drneutron's (Jim's) Reading and Eating in 2019 Part 2
This is a continuation of the topic drneutron's (Jim's) Reading and Eating in 2019.
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I'm Jim, 56, husband of 33 years, father of a son in a PhD program in Comp Sci at Notre Dame, who reads pretty much anything. We're in central Maryland with roots in Louisiana. I like to read (obviously), cook, want to learn to fly fish, and trail bike riding/kayaking with mrsdrneutron. Of course, LT is a big time sink, but mrsdrneutron seems to have come to terms with my LT addiction... 😀
Some really good Barbadan food here:
And an update:
5. Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson
A delightful look at the past, present, and future of - as Pension says - Earth's most awesome creatures. This is nature writing at its best!
6. The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
When the daughter of Dr Jeckyll and the daughter of Mr Hyde find each other, they also find a mystery in murders (yes, those murders!) in 1890s Whitechapel. And from there, they learn of a secret society that has been experimenting on women, especially the daughters of famous literary figures. So of course they take on the task of stopping this group - with assistance from Holmes and Watson!
Goss' pastiche/literary metafiction is a fun ride - not too deep, but an involving story that I thoroughly enjoyed!
7. The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
This one's subtitled "A Murder and a Memoir", and that's what it is - the story of a child molester who kills a young boy in Louisiana, and the story of Marzano-Lesnevich's own experience of sexual abuse by a family member. Marzano-Lesnevich starts investigating this crime as an intern at a law firm specializing in death penalty appeals, though she isn't necessarily against the death penalty. Years later, the book she gives us is so much more than just a retelling of the events of the crime or her own experiences - she has come to see that the individuals who did these things are people, and while they may have done some terrible things, there's always more to the story. It's a profoundly moving insight into a world I've never experienced.
Fair warning - this is a hard book to read. There are some pretty horrific things that happen, both to the murder victim and to the author.
Morning, Jim! Happy new thread! I loved the photos that you shared on the previous thread - so full of fabulous!
Happy new thread, Jim! And wonderful pictures of your trip on the previous thread. What a beautiful sunset, and hooray for your meet-up with Victoria!
Happy new thread Jim. Thanks for your words on The Fact of a Body. It was a Chautauqua book last year and I first didn't think I'd read it, then changed my mind and bought it, now I think you've convinced me that I will just donate it. It really doesn't sound like me cuppa.
Happy new thread Jim! I've been eyeing Spying on Whales on my library's new books shelf ... the trouble is finding time to squeeze it in ...
The Marzano-Lesnevich book also sounds really compelling.
Happy new thread, Jim. Gorgeous photos on your last thread. Thanks for sharing them.
Happy new thread! Looks like you and mrsdrneutron had a wonderful winter vacation.
>1 drneutron: It's always important to know where the good food is! Happy new thread!
Dang it! I wrote this whole long thing about The Fact of a Body and then forgot to hit post before I left. Sigh. Anyhow, short recap--I have it and am afraid to start it because it seems so dark. I am going to have to line up some lighter books to go with it.
Happy new thread!!
>20 drneutron: Within my budget and local I'm no slouch myself - how about Nepalese, Oaxacan or Bosnian? And I just stumbled across the most fabulous fried chicken sandwiches imaginable that are huge.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the Goss book for what it was!
ETA And Happy New Thread!!
>21 quondame: I've had Nepalese once while on a business trip to Berkeley - really enjoyed it. I've been to Oaxaca, so have had several dishes, and again enjoyed it. Bosnian's new to me, but I'm game! I love a good fried chicken sandwich, especially from a real Long Island deli like I used to frequent when I was traveling there for work.
Mrsdrneutron and I are pretty adventurous with food and like to try new places/new things. So when we travel, we like to try to find where the locals eat when we can.
>22 ronincats: Yep, it's a great bit of fun with all the literary references. Mrsdrneutron snagged it after I got done. It's right up her alley, so she'll love it too, I'm sure.
>23 harrygbutler: Thanks!
>24 alcottacre: Cool! Those are both good ones.
>25 drneutron: I think the fried chicken sandwich was an echo of your real Long Island deli ones - I went to Schwartz's Market looking for their blooming onion and to see if they had any Israeli halva (no & yes). The Bosnian is similar to Greek with a milder cheese instead of feta and puffier bread (the bread is the best). I have only traveled a bit and not at all recently, so I'm very glad to live where I can get Taiwanese beef noodle soup and Persian soups for a bit of effort and money.
>27 quondame: The DC area is like that - we can get lots of different kinds of foods at various prices, some not so affordable. :) Still, it's a great place to be for that sort of thing.
>28 drneutron: My two DC area siblings have migrated away now, but I did enjoy staying with my sister because she ate out at all sorts of lovely places (Alexandria VA is sort of DC isn't it?) and my Georgetown brother had a fabulous cook who left exotic fruit plates in the fridge even when he wasn't at home. But I missed sour dough bread.
Hello Jim! Happy new one!
Random Q: Have you ever read The Pritcher Mass by Gordon R. Dickson?
>29 quondame: Yep, Alexandria counts as "DC area" just like central Maryland where I am! We take day trips there regularly to walk King Street and see the shops/sights.
>30 brodiew2: Thanks! My Dickson is limited to The Dragon and the George and a few of the sequels. That one sounds interesting, though!
All this food talk has my mouth watering. I live in rural Virginia so exotic food is not readily available. I make what I can but I also live vicariously through Sam Sifton, the Food Editor at the NY Times. I'm not sure his column is available for free but it's a lovely read with amazing food. Click here to check it out.
Happy new thread, Jim. It does seem happy with all the interesting food talk. There are quite a few different cuisines available where I live (close to Vancouver). I have The Fact of a Body on my shelves as well. I really should get to it soon because I have read so many warnings about it which are putting me off a bit.
Happy new thread, Jim. I'm on a diet so just a quick stop here. Must leave before all this food talk overwhelms me. :)
Fabulous photos from the old thread, Jim - thanks for posting them!
And happy new thread!
Happy new thread, Jim. I love all the talk about food. My main reason for traveling, is the food!
Happy Friday, Jim. Happy New Thread. I also thought The Fact of a Body was excellent and haunting. It made my best of list, last year.
>7 laytonwoman3rd: The Fact of a Body looks like a VERY hard book to read. Sounds excellent, but I might avoid it.
>37 richardderus: Mostly. I have a bit of a head cold that I probably picked up on the plane home. And you?
>38 Familyhistorian: Vancouver was another of the places I visited that had a really good food scene. Especially salmon. I could die for the salmon!
>39 tymfos: Thanks! I hope we didn't make it too hard on you! 😀
>40 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks!
>41 Oregonreader: Me, too!
>42 msf59: It'll be on my best of too, even though it was as you say, haunting.
>43 richardderus: *snerk*
>44 The_Hibernator: Understandable. She doesn't pull any punches or soften what happened at all. Not for everyone, for sure.
>45 drneutron: Thrilled! I had a series of pleasant surprises when I went out today so I'm still all smiley and warm. I'm going to see my YGC this evening, so there's another plus.
That cold, if it's the one we circulated through here, is a BEAR. I powered through it in 3-1/2 days but that's because I can just go to sleep whenever I want. I hope it won't throw you around the ring.
I saw your post about the nectarines. They sound great! I've got a few cherries left in the fridge I'm planning to polish off tonight. Say hi to the YGC for us!
The cold's not too bad - just stuffed up sinuses so far that Sudafed (the real stuff that gets you on a DEA watch list) is taking care of. Though I did wind up going to bed at 9 pm last night... 😀
I tried the pseudoSudafed and was utterly unaffected. I didn't even get sleepy. Luckily the pharmacy where I buy it has my info on file so I don't have to go through the whole rigamarole every time I want to breathe in conifer-pollination season.
Rob said Hi back.
>48 richardderus: PseudoSudafed makes me wakeful and jittery, pseudo-chlor trimeton is what makes me somewhat sleepy.
>48 richardderus: We always buy from the same pharmacy, but they alway# have to entire me in the database when I buy. Maybe Maryland has a bigger problem with folks cooking meth than your area. 🙄
But the fake stuff does absolutely nothing for me.
>49 quondame: Sudafed makes me hyper, so I only take it occasionally. Chlortrimeton and other “sleepy” meds don’t make me sleepy. It’s really annoying come allergy season!
My drug response is kinda weird across the board. I took some OTC nose spray for about a week because Mrsdrneutron swore it helped her. All it did for me was induce this don’t-give-a-sh*t-about-anything attitude. Went away about a day after I stopped using it. Her doc’s response was “huh, it’s not supposed to do that”
Happy sort-of new thread, Jim! I'm 50 post behind, so will just start fresh from right here :)
8. The Re-Origin of Species by Torill Kornfeldt
Torill Kornfeldt got interested in efforts to “bring back” extinct species through genetic manipulation and other techniques like cloning. I say”bring back” because what that really means depends on who’s doing the research - for instance, some methods involve adding genes from extinct species to existing animals, while others involve reproducing the whole animal in toto through cloning. All sorts of side issues get raised through this work like questions of how ancient animals fit into today’s environment or can we do harm to ourselves and the world around us by reintroducing extinct species. A thought-provoking and interesting book.
Unfortunately, all I could think of while reading this was “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.” Really, have any of these scientists watched science fiction movies?!
9. In Search of Mary Shelley by Fiona Sampson
Interesting biography of the creator of Frankenstein. A fascinating look at a fascinating life.
>54 drneutron: I read some comments on this one Jim. Was rather convinced by them that no it isn't really possible, you get a sort of fake, a copy that isn't the real thing.
Quite agree with you, think about it. I think it's more important now not to let species go extinct in the first place, if we can avoid it.
Happy newish thread Jim!
>58 PaulCranswick: Been quiet so far. Mrsdrneutron got a new sewing machine, so had her quilting friends over yesterday to work on some things. I played sewing butler! 😀
>59 EllaTim: one of the major points of the book is that what’s going on is mostly faking up extinct animals to a greater or lesser degree. And there’s only a little thought about how to make sustainable populations or environments where these animals can exist. So it’s mostly a gimmick used to figure out how genetics works.
And yeah, keeping animals from going extinct in the first place is better.
Drugs react differently in my system, too. This has caused quite a bit of trouble for me over time. Annoying isn't it?
>64 drneutron: Then yes, I definitely need one of those. And if he needs to be a scientist, I have one on hand...
>72 The_Hibernator: Just skimming the reviews, it seems like my opinion is in line with most readers. 😀
Hi, Jim. Finally out and visiting and dropping a star here. Glad you had fun on your travels - I long for some place warm and sunny right now, but with a middle schooler and a high schooler, I'm doomed to the cold for a while! I have been debating for some time whether to read the Goss book or not - sounds like I might have to pull the trigger one of these days.
>54 drneutron: Sounds really interesting; I share the dilemma between "Cool!" and "Wait, they're not actually going to do that are they nuts?" Of course, humans being what we are ... if we think we know how to do something then sooner or later someone with the resources is gonna try. Especially if there are weapons applications.
>74 rretzler: Robin - Ours has been out of the house for a few years now in grad school. So winter trips become a heckuva lot easier. 😀 Though now we have to make arrangements for mother-in-law care as she's approaching 90.
You should definitely go for the Goss book. It's a lot of fun, in a far-fetched kind of way. Made really good reading on an airplane!
>75 swynn: Yup, see for instance the guy in China trying to genetically engineer human babies. It turns out he's not as far along or as successful as originally thought, but he's not stopping.
Just delurking to say hello. Hello. Hoping your Thursday is full of fabulous!
Hello! Eh, been a good day, but not especially fabulous. Dinner with mrsdrneutron and friends will be a plus, though. 😀
10. Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Humanity has managed to destroy the Earth from nuclear weapons exchange - except for small groups living on generation airships above the megastorms and radiation on the surface. Hell divers loot the surface to find what these ships need to survive. This one's the story of the Hive - one of the last of the airships - and how it survives.
Decent brain candy - I'm on the second one now.
11. Black Skies by Arnaldur Indridason
Eighth or so in the Erlandur Icelandic police procedural series. It's Scandicrime dark, with an interesting set of characters. In this one, a secondary character takes the lead with interesting results - he's not a particularly likable character for me. Good book, though, if you like this sort of thing.
Hi Jim and happy new thread.
Thanks for sharing the pics of your vacation on your last thread. Boy, am I behind!
>3 drneutron: I have The Fact of a Body on my shelves – bought it last year while waiting to hear David Sedaris speak. I’ve got way too much non-fiction going on right now to start it, but will try to get to it this year.
Hi Jim! Happy Monday! Is it warmer out there than it is in Minnesota? I hope so.
Definitely warmer than Minnesota, but still cold. I’m thinking of heading back to Barbados! 😀
12. Hell Divers II: Ghosts by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Second in the series begun with, unsurprisingly, Hell Divers. Story continues 10 years after the events, as we find out more about what began the war that led to apocalypse, and as we find out how it may be possible for humanity to survive.
13. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Kell is one of the few people who can travel through different versions of London, including ours in the early 19th century. These Londons are distinguished by how magic is manifest in each of these worlds. In his native Red London, magic is a help, a companion. In others, like Black London - walled off from the rest to prevent the destruction of all the worlds - magic is alive and conscious, and wants to dominate. When a shard from Black London is brought to Red, Kell must get it back where it belongs and stop the conspiracy that brought it there in the first place.
This one's quite the creative bit of world-building, and I loved the concept. Schwab's very good with writing - ready to jump on the second!
Happy Friday, Jim! I liked A Darker Shade of Magic, so I'll be waiting to see what you think of the second one - I haven't read it yet.
I keep meaning to get to A Darker Shade of Magic and then forgetting about it again. Soon, hopefully.
Hi Jim. A Darker Shade of Magic has spent a very long time on my TBR list.. might pick it up this year.
There is a vote going on over on my thread.
>92 drneutron: I enjoyed all of the Shades of Magic trilogy; hope you like it too. The Hell Divers series is new to me, but sounds fun.
I think I got A Darker Shade of Magic as a Kindle special a while back. It's there waiting for me.
I have, and have read, A Darker Shade of Magic. I have the second book but was waiting for the third to come out in a matching TPB edition so I could read them both at once. That probably has happened by now...
Wow, didn't realize it was so popular here! I must not have been paying attention... 😀
14. Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America by Craig Childs
Childs is doing two things here: giving an interesting paleoanthropological storyline of how humans may have arrived in the Americas and how they lived, and also telling of his personal experiences traveling to places that resemble what the Americas at that time may have been like. The former was well done and very interesting, the latter, not as much. It's clear there's still a lot to learn about that time and those people, and there are some fascinating findings out there. I think I need to get better caught up on recent work in this subject with a more rigorous work.
15. The Void Protocol by F. Paul Wilson
Third in what looks like is supposed to be a trilogy (but may extend into a longer series). This series is connected to his Repairman Jack, Secret History of the World series - though the connection is very loose, with no character overlap I can see. It's a fun story with Lovecraftian themes, which I really enjoy. If you've read Repairman Jack, you should take a look!
Valentine's Day Heart Hunt is up!
Got 'em all, with the help of a bit of Googling.
>110 drneutron: Wow, Jim, you got them all !?!!
I started, found the first three, and tried some searches for the next ones. Then got distracted by my latest read.
I will give the hunt a try again tomorrow.
>110 drneutron: I got them too, but I definitely needed a couple of hits for some (there were a couple that referred to books I'd barely even heard of, by authors I was unfamiliar with). I love the hunts, and am already impatiently awaiting the next one.
>109 drneutron: I saw a review or something about the atlas recently and wondered how it would actually be.
>112 PawsforThought: Oooh, that could be fun. I never thought of St. Patrick's Day as a holiday (it's not in my part of the world) so I was thinking Easter, which is so very late this year.
Happy Wednesday, Jim. Hope all is going well. It looks like those books are treating you fine. I bought a copy of Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I am really getting pumped about that one.
>114 thornton37814: I thought it was an interesting read, but not deep enough to satisfy my curiosity. Plus, I mostly didn't care about his experiences climbing glaciers and such - it just came off as self-indulgent.
Those comments make it sound worse than it is, though. 😀
>115 PawsforThought: Yeah, St Patrick's Day would be fun, but is pretty specific compared even to Easter. Still, it would open up a whole new set of clues!
>116 msf59: Doing well, and reading well! That one's definitely on my list this year. I hope you like it!
>117 drneutron: There was something about it that made me not add it to my TBR list, but it's one I remember considering and thinking, "If it's good, someone on LT will rave about it."
Hello Jim! I hope all is well with you.
I'm eager to hear what you make of Out of the Dark. I'm halfway through and am struggling with a pinch of apathy. The action is good, but A plot isn't holding me like I hoped it would. Still Evan. Still Smoakin'. Still The Nowhere Man.
Time for an update!
16. Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
First of the 14-part Wheel of Time series - reading for our group read. This is epic fantasy at it's best. Jordan deliberately brings in mythology and references to other fantasy series/tropes to set a familiar scene, then gradually makes it his own. Part of the fun is picking out references to Arthurian legend, Lord of the Rings, Dune, etc. Part is also (since I'm rereading) picking out hints and shadows of things to come.
17. Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson
Pretty much everyone knows who Isaac Newton is and how he impacts physics and science in general. But many don't know that a bit later life, as he was looking for a position that would allow him to live comfortably in London, he was appointed Warden of the Mint - essentially the person who ran the operation to mint coins for the government. At the time, the English monetary system was under attack on two fronts: traders were able to exploit the difference in value of silver coins relative to gold in England and in continental Europe to make a bunch of money by shipping silver out of England, and by counterfeiters who used clipping and base metals to devalue the currency. Newton was tasked with restoring the currency to a stable footing.
He couldn't do much about international trading, but he could go after counterfeiters - which he did with a vengeance. One in particular, William Chaloner, was particularly wily and became Newton's nemesis in this activity. Levenson's story of this chase is a well-written, though at times densely packed book, with an interesting look at coinage and currency, monetary policy, and how some aspects of modern banking came to be.
18. Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson
Second in a pretty good series about an Icelandic policeman in the far north of the island. Here, the mystery isn't that mysterious, but the characters are interesting. And of course, it's interesting to see a different culture - and how in some ways it's so much like our own.
>122 drneutron: #17 Ooo! That looks fascinating. Alchemist, mint dude, calculus inflictor...I mean inventor! heh, of course I do...was there anything Ol' Asperger's #1 couldn't do?
Heh. Yeah, I knew he was Warden of the Mint, but thought that was mostly a ceremonial post to get him to London in comfort. In reality, he absolutely excelled at the post, and was pretty ruthless in dealing with counterfeiters. Wasn't afraid to use the spotlight and rubber hose method to make people talk, if you know what I mean.
Somehow it's not a surprise that Newton would be a great enforcer. Something about his need for order seems to militate for it.
>121 drneutron: The Newton book is definitely going in the Swamp. Thanks Jim!
>129 humouress: Opportunity was a great mission, along with Spirit. We try to plan for every contingency, so missions often last way past their lifetime. Voyagers have lasted 40 years now!
But it always affects us when a mission is done. We’re in the process of shutting down a mission called a van Allen Probes that have been studying the Earth’s magnetosphere for the last almost 10 years and it’s like losing a pet in some sense. I feel for the rover team!
>130 karenmarie: Morning! It was definitely an interesting side of Newton I didn’t know much about. I hope you like it!
19. Crucible by James Rollins
Latest in the Sigma Force series - and the usual pushing the bounds of science to create a fun techno-thriller. If you enjoy the series, you won’t be disappointed with this entry.
20. Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will Hunt
Will Hunt is one of those weird people fascinated by what’s beneath our feet. I can relate - I’m one too. While I don’t think I’d call this a history as the subtitle claims, it is an interesting look at different underground environments varying from the New York subway system to Paris’ catacombs to natural caves. Made me want to go caving again!
>135 drneutron: Hmm, the LT rating on this is pretty awful - 2.67.
How are the illustrations? Do you recommend it? What would you rate it?
Really? I guess I liked it better than most - but then my caving days probably biases me in favor of it.
I thought the pictures were cool, but there could have been more. Plus I was reading the e-book, so there were some minor formatting errors with them.
>135 drneutron: #19 Fourteenth book in the series (not counting interstitial addenda) and that's impressive. I think I read eight of them the year I went crazy. I kept a few notes of the books I got while I was locked up and promptly lost them when I got here. I loved the propulsive plots and to heck with slavish scientific accuracy.
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