Current Reading, November 24 – 30, 2014

Reading – Richard
Reading? What reading? Seems like all I’ve done in the last week is watch football and eat. The weather has gotten steadily colder, just 24 when we got up this morning, and we had our first snow yesterday, though it didn’t stick.

Though I did finish two collections, mostly my short story reading plan got sunk by library books and distractions. One of those distractions was Brian Payton’s WWII novel The Wind Is Not A River, which is written in the present tense. It was a struggle, and I couldn’t finish it.

I’ve just started another book from the library, Son’s of Sparta by Jeffrey Siger. I have two more library books waiting to be picked up. Heaven knows when I’ll get back to the short stories.

Reading – Barbara
Barbara finished Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson, the third Repairman Jack novel, and she read Son’s of Sparta by Jeffrey Siger. She won’t say anything about it because I’m reading it now, but I’m pretty sure she liked it. She’s now reading Deadline by John Sandford.

What are you reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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19 Responses to Current Reading, November 24 – 30, 2014

  1. Jerry House says:

    It’s been a slow week for me, Richard. I finished Ariel S. Winter’s THE TWENTY-YEAR DEATH, three interconnected novels covering three decades. The first takes place in 1921 and is a homage to Georges Simenon, then we jump ten years for a homage to Raymond Chandler, and finally another ten for a Jim Thompson-like finale. All very readable and inventive. I understand Hardcase Crime will be issuing (or has already) all three parts in separate volumes.

    I hope Barbara enjoys the Repairman Jack series because I just finished FEAR CITY, the final book in F. Paul Wilson’s Jack: The Early Years trilogy. With the exception of a few short stories, I have now read the complete Repairman Jack saga. No more books are planned, although I have heard that there may be some graphic novels based on the books at some time in the future.

    I also read ISAAC ASIMOV PRESENTS: THE GREAT SF STORIES: 18 which covered the year 1954 (a very good year for science fiction).

    Coming up, I still have David Kesterton’s THE DARKLING and Alice & Claude Askew’s AYLMER VANCE, GHOST-SEER to finish. I’m looking at Marjorie Bowen’s horror collection, KECKSIES AND OTHER TWILIGHT TALES, PILE: PETAL’S FROM ST.CLAED’S COMPUTER by Brian Aldiss, Peter Straub’s novella MRS. GOD, and perhaps another Asimov anthology.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’m still waiting for my library o get SONS OF SPARTA. I’m more than 2/3 of the way through Otto’s massive Locked-Room Mysteries book. Overall, I read 84 short stories in November, down from the high point of 103 in October. I’ve got a couple more collections on hand if I ever finish this one.

    I did get one new one this week from paperbackSwap, a book I would have sworn I’d read 40+ years ago but – apparently – I hadn’t: Bel Kaufman’s UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE.

    Overall, my reading total was down to 15 in November from 17+ the previous three months, partly due to longer books like the locked room collection. First was Scott Westerfeld’s 600 page YA, AFTERWORLDS. In alternating chapters you get the story of 18 year old first time author Darcy Patel as she maneuvers through the New York book world on the way to publication, and Darcy’s book, about a 17 year old who survives an airport terrorist attack by – somehow – entering the underworld. Good book.

    Next (all of these were library books) was former DAPA-EMmer Dan Stumpf’s 1951-set armored car robbery noir, EASY DEATH, as by Daniel Boyd. This is a Hard Case Crime trade paperback and one I’d definitely recommend. You get multiple points of view (one per chapter, I hasten to add) of the various protagonists, an hour by hour timeline, and a satisfying end.

    Lastly was the excellent first book in Adrian McKinty’s “Troubles Trilogy” – though I see book four is coming in 2015 – THE COLD COLD GROUND. Sean Duffy is that rarity, a Catholic in Belfast’s Royal Ulster Constabulary. The time is 1981 and the first Irish Hunger Strikers have just died. Two dead bodies are found and they seem to be targeted homosexuals rather than political victims. We were in Ireland (very near the Northern Ireland border) in the summer of 1981 and this brings it all back vividly. Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have book two other than in an e-book so I’ve ordered a copy on ABE.

    Up next: more locked rooms and the new Lee Goldberg-Janet Evanovich collaboration, plus Goldberg’s final Monk book. Then my library pile will be depleted,..for the moment.

  3. It’s all reading and correcting RESEARCH PAPERS and FINAL EXAMS for the next two weeks. Books continue to pour in from AMAZON and I’ve started another book stack in Patrick’s room that threatens to topple.

  4. Richard, I just finished HOSTAGE FOR A HOOD by noir writer Lionel White, my first by the author. A milder version of JDM but I liked his writing and intend to read his other novels in future.

  5. I actually got a decent amount of reading done over the break. Read two Connie Willis shorts, which I will review…shortly. Got just shy of the half-way point in Andromeda’s War, and read part of the first short story in Alistair Reynolds’ Galactic North anthology. Plus played just a tiny bit of Dragon Age: Inquisition. And ate…and watched football (which was not really fun as both the Chiefs and Cowboys got trounced. Was happy to see Seattle win.)

  6. Sons of Sparta sounds interesting.

  7. Richard says:

    Jerry, your slow week is my fast week. I didn’t finish half a book, or maybe I just barely did, between two, one a DNF. The interconnected novels written in homage way of three authors sounds like a mess to me, I don’t think I’d try it.

    Yes, Barbara is enjoying the Repairman Jack series. She finished the third in the regular – as opposed to the prequel books – and I’m not sure how many more there are to go. I didn’t know he had planned to stop writing them. I’ve read plenty of Asimov-edited collections, and they are often uneven but always contain some very good stuff. The 1954 collection sounds great. I’ll bet I’ve read them all. Your coming up pile sounds less interesting to me than mine, but then I’m quite motivated to get through the library books and read more short stories.

  8. Richard says:

    Jeff, Barbara and I were # 2 and 3 on the Sons of Sparta hold list. Her copy has already gone back, there are over 40 on the list now. I’m finding it a bit of a slog, only about 40 pages in. Your short story reading always wows me. That locked room volume will be opened at Christmas, and it could take me all year (2015) to read! How did you like Up The Down Staircase? I think I read it decades ago, but remember little except the basic plot idea of a discouraged teacher and silly admin policies.

    Stats? I’ll fall well below my usual 104 book goal, two per week, this year. It seems like I read a lot, but seem to get less reading done, somehow.That Westerfeld sounds like it could be either fascinating or too clever in structure to enjoy.

    I have Dan’s book on order, since the library system didn’t have it. I didn’t know about the many POV, hopefully it won’t bother me too much. Your library pile “will be depleted,..for the moment”. Until more show up. That’s what seems to be happening here, at any rate.

  9. Richard says:

    George, I bet you’re a whiz with those papers and tests, and guess you probably slip in some television and movies too. I envy you the Amazon boxes “pouring in”. Since I backed off buying, mostly reading from the library and what I already have, the flow here is decidedly less, barely a trickle. More like a drip now and then, though some Christmas gifts (for other people) will boost that a little in coming weeks.

  10. Richard says:

    Prashant, I’ve not read Lionel White or even heard of him. You have raised my curiosity.

  11. Richard says:

    Carl, sounds like you had a nice holiday, with the visits from and to family, the reading, food and all. Thanks for the Seattle comment. I seem to be swamped with mystery fiction at the moment, but did re-read Harrison’s Deathworld, which I enjoyed. I watched football four straight days and am burned out, but Friday is the Pac 12 Championship game between our Oregon Ducks and my alma mater Arizona Wildcats. I’ll cheer for Arizona, but I want Oregon to win. I have The Martian on hold at the library.

  12. Richard says:

    Charles, you need to have read the earlier books in the mystery series first.

  13. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I haven’t read UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE yet. Will let you know.

  14. Patti Abbott says:

    I pick up and put down books rapidly. I fear nothing can keep my attention just now.

  15. Richard says:

    Jeff, yes, please do.

  16. Richard says:

    Patti, I go through spells like that too, and then others when every book on the shelf, in the store and that is reviewed looks great and I want to bury myself in it right now. Hope your mood turns soon.

  17. I’m a big fan of Lionel White. He specialized in caper novels–one of my favorite genres!

  18. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Patti, I know you read the third Adrian McKinty book. The first one was really good too.

  19. Richard says:

    Another Lionel White recommendation. This is how people fall behind on their reading.

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