up. It seems like the kind of series where I’d hate to wait an extremely long period of time between installments.

I once tried to read all the Tarzan books in one summer. I couldn’t do it – it was like trying to live on a diet of cream puffs. There isn’t enough there there. I eventually read them all, but it took longer. I could only take so many repetitive plots, even if gussied up with Burroughs’ imagination.

For my money the first couple of books are best, along with *Jungle Tales of Tarzan * (#6 IIRC). Then the repetition sets in. How damned many Lost Civilizations are in Africa, anyway?

We-elll, how slow a reader are you?

You are NOT being very encouraging!

Oh, I forgot – I stumbled across a first edition of H.G. Wells’ The Croquet Player and picked it up. I’d never heard of it before, but it seems to be “a modern classic”: