Current Reading: September 21-27

~ Sherlock Holmes month at Tip the Wink is almost over ~

killerswedgeI finished the nearly 500 page Holmes short story collection I’ve been reading, and I enjoyed it (see my Friday review). Now I’m reading Killer’s Wedge by Ed McBain for the upcoming Friday Forgotten Book post.

Also, from the library came Stories of the Raksura: Volume One: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud by Martha Wells. I thought this might be a good place to try her writing, as it promised to be short works. However I discover it’s not short stories, as I had supposed, but two novellas which depend on having read at least the first, preferably all three, of Wells’ previous works: The Cloud Roads,  The Serpent Sea, and The Siren Depths. That’s not something I’m interested in doing, so this one is going right back to the library. I’m not sure what I’ll dig into after the McBain.

crenshawI also read, based on a review, Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate. Described as “an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.” I found it terribly depressing. Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. They have again become homeless, living in their old minivan. Crenshaw is Jackson’s imaginary friend, a huge cat with a sense of humor. Unfortunately things never get much better and there’s no magic in the book. The best thing is the cover art.

oregon trailBarbara, meanwhile, took The Oregon Trail with her for reading while on a trip and intends to finish it when she returns, as she’s really been enjoying it.

She’s still – very slowly – progressing with London Underground by Chris Angus. She doesn’t much enjoy reading ebooks and the story isn’t grabbing her.

She’s waiting for some things to show up at the library, so no idea what she’ll start on next.

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

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, Mystery, Non-fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Current Reading: September 21-27

  1. Bill Crider says:

    Reading THE FAMILY FANG.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Ah, there you are. I’m nearly done with the fifth (?) book in Brett Battles’ Jonathan Quinn series that began with THE CLEANER. Let’s just say I found this by far the weakest of the series to date for much of the first half, but it has picked up in the second half. It is an ebook, THE DESTROYED. Definitely read THE CLEANER.

    As mentioned, I was reading a Harry Turtledove collection, WE INSTALL & Other Stories. Some were shorts but there was also a 100 page novella and a 50 page tale. I found the book uneven, not surprisingly. There were also a couple of interesting non-fiction pieces, including his take on THE LORD OF THE RINGS (which he loves). I’m not sorry I read it, but it didn’t make me want to run out and read his novels either. I’m just starting CAPITAL CRIMES: London Mysteries, another Martin Edwards collection of older British mysteries, all set in London.

    I’d read Evan Hunter’s first published book, FIND THE FEATHERED SERPENT, for FFB, but wanted to do a mystery too so I reread the short story collection I LIKE ‘EM TOUGH, published as by Curt Cannon, which I first read in 1982. These were stories first published in Manhunt, I believe, in 1953-54. I think Matt Cordell was the original name of the character, as I remember (it’s been a long time), but it is changed to Curt Cannon here. Cannon was apparently a successful PI until he caught his wife in bed with his best friend. After beating the friend bloody with his gun he lost his license, though other charges were dropped. Cannon ended up your proverbial Bowery bum, drinking himself insensible and sleeping in flophouses or on the street. Yet old friends keep coming to him for help and he always gives in and helps them. The one part I found not believable, I have to say, was how many women throw themselves at him, despite his smell and appearance, and not low rent barflies either. Still, it is a fast (if not fun) read, and I may reread the Cannon novel (I’M CANNON-FOR HIRE) one of these days.

    I also got two paperbacks from PaperbackSwap this week: THE SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME Volume III, with Nebula Winners from 1965-1969. and MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER by C. S. Forester, after reading Jonathan Yardley’s review of the series.

    Besides the Nora Ephron collection mentioned before, I am waiting for the new Lee Child and Michael Connelly books to come into the library.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    OK, I just borrowed and downloaded THE FAMILY FANG from the library to the Kindle.

  4. Richard says:

    Jeff, I forgot to post it last night before I went to bed. Barbara is having a surgery today and my head is elsewhere. We go to the surgical center in an hour.

    I think Martin Edwards is doing a good job with the British Crime Classics he’s sheparding and in many cases editing.

    I read the Hunter/McBain KILLER’S WEDGE for the FFB, and found it slow, unlikely and, yes, boring. I guess after a couple of his books it’s time for me to decide the 87th Precinct stuff is not for me, however much it is loved or liked by others.

    I haven’t had much luck with PaperbackSwap lately.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I hope the surgery goes well.

    It was unusual that I got two books, though Jackie does get some. Mostly it has been outgoing stuff from me, though again most have been Jackie’s books.

    I don’t remember KILLER’S WEDGE. OK, just checked my copy and I definitely remember the TV adaptation. Some of his books are definitely more memorable than others. I will send you a paperback of one I think you may enjoy more than the 87th books (though no guarantee!).

    The Edwards has several of the same authors as in the book you sent me – Doyle, Freeman, Bailey, Berkeley – plus others of the Golden Age and earlier.

  6. Jerry House says:

    Richard, I hope everything goes well with Barbara’s surgery and with her recovery. (It would be very interesting if she turns this experience into a themed quilt.) I’ll be thinking of you both today.

    This past week I finished THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, the Jim Wynorski anthology of SF stories that were made into movies. See my FFB post for details. I also read MYSTERIOUS CAT STORIES, an anthology with 26 short-stories and articles, edited by John Richard Stephens and Kim Smith. An interesting collection with a combination of the familar and the not-so, but…the editors took it upon themselves to rewrite a story originally written in 1553 and also to use a heavy hand in “abridging” a piece by Bram Stoker in an effort to make them more accessible to the modern reader. I can see this from a marketing viewpoint, but I personally abhor such practices.

    Novels read this week we John Creasey’s TOO YOUNG TO BURN and Harry Harrison’s A STAINLESS STEEL RAT IS BORN. The Creasey featured (now) Superintendent Roger “Handsome” West (one of my favorite Creasy characters). Gangs have been attacking young couples out London with acid, a vicious crime that West has seen before in an earlier book; added to West’s problems is a junior officer undercutting his orders, which leads to one of the most violent crime sprees in years. Not the best in the series, but it held my interest. The Harrison details the early adventures of Slippery Jim deGriz as he first steps into a life of crime at seventeen. Thoroughly enjoyable, as would be expected from Harrison.

    Currecnt reeading: I just started HE DIED WITH HIS EYES OPEN, the first “Factory” novvel by Derek Raymond. Also, I’ve begun a longish-term project: THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO by Ann Radcliffe. I’m reading it on-line a little at a time. I started with an 18th century edition but waf not having fucceff with all that darned “F” for “s” business, so I switched to the 1806 four-volume edition (just shy of 1800 pages!). Slow reading, but a fascinating look at the onset of Gothic literature.

    Torrential storms prevented me from viewing the moon last night. Bah! hope you faired better.

  7. No moon here, either. Just rain and clouds. Hope the surgery goes okay. Diane had her colonoscopy today and is dealing with nausea from the anesthesia. I’ve reread an 87th Precinct novel for this week’s FFB. I’m trying to read Library books that are inching toward Overdue status.

  8. Richard says:

    I guess though they calls it as such, it wasn’t really “surgery”, a cortisone shot in the lower spine, but she was under anesthetic. It went fine, we’re home and she’s sleeping now. The waiting area at the surgery center was so dismal I spent the three hours sitting in the car, where at least I got fresh air and sunshine. This was downtown, so I also walked to the main branch of the library, which is a beautiful old building. Too bad it’s crowded outside (and some inside) with homeless. I found what appears to be the first book in an historical mystery series. More on that in the next Current Reading post.

  9. Richard says:

    Jeff, thanks you for the offer, but don’t bother to send the book, I have too many now and can’t even guess when I could get too it.

  10. Richard says:

    Jerry, see comment above on the surgical procedure. I don’t think editors should edit or abridge either.

    I’ve read several of the Stainless Steel Rat books, not sure if that’s one of them. They were money-makers for Harrison.

    As to your longish-term project, all I think is you have more stamina than I. I doubt I could read 1,800 pages of anything, but maybe I’m selling myself short; I don’t know how long LOTR is, itself or combined with THE HOBBIT and I’ve read that bunch several times. I have trouble with the S for f too. What made you decide to read that, anyway?

    Our house is situated such that there is a line of Douglas Fir trees to our east, and the eclipse was well over before the moon was high enough to clear them. When it did show, it was a big ‘ol thing, but fully rounded, not reddish and quite bright. Hope the rain didn’t do you any harm.

  11. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Harry Turtledove said he read THE HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS six or eight times in the years after he discovered them, which was his first year of college.

  12. Jeff Meyerson says:

    That was supposed to be in the FIRST YEAR.

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