As noted last time, I have been reading Rift in the Sky by Julie Czerneda, the third book in her Clansmen trilogy. I’m not quite sure what to say.
I liked the first two books, and liked this one most of the way through, then it became a different book, as the group from the pastoral, no-tech planet Cersi arrived at a new (to them) planet and were without warning inserted into advanced civilization and technology with it’s inherent evils. Perhaps if I’d read the following books first, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but for me it was such a jarring shift I put the book down without finishing it. I’ve never before quit a book so close to the end.
Wanting to read something completely different, so I’ve just started A Murder Coming, a collection of mystery short stories by James Powell. I’ve heard good things about the author but have not previously read any of his work. I’m also reading an anthology for an upcoming Friday Forgotten Book post.
Barbara finished, and quite enjoyed The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri, the third Inspector Salvo Montalbano mystery. Now she has a stack of things from the library, and has started Before He Finds Her Michael Kardos.
The blurb: “Everyone in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows the story: on a Sunday evening in September 1991, Ramsey Miller threw a blowout block party, then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter. But everyone is wrong.”
How about you? What are you reading?
I finished reading books for my H. P. LOVECRAFT theme week. Several non-fiction books are waiting in the on-deck circle. Sorry to hear about your abandoning that Julie Czerneda book so close to the end.
Not being much of a horror reader or fan, I’ll be looking in but probably not commenting on your Lovecraft week. I wanted to finish the Czerneda book, but didn’t like the setting shift. I should have followed Andrea’s, and the author’s, advice and read the first trade pact book, A Thousand Names For Stranger first. I will read it, eventually, I think.
Rick, I hate when that happens, but it has happened to me too. Once or twice I just got so fed up with a book that I said, I don’t care how this ends, I hate where it is going, that’s it, I’m done.
This week was better here. First it was the third of four in Andre Norton’s Solar Queen series, VOODOO PLANET, a very short, fast read. The fourth is waiting. Next I (finally) finished Wendy Welch’s enjoyable memoir of opening a small-town secondhand bookstore, THE LITTLE BOOKSTORE OF BIG STONE GAP. Obviously, she and her husband have made a successful go of it. I also finished the Pronzini “Nameless Detective” collection, SCENARIOS. As mentioned, I’d read nearly all of the stories previously but enjoyed revisiting them.
I also read a couple of (free) ebook mystery colllections, first Top Suspense’s 13 CLASSIC STORIES BY 12 MASTERS OF THE GENRE, who include Bill Crider (so there you go), Max Allan Collins, and Lee Goldberg, whose amusing story of an author on tour (“Remaindered”) was probably my favorite. The other was Paul D. Marks, L.A. LATE@ NIGHT: 5 Noir & Mystery Tales. I liked “51-50” as a cautionary tale of our times.
The other book read was Ben H. Winters, UNDERGROUND AIRLINES. I really liked his Last Detective trilogy a lot, but had a hard time liking this one. Picture a world exactly like ours – cell phones, etc. – but one where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated before his Inauguration and the Civil War was avoided, but at the cost of allowing slavery to continue. It currently is legal in four states (the “Hard Four” of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and a joined Carolina), and the story here is the first person narration of former escaped slave turned Marshal Service bounty hunter Jim Dirkson, assigned to track down an escapee supposedly in Indianapolis,heading for Canada. The problem for me was, I could not empathize with Dirkson (not his real name) at all. His choices (he has tracked down over 200 runaways in the past) are not acceptable to me, he comes across as cold and unsympathetic for most of the book, and, though it was well written and very readable (if nasty) I’m not sure I would recommend it. But, Your Mileage May Vary.
New arrival: THE CELLARS OF THE MAJESTIC (previously MAIGRET AND THE HOTEL MAJESTIC) in the new Penguin translation.
Up next? Not sure.
The Welch sounds like something I’d like, when I get the reading list settled down I’ll see if the library has it. I vaguely remember that Norton, I liked those four books. Barbara found the Winter books “disturbing” and says she won’t read any more of him. I had read the plot summary in Mystery Scene and it’s not my kind of book, I don’t think. I wonder why Penguin is changing the titles of the Maigret books, or are those the original titles and the US publisher changed them?
Following up on my Gothic reading of last week, I read Clara Reeve’s THE OLD ENGLISH BARON, first published in 1777 as THE CHAMPION OF VIRTUE. The version I read online was a 1778 edition, complete with “f”s for “s”s and with the first word of the following page also appearing sat the bottom of each page. I found the book far more interesting than I had expected, although in parts overly maudlin. I had been meaning to read this book for some time now and I’m glad I finally did. Not that I’m a glutton for punishment, I then went on to two anthologies: Robert Donald Spector’s SEVEN MASTERPIECES OF GOTHIC HORROR (1963) and Peter Haining’s GREAT TALES OF TERROR FROM EUROPE AND AMERICA: GOTHIC STORIES OF HORROR AND ROMANCE, 1765-1840, VOLUME TWO (1972). Again, both were better than they should have been — or, perhaps, it was just the mood I was in.
Also read this week: THE GREAT LEGEND, a historical novel about the siege of Troy by Rex Stout (my FFB) this week; THE HIGHWAYMAN, Craig Johnson’d latest book about Sheriff Walt Longmire (this one was a novella, whetting our appetites for the new full-length novel coming this September); and DANNY DUNN AND THE HOMEWORK MACHINE, the third (of fifteen) juveniles by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin about the titular scientific-minded young boy (this one was published in 1958 and was interesting for its take on computers and what they could do).
I also read a buncha of graphic novels, including CAPTAIN AMERICA BY ED BRUBAKER, VOLUME 2, THE FLASH: THE ROAD TO FLASHPOINT, GREEN ARROW: SALVATION, and GREEN LANTERN: BRIGHTEST DAY. I read three or four others but I don’t have their titles handy.
I’ve been plugging way at that collection of crime stories from THE STRAND and the Joe Hill short story collection. I should finish those this week. Also coming up are some John Connollys and some Craig Johnsons (I’m nearing the end of available books from both) and a Scientology tell-all written by the father of the cult’s (Did I say “cult”? No, I’m sure I meant “religion”.) leader.
Aside from having the pad fall off from the front brake while we we in traffic, things have been pretty quiet here. And hot. Very hot. Who’d have thought Florida could be hot?
Enjoy your week, Richard.
I’ll skip commenting on the gothic stuff since I’m a novice in the genre, except to say I hope you’re enjoying the books, which it seems that you are. I have read just the one Craig Johnson, the story collection Wait For Signs, which I liked a lot, but can’t seem to get going on the novels. Soon!
So, is the computer fixed, or do you have a new one, or…?
Cult is the right word. We don’t say the S-word around these logs as it upsets Naiper.
Brake pad fell off? How is that even possible? What on earth are you driving, something from the 40’s?
Richard, my computer is still out of commission. so I’m using my daughter’s for the moment.
The Cap’n’s feelings about the S-word echo mine, except he is a tad more vehement than I am.
Yeah, the brake pad…It was my daughter’s car (a RAV IV), which we borrowed to get to a doctor’s appointment while ours was being detailed. Since getting her license a year ago, my granddaughter has been the main driver. She swore the brakes were fine. Turns out the brakes were not fine and she didn’t realize it because she had nothing better to compare it with. The brakes felt pretty squishy when we started out and about twenty minutes later there was a huge THUNK, metal grinding, and no brakes. Six hours and $600 later we had new pads, rotors, and calipers. My granddaughter now knows what decent brakes feel like. I’m just glad they blew while we were driving the car and not a couple of weeks ago when they were coming from Massachusetts to Florida!
Go ahead and read the last few pages, anyway, so you can at least get an idea of how things wrap up. A lot of times when I’ve given up on a book, I’ll read the last chapter just because…and once in a while it actually prompts me to go back and finish the book.
This week I put aside my end-of-the-world readings (probably for the best seeing how dreadfully the week played out) and read Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’s ONE UNDER, the latest in the Detective Inspector Bill Slider mysteries. I generally read the Slider books more for the character interaction and witty wordplay, puns, and malaprops, but this installment had a much more tightly-woven plot as Slider and his team try to determine how the suicide of a local architect is connected to the deaths of two teenage girls.
I’ve returned to apocalyptic scenarios once more. After enjoying Greg Bear’s BLOOD MUSIC, I picked up his DARWIN’S RADIO. The premise grabbed me right away: women all over the world are suffering miscarriages and scientists are trying to determine why before the human race becomes entirely infertile. If I have one caveat, it’s that this book feels bloated with unnecessary detail. It clocks in at over 400 pages (almost twice the size of BLOOD MUSIC) and while I grant that there are more characters in more places in DARWIN’S RADIO, Bear could easily have shaved off 50 pages by just eliminating the descriptions of everyone and everything in every scene. He even describes the waitress who serves two of the characters lunch at one point! Unnecessary filler! And then (sorry, I did tech writing and copy-editing for 20 years, so these things jump out at me) there are two separate incidents where two different women (both accomplished women in their sixties) are described as having chipped nail polish. Why? It’s almost as if Bear didn’t trust his plot to carry the book– but he’s wrong, it’s a provocative subject full of hard science, just cut some of the filler!
Like Jeff, this is the third review of that Bear book I’ve read (see the one on Little Red Reviewer) and though the plot points sound interesting I don’t want to wade through that filler. I really like Cynthia Harrod-Eagles but am way behind as I am on so many series, it seems. I think I’ve read about the first 5 or 6.
Deb, good suggestion, and I did it. Unfortunately, it didn’t help.Seems all of the characters I’d got to know in the first 2.8 books have amnesia; they have no memory of anything that went before. VERY frustrating to me as the reader. At least I was able to skip a few chapters.
I’m a big fan of the Slider books too. I think I have three on the shelf waiting to read – Jackie is one or two behind me – and I think there are a couple I don’t have yet.
That is the third review of the Bear book I’ve read and I am getting closer to trying it. Hmm, my library only has one copy in the system but they do have an ebook copy available, and I returned the last two ebooks unread after starting them and finding them not to my liking at that moment, so maybe…OK, done. Borrowed.
In checking back after reading THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS, I discovered I had read all of Stephen King’s short story and novella collections except one, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, which was sitting on the shelf here unread. (Maybe it was because the first “novella” is over 300 pages.) Anyway, since nothing else satisfied I decided to try it and read the first 60 pages last night. So far, so good. After that, perhaps the Ron Faust book I have from the library, WHEN SHE WAS BAD, or the next in Linda Castillo’s Amish series, or a couple in transit from the library. I am particularly looking forward to OH, FLORIDA!
I did read James Powell’s second collection, from Crippen & Landru, which you may or may not have, A POCKETFUL OF NOSES. Let me know if you are interested as I would be happy to send it to you, as I am not planning to keep it. It was interesting but not really my taste.
Speaking about forthcoming books, I’m really looking forward to the new Louise Penny and the new William Kent Krueger books which will come out in a few months!
Been a lot of debate on Facebook about the Winters book. About half like it and half are offended. Reading FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Grof. Phil loved it. Still plugging along with CITIZENS OF LONDON for my book group and the Coates book for the other. I need to join a novels only group because non-fiction is too long.
It wasn’t that I was offended, but…the character of the narrator who is the whole book pretty much is just not sympathetic to me at all. Becoming a quisling or collaborator is just not something he can or does explain, other than just to save his skin, and it doesn’t make you care what happens to him. At least, that was the case for me.
Patti, I didn’t even realize book groups did fiction mixed with non-fiction. Not for me, that’s for sure.
I liked FATES & FURIES a lot more than GONE GIRL, the book with which it is most often compared. Firstly, I think Goff is a much better writer than Flynn and the “twists” (such as they are) are not meant for shock value but seem to proceed organically from the personalities of the characters. I did think we could have done without examples of the husband’s writing since he’s supposed to be an incredibly successful playwright, but the samples of his plays didn’t seem well-written to me. I think there’s also a major subtext about the internalization of rich, white, male privilege and how many who fit that category can’t see or acknowledge how much that has helped them.
James S.A. Corey. Jasper Fforde. Ace Atkins. George MacDonald Fraser, Ross Macdonald, Robert C. Knott, A. Bertram Chandler, John Gardner, Bernard Cornwell, Ian Fleming, Miles Cameron. And a few others.
Wow, that’s a LOT. Way to go. All ebooks, I assume. I need to read some more Ross Macdonald.
oh wow! but you know, If a book really isn’t working for you, just put it down. At least you did read the last few pages, just to know what sort of happens.
I find a lot of authors have trouble with endings. it’s like, they know where they want to story to end, and then before they get there they paint themselves into a corner, and then really weird things have to happen to get them to their ending.
I was pretty close to not finishing Time Salvager.
I finished Los Nefilm by Teresa Frohock (weak start, great finish!), and picked up Conqueror’s Pride, by Timothy Zahn.
I think my problem is I liked Cerci so much I wanted to the story to stay there, or develop in a way that the M’ray (I know it’s not spelled right) would wind up on a more pastoral planet where they could develop their powers in accord with the natural attributes of the planet, until they became powerful enough to meet the rest of the Pact on their own terms, But race-wide amnesia and being dumped into a high, high crime low morals situation was the last thing I wanted. I’m sure it’s what Julie had in mind, just not where I wanted the story to go. I’ll be interested to see what you think of the Zahn, he has his highs and lows, has written some darn good Star Wars novels.