This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

drneutron's (Jim's) Reading to Avoid Work - Chapter 2

75 Books Challenge for 2018

Join LibraryThing to post.

Jan 6, 8:52pm Top

Here's the Parker Solar Probe heat shield in the thermal-vacuum chamber getting ready for final testing.

Edited: Jan 6, 8:54pm Top

Jan 6, 8:59pm Top

2. Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Late last year, Mark shared a couple of books with me: Darktown and the sequel, Lightning Men, mystery/police procedurals set in circa 1950 Atlanta. Those who saw my comments on the first know I really, really liked it - the realistic mix of characters true to their time, the horrible situation for the first African American patrolmen on the Atlanta PD, the gritty realism of the city a la Dennis Lehane. This one is just as good, and I dearly loved seeing these characters again. You must read these.

Jan 6, 9:01pm Top

>1 drneutron: Hi Jim, I love this picture! I also have Artemis lined up to read soon, I loved The Martian! Happy New Thread and a very Happy New Year!

Jan 6, 9:08pm Top

Happy new one, Jim! Very cool topper! Sounds like I need to add both Darktown and Lightning Men to The List.

Jan 6, 9:09pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim! I really want to read Darktown. Haven't heard a bad thing about it...

Jan 6, 9:27pm Top

>5 Dianekeenoy: I hope you enjoy Artemis! I’ll look for your comments.

>6 Crazymamie: Does this mean i’ve made The List? 😀

>7 katiekrug: you should, you should!

Jan 6, 9:27pm Top

>8 drneutron: Yeppers.

Jan 6, 9:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Jim. Is the shield the spidery-looking thing inside? Looks a bit like the Arc Net.

Jan 6, 9:56pm Top

The spidery thing is the strut assembly that attaches the heat shield to the spacecraft. The heat shield is the flat plate on top of it. 4.5 inches thick, 10 feet across, made of pure carbon!

Jan 6, 10:00pm Top

Oh, I see it now. Wow, hefty!

Jan 6, 10:02pm Top

Ooooh, very neat photo!

Jan 6, 10:08pm Top

Happy new thread! Are you one of those 2 inside there in >1 drneutron:?

Jan 6, 10:29pm Top

>12 humouress:, >13 ronincats: 😀

>14 jessibud2: Not in that shot, but I’ve been in there a bunch of time.

Jan 7, 12:30am Top

Happy new thread, Jim.

First time you've beaten me to a new one, I reckon!

Have a great Sunday, dear fellow.

Jan 7, 12:42am Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 7, 4:40am Top

Happy Sunday and happy new thread, Jim.

Jan 7, 5:24am Top

Great topper. Another fan of the Darktown books here. Hope he writes a third one.

Jan 7, 8:21am Top

>16 PaulCranswick: Only beat you because you’ve been traveling, I suspect. 😀

>17 rretzler:, >18 Ameise1: Thanks!

>19 charl08: Thanks! I thought it was a pretty good pic.

I’m keeping an eye out for a third too.

Jan 7, 8:22am Top

Happy new thread. Great topper!

Jan 7, 9:16am Top

Thanks! Welcome to the new hangout!

Jan 7, 9:57am Top

Happy new thread, Jim!!

Jan 7, 10:38am Top

Happy new thread, Jim. The Mullen books sound interesting. I love the topper, how fascinating.

Jan 7, 10:49am Top

Happy New Thread, Jim.

Oh, I love that science not-fiction up top. How cool!

Jan 7, 10:50am Top

Happy New Thread, Jim! LOVE the Parker Solar Probe topper! Perfect!

Jan 7, 11:51am Top

Happy New Thread Jim.
Cool photo up top.

Jan 7, 11:56am Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Jan 7, 2:36pm Top

>23 scaifea: Thanks!

>24 BLBera: They were. I hope you get a chance to take a look!

>25 jnwelch: Thanks! "science not-fiction". I like that!

>26 msf59:, >27 SuziQoregon:, >28 harrygbutler: Thanks!

Jan 7, 2:45pm Top

Good morning, Jim, if it is still morning, where you are.

>1 drneutron: Very cool topper. Thanks for the further explanation in >11 drneutron:.

>Very much looking forward to Lightning Men. I'm glad you think it is as good as its predecessor. I heard Mark's warbling last year as well and thought Darktownwas a well written and compelling piece of historical fiction. I'll add my voice to any chorus singing its praises.

Jan 7, 2:49pm Top

Good afternoon! Thanks for the comment about the topper. There's actually a much cooler picture out there with great lighting and a closer look at the heat shield, but it hasn't been approved for public release yet. When it does, I'll probably post that too.

I've got Mark's copy of Lightning Men - if you'd like it, PM me your address and I'll send it to you.

Jan 7, 2:51pm Top

Right on! Thanks, Jim!

Jan 7, 3:49pm Top

Happy new thread and happy Sunday, Jim. I hope you have time for lots of good reading today.

Jan 7, 3:52pm Top

>33 Familyhistorian: Thanks! It's been a pretty quiet day so far. Got mrsdrneutron's new streaming tv set up in her quilting room so she can Netflix or Hulu while she's fabricating. I may never see her again... 😂

Jan 7, 4:01pm Top

Happy new thread! I don't think I ever told you, but my 11 year old waits with interest for each new space gizmo photo. He wants to invent things and I figure space is a good direction to point him.

Edited: Jan 7, 4:04pm Top

Cool! I'm glad he likes the pics. If he wants to see more, we have videos of the integration and test process and more at http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu

Jan 7, 4:08pm Top

Happy New Thread! I love what you've done with the place.

Jan 7, 4:13pm Top


Jan 7, 4:17pm Top

He wanted to see more. Thank you!! He liked the time lapse one a lot. I have bookmarked the link so we can check again later.

Jan 7, 4:32pm Top

Happy new thread Jim.

Jan 7, 6:00pm Top

>34 drneutron: Ooooh, I'm SO telling Tomm about this idea! I never even knew I needed a streaming tv in my sewing room until now!

Jan 7, 6:04pm Top

>39 nittnut: Great! We update it on a regular basis, so keep watching.

>40 johnsimpson: Thanks!

>41 scaifea: 😂 It's not like I'm afraid to stir up things...

Jan 7, 7:43pm Top

So Peter Jackson's King Kong is on Netflix this month. I'd forgotten just how much I love this thing!

Jan 7, 8:33pm Top

Happy new thread -- cool photo!!

Jan 7, 9:37pm Top

Thanks! I like it.

Jan 8, 1:14am Top

Happy new thread, Jim!

Jan 8, 3:22am Top

Coolest topper! Glad you explained it in >11 drneutron:. ; )

Jan 8, 7:53am Top

>42 drneutron: What, you? Stir the pot?! NEVER!

>43 drneutron: Oh! I forgot about Jackson's King Kong! I really liked it, too.

Jan 8, 8:51am Top

>48 scaifea: Yeah, right. Champion pot-stirrer, this guy.

Jan 8, 8:59am Top

>46 swynn: Thanks!

>47 Berly: THere's a whole lot more discussion on the website...

>48 scaifea:, >49 jnwelch: 😁

Jan 8, 11:04am Top

Happy second thread(!!) of the year, Jim. I'm super excited that you're joining in the Philly meet-up in March!

Jan 8, 11:10am Top

Good morning, Jim! Have a great day.

Edited: Jan 8, 1:33pm Top

>51 EBT1002: Wouldn't miss it for the world! mrsdrneutron will also probably come along. We renewed our membership to Longwood Gardens, gardens really doesn't begin to cover what they've done to an old du Pont family estate. So we'll go Saturday and spend the night there outside Philly, then do the meet up on Sunday!

Jan 8, 1:33pm Top

>52 brodiew2: Thanks! I hope yours is good too!

Jan 8, 1:34pm Top

Ooooh, the Doctor and Mrs. are going to be at the Philly meet-up?!? Looking forward to it even more! My other half will also be there...

Jan 8, 1:37pm Top

Cool! I get to meet The Wayne!

Hmmm. I better get Solar Probe trinkets for everybody...

Jan 8, 1:39pm Top


Jan 8, 2:38pm Top

>1 drneutron: Very cool pic.
Happy new thread! At this rate you'll be on number 12 by March.

Jan 8, 2:44pm Top

Thanks! Last year was a person best for number of threads - I'm hoping this year's even better!

Jan 8, 4:38pm Top

Hi Jim and happy new thread.

Jan 8, 7:18pm Top


Jan 8, 7:48pm Top

Happy new thread. Just to let you know there is a vote happening over on my thread.

Jan 8, 7:55pm Top

So - anybody have experience with Home-delivered meal kits? Mrsdrneutron and I tried Plated this week. We ordered Hoisin Pork Tacos, Persian Chicken and Rice, and Faro and Arugula Salad. All three were great and easy to prepare. Some thoughts:

- It’s nice not to have to figure out what to cook after a long day of work, and it’s nice to have something relatively easy and quick to prepare. Certainly healthier than take-out with more variety. Cost was the same or less than take-out.

- Portion sizes were good, and represent more closely how much I should eat instead of the portions I *do* eat. Plus, less meat and more veggies is good - we’re trying to pick a vegetarian option each week.

- I like to cook and some of the recipes take a little skill, so those are good for me. Mrsdrneutron doesn’t like to cook and likes the quick and easy stuff. Nice balance between the two. I’ll still probably cook on my own some, but this scratches the itch.

- Recipes lean to Mediterranean and Asian. Not a problem, since we like that, but cooking on my own will probably lean to chili and stew and Cajun, heavier stuff that can take more time.

- I was surprised by the amount of packaging involved. Everything’s individually packaged in pre-measured sizes. All recyclable, though, so that helps. Plus when I think about it, there’s probably just as much packaging when you count shipping to grocery stores or restaurants anyway. Just trying not to jump up the ol’ environmental footprint.

Jan 8, 11:58pm Top

>63 drneutron: We tried Blue Apron last year and another one years ago before they were the fad, and which I think has gone out of business. I liked Blue Apron from the standpoint that I didn't have to go to the grocery store, and everything was pre-measured. What I didn't like was that the meal selection didn't really work for our family - I have two picky eaters, and they don't really like the same type of foods. One is meat and potatoes, and the other is international and spicy. There was nothing I could find that would meet the requirements of both. Also, I thought the price was way too high for what we got. Honestly, we could have gotten a restaurant meal for the same price, and I wouldn't have had to cook it. Now I do like to cook (as long as someone will eat it), but to have to pay the same as a restaurant meal AND put in the work, didn't really appeal to me. I think once the boys are gone, we might try again, but honestly now since I can do grocery shopping online and either have it delivered or pick it up, I'm not necessarily motivated to pay the money for a meal-kit. Having access to new recipes would be a big benefit, though! So, bottom line, mixed feelings for us.

Jan 9, 7:05am Top

Happy New Year!
I wish you:
A Happy new Thread
Be Happy with a lot of good books

I am
Clearly Happy to be part of this group
Deeply impressed by your work for the group
Thank you for all what you're doing!

Jan 9, 7:28am Top

Happy new thread Jim. Those solar probe headers are fascinating, a snapshot of how things are advancing.

Re the meal thing, I wouldn't buy a meal kit like you have, I think they are too expensive, but I did have a vegetable package for a couple of years. It was nice to have a choice of vegetables each week that often were quite new to me, with recipes added, so that I had to cook. It got me out of a rut of always making the same things.

Jan 9, 9:13am Top

>64 rretzler: Yeah, I think you hit the nail on what I'm thinking about it. It's more expensive than the normal process of shopping/preparing/cooking, but we're not doing that so much anyway given that we both work at lot plus have extended family to care for. Fortunately, we don't have the incompatible eater problem - mrsdrneutron and I have pretty similar tastes. I don't know about other services, but this one's $10 a serving, which can be beaten by low end take-out. But, yeah, then you have to prepare it too. So we're ambivalent, but giving it a go. I'd bet we'll do this for a couple of months, then go back to what we were doing. 😁 And I saw a news report on the Wall Street Journal site that said that's the trend with these companies - people try it out, then move on, so retaining customer base is a serious challenge for the long term.

>65 SirThomas: Thanks! It's a pleasure for me to do this!

>66 EllaTim: Things are getting more intense now, but I'm getting cooler pictures! 😁 We've discussed doing the CSA thing to get fresh produce. That takes care of some of the shopping time (plus we're using the online order process at our local grocery store more often now), but doesn't really help with the time it takes at the end of a busy day for cooking. I do like the freshness and the local farm support with that option, though. Bottom line is we need to retire. 😁

Jan 9, 9:37am Top

I've not tried any of the meal-kit services but they intrigue me, Jim, so I'm glad to hear your and Robin's thoughts on your experiences. I read a story in the Washington Post a while ago about Tovala, where you buy a special steam oven to then cook the company's packaged foods or your own. That one doesn't require any actual prep or cooking; it's more like traditional freezer meals in that way, but supposedly much better quality. I'd like to hear how it actually works from a real person, though!

Jan 9, 10:34am Top

>68 rosalita: Huh, never heard of that, but I can't see me making that serious a commitment that I'd buy a new kitchen gadget.

Jan 9, 10:40am Top

I am less and less enjoying eating a "real" meal at the end of the day. We've been experimenting with eating bigger lunches and more of our calorie intake before 4:00pm and then having something small for dinner - just a salad or (my favorite) pb&j on a slice of toast - that sort of thing. I seem to sleep better doing this but my favorite benefit is not having to deal with cooking and/or cleaning up a lot at the end of the day :)

Jan 9, 10:51am Top

3. The trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in our Time by Brooke Gladstone

Best way to let you know what this little work by the co-host of NPR's On The Media is to give you the blurb from the back:

Reality. It used to seem so simple -- reality just was, like the weather. Why question it, let alone disagree about it? And then came the assault, and unending stream of 'fake news,' 'alternative facts,' and lies disguised as truths, all of it overwhelming our notions of reality. Now we can't even agree on what a fact is, let alone what is real. How on earth did we get here? Here's how.

Gladstone packs a lot of ideas in 50 pages. For instance, facts are not reality. We all see facts and interpret them to create our own realities. And if that's true, someone can (and often does) choose to discount (or willfully ignore) facts to preserve their reality. Which leaves people open to manipulation (or even cooperating with manipulation) by bad actors.

Or for instance, that Trump is not an unwitting demagogue - he's actually following a well-established path that reaches back all the way back to Jonathan Swift's day. Or that the media is partly to blame for our situation as they allow Trump to distract and redirect; they should have "laughed less and reported more".

Anyway, there's lots here and it's well written. And clocking in at 50 pages means it's pretty easy to read in one sitting - or to go back and reread as one thinks about the ideas expressed. Well worth the time.

Jan 9, 10:54am Top

>70 katiekrug: I'm actually a two-meal-a-day kind of person. No breakfast, early lunch (~11 AM), then dinner around 5:30 or 6. And when I have time off, dinner time wanders a bit earlier, so you scheme would work pretty well for me. 😁

Jan 9, 12:31pm Top

>72 drneutron: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Or so I’ve been told constantly.

Jan 9, 12:49pm Top

>73 humouress: Yeah, people tell me that, but I just can't eat more than coffee and toast or pastry unless it's brunch later in the morning.

Jan 10, 4:27am Top

Just dropping my star on your thread. Thanks for setting the group up :)

Jan 10, 9:06am Top

Hi Jim problem with the vote please vote again.

Jan 10, 9:15am Top

>75 sirfurboy: Welcome to the madhouse!

>76 BBGirl55: okie-dokie.

Jan 10, 7:22pm Top

Hi Jim, happy new year/thread/book/space-time continuum etc.

Jan 10, 7:54pm Top

>67 drneutron: Jim, that actually sounds a little cheaper than Blue Apron. I'm thinking that the meals were about $70 per family of 4, so $10/serving is not bad. I just looked at Blue Apron's website and it said starting at $8.99/serving, but I'm certain it was more expensive than that.

We have had some success with both MarketDay and Schwanns, although MarketDay is closed and we don't use Schwanns anymore. Schwanns has pre-prepared frozen meals or food, that need just a little cooking or heating, and there are some healthy options to be found.

>71 drneutron: Hmmm, definite BB there!

Jan 10, 8:10pm Top

>72 drneutron: I was a two-meal-a-day person for most of my life. A few years ago I started to take a banana for breakfast and that is something my stomach can handle after at least two hours of being awake.

Jan 10, 8:21pm Top

>78 evilmoose: hiyah! Happy new year to you!

>79 rretzler: A friend used Blu Apron for a bit, then switched to another service - apparently too much kale for his taste. 😀

>80 FAMeulstee: For me it’s bread of some kind. Anything else when I get up doesn’t sit well. If I wait a bit, eggs and bacon are fine. 😀

Jan 10, 8:30pm Top

>81 drneutron: If I wait a bit, eggs and bacon are fine
That is what I eat for lunch, an own version of the English breakfast, with beans, toast, eggs & bacon :-)

Jan 11, 7:33am Top

>71 drneutron: Hi, Jim! I listen to the On The Media podcast every week, since my NPR station insists on airing the show at 6am Saturday mornings, so I'm glad to read this review.

Jan 11, 9:05am Top

>82 FAMeulstee: 😁

>83 rosalita: You should definitely read it, then, if you can. I got it from Overdrive from my library.

Jan 11, 11:17am Top

Nate and I had tried a meal service when we were trying to eat healthier. A couple issues we found were the calories per meal were well above what we were allowed for our diet plan and they need to be used in a timely fashion and we found that life got in the way and some meals expired before we used them.
I did love having new recipe ideas to try though. Got us out of our comfort zone for a couple meals a week.

Jan 11, 12:15pm Top

Good morning, Jim!

I have started Paradox Bound by Peter Clines. Fun start. Might be up your alley. It's described as Doctor Who meets 'National Treasure'.

Jan 11, 12:38pm Top

>85 ChelleBearss: I can definitely see us having the "life got in the way" problem. Since they're providing raw ingredients and fresh produce, I think meal kits will last reasonably long, but then there's another box showing up... They offer a "skip week" option that doesn't cost anything, so I suspect if we get stacked up or are away we'll be using that.

>86 brodiew2: I read his Ex-Heros and enjoyed it, but never got to the sequels. And I need to. This one sounds interesting!

Jan 11, 12:44pm Top

I have not read Ex-Heroes, but I did listen to the audio of 14 which was creepy cool fun.

Jan 11, 1:48pm Top

Oh wow, you are already onto a second thread and I am barely getting started! Reading to avoid doing work sounds like a noble goal though.

Jan 11, 3:39pm Top

>88 brodiew2: I think you'd like it. Post-apocalypse superhero story.

>89 Lisa805: Yep, mine tends to be a high volume thread, but not as bad as some.

Jan 11, 4:25pm Top

Hi Jim, just stopping by to say hello.

Jan 11, 4:33pm Top


Jan 11, 6:02pm Top

>87 drneutron: Jim, you should read the rest of the Ex-heroes series; I've enjoyed every one as much as the first, pretty much.

For what it's worth, I found Paradox Bound just okay. Felt like Clines' approach wasn't up to the outrageousness of the premise. Felt much the same about his The Fold, which is more genuinely science-fiction-y than most of his work. I did enjoy it though.

Jan 11, 7:12pm Top

Oh, I plan to read the rest of the series. Will probably check out the rest, but there’s just sooo many good books out there! 😀

Jan 12, 2:31pm Top

Did I see you're reading The Essex Serpent? My sister gave it to me, saying she didn't like it, but thought I would. Not sure what to make of that! I'll look forward to your thoughts on it, if you are.

Jan 12, 2:43pm Top

Interesting discussion about the meal services. We only do organized meals together on weekends. During the week we're on a "Freestyle Independent Dinner" plan. This is mostly because The Hubster is hungry for dinner about an hour and half before I'm ready to eat. We'll cook things that reheat well so it works.

Jan 12, 7:42pm Top

>95 jnwelch: I am - about 3 chapters in. The prose is a bit flowery, but I like the characters so far. Good premise so far.

>96 SuziQoregon: we have “on your own” days where each is responsible for his or her own meals. Usually when Mrsdrneutron is quilting. 😀

Jan 12, 8:19pm Top

Interesting food talk. I've looked at the delivered, pre-packaged meals. They appeal to me, but my kids are picky. One eats veggies and one doesn't. It's a little expensive to feed four, when four won't actually eat it all. In a few years when it's just us, maybe. I sometimes do a massive freezer meal prep and do enough meals for several weeks. I like that. We just have to remember to get the freezer thing out and defrost for the slow cooker.
Have you tried the Instant Pot? We love ours.
Will be watching for your review of The Essex Serpent. I read it last year and it was interesting.

Jan 12, 8:20pm Top

>95 jnwelch: >97 drneutron: I read The Essex Serpent last year. Will reserve comments good or bad until you're finished, I'd like to know what your thoughts are.

Jan 12, 8:22pm Top

>98 nittnut: Jenn, do you have any suggestions for where to find recipes for the Instant Pot? We have something similar, not called The Instant Pot, but its basically the same thing, and I can't find any recipes that my two picky kids like.

Jan 12, 8:30pm Top

>100 rretzler: I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. Most of the time I find good stuff there. Here are a couple I have had good success with:



I have also done a mashed potato and pork chop one and I can't remember where I found it. It was potatoes on the bottom and pork chops on top, a little water in the bottom and mash the potatoes at the end. Turned out pretty tasty.

We also do a lot of pulled pork or pintos or black beans, things that usually take ages in a slow cooker.

I have learnt to be very suspicious of anyone who tells me I can cook meat from frozen in less than 20 minutes. It's never happened at my house.

Jan 12, 9:04pm Top

>98 nittnut: Haven’t tried an Instant Pot yet, though friends have one and love it.

>98 nittnut:, >99 rretzler: Yup, Chapter 3. So far, I’m keeping an open mind. As I said, a bit flowery in prose. I’m hoping for more tension, maybe even some creepiness.

>101 nittnut: Yeah, I can’t imagine frozen to cooked in 20 minutes unless it’s hamburger meat. 😀

Edited: Jan 13, 6:06pm Top

>100 rretzler: - I've tried some Skinnytaste recipes for the IP and they have been good. Skinnytaste.com (Mamie introduced me to the site). I also follow the Weight Watchers IP group on Facebook and have gotten some good recipes there.

ETA: Hi Jim!

Jan 13, 6:12pm Top

Hiyah, Katie!

Jan 13, 8:48pm Top

Time for an update!

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Yeah, I'm probably the last person on LT to read this one - it's all over the place. But I've seen the movie a few times and snagged it when it became available on Overdrive. Decent dystopian fiction just like I knew it would be.

5. Emerald Labyrinth by Eli Greenbaum

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a deeply troubled place. But also a place with a huge biodiversity, and it's disappearing. Eli Greenbaum studies reptiles and amphibians across the Congo, trying to save as much as possible as humans encroach on more and more of the rain forest. Emerald Labyrinth is the story of his travels across the Congo looking for new species and trying to understand how the world is changing.

And his story is an interesting one. It's not an easy trip, but he gets into some truly wild places and finds some interesting animals. And he tells us quite a lot about the history of the region and how it's affected the environment. Unfortunately, Greenbaum is a scientist, not a teller of great stories, so the writing is choppy and full of little distractions that take away from his important message.

Jan 14, 4:58am Top

>105 drneutron: I see you've also read a couple of the Divergent books. Which do you like better?

Edited: Jan 14, 7:33am Top

Hunger Games, for sure. I thought the world-building was better. Lots of similarities, though.

Jan 14, 7:46am Top

Morning, Jim. Happy Sunday. Glad you finally got to The Hunger Games. It is a solid trilogy and yes, much better than the Divergent books, although I did like the first one.

I am meeting Joe in the city today for lunch and brews. We are overdue. That will be plenty of gab and laughter, I am sure.

Jan 14, 8:38am Top

>105 drneutron: No you're not the last to read The Hunger Games; I've been expecting to read it "someone soon" for several years now. I'm encouraged that you liked it!

Jan 14, 9:53am Top

>108 msf59: Sounds like a great day. Say hi to Joe for me. One of these times when we come visit The Son in South Bend we’ll see if we can get together with you guys!

>109 swynn: I’ve got a bunch on that list too...

Jan 14, 4:43pm Top

>71 drneutron: that one sounds very interesting. Indeed.

>105 drneutron: The Hunger Games! Still on my TBR!! I really want to get to this one this year. :)

Jan 14, 6:02pm Top

>111 LovingLit: I highly recommend the Gladstone. And The Hunger Games. 😀 I hope get to ‘em both!

Jan 14, 8:30pm Top

Glad to see you enjoyed The Hunger Games. I agree that they were the better read over Divergent, but I did enjoy them all.

Jan 15, 10:59am Top

I enjoyed The Hunger Games and read it in one sitting. However, it was a little too dark and violent for me overall, and I decided not to continue with the rest of the books. Do you plan on continuing the series?

Jan 15, 1:25pm Top

Yup - I've seen all the movies, so I'm aware of where the story goes. At least as far as consistency with the books goes. 😁

Jan 15, 1:48pm Top

Glad you liked The Hunger Games. That's one series that both The Hubster and I both liked a lot.

Jan 15, 3:27pm Top

I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I -thoroughly- enjoyed Catching Fire, and was vaguely let down by Mockingjay. Unfortunately, this is a trend that I find myself in with most YA dystopian trilogies; the third book always seems to let me down somewhat.

Jan 15, 3:38pm Top

>117 tapestry100: I actually find that with a lot of series - romances, SF, YA... It may just be that, with all the adventure and thrills that have built up over the course of the series, no end could be perfect enough. But it is very frequent that the last book is far from the best of the series.

Jan 15, 3:54pm Top

I have similar experiences with series. >118 jjmcgaffey: you may be right.

Jan 15, 5:28pm Top

We would love it, if you made it into Chicago and we could take you to a couple of our favorite watering holes. Now, that would be a great photo opportunity.

Jan 15, 6:27pm Top

Happy weekend, Jim!

>117 tapestry100: Definitely skip Mockingjay. It is the rarity where the movie was better than the book, IMO. I think that series with diminishing returns are common, especially in YA where there is a big incentive to write sequels because they sell.

Jan 15, 7:13pm Top

>120 msf59: It’ll happen, hopefully this year!

>121 banjo123: Unfortunately, I have a completist streak, so I’ll read it. But it’ll be interesting to compare to the movies.

Jan 15, 7:46pm Top

Really far behind here after taking a break to visit an old friend.

We used a coupon for Hello Fresh, and I have stuck with it for about a month. For two of us, it works pretty well as it helps with the "what's for dinner" question that seems to be mine to answer. I like that we can skip weeks and have found the meals to be very good. I have "hacked" at least a few when they weren't quite what we wanted, and we do add a salad as a side sometimes.

I have not read The Hunger Games trilogy even though I think they are in my Audible library. My father and sister loved them, but I guess I am a little tired of dystopian fiction. Sounds like, from the thread, that I might give them a try.

Jan 15, 8:31pm Top

I like dystopian fiction and I enjoyed the Hunger Games, I liked them better than Divergent, more interesting circumstances and personalities.

Currently I am reading the Merovingen Nights series by C.J. Cherryh and I was wondering if you would consider that dystopian?

Edited: Jan 15, 8:56pm Top

>123 witchyrichy: Yup, you should!

>124 nhlsecord: I haven't read them, unfortunately. Description sounds like it would qualify, though I usually think of a dystopian as something closer to our own time and set on Earth. Looks like a good series.

Jan 15, 10:02pm Top

>119 drneutron: >117 tapestry100: >118 jjmcgaffey: Halfway off the topic, but I always found that to be true with self-help books and the like. There, it's explainable: the first is written based on knowledge acquired by the author as some kind of practitioner; if a second is called for, it means the author has stopped practicing and started lecturing, and the book contains what they didn't get to put into the first; by the third, they're just making stuff up.

I wonder if there is something similar in fiction, where the force that drove an author to write gets dissipated over installments, or something?

Jan 15, 10:18pm Top

I'd guess that has a lot to do with it. I don't know how authors sustain characters over long series - it seems like the author would just lose sight of what to do next. It's why TV series fade out as they go along the years, probably.

Jan 15, 10:52pm Top

wow! your work seems fascinating. what's your job? I'm also amused that we have similar excuses for reading

Jan 16, 8:13am Top

I'm Mission System Engineer for Parker Solar Probe - I lead the engineering and operations team building, launching and operating the mission.

Edited: Jan 16, 11:59am Top

>117 tapestry100: >118 jjmcgaffey: >119 drneutron: That's been a really common and frustrating problem for me as well. Recently though, I read The Fifth Season, which is the first book of an absolutely amazing dystopian trilogy that builds and ends incredibly fulfillingly. I've been recommending it to everyone I know! drneutron: based on your job, I suspect you'd be particularly interested

Jan 16, 12:20pm Top

The Fifth Season and sequels are on my list. I've read her Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and really liked it. There's just so many interesting books out there! 😁

Jan 16, 4:51pm Top

Oh awesome! I'm heading out sometime this week to buy Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Glad to hear I should keep my high expectations.

Jan 16, 7:53pm Top

I read it (Hundred Thousand Kingdoms) and hated it - it's extremely well-written but it pushes one of my No buttons. Every character, including the protagonist, is a manipulator - forcing/tricking/persuading others to do what the manipulator wants. I hate that in real life and can't bear it reading. Same with The Lies of Locke Lamora and sequels - in both cases, I read (all of!) the first book and decided I didn't need to read any more, ever.

Jan 16, 10:00pm Top

Fair enough. That didn’t stop me from liking the book overall. I like the first Lamora book quite a lot, though the sequels weren’t nearly as good for me.

Jan 16, 11:19pm Top

>101 nittnut: >103 katiekrug: Thanks Jenn and Katie.

I think I have to agree with the majority on The Hunger Games versus Divergent. I did like Divergent, but I was very disappointed in the wrap-up of the series. In some ways, I could see Divergent being a little more realistic, as it was perhaps somewhat less extreme. I am also a fan of The Maze Runner series. I've seen the first two movies - the third is coming out soon - and while I thought the first movie was good and faithful to the book, the second made a big departure from the book and I didn't like it as much. If you haven't read that series, I recommend it.

Jan 16, 11:40pm Top

>134 drneutron: Oh yes, that's my own peculiar complaint. There's quite a lot of books that many people love and I can't stand because of that.

Jan 17, 7:44am Top

Hi, Imposter/Science Jim!

Chiming in on the Hunger Games vs. Divergent: I practically inhaled the Hunger Games series (stayed up *very* late reading them and I almost never do that), but was pretty meh about the first Divergent book and didn't read any more.

Jan 17, 8:09am Top

>130 shuwanted: I read The Fifth Season as well, and loved it. The first of a trilogy, but it wraps up very well on its own. Interesting characters and very interesting world-building.
I haven't read the following books yet, maybe because second and third books are so often a bit disappointing?

Jan 17, 8:21am Top

>135 rretzler:, >137 scaifea: Looks like a pretty unanimous opinion!

>136 jjmcgaffey: Who am I to comment on peculiarities? I read math for fun. 😁

>137 scaifea: You forgot His Hotness.

>138 EllaTim: I'e heard from multiple folks they're not. My main complaint is that they're never available on Overdrive - and I've been banned from buying more books until I read down the Big Stack Beside My Chair.😁

Jan 17, 8:29am Top

>137 scaifea: >139 drneutron: How could you forget "His Hotness" I mean that's why they asked him to build the Solar Probe! HeelllooOOOOooo


Edited: Jan 17, 8:40am Top


Good morning!

Jan 17, 10:31am Top

I found the first two Hunger Games books quite enjoyable (the third one very 'meh'), but I only finished the first Divergent book under duress.

Jan 17, 3:40pm Top

Got interviewed by Newsweek the other day - story got posted today:


Jan 17, 4:57pm Top

>139 drneutron: I forgot His Hotness? Where did I leave him?

>143 drneutron: WOW!! That's so cool!!

Jan 17, 5:26pm Top

>143 drneutron: That's pretty awesome!!How long will it take the probe to reach the sun?

Jan 17, 5:54pm Top

About 3 months after launch. Six weeks to a Venus gravity assist, then 6 more weeks to our first perihelion. Eleven days close to the Sun, then in six months we do it again!

Jan 17, 5:54pm Top

Jan 17, 9:55pm Top

>138 EllaTim: They're very different from the first, but not disappointing at all! Best part is that certain things that you kind of just accept in the first book end up making so much sense.

>139 drneutron: I actually read the entire series on a couple of online sites (since I'm still a college student and money is tight), and the experience isn't so bad.

Jan 17, 10:00pm Top

>143 drneutron: - Impressive!!

Jan 17, 10:37pm Top

>148 shuwanted: Overdrive is our public library’s ebook lending service. About 2/3 of my reading last year came from there. Jemisin’s stuff is on Overdrive but always checked out, so I haven’t gotten to them yet. Someday I’ll put them on reserve...

Jan 17, 10:38pm Top

>149 jessibud2: Thanks! I thought it came out well.

Jan 18, 5:20am Top

>143 drneutron: Very cool! Or do I mean hot? Is it a mixed metaphor to say it's cool when it's re solar probes... hmmm...

Anyway - brilliant!

Jan 18, 6:19am Top

Thanks for sharing the Newsweek article, Jim! These are exciting times for the Solar Probe, and I feel like we have a front-row seat.

Jan 18, 8:36am Top

>152 BekkaJo: We call ourselves "the coolest hottest mission under the Sun"!

>153 rosalita: Great! I've been accused of being a bit too enthusiast by my friends, so I'm glad I'm not overdoing it. 😁

Jan 18, 8:41am Top

>154 drneutron: You can never be overenthusiastic! You should be super proud of what you have accomplished. It is no easy feat :)

Jan 18, 2:13pm Top

>143 drneutron: Very, very cool- congratulations! Go ahead and brag, you earned it.

Jan 18, 3:41pm Top

>143 drneutron: This is amazing. And -always- be enthusiastic about this. It's incredible what you are doing and you have every right to be excited!

Jan 18, 5:37pm Top

>143 drneutron: Very cool!

Jan 18, 8:11pm Top


Jan 18, 8:24pm Top

Love the Newsweek article!

Jan 18, 8:34pm Top

Thanks! It’s been a big hit back in Louisiana. My dad’s been sending the link to all his friends. 😀

Jan 19, 12:30am Top

I keep forgetting to share this, but if ever in Seattle first beer is on me here:


Apologies to anyone on your project who was unable to lockdown that domain

Jan 19, 1:55am Top

>143 drneutron: So cool! I will follow this project more closely in the media now. I like the comment about moving a spacecraft carefully... Heh.

I have not read The Hunger Games but I have seen the films.

Jan 19, 8:03am Top

Hi Jim!

Thanks for sharing the Newsweek article! I sent the link to my husband Bill.

I read The Hunger Games trilogy and really liked it. The first movie was good, the second meh, and the third unwatchable, IMO.

Jan 19, 8:40am Top

>162 pbirch01: I'll take you up on that. The beer looks great! One of the tests we so is a water load into the propulsion system, which is a titanium tank and plumbing system. We saved the water from that test and one of our team members is going to brew a beer from it for the post-launch party. This has become kind of a tradition in the spacecraft community.

>163 EBT1002: Heh, yep, it's not easy to move 1300 lbs that cost nearly a billion bucks without getting lots of people excited. 😁

>164 karenmarie: Hope he likes it! We'll be getting more media attention as we get closer to launch.

Jan 19, 4:36pm Top

6. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

First of my Secret Santa books - thanks, Kriti!

The supposed "best thief in the world" gets coerced by the King's magi to retrieve a divine artifact. Sounds simple, right? except things never go as planned... Really well done YA fantasy. Whalen Turner has a great feel for characters and plotting, with nicely turned prose. First of a series, and I plan to read the rest!

7. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

If you read the blurb on the back, you might come away with the idea that this is a gothic-ish, more speculative tale - at least I did. Instead, what I got was a study of a handful of very interesting people brought together through various circumstances around the possibility that a pre-historic (or maybe mythical) serpent is haunting a small town in an estuary outside Victorian London. And it turns out, I'm pretty ok with what I got. Perry's book is dream-like in spots, and what matters here is the psychological response to events happening around folks, tied up with love and attraction, sometimes returned, sometimes not. Definitely worth a read if you know what to expect.

Jan 19, 4:45pm Top

So I saw on the library's new book list that the second Bobiverse book, For We Are Many, put it on reserve. Because even though I'm supposed to be reading down my stack, this one's a small book, won't take long to read. So then I thought to myself that while I'm at it I should probably pick up the sequel to John Dies at the End, This Book is Full of Spiders, because, you know, that one won't take long to read either. And then while picking up those two, Bunk and White Mountain snuck off the new book shelf and into my pile. Then today, I got a notice that The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is ready for pickup too.

So somehow I went from no books until I finish reading my stack to five (5) library books... Now I just need to figure out how to hide them from mrsdrneutron...

Jan 19, 7:00pm Top

Sorry Jim so far behind with your thread. I read and loved the whole Hunger Games Trilogy. Catching Fire is the best read it in about 5 hours noon stop.

>167 drneutron: Ah the book hiding dilemma. I know it well.

Jan 19, 7:02pm Top

>167 drneutron: I regret to report that wherever you hide them, she's gonna find out. That's my experience anyway.

Jan 19, 7:09pm Top

Loved the Newsweek article, Jim - thanks for posting the link. SO cool!

I have already read The Thief, and I have The Essex Serpent in the stacks, so I escape without being hit this time. *sigh*

Your library story made me smile. And you will love The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, just saying...

Jan 19, 7:44pm Top

>167 drneutron:
That's always the way. Imagine working at a library.
Of course, I'm not a famous rocket scientist (congrats on the Newsweek article).

Jan 19, 8:51pm Top

>168 BBGirl55: Glad you made it back by! I’d bet the book hiding experience is one lots of us know. 😀

>169 swynn: Yup, she’s pretty smart that way...

>170 Crazymamie: I’ve been looking forward to Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter for a while now.

>171 Deedledee: 😀 I can’t - that would be really hard for me!

Jan 19, 10:15pm Top

>166 drneutron: The book interests me with one exception--the serpent. I don't think I could handle it. I'd probably hyperventilate the entire time I read it.

Jan 20, 8:18am Top

>173 thornton37814: The serpent is more Loch Ness monster or dragon than snake, and is almost always off scene. So it might well be ok for you!

Jan 20, 10:48am Top

>166 drneutron: Oh, YES!! I can't wait to see what you think of the rest of The Thief series! SO GOOD. They just get better from here.

Jan 20, 11:23am Top

Way behind here, Jim! I have yet to try the pre-assembled dinners...maybe when I have an empty nest. The Newsweek article is SO cool! You are famous! Have fun with the second Bobiverse story; sorry you are addicted to books; good luck hiding that from mrsderneatron. : ) Oh, and happy Saturday.

Jan 20, 11:30am Top

Catching up to see you've just read one of my favorite books (well, series really) of all time (The Thief) and a book that's been on the TBR list for awhile (THe Essex Serpent).

I *do* work at a library and can tell you from personal experience I almost never read my own books, which is a problem because I have over 200 owned books unread. That is, for me, about two years' worth. Having only five library books out is a breather in which I *might* get to one of my own. On the plus side, it's better than buying more books, right?

Jan 20, 11:41am Top

I have to figure out how to enter the house later today with my bag full of books and hide them from P.
Nah, I won't even try. The good news in this instance is that she knows I went to Powell's and she wouldn't even believe me if I said I didn't buy anything. I'll just emphasize that two of the books I'm bringing into the house were gifts from Kim and at least two of the books I purchased were reduced price.

Jan 20, 6:13pm Top

>175 scaifea: Cool! I’m glad the rest are good too. I’ve been hoping for a fantasy series I can get into.

>176 Berly: Happy Satdsy!

>177 bell7: Yeah, I think it would drive me crazy to work in a library - especially when a patron checks out a book I want! 😀 But yeah, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to buy all my books.

>178 EBT1002: Heh, Mrsdrneutron hasn’t noticed yet... 😀👍

Jan 20, 7:25pm Top

>174 drneutron: Good to know!

Jan 21, 1:24am Top

>143 drneutron: Cool!

I have been very good at not buying too many books lately :) Lack of space for them it a bit part of that, and also, when I scan my shelves I see 80% that I am still waiting to read!!

Edited: Jan 21, 7:05pm Top

Great article about your work!

>167 drneutron: I went to the library yesterday to get my card renewed and managed to get away with just two books. I really need to read my own books but my resolution for the year was related to buying books rather than borrowing them.

Will you be out of work because of the shutdown? My friends at the Air and Space Museum are open for now because they had some prior year funds to use. Not sure how long they can hold out.

Jan 21, 8:46pm Top

>180 thornton37814: 😀

>181 LovingLit: Yeah, i’m Starting to have to cull, so I get the space issue. So far it’s limited to books like ERs that I don’t want to keep. We’ll see how deep I have to go...

>182 witchyrichy: We’re working through the impacts - I actually work for Johns Hopkins University, so no shutdown for us. But the spacecraft is on the phase where we’re using government facilities for testing, so we’ll see how it goes.

Jan 23, 9:28am Top

Great article about the Parker Solar Probe in today's Washington Post

Jan 23, 10:05am Top

Cool! Some of my friends are win that one!

Jan 23, 10:46am Top

Good morning, Jim! I came here to say I enjoyed the Post article this morning but was deeply disappointed not to spy you among the quoted scientists. It must be exciting to see your project getting so much attention leading up to the launch!

Jan 23, 11:11am Top

I loved Bullet Catcher's Daughter. Good book. I hope you love it too. :)

Jan 23, 11:23am Top

>186 rosalita: I'm glad you liked the article. Careful readers might note the funniest thing we've got going. The shipping case for the heat shield - the thing that keeps us safe from the Sun - is labeled "Do not expose to direct sunlight"... 😂

>187 The_Hibernator: It sure looks like it'll be right up my alley.

Jan 23, 11:47am Top

>188 drneutron: I did notice that! It made me laugh over my breakfast.

Jan 23, 11:52am Top

Good morning, Jim! I can't remember if I asked you about What If?. It looks like a lot of fun and is narrated by Will Wheaton. He usually does an excellent job. Are you familiar with this one?

Jan 23, 11:54am Top

Yup, The Son got it for me and I read it back in 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Jan 23, 11:57am Top

Good to know. It's next up once I conclude Bonhoeffer which seems a definitive work by Metaxas. Only a couple of discs to go!

Jan 23, 1:15pm Top

Woot, Jim! I had to forward the Newsweek article to my Facebook page. Very cool and congratulations for the recognition. "Do not expose to direct sunlight" indeed!

Good review for Emerald Labyrinth. I haven't started reading it yet. A large glut of library books all arrived at once and I am now officially Behind on Everything.

I've enjoyed all the food talk. I haven't tried any of the shipped meals, because living in a very small town, shipments promised in twenty four hours almost always take an extra day to arrive. Then there is the problem of that 24 hours on unheated UPS or USPS trucks as they make the hour-long drive from the airport in Missoula. They do sound very handy for busy schedules.

Jan 23, 2:42pm Top

>192 brodiew2: Yup, it's a good one.

>193 streamsong: Yeah, somehow the Library Fairy deposited some at my house too...

We were a bit concerned about the temperature issue, but the packaging is pretty well insulated and we haven't had any problems. Though we don't have the extra day you're concerned about. Probably wise to pass on your part.

Jan 23, 4:22pm Top

Always on top of the threads Jim! Two thumbs up from me! :D

Jan 23, 4:36pm Top

>195 jolerie: It's my superpower. I promise to only use it for good. 😁

Jan 23, 4:52pm Top

>188 drneutron: *snork!!* Love it!

Jan 23, 5:48pm Top

>188 drneutron: Yeah, I expect that'll void the warranty.

Jan 23, 7:57pm Top

Jan 24, 12:48pm Top

Mostly caught up with you, Jim! Cool Newsweek article!

I shared it with The Wayne who may now go all Fan Girl on you in Philly in March ;-)

Jan 24, 1:18pm Top

Good morning-afternoon, Jim! I hope all is well. 'Bonhoeffer' is 18 discs and I am on 17! Not long now. His death is imminent and I have a feeling there will be a legacy section.

Jan 24, 2:51pm Top

>200 katiekrug: Cool! I've never had groupies before...

>201 brodiew2: If I remember right, there was. There were also a bunch of notes and author stuff, don't know how much of that will be on the discs too.

Jan 24, 4:51pm Top

>202 drneutron: Not true: You have an entire 2nd grade (now third graders) class full of groupies, not to mention the teachers, here in Wisconsin...

Jan 24, 9:53pm Top

>203 scaifea: 👍😁

Jan 24, 10:48pm Top

>143 drneutron: Great article in Newsweek! Congrats! Keep us posted.

>173 thornton37814: >174 drneutron: Lori, as Jim says, I wouldn't worry much about the serpent.

I've discovered if you get your books on Kindle, the significant other has no idea...(I hope he's not looking over my shoulder). Nah, actually, mine accepted many, many years ago that if he got me, he also got my books, and he's been very accepting of that. It's really easy for him to buy me presents too - he just needs to look at my amazon wish list!

Jan 25, 12:17am Top

Interesting Newsweek article, Jim. That is so cool. I have a better idea about The Essex Serpent after reading your review so hopefully my eyes will be open when I finally take it off my shelf.

Jan 25, 9:38am Top

>205 rretzler: Oh, I plan to! Hopefully I'll have a big update later today...

>206 Familyhistorian: Good, I'm glad my thoughts were helpful. I think it's a pretty good book and worth people reading, but I want them to go in with the right expectations.

Jan 25, 11:17am Top

Catching up here - cool on the Newsweek interview.

I need to start the Bobiverse series.

Jan 25, 11:18am Top

>208 SuziQoregon: Yup, you do need to start it! It's great!

Jan 25, 11:58am Top

That's a helpful review of The Essex Serpent, Jim, thanks. I'm a pushover for "dream-like", so that helps.

Jan 25, 3:04pm Top

Time to join the 3-thread club...

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

395 members

116,019 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 129,621,337 books! | Top bar: Always visible