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Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2018 Thread - Q3

This is a continuation of the topic Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2018 Thread - Part 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Jun 29, 8:38pm Top

Holy crap on a cracker, its already July.

Traditionally, I like to wait until I have 200+ posts before starting a new thread. But today's Friday, and July and a new quarter starts on Sunday. So therefore, I decided to start early. Heck, its my world and you its lovely visitors.

I think you all know who I am, so I'll dispense with the introductions. If you're curious, go back a thread and catch up. :)

2013 Reading Thread
2014 Reading Thread
2015 Reading Thread
2016 Reading Thread
2017 Reading Thread

Come on in and sit a spell...

Welcome to my humble abode!

This new thread lines up with a Foto Friday and a new month, so it counts for all. This image was taken out in Joshua Tree. Thanks for coming by...

Edited: Oct 9, 2:18am Top

2018 Statistics - Q3

A - Audio
ER - Early Review
GN - Graphic Novel
K - Kindle/eBook

57. Border Songs - Jim Lynch
56. Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King (A)

55. White Noise - Don Delillo
54. Borne - Jeff VanderMeer
53. Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin (A)

52. The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) - Terri-Lynne DeFino (ER)
51. Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything - Martin Sandler (ER)
50. All Systems Red - Martha Wells (K)
49. The Sex Lives of the Cannibals - J. Maarten Troost

48. When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi (A)
47. Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
46. Supreme Courtship - Christopher Buckley (A)
45. Vinegar Girl - Anne Tyler
44. Seven Wonders - Adam Christopher
43. The Zero - Jess Walter (A)

Edited: Jun 30, 1:27pm Top

2018 Statistics - Q2

A - Audio
ER - Early Review
GN - Graphic Novel

42. The Association of Small Bombs - Karan Mahajan
41. Yes Please - Amy Poehler (A)
40. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alan Moore (GN)
39. Love and First Sight - Josh Sundquist (A)
38. Wizard - John Varley
37. A Maze of Death - Philip K. Dick
36. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States - Sarah Vowell (A)
35. The End of the World Running Club - Adrian Walker
34. How to Talk to Girls at Parties - Neil Gaiman (GN)
33. Death by Black Hole - Neil deGrasse Tyson (A)

32. The Things We Don't Do - Andres Neuman
31. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
30. Paper Girls, Vol 4 - Brian Vaughan (GN)
29. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi
28. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (A)
27. March, Vol. 2 - John Lewis (GN)
26. Titan - John Varley
25. Killers of the Flower Moon - David Grann
24. Save Room for Pie - Roy Blount Jr. (A)

23. The Odds: A Love Story - Stewart O'Nan
22. A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman
21. The Man Who Sold the Moon - Cory Doctorow (podcast)
20. Sputnik Sweetheart - Haruki Murakami
19. One Second After - William Forstchen (A)
18. Black Swan Green - David Mitchell

Edited: Jun 29, 8:06pm Top

2018 Statistics - Q1

A - Audio
ER - Early Review
GN - Graphic Novel

17. Underground Airlines - Ben H. Winters
16. Searching for John Hughes - Jason Diamond (A)
15. Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds


14. The Relic Master - Christopher Buckley (A)
13. Descender, Vol. 5: Rise of the Robots - Jeff Lemire (GN)
12. The Dead Mountaineer's Inn - Boris Strugatsky (A)
11. Saga, Vol 8 - Brian K Vaughan (GN)
10. The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher (A)


9. March Vol 1 - John Lewis (GN)
8. The Gods Themselves - Isaac Asimov (A)
7. The Parking Lot Attendant - Nafkote Tamirat (ER)
6. Kill or be Killed Vol. 3 - Ed Brubaker (GN)
5. Civil War - Mark Millar (GN)
4. Wolverine: Old Man Logan - Mark Millar (GN)
3. The Hours - Michael Cunningham
2. Kingsmen: The Secret Service - Mark Millar (GN)
1. Earth Awakens - Orson Scott Card

Edited: Oct 7, 1:42pm Top

Audiobook Narrators

Carrie Fisher - The Princess Diarist (w/ Billie Lourde)
Scott Brick - The Gods Themselves
Keith Szarabajka - The Dead Mountaineer's Inn
James Langton - The Relic Master
Cory Doctorow - The Man Who Sold the Moon
Roy Blount Jr. - Save Room for Pie
Sissy Spacek - To Kill a Mockingbird
Dion Graham - Death by Black Hole
Sarah Vowell - Lafayette in the Somewhat United States
Pat Young - Love and First Sight
Amy Poehler - Yes Please
Christopher Graybill - The Zero
Anne Heche - Supreme Courtship
Sunil Malhotra/Cassandra Campbell - When Breath Becomes Air
Oliver Wyman - Winter's Tale
Marin Ireland - Sleeping Beauties

Edited: Jun 29, 8:10pm Top

Short Stories

I listen to a lot of podcasts, some of them are 'casts about books and short stories. So I don't clutter up my "official" reading list, I'm going put any short stories that I listen to (or read) that aren't part of a larger collection, here in this list.

Evening Primrose - John Callier (A)
When We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, Age 11¼ - Neil Gaiman (A)
July Tale - Neil Gaiman (A)
The Monkey's Paw - WW Jacobs (A)
The Gardener - Rudyard Kipling (A)
Repairing the World - John Chu (A)
Unassigned Territory - Stephanie Powell Watts - Levar Burton Reads
Graham Greene - Percival Everett = Levar Burton Reads
The Great Wide World Over There - Ray Bradbury - Levar Burton Reads
The Man Who Sold the Moon - Cory Doctorow - Craphound podcast
The Truth About Owls - Amal El-Mohtar - Levar Burton Reads
Mrs. Perez - Oscar Casares
The Baboon War - Nnedi Okorafor - Levar Burton Reads

Edited: Jun 29, 8:24pm Top

Pulitzer's Read

Ongoing bucket list to read all the Pulitzer winning novels. Santa was very good to me this year on this front, so I got plenty to work with

Bold : On the Shelf
Strikeout : Completed

Total Read - 28

2018 - Less
2017 - Underground Railroad
2016 - The Sympathizer
2015 - All the Light We Cannot See
2014 - The Goldfinch
2013 - The Orphan Master's Son
2012 - NO AWARD
- Swamplandia - Nominee
2011 - A Visit from the Goon Squad
2010 - Tinkers
2009 - Olive Kitterridge
2008 - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
2007 - The Road
2006 - March
2005 - Gilead
2004 - The Known World
2003 - Middlesex
2002 - Empire Falls
2001 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
2000 - The Interpreter of Maladies
1999 - The Hours
1998 - American Pastoral
1997 - Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
1996 - Independence Day
1995 - The Stone Diaries
1994 - The Shipping News
1993 - A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
1992 - A Thousand Acres
- My Father Bleeds History (Maus) (Special Awards & Citations - Letters)
1991 - Rabbit at Rest
1990 - The Mambo Kings
1989 - Breathing Lessons
1988 - Beloved
1987 - A Summons to Memphis
1986 - Lonesome Dove
1985 - Foreign Affairs
1984 - Ironweed
1983 - The Color Purple
1982 - Rabbit is Rich
1981 - A Confederacy of Dunces
1980 - The Executioner's Song
1979 - The Stories of John Cheever
1978 - Elbow Room
1977 - NO AWARD
1976 - Humboldt's Gift
1975 - The Killer Angels
1974 - NO AWARD
1973 - The Optimist's Daughter
1972 - Angle of Repose
1971 - NO AWARD
1970 - The collected Stories of Jean Stafford
1969 - House Made of Dawn
1968 - The Confessions of Nat Turner
1967 - The Fixer
1966 - The Collected Stories of katherine Anne Porter
1965 - The Keepers of the House
1964 - NO AWARD
1963 - The Reivers
1962 - The Edge of Sadness
1961 - To Kill a Mockingbird
1960 - Advise and Consent
1959 - The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
1958 - A Death in the Family
1957 - NO AWARD
1956 - Andersonville
1955 - A Fable
1954 - NO AWARD
1953 - The Old Man and the Sea
1952 - The Caine Mutiny
1951 - The Town
1950 - The Way West
1949 - Guard of Honor
1948 - Tales of the South Pacific
1947 - All the King's Men
1946 - NO AWARD
1945 - A Bell
1944 - Journey in the Dark
1943 - Dragon's Teeth
1942 - In This Our Life
1941 - NO AWARD
1940 - The Grapes of Wrath

Edited: Oct 7, 1:40pm Top

Hugos Read

Ongoing bucket list to read all the Hugo winning novels.

Bold : On the Shelf
Strikeout : Completed

Total Read - 36

2018 - The Stone Sky
2018 - All Systems Red - Novella
2017 - The Obelisk Gate
2016 - The Fifth Season
2015 - The Three-Body Problem
2014 - Ancillary Justice (DNF)
2013 - Redshirts
2012 - Among Others
2011 - Blackout/All Clear
2010 - The Windup Girl
The City & the City
2009 - The Graveyard Book
2008 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union
2007 - Rainbows End
2006 - Spin
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2004 - Paladin of Souls
2003 - Hominids
2003 - Coraline (novella)
2002 - American Gods
2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2000 - A Deepness in the Sky
1999 - To Say Nothing of the Dog
1998 - Forever Peace
1997 - Blue Mars
1996 - The Diamond Age
1995 - Mirror Dance
1994 - Green Mars
1993 - A Fire Upon the Deep
Doomsday Book
1992 - Barrayar
1991 - The Vor Game
1990 - Hyperion
1989 - Cyteen
1988 - The Uplift War
1988 - Watchmen - category : Other forms
1987 - Speaker for the Dead
1986 - Ender's Game
1985 - Neuromancer
1985 - The Crystal Spheres - David Brin - Short Story
1984 - Startide Rising
1983 - Foundation's Edge
1982 - Downbelow Station
1981 - The Snow Queen
1980 - The Fountains of Paradise
1979 - Dreamsnake
1978 - Gateway
1977 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
1976 - The Forever War
1975 - The Dispossessed
1974 - Rendezvous with Rama
1973 - The Gods Themselves
1972 - To Your Scattered Bodies Go
1971 - Ringworld
1970 - Left Hand of Darkness
1969 - Stand on Zanzibar
1968 - Lord of Light
1967 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
1966 - Dune
This Immortal
1965 - The Wanderer
1964 - Way Station
1963 - The Man in the High Castle
1962 - Stranger in a Strange Land
1961 - A Canticle for Leibowitz
1960 - Starship Troopers
1959 - A Case of Conscience
1958 - The Big Time
1956 - Double Star
1955 - The Forever Machine
1953 - The Demolished Man

Retro Hugos - this are given for years when no award was given (more than 50 years ago). Of those...

1939 - The Sword in the Stone
1951 - Farmer in the Sky
1954 - Fahrenheit 451

Edited: Sep 21, 11:45am Top

National Book Award Winners

2015 - Fortune Smiles
2014 - Redeployment
2001 - The Corrections
1988 - Paris Trout
1985 - White Noise - Don Delillo
1983 - The Color Purple - hardback award
1981 - The Stories of John Cheever - paperback award
1980 - The World According to Garp - paperback award
1953 - Invisible Man

Man Booker Books
2002 - Life of Pi
2009 - Wolf Hall - sadly I never finished this, never hooked me.
2016 - The Sellout

Edited: Jun 29, 8:28pm Top

2017 Recap

Total Read - 78

The full list is still in my 2017 Thread (see above), but in no particular order, here are my 5 favorites from last year.

Turtles All the Way Down - John Green
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - Fredrik Backman
Different Seasons - Stephen King
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie
The Last Night at the Lobster - Stewart O'Nan

Jun 29, 7:31pm Top

Ummm....knock knock. Can I come in yet? Oh, I see the walls are up, but no furniture, drapes or rugs. I will come back to see how thing shape up. : )

Jun 29, 8:15pm Top

Hey Kim,

Sorry, Yeah I hate it when work gets in the way. Its free and clear, gradually putting things back on the wall. Thanks for coming by!

Jun 29, 8:44pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. Happy New Thread. I love that topper.

Jun 29, 8:49pm Top

Thanks buddy!

Jun 29, 8:50pm Top

Saw an article/op-ed by John Scalzi about his encounters with the recently passed Harlen Ellison.

Wanted to pass it along...


Jun 30, 1:34pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 30, 5:31pm Top

Thanks Jim!

Jun 30, 6:08pm Top

Happy new thread, Jeff!
Nice picture at the top, where/what is Joshua Tree?

Jun 30, 7:21pm Top

>19 FAMeulstee: What, everyone doesn't live in Southern California? :)

As far as what. This is a Joshua Tree -

It is a type of Yucca and is in the Agave family. Its the namesake of the Where. And the where was in Joshua Tree National Park which is just west of Palm Springs CA, which is very much west of Los Angeles.

Jun 30, 9:59pm Top

Since I started a new thread instead of a Foto Friday, I totally forgot to do a book update, since that's a thing, I'm apparently doing now.

So anyway...

Book Update
Currently Reading:
Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher - Super Heroes in the fictitious CA town of San Ventura
(Audio) The Zero by Jess Walter - a police drama surrounding an, as yet, undescribed terrorist attack very similar to 9/11. And in a touch of Memento-like memory loss and its Walter-y goodness

(Audio) Yes Please by Amy Poehler, read by her.
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
(GN) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

Jul 1, 11:31am Top

Happy New Thread, Jeff!

I got a kick out of Yes, Please.

Jul 1, 11:44am Top

Hey Joe, thanks for stopping by.

Yeah, Amy is quite funny, probably my favorite book last month

Jul 1, 3:45pm Top

Happy new thread Jeff.

Jul 1, 11:42pm Top

Hey John, Thanks!

Jul 7, 11:04am Top

>20 mahsdad: Thank you for the explanation, Jeff, and for the picture of the Joshua Trees :-)

Jul 7, 2:15pm Top

Not a problem, Anita. Glad to share.

Jul 7, 2:40pm Top

Hey, its another Foto Friday on Saturday. I was in San Antonio for the week and flying home yesterday. Trading hot Texas summer weather for even hotter Southern California coastal weather (yeah, climate change isn't a thing).

Here's an image of some of the amazing clouds, as well as a canyon/riverbed that was somewhere over AZ or NM, that I saw on the way home.

Book Update
Reading - Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher. A really excellent take on the Superhero genre. Really enjoying it
Ebook - All Systems Red by Martha Wells. Book 1 of the Murderbot diaries. I think I got this free from the Tor book club. Pretty good.
Listening - The Zero by Jess Walter. An early novel. Mystery set in a post "9/11 type" tragedy.

New Book - The Bar Harbor Home Retirement Home for Famous Writers by Terri-Lynne DeFino. This was an ER book from a couple months ago.

New WL Books - when in an airport and being very good about NOT buying books, you can always use your handy-dandy LT app and scan them into your WL.

Rules of Attraction - Bret Easton Ellis. Heard the movie of this mentioned on a podcast. Looked interesting
There There - Tommy Orange. Mark had mentioned this, forgot to put it on the list
The Outsider - Stephen King. New King, of course.
The Good Son - You-jeong Jeong
Startup: A Novel - Doree Shafrir. Another one I heard about on a podcast

Jul 9, 8:45pm Top

Got another ER book today. It is Apollo 8: The Mission that Changed Everything by Martin Sandler

I love space history and I have several NF memoirs by Apollo astronauts and the like, and I thought this looked interesting. But when I got it, I see that its really geared to Middle School readers at the eldest. I'll still read it, but I'm a little disappointed that I was sold a bill of goods, didn't realize the target audience. Oh well, buyer beware, and since it's free, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. I should have looked more closely at the publisher's site before requesting the book.

Jul 9, 10:14pm Top

>28 mahsdad: Like the photos, Jeff and nice book haul too. The last 2 I am not familiar with but they sound good.

I am picking up my first "nice" camera tomorrow, a barely used Canon Powershot S X 50 HS. I am looking forward to taking this along on my bird hikes and start getting some serious practice in. Any advice?

I know you like a good story collection, I just finished Florida by Lauren Groff. A terrific set of stories.

Jul 10, 11:54pm Top

>30 msf59: Hey Mark, thanks, about the photos. Oh how I wish the book haul was a real book haul. But building out the wish list is the next best thing.

Congrats on taking the next step into photography. Probably initially, "P" will be your friend. This is program mode. Eventually, you will, or should experiment with F-stops and shutter speeds. I forget what Canon calls them on Power shots. Fstop is how much light gets in. The lower the number the bigger the window = More light. Shutter speed is how long that light is exposed to the sensor.

For my artsy shots, I go with Fstop priority and go as low a number as I can. For your bird photography, you are going to want to shoot with a shutter speed as fast (1/500 of a second or faster) to capture good movement on the subject.

Don't forget, its digital, shoot a LOT of pictures, play around with the settings and throw away the crap. :)

I think Florida will be a definite get, eventually.

Jul 12, 6:59pm Top

Come one, come all.

I'm trying out a new idea I just had. I've created a Collection in my Profile called "Virtual Free Library".

I'm going to put any and all books that I'm done with and I don't want to keep forever. I don't want to go thru the hassle of Book Mooch or Paperback Swap, and these will be things that will eventually get carted off to the Library Book sale, so I thought I'd give my friends here a crack at them.

If you find something in that Collection that you want, PM me and I'll send it out.

Jul 14, 7:43pm Top

Happy Foto Friday on Saturday.

Today's image(s) are of my youngest fur-child (sorry the feline phobic - RD :) ) She is quite photogenic. Enjoy, or don't....no big whoop.

Book Update
Reading - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Listening - Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley

The Zero - Jess Walter
Seven Wonders - Adam Christopher

Jul 16, 1:17am Top

If you are of a podcast persuasion, I suggest you listen to Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert show.

The one, in particular, that pertains to this group is an excellent interview with David Sedaris

Both are insightful, funny men. Check it out.

Jul 20, 6:18pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks.

Took this in the Sacramento Airport on my way home from a long week of onsite work. Its not exactly what I saw in my mind's eye, but it will do. Have a great weekend!

Book Update
Reading - Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. Her take on Taming of the Shrew
Also reading - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. Its in hardback so didn't want to take it on my trip.
Listening - Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley (read by Anne Heche)

Jul 20, 6:23pm Top

>35 mahsdad: LIKE!

Happy Friday, Jeff. Thanks for the photography tips up there. i have saved them for future reference. I have been practicing but it is still baby steps.

I hope you are enjoying Norse Mythology. I had a good time with that one.

Jul 20, 7:46pm Top

>36 msf59: Thanks Mark!

Yeah learning photography is a definite iterative process. Digital pictures don't cost anything. Take a ton. Play around. I would suggest picking a subject, like something in your back yard and take multiple shots of the same thing. Play with the settings, shutter speed, f-stop, white balance. Flash on, flash off. Play with composition; google Rule of Thirds. Sometimes being off-center works great. Then you can look at them on your computer and see what worked and what didn't work. The other nice thing is that the pictures retain the settings so you can always figure out what the camera was set at when you took a "good" one.

Gaiman can just about do no wrong in my mind. :)

Jul 27, 1:36pm Top

Okay it looks like my book recap/review habits aren't getting any better. I guess, for now its going to have to be the occasional lightning round recap.

41. Yes, Please! - Amy Poehler. An excellent memoir by one seriously funny person. This was on audio and was read by Amy with some special guests (Seth Myer, Kathleen Turner, her parents). Covers her childhood, thru Upright Citizen's Brigade, SNL and Parks and Rec. The last chapter was a live reading, like a stand up set.

42. The Association of Small Bombs - Karan Mahajan. At the opening a car bomb explodes in a crowded market in Delhi and kills 2 Hindi brothers and injures their Muslim friend. The rest of the book is an examination of the direct impact of terrorism. From the kid's parents, to the surviving friend to the bomb maker himself. A fascinating read.

43. The Zero - Jess Walter. This one of Walter's odder books, but in a good way. The story opens with the main character (a police detective) dealing with the aftermath of a 9/11-type attack and shooting himself in the head. He survives, but has memory losses as he works on finding out who perpitrated the attack. The memory losses will just come at random and jump, leaving out important information, even to the reader. Its a little confusing to follow. Is he a split personality, is he making it all up, is there a shadow government agency behind the attacks? A very interesting, but challenging read (in this case Audio). Recommend.

Jul 28, 6:28pm Top

How are you likng Vinegar Girl, Jeff? I thought it was pretty good, not being a Shakespeare fanatic myself.

Jul 28, 9:30pm Top

Happy new thread! Great reading going on here :)

Jul 29, 5:27pm Top

44. Seven Wonders - Adam Christopher - In the waning days of Superheroes in the world, there is only 1 superteam left. The Seven Wonders, look over their city of San Ventura, CA and they protect it from the last Super Villian; The Cowl and his sidekick; Blackbird. But then a normal guy starts getting powers and upsets the balance. Its pulpy genre fiction, police procedural, super fights, alien weaponry, good fun stuff. I like his take on the tropes of the superhero and how it affects the world at large. Fun read.

I think one of the most impressive things about Christopher is his virtually full page of all of the world's superheroes that come to join in the climatic fight (cause its a genre story, you know there's a climatic fight). I'll give you just a taste, I want to read stories about all of these heros.
They'd all come. It had taken two days, but all, all, had heeded Aurora's call. They came in groups; the Chicago Nightguard, United International, the Army of One, the Coven, the League of All-Stars, the Computer Council, the Manhattan Manhunters, , the Devils you Know...and solo protectors; Pangolin the Protector, Hammer and Sickle, Czar and Tzar and Star, Kalamari Karl, Senny Dreadful, Your Imaginary Pal (to name but a few)


S: 6/30/18 - 7/12/18 (13 Days)

Jul 29, 7:52pm Top

45. Vinegar Girl - Anne Tyler - This is the third book I've read in the Hogarth Shakespeare series. Modern day authors were tasked to take one of the Bard's works and adapt them into a novel. This one is an adaptation of the Taming of the Shrew. To be honest, I'm not that familar with the play itself, other than it was a movie staring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 60's.

In this take, Kate runs the household for her eccentric medical researcher father and her flighty pretty sister. She's a teaching assistant in a private school and doesn't really know what to do with her life. Her father, on the brink of an important breakthrough, comes to her with an outlandish proposal. His lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported and the work can't be completed without him. So, the bright idea is that Kate should marry Pyotr so he can stay in the country. And drama unfurls.

This was a pretty good story, some comedy, romantic tension. This was my first Tyler book, so I'm not sure if this is typical of her work, but its a good read. Of my 3 Hogarth reads, this one is probably my 2nd favorite (Hag Seed is still in the lead.


S: 7/12/18 - 7/20/18 (9 Days)

Jul 29, 7:57pm Top

>39 laytonwoman3rd: Hey Linda, as you can see, Vinegar Girl was pretty good. Its a quick read and I enjoyed it..

>40 figsfromthistle: Thanks for stopping by Anita.

Jul 31, 2:28am Top

Just a quick quote from The Sex Lives of the Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost. A very funny travelogue/history book of the Island nation of Kiribati.

After a day of sailing the equatorial Pacific, I could feel my freckles mutating into something interesting and tumorous.

Jul 31, 7:05am Top

>37 mahsdad: Thanks, for the photography tips, Jeff. These ideas are helpful. I will keep messing around. One problem, I have is keeping my grip steady, on long zoom shots. It seems like when, I get ready to click off a shot, the image jiggles away.

I like the flurry of mini-reviews. I am long over-due for a Jess Walter.

Jul 31, 12:55pm Top

>45 msf59: Yeah staying still is hard. Somethings to try...

Hold your breath right as you take the shot. Especially when zoomed in.

Tuck your right arm in against your chest.

Lean against something.

Try a faster shutter speed (if you're not in "P" mode). The faster the shutter the less impact of any jitters.

Jul 31, 1:28pm Top

I've also seen folks use monopods to steady. You can get telescoping ones that are easier to handle than a tripod, which would be completely impractical for birding.

Jul 31, 9:16pm Top

>47 drneutron: That's a very good idea. The mono-pod doubles as a walking stick. A lot of the connections are just a screw at the top of the stick to the bottom of the camera. But if you get really serious, they make quick connect things that would allow you to carry the camera separate and then attach when you need to.

Aug 5, 7:49pm Top

Tour of Penguin Books UK Archive. Boy Howdy would I love to hang out there...


Aug 6, 6:34am Top

>46 mahsdad: Thanks for the pointers, Jeff. All sound useful. I haven't got out in a week, but I hope to get some practice in tomorrow, on my day off.

I hope you had a good weekend!

Aug 11, 1:31pm Top

British Literary Romantic Drama on Netflix (the new home of Masterpiece Theater?) - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Aug 11, 2:21pm Top

Happy Foto Friday on Saturday. I've been traveling a lot. Last two weeks in Yuba City (45min north of Sacramento). And this shot was taken at entirely too early-oclock at LAX. Hope you all have a great literary weekend!

Book Update
Reading - House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momady : It won the Pulitzer in 1969. One of the first Native American novels that broke thru into the mainstream. To be honest, a little bit of a challenge to read for me. But I'm going to keep going.
Audio - Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - I had seen (at least part of) the movie and it caught my eye when searching thru Libby. Its a bit of a chunkster (almost 28 hours), but good so far.

Finished - All Systems Red by Martha Wells. The first of her Murderbot novellas (actually read something in eBook form). I liked it, going to have to find the rest

Aug 11, 3:47pm Top

46. Supreme Courtship - Christopher Buckley (AUDIO) - Funny, political satire that was written 10 years ago, but has a lot of meaning and ties to today's political climate. A homespun President who is a political outsider (Donald Vanderdamp, prescient name selection by Buckley) has the chance to pick a new Supreme Court justice who could change the makeup of the court. He can't get his well qualified selections thru confirmation due to an adversarial climate with the other side of the aisle. So in a move that surprises everyone including his advisers, he chooses a famous TV Judge (think Judy Judy), and wonder of wonders she makes it on the bench. (Side note, there isn't any job qualifications for being on the Supreme Court).

It only gets weirder from there. This was a really fun read. I've read several of Buckley's books, and he always provides many laugh out loud moments.


S: 7/13/18 - 7/23/18 (11 Days)

Edited: Aug 15, 3:58am Top

Glad to see so many books and more photos again!! >35 mahsdad: is very cool and I love the lighting on >52 mahsdad: with the twinkle lights on half and sunshine on the other.

I have read none of the Hogarth Shakepeare rewrites. I should give Hagseed a try...I think I have that around here somewhere and I love Atwood...

Aug 15, 4:46pm Top

Hey Kim, thanks for the kind words about my images. I've been traveling for work a lot recently so I haven't been able to get my big camera out as much as I'd like, but a lot of my recent shots have been on my phone.

Yeah, Hag-Seed is a definite read, Vinegar Girl is a solid probably should read. New Boy is a maybe.

Aug 16, 8:23pm Top

Hey Jeff. Long time. I hope all is well with you.

>41 mahsdad: Excellent review of Seven Wonders Christopher. The sample you provided gave me goosebumps. I will have to take a look.

Aug 17, 2:00pm Top

Hey Brodie, thanks for stopping by. Things have been busy, I hate when RL gets in the way of LT.

I like Adam Christopher quite a bit. I've read Empire State and Hang Wire. I enjoyed both of them.

He's on my perennial "I'll give anything he writes a chance" list.

Aug 17, 2:35pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks. Here's one I think I posted to IG and FB, but not here. It was from a couple weeks ago when we went to LACMA (LA County Museum of Art), a favorite place of ours. I like how I was able to just about keep me out of the picture while still getting the reflection of what was behind me.

Book Update
Reading - House Made of Dawn - still reading this. Slow going, but I've passed the Pearl point so I'm going to finish
Listening - Winter's Tale - At 25 hours, its a big one. I actually had to renew this (dead easy thru the Libby app, which is my listening app of choice right now)
ER Reading - Apollo 8: The Mission that Changed Everything by Martin Sandler. This is an ER book and one geared towards the late middle school reader, so this shouldn't take me too long to read.

Edited: Aug 19, 10:32pm Top

^I hope you had a great birthday weekend, Jeff. Cheers!

Aug 20, 2:20am Top

Thanks Mark. I did! Had some good beers, started a new ER book, got a new one in the mail and decided to put down the Pulitzer book (House Made of Dawn) for now. Life's too short to struggle thru a confusing story.

Off to Seattle tomorrow for a quick meeting. Back on Wednesday.

Aug 20, 8:17pm Top

Sorry I missed your birthday! Glad it was a good one. And that’s a great pic!

Aug 24, 9:43pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks. Today was a good cloud day around me. I took this with my phone.

Book Update
Reading - The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) by Terri-Lynne DeFino - an ER book, that is a bit of a May/December romance book between a famous author and an orderly in this special retirement home. Not exactly in my wheelhouse, but I'm enjoying it.
Listening - Still... Winter's Tale. Its a good one, but without a long commute, its taking a while to finish.

Aug 25, 10:01am Top

That's a pretty sky!

Aug 28, 2:15pm Top

>63 jnwelch: Thanks Joe!

Aug 28, 2:16pm Top

For all the Math geeks, amongst this crowd of Book Nerds, here's a fun video about statistics.

"Does Hollywood ruin books". And the surprising answer is, no not really, it just depends upon your data set. :)


Sep 7, 5:41pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks! Its the First Friday of September so today's image is the September image from this year's calendar. Its a picture I took several years ago of the signature landmark in San Pedro; The Vincent Thomas bridge (the fourth longest suspension bridge in CA). Happy Reading Everybody!

Book Update
Reading - Borne - Jeff VanderMeer. A very odd dystopian future story. I'm enjoying it
Listening - Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King (and his son Owen King). What happens when all the women in the world succumb to a strange sleeping sickness and turn in to a murderous bezerker if you wake them up.

I started to listen to Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle, but it was a little confusing to listen to, so I punted in favor of the King.

Sep 7, 6:46pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. Like the weekly Foto! And as usual, you have some interesting books going. I also enjoyed both Borne and Sleeping Beauties. They also both worked on audio. Wolf in White Van is a fascinating read. Great depth, but I think reading it in print, is the way to go. I also tried it on audio, but I think I missed more not reading it in print. I will try it in that format, one of these days.

Sep 7, 8:15pm Top

>67 msf59: Thanks buddy. I'm glad it wasn't just me with Wolf. I agree, there are just somethings that are meant to be read on paper. Even in ebook I have problems sometimes. I tried to read Three-Body Problem on my iPad a couple times and couldn't finish. My son got a paper version, I'll have to book-horn in sometime.

Sep 10, 12:24am Top

Love the Friday photo and Borne. Now on to Monday...! Hope you have a great week.

Sep 10, 7:59pm Top

Hey Kim, thanks for stopping by. I think I liked Borne more than the Southern Reach Trilogy. I'm almost done and its probably the weirdest dystopian book I've ever read, and I mean that as a good thing.

The week's looking good. Only working 2 days, then I'm flying back to Pittsburgh to visit my Mom, before driving further east to Lancaster PA for a work conference next week. Long direct flight, plenty of reading time.

Sep 15, 9:59am Top

In Pittsburgh visiting my Mom, we found a little local independent bookstore, so, of course we had to indulge.

I got a book of Noir stories set in Pittsburgh called (duh) Pittsburgh Noir and in the local section, they had a big Stewart O'Nan collection, so I got A Prayer for the Dying. I could have gotten 2 or 3 others, but I behaved myself.

My Mom got Once We Were Brothers by Richard H. Balson, a WWII story set in Poland, that the clerk recommended to her.

Since I didn't do a book update yesterday, here it is...

Reading White Noise by Don DeLillo
Listening Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and his son Owen King

Sep 20, 7:00pm Top

Anyone do the treasure hunt. I got 'me all. Only had to use a couple hints to help me where I had the right idea but was going in the wrong directions

Sep 21, 8:30pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks! Hope all is well in your world. I just got back from a trip back East to visit my Mom and to attend a work gathering (Pittsburgh for my Mom, and Lancaster for work). Quick turn around for the weekend and back on the road to Seattle for next week.

Today's image is some local fauna (okay fungus), that we saw on a walk around our neighborhood.

Book Update
Read - White Noise by Don Delillo. Finished it last night. Good read, very weird and surreal
Listening - Sleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King. In King fashion, its a doorstop of book, or really long in audio terms. I'll probably have to renew it (listening on Libby, borrow from the library)

Sep 22, 9:46am Top

Yup, got ‘em all too, with only two hints needed! I thought this one was easier than usual, maybe as a reaction to the Easter hunt that seemed really hard. 😀

Fun hunt!

Sep 29, 2:42am Top

I just got my signed copy of Hank Green's (of Vlogbrothers fame) first book called An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. Can't wait to read it.

Heads up, I'm going to try to do a Lightning Round and "review" all my outstanding books. I'm WAY behind, again. If nothing else, I got a couple ER books to review

Good night All.

Sep 29, 8:57pm Top

47. Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman : A collection of 16 stories about the Norse Gods; Odin, Thor, Loki, their wives and children and many other gods in the panoply of Norse Mythology. The MCU this is not. Thor is not a good looking smart blond Australian and these stories are visceral and violent. They read like folk tales that were translated from the original Scandinavian languages of old. They tell the life and times of the gods on their proverbial road to ruin and Ragnarok.


S: 7/12/18 - 7/25/18 (14 Days)

Sep 29, 9:12pm Top

Have a great weekend, Jeff.

You sold me on the Gaiman take on Norse Mythology.

Sep 30, 3:28pm Top

>77 PaulCranswick: Hey Paul, thanks for stopping by.

Personally, Gaiman is an easy sell. I think you'll enjoy it.

Sep 30, 4:01pm Top

48. When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi (audio) : Paul spent ten years of hard work training to be a world class neurologist, when life stepped in and threw him a curveball he couldn't avoid. This memoir and subsequent afterword by his wife, is his struggle with lung cancer. It is a powerful story.


S: 7/25/18 - 7/27/18 (4 Days)

Sep 30, 7:34pm Top

49. The Sex Lives of Cannibals - J. Maarten Troost : Okay, right up front, this is NOT a NSFW book. Its a very funny travel book, the subtitle of which is "Adrift in the Equatorial". Maarten was finishing up his graduate degree in Eastern European International Relations. His girlfriend was getting her's in Western Europe. And logically with their background and education they decide to move to the middle of the Pacific to the island of Tarawa (part of the nation of Kiribati). She, to run an NGO aid origanization and he, to write a book. This book.

A island paradise this ain't. Heat, disease, entirely too much "La Macarena" and a cast of characters that while funny and interesting, did not make me want to visit the South Pacific. A great read!

To picture Kiribati, imagine that the continental US were to conveniently disappear laving only Baltimore and a vast swath of very blue ocean in its place. Now chop up Baltimore into 33 pieces, place a neighborhood where Maine used to be, another where California once was... Take away electricity, running water, television...Add Palm Trees, sprinkle with hepatitis A, B, and C, add in dengue fever and parasites.
Take away doctors, isolate and bake and a constant temperature of 100 degrees. The result is the Republic if Kiribati.

About surfing - "Look for a wave shaped like an A." An A. Hmm. I saw Zs and Ws and Vs. I saw the Hindi alphabet and the Thai alphabet.
I saw Arabic script. I saw no As. Finally I gave up, and chose the next wave that would have me, which turned out to be a poor move.
The demon wave picked me up, and after that I have only a very vague recollection of spinning limbs, a weaponized surfboard, chaotic white water, all kind of churning together over a reef. I decided this was not for me.

It is often said that Americans have no sense of history. Ask a college student who Jimmy Carter was and they will likely reply that he was a general in the Civil War, which occurred in 1492, when Americans dumped tea in the Gulf of Tonkin, sparking the First World War, which ended with the invasion of Grenada and the development of the cotton press. Actually, I would be impressed with that answer. The more likely response is "Who the F*#% cares?


S: 7/25/18 - 8/5/18 (12 Days)

Sep 30, 9:33pm Top

Happy Sunday, Jeff! You got some good books going. I also loved Norse Mythology & When Breath Becomes Air. And The Sex Lives of Cannibals looks like a lot of fun.

Do you know there is a Group Read for The Fireman going? And I just posted a Stephen King thread for the AAC, for October. Just sayin'...

Oct 1, 9:02am Top

>80 mahsdad: Good review, Jeff, now I want to read it!
Sadly my library doesn't have it, I will have to look elsewhere.

Oct 1, 12:01pm Top

>81 msf59: I'm still 6 behind (including 2 ER books that I should ACTUALLY review :) ) I've always wanted to read The Fireman. I liked NOS4A2 and I loved Strange Weather. I'll have to look for the group read.

I did post on the King AAC thread. I'm currently reading Sleeping Beauties, that I will probably finish in a couple days.

>82 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I saw it in an airport bookstore and couldn't resist it, based on the cover. :)

Oct 4, 2:19pm Top

50. All Systems Red - Martha Wells : TOR Books has a monthly eBook club, where they will feature a single work and allow you to download the eBook for free. That is how I got this fun little novella.

This is book 1 of her Murderbot Diaries series. She drops us into a world where a mining/expedition group is exploring for resource opportunities for a mega-corporation. They are protected by a Security Unit, who is a robot/cyborg (I visualize something like Terminator or Robocop). This one has hacked his own governor control and is self aware. In his downtime he just wants to watch Soap Operas and be left alone.

As he becomes more "human", he takes a more vested interest in protecting his people from a mysterious group that is attacking the settlement.

Very good (even though it took me a long time to complete, eBooks are never my default reading medium). Excellent hard scifi, and a fun exploration of AI and what it means to be "human".
It won the Hugo and Nebula in 2018 for Best Novella. There are 3 more episodes that I'm going to have to pick up.


S: 6/27/18 - 8/11/18 (46 Days)

Oct 4, 2:36pm Top

51. Apollo 8 : The Mission that Changed Everything - Martin W. Sandler : I got this book from LibraryThing's Early Review program, in exchange for an honest review. I am a science/space geek and love all things Apollo. So, even though I am very familiar with the Apollo program, I was excited to get one specifically focused on Apollo 8.

It's a good book, but sadly, I am not the target audience for it. Its aimed at middle school kids. Its large format book with lots of pictures and a good basic overview of the first Apollo mission to go to the moon.

If you have a 10-13 year old space fanatic, this would be a good book to get, but for me, not so much. Nothing here that I didn't really already know.

7/10 (for the target audience. Probably a 5/10 for me)

S: 8/11/18 - 8/19/18 (8 Days)

Oct 4, 3:23pm Top

How many of us can totally relate to this guy (though for me certainly not on his scale) ...


Robin Ince's 1000 Book Purge.

Oct 4, 4:56pm Top

>80 mahsdad: Oh, cool. I don't usually enjoy humorous travelogues, but this one sounds very good.

>86 mahsdad: I once sold most of the 3K books I owned in preparation for a long-term trip. I seem to have acquired around 250 since then. While not having my own place. Oops.

loling at "The Foucault goes. But not all of them."

Edited: Oct 4, 9:09pm Top

Every time I stop by your thread, Jeff, I get winged and have to shop for one particular SciFi book or other. >84 mahsdad:. But this time it's Norse mythology too. And a question. No a comment: I guess Maarten Troost did NOT read about the island hopping warfare in the Pacific theater of WWII. Tarawa. Lordy, what a place to go.

Oct 5, 11:41am Top

Hey weird_O. Its always nice to see you over here and for the confirmation that I'm contributing to the cross-fire around this site. Glad to help you expand your WL.

As far as Troost goes, I agree (a bit), I'm not sure how much he knew about Tarawa before he decided to move there, but he made up for it. He did spend a couple chapters talking about the history of the place including 1 devoted to WWII

Oct 5, 3:01pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks! Today's the first Friday in October (yikes), so today's image is from my calendar.

Book Update
Reading - Border Songs by Jim Lynch - Illegal immigration, weed, border disputes and dairy farming on the border....the US/Canadian border.
Listening - Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King - Almost done. I'm a little conflicted about this one. I want to like this book more than I am.
Graphic Novel - Saga Vol. 9. I almost need to start this over completely to catch up

Edited: Oct 12, 11:51am Top

52. The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) - Terri-Lynne DeFino : I got this book from LibraryThing's Early Review program, in exchange for an honest review. I picked this book solely for the title. I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe an alternate universe sci-fi thing, but it turned out to be a very quaint romantic comedy. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it.

Set in a fancy country house turned into an assisted living facility on the coast in Maine where the elderly giants of the literary world come to live out their last days. Alfonse Carducci was one of the greatest and he comes the the home not having written for many years. There he finds his muse (an orderly named Cecibel Bringer). He (and eventually a couple of his compatriots) get inspired by his muse, his biggest fan, Cecibel to right a new story and the rest of the book switches between modern times and his story set in the 50's.

Not necessarily award winning work but a really nice story with interesting characters and a nice literary twist. A worthwhile read.

"I didn't make the arrangements with Dr. Traegar because I thought you were a suicidal murderer who needed to be to be locked away, Cecibel. I did that because you did."


S: 8/18/18 - 8/29/18 (12 Days)

Oct 12, 11:49am Top

LT is and always will be my literary home, but I always cross post my reviews (if that's what they really are) over on Goodreads. So last night, I did just that, and this morning I got 2 likes. One, from Amber, Thank you! And one from the author herself. :0

I always think that I'm just writing these things for me and the few friends who might read them. Its sobering to be reminded that, oh yeah the creator of the thing that I'm glibly making comments about, might see it. Its a small world

Oct 12, 3:53pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks. I hope your weekend aspires to my girl here. Its what I hope to be doing :)

Book Update
Reading - An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Reading - Pittsburgh Noir edited by Kathleen George. A collection of Noir stories set in Pittsburgh (including Stewart O'Nan)
eBook - Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Free ebook from TOR book club
Listening - The Fireman by Joe Hill

Oct 12, 4:05pm Top

Happy Friday, Jeff. Love the kitty Foto. I did finish The Fireman. I was a bit underwhelmed. Not bad, just unremarkable. It is my least favorite of Hill's work, to date.

I am currently listening to Frankenstein and loving it. A perfect October read.

How is the Hank Green book? There has been buzz on that title.

Oct 12, 5:50pm Top

Happy Friday to you to Mark.

I'm enjoying The Fireman, I'm not quite 25% thru. I think you're right. It's good, not great. I'm still liking it better than Sleeping Beauties tho.

The Hank Green is pretty good so far, especially since its his Freshman effort. Very much seated in the social media/youtube world of today's youth. One that he is firmly entrenched in. Its not quite YA, but still one that we are probably not the target audience. But who really cares about the target. Its a fun read so far, 50 pages in.

Oct 14, 3:33pm Top

>93 mahsdad: She's quite relaxed!

Oct 16, 4:32pm Top

Not quite book related, paper related. Here's a Great Big Story episode about Ross MacDonald, who is a paper prop maker for the movies. Anything made out of paper, newspaper, id cards, books, etc, you see in movies and TV in the last 25 years were probably made by this guy.

Pretty cool...


Oct 18, 11:34pm Top

I know I'm late to the game, but I'm binging on Longmire (on Netflix). Just started season 2. Loving it.

Oct 19, 2:47pm Top

Happy Foto Friday Folks.

I know I'm a broken record, but here's another one of my youngest doing the thing she does best. Have a Great Weekend All!

Book Update No real changes to report.
Reading - An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Reading - Pittsburgh Noir edited by Kathleen George. A collection of Noir stories set in Pittsburgh (including Stewart O'Nan)
eBook - Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Free ebook from TOR book club
Listening - The Fireman by Joe Hill
Graphic Novel - Saga vol. 9 by Brian Vaughan

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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