Current Reading: November 30 – December 6

We’re in a rut, doing little reading while supervising two landscaping jobs, one in the back garden and one out front, including a new lawn. It’s the wrong time of year for this, but on the other hand the landscaper guys are glad of the work. It’s raining hard now and supposed to continue for the next week. Everything is and will continue to be soaked.

I’ve read several short stories, but that’s it, a couple from the Locked Room Mystery collection, a couple from The Science Fiction Omnibus, and a few from the Big Book of Christmas Mystery Stories. It’s hard to get through those big, fat collections, but there is good stuff in them. The best short story I read was “The Box” by James Blish, first published in the April 1949 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories.


Barbara’s reading has slowed as well, and she’s still plugging away on A Fear of Dark Water by Craig Russell. She’s been busy quilt making, Christmas gift shopping, watching football with me, and supervising that landscaping stuff. That is just about wrapped up (expect a post with pictures soon) but then the holidays interfere. Who knows when we’ll get our reading back on track.

Hope you are all reading and enjoying the run-up to the holidays!

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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17 Responses to Current Reading: November 30 – December 6

  1. Bill Crider says:

    I’m reading CUT ME IN by Ed McBain, a Hard Case Crime novel coming next year. It’s one of those that hasn’t been reprinted in well over 50 years.

  2. Jerry House says:

    I read CUT ME IN a number of years ago when it was published as THE PROPOSITON as by “Hunt Collins” but remember nothing about it. It may be time to revisit it.

    Blish wrote a number of stories I really liked and a number that left me cold. “The Box” was in the like column, Richard.

    I read two graphic novels this week: Frank Miller’s BATMAN: YEAR ONE and Eric Shanower’s adaptation of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. That last put me in an Oz mood, so I read L. Frank Baum’s THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ and OZMA OF OZ– good fun. I also read L. Sprague de Camp and P. Schuyler Miller’s GENUS HOMO, a SF novel about 25 people transported from 1939 a million years (or so) to a world dominated by various races of primates — a forerunner to PLANET OF THE APES, if you will. Jon Morris’ THE LEAGUE OF REGRETTABLE SUPERHEROES helped round off the week with a tongue-in-cheek look at over a hundred of the weirdest and silliest superheroes to grace (?) the pages of comics, including Dr. Hormone, Mother Hubbard (a man in drag), Rainbow Boy, Fatman, Thunderbunny, and Nature Boy.

    I envy you your landscaping. We probably won’t do anything with our piddling patch of land until spring. Stay dry and keep well.

    • Richard says:

      Jerry, I’m glad we have these weekly chats. I’ve liked the majority of the Blish I’ve read, especially his Cities in Flight books, though it’s been a long time since I read those. I have the 1970 omnibus edition.

      I thought BATMAN: YEAR ONE was pretty good the Shanower much less so, and have had no interest in rereading OZ books, though as I commented on your blog I have some.

      I’m just glad the landscaping work, retaining walls built, steps added, soil added and finally a new sod lawn installed, is over. Just in time for a solid week of rain. I expected to see standing water on the new lawn (no time for things to settle) this morning as it poured all night, but it looks okay. The new planting areas are muck, though, and we don’t know if the things we replanted after the work will survive such wet feet. They were on a slope with good drainage, now the area is level, and though the area was constructed with good drainage in mind, this is too much too soon.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Just heard from my brother (whose birthday it is today, by the way) and he mentioned Portland having “monsoon-like conditions” today.

        • Richard says:

          Happy birthday to your brother.

          About the weather, he got that right. It really poured this morning, and the wind kicked up big time. It’s not bad now, even some patches of blue sky, but more rain and wind coming tonight and tomorrow. A series of storms is coming across at us, and there should be one after another for a week, at least through next Sunday. Thank goodness we didn’t have (much) puddling in the newly landscaped areas!

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’ll do the list in the morning, but basically I’ve been reading a crapload of short stories. I seem to have a pile of library books that are mostly story collections. It wasn’t planned that way, but it seems to have happened. I’m returning a couple of them.

    I did read BUFFALO NOIR, latest in the series that started with BROOKLYN NOIR, and it was one of the better ones, I thought, not quite as uneven as many of them are. I also read the PARATIME stories by H. Beam Piper that you recommended recently. Good stuff. I still have the novel to read. I’m up to 717 stories read for the year.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    As I was saying…I also read another George Kelley recommendation (this one downloaded from the library to the Kindle; the other two were library books): Dinty W. Moore’s DEAR MISTER ESSAY WRITER GUY: Advice and Confessions on Writing, Love, and Cannibals. I found it mildly amusing at best.

    Believe it or not I got another collection of stories from PaperbackSwap, this one Algernon Blackwood’s JOHN SILENCE, PHYSICIAN EXTRAORDINARY (trade pb). I thought I had read these years ago but probably read only one story about his “psychic detective.” I also got a Connie Willis collection from the library on Kindle (the only edition they had), as well as Asimov’s I, ROBOT, which I’m going to read instead of the rest of the collection of his early stories. I found those more interesting to read about (his meetings with John Campbell, when and how he wrote and sold the stories, etc.) than to read, for the most part, And I got Mary Karr’s THE ART OF MEMOIR (yes, yet another George Kelley recommendation!).

    I’m not sure what I’m going to read next, those the Willis stories will be among them. And I have five other books on the way that I got in a Black Friday 30% off sale.

    No shortage of reading material here.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff, you’re reading, I’m not. To put it succinctly.

      I don’t read that many of George’s recommendations, as he reads a lot of non-fiction and I don’t. So that stuff, though it may be great, isn’t on my want-to-read list.

      Barbara asked me (again) what I wanted for Christmas, and after much thought I couldn’t come up with anything. I don’t want any more books. I barely read FFB any more, or at least not with an eye to acquire. I like the Robot stories by Asimov.

      Remember, when you get 30% off you still pay 70%. I prefer to save 100% by not buying at all.

      “No shortage of reading material here.” No, not here either!

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    Reading THE ART OF THE MEMOIR, Mary Karr and a book by Linn Ullman, Liv’s daughter called THE CALLED SONG plus short stories.

  6. Patti Abbott says:

    THE COLD SONG, sorry.

  7. Like Jerry, I’ve found James Blish’s short stories to be inconsistent. When he’s good, he’s very very good. But, when he’s bad… Next week is FINALS week so as soon as I finish correcting the exams, figure out the FINAL GRADES, and hand in all the end-of-semester paperwork, I can start reading for fun again.

  8. That’s why I hate house work. Interferes with my reading! 🙂

  9. Good luck with the landscaping, and the rain.

    I find it tough to get through a whole book of short stories in one go. I like to spread them out, read a story here and there, but if I read them close together I sometimes find that they run together, especially if all the stories are by the same author.

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