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It's the occasional reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 10, 3:58pm

Post #1 of 7 (655 views)
It's the occasional reading thread! Can't Post

June is busting out all over! The long hot of the summer has been slow to come here in South Texas---rain! we've had rain!---but it's here now. We're not quite to the point of daydreaming about snow on Caradhras, but that day will come Smile

I'm still listening to the audio of Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages, written and narrated by British historian Dan Jones, and am still missing references to the influential women of the time period. Other than that omission, I think the book is a great overview of the sweep of the time period. We're now past the Crusades and the Mongol conquests, and Jones is discussing the rise of the merchant-directed Italian city-states (Marco Polo!), the lucrative English wool trade, and---more generally---the development of capitalism. He's still drawing valuable parallels between the Middle Ages and today.

I listened to the twenty-somethingth book in Donna Leon's Venetian mystery series, Unto Us a Son Is Given. Surprisingly, no crime was committed until about two-third of the way through the story, meaning that the identity of the perpetrator was blindingly obvious and the only suspense was in how Commissario Brunetti was going to prove it. It's a good thing I like Brunetti's voice and the Venetian setting, or I might have put the book down. (Or in this case, switched it off.) Like Anne Hillerman, Leon is running on fumes. But at least they're enjoyable fumes.

I'm now listening to a non-fiction book titled And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails, by Wayne Curtis. The title pretty much sums it up. Taking his source material in chronological order, Curtis names a type of rum or a cocktail made from rum and explores the social ramifications of it---the Prohibition era, for example. The book fulfills my requirements for non-fiction: that it be informative, entertaining, and well-written. But while the narrator reads very clearly, his delivery is more bombastic than I like.

On my ereader I read the fifth in my five-book package of the Sister Joan mysteries by Veronica Black. A Vow of Penance has the voice and the setting (a convent in Cornwall) that I enjoy, and unlike the Leon novel, bodies drop right and left. Like the Leon novel, though, it's screamingly obvious who the perpetrator is, just a lot earlier in the book, so much so that the ending seems rather perfunctory..

On paper I'm reading A Line to Kill, by Anthony Horowitz, the third in his series of mysteries featuring ex-police detective Daniel Hawthorne and Horowitz playing himself. Either I'm used to this awkward ploy by now or else Horowitz isn't leaning as heavily on it, but so far I think this book is the best of the three. It takes place during a literary festival on Alderney, one of the small Channel Islands---and I have no idea who the killer is!

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Jun 10, 8:07pm

Post #2 of 7 (628 views)
The Big Bundle by Max Allan Collins [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm on the back half of The Big Bundle. in 1958 Heller is drawn back into events related to the closed kidnapping case when a lead surfaces to the missing half of the ransom money. Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters are involved.

On the stack, several graphic novels and comics collections:
- Ms. Tree: Deadline by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty (graphic novel; Titan). A collection of the cases of private detective Ms. Michael Tree, published under Titan's Hard Case Crime imprint.

- Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One by Tom Taylor, Jheremy Raapack and Mike S. Miller (DC). Graphic novel based on the video game Injustice.

- History of the DC Universe by Marv Wolfman and the late George Perez (DC). Collecting DC's follow up to 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths.

- Myth Adventures by Robert Asperin and Phil Foglio (Airship Entertainment). Reprint of the graphic novel adaptation of Bob Asprin's first Aahz & Skeeve novel. The fantasy-comedy of a boy and his demon.

“Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved.” - Tony Isabella

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jun 11, 2:08am

Post #3 of 7 (606 views)
Sunshine by Robin McKinley - 4.5/5 [In reply to] Can't Post

I've seen this described as a human/vampire romance but that's like saying The Hobbit is a walking tour of Middle-earth - that's just a small element that makes the larger story possible.

Sunshine is the nickname of a young woman who lives in an alternative version of Earth, one where the Others - vampires, weres (including were-chickens), demons (of various types), incubi and succubi, sorcerers, zombies, etc - have always existed alongside the human population. The story starts about ten years after the Voodoo Wars, which humans apparently won. Sunshine is snatched by vampires and what happens to her after sets her on a path that she hadn't thought much about but becomes determined to see through.

The strongest part of the book is McKinley's writing. It's hard to describe - sort of the literary version of the Wall of Sound from the '60s where everything's coming at you and you can't take a breath as the story propels you forward. I read the first half of the book in one day and purposely slowed down my reading afterward so that I wouldn't finish it too quickly.

It's not a book that I'll re-read but it's certainly one that'll stick with me.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Jun 11, 11:13pm

Post #4 of 7 (549 views)
The Witch King by Martha Wells [In reply to] Can't Post

Wells continues to impress with her sheer inventiveness - in The Witch King, demons from the underworld are offered the bodies of newly deceased humans; as they can access the memories of the those people, they become honored members of the family and often find they prefer living as humans. But they still have certain powers and so are feared by other cultures who don't have the same agreement with the demons. Meanwhile there are other powers that are vying for world domination, and . . . intrigue and betrayal and intrepid bands of heroic types result.

Now re-reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, because why not.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words.
-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Jun 11, 11:14pm

Post #5 of 7 (547 views)
loved "Sunshine" [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd love a sequel. McKinley apparently has ideas about one but sounds like she wants a book contract first. Ah, to be that in demand . . .

I am a dreamer of words, of written words.
-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Jun 15, 3:37pm

Post #6 of 7 (479 views)
I just finished [In reply to] Can't Post

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on Monday. I had put off reading it for a while because when I tried a few years ago, it was during a rough time and I couldn't get into it. But since the film is coming out in November, I wanted to read the book first. I had done that prior for the Hunger Games trilogy. I had read all books before I saw the films.

But I am now currently reading the Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I love anything Tudor related, and while I am really enjoying it, some of its historical inaccuracies irk me a little Crazy. But its still a fun read. Its the tenth book I've been reading this year, I'm happy to be reading again. Last year was so crazy for me, I didn't have the time, so I love getting back to it religiously.

"Keen, heart-piercing was her song as the song of the lark that rises from the gates of night and pours its voice among the dying stars, seeing the sun behind the walls of the world; and the song of Lúthien released the bonds of winter, and the frozen waters spoke, and flowers sprang from the cold earth where her feet had passed."

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jun 18, 10:29pm

Post #7 of 7 (409 views)
Well actually [In reply to] Can't Post

I have just finished two days ago the entire legendrurim of Tollkien, the Hobbit, Lotr the Silmarillion with the appendixes and everything. I did skip a few of the indexes perhaps, it did take around six months. I think next time if there is a next time i might just do a quick lotr. I dont know what to read next but will think of something.


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