Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2018 Thread - Q3
This is a continuation of the topic Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2018 Thread - Part 2.
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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...
2018 Statistics - Q3 and Q4
A - Audio
ER - Early Review
GN - Graphic Novel
K - Kindle/eBook
67. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
66. Lowboy - John Wray (A)
65. Origin - Dan Brown (A)
Favorite: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
64. Agent of Utopia - Andy Duncan (ER)
63. March Book 3 - John Lewis (GN)
62. Moonglow - Michael Chabon
61. The Fireman - Joe Hill (A)
60. Pittsburgh Noir - Kathleen George (editor)
59. Saga Vol 9 - Brian K. Vaughan (GN)
58. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing - Hank Green
57. Border Songs - Jim Lynch
56. Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King (A)
Favorite: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
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
Favorite: The Sex Lives of the Cannibals
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)
Favorite: Norse Mythology
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)
Favorite: Yes, Please
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)
Favorite: Killers of the Flower Moon
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
Favorite: A Man Called Ove
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
Favorite: Underground Airlines
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
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
Kate Mulgrew - The Fireman
Paul Michael - Origin
Paul Michael Garcia - Lowboy
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
Early Review Books
- 2 (DNF)
TBR - 1
Total Read - 28
Didn't Receive - 2
Top Down - Jim Lehrer -
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere - Julie T. Lamana -
Acts of God - Ellen Gilchrist -
Invisible Beasts - Sharona Muir -
Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie (DNF) -
Dr. Mutter's Marvels - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz -
The Future for Curious People - Gregory Sherl -
Furious Cool - David Henry -
Get in Trouble - Kelly Link -
He Wanted the Moon - Mimi Baird -
All The Days and Nights - Niven Govinden (Never Received)
Among the Ten Thousand Things - Julia Pierpont -
Tenacity - J.S. Law -
Slade House - David Mitchell -
God of Beer - Garret Keizer -
Dodgers - Bill Beverly -
The Invoice - Jonas Karlsson -
I Am No One - Patrick Flanery -
Souvenirs and Other Stories - Matt Tompkins -
The Sunlight Pilgrims - Jenni Fagan -
The Vegetarian - Han Kang -
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood -
Human Acts - Han Kang -
Things We Lost in the Fire - Mariana Enriquez -
New Boy - Tracy Chevalier -
Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker - Gregory Maguire (Never Received)
Strange Weather - Joe Hill -
The Feed - Nick Clark Windo (DNF) -
The Parking Lot Attendant - Nafkote Tamirat -
The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) - Terri-Lynne DeFino -
Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything - Martin W. Sandler -
Agent of Utopia - Andy Duncan -
Amsterdam Noir - Rene Appel - TBR
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
Total Read - 28
2018 - Less
2017 - Underground Railroad
2016 - The Sympathizer
2012 - NO AWARD
2009 - Olive Kitterridge
2004 - The Known World
2002 - Empire Falls
1998 - American Pastoral
1997 - Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
1996 - Independence Day
1995 - The Stone Diaries
1994 - The Shipping News
1991 - Rabbit at Rest
1990 - The Mambo Kings
1989 - Breathing Lessons
1988 - Beloved
1987 - A Summons to Memphis
1985 - Foreign Affairs
1982 - Rabbit is Rich
1980 - The Executioner's Song
1978 - Elbow Room
1977 - NO AWARD
1976 - Humboldt's Gift
1974 - NO AWARD
1973 - The Optimist's Daughter
1971 - NO AWARD
1970 - The collected Stories of Jean Stafford
1969 - House Made of Dawn
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
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
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
Ongoing bucket list to read all the Hugo winning novels.
Bold : On the Shelf
Total Read - 36
2018 - The Stone Sky
2017 - The Obelisk Gate
2016 - The Fifth Season
2015 - The Three-Body Problem
2011 - Blackout/All Clear
The City & the City
2007 - Rainbows End
2005 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2004 - Paladin of Souls
2003 - Hominids
2000 - A Deepness in the Sky
1997 - Blue Mars
1995 - Mirror Dance
1994 - Green Mars
1993 - A Fire Upon the Deep
1992 - Barrayar
1991 - The Vor Game
1990 - Hyperion
1989 - Cyteen
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
1975 - The Dispossessed
1972 - To Your Scattered Bodies Go
1968 - Lord of Light
1965 - The Wanderer
1959 - A Case of Conscience
1958 - The Big Time
1956 - Double Star
1955 - The Forever Machine
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
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
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
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. : )
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!
Saw an article/op-ed by John Scalzi about his encounters with the recently passed Harlen Ellison.
Wanted to pass it along...
Happy new thread, Jeff!
Nice picture at the top, where/what is Joshua Tree?
>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.
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.
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
Hey Joe, thanks for stopping by.
Yeah, Amy is quite funny, probably my favorite book last month
>20 mahsdad: Thank you for the explanation, Jeff, and for the picture of the Joshua Trees :-)
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.
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
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.
>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.
>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.
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.
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.
Reading - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Listening - Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
The Zero - Jess Walter
Seven Wonders - Adam Christopher
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.
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!
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)
>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. :)
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.
How are you likng Vinegar Girl, Jeff? I thought it was pretty good, not being a Shakespeare fanatic myself.
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)
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)
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.
>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.
>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.
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.
>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.
Tour of Penguin Books UK Archive. Boy Howdy would I love to hang out there...
>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!
British Literary Romantic Drama on Netflix (the new home of Masterpiece Theater?) - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
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!
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
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)
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sorry I missed your birthday! Glad it was a good one. And that’s a great pic!
Happy Foto Friday Folks. Today was a good cloud day around me. I took this with my phone.
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.
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. :)
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!
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.
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.
>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.
Love the Friday photo and Borne. Now on to Monday...! Hope you have a great week.
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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. 😀
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.
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)
Have a great weekend, Jeff.
You sold me on the Gaiman take on Norse Mythology.
>77 PaulCranswick: Hey Paul, thanks for stopping by.
Personally, Gaiman is an easy sell. I think you'll enjoy it.
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)
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.
S: 7/25/18 - 8/5/18 (12 Days)
>80 mahsdad: Good review, Jeff, now I want to read it!
Sadly my library doesn't have it, I will have to look elsewhere.
>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. :)
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)
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)
How many of us can totally relate to this guy (though for me certainly not on his scale) ...
Robin Ince's 1000 Book Purge.
>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."
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.
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
Happy Foto Friday Folks! Today's the first Friday in October (yikes), so today's image is from my calendar.
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
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)
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
Happy Foto Friday Folks. I hope your weekend aspires to my girl here. Its what I hope to be doing :)
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
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.
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.
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.
I know I'm late to the game, but I'm binging on Longmire (on Netflix). Just started season 2. Loving it.
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
Just a quick post, because I hated seeing just 99 posts, had to get to 100.
I finished An Absolutely Remarkable Thing - really liked it
Savoring Longmire on Netflix. Loving it. But I binged all of the new episodes of Making a Murderer. More and more, I think they didn't do it, but they'll never get out of prison.
>99 mahsdad: I love that picture. 'doing what she does best'. I have three of my own and I know this posture well.
>100 mahsdad: My brother introduced me to Longmire and, Like you I savored up until the last two seasons which I binged in fairly short order. What a great production all the way around.
Hey Brodie, Thanks for the kind words, and for stopping by.
To all, if you enjoyed reading Bird Box a few years ago, like did, you might be interested in the movie version that is coming to Netflix (and some theaters) in December. It stars Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. Here's the trailer...
Speaking of Longmire (from yesterday), I was looking around on IMDb because I wasn't that familiar with Robert Taylor (the star) and was shocked to learn that he was Agent Jones, in the Matrix. You'll hardly recognize him, if you go back and watch it.
Happy Foto Friday Folks!
Today's image comes from the clouds that showed up a couple weeks ago before a massive, wonderful, freak lightning storm that hit the area. It was the best lightning I've ever seen, and it happened in Southern California, which never gets lightning (mostly because it never rains). Enjoy.
Finished - An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. Enjoyed this quite a lot. More later, when I finally catch up
Reading - Pittsburgh Noir - a collection of Noir-type stories set in PGH. Some really interesting stories here. Put out by Akashic Books, they have a whole series of books set in different towns.
Listening - The Fireman by Joe Hill. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree in terms of door stop novels. Seems like I've been listening to it forever and still not half way thru.
Graphic Novel - March Vol 3 - finally finishing up John Lewis' Civil Rights memoir
Happy Friday, Jeff. Love the atmospheric Foto! Sorry, to hear you are still slogging through The Fireman. I am glad that one is in my rear-view.
Hooray, for March Vol 3. What a fantastic trilogy it is. It should be taught in schools.
The boy had an extra credit opportunity for AP Literature to go see Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller in the stage play of Frankenstein (it was actually at a movie theater - Fathom Event rebroadcast), so we both went, and it was excellent.
They actually switched roles, one night Cumberbatch played the Creature, the next he was Frankenstein. It was really excellent.
The version we saw was Miller as the Creature and he was magnificent.
Here's the trailer - https://youtu.be/aY85IzWexWo
GR started their voting for Book of the Year, and the only thing I realized is that I don't read enough current fiction. I've read just about nothing on the lists and knew about almost next to nothing.
And yet I still have triple digits on my WL. So little time...
Been reading Moonglow by Michael Chabon. Boy I love his writing.
To finish up Halloween, here's a bit of imagery of the season from Mr. Chabon...
As he patrolled Forest Park in his car that Halloween, looking for my grandmother - a check of nearby hospitals and police stations had turned up nothing - most of what my grandfather saw was shadow. Then, into a cone of streetlight or a lighted porch, there would burst a doctor and a dead man and a robot and a carrot and Abe Lincoln and a werewolf and a pharaoh and a fly. My grandfather had never seen so many kitchen-broom witches, bedsheet ghosts, popgun sheriffs. A giant baby holding hands with a pint-size gorilla, a tramp with a monocled millionaire. A dreamlike river of children coursing in and out of shadow...
If you liked Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, you'll be happy to know that her follow up (not a sequel) book will finally be coming out in 2019.
It's Time! Come one, come all to the Christmas Swap Page for 2018!
Stumbled across a video of a Conversation with Neil Gaiman and David Mitchell. (Its long, but so far its fascinating). I'll always listen to Gaiman speak. I've never heard Mitchell, but they are really good together.
Happy Friday, Jeff. I have wanted to read Moonglow since it came out and I have it saved on audio. I really need to move it up.
I am saving that Gaiman/Mitchell interview for later. Looks great.
>114 mahsdad: "Real life is rubbish at staying within genre." --Neil Gaiman
I want to have that tattooed on me somewhere. Pithy and perfect.
Also, I wish I liked David Mitchell's books because I quite like him personally. Charmingly self-deprecating.
>115 msf59: Moonglow is a fun read. Slightly genre twisting, as its kinda of a memoir, but kinda not. The main characters are Chabon and his family, and the story has a touch of truth, but I'm not sure how much is F and how much is NF. Worth the read tho...
>116 richardderus: Have you read Black Swan Green? That's the last one of his I read and I really enjoyed it
Way behind...Again. Lightning Round
53. Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin : Listened to on Audio. An urban fantasy, that follows Peter Lake thru time in a snow covered New York. Very dense, hard to describe. One of those books I'd always see on the shelves at the bookstore, finally waded thru it.
54. Borne - Jeff VanderMeer : Sarah is a scavenger in a ravaged world and she finds a lump of something that turns out to be "alive". Is it plant, is it animal, is it terrestrial. It grows rapidly and takes over her life, it a child-like way. Very engaging read, fascinating imagery. Like with his Southern Reach trilogy, very weird, but in a good way.
55. White Noise - Don DeLillo : A story about Jack Gladney, a professor of Hitler Studies (yes Hitler) at a mid-west college, portrait of a life type stuff. But that life is just a bit off. He has a bunch of kids from a bunch of ex-wives, which leads to drama. Not to mention the "Airborne Toxic Event" from a train derailment outside of town that threatens everyone. This National Book Award winner, was an odd but excellent read.
Because we suffer from brain fade. We need an occasional catastrophe to break up the incessant bombardment of information.
56. Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King (and Owen King): Listened to on audio. A strange sickness sweeps the world that causes all women to fall asleep and become encased in a cocoon of their body's own making. If someone attempts to wake them up, they become murderous zombies. The world collapses, and in one small town, a fight for control of a women's prison that houses the one woman who is unaffected. The women themselves, are transported to an idyllic parallel world. Not sure how I feel about this, its either a feminist novel or a misogynistic one. It was okay, but long.
>119 richardderus:. ...humid, mycological world... Great way to describe him.
Lightning Round - Part 2
57. Border Songs - Jim Lynch : A fun satirical story about life on the border, the NORTHERN border. Brandon is a extremely tall dyslexic who is obsessed with art and birds. To get away from his family's dairy farm, get gets on the Border Patrol. Working primarily to capture illegal aliens and drug runners, he is somewhat preternaturally good at his job. Written in 2009, but given Canada's legalization of marijuana, it is a very "current" book. Really funny and worth the time.
"Everyone knows a CIA lab in Laos refined heroin in the seventies," Duval began, as if answering a question. "Then they used Noriega, of course, to trade guns for coke with the Contras in the eighties. Remember that? And in the nineties, it's undisputed that the agency supplied the camels to haul opium to labs along the Afghan-Paki order. So why would the U.S. allow the legalization of cannabis when it knows it would forfeit its ability to manipulate the world?"
58. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing - Hank Green : Green's debut novel is sci-fi for the Youtube/social media generation. In the middle of the night April discovers a 10 ft tall transformer wearing samurai armor that she calls Carl. She and her best friend upload a Vlog about it to Youtube and gets caught up in a viral whirlwind as more Carl's appear over the world. Are they man-made, some elaborate art project, or sent by alien overlords. It has shades of Ready Player One, when the world starts dreaming the same dream about the Carls and elaborate puzzles to solve. Good guys vs. bad guys racing to solve the enigma of the Carls. The ending was a bit telegraphed, but over all an excellent read.
Would you rather be the first person to reveal that there is a mystery? Or the person who solves the mystery?
I'm in Seattle this week. So, even though, the bookstore in LAX (Alaska) is weak, it did provide a new interesting looking collection of short stories.
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah "From the start of this extraordinary debut, Adjei-Brenyah's writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations..."
I was intriqued.
Hey Brodie, I'm actually down in Olympia. I can't do anything this time, but if you're somewhat close, we might have to plan a meet up the next I'm up here.
Are you going to join the 75 Christmas Swap this year? :)
Happy Foto Friday (on Saturday) Folks. Hope you are having a lovely day. I started mine out with a leisurely (Ha) 10K run around the PV Peninsula.
Today's image is one I took this week when I was up in Olympia, WA. It was nice to see some moisture.
Reading : An Agent of Utopia - Andy Duncan. A collection of short stories that I got from the LT ER program
Listening : Origin - Dan Brown. I'm not expecting much, other than a rollicking thriller with Robert Langdon (who I can't see as anyone else but Tom Hanks)
Thank you kind sir! I was with a couple collegues and they both walked right by on our way to the car, but I immediately had to grab my phone and squat down on my old man knees to take it. :)
Riverworld? Sounds intriguing. Now I'm going to have to acquaint myself. BB
If anyone remotely cares, I updated my Virtual Library Collection. It's stuff I've read and don't want to keep forever. I'll probably take these to a library sale eventually, but in the meantime...
Anything here is fair game. If there's anything here, you want, let me know and I'll send it to you.
Oh hey! Me me! I'd love to possess the Neuman and the VanderMeer! Do you still have my addy?
59. Saga Vol. 9 - Brian K. Vaughan. I continue to enjoy this series. If you haven't read it, and enjoy graphic novels, go back and start at the beginning. The Hoopla app is great for reading them.
60. Pittsburgh Noir edited by Kathleen George. One of a series of books from Akashic Press. Noir stories based in and written by authors from, the titled town. In this case, Pittsburgh. Other towns in the series, from Baltimore to New York to Havana to San Francisco and all points in between. Most of the authors in this book were unfamiliar with me, except for a favorite of my Stewart O'Nan. An excellent assortment of odd stories.
From Pray for Rain by Nancy Martin - Now the Allegheny swept masses of junk and debris past the few remaining boats tied up at the marina. An empty doghouse floated by, trailing a length of chain. Half a plastic Santa bobbed by on the turmoil of cold brown water. He rolled with the current until one mittened hand rose in the air as if hailing a rescue boat.
61. The Fireman by Joe Hill. Read on audio. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree (he's Stephen King's kid) in this door-stop of a novel. In a kinda dystopian world, people are becoming infected with a disease that causes them to catch on fire. After the world falls apart, the bulk of the story focuses on an enclave of infected survivors living in a camp hiding from the world. The fire disease is a bit of a McGuffin to facilitate what happens to people when the world goes to crap. It was a pretty good story, not great, but worth the 23 hours of listening time.
The half-Santa is an arresting image. Those Noir series books are lots of fun.
Eat heartily of the flesh of the dinosaur who gave its life for your delectation.
Santa - exactly. When I read it, it literally stopped me in my tracks and made me read that sentence again.
No dinosaurs for us. Actually we'll be partaking of a bit of the bovine. Specifically a nice brisket. But in any case, the same sentiments are sent right back to you.
Brisket is a great idea. I'm having jalapeño cheddar bratwurst and mushroom-apple-onion dressing with cranberry sauce. Oh the yum!
Yeah, those King's are a very literary family, 4 out of the 5 of them are authors. I wanted to like The Fireman more than I did, unfortunately.
62. Moonglow - Michael Chabon : A memoir/novel of a "Michael Chabon" telling the story of his grandfather's life while on his deathbed. From his time in WWII, to his obsession with rockets and Werner von Braun, and the trials of his mentally ill wife. Its a very poignant story that seems all too real, but was only loosely based on his real grandfather. He was inspired to begin writing the novel when he saw a vintage ad for a model rocket company called Chabon Scientific, a company he or no one in his family had ever heard of. Chabon is one of my favorite writers, so it was a must read for me, and a good one it was as well.
This edition was purchased at Hudson Books in an airport somewhere and the introductory letter Chabon wrote to Hudson's customers, was hilarious and almost worth the price of the book alone.
My grandparents forgave each other with the pragmatism of lovers in a plummeting airplane. There would be ample time for reproach in the event of their survival.
S: 10/15/18 - 11/16/18 (33 Days)
Fantastic Foto Friday Folks. So nice that its finally getting to be "winter" in Southern California. Which means cooler temps (60's, yeah I know :) ) and wonder of wonder.... RAIN. Yippee.
Today's image is one that makes me remember that its nice to sometimes just look UP. Its a ceiling in an old office building in downtown San Pedro. Enjoy..
Reading - The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, I like me some Murakami.
Listening - Origin by Dan Brown
>139 mahsdad: Lovely. All the lines are clearly thought through to make that vista.
>140 richardderus: Thanks RD. It was one of those things where I was walking out of the building, glanced up and then stopped backed up to get into a good position
Saw a fun video this morning from PBS, called "Can you just a book by its cover?" Pretty fun, interesting... https://youtu.be/4YvhLHqvtVo
In humblebragging news, I got a like and comment from Jasper Fforde for my ceiling picture I posted on Friday >139 mahsdad:. When I posted it on IG, I tagged Fforde on it, because he has a "thing" where he posts pictures of interesting ceilings. I was inspired by his work, and he saw it. I always love drive by encounters with the famous.
>143 richardderus: I know right?! I have a high school friend who is IG friends with Michael Chabon and when I saw him comment on one of her posts, I almost giggled like a little school girl. I think authors are my favorite celebrities. Them and Dave Grohl, I'd sell a kidney for Dave Grohl. :)
>144 brodiew2: Not a problem Brodie, I always walk a fine line between making sure everyone knows and has the opportunity and being a pest. I'm actually not doing SantaThing this year.
Thanks for the photo love.
Happy Foto Friday. Today's image is something sharp. Watch where you step.
Reading - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Murakami. Such a simple beginning, an out of work lawyer spends his day keeping house and looking for his lost cat. But then it goes sideways, like all things Murakami. Loving it.
Listening - Lowboy by John Wray. I just got another John Wray book (The Lost Time Accidents) and I noticed this one in an audiobook search. A schizophrenic boy, lost in NY, thinks he can save the world from coming to an end.
I love that my family picks a movie theater based upon its proximity to a book store (well not really, but there is one right next to one of the theaters we go to). BTW, it was Bohemian Rhapsody and it was really good.
While at the book store, couldn't resist the bargain sale price for a copy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Not like I have anything else to read. Tsundoku Forever. (I got to get a tattoo of that)
Lots of fuss and botheration about the un-gaying of Freddie. *sigh* He was bisexual, folks. More for the boys, but he was in love with a woman, too...that's just sad to me, how hard it is for people to accept that men can love both genders as readily as women can.
Anyway. Good week ahead, Tsundoku Man!
Your average MAGA dillweed can't handle it. There was some other factual changes they made to give the story more "drama". But then its Hollywood, and not a documentary.
Good week to you too!
>151 laytonwoman3rd: LOL. It was my most family friendly derogatory term I could think of. I've got several other less wholesome that I could have used. :)
>151 laytonwoman3rd: ^^^what she said!! Dill is top of the pops for my culinary ops!
I had to go eat a pickle, just to calm my jangled nerves there!
Okay, okay, I take back. :)
They're not dillweeds, would you prefer jackholes, or douche-nozzles? LOL
Les Douche-nozzles Deplorables. Yes. Quite euphoniously insulting.
What if we call them poor benighted critturs who just don't appear to KNOW.
Hey Bill, Yeah I agree, WTH. Did he have someone on his personal lending library waiting list for it? :)
I'm pretty sure I've read everything. At least all the fiction. There's a couple essay collections that I haven't gotten to yet.
Hi, Jeff. I always enjoy your reading choices. Glad to see you are enjoying Wind Up Bird. I am starting Murakami's latest, in the next week or so. Pumped about it.
I am enjoying Magic For Beginners. Like many collections, not every story hits the mark, but when they do, they are excellent.
I have Lowboy on shelf. Just sayin'...
Thanks Mark! My boss asked me the other day what I was reading, and when I told him I was reading Murakami, he paused (we were on the phone) and said, in a slightly sarcastic tone, oh sure that's the next book I was going to read. Its always fun to surprise/confound the normal reading public.
Kelly Link... maybe that's what I like about collections, there's always a chance for a real corker. :)
Its always fun to surprise/confound the normal reading public.
I'm with you on that one! 😀
Anyone heard of If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson?
Its the first book in a new book club that John Green started called Life's Library. http://www.lifeslibrarybookclub.com.
Its a year long subscription service where you buy that month's book and participate in a group read/discussion (on Discord). I'm not sure if I'll do the discussions, I'm crap at group reads, but it was an excuse to get books (sure I have to buy them but so what) that I might never have read before.
This one is perhaps a little too young for me (Newberry winner, aimed at YA), but its worth a try.
Got my latest ER pick - Amsterdam Noir, another in the Akashic series. I really enjoyed the Pittsburgh one (in some ways because Pittsburgh is my hometown), I'm sure I'll enjoy learning about Amsterdam
Also got another unexpected package, but I suspect its from Santa, so I ain't going to open it.
I know we all are here (other than the scintillating conversation), to catalog our reading life. But that doesn't mean we don't want to track things offline. I currently have a moleskin notebook that I update with my finished books.
If you're interested, here's an insanely detailed spreadsheet from Book Riot. I'm intrigued by the idea of automatic results and charting. I think I'm going to play with it next year.
Wow. That's a beast, alright. I think I'll stick with my version and make incremental improvements/additions.
Hi Jeff, we would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and festive season and send seasonal love and hugs from both of us.
Thanks RD, John, Anita!
Merry Christmas to you all, and all my other friends out there lurking by. :)
My Final (probably) book update for the year. A couple catch-up reviews and my current status...
64. An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan. I got this thru ER for an honest review. Honestly, this collection of sci-fi and near sci-fi stories, was a bit of a miss for me. I ended up putting it down about 3/4 of the way thru. Perhaps it was just the mood I was in at the time. There were a couple stories that were exceptional that made the read worthwhile, perhaps I'll go back eventually and pick up the rest. My favorites were; "An Agent of Utopia" - a assassin from Utopia, "The Map to the Homes of the Stars" - life in a small town and the map to the stars in the mind of two young boys, and "Senator Bilbo" - a delightful imaging of Bilbo Baggins as a Senator in the Legislature of the Shire.
65. Origin by Dan Brown - Typical techno-religious thriller starring the famous Robert Langdon. This time in a single day, he's trying to track down the presentation of a famous futurist who say's he's discovered the earth shaking origins of life. I listened to it on audio, a worthwhile romp.
66. Lowboy by John Wray - A schizophrenic young man is riding the subways trying to save the world, while his mother and a police detective try to find him. Listened to it on audio, it was a little slow, I wasn't sure where it was going for a while, but it was ultimately a good read.
Reading - The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami - Still reading this (a bit of a doorstop), but am throughly enjoying it. It is a very weird, surreal book, but I can't wait to see how it ends.
Listening - From a Certain Point of View - a collection of 40 stories by 40 different authors about the characters in Star Wars that you never heard of. Like a bureaucrat on the Death Star, helping out with a Stormtrooper's paperwork, to the story of R5-D4, the red droid that almost got selected by Luke on Tatoonie.
Next up - If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson. My book for John Green's Life's Library book group.
What a lovely photo, Jeff. And you're Ratfinkibus maximus pittsburghi for BBing me twice...From a Certain Point of View and "Senator Bilbo"...on Yule. Meanie.
>176 richardderus: HeeHee. Turn about is fair play, plenty of times I've been hit by you.
Certain Point of View - I'm listening on audio, if you can (not sure what your audio technology is), I recommend it. I use Libby on my phone to borrow audio from my library.. Multiple narrators with special effects and music.
An Agent of Utopia - I'll send it to you, if you want.
*guiltily* I, umm, yeah okay if you please
Ear-reading has always made me sleepy. Recently I enjoyed a YouTube ear-read of Dagon by Lovecraft, but one story's very different from a whole book.
67. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami : This is probably the weirdest book I've read all year, and I loved it. It is a surreal mystery that I'm not sure if I can describe adequately, so I'll paraphrase the back blurb of the book itself... "heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of WWII."..."Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid 16 yr old girl and an aging war veteran". What starts out as an unemployed lawyer's search for his lost cat, takes several hard turns and a u-turn or two, thru WWII Manchuria and ends up down a well. If you're an advocate of the odd, then check this one out.
S: 11/27/18 - 12/26/18 (30 Days)
And that folks, is probably my last book of the year. I have a short YA book to read for John Green's Life's Library, so I just might squeak that one in, we'll see.
I've already joined the group for 2019, but I haven't setup my thread yet. When I do, I'll post a link here and shut things down for the year. While I didn't meet the "goal", I read a lot of wonderful stuff. I've got quite the stack ready to go for next year.
Yeah, that Murakami was a real brain twister for me. See you on the other side!
>186 drneutron: There's at least 3 chapters that I have NO idea what was going on. I totally missed the connection with the little kid waking up and seeing the 2 guys burying something under his tree.
For all --- Here's a great list that shows the Best selling novels for the last 100 years. They did some tweaking, but all the data came from Publisher's Weekly. It shows the difference between what sells and what is a critical "hit". Check out your birth year, have you read the number 1 book?
For me it was Valley of the Dolls, and that would be a no. :)
>187 mahsdad: Advise and Consent is my exact age, as is The Leopard. I've read both, liked one. Oh, and Hawaii too. Yep. Read three, liked one. I haven't heard of *any* of the other top-tenners. The also-rans, now, I've read 'em all and only didn't really like Rabbit, Run.
Interesting, thanks for sharing that.
Almost at an end, time to move on... Here's my link to 2019
>184 mahsdad: Hooray for Wind-up Bird! I just finished his latest. Not on the same level as my favorites but a good enough read.
Happy Saturday, Jeff. I will slowly be making my last LT rounds for 2018. I hope the book year treated you well. I had a great year, despite falling a few books shy of last year's total. I am working on my Best of the Year list and hope to post it tomorrow.
I am enjoying The Invoice. I needed a shorty to pad my list. Grins...
Yay for The Windup Bird Chronicle! Sounds like you enjoyed it as much as I did, Jeff. Wonderful, weird book.
Hi Jeff, I would like to wish you a very happy new year and hope that 2019 is also a good one mate.
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