Whatcha reading Sept. (08) edition

OK guys, welcome back. As always, here is the September thread and here is a link to the old thread. Link (warning, when the DNS is propagated I guess this will break.)

I am in the middle of The Mysterious Benedict Society. It has promise, although right now it is dragging a little. The start was strong though and I think it will pan out. It is targeted at the youth and has a “Harry Potter” feel to it (for me.) Don’t get me wrong, there is no magic in it (let me stress this, there is NO MAGIC) in it, it just has a similar “feel” to it.

It starts with a gifted child in an orphanage who stumbles across an advert looking for gifted children. He goes through a series of tests and ends up on a team of gifted children, recruited to help save the world.

This is where it sort of broke down for me, but I will suspend disbelief for a while longer and see where it leads - perhaps it will grow to fulfill the earlier promise.

Sorry guys, wrong forum - will a mod move it for me? (Damn I would have sworn I put this in Cafe…)

Well, I can still move threads…

Howard Stern’s “Private Parts.” It’s pretty damned hilarious. I’m more impressed with it than I thought it would be. I may need to watch the movie again, I remember really enjoying it.

Ian Fleming’s Doctor No. I’m reading through the entirety of Fleming’s Bond series. I’ve been told that Doctor No is one of the greatest, gaudiest villains in the series and I can’t wait to meet him.

R. Scott Bakker’s The Darkness that Comes Before, part of his “Princes of Nothing” series. I’m only about forty pages in and I’m not sure I’m going to get into this book. The series is fantasy, but isn’t just a recreation of medieval-Europe-with-dragons, which is refreshing. But the writing style is stilted and overly formal and the main character isn’t particularly likable.

If I give up on that one, I’m going to go back to Harry Turtledove’s “Great War” series. I’m on the third one and they’ve been good so far.

I just started Damon Knight’s A for Anything. It’s a late-60s sci-fi about a device that can duplicate whatever it touches, and the ensuing penis…I mean, um, really bad things.

Once that’s done, I’m moving on to a couple of serious classics, Paradise Lost and the Divine Comedy. Can’t wait!!

I just read The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the DecadesBefore Roe v. Wade, by Ann Fessler. contrary to what you’d think from the title, it’s not about abortion debate or anything like that. It’s a series of interviews with women who were more or less coerced into giving up their babies, back in the 50s and 60s, when teen pregnancy was a huge shame to bring onto your family. A very good book, but depressing - the way the system treated these girls, and the way their* families* treated some of them… it’s heartbreaking.

Right now I’m reading Late Bloomer’s Revolution by Amy Cohen, on the advice of a friend.

After that one I’m moving on to Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back, by Norah Vincent. Just because it seemed interesting - a woman spends a year and a half posing as a man, to see how life is different from the other side.

I have this! I got it at the Buckeye Book Fair last year. The author’s booth was next to somebody real popular – don’t remember who – and he looked kind of lonely. I smiled at him and went over to check out his book and we talked about it for a few minutes. I bought it and he signed it for me. I enjoyed it; I think it’s more Lemony Snicket/Charles Addams than Harry Potter, with the quirky, enterprising characters. I don’t see an author’s web site, but I do see on Wikipedia that there’s a sequel. I would buy it or at least check it out at the library.

Wonder if he will be back at Buckeye Book Fair this year. They limit their non-Ohio authors and AFAICT he’s from Iowa. But he may have an Ohio connection.

I just finished Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers and am currently reading Planet of No Return, both by Harry Harrison.

I love his books!

You may be right, I haven’t read the Lemony Snicket books. It looks like he had a second book published so maybe he’ll be back this year.

Patrick O’Brien, The Nutmeg of Consolation again.

Castles, Battles and Bombs: How Economics Explains Military History by Jurgen Brauer and Hubert Van Tuyll

Chapter one is an extremely basic explanation of some economic principles. I’m hoping the later chapters will be more captivating.

I just finished the fourth Temeraire book, Empire of Ivory, by Naomi Novik. (They’re an alternate history of the Napoleonic wars, with dragons.) These keep getting better.

In the midst of reading other things I picked up a copy of Stephen R. Bown’s Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail yesterday. It’s a great and quick read.

Cal, you might like Longitude. The story of how the ships chronometer was invented and why it was so important.

I just requested that from the library! That does sound interesting.

I’m finishing up King’s “The Stand” this week. I was planning on going with Khaled Hosseini’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” or something by Sinclair Lewis next, but a friend just loaned me “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult and “Whistling in the Dark” by Lesley Kagen, so those will come first.

I’m in the middle of Ann Frank’s Diary right now. After that, Wisconsin Death Trip, followed by Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar.

I’ve been working on Traffic: why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) by Tom Vanderbilt. It’s been fairly slow going, but it’s a good book. I think I’m in more of a fiction mood right now, but everything close to the top of my TBR pile is non-fiction, so I’m plodding.

Read it ages ago when it first came out. Sobel also edited a more technical, much less well-known book on those clocks, the product of an exhibition on the topic, which I’ve also read.