Current Reading, January 5 – 11, 2015

I made a short list of books I want to read, most from the TBR, to get this year started. That will be in addition to whatever shows up from the library. I just did it to feel organized (we all know how that sort of thing turns out). But for now…

I finished You Can’t Make This Up by Al Michaels, which was interesting but a typical sports autobiography in most ways. I also finished A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen, which started out fine but dragged in the middle and I ended up doing some skimming before reading the last quarter or so of the book. Just okay. I also read a graphic novel, Triumph and Torment about a team-up with Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange. Interesting, with good artwork.

Now I’ve started Enigma by Robert Harris, a novel about a young mathematician, Tom Jericho, trying to break the Germans’ “Enigma” ciphers during World War II. He is stationed in Bletchley Park, the British cryptologist central office. The book was adapted to film in 2001. I meant to read this years ago and am just now getting around to it. I have no idea what I’ll read next, there are many options including a novel I’ve been wanting to get to and some short stories, since I have many, many collections sitting here.

Barbara  finished Mark burning girlBillingham’s The Burning Girl (from the library), and is now reading Jo Nesbo’s Nemesis. Next up for Barbara is The Skin Collector, a Lincoln Rhyme novel by Jeffrey Deaver, which just came in from the library.

What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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19 Responses to Current Reading, January 5 – 11, 2015

  1. But where is the short list?

  2. macavityabc says:

    About to finish up an old Gold Medal, Take Me As I Am, which Steve Lewis reviewed a short while back. I decided I should read it, too.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    We’re getting closer to leaving town (next weekend) so I’m getting more distracted, plus there are other things going on that take away reading time. I did get a few library books but they will all have to go back by Friday or Saturday. The only one I read was a George Kelley recommendation, the very entertaining WHAT IF?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. What kind of questions? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?What place on Earth would allow you to free-fall the longest by jumping off it?How hard would a puck have to be shot to be able to knock the goalie himself backwards into the net?

    I also read some of my books. First was the Max Allan Collins collection of Nathan Heller stories, CHICAGO LIGHTNING. Of course I’d read many of these before but I always enjoy reading about Heller (and most of the author’s other detectives as well). Next was THE LOST SCOUT by John R. Riggs. Riggs writes about amateur small-town sleuth Garth Ryland, who publishes a weekly newspaper in south central Wisconsin. For whatever reason, when I discovered these in 1993 I really liked them and raced through the first six or eight in a short time. I read a few after that but it’s been a dozen years since I read the last one. Maybe I lost the thread or maybe this one really is as weak and unlikeable as I found it, but to me it didn’t have the appeal of the earlier books. This was the last book he wrote (in 1998) before a long hiatus,. He brought Ryland back a few years ago but I don’t know if I will bother to catch up after this one.

    Another series set in a nearby area is Elizabeth Gunn’s small city police series set in southeastern Minnesota that stars first person narrator Jake Hines, Captain of Detectives. Jake narrates the books though there are a team of other cops working under him. These all have sports-related number titles but for some reason she started with #3 (Triple Play, Par Four, Five Card Stud). The one I read was McCAFFERTY’S NINE and it moved along nicely, with the side story of Jake’s wife Trudy about to give birth to their first child. I hav one more (HE TEN-MILE TRIALS) at hand.

    Now I have to decide which books (besides the hundreds on the Kindle) to take to Florida.

  4. I just finished one book I bought when I was in Maine at the end of last summer, and am reading another now. Both were series related books

  5. I never bring many with me because I can buy great books from the library for,very little. I did buy the new O’Nan book and THE Martian, which demands far more science background than I have to appreciate it.

  6. Richard says:

    Carl, I was just saying I’m trying to get organized with my reading this January, but you know how those things go, we never seem to read what we plan to read…

  7. Jerry House says:

    Another quiet week. I read Hugh B. Cave’s THE WITCHING LANDS for my FFB. Fourteen stories, written for the slicks in the 1950s, that I enjoyed a lot. After that it was THE BODY SNATCHERS AFFAIR, the new Carpenter and Quincannon mystery by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. The ancient leader of a Chinese tong’s body has been stolen and may ignite a war among San Francisco’s Chinese community; at the same time, the body of a millionaire has gone missing from a locked mausoleum. The thorn in the side of both Carpenter and Quincannon, a man who claims to be Sherlock Holmes, keeps showing up. I love this series and I love the main characters. I also read Peter Straub’s MRS. GOD, a short, atmospheric horror novel. I have also been dipping into some issues of F&SF from 1950.

    Looming at the top of Mount TBR are four SF collections, two by Brian Aldiss and one each by Greg Bear and Michael Bishop. They’re next in line unless something else pops up, which I doubt because I’m not easily distrac–Oh! Look! A squirrel!

    Once again the snow has missed us in Southern Maryland. I take full credit for this. Pure thoughts and clean living — that’s my secret.

  8. Richard says:

    Bill, I think I saw that review, and it sounded like a good one.

  9. Richard says:

    Jeff, so it’s travel time for you already. I don’t know how you guys do it. We can barely get away for three days at at time.

    I read CHICAGO LIGHTNING a year or more ago, but felt like I was doing some rereading and some slumming. I guess I like his earlier Heller books best, and his comics related series. Re: the Riggs, It’s disappointing when a series you like isn’t as good as remembered in later books, isn’t it?

    I think authors paint themselves into a corner when they use trick titles like that number one you describe. JDM was okay with colors, there are so many possibilities, but many of them, and this sounds like one, create problems between the book and working out the dang title for it. As Patti says in the next comment, there is always the local library there (in Florida). Do you have a card there?

  10. Richard says:

    Patti, those clouds will part and the sun will shine. You always seem to find good thins at the library sales there. I was under the impression, not having had it come from the library yet, that The Martian explained it’s science – what there is of it – as it went along. It’s mostly a survival story, though.

  11. Richard says:

    Jerry, as much as I like the books of both Pronzini and Muller, I have yet to try a Carpenter and Quincannon book. I’ll have to remedy that. As I said last time, not many people read Aldis these days. Which Greg Bear collection is it? Ha! Yes I get distracted by shiny things… which may be why I keep putting things on hold at the library when I have a huge number of books here, unread. On the other hand, it’s great to be a reader, isn’t it? I admire your virtues.

  12. I’m reading the Peter Macklin series by Loren Estleman. Classes start next week so this is my last reading binge until June.

  13. Jeff Meyerson says:

    When we first started going to Florida (10 years ago!) we stayed at Jackie’s parents’ condo in Delray Beach, where the average age was about 85 (but I digress). At that time we did get a temporary library card and used the library, which had a lot of Five Star books our library doesn’t seem to buy. I got quite a few short story collections that way. Now we stay up in West Palm Beach and don’t know where the closest library is. Anyway, I’ve got over 300 books on the Kindle and this is the only time of year I really use it a lot. Jackie brings a bunch of paperbacks.

    Sometimes we do look at secondhand bookstores.

    I’ve read a lot of the Quincannon & Carpenter short stories (including the Crippen & Landru collection of them) but the only novels I’ve read are the original western QUINCANNON (read in 1986) and thei joint novel BEYOND THE GRAVE, where the first part was about Quincannon in the early 20th Century and the story was concluded by Marcia Muller’s Elena Oliverez in the present (read 2001). I will catch up on the newer ones after I read the latest Nameless book.

  14. Richard says:

    George, I haven’t read any Estleman.

  15. Richard says:

    Jeff, we didn’t use the library in SoCal nearly as much as we do here; the system here is very good and the number of books much larger, plus we’re at the nexus of three counties and can get cards for each of them, so what one county may not have another is likely to. A third or more of what I read that last part of 2014 came from the library. I have about 40 (maybe more, I haven’t counted) e-books, but no device other than the computer on which to read them, so I’ve read a total of 3. Ever.

  16. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Actually, I did a lot better this year at reading my own books. A quick count shows that out of 148 books (fiction), 80 were from the library and 14 were ebooks, leaving 54 of my own books I read. Of course it would have helped more had I read old books I had but I’m guessing a lot of them were things I got this year specifically to read.

  17. Richard, I’m reading Isaac Asimov’s assorted short stories among which “The Secret Sense” was a good one. I want to try a Jeffrey Deaver novel.

  18. Richard says:

    Jeff, you did better than I did in percentage of books off my own shelves, though not by much, when I think about it. Lately I’ve been feeling tremendous pressure to read, read as fast as I can just to try to finish as many books as possible, almost to the exclusion of doing anything else. I know that will change when Spring comes and I want to be outside more, but still. I don’t want it to turn into a chore.

  19. Richard says:

    Prashant, the Deaver books are kinda dark, I liked the early one I read well enough, but Barbara likes darker mysteries and these are favorites with her.

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