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Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2014 - Part 6

This is a continuation of the topic Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2014 - Part 5.

75 Books Challenge for 2014

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Edited: Oct 1, 2014, 12:37am Top

Holy Crap, its October! Holy Crap, its my 6th thread. How did that happen?

If you're new, my name is Jeff. I live in Southern California. I'm an avid reader (obviously, why else would I be doing this :) ), but I also enjoy photography, hiking and playing games and hanging out with my family. Book-wise, I have a pretty eclectic taste in what I read and I hope to give you not so much reviews but my impressions about what I read.

What you will find here is mostly my rambling, way too many (according to some :) ) Wishlist and TBR pile temptations and a smattering of my photography.

My 2013 Reading Thread

Since its the beginning of October, let me share the image that is for October in my yearly photo.

Edited: Dec 20, 2014, 2:23am Top

2014 Statistics

Owned - 11
Bought 2014 - 16
Free/Found - 11
Library - 4
Gift - 5
Audio - 27
eBook - 7

81. Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
80. Rosewater - Maziar Bahari

79. Furious Cool - David Henry (LTER)
78. Lock In - John Scalzi (AUDIO)
77. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra
76. The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle

75. Redshirts - John Scalzi (AUDIO)
74. A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami
73. Bearing an Hourglass - Piers Anthony (AUDIO)
72. Seal Team Six - Howard Wasdin
71. The Future for Curious People - Gregroy Sherl - ER
70. Strip Tease - Carl Hiassen (AUDIO)

69. Maze Runner - James Dashner
68. March - Geraldine Brooks
67. Paper Towns - John Green
66. Ten Minutes Later... The USS Helm in WWII - Frank Wotring
65. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman (AUDIO)
64. Madonna and the Starship - James Morrow
63. The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach

62. The Legend of Drizzt - R.A. Salvatore (AUDIO)
61. The Martian - Andy Weir (EBOOK}
60. Dr. Mutter's Marvels - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz ER
59. The Stand - Stephen King (AUDIO)
58. Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor (EBOOK)
DNF - Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie - ER
57. Unlocked - John Scalzi (EBOOK)

56. About a Boy - Nick Hornby (AUDIO)
55. The Travels and Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen - Rudolf Erich Raspe
54. Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh
53. Matterhorn - Karl Marlantes
52. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom - Cory Doctorow (AUDIO)
51. All You Need Is Kill - Hiroshi Sakurazaka
50. Hollow World - Michael J. Sullivan (AUDIO)
49. You - Austin Grossman
48. Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger (AUDIO)

47. In the Woods - Tara French
46. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk (AUDIO)
45. Invisible Beasts - Sharona Muir - ER
44. The Giver - Lois Lowry (AUDIO)
43. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

42. Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut (AUDIO)
41. The Lives of Tao - Wesley Chu
40. Freedom(TM) - Daniel Suarez
39. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed
38. Beasts of No Nation - Uzodinma Iweala
37. The Woman Who Died A Lot - Jasper Fforde
36. Wakulla Springs - Andy Duncan (EBOOK)
35. Daemon - Daniel Suarez (AUDIO)

34. Acts of God - Ellen Gilchrist - ER
33. Summerland - Michael Chabon
32. Sunnyside - Glen David Gold (AUDIOI)
31. A Brief History of the Dead - Kevin Brockmeier
30. Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes (EBOOK)
29. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere - Julie Lamana - ER
28. Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Wilson (AUDIO)
27. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett

26. The Corpse Exhibition - Hassan Blasim
25. Divergent - Veronica Roth
24. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer (AUDIO)
23. A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
22. Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein (AUDIO)
21. Human Division - John Scalzi
20. On a Pale Horse - Piers Anthony (AUDIO)
19. 11/22/63 - Stephen King

18. 2001: A Space Oddyssey - Arthur C. Clarke (AUDIO)
17. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green, David Levithan
16. Make Room, Make Room - Harry Harrison (EBOOK)
15. Abandon - Meg Cabot (AUDIO)
14. Men and Cartoons - Jonathan Lethem
13. Junky - William S. Burroughs (AUDIO)
12. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers (AUDIO)

11. Lexicon - Max Barry (AUDIO)
10. Train - Pete Dexter
9. Rocket Science - Jay Lake
8. Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester (AUDIO)
7. Carrie - Stephen King
6. Tales of Beedle the Bard - J. K. Rowling (Michael Read)
5. NOS4A2 - Joe Hill (AUDIO)
4. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien (Family Read)
3. Every Day - David Levithan
2. Dead Pig Collector - Warren Ellis (EBOOK)
1. The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde

Edited: Dec 20, 2014, 2:23am Top

Books Read in 2014 by Year

2014 - 12
2013 - 15
2012 - 9
2011 - 8
2010 - 2
2009 - 2
2008 - 4
2007 - 3
2006 - 2
2005 - 7
2004 - 1
2003 - 1
2001 - 2
2000 - 1
1998 - 1
1997 - 1
1996 - 1
1993 - 2
1989 - 1
1986 - 1
1984 - 1
1978 - 1
1974 - 1
1969 - 1
1785 - 1

Edited: Dec 26, 2014, 10:14pm Top

Currently Reading

Brisingr - Christopher Paolini (Michael Read)- S: 1/12/14
The Math Book - Clifford Pickover - S: 2/9/14
Bird Box - Josh Malerman (EBOOK) - S: 11/5/14
The Guns of the South - Harry Turtledove - S: 12/2/14
Their Life's Work - Gary M. Pomerantz - S: 12/18/14
The Flame Alphabet - Ben Marcus - S: 12/26/14

Edited: Dec 26, 2014, 8:15pm Top

TBR Additions

Montana 1948 - Larry Watson - PBS
Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin - 2014 Santathing
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel - 2014 Santathing
Cell - Stephen King - 2014 75 Swap
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson - 2014 75 Swap
The Dog Stars - Peter Heller - 2014 75 Swap
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel - 2014 75 Swap
California - Edan Lepucki (AUDIO) - PV Library
Flame Alphabet - Ben Marcus - PV Libarary
Their Life's Work - Gary Pomerantz - PGH Airport

Rosewater - Maziar Bahari

Peter Fishers Odyssey - Michael Greenwood
Elegant Universe - Brian Greene
Furious Cool - Dave & Joe Henry - LTER

We Are Water - Wally Lamb - Target
The Future for Curious People - Gregory Sherl - LTER

Ariel - Steven R. Boyett - (EBOOK) - Kindle (John Scalzi suggestion)
A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami - YMCA
Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison (EBOOK)
The Madonna and the Starship - James Morrow - from RD
Notes from the Internet Apocalypse - Wane Gladstone - from RD

Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie - LTER
Pump Six - Paolo Bacigalupi (EBOOK) - Kindle (from RD suggestion)
March - Geraldine Brooks - $1 Books in Long Beach
Dr Mutter's Marvels - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz - LTER

Edited: Dec 20, 2014, 2:24am Top

TBR Additions - First Half 2014

Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan - Free (YMCA)
The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle - Free (YMCA)
The Courious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon - BN
Dragon Riders of Pern - Anne McCaffrey - Library Book Sale
The Kept - James Scott - Library Book Sale
Lexicon - Max Barry (AUDIO) - Free (Library Borrow)
Summerland - Michael Chabon - Library Book Sale
Out on Blue Six - Ian McDonald - Paperback Swap
Men and Cartoons - Jonathan Lethem - Brownbag Books
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers (AUDIO)- Humble Bundle
Abandon - Meg Cabot (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
Found - Margaret Peterson Haddix (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle - DNF
Junky - William S. Burroughs (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
On a Pale Horse - Piers Anthony (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
Stolen - Lucy Christopher (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle - DNF
The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle - DNF
True Grit - Charles Portis (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
Vampirates : Demons of the Ocean - Justin Somper (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
The Orange Eats Creeps - Grace Krilanovich (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
Seal Team Six - Howard Wasdin - Free (YMCA)
2014 Cambellian Anthology - Various (EBOOK) - Free DRM free download
A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby - Free (YMCA)

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - Free (YMCA)
One Day - David Nicholls - Free (YMCA)
A Brief History of the Dead - Kevin Brockmeier - RD
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere - Julie T. Lamana - Early Review LT

Paper Towns - John Green - Target
Lives of Tao - Wesley Chu - Barnes & Noble
Human Division - John Scalzi - Barnes & Noble
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes - Free - Amazon Kindle
Wakulla Springs - Andy Duncan - Free - Amazon Kindle
Big Rock Candy Mountain - Wallace Stegner - Free YMCA
Divergent - Veronica Roth - Walmart
The Corpse Exhibition = Hassan Blasim - Library
Sunnyside - Glenn David Gold (AUDIO) - Library
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer (AUDIO) - Library
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague - Geraldine Brooks - Free YMCA
Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Willson (AUDIO) - Library

Beasts of No Nation - Uzodinma Iweala - Amazon (RD suggestion)
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor - Kindle (RD's suggestion)
A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway - Free YMCA
Acts of God - Ellen Gilchrist - Free Early Review

Paris Trout - Pete Dexter - Brownbag Books
American on Purpose - Craig Ferguson - Brownbag Books
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra - Brownbag Books
Confederates in the Attic - Tony Horwitz - Brownbag Books
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome - John Scalzi - Kindle Single
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo - Ted Lawson - Pearl Harbor Gift Store
Ten Minutes Later... The USS Helm in WWII - Frank Wotring - Pearl Harbor Gift Store
The Shambling Guide to New York City - Mur Lafferty - free contest
The Ghost Train to New Orleans - Mur Lafferty free - contest
The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach - Brownbag Books
Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer Brownbag Books

Invisible Beasts - Sharona Muir - Early Review
Love Among the Particles - Norman Lock - Free from Publisher
Fight Club - Chuck Palanhuik (AUDIO) - Humble Bundle
Recapitulation - Wallace Stegner - Beyond the Books, Moab Ut
The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons - John Wesley Powell - Arches NP Giftshop
Edge of Tomorrow - Hiroshi Sakurazaka - Amazon

Edited: Dec 17, 2014, 2:05pm Top

Wishlist Additions

Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
Geek Love - Katherine Dunn
Still Alice - Lisa Genova
The Tribes of Palos Verdes - Joy Nicholson

The Smell of Battle, the Taste of Siege - Mark M. Smith
Alan Turing : The Enigma - Andrew Hodges
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield
Under the Black Flag - David Cordingly
This is the Water - Yannick Murphy
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
Book of Joe - Jonathan Tropper

The Peripheral - William Gibson
Under the Skin - Michel Faber
Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman - Walter Miller, Jr.
Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes
Some Luck - Jane Smiley
The Painter - Peter Heller
As You Wish - Cary Elwes
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher - Hilary Mantel
Yokohama Yankee - Leslie Helm

If - Nicholas Bourbaki
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie
The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown - Paul Malmont
Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Page
Blackfin Sky - Kat Ellis
Egg and Spoon - Gregory Maguire
Last Plane to Heaven - Jay Lake
End of the Sentence - Maria Dahvana Headley
Why Are You So Sad - Jason Porter
Byrd - Kim Church
Sleeping Late on Judgement Day - Tad Williams
Permutation City - Greg Egan
Golem of Hollywood - Jonathan Kellerman
Volt - Alan Heathcock

Dark Lightning - John Varley
Magician's Land - Lev Grossman
Monster's Wife - Kate Horsley
Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit - Graham Joyce
Your Face in Mine - Jess Row
The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy - Jacopo dell Quercia
Don't Start Me Talkin' - Tom Williams
Conspiracy of Paper - David Liss

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart
Fugitive Pieces - Anne Michaels
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands - Chris Bohjalian
California: A Novel - Edan Lepucki
Sweetness #9 - Stephan Erik Clark

Edited: Oct 1, 2014, 12:49am Top

Wishlist Additions - First Half 2014

Hang Wire - Adam Christopher
On Such a Full Sea - Chang-rae Lee
Shovel Ready -Adam Sternbergh
The Land Across - Gene Wolfe
Wake - Lisa McMann
Luminaries - Eleanor Catton
Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
The Hundred-Foot Journey - Richard C. Morais
The Visionist - Rachal Urquhart
Fooling Houdini - Alex Stone
A Highly Unlikely Scenario - Rachel Cantor
Shaman - Kim Stanley Robinson
Stone Spring - Stephen Baxter
State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
More Than This - Patrick Ness
Logan's Run - William Nolan
Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
High-Rise - J.G. Ballard
What Makes This Book So Great - Jo Walton
The First True Lie - Marina Mander
Crapalachia - Scott McClanahan
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - Matthew Dicks

An Unnecessary Woman - Rabih Alameddine
Terms of Enlistment - Marko Kloos
Praying Drunk - Kyle Minor
Last Days of California - Mary Miller
Annihilation - Jeff Vandermeer
The Heart Does Not Grow Back - Fred Venturini
Veronica - Nicholas Christopher
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
Strange Bodies - Marcel Theroux
Go: A Novel - John Clellon Holmes
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope - Rhonda Riley
Defenders - Will McIntosh
Love Minus Eighty - Will McIntosh
This Bloody Mary is the Last Thing I Own - Jonathan Rendall
Round Ireland with a Fridge - Tony Hawks
The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green - Joshua Braff
The Enormous Room - e.e.cummings
This Blinding Absence of Light - Tahar Ben Jelloun
The Last Summer of Reason - Tahar Djaout
The Mezzanine - Nicholson Baker
Three Princes - Ramona Wheeler

Black Moon- Kenneth Calhoun
Helmut Saves the World - Matt Sheehan
Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars (Empire and Rebellion - James S. A. Corey
Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly - P.T. Jones
Dead Americans and Other Stories - Ben Peek
The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker
Hill William - Scott McClanahan
Birds of a Lesser Paradise - Megan Mayhew Bergman
The Child Thief - Brom
Extreme Dentistry - Hugh A.D. Spencer
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North

Redeployment - Phil Klay
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo
The Intern's Handbook - Shane Kuhn
Love and Math - Edward Frenkel
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Afterparty - Daryl Gregory
The Loving Dead - Amelie Beamer
Other Worlds, Better Lives - Howard Waldrop

The Bees - Carol Ann Duffy
My Real Children - Jo Walton
The Boat - Nam Le
Untamed State - Roxane Gay

Mainspring - Jay Lake
The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
Robogenesis - Daniel H. Wilson
The Farm - Tom Rob Smith
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers - Tom Rachman
Capturing the Light - Helen Rappaport
The Selected Works of TS Spivet - Reif Larsen
The Lost - Sarah Beth Durst
In Paradise - Peter Matthiessen
Patton's Spaceship - John Barnes
Tomorrow and Tomorrow - Thomas Sweterlitsch
The Symmetry Teacher - Andrei Bitov

Oct 1, 2014, 6:53am Top

Happy New Thread, Jeff! Love the photo up top.

Oct 1, 2014, 1:24pm Top

Thanx Amber, for the comment and for stopping by.

Continuing on with the thought that I'll post when I finish a book and worry about reviewing it later, I just finished Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen. I got this in a Humble Bundle of audiobooks. Just found out it was the basis for Striptease, the Demi Moore movie from 1996. As much as I'm sure I should have seen it, I don't think I ever did.

It was a pretty good book though. More later...

Oct 2, 2014, 2:14am Top

67. Paper Towns - John Green - Another excellent read from Mr. Green. To me this one read as a teen movie from the late '80s that I would have watched on HBO on Saturday afternoon. Quentin is a senior in high school and is in love (from a far) with his next door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman. They were friends almost from birth, but as is always the way in high school went down different paths. Then one night she convinces "Q" to take her on small rampage of revenge on her boyfriend and others. The next day, she disappears. This sends "Q" on an almost obsessive quest to find Margo, starting with a couple very thin clues she left. Ultimately, its not just the story of looking for Margo, its also Q's search for himself. Corny I know, but this is right in the wheelhouse of coming of age YA novels. It worked for me.

BTW, Paper Towns refers to a tactic map makers used to use to prevent or determine copyright infringement. They would put a fictitious place name on a map and if they saw it on someone else's map, they new it was a copy. The first such place was Agloe, NY, which actually became a real place for a while, when someone built a store where the map said a town should exist.

A couple quotes...

"Aren't rhetorical accusations of passive aggression inherently passive-aggressive"

Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass figures prominently in the story and this quote from the poem struck me; (talking of grass) "And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves"

"Its so hard to leave - until you leave. And then its the easiest goddamned thing in the world."

S: 9/7/14 F: 9/13/14 (7 Days)

Oct 2, 2014, 10:17pm Top

LOL Paper Towns does sound like a fun read. I knew about the fake town/copyright thing but didn't know it was called anything in particular. Love the passive aggressive quote! The last person I heard saying something like that was super creepy.

Oct 3, 2014, 12:35am Top

Thx Katie. The PA quote just jumped out at me. In fact my 13yr old son is reading it now and he too pointed it out. A good turn of a phrase is a good turn of a phrase...

Oct 3, 2014, 12:38am Top

Started listening to Bearing an Hourglass by Piers Anthony, its the 2nd book in the series that started with On a Pale Horse.

Oct 3, 2014, 12:41pm Top

Its amazing how these Fridays just keep coming. Today's Foto Friday image is a phone picture from my continuing series of what Jeff does at the Garden Store while his wife is shopping for plants... (if that wasn't obvious enough, I walk around aimlessly taking pictures of flowers ;) )

Oct 5, 2014, 3:45pm Top

68. March - Geraldine Brooks - This book won the Pulitzer Award for Fiction in 2006 and basically tells the tale of Little Women from Mr. March's point of view. Little Women was based largely on Louisa May Alcott's life and since there wasn't a lot of back story about Mr. March, Brooks extrapolates on Alcott's father's experiences and speculates what he was going thru during the war. I feel to great effect. It deals a lot with the March's time before Little Women, with their experiences with the Underground Railroad and their friendship with Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson (who were friends with Bronson Alcott). After a time with the Army, March is transferred to be a teach/minister on a Plantation being worked by freed/contraband slaves. It is a gritty story, one that fans of Little Women might find jarring, but it is an excellent and worthy read.

Some standout quotes...

"It was raining at noon, when we finally arrived in Washington. A cold drizzle fell from heavily swagged clouds that seemed to lower on the unfinished Capitol like the lid of an upholstered box."

"The point is the effort. That you, believing what you believed, what you sincerely believed, including to the commandment 'thous shalt not kill', acted upon it. To believe, to act, and to have events confound you, I grant you, that is hard to bear. But to believe, and not to act, or to act in a way that every fiber of your soul held was wrong, how can you not see? That is what would have been reprehensible."

S: 9/15/14 F: 9/27/14 (13 Days)

Oct 5, 2014, 10:36pm Top

The marigold photo is gorgeous!

Oct 5, 2014, 11:26pm Top

Thanx Katie!

Oct 7, 2014, 2:00am Top

Finished The Future for Curious People (my August LTER book). It was a quick cute read.

Time to take a left turn and read Seal Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin, the memoirs of a special ops sniper. Should be interesting.

Oct 7, 2014, 3:45pm Top

69. Maze Runner - James Dashner - Book 1 of the popular YA/Dystopian future series. Its in the same vein as Hunger Games and Divergent. Thomas wakes up with no memory in a glade/field/large area surrounded by giant walls enclosing him and the other boys that are with him from the maze that surrounds them. He finds that most of the boys have been there for a while and have formed a mini-society with various duties and responsibilities. The "top dog" job is to be a maze runner. Each day the runners go out into the maze and try to find and exit, all while avoiding the mysterious grievers that are trying to kill them. They haven't found one yet.

Why are they there? Who did this to them? What happens when all of a sudden a girl is sent to the glade (yikes! a girl, oh my). Most of this book is setting up the characters and the worldview to set things up for the subsequent books. To me, it had a bit of a Lord of the Flies feel, where you've got lots of young children trying to look after themselves. Good, pulpy read. Looking forward to seeing the movie, I know my son is.

S: 9/13/14 F: 9/28/14 (13 Days)

Oct 8, 2014, 3:19pm Top

It Halloween season so its time for my favorite Literary Analysis YT Channel - Thug Notes to give us a review of Dracula. I love this guy...


Edited: Oct 9, 2014, 12:58pm Top

70. Strip Tease - Carl Hiassen (AUDIO) - A funny, irreverent, police procedural thriller about a stripper with a heart of gold, trying to get her daughter back from her criminal ex-husband, all the while dealing with a corrupt, perverted Congressman, who is in the pocket of "Big Sugar" (a quasi-mafia like group of sugar growers who need government subsidies to stay high). I didn't realize until after I was finished that this book was the basis for the Demi Moore/Burt Reynolds movie of the same name, not that that makes the book any better, it was just interesting and I never made the connection.

Its a weird little story that I listened to on audio. Normally not a genre I would have picked, but it was part of a Humble Bundle package deal I got a while ago.

S: 9/9/14 F: 10/1/14 (23 Days)

Oct 10, 2014, 11:11am Top

Happy Foto Friday everybody!

Today I thought I'd show you my better halves. I know SWMBO (to co-opt Paul's term of endearment), doesn't like having her picture taken, but I like the composition of this shot.

I call it "Still Life in a Museum"

Hope you all have a great weekend, filled with plenty of book time.

Edited: Oct 10, 2014, 8:13pm Top

^ To kick-off my long weekend, I popped the top on this baby, which was waiting in the fridge, for just the right moment. This is mighty tasty, Jeff. Have you indulged?

Great photo of the better halves! Lovely composition.

Hope you have a great weekend planned.

Oct 11, 2014, 12:13am Top

I have indeed partaken, partook, quaffed, that particular brew. Quite tasty.

Oct 11, 2014, 11:19am Top

Oh, man, that looks tasty!

Edited: Oct 12, 2014, 12:06pm Top

Finished Seal Team Six, taking another left turn and starting A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami. Got this one, like so many others, off the free book table at the Y.

Oct 13, 2014, 1:53am Top

The author of Dr. Mutter's Marvels, Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, just liked my review on GoodReads (written here first, I just cross-post over on GR). At least someone named Cristin O'Keefe did. How cool. As much as I want to be able to reach out and interact with the authors I like, its still weird when it happens.

Oct 15, 2014, 6:34pm Top

For subset of computer geeks within the larger set of book geeks that we all are, here's a video that talks about the reasons why text on an ebook can look and "flow" so crappy. Enjoy...


Oct 15, 2014, 10:33pm Top

More book list warbling. I'll keep this one here, it may be too much for our dear RD (where I posted the one the other day).

This is the 50 best debut novels since 1950. Quite a few here that I've readd, or want to read, but a fair number of books I've never heard of. Nice list.

(this link is one book per page, if you like)

or this one that shows all the books on one page. Slower to load, quicker to look at...


Oct 16, 2014, 2:26am Top

71. Future for Curious People - Gregory Sherl - Received this book thru the Early Review program here on LT. A nice little book that has quirky Rom/Com movie written all over it. In the world of the book, the obsession of the moment is going to the envisionist, where a bit of technology and mysterious drug allows people to see (or envision) their future with their prospective mate. The costs are even covered under your health insurance (go figure).

The story alternates between Evelyn, a librarian who just broke up with her musician boyfriend and Godfrey, who works at the Department of Unclaimed Goods and has just proposed to his girlfriend. She becomes addicted or obsessed with the visions, while He has to go, or his girlfriend won't accept his proposal.

Through circumstances and a bit of serendipity, Evelyn and Godfrey begin a relationship and fall in love. And with all good romantic comedies, tragedy comes into play in the end, misunderstandings occur, anger is felt, but the resolution and climax to the story is inevitable and satisfying.

Perhaps a bit too hipsterish for me (who today, under the age of 40 is named Evelyn or Godfrey), but I liked the almost sci-fi aspect of the envisioning. A worth while read.

A couple clips to peak your interest...

"Carbs" he finally says, shaking his head. Jason doesn't eat carbs. This is bad. I love bread. My favorite food groups go cheese, bread, cheese bread and soup served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread.

"Look, science and the mysteries of true love can only coexist for so long before weird shit occurs"

"What I wouldn't give to be Charlie from Firestarter. Watch Adam's sweater vest light up in flames. Watch him flail around the library. I wouldn't let him die, obviously... but he'd have to spend the night in the hospital."

S: 9/28/14 F: 10/6/14 (10 Days)

Oct 16, 2014, 7:00am Top

Hey Jeff! Good review of Future. How is the Murakami coming? I started Colorless and I like it. I am also enjoying Station Eleven, which is a NBA finalist.

Oct 16, 2014, 9:00am Top

Mornin' Mark. I am loving A Wild Sheep Chase. Its weird in all the best ways. My Wishlist just expanded by the quantity of his back catalog. :)

Plus I added Station Eleven at your suggestion. Thx

Oct 17, 2014, 1:56pm Top

Well for anyone hanging by their nails waiting for me to submit for you my Foto Friday selection, that time has come.

This image is from my 2011 calendar and again shows off my off-kilter perspective on the world. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Oct 18, 2014, 9:26am Top

>34 mahsdad: Oooh, shiny!

Oct 20, 2014, 8:56pm Top

ER and Algonquin Books comes thru again. Just got Furious Cool, the biography of Richard Pryor in the mail today.

Guess I know what I'm reading next.

Oct 23, 2014, 11:47am Top

Finished Bearing an Hourglass from Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. This one was about Chronos, the incarnation of time.

More later, when I get around to "reviewing" it.

Oct 23, 2014, 12:19pm Top


For any comic book movie fans that are stopping by, the first trailer for the next Avengers movie is out. Looks epic.

Oct 23, 2014, 12:28pm Top

I put in for that ER book about Richard Pryor. Ended up with on about Ed Burns and independent film making. Would have been happy with either.

Will be very curious to see what you think of it.

Oct 23, 2014, 12:43pm Top

I missed the Ed Burns one, that would be an interesting read as well.

Stay tuned, I'll be sure to report my thoughts...

Oct 24, 2014, 1:08pm Top

Foto Friday, Folks! Yeah its the weekend!

This image is from my 2011 calendar and is a flower that we found at a local park, A bunch of them were like this. I don't the particular species folds up like this, or if was a disease or mutation. Either way they were dead cool.


Edited: Oct 24, 2014, 1:11pm Top

Here's a link to a New Yorker article about the back story of A Canticle for Leibowitz. Walter Miller's only novel. Always loved this book and this article makes me want to read it again...


ETA : Technically its not his only novel, a sequel was published after his death in 1997, Which I just learned about reading this article and thus I need to read that too; Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman

Edited: Oct 24, 2014, 6:24pm Top

I'll never forget reading A Canticle for Liebowitz in the mid-60s, after a childhood of having nuclear attack drills and with the Cuban Missile Crisis just concluded. It was one of the seminal science fiction classics of my teens.

Oct 24, 2014, 6:42pm Top

If you TL:DR the link I posted, Miller was a tail gunner during WWII and was part of the men who bombed and destroyed the abbey at Monte Cassino. It wasn't until he was writing the third section of the book that he realized that he was writing about his experiences during the war.

Oct 24, 2014, 9:50pm Top

^ Went with the wife to an excellent local brewery! Solemn Oath Brewery!

Oct 24, 2014, 11:57pm Top

Saw that on Facebook. Damn fine looking beers

Oct 25, 2014, 3:11am Top

Hi Jeff

How cool that the author of Dr. Mutter's Marvels liked your review. When some members of the 75 challenge group got together a few years ago, Terri Loeffler, Brenda Pike and I visited the Muter Museum in Philadelphia. It was fascinating!

Also, your opening photo is incredible!

Oct 25, 2014, 9:13am Top

>42 mahsdad: I read the Miller novel not to long ago and loved it. Thanks for the article link - I'll definitely have to mark it to read soon...

Oct 25, 2014, 11:57am Top

>47 Whisper1: I"m from PIttsburgh, which means Philadelphia is in another country and I've never been there, but if I ever do get there, the Mutter is on the top of my places to visit.

Also, thanks for the kind words about my picture

>48 scaifea: >43 ronincats: Its neat the way certain books get to us by certain means at different times. I first read it in college for a literature/history course that also included reading Crying of Lot 49 I hadn't read it for years until I got an audio version of it about 3 years ago. I'm going to put back into rotation and read it again.

Happy weekend all...

Oct 25, 2014, 12:00pm Top

You're from Pittsburgh? I lived there for 17 yrs - always will be a Steelers fan even though I now live in Raven's country.

Oct 25, 2014, 12:06pm Top

Born and raised. Lived in Wexford, went to NA. I moved to CA when I was I was like 22 or 23 and I've been here ever since. I too will always be a Steeler's fan. There are a lot of us out here.

Oct 25, 2014, 12:14pm Top

That's so strange. I moved FROM CA (the Bay Area) to the east coast and, alas, have never been able to move back. My son who also lives here in Raven's country, grew up in Pgh - I know, a traitor. When the two teams play each other, we can not even be in the same room! BTW, I lived in Shadyside and Squirrel Hill.

Oct 25, 2014, 5:08pm Top

I did read the article, Jeff. Was just being succinct. I own the sequel--have for at least 10 years and haven't read it yet.

Oct 25, 2014, 5:45pm Top

Happy weekend, Jeff! Hope you are getting plenty of R & R in with an occasional brew.

I am getting ready to head out and yes beer will be involved. Grins...

Oct 25, 2014, 6:09pm Top

>53 ronincats: I'm sorry I meant the general "you", not the specific "you", Roni, for anyone who is browswing thru my thread. I just thought it was the most interesting thing about it, that his subconscious pain was coming out in his writing. You reminded me and I wanted to over-share and spoil the ending ;)

>54 msf59: You too, kind sir. There will be a shindig tonight and I'm sure there will be some tasty fermented (and perhaps some distilled) beverages served.

Oct 27, 2014, 9:43am Top

My father's family is all from Western PA. Tons of them worked with Westinghouse in the day. I, myself, was born in Greensburg. You may be one of the few people on LT who knows about Joseph Horne's, Iselay's chipped ham and who a 'hunky' is. :-P

Oct 27, 2014, 10:25am Top

Horne's, and Kaufman's and Gimbels. :) I love chipped ham and I definitely know who a hunky is.

Did you hear that you can now get a Primanti's sandwich delivered nation-wide? Not exactly sure how that would work and how well it would travel, but it can be done.

I'm going back for Thanksgiving and to go to my 30th HS reunion.

Oct 27, 2014, 10:33am Top

I'm not so sure how well a sandwich could ship either. I have several jars of Isaley's BBQ sauce in the cupboard now. I hear they ship.

Moved to Michigan when I was 5, but spent MANY a happy summer/school break in Western PA. Lots of trips into Pittsburgh, as well as to an Aunt's house on Indian Lake.

Tough when one moves away from a region and can't get all that wonderful food. We get Coney Dogs sent from Detroit periodically. Another addictive treat from Michigan for us is Vernor's Ginger Ale.

Oct 27, 2014, 10:46am Top

I love the thought of getting a Primanti's at my house but not quite sure I would want to eat it when it got here.

Oct 27, 2014, 11:12am Top

I went an looked at what you get, and apparently you get enough for 4 sandwiches and every ingredient is packaged separately, so I guess it would travel okay. But you have to REALLY want it, cause its $109 to get. Too rich for my blood.

Oct 27, 2014, 11:16am Top

Yup, I'm out, I'm afraid. Tempting, though ...

Edited: Nov 2, 2014, 7:26pm Top

72. Seal Team Six - Howard E. Wasdin - This was a freebie that I got at the Y's book table. A nice memoir of Wasdin's life in the military. From growing up with an abusive, distant step-father to his Navy Seal training at BUD/S, to his experiences during Desert Storm, to his introduction and training for the "Jedi Knights" (his term) of the Navy Seals - Seal Team Six and his ultimate painful experiences in Mogadishu and his transition back to civilian life. He rambles and jumps around a little but here and there, but that's what you'd expect from someone who is recollecting on his past.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Sure its violent, testosterone filled prose at times, and he probably tells you things that we are probably better left not to know. To paraphrase Jack Nickelson, you may not want to know what he does up on that wall, but when you need somebody on that wall, I'm glad they're there. I like reading reading the occasional memoir/auto-biography of people doing things so far outside of my comfort zone, it boggles the mind.

S: 10/6/14 F: 10/11/14 (7 Days)

Oct 28, 2014, 12:00am Top

$109 and you have to make your own sandwich! So, how do the fries work in this? You have to fry them yourself also?

Edited: Oct 28, 2014, 12:36am Top

It looks like the fries are raw and they give you instructions on how to cook them. You get a t-shirt, too. If its any conciliation. :)

Here's the link to the site that is doing the shipping.


ETA - to fix the link.

Oct 28, 2014, 6:15pm Top

Still batting almost 1.000 with ER books. I'm going to get a copy of Kelly Link's Get in Trouble.

Looking forward to it. Still have the Pryor to read as well for ER. Good think I've got a couple cross-country plane trips next month.

Oct 28, 2014, 7:37pm Top

I also snagged Get in Trouble, Jeff! We can compare notes. I've been landing a book a month from E.R. for most of the year and the majority have been good reads. Win, Win!

Oct 29, 2014, 2:14am Top

Sure it was audio and a book that I've read before, so it might be considered an easy ball to hit, but I'll take it.


#75 was Redshirts by John Scalzi, a book I love. And isn't that what counts, reading what you love.

I'm a couple reviews behind so it will be a bit until I blurb about it proper, but nevertheless; I READ 75 BOOKS IN LESS THAN A YEAR! Go me!

Carry on...

Oct 29, 2014, 9:42am Top

Congratulations on 75. I, unfortunately, am lagging far behind.

Oct 29, 2014, 3:53pm Top

Congratulations on reaching the 75 book mark!

Oct 29, 2014, 9:22pm Top


Oct 29, 2014, 9:23pm Top

Woot! 75! Look at You!!

Oct 30, 2014, 1:31pm Top

Here's one for the wishlist, new Gibson - The Peripheral

To quote Cory Doctrow, in his review in this link...

"...the Gibson of Neuromancer, eyeball-kicks of flash and noir; and the Gibson of Pattern Recognition, arch and sly and dry and keen"

I'm in.


Oct 30, 2014, 1:32pm Top

>68 catarina1: >69 ronincats: >70 drneutron: >71 michigantrumpet: - Thanx All! Still got 2 months, I might break 90. I'll summit Mount TBR eventually. :)

Oct 31, 2014, 11:35am Top

Guess what time it is folks? FOTO FRIDAY!

Here's a cell phone picture from several years ago, that I tweaked a little bit. I don't usually like the whole instagram filter paradigm, but occasionally it works.

Hope you all have a great weekend...

Oct 31, 2014, 3:28pm Top

I so look forward to your Friday photos. They never disappoint. Thanks.

Oct 31, 2014, 4:44pm Top

Thanx Catarina!

Edited: Oct 31, 2014, 10:23pm Top

Oct 31, 2014, 10:23pm Top

I've been meaning to read Red Shirts forever! I have not read Scalzi. Bad Mark.

Oct 31, 2014, 11:03pm Top

Thank you for the beers kind Mr. Mark. I had a very tasty IPA this evening before the candy trek called BooKoo from Mother Earth Brewing. Scored me some Pliny the Elders today at the beer store as well. Who needs candy when you've got good beer.

You should definitely read you some Scalzi. Check out Old Man's War as well.

Oct 31, 2014, 11:04pm Top

For those of you with young'ns or those who went out on the candy hunt yourself, this is a must watch for the rules and etiquette of candy trading. ZeFrank put it out a couple years ago, but its always worth a watch.


Edited: Nov 2, 2014, 7:35pm Top

73. Bearing an Hourglass - Piers Anthony - An audio book, from the Humble Bundle, this is the second in Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality fantasy series. Its a series that explores the supernatural "jobs" (Fate, Mother Nature, Death, etc) and how they are ordinary people who are given, win, take the job from the previous owner (think Dred Pirate Roberts). This story centers around Chronos, who is the incarnation of Time.

Chronos lives his life backwards and has, as his tools of office, a cloak that makes him invincible, an hourglass that helps him control the flow of time and his Jiminy Cricket, a snake, who turns into a ring and can only communicate in Yes/No squeezes (in ring form) of Chronos' finger. This story is a wild ride where in the end Chronos has to defeat Satan and his nefarious plances to take over the universe (basic pulpy stuff here)

Time and the story flow in different directions at times and at first it was a little bit confusing. But once, I got used to it, things started to click and I enjoyed this trippy tale of time.

S: 10/2/14 F: 10/23/14 (7 Days)

Nov 7, 2014, 12:09pm Top

Foto Friday ??? I need my fix!!

Loved your optimism of someday mounting Mt. TBR. You accomplish that, you'll be the hero of us all.

Nov 7, 2014, 1:40pm Top

Its on the way, I'm having some technical difficulties this morning. Either that or its jet-lag. I was in Jacksonville this week and just flew back into LA last night. Patience.... :)

When it comes to Mt. TBR, we are all Sisyphus. Just when we think we are there, there are more books. Hey Christmas is coming, more opportunities to make it bigger.

Nov 7, 2014, 2:05pm Top

Drum roll please.... The long awaited (if the 2 hours since Marianne posted is long ;) ) Foto Friday picture.

Since we are just into November, this is the November image off of my 2014 calendar. That realization gives me the heebie-jeebies, because it reminds me, that I've got to start seeing if I have enough good images so far this year to make my 2015 calendar. If anyone is weird enough to want to hang my pictures on their wall, let me know if you are interested and I'll include you on my list when I order the printed calendars. I'm not trying to make money, but with printing costs, it would probably be around $15

So without further adieu....

Nov 10, 2014, 6:45pm Top

This is very cool! Any hints on what it is? The side of a soda can? (You can tell, I've lived in the northeast too long. In the Midwest, I would have called it a pop can!)

Nov 10, 2014, 10:11pm Top

Nope, not a pop can. I too have lived away from the heartland for too long. I would have said pop, if my Pittsburghese was in full force. My wife says she can tell when I've been talking to my Mom.

I'm going to be in the Burgh without her for a week coming up. She's hardly going to be able to understand me when I get back. :)

Nov 11, 2014, 11:12am Top

I posted this on RD's thread, so anyone that reads me, will have already seen it, but on the off-chance. Here's the 11 books that have proved impossible to film. Interesting list.


Nov 11, 2014, 9:36pm Top

>84 mahsdad: >85 michigantrumpet: Okay its been long enough.

Its a glass table that was sitting on my balcony after a rainstorm (okay probably THE rainstorm last winter, cause I think it only rained once). The bubbles and formations were very cool.

Nov 14, 2014, 12:11am Top

Starting to read my ER book Furious Cool, about the life and times of Richard Pryor.

He grew up in Peoria, Ill, supposedly in brothels run by his Grandmother. On page 7 I learned the the Duke Ellington song Satin Doll, is based on a prostitute named Satin Doll. I think this is going to be a very interesting book.

Nov 14, 2014, 2:06pm Top

Amazing, where did the time go? Its Foto Friday time again.

This is one I did when we had a Photo Club at work. We had picked a single object that we had to use to come up with some interesting images. I'll let you guess what the object was. I played around with the settings to give it this funky cartoony look. Enjoy...

Nov 14, 2014, 2:11pm Top

Hi Jeff! I like that impossible to film book list. I think just about everything can be adapted, you just need the right film-maker, with the right vision. I would love to see Blood Meridian get off the ground.

Thanks for the info, on Gibson. Hopefully, I can bookhorn him in soon.

Nov 16, 2014, 8:13pm Top

74. A Wild Sheep Chase - Haruki Murakami - This is another freebie from the YMCA (I've found more good books donated by the lovely members of the Y). I had heard about Murakami (1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage to name a few) but had never read anything by him, until I picked this up. I am glad I did. But, boy is this an odd book (and that's a good thing).

The book opens with the protagonist reads the obituary of a girl he used to date who died virtually exactly when she said she would. But then after the first chapter, we leave her and learn that the protagonist (never named) is an advertising and is put on a quest for a sheep with a star on its back. The sheep appeared on a brochure that he had made, and the mysterious underworld villain type has given him an ultimatum to find this sheep. From there, our hero and his new girlfriend (who bizarrely has ears that obsesses him) embark on this quest. Along the way they discover that this is a special sheep that can possess a person and give them immortality. He finds his friend who gave him the picture that started the quest, but appears to have gone off the deep end, he thinks he is a sheep and dresses up in a very poor looking sheep outfit. See I told you it was weird. But I loved it.

A couple quotes to entice you...

"I lit up a second cigarette and ordered another whiskey. The second whiskey is always my favorite. From the third on, it no longer has any taste. It's just something to pur into your stomach."

"Speaking frankly and speaking the truth are two different things entirely. Honesty is to truth as prow is to stern. Honesty appears first and the truth appears last. The interval between varies in direct proportion to the size of the ship. With anything of size, truth takes a long time in coming."

"Darkness crept in through my ear like oil. Someone was trying to break up the frozen globe of the earth with a massive hammer. The hammer struck the earth precisely eight times. But the earth failed to breakup. It only cracked a little. Eight o'clock, eight at night."

S: 10/12/14 F: 10/23/14 (12 Days)

Nov 17, 2014, 9:37pm Top

Good review of A Wild Sheep Chase, Jeff! Now, that is one I NEED to get to!

Nov 18, 2014, 5:15pm Top

Thanx Mark. I have to give the wife right of first refusal, but if she doesn't want to read it, PM me your address and I'll send it to you.

Nov 20, 2014, 10:10pm Top

Hi Jeff! I'll take you up on that offer, thanks. What did you think of Dr. Mutter's Marvels? I just snagged an audio copy.

Nov 21, 2014, 12:00am Top

I'll let you know Mark. I'm away from home for the next week. In Jacksonville right now, heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow for a week. If she doesn't want it, I'll send it out to you.

As far as the Mutter goes, I enjoyed it. It was a fascinating story of the early days of medicine. I so need to get to the Mutter Museum some day.

Nov 21, 2014, 7:03am Top

Thanks, Jeff! Happy & safe travels.

Nov 21, 2014, 1:01pm Top

Off the airport to head from Jacksonville up to Pittsburgh. Just time for a quick Foto Friday.

Took this last night with my phone and it was very necessary at our outdoor dinner event. Have a good weekend!

Nov 21, 2014, 2:27pm Top

Ah, a patio heater! Nice shot.

Edited: Nov 24, 2014, 6:15pm Top

75. Redshirts - John Scalzi (AUDIO) - A fun book that turns the Star Trek world on its ear. Ensign Dahl is newly assigned to the flag space ship of the Univeral Union (only slightly masked reference to Star Trek). He quickly learns that there is something weird about this ship. His fellow low ranking crew members seem to find other places to be when the Senior staff comes around needing people to go on away missions. If you do get on a mission, as a lowly "red shirt", you will have a high statistical likelihood that you will die in a strange and horrifying manner. Dahl and his friends are determined to figure out what is going on and is there anything they can do to keep themselves alive.

This is the second time I've read this book and I've enjoyed it this time. This audio version was read by Wil Wheaton, who lent a bit of ironic gravitas, given his tenure on Star Trek. The book plays on all the best tropes that you'd expect from cheesy science fiction and it works well for me.

S: 10/23/14 F: 10/28/14 (6 Days)

Nov 23, 2014, 10:11pm Top


Nov 23, 2014, 10:16pm Top

Yah, for hitting 75, Jeff! Very nice.

Nov 24, 2014, 12:01am Top

Thank you kind sir!

Its funny how we all focus on the bottom of our threads and not the top. I always update my list at the top of my thread when I finish a book, but I'm starting to get behind on my reviews. I'm still three in the hole. I'm actually reading book #79 right now. About 10 more books this year over last year and I still have a month to go.

Reading Rosewater right now, the story about the Iranian reporter who was in captivity and tortured for about half a year because of his interview with the Daily Show. Jon Stewart directed a movie about it.

Edited: Nov 24, 2014, 6:38pm Top

76. The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven - A must read classic for any science fiction fan. Originally published in 1974, its the story of first contact where we humans, who have already expanded to many planets in our little neck of the woods, travel across the universe to find an intelligent species that is generally bipedal, but their evolution has taken a different turn, where there are several subspecies of "Moties" that are uniquely designed to fit into highly specialized niches within their society (contrasted with our Jack-of-all-Trades type of evolution).

Political pressures, cultural differences, fear of the different drives the plot. The materializes both between the humans and Moties, as well as the different factions on the interstellar expedition (US vs Russians). It shows how much of a novel of its time it is; think Cold War.

A dated take on gender roles can take you out of the story a bit, but not any more than any other book written 40 years ago. I always like hard scifi and this story had some interesting takes on the problems of space travel. From our inpenetrable shields and warp-like travel, to the Moties amazing ability to adapt and improve technology with little effort.

Nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula in 1975. (Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed won both that year).

S: 7/13/14 F: 11/7/14 (118 Days)

Nov 24, 2014, 7:15pm Top

I hope to get to Redshirts, Jeff. I have still not read Scalzi. I'll be watching your thoughts on Rosewater. I really want to see the film.

I know you didn't care for Ancillary Justice, but I like it, in the early going. I just joined a suburban Sci-Fi club, with LT Kerri and this is our first book. We meet on the 5th.

Nov 24, 2014, 9:12pm Top

Rosewater, I too really want to see it, but of course I want to read the book first. Even though I left the house with 2 books and an ebook in progress Bird Box, I couldn't resist buying Rosewater in the airport. Its a sickness right? But one, I'm glad I have.

As far as Justice is concerned, RD and I are probably the outliers and not every book is for every person. I'm glad you are enjoying it.

Nov 24, 2014, 9:56pm Top

I thought the codas added much needed gravitas to Redshirts and enjoyed it. Also loved The Mote in God's Eye 40 years ago and have been a little afraid to reread it although it still abides in my home library. Did you know there is a sequel?

Nov 24, 2014, 11:41pm Top

The Gripping Hand, yeah, I've seen it, but never pulled the trigger.

I do think that my memory of reading it the first time was better than reading it again, but it was worth the reread.

Still need to "review", A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and Lock In. Loved the both.

Nov 27, 2014, 2:22pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Jeff! Have a great time with the family. I am so glad you loved A Constellation. It is a very special book.

Nov 28, 2014, 1:51am Top

Jeff at a time when Americans give their thanks for blessings bestowed upon them I want to offer my own in saying a thank you to you for becoming a warm and integral part of the group this year. It has been a pleasure getting to know you better.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, buddy.

Nov 28, 2014, 9:47am Top

>109 msf59: I have to wait until I get home to review Constellation, so I can add my compelling quotes. But it was a profound book. If I didn't know a bit (and I only knew a little bit) about the history, I would have thought it was a dystopian scifi book. That much devastation should not exist in the late 20th century. Tho I am naive to think that it doesn't.

Nov 28, 2014, 5:53pm Top

A little late with Foto Friday. I blame it on the Time Zone difference (I'm currently in Pittsburgh). So to make it up to you, I'll share a couple from my nice chilly Turkey Trot yesterday morning...

There were about 3800 people braving the cold to run a 5K. I went with my brother-n-law, a couple cousins and their kids. Lots of fun.

Nov 28, 2014, 8:39pm Top

Love your thread! Great pictures, and it's filled with books that make me think, oh yeah I read that when I was a teen, and other books that have to go on the WL. I love Murakami but haven't had the time to read much of him. Redshirts has been on the WL for a while too.

Nov 29, 2014, 10:35am Top

Thanks for the photos of Pittsburgh. I remember the Turkey Trot well. I hope you are enjoying for family visit.

Dec 2, 2014, 2:21pm Top

I generally don't like flying anymore, its just getting to be a logistical hassle, but you got to do what you got to do.

What I do like is when the terminal has a decent sized bookstore (like Hudson's) and I get the shakes about buying a half-dozen or so. But then I realize where the heck am I going to put them and I dream on.

The GoodReads app has a very nice scan feature, however, that really helps expanding the WL when you are browsing the store. :)

Dec 3, 2014, 5:52pm Top

NPR just put out a site that lets you browse what they consider as the best books of 2014. Lots of bullets (some that have already hit me) in here...


Dec 3, 2014, 7:22pm Top

Hi Jeff! Happy Hump Day, my friend. Thanks for supplying the NPR list. When I have a chance, I'll go back and peruse it.

Dec 3, 2014, 8:11pm Top

Just as I was starting to thin out the wishlist, along comes the end of the year Best Books of 2014 lists. Aurgh! I've been hit!

Hoe you enjoyed your time in Pittsburgh!

Dec 3, 2014, 11:33pm Top

It was bittersweet, Marianne. My Father, who was doing pretty well until 2 weeks ago, pretty much has end stage kidney/lung cancer. He went into the hospital on Saturday, and will in all likelihood, not come home. My Mom had him moved to a palliative care/hospice facility today. The only thing they can do at this point is make him comfortable. At least I was able to have some time with him. Cancer sux.

The other side of the trip was good. Family Thanksgiving was great. 30th HS Reunion was great but weird, in that way of seeing people for the first time again in 30 years is weird. Glad I went.

Sorry for the maudlin post, not fishing for sympathy, just expressing the situation. If you'd like to keep my family in your thoughts, I'd appreciate it.

Dec 4, 2014, 7:13am Top

I know you're not fishing, but I'm biting, anyway - I'm so sorry about your dad and I'll be keeping him and you and yours in my thoughts.

Dec 4, 2014, 7:17am Top

I am very sorry to hear about your father, Jeff! It must be very difficult for you. You are in our prayers, my friend.

Dec 4, 2014, 12:48pm Top

So sorry about your father. You're in my prayers too.

Dec 5, 2014, 12:30pm Top

Just to let everyone know, my Dad lost his battle with cancer this morning. Thanx for your thoughts and prayers. It is most appreciated.

Dec 5, 2014, 6:33pm Top

77. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena - Anthony Marra - A fascinating and gripping story that you'd think was a dystopian near future story, if you know about the wars in Chechnya at the end of the Soviet Union. The desolation and loss is palpable in this story that jumps from the end of 2004 back as far as 1994 to tell the story of three people who are linked intricately togehter, but they don't know it.

Eight year old Havaa watches her Father be abducted by Chechen rebels and goes to her neighbor and family friend Akhmed. He is a failed physician who takes her to another town, to a mostly abandoned hospital being run by Sonya, a surgeon and a couple nurses. The story jumps back periodically to give us glimpses of their past to see how they all came to be in this devastated place at the same time.

An excellent, but perhaps difficult (in terms of subject) read. Highly recommend.

Some choice quotes...

"The sharp pitch of brakes, followed by the bullhorn-amplified instructions of a Russian border guard, brought her back to sudden consciousness. The soldiers were all fear and peach fuzz."

"Who's that? The American president, Sonja said... I thought Ronald McDonald was president. You can't be serious... Wasn't it Ronald McDonald who told Gorbachev to tear down the wall?"

"First, Ramzan feigned indifference, then shouted, then pleaded for his father's conversation. How could Ramzan have known he would miss his father's monosyllabic disapproval? How could he have known that he lived in reaction to his father's expectations, needed them to know precisely the person he had failed to become?"

S: 10/23/14 F: 11/16/14 (25 Days)

Dec 5, 2014, 7:02pm Top

I'm so sorry to hear about your father. But it was good that you got to see him and spend some time with him. That would have been so valuable for him and for you.

Dec 7, 2014, 8:26am Top

Thinking of you and yours Jeff...

Dec 8, 2014, 1:43pm Top

So sorry to hear about your dad, Jeff. I lost mine to liver cancer during the holiday season 24 years ago, and it's very hard.

Dec 12, 2014, 1:31pm Top

Well its a somber Foto Friday. Its been a week since my Father's passing. So to honor him and to make up for not posting something last week, I'll share with you a recent picture of my folks. its probably the best picture of him in recent years.

Dec 12, 2014, 1:34pm Top

I'll also give you a double dose of FF, by sharing the last image from my 2014 Calendar. It was taking in Palm Springs in February of last year. Enjoy...

Dec 13, 2014, 8:55am Top

I love the photo of your parents, Jeff. They look like a couple who have enjoyed a happy, lovely life together.

Dec 13, 2014, 6:30pm Top

78. Lock In - John Scalzi (AUDIO) - Essentially a sci-fi police procedural, this was another enjoyable read from Scalzi. The backstory (which he covered in a short ebook called Unlocked) is that a flu-like virus decimates the population of the world. A small part of those who survive the initial stage, go into a coma and are "locked in", which means they are conscious but have no voluntary control of any of their muscles. Years after a global NASA-like effort to develop robot-like vehicles that allow the locked in, to transfer their consciousness from their impaired body to a C3PO like body that allows them to live "normal lives, we find a rookie FBI agent (who is one of the affected) racing to solve an essentially locked room murder mystery (pun intended) before the ramifications of the murder could affect the well being of millions of locked in citizens.

The drama kept me interested and pulled me a long. Scalzi took the locked in aspect to explore (I think) cyborgs and sentient robots from a more human aspect. One neat idea that would solve a lot of transportation issues in this country, is that anyone using a Threep (the robot vehicle, called this for obvious reasons) can instantly travel to anywhere, as long as they can access an empty vehicle, and transfer themselves into it. No waiting to board an airplane again. Plus, if you get injured, you just go to the local Threep rental facility and pickup a new one. Fun read.

S: 11/11/14 F: 11/18/14 (18 Days)

Dec 13, 2014, 6:39pm Top

I am very sorry about your Dad, Jeff! I thought I saw something on FB. I am glad you posted something over here. Deepest condolences.

Glad you loved A Constellation. I also thought it was a great book!

Dec 13, 2014, 6:40pm Top

^Cheers, my friend. Have a good weekend.

Dec 14, 2014, 3:37pm Top

Thanx >132 msf59: >130 scaifea: >127 ronincats: >125 catarina1: >122 drneutron: for all your kind words. They mean a lot!

Dec 15, 2014, 12:44pm Top

Stumbled upon this today. It proves again what we all here already know. Books are transcendent and will bring people together across all walks of life.

Its a little piece from CBS Sunday Morning from sometime this year about a star football player from Georgia and the book club that he joined. Great Stuff.


Dec 15, 2014, 1:53pm Top

Upon adding Geek Love to my WL, I realized that my WL on GR was out of date with LT. So I just added a bunch to both.

I realize that the LT staff is small and does an incredible job keeping this ship afloat, and I really appreciate it. But if they came out with a mobile app that is half as good as GR, I would drop GR entirely.

I only use the GR app, because it is much easier to add/search thru my WL there, when I'm out an about. To cumbersome to add thru Safari on my phone.

Oh well, a guy can dream right?

Dec 17, 2014, 2:04pm Top

Fascinating video on where the most radioactive places on earth are. The final answer may surprise you...


Also, in the outtro ad for Audible, the presenter recommends Day of the Triffids, I had known about the movie, but never knew it was a book. As most great stories are, right? Added to the WL

Dec 19, 2014, 1:36pm Top

This is the penultimate Foto Friday for the year. Wow, where did the time go.

This is one I took during my visit to Hartwood Acres in Pittsburgh during Thanksgiving.

Dec 20, 2014, 2:26am Top

Finished Year of Wonders. Will probably only finish one more book this year. But no matter how many more I read this year, I crushed my totals.

Really enjoyed Wonders. It was a tragic and profound read.

Dec 21, 2014, 10:09pm Top

Even though I am knee deep in Steeler lore reading Their LIfe's Work (its like reading a superhero origin story), I couldn't resist getting a couple books when my better half and the boy wanted to go to the library.

Got The Flame Alphabet in dead tree edition and California on audio.

Dec 22, 2014, 11:24pm Top

I also just wanted to belatedly add my condolences on the lost of your Dad, Jeff.

Glad to see you've been doing some great readings as well.

I actually a bit nervous to start up Bird Box again since the the only time I'm listening to it is in my dark basement when I'm on my treadmill....all alone...ha!

Dec 23, 2014, 2:03am Top

79. Furious Cool - David Henry and Joe Henry - I received this book through the Early Reviewer program here on LT. I suppose it wasn't all that early, as it was published in 2013. It is a biography of Richard Pryor. It also is a history of the political, social, and comedic environment that existed at the time Pryor was growing up, and the environment that was greatly affected by what he accomplished.

This is by no means, a pretty story. Richard lived a hard life, from growing up in his Grandmother's brothel, to a gargantuan drug habit that would have killed a normal man several times over, to the illness that ultimately took him off the road and took his life. An excellent read.

S: 11/6/14 F: 11/21/14 (16 Days)

Dec 23, 2014, 2:07am Top

>141 jolerie: Thank you very much for your thoughts about my Dad, Valerie. They are most appreciated.

As far as Bird Box goes, at least you are safe in the dark basement. :)

Dec 23, 2014, 7:18am Top

Hi Jeff! You got your book mojo working over here, my friend. I LOVED Year of Wonders. It is my favorite Brooks. The Pryor book sounds good. It's on my WL. I liked California but did not love it. Maybe, it will work better for you.
I hope you continue to enjoy Bird Box.

Dec 23, 2014, 10:52am Top

For any Gaiman/Pratchett fans, you can listen to the BBC Radio's production of Good Omens for the next month.


I listened to their production of Neverwhere and it was pretty good, I have high hopes for this one.

Dec 23, 2014, 10:53pm Top

Good Omens is a favorite of mine and so I am looking forward to listening, Jeff.

It's Chrismas Eve's eve, and so I am starting the rounds of wishing my 75er friends the merriest of Christmases or whatever the solstice celebration of their choice is.

Edited: Dec 23, 2014, 11:30pm Top

Happy Festivus!

When I first read your greetings, I read it as "Its Christmas Eve" and as we have lots of friends across the date line around here, that is very true right now. But then I saw it was you and I know what time zone you are in and I did a double take, and then I read it again with my eyes and all was clear. ;)

I hope Santa brings you everything you want. And by want, I mean the keys to a Barnes and Noble with the Manager's promise that the security cameras are turned off.

Dec 24, 2014, 2:42am Top

I was inspired by Mark (msf59) for the suggestion, and to Megan (ireadthereforeiam) for hosting the list, to list my top 5 books. So in no particular order... (and yes I know there are 6)

Dec 24, 2014, 11:09am Top

Happy Festivus, Jeff! Lovely Top 6 list, full of books I want to get round to soon...

Edited: Dec 26, 2014, 7:22pm Top

From our family to yours!

Dec 24, 2014, 8:21pm Top

An early Foto Friday. And why not, its Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Dec 24, 2014, 11:06pm Top

Happy Holidays!

Dec 26, 2014, 11:34am Top

Happy Boxing Day!

Score for me on the unboxing of LT gifts...

From SantaThing and LT'r renbedell, I got:

Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel

From the 75 swap and Heidi (cobscook), I got:

Cell - Stephen King
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson
The Dog Stars - Peter Heller
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

Not a dud in the bunch, IMHO. Can't wait to start.

Edited: Dec 26, 2014, 6:49pm Top

80. Rosewater - Maziar Bahari - This was a very profound read. It is the story of Maziar Bahari, a reporter and filmmaker from Iran who leaves his pregnant fiance to return to Iran to cover the 2009 elections. After the elections, amid reports of corruption and election fraud, Bahari is arrested, accused of being a spy for the West. Their evidence? A segment on the Daily Show, where he was interviewed by Jason Jones, PRETENDING to be a foreign spy.

He ultimately spends 118 days under the "special" care of his torturer, whom Bahari calls Rosewater. While he is in custody, the story jumps back to describe the history and political climate in Iran. This includes the fact that Bahari has political dissent in his blood. His father was imprisioned by the Shah during the 50's and his sister was jailed by the Ayatollah in the 70's.

"After I packed my things and began the walk to the cable car, a sad, old voice, as think as the smog covering the city, began to croon in my ears. It was Leonard Cohen, singing "Everybody Knows":

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed.

Cohen's words have an unrivaled ability to put a tunnel at the end of the light. While listening to Cohen, I remembered Amir's words. The possibility of Khamenei making a wise decision was quite remote. After all, despots are hardly known for their inclination towards fairness.

An important read.

S: 11/21/14 F: 12/12/14 (22 Days)

Dec 26, 2014, 8:16pm Top

Just got my copy of Montana 1948 from PaperbackSwap. Add it to the pile. I've got quite a lineup of books for the beginning of next year. Yippee

Dec 27, 2014, 12:08am Top

Jeff, thanks for your contribution to the group this year. It has been great getting to know you better in 2014.

Dec 27, 2014, 2:34pm Top

81. Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks - This is my last review/recap of 2015. Its the second book of hers that I've read this year (the first being March). It is the story of Anna, a housemaid and single Mother and how she and her village copes with the Black Death in the year 1666, as it takes over the town. As a whole, the village makes a selfless decision, to quarantine themselves to halt the spread of a disease, of which they have no idea how it spreads. Tragedy abounds, but some will rise above it, Anna included as she has to pick up the slack to become the village's healer.

I won't say this was an enjoyable read, as it was a bit gruesome. If it were possible to travel back in time, I would not want to go back to the mid-17th century, that's for sure. I would highly recommend this book, an interesting story, told well.

An fun piece of prose is Brooks' description of what happens to Anna when takes a phial of poppy, she got from the former healer's hut...

"Time turned into a rope that unraveled as a languid spiral. One strand widened into a broad, swooping curve on which I could glide, drifting easily like a breeze-borne leaf. The zephyr that carried me was mild and warm, even as I soared in its currents high over the White Peak, breaking through the gray clouds and into a place where the sun so dazzled that I had to close my eyes."

But then the morning after...

" I'd lain all night just as I'd landed when I fell from the stool, and my bones, aching from the cold were so stiff I could barely ease myself upright. My mouth was dry as ashes and tasted as if I'd sucked on a gall."

Say no to drugs. But say yes to this book.

S: 12/7/14 F: 12/19/14 (13 Days)

Dec 28, 2014, 3:07pm Top

Hi Jeff! I am glad you liked the selection of books I sent you. I look forward to reading your thoughts on each of them.

>155 mahsdad: I loved Montana 1948 when I read it earlier this month!

Dec 31, 2014, 5:38pm Top

I've been remiss, Jeff, in checking in on the threads recently. I did want to say how sorry I am about your father. It must have been a Blue Christmas/Holiday/Solstice for year this year.

Thanks so much for your acquaintance this year. It has been a pleasure meeting you. Our tastes are quite simpatico and I've enjoyed reading your wonderfully insightful and articulate reviews. Hoping your days are looking up.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Edited: Dec 31, 2014, 7:25pm Top

Good reviews of the Brooks & Bahari! And I hope you can bookhorn in Montana 1948 soon.

Dec 31, 2014, 10:39pm Top

I'm making my final swing through the 2014 threads. See you on the other side, Jeff!

Jan 1, 2015, 6:16pm Top

>159 michigantrumpet: Marianne - thanks for your kind words. Looking forward to a better 2015. See over on the new threads.

>160 msf59: Thanx! I have a library book to finish, but maybe I'll do Montana 1948 before my Santa books. Its just a slip of a book.

>161 ronincats: Thanx for stopping by one last time Roni. I had already taken this thread off my starred list, but I did check one last time to see if anyone had dropped by. And you all had. I'm so glad.

See you all over on 2015

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2014

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