Current Reading January 11 – 17

The BuildersStill not a lot of reading getting done here, but I did finish Richard Prather’s Everybody Had A Gun for my Friday Forgotten Book post. Now I’m reading The Builders by Daniel Polansky. The blurbs have been interesting, such as “Magnificent Seven meets Wind in the Willows” and “The Wild Bunch meets Watership Down”. It’s interesting so far. It has a neat cover by Richard Anderson.

ghosts of altonaBarbara finished Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid, and is now reading The Ghosts of Altona by Craig Russell. It may be the most recent in the Jan Fable series. Russell is a favorite of Barbara’s, even if we do often have to order the books, sometimes from the UK.

How about you? What have you been reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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31 Responses to Current Reading January 11 – 17

  1. I’ve been finishing up a stack of Library books before I go back to work tomorrow. I also read over 1500 pages of a SF trilogy. The highlight of last week was a Library Book Sale where a shopping bag of books cost $5. I bought a bag and filled it. The librarian said, “Your one of our best customers. Fill a couple more bags on The House.” So, I rummaged around in the boxes under the tables and found a box with a couple dozen STAR WARS paperbacks. I filled my bags and went home happy.

  2. Deb says:

    I am about halfway through Ruth Ware’s debut novel, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD. The setup reminds me somewhat of a Minette Walters mystery called THE DARK ROOM: a woman wakes up in a hospital bed with fragmented memories of how she got there and she must try to piece together what happened all the while trying to determine which of her friends might not be so friendly. While Ware’s book has lots of atmosphere (much of it takes place in an isolated house in the woods where a group of friends have gathered for a bachelorette party), I must say that there’s some first novel unevenness: the villain is forecast pretty obviously (I’ll hope I’m wrong and thus is classic misdirection–but, if so, there’ll be lots of red herrings to be resolved) and I think Ware made her characters too young (mid-twenties) to be the well-established, comfortably-situated people they all appear to be. Making them at least a decade older would add credibility.

    • Richard says:

      I’ve never been much of a fan of the “wakes up in a hospital bed” plot lines though I do like Allingham’s TRAITOR’S PURSE which uses it. Those type of first novel problems would be unacceptable in a more experienced writer, but we put up with them in first novels. I wonder if we should.

      • Deb says:

        I hate to be catty, but Ware’s book includes an acknowledgements page where she thanks at least ten people for reading and commenting on her manuscript. You think at least one of them would have pointed out some of the rather glaring “newbie” mistakes.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Like Deb, I read a lot of Minette Walters back in the day (starting in 1994) but she got way too dark for my taste.

    Obviously, with our Week From Hell, I didn’t get a lot of reading done. There were several days I couldn’t even read a story. I did manage to finish ANDY & DON: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show by Daniel de Vise on Monday before everything fell on us. de Vise was Don Knotts’s brother-in-law and except, as Bill Crider pointed out, for an excessive number of characters “hissing” things that don’t have any “s’ in them, does a pretty good job on the lives and very close friendship of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. From Crippen & Landru I got and read the annual Christmas (pamphlet) story for subscribers, “Tom Wasp & the Winter’s Rage” by Amy Myers, featuring her Victorian chimney sweep character. It’s very Christmas-y. Lastly, I read an ebook I obviously picked up because it was free and sounded interesting, Kate Blackwell’s YOU WON’T REMEMBER THIS: Stories. It was readable but nothing to get excited about.

    • Deb says:

      I hate to ask, but–what happened? I noticed I hadn’t seen too many comments from you at our regular watering holes. I thought you might be traveling. I hope nothing too dreadful has happened and that you and Jackie are alright.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t think I’ve read anything by Walters, so I suppose none of her books caught my eye with a review or blurb.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Shortened version of my sad saga: I had a cold, or so I thought. I did have a sore throat and some congestion and phlegm, so the doctor gave me an antibiotic, azithromycin (Z-pak), which I’d used before with no ill effects. But we were at Costco, so Jackie suggested getting it filled at their pharmacy rather than going to our local one as usual. Instead of the prepacked container it was generic pills in a generic bottle, but as I didn’t discover for three days, whatever they mixed into the pills gave me most of the side effects on the chart – severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, etc. After surviving a day I’d unsuspectingly take the next dose, and the next morning it started in again (though never as bad as day one when you take two pills). Finally, a friend who is a nurse convinced me by mentioning a change in taste (my tongue even felt weird).

    Meanwhile, Jackie caught my cold. Hers tend to go to bronchitis so we went back to the doctor. Possibly related to the cold, my blood pressure had gone up somewhat and the doctor wanted to add a water pill. But (and here the guy is in denial) instead of giving me 12.5 mg he went right to the highest level, 50 mg, which I found out (in the hospital) is normally given only to people with severe heart issues. After going to the bathroom every hour of the day – and night – Jackie heard a crash and discovered me laid out on the bathroom floor, apparently unconscious. (Let me add I have no memory of the entire event.) By the time she called 911 and came back to check on me, I had apparently revived enough to get up and back into bed. I regained coherence when the EMS guys arrived, and they agreed it was probably the medication, but I spent the next 12 hours in the ER getting tested and monitored until they released me at 6 pm on Friday.

    So I’m recovering my strength and Jackie is trying to stop coughing so we are well enough to leave for Florida on Sunday, one week late.

    /end sad saga

    • Jerry House says:

      Jeff, Your sad saga sucks. Feel better fast because the Florida sun is missing you. Besides, geezerdom would not be the same without you.

    • Deb says:

      Whoa! Amazing how many conditions are the result of medications taken to help cure other conditions (I discovered over the Christmas break that I have a severe allergy to hycodone which I had been prescribed for a cough; I took one dose and was laid out flat for 24 hours). Anyway, glad you’re feeling better and will still be able to snowbird to Florida. Take care.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Jackie once had a doctor – a pulmonologist, no less – who gave her a blood pressure medication that had the side effect of causing incessant coughing. Since it was working so well on the BP, she wanted her to take cough syrup rather than switching the medication! Since there are dozens of other choices this seemed bizarre. I also hated going to her, because no matter what time your appointment was, her management skills were so bad that it would be at least 1 1/2 hours until you saw her.

        We finally switched doctors. Later she moved back to India.

        • Richard says:

          I’m afraid that, though they seem either necessary or unavoidable, depending on your viewpoint, I don’t trust doctors, which is a sad state of affairs, when once the family doctor was a warm, wise person.

  5. Health is EVERYTHING! Take care, Jackie and Jeff!

  6. Jerry House says:

    Another quiet week,Richard. The only books I finished were my FFB, KILL HIM TWICE by Richard S. Prather, and the new Dean Koontz novel, ASHLEY BELL.

    I’m way behind on my reading, having read only five books this year. Oh well, better days are coming.

    Listening to civil rights and protest songs from the Sixties to both mark the day and remember that I miss the old days.

  7. The Builders certainly sounds like something I would be intersted in. Looking forward to your review.

  8. Patti Abbott says:

    Reading the last Ruth Rendell book THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, which seems pretty darn good for a book written by a woman in her eighties.. And if I didn’t say it here, Megan’s new book just knocked us out. Have bought six books in the week we’ve been here. The library sells them for a buck and they are often almost new books that vacationers have read and donated.

  9. fence says:

    Certainly sounds like a week from hell, hope you’re all recovered now?

    I’ve been admiring that cover to The Builders, and the story sounds interesting, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing/reading what you think of it.

  10. Patti Abbott says:

    I will ship the ones I haven’t read and redonate the ones I have. (Or the ones I tried unsuccessfuly to read).

  11. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Haven,t read much this winter. Been recovering from surgery from a torn esphogagus. Just starting the new Ian Rankin and just finished Deep South by Paul Theroux.

    • Richard says:

      A torn esphogagus? Good lord! That sounds awful, Steve. Hope you’re all healed up soon! Theroux is a writer I like when I read him, then kind of forget until I come across another of his books. I have a fat collection of his short stories I need to get back to.

  12. Richard, I haven’t been reading much either though I’m almost through with THE WAILING FRAIL by Prather, my first book by the author. I like his writing style.

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