Happy December!

I am still not feeling like posting, though I am not sure just why, just a lack of energy.

I’m not reading much, and not much else is going on here. I watched some football, worked briefly in the garden doing early Winter clean-up, I am still staying in due to pandemic, so just lazing about. So happy December days to you all, and stay healthy!

Posted in Books & Reading | 5 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll be off the blog until December, just relaxing and enjoying Thanksgiving, so I’ll see everyone next month. Stay good!

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Wednesday Short Stories from Three Collections / Anthologies

Here are the three short story collections / anthologies I’m working on right now. At some point – probably pretty soon – I’ll take a break to read a novel.

from The Thinking Machine: Fifty Novelettes and Short Stories: by Jacques Futurelle
“The Mystery of the Fatal Cipher”
“Mystery of the Flaming Phantom”
“The Tragedy of the Life Raft”

from The Mammoth Book of Steampunk edited by Sam Wallace
“Fixing Hanover” by Jeff Vandermeer
“The Steam Dancer” by Caitlin Kiernan
“Icebreaker” by E. Catherine Tobler

from The Collected Max Carrados Investigations by Ernest Bramah
“The Coin of Dionysius” (reread)
“The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem”
“The Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage”
“The Clever Mrs. Straithwhite”
“The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor”

The first four of the Max Carrados stories are rereads, as I read the ebook version of a collection last year, which only had a dozen stories, as opposed to the 21 in this print book. I really like these.

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We’ve had a lot of rain in the past week, with more expected every day for at least another. That’s good, we need it, and the snowpack that’s being dropped in the mountains, which provides the water in the Summer months. It’s sunny this morning, and beautiful, but the wind that accompanied that rain has stripped many of the leaves from the trees, so Fall color is diminished, but there is still some. Here’s the Coral Bark Maple:

I’ve been reading mostly short stories, though I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress. You can see in my upcoming Wednesday post. I’m getting ready to take a break and read a novel, though I don’t know which.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of Pongo cheering for the Oregon Ducks in their Saturday win vs. Washington State.

Posted in Anthology, At Home in Portland, Books & Reading, Mystery | 11 Comments

Forgotten stories: That’s a LOT of stories & pages!

I was looking at some of the anthologies I have on hand in the To Be Read area, and was impressed by the fact that they are so thick.

Why am I posting this under the Forgotten Books category? Because the majority of the stories in these anthologies are old, some very old.

Collected Max Carrados Investigations26623
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 131596
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 227605
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 326606
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol. 429593
The Book of Dragons29548
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk31489
The Thinking Machine 50 Novelettes and Stories50827
The Very Best of the Best38686
Unfettered 220565

It may be worth noting that of these, all are science fiction or fantasy except two. I wonder if that’s because there are more thick SFF anthologies out there, or if it’s just what’s been catching my eye.

What do you think?

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books | 7 Comments

Wednesday short story: “Crooked Souls” by Dashiell Hammett

Story from THE CONTINENTAL OP: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES, (Kindle ebook edition)
“Crooked Souls” first appeared in Black Mask, October 1, 1923

Harvey Gatewood’s daughter has been kidnapped, and the Op has been assigned to the case. After wading through Gatewood’s belligerence, it turns out to look more like she disappeared and it may have been kidnapping or maybe she just wanted to escape her tyrannical father’s crushing control. Then the ransom note comes…

This is a good one, as are all the Op stories, and all of Hammet’s stories and novels.

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Thank goodness. In a couple of months Trump will be out of office, whether he likes (or accepts it) or not. It’s a pity the Senate looks to stay in the hands of the GOP, it will make the undoing of the damage of the last four years difficult, but hopefully Coronavirus and climate can be corrected.

Saturday night I got a good night’s sleep, the first in weeks.

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FFB: Maigret Hesitates by Georges Simenon

Maigret Hesitates by Georges Simenon, translated by Lyn Moir, Harcourt Brace Harvest Book 1970 mass market paperback, mystery. Number 68 in the series.

Not my Harvest Books copy

The Blurb: When a series of letters, written on expensive stationery, arrive at Maigret’s desk stating that a murder will take place but that the writer is unsure as to who will die, who will do the killing, and when the killing will occur, Maigret’s interest is piqued and he soon tracks the stationery down to the house of Emile Parendon, an eminent lawyer. But, once there, tracking down clues to a crime not yet committed is not so easy and when a murder does take place the choice of victim surprises even Maigret. 

My Take: This later entry in the Maigret series is wholly psychological, with little in the way of crime excepting the murder on page 109. The rest is Maigret talking to, interviewing or thinking about the various members of the household of the large luxurious apartment suite of a very wealthy family in Paris.

Though finely crafted, as are all of Simenon’s books, this one is slow moving throughout.

I hadn’t read a Maigret novel in two or three years, and having a large number of them on the mystery shelf unread, took this one at random and moved it to my small TBR bookcase, where it now rose to the top.

I admit I grew impatient a couple of times, wanting some action, but had to remind myself that it was a Maigret novel, not a thriller. In the end, I enjoyed it and I’m glad I read it.

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FFB: I Go Pogo by Walt Kelly

I Go Pogo by Walt Kelly, Simon & Schuster 1952 trade paper, 190 pages, comic collection. My copy is well-used, not as nice as the one in the image.

Yes, I’ve made up my mind how I’m voting. I Go Pogo.

I first encountered Pogo when I was about seven years old. Each year my Aunt and Uncle and my Mom and Dad traded off hosting Christmas, and at Aunt and Uncle’s house in Pebble Beach, CA the bookcases had several Pogo books. They fascinated me. I loved the characters and stories, though at the time I missed most of the depth Kelly’s work contained. I was given a copy of this one as a gift about that time.

Each time I visited there, I went right to the Pogo books, and eventually started buying more of them. I have many, as I’ll show in a future Shelf Shot.

The blurb in the front of this tells of the first Pogo book, so named, being a long shot by the publisher but so beloved by fans of the comic strip that in a short time 200,000 people had “rushed to the bookstores and bourne their copies fondly home.”

I Go Pogo buttons appeared almost immediately and were a huge hit on college campuses across the country.

Now it’s election time. I suggest you go Pogo.

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Birthday Goodness

It was too much, frankly. I had been putting things on my Amazon wishlist for a while, and I thought I’d get a couple of them and instead I got almost all of them. When Barbara brought out the packages, I was overwhelmed. I’m embarrassed. Still, I’m going to share a few things with you (covers follow). I’ll share specific information on these as I get them read.

The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Vol. 4 edited by Neil Clarke. Anthology. I’m now current on these, already having the first three volumes. This one has stories and novellas from last year.

The Collected Max Carrados Investigations – Bramah, Ernest. I read an ebook of some of these stories last year and enjoyed them, so I wanted to read more.

The Very Best of the Best edited by Gardner Dozois. Anthology. After 35 years of doing Best SF and F, this is the third collection he’s done from those years.

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk edited by Sean Wallace. Anthology. I’ve enjoyed most of the steampunk stories I’ve read

Death of A Busybody by George Ballairs (British Library Crime Classics)

The Division Bell Mystery by Ellen Wilkinson (British Library Crime Classics)

Posted in Anthology, At Home in Portland, Books & Reading, Mystery | 12 Comments