Whatcha Readin' Nov 09 Edition

Happy Halloween all. I hope you are enjoying the fall weather as much as I am!

I am reading God’s Demon, but so far it hasn’t caught me and I think I will give it up. I have had it in the queue for over a year and figure it is time to read it or trash it.
Last Month’s thread.

Close to finishing Flashman and the Dragon, by George MacDonald Fraser. Flashman in China during the Second Opium War, 1860. Could have finished it days ago, but on top of my limited reading time is that I want to drag the story out and make it last.

We’ve visited the Summer Palace on the edge of Beijing. Wish we could have seen it back then in the says of the emperor.

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.

Those Flashy books are so good. Funny and historical. Almost nothing else like them.

Have you ever read Thomas Holt’s historical novels? They’re humorous, too. There are only 4 of them: A Song for Nero, Meadowland, Alexander at the World’s End and Olympiad. Under the slightly different name Tom Holt he writes odd fantasy humor.

I’m reading *A Splendor of Letters *by Nicholas Basbanes. It’s about how the material medium of writing, like papyrus, stone, paper, etc., has affected the history of … well, history. And literature.

And i’m reading the novel Fools Errant by Matthew Hughes. A funny scifi adventure (I like humor novels. But they are a lot harder to find than serious ones. Vonnegut once wrote that one idea is enough for a trilogy of serious novels but you need thousands of ideas to write a funny book. That might explain it.)

Am continuing to pick up Terry Pratchett novels as part of Waterstone’s 3for2 deal…currently making my way through ‘Moving Pictures’ with ‘The fifth Elephant’, ‘the Thief of Time’ and ‘Wintersmith’ lined up after that. Once I made my way throuhg that I’m on to ‘The Wild Things’ by David Eggers followed by ‘Infinite Jest’

You’re so lucky. I remember when i discovered Pratchett. Going Postal had just come out and there they were: a whole series of funny books just waiting on me.

**Fifth Elephant **is one of my favorites.

No, but thanks, I’ll keep an eye out for them.

Finished Flashman and the Dragon. Today, I start the last Flashman book I’ve not yet read: Flashman and the Tiger, which is three stories in one book that include embroilment in a plot to assassinate Emperor Franz-Josef, saving the Prince of Wales from scandal and running from a horde of angry Zulus in Africa. Since there are no tigers in Africa, I am wondering what the “tiger” shall be.

And then, the series will be over for me. :frowning:

I just finished Inkheart, which was OK.

I’m now reading Midnight For Charlie Bone now and rather liking it.

470 pages into The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson. It’s book 6 of The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Looking back on last month’s thread, I only read around 270 pages this past month.

~750 pages left in this book! I might have more time to read over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ve got a James Thurber collection sitting around and I’ll probably need to read The Grapes of Wrath again. And when Andre Agassi’s book comes out next week I’m definitely reading that.

I’m reading The Children’s Book by AS Byatt and I’m really not enjoying it. I’m almost 300 pages in and apart from introducing about 30 characters not much has happened. It doesn’t seem to have a plot, it just seems to follow these people as they amble along. It also drops lengthy passages into the narrative all about the history of various socialist groups that were active at the time. I’m close to giving up, the only thing stopping me is when she sticks with a character for a while. I get caught up in whats happening. But then they are absent for several chapters afterwards, so its a frustrating read.

On my bookseller’s recommendation, I picked up Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which has been an interesting read so far, but doesn’t have me hooked. I think I got it recommended because of my buying the Dresden Files books off of her, but while I actually started an finished Summer Knight on Friday, this one isn’t as fascinating.
I’ve got a couple of other things lined up that I will have to get through with in the next couple of weeks. I’m wading through Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge (dry, but somewhat interesting). I started Jonathan Maberry’s Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead, which is very interesting, and much more than just a book on hypothetical zombie forensics. Unfortunately, Maberry’s not Mary Roach – he is really bad at actually integrating his expert information into his text and just dumps large quotes into his book, which is a bit annoying. I also read a bit here and there in the Library of America’s excellent new anthology, American Fantastic Tales, edited by Peter Straub. Lots of stories in there that I didn’t even know the authors of, excellent selection. And cheap, as all Library of America books are for their quality!

I finished The House of Spirits and Whispers: The True Story of a Haunted House and The Handmaid’s Tale. I read the House of Spirits and Whispers just for fun, for Halloween. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. I thought it focused too much on the author and her astral experiences when I wanted to hear more about the ghosts, the history of the house, etc. I did like The Handmaid’s Tale. It had a 1984 vibe to it. I’m thinking of starting Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children next. I’m also still reading It Can’t Happen Here and listening to The Godfather. Both are taking me a while, but I am enjoying them.

The Masterpiece by Emile Zola. This is the story of painter Claude Lantier, who if I remember right, is the son of Gervaise from The Dram Shop. The book blurb says this is the most autobiographical of Zola’s books and that’s fine with me – I’d like to know more about the guy. His writing is lively and colorful but always with an undertone of something dark and tragic.

Finished up on Stonehenge and have moved on to* Empires of the Sea.* The history of the 16th Century war between the Hapsburgs and the Ottomans for control of the Mediterranean Sea.

I’m one-third of the way through Boneshaker by Cherie Priest and I like it so far. The situations are grim but I like the two main characters (mother and son) well enough to stick with them. Even though Mom is in the Blighted zone now and has just barely eluded the zombies. This is my first “steampunk” novel and I only sought it out because it was praised on a blog; I think Wil Wheaton mentioned it.

I have only just started it, but I am currently reading Tobias Hill’s newest book The Hidden. Hill is one of my favorite novelists currently working, and yet I don’t really hear too much about him (maybe he’s bigger in Britain, since that’s where he’s from).

I just read Slaughterhouse-Five, the first Vonnegut I’ve ever read. It was interesting.

Over the weekend I picked up the first Amelia Peabody mystery, Crocodile on the Sandbank. It was pretty fun, and since I have an omnibus that includes the first three novels I’ll probably go ahead and read the next two.

I’m not familiar with him. Can you tell me a bit about what he writes?

Edit: it seems I bought The Love of Stones a few years ago and never read it.

I just finished Hell by Robert Olen Butler. I liked it, but I can see how some folks would stop reading after a while. Stick with it, though, the end is really satisying.

I picked up the Collected Works of Lovecraft on the kindle last mont and have been digging thorugh them, I also have the Collected Works of TS Spivet on the pile, along with The Eternal Prison by Jeff Somers, and The Shotgun Rule by Charllie Huston. It’s a noirish month in Denver!