Current Reading: White, Brennan, King

Galactic GourmetI finished The Galactic Gourmet by James White, one of his Sector General science fiction novels. As always, White tells an interesting story in an entertaining way. I love these things, and since this was the first of three novels in an omnibus, I’ll be able to enjoy two more novels.

Current reading is The Long-Winded Lady, notes from The New Yorker by Maeve Brennan. It’s a collection of pieces printed in The New Yorker magazinecover-long-winded-lady in the”Talk of the Town” column, each preceded with the notation that “We have received a letter from the long-winded lady…” The pieces appeared mostly in the Sixties, and are so very insightful into life in New York City at the time that they are like portraits. Appearing in a weekly magazine, and only once every couple of month or more, they were both entertaining and thought-provoking. Reading them back-to-back-to-back seemed a bit much, so I’m reading them 4 or 5 at a time while also reading a novel.

endofwatch-usBarbara was all set to start reading The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankill when Steven King’s End of Watch finally came up on her library hold shelf. She’s dropped everything and is already about halfway through. She’s enjoying it a lot in spite of some SFF undertones.

How about you?
What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fiction, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Current Reading: White, Brennan, King

  1. steve oerkfitz says:

    Just finished Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters which I liked a lot. Am now reading Dr Knox by Peter Spiegelman and Salvation Lake by G.M. Ford. Next up will be the new Peter Robinson or The Heavenly Table by Donald Roy Pollock.

    • I have to admit I’m not interested in the Winters, and I had no idea Gerry Ford was still even writing, if we’re talking the same G.M. Ford who wrote Who the Hell is Wanda Fucha?. I’m so very far behind on Robinson.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Yes, Ford is still writing. I read the two Leo Waterman books he published in 2012 and 2014. (Both are available on Kindle for $2 each.) I hadn’t realized there was a new one, so thanks Steve.

  2. I was reading non-fiction books last week. QUENCH YOUR OWN THIRST and HOW TO WRITE LIKE TOLSTOY were great books. I have a number of novels stacked up. I also have a ticket for the new JASON BOURNE movie that opens on Friday. I’m watching the three previous Jason Bourne movies on Blu-ray to prepare.

  3. I am reading a stack of pulp novels written by Dolores Hitchens and Vin Packer since that’s the topic of my panel in New Orleans. Any insights are welcome. I tried to do Helen Nielsen but her novels were too hard to come by in time.

    • I’d be interested in how you define “pulp novel” for the purposes of your panel. Doesn’t sound, from the authors you name, you mean novels written for the pulp magazines.

  4. Jerry House says:

    I have a lot of White’s books hanging around here, Richard, and I really should get to them. The new Stephen King is on my library hold list so it should be coming sometime before the new year; when t comes in I’ll probably have to arm wrestle Kitty for it since she has just finished the first two books in the series and loved them.

    For my reading this week, there’s RUTHLESS: SCIENTOLOGY, MY SON DAVID MISCAVIGE, AND ME by Ron Miscavige and Dan Koon. David Miscavige is the head of the Church (ha!) of Scientology and his father had been a Scientologist for 42 years. Both David Miscavige and L. Ron Hubbard come off as steaming piles of paranoid narcissistic dung, although the biggest pile belongs to the author’s son. The author (unintentionally, I’m sure) doesn’t come off very well either. For me, I couldn’t help drawing parallels to the current orange presidential candidate.

    I also read Edward D. Hoch’s SF mystery THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HAND and Murray Leinster’s TV tie-in LAND OF THE GIANTS. The Hoch was the second of three novels in his Computer Cops series and shows that his basic strength was in short stories. The Leinster was based on a late Sixties SF show created by Irwin Allen. Allen created some very bad shows and this one was near the top of that list. Leinster managed somehow to breathe life into the show’s hackneyed concept and create an interesting book.

    Finally, I read Mickey Spillane’s THE SNAKE,a Mike Hammer novel from 1964 that was my Forgotten Book this week. Spillane was having a lot of fun with this one, which came out the same year as his first Tiger Mann novel, DAY OF THE GUNS. Deep into THE SNAKE, Hammer’s secretary and love interest Velma tells him, “You’re the tiger, man.” Cute.


    There’s a little over three months left until the November elections. I think I’ll spend the time in a fetal position in bed, with the covers pulled over my head. In the meantime, be well, Richard.

    • Jerry, I really enjoy your weekly comment on what you’re reading, so please keep it up. At the rate she’s going, Barbara will finish the King in another day or so. I couldn’t have managed the scientology (purposely not capitalized) book, not something I’d find of interest.

      Hoch is a short story expert, certainly. I remember the TV show Land of the Giants, but not much about it. On a good day, Leinster could write about anything and make it interesting, though not all his writing days were good ones. An author I like. I’ve read the couple of essential Mike Hammer novels, but that’s all the Spillane I have under my belt. I’m not in a big hurry for more, but mostly because I have so damned many other books at hand.

      Did any of those graphic novels / collections really grab you?

      I hope you and the tribe are all doing just fine this Summer, Jerry. When is the new computer coming?

  5. Been years since I’ve read anything by White, although I think I still have a couple of his books around in my unread pile. Did enjoy what I’ve read from him.

    • White’s brand of medically themed SF is pretty enjoyable, Charles, though the one I just finished was a little wordy and could have been edited down some, I think. One more novel to go in the three novel omnibus.

  6. Deb says:

    I’m reading Susan Hill’s Gothic ghost story, THE WOMAN IN BLACK. It’s definitely atmospheric and raises some chills, but I can’t get a handle on the exact time period where it’s set. On the one hand, the style is very much mid-19th century and there are references to pony-carts and all paperwork being done by hand; but there are also references to motorcars and telephones and electric lights. Perhaps this is intentional, but it’s keeping me off balance and not letting me enjoy the book as much as I’d like.

    We’re preparing this week for a few days on Grand Isle (at the very southern tip of Louisiana, right in the Gulf of Mexico, famously one of the the settings in Kate Chopin’s proto-feminist novel, THE AWAKENING) before school starts (I go back on August 5, students return August 8) and our two youngest head off to LSU (August 17). I’ve reserved a bunch of books at the library and I’m hoping several come in this week–that way I’ll have plenty to read while the rest of the family is fishing.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      Deb, I know it’s been running forever, but we just couldn’t get into THE WOMAN IN BLACK at all the last time we were in London. I tried the book, but like you I found it not for me.

      In New York the idea of returning to school in early August is a horror! But then, our schools don’t end until the last week of June. They resume after Labor Day.

      Have a good trip.

    • I wonder if THE WOMAN IN BLACK is meant to be in Victorian times? I only know it as a play. Have a great trip. I hope they don’t expect you to do all the fish cleaning, as you’ll be too busy reading and staring off across the Gulf and stuff. Better yet, they catch and return, and you all go out to restaurants for dinner.

      I’m sure glad you have joined our weekly reading comments here.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’ve read and enjoyed seven of White’s Sector General books, but the last was 5 years ago. I have the next three – including this one – waiting to be read. Glad you’re enjoying the Brennan book, and thanks again for bringing it to my attention. I downloaded it to the Kindle and have read a third of it so far, like you in short bites of a few pieces at a time. She lived in the Time Square theater district and Greenwich Village, and those are the areas where most of the pieces are set. Good stuff.

    This week I read: first was (a Bill Crider recommendation as so many of the things I read are), Ron Faust’s noir WHEN SHE WAS BAD. Really good stuff. I need to read more of his. Also downloaded from the library was a YA-aimed collection of stories edited by Pete Hautman, FULL HOUSE: 10 Stories About Poker. Meh. It was OK.

    I was excited to discover there was a new book by a favorite writer, James Sallis, out. WILLNOT is a town in Virginia. It also seems to be the setup for a possible series. The narrator is town doctor Lamar Hale, and it is quite interesting, well written as usual, if episodic. I wouldn’t exactly characterize it as a mystery either.

    The big find, however, was the Sallis book I discovered I’d missed when it came out in 2013, OTHERS OF MY KIND. This short (under 120 pages) book is packed with stuff and, if you’re anything like me, you won’t soon forget it. When Jenny Rowan was 8, she was kidnapped by a man who kept her in a box under his bed for two years. He sexually abused her, but also brought her an ice cream sundae every day. On their “anniversary” two years later he took her to the mall to “celebrate” but she escaped. She spent the next 18 months living, hidden, in the mall until she was discovered. Now she’s created a life for herself and works as a film editor at a local PBS station. A cop asks for her help with another traumatized girl in a similar situation. For a short book this has a lot in it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. Highly recommended.

    Current reading? The aforementioned PULP INK and THE LONG-WINDED LADY and Stephen King’s HEARTS IN ATLANTIS (I finished the first, 320 page, “novella”). I started the new Marcia Muller book about Sharon McCone, SOMEONE ALWAYS KNOWS, and have the new Megan Abbottbook among others (a Claire Watkins book I missed by Mary Logue) coming next.

    • Jeff, your long, detailed comment every week is one of the reasons I keep gong with these current reading posts. Thanks. The White omnibus I’m reading has the last 3 novels in the Sector General series, or they were at the time. I may have missed some, or short stories, along the way, but I’m reading this because I plan to do a set of posts; a collection, an anthology and an omnibus. This will be the latter.

      I am also enjoying the Brennan book, and consider it lucky that I found out about it from an article on on lost books (I sent Crider a link and he posted it). Of the ten books it was the one that most interested me.

      I loved the first three Sallis books, especially The Long-Legged Fly, but have not read further. I don’t even know how far behind I am, but will check. I saw that new one was forthcoming a month or two ago, and have it on hold at the library. I hope I’m not jumping into mid-series, but it sounds like a stand-alone. But the one you describe sounds good too. Speaking of getting behind on favorite authors, Barbara reminded me last week that before the new William Kent Krueger comes out in a month or two I’m two books behind on the Cork O’Connor books. Yikes!

      And…I’m behind on Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone books, and Bill Pronzini, and Bill Crider, and so many more. The shorter list might be the authors I like that I’m not behind on. Sigh.

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