Current Reading: November 23 – 29

MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part 1It’s been cold and crisp and that’s usually good reading weather, but there’ve been things to do. The last few days I’ve been out early, breaking the ice on the birdbath, then moving on to other chores. Things keep interfering, like football, the holiday, or other things. I was making good progress toward my annual reading goal before I got bogged down. It’s like I’m in a traffic jam, except it’s reading, or more accurately, not reading.

I’ve managed to read a short story, sometimes two, per day, which is how I finished The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part 1 1881-1889. It contains 23 stories and a poem. I liked all but two or three of the stories, which is a very good percentage. These are traditional Holmes and Watson stories, in the original Victorian setting, almost all of them could easily have been written by Doyle, which is high praise. One I didn’t care for so much was told from Moriarity’s point of view, but that may not bother most readers.

There are two more volumes in the set, and I’ll get to them, but think I may take a break from Holmes for a bit, since I read a lot during both September and October plus this volume and some others. I don’t know what I’ll turn to next, but I have every confidence something will turn up.


Barbara’s reading has slowed as well, and she’s about halfway through A Fear of Dark Water by Craig Russell. She’s been busy quilt making, working in the garden and with other things, so reading has taken second place to other activities.

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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20 Responses to Current Reading: November 23 – 29

  1. That is indeed a good percentage for a short story collection.

    The long holiday weekend actually gave me some much needed time to get back into reading. I read half of a Connie Willis short story collection (Impossible Things), a Christmas short story re-read out of the Season of Wonder anthology, and the illustrated novella, Storms at Sea, which I picked up from Mark Schultz at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in May. All of it was very good reading.

  2. I finished correcting all those research papers so I can start a little pleasure reading again. But FINAL EXAMS loom next week. More correcting and grading. But I should be a free man on December 17 when I hand in my grades to the Registrar’s Office.

  3. Jerry House says:

    Once again I’ve been reading more short stories (mainly from old pulps) than anything else, Richard, did finish three books.

    DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER by Eric Fllint & Ryk E. Spoor was a disappointing Appalachian fantasy — a good example of what can go wrong when the author(s) try too hard. I coverEd this one as my FFB this week.

    THE BLUE AND THE GRAY UNDERCOVER is an Ed Gorman-edited anthology of Civil War spy stories, a number of which were based on actual persons and events. A lot of top-notch authors with some pretty good stories here, with Doug Allyn and the editor’s contributions rising to the top.

    The best thing I read this week was the latest posthumous collection by Shirley Jackson, LET ME TELL YOU. Subtitled New Stories, Essays , and Other Writings, this one offers 56 uncollected and unpublished gems, as well as a handful of drawings/sketches/doodles by this author. Included are some of her early short stories, essays, reviews, humorous sketches,and lectures on writing. The entire volume is a cornacopia of magic. Oddly, the title story is the only unfinished piece in the book.

    I had a great Thanksgiving with my son-in-law showing off his mad cooking skills. (He even made the mayonnaise from scratch!) I’m hoping for a low-keyed week ahead: making chili tonight, continuing to get the house in shape, a bit of reading, and sunshine and good weather. I hope you and Barbara have a great relaxing week also.

    • Richard says:

      Jerry, must be something in the air that has us all reading short stories. That’s the second so-so opinion I’ve seen of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. I used to enjoy spy stories when I was in my 20s and 30s, but I’ve lost interest. Haven’t read one in decades now. I tried one of Aarons’ novels, which usually go fast, and didn’t get past page 30. I guess it’s the same with horror (Shirley Jackson). I’m pretty much just a SFF and mystery reader these days.

      Glad you had a great Thanksgiving, your son-in-law must be a great cook. I have made mayo from scratch (it’s not hard) and it’s better by far than out of a jar, but doesn’t keep. It’s chili weather here – we won’t see 40 today – so comfort foods are in, here.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman and BROOKLYN

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read a later Connie Willis collection but was able to download the one Carl mentioned to the Kindle from the library (which did not have the actual book, just the ebook). I’ve also read the Shirley Jackson book.

    This week I read a LOT of short stories, maybe 25-30. I seem to have more collections than novels and if I want to match last year’s total (760, I believe) I need to do it now. I’ve just about reached 700 for the year. This week I finished the Joseph Heywood collection, HARD GROUND. The 29 stories are short, mostly 6-10 pages, all about game wardens on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Pretty good stuff, and I might try one of his novels. The other collection finished was downloaded from the library, L.A. NOIR 2: The Classics, edited by Denise Hamilton. I liked the older stories (Leigh Brackett, Paul Cain, James M. Cain) and the new, historical ones (James Ellroy). Other authors include William Campbell Gault, Chester Himes, Ross Macdonald, Margaret Millar, and Joseph Hansen. (I’d read the last three previously.)

    George Easter has been touting Michael Lawson’s series about Joe DeMarco, a “fixer” of sorts for the Speaker of the House, for years, so I read the first, THE INSIDE RING, about an attempt to assassinate the President that may have been an inside job. Frankly, it was improbable (if fast moving and fairly entertaining), but I’m guessing it might get better as the series progresses.

    I’m also reading H. Beam Piper’s Paratime stories (your recommendation) and THE EARLY ASIMOV (which I’d never read). I’m down to five library books. The latest: BUFFALO NOIR.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff, I’m finding more and more often the library has only the ebook. Not a trend I favor.

      Everywhere I look here I see short story collections, yet I read more novels. Of course I’m not the reader you are, in speed or range, but I will have read more stories this year than usual, and will have a post on that at the end of December sometime. I mostly read mystery and SF stories, if I read more literary stories that would open up a huge number. Not that I don’t have some of those, but never seem to pick them off the shelf, such as the doorstop O’Hara collection. I admit Heywood’s HARD GROUND sounds interesting.

      We’ve already talked of L.A. NOIR 2: The Classics before. I’m guessing I’ve read most of the things I’d find therein, but may check it out (pun). I’ve heard of that DeMarco series, but it doesn’t sound of interest to me.

      I assume BUFFALO NOIR takes place in Yellowstone National Park. Might be interesting for the wildlife angle.

  6. I had a little uptick in reading over the holidays but now it’s back to work and things will slow down again.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Buffalo Noir was reviewed by George last week. It’s set in his neck of the woods.

    I found the Heywood interesting even though I would only ever want to go to the UP in summer.

    I’ve read a ton of straight fiction short stories – John O’Hara and Chekhov are favorites – but like you I’m reading mostly mystery and SF stories now.

  8. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I know that. Believe it or not, I just got THREE more short story collections. SILENT NIGHTS is the next Martin Edwards edited book, obviously Christmas Mysteries. It’s the usual lineup – Doyle through the Golden Age and just beyond. Then there was John Connolly’s NIGHT MUSIC: Nocturnes Volume 2. I read Volume 1 a while ago. These are horror, I believe.

    Those two were library books. From PaperbackSwap, I got Algernon Blackwood’s JOHN SILENCE, PHYSICIAN EXTRAORDINARY, about the “psychic detective.” The book was first published in 1912 and has five long stories/novellas.

    No wonder I’ve been reading mostly short stories of late. They are overflowing the shelves here.

  9. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Well, maybe a couple of dozen. Most of the ones I’ve read I’ve given away other than a few authors I’ve kept plus a bunch of the Crippen & Landru titles (though I have been getting rid of them from time to time).

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