Current Reading: September 15-21

~ Sherlock Holmes month at Tip the Wink ~

Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes AdventuresI’m still reading my way through the 493 page (plus two appendices) The Mammoth Books of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures. I’m at the two-thirds point, and so far only one story has been less than very good, and several have been excellent. I’m quite pleased with this collection of stories.

oregon trail

Since man does not live by Holmes alone, I’m also dipping into The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck, his account of covering the Oregon Trail from Missouri to Oregon in the summer of 2011. He and his brother, with an Amish built wagon, a small two-wheel trailing cart and a team of mules made the journey over the original route (with a very few exceptions) the old fashioned way. I’ve only read the first chapter, but it looks to be fascinating.

London UndergroundBarbara has been busy and so has read less, plus the book she’s currently reading,  London Underground by Chris Angus is an ebook and she says she can’t read it for as long nor is reading on a screen comfortable for her. She’s also starting The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey along with me and is taking it on a three day quilt retreat this week. It’s a library book with a long waiting list, so we’re trying to alternate holds to stay on the list as we don’t expect to both finish it in the allotted time before it’s due back.

She did see the film of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods, and enjoyed it but said it wasn’t anywhere nearly as good as the book, which comes as no surprise.

How about you?
Have you read these books or authors?
What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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18 Responses to Current Reading: September 15-21

  1. I just finished reading THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB. I’m trying to stick with short books now that I’m back to work, but THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB was 400 pages. I’m enjoying your Sherlock Holmes reading.

  2. Richard says:

    George, Barbara is waiting for THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB to show up at the library, but apparently there is a long wait. She’s looking forward to it, as she liked the DRAGON TATTOO books a lot.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Read three books, saw two concerts this week. First the ebook (borrowed from the library and downloaded to the Kindle), THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE by Wallace Stroby, his second book and the last of his I was able to find. Former NJ State Trooper Harry Rane (he quit after being shot, as detailed in book one) is getting semi-PI work thanks to his former partner while moping over the absence of his true love, which naturally leaves him ripe for a new woman. He also comes up against a nasty piece of work, a former mob hitman just out of a Florida prison and back in Jersey to find the child his ex gave up for adoption. Rane takes a lot of punishment here. Good book but I prefer his current series about Parker-like thief Crissa Stone.

    Back after breakfast.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    IN THE BLOOD by Lisa Unger, which is good so far.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    As I was saying…

    Thanks to Rick’s generosity I read RESORTING TO MURDER, subtitled Holiday Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards, one of a series of “British Library Crime Classics” he is editing. These stories are by Doyle, Arnold Bennett, Chesterton, R. Austin Freeman, H. C. Bailey (I liked his a lot more than I’d expected to), Anthony Berkeley, Leo Bruce, and Michael Gilbert, among others. I’d call it good to very good overall, and I have a couple of his others on reserve.

    Lastly was the last Ch. Insp. Andreas Kaldis book by Jeffrey Siger, SONS OF SPARTA (the new one is due out shortly), which I bought because my library didn’t have it. This one is more about his assistant, Detective Yiannis Kouris than Kaldis, as the central case concerns his uncle’s death – was it murder or just a heart attack? – and the repercussions of that fact. I like the way each book is set in a different part of Greece. This is in the Peloponnese region, where blood feuds carry on for centuries in some cases.

    I’ve started a book of shorts (although one novella is 100 pages) by Harry Turtledove. We’ll see how that goes. I read 150 pages of John E. Stith’s MANHATTAN TRANSFER before throwing in the towel. He had a good premise – the entire Manhattan Island and everyone on it is taken by a huge alien ship, encased in a bubble (as in UNDER THE DOME, though this was written 16 years before the King book), and plopped down on another planet (presumably), along with other encased cities. But then…what? It goes on and on and we get no answers and I got fed up finally. Life is too short and there are too many other things to read.

    Not sure what I will read next, though I’ve started the next book in Brett Battles’ Jonathan Quinn series on the Kindle. Also read THE MOST OF NORA EPHRON.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff, I hope you enjoyed breakfast.

      I’m glad you enjoyed RESORTING TO MURDER, I did too. Nice line up of authors. I’ve enjoyed the other British Crime Classics volumes I’ve read, and like the cover art on them too. Martin Edwards had a story in the Holmes collection I’m reading, a collection which, I think, you’d enjoy.

      Our library doesn’t yet have any list of the new Jeffrey Siger. I’m going there today or tomorrow and am planning on asking them about that. We both liked SONS OF SPARTA though it isn’t my favorite of the series. I’m afraid I’ve never been a fan of Turtledove and his alternate history books. Too bad about that Stith. As you saw, I liked the one I read and have another to try. I’ll certainly skip MANHATTAN TRANSFER.

      How was THE MOST OF NORA EPHRON? Those concerts sound… good. I’m not much for country music, which is too bad because there is a lot of it here.

  6. I definitely want to read a walk in the woods

  7. Jerry House says:

    Richard, between the chaos of the move and trying to find a house (the apartment fell through), I was actually able to read some books.

    The Mickey Spillane/Max Allan Collins western THE LEGEND OF CALEB YORK was based on an unproduced script Spillane had written for his friend John Wayne. A fast-moving, by-the-books western, this would have made a great film. I’m looking forward to at least two more books about Caleb York.

    Two of the books I read involved Richard Matheson. The Christopher Conlon-edited HE IS LEGEND contained fourteen stories by leading horror authors, each story based upon or influenced by a different Matheson story. Great stuff. THE TWILIGHT AND OTHER ZONES wasa book of numerous appreciations of Matheson, many of them minor but the combined effect gave much insight into a very private man. This one included exhaustive bibliographic notes.

    I also read two books by Basil Copper: THE CURSE OF THE FLEERS, a gothic horror/mystery, and BAD SCENE, a Mike Faraday private detective caper. Faraday is an L.A. private eye who uses British terminology. (The first sentence: Alex Prosser was a gigantic, 20-stone, red-faced man dressed in a faded blue and white striped yachting sweater, his bllue matching cap with its tarnished gold badge pushed back on top of his carroty hair as he leaned forward, threatening the breaking strain of the client’s chair the other side of my desk.) Not your typical down-these-mean-streets writing.

    Finally, I read THE MARTIAN MISSILE by “David Grinnell” (Donald A Wollheim), one half of a 1960 ACE Double (the other is John Brunner’s THE ATLANTIC ABOMINATION, which I had preiously read). This one takes place in the early Sixties. Hiding out on a remote ranch, con man Kermit Langley sees a “meteor” fall in the desert. Investigating, he finds a crashed spaceship and its near-dead alien pilot. Before dying, the alien “implants a message to his people on Langley’s bones, telling him he must deliver the message to a base on Pluto; if he doesn’t, a self-destruct mechanism he has also implanted on Langley will trigger, killing him. It’s an impossible mission at a time when man has not even reached the moon. Langley makes it to the moon, then Mars and Jupiter, and finally to Pluto, where he encounters two warring alien races determined to eliminate humanity. Good old-fashioned space opera. Suspend your willingness to disbelieve at the door.

    I’m currently reading THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, an antholgy of twelve stories that were the basis of a dozen “classic” SF “major” motion pictures. The “major” flicks include TARGET EARTH, THE INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN, and DEATH RACE 2000. along with the likes of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, THE FLY, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, and A BOY AND HIS DOG. There have been a number of similar anthologies, notably ones edited by Forrest J. Ackerman and by Peter Haining. This one was edited by someone named Jim Wynorski and is the only thing credited to him on ISFDb.

    There’s warm, gentle breezes here on the Gulf, which is apt because I’m in a town named Gulf Breeze. I hope things are as pleasant where you are.

    • Richard says:

      Jerry, sorry to hear the apartment fell through. They may have been suspicious of people with lots of books. Glad you’re able to get a little reading done.

      I haven’t been reading the Mickey Spillane/Max Allan Collins books of any genre, Spillane was never a favorite of mine, though I did read the required big titles, back when.

      I’ve seen HE IS LEGEND, but not being much for horror I decided to give it a skip. Besides I’m immersed in Holmes, canon and non-canon just now. As I think I’ve said before, I’ve read Copper (including a story in the Holmes collection I’m reading right now) but have kept that reading to his Solar Pons writing, which I enjoy. That Mike Faraday private detective book sounds like it could be fun. I’ve often wondered, what makes a book a “caper”?

      David Grinnell was one of Wollheim’s frequent pseudonyms, I believe. As you said, leave your desire for believability at the door. Good one.

      THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE sounds like a lot of fun. The weather here has been nice: showers and sun, temps in the low 70s. The trees are starting to turn, about a month early, maybe because of the excessively hot Summer, though that doesn’t make sense to me. We’ve yet to have a frost, which is what usually signals “the turn”. I looked Gulf Breeze up in Maps, looks like lowlands and marsh country. I hope you’re okay with the summer humidity.

  8. Richard says:

    Jeff, it makes one wonder what happens to authors like Stroby, when their books become so hard to find after a couple of good ones. If anyone could find it, you could.

  9. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I meant to add, both of our concerts last week were (coincidentally, I assure you) country. First was Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, who have known each other for 40 years but who just did a dual album two years ago (and a followup this year). Second was Alabama. Both were at the wonderful old historic Beacon Theatre on Broadway & 74 Street. We enjoyed them both.

  10. Jeff Meyerson says:

    So far the Ephron is good. It’s a big compilation of her stuff divided into sections. The journalism stuff at the beginning is still timely, even reading about the “old days” at Newsweek and the New York Post. The book also has her HEARTBURN and the script for WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. ..and her play about newspaper man Mike McAlary.

    I may try another Stith, maybe the one you read. I haven’t had any luck with Turtledove either, which is why I thought the short stories might be better. Jackie liked his Supervolcano trilogy a lot.

  11. I went to Rinker Buck’s reading when he came through Missoula. It was a lot of fun. I’m eager to read my copy of his Oregon Trail book, hopefully in October.

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