New Arrivals, Current Reading July 8 – 14, 2013

NEW ARRIVALS:
None, except the books discussed below, from the library.

CURRENT READING:  * * The Judge Dee Interrupt * *

Once again I find myself saying It’s George Kelley’s fault”.  After reading this post on George Kelley’s blog, I thought: I should try some Judge Dee.

Though I’ve been aware of Van Gulik’s character for a long time, I’d not read any of the stories or novels, and decided it was time. I decided to start with  Judge Dee at Work, a collection of 8 short stories which I got from the library.

Of course this decision flies in the face of my Summer Reading Plan, about which I posted  here. As a consequence of reading the collection of Judge Dee short stories, and enjoying it very much indeed, I have now obtained two of the novels, The Chinese Gold Murders and The Lacquer Screen which are chronologically the first two in Dee’s career, though not in the order Van Gulik wrote the books.

So of the 18 books I’d planned to read this Summer, I’ve finished just one. The rest are on hold while I read Judge Dee. Whether this is a matter of the right book(s) at the right time or discovering something I’d have liked all along, I’m really enjoying these books. I’ve finished Judge Dee at Work and read about a third of The Chinese Gold Murders. I guess in the end any Summer Reading Plan is made to be modified, and that’s just what’s happened. Since the yard work and chores are done and it’s a warm afternoon, it’s time to grab a glass of iced tea and get back to the book.

What did YOU get, new, used or from the library, and
what have you been reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Current Reading, mystery, New Arrivals and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to New Arrivals, Current Reading July 8 – 14, 2013

  1. Jerry House says:

    In the stack for the end of the month are R. S. Belcher’s THE SIX-GUN TAROT and Alastair Reynolds new Doctor Who novel. Ready for me at my local library are Jean Chalot’s DANCE OF DEATH and Jack Finney’s collection I LOVE GALESBURG IN THE SPRINGTIME; I’ll read those before I head to Massachusetts on Wednesday. For my trip, I’ve packed away four Ed Gormans and four Bill Criders. For tonight, I’ll dip into Otto Penzler’s VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES. Life is good.

    And, since you’ve finished your yard work, you are more than welcome to come and do mine.

  2. Jerry House says:

    Make that Penzler’s THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES. I confused the title with his zombie anthology. My bad.

  3. Cap'n Bob says:

    I’m reading a book about the US Navy in the Pacific in WWII. It’s fiction, and the second in a series, but I don’t know if there are any more. Since they’re in Okinawa I assume the second book will also be the last. Or maybe they’ll move on to Korea. I’m enjoying them a lot. Even though they’re fairly thick paperbacks they move right along.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I got in a bunch of stuff last week. First, BetterWorld Books, where I’ve bought stuff before (usually about $4 for a hardback ex-lib book, including postage) had a 40% off sale a couple of weeks back so how could I resist? Right, I couldn’t. I got six books:

    Bill Crider, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE MURDER (previously read, of course) mass market pb; Bill did a great job with Bogart and I’m sorry he didn’t get to continue the series
    Warren Adler, NEW YORK STORIES trade pb; I’ve read a couple of other collections by the sometimes mystery writer and liked them
    Susan Rogers Cooper, SHOTGUN WEDDING, FULL CIRCLE, RUDE AWAKENING The first and third feature Oklahoma Sheriff Milt Kovak, the closest series in tone I’ve found to the Sheriff Rhodes books of Bill Crider (only Milt has a messier private life), the second features Texas housewife & romance writer E. J. Pugh. For whatever reason my library stopped getting these.
    Alexander McCall Smith, THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY No. 1 Ladies Detective book set in Botswana.
    These ranged from $2 to $2.40 each, postage included.

    I also got in three trade pbs from PaperbackSwap.com including another McCall Smith, THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION. The others were Tana French’s Edgar winning first book, IN THE WOODS, and Alan Furst’s SPIES OF THE BALKANS. And I got a couple of DVDs (JAWS and 1776) and a couple of CDs (John Fogerty duets, and Natalie Maines) from Amazon.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Books read? Yes, three. First one of mine: Robert McCammon’s often creepy (and in a good way) paperback original horror collection, BLUE WORLD. Then two library books, first the lightweight (but sometimes that hits the spot, especially in the summer) first in a series from Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg, THE HEIST, and then the very good first novel with the very bad title, BEAR IS BROKEN by Lachlan Smith. It sounds more like a childrens’ book than the mystery it is. New lawyer Leo Maxwell is having lunch with his brother Teddy, infamous for defending drug dealers and cop killers, when the latter is shot in the head. Meanwhile their father is in San Quentin for killing their mother. It’s set in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I noticed that PaperbackSwap has some Van Gulik Dover editions available including CELEBRATED CASES OF JUDGE DEE (DEE GOONG AN), the original stories that were translated by Van Gulik. I know I read that one.

  7. Glad you’re enjoying those Judge Dee stories! I binged on them back in the Seventies. But, I’m slowly rereading the series. Plans are made to be altered.

  8. I just finished Matheson’s HELL HOUSE last night. I know it’s a classic . . . but I don’t know how well it holds up. If a group of friends started a drinking game where everyone had to take a shot every time a character “hisses” from pain/shock/etc. everyone would be loaded by about mid-book. Still a nice snapshot of a time in the genre, though, and much of Matheson’s writing is quite imaginative.

  9. Richard says:

    Jerry, none of those is familiar to me except probably the unnamed Gorman and Crider books. You must be another of the many fast (quick) readers I know. I tend to plod along, not the slowest reader, but certainly not very rapid, either. I say that because you say you’ll get three books read by Wednesday and are taking six on your trip. Wow, that’s half a month of reading for me. Enjoy that trip, by the way.

  10. Richard says:

    Bob, those sound interesting, what are the titles, or who is the author (or both)?

  11. Richard says:

    Jeff, that’s a good Crider novel. I’m not familiar with Alder, and he sounds interesting, but I’m so overwhelmed with short story collections I won’t bite. I’m not familiar with Cooper, I don’t think. I started the first Smith book but only got about 30 pages in before setting it aside. Maybe one day I’ll pick it back up, it could just have been the wrong book/time thing. I got gun shy on used/library copies with the Judge Dee books I got that I decided to buy a few new copies, rather than going through BookSwap.

  12. Richard says:

    George, I have now finish two Dee books, the short story collection and The Chinese Gold Murders. Next up is The Lacquer Screen. I have more on the way.

  13. cgramlich says:

    Other than the nonfiction I read for my work, I figure any reading I want to do is the right reading for the time.

  14. Richard says:

    Chris, I tried something by Matheson once, and didn’t much care for it. I don’t recall which one it was, it may have been the one the recent film was based on. I don’t think I finished it, but then I’m not much of a fan of creepy/horror stuff. Unless it’s creepy horror aliens, that is.

  15. Richard says:

    Charles, it seems that more and more lately I need to have a good fit between my mood, including the weather, what’s going on elsewhere with me (such as medical issues, trips, big jobs around the house, etc.) and the book I pick to start. Summer doesn’t seem to be the time for deeper, more contemplative works, but I can easily knock off a bunch of light mysteries like Dee, Shayne, Mason, Wolfe and so on, or older SF-F or even newer space opera. I even enjoy a few younger reader classics, like Kidnapped or Hornblower during the summer months.

  16. Jeff Meyerson says:

    First, a correction. The Adler book is NEW YORK ECHOES. I never read his WAR OF THE ROSES but became familiar with him when PBS did an adaptation on American Playhouse of three of his stories from THE SUNSET GANG, about New Yorkers (mostly Jews) who retire to Century Village-like retirement communities in South Florida. (Adler is is my parents’ generation, having been born in 1927.) I read that book and the similar NEVER TOO LATE FOR LOVE.

  17. Patti Abbott says:

    Chocolate for Breakfast from the library. The Last Castle, Jack Vance, The Unsuspected, Charlotte Armstrong.

  18. Richard says:

    Patti, I know George loves Vance, and I like some of his work a lot, but it is an acquired taste, believe me. I still think The Dragon Masters is the best bet for you. I’m not familiar with Chocolate for Breakfast but it’s an intriguing title.

  19. John says:

    Because I have an essay due very soon for a tribute book I’m on a Kathleen Moore Knight reading binge. She was one of the Doubleday Crime Club writers back in the 30s, 40s and 50s and her work is hardly ever written about anywhere. I also just finished CASE OF THE LAUGHING VIRGIN by Jonathan Craig, The FOURTH FINGER by Anthony Wynne, and THE LAST POLICEMAN by Ben Winters.

    I think you might like THE LAST POLICEMAN, Rick. It won the Edgar for Best Paperback Original a few months ago. It’s a sort of science fiction apocalyptic take on the police procedural: a somewhat humorless, highly officious young cop solves a murder while awaiting the imminent impact of an asteroid headed for Earth. The ideas and situations presented in a world that is awaiting global disaster — perhaps the actual end of the world — are unusual and very different. It’s not as much as a downer as I thought it would be. It’s surprisingly hopeful and poignant at times.

  20. I am on an Alistair MacLean spree.

  21. Richard says:

    John, now that I just got new glasses, hopefully my reading pace will pick up. The Last Policeman does sound interesting, though I would have expected a downer, so thanks for that last comment. I’ll bet the library has or will soon have it.

    Prashant, you can hardly go wrong with MacLean. What have you read so far, or is coming up?

  22. Richard, I used to read MacLean in college. Now I’m reading the ones I’m sure I hadn’t read back then, books like BREAKHEART PASS (which I did recently). I wonder if it is MacLean’s only western. I’ll have to find out. Currently I’m reading AIR FORCE ONE IS DOWN, a thriller.

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