Current Reading: White, Chandler, O’Connell, Grecian

trouble-is-my-businessI read James White’s Double Contact and though it was slow in the middle it improved towards the last quarter or so. I think it’s one of the weaker, if not the weakest, of the Sector General novels, now that I’ve read them all.

I read a couple of longish short stories by Raymond Chandler, which I enjoyed very much, but realized I wasn’t in the mood to read one of the novels. I read “Red Wind” from The Midnight Raymond Chandler. That story is also in the collection shown, and I read “Trouble is My Business” from it. Also in this one is “Goldfish” that I already recently read for an anthology post, and “Finger Man” which I plan to read next week.

worldmakers-sf-adventures-in-terraformingAfter that, my reading has been a bit of a jumble. I read Graham Oakley’s dry, droll, hilarious Diary of A Church Mouse, a children’s book with wonderful illustrations. More on that one anon. I plucked Skeleton Dance by Aaron Elkins off a stack of not-yet-shelved books from BookSwap, and while I enjoyed it, I found it longer than necessary for the rather thin plot.

I read several short stories from the Gardner Dozois-edited Worldmakers, SF Adventures in Terraforming, which is, so far, a really good anthology. Then I felt like reading a novel, and after Chandler I was thinking hard-boiled and just naturally slid into…

…a Mike Shayne mystery novel, Bodies Are Where You Find Them. I’d barely started it when the power went out. We had a pretty big series of storms come through, not done yet. So I turned to the iPad, and the Kindle For Mac application. Already just started was The Island by Michael Stark, Book One Part One of Fallen Earth. I must have picked it up for free or cheap, and don’t know anything about it, but after about 40 pages I gave it up, at least for now, and went to bed. Next morning, the power back on thankfully, I turned to the first Miss Seaton novel, after reading a very positive review of the series in a recent Forgotten Book Friday. Well, tastes vary, but personally I found the book inane. A little silliness goes a long way, and for me this went too far. So I’ll get back to the Mike Shayne this week.

family-plotBarbara finished The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian, which she liked quite a lot, the cliffhanger ending had her hurrying to the library website to put a hold on the next in the series.

Meanwhile she’s reading The Family Plot, by Cherie Priest, which she started during the power outage, using her headlamp. The Family Plot is a haunted house type novel, part mystery, part supernatural, not her usual thing but just right for the Halloween season.

Waiting at the library is Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre. author of the The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy, Alex, Irene and CamilleWe both have lots of books lined up. Life is good.

What about you?
What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

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

20 Responses to Current Reading: White, Chandler, O’Connell, Grecian

  1. tracybham says:

    Richard, I love all of Graham Oakley’s Church Mice books. We bought them all when my son was a child and we still have all of them. Wonderful stories with (as you noted) lovely illustrations. On another note, I just ordered the Superman for all Seasons graphic novel that you blogged about. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Ha! I started the Family Plot too. Not sure I am going to stick with it though. it already feels padded but I’ll give it another fifty pages.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I saw your flooding on the news. Glad the power was back up fairly quickly. And it sounds like a real variety of reading. I must admit that, like you, I wasn’t able to get into the Miss Seeton books.

    A new arrival this week that might interest you, from Crippen & Landru: Frederick Irving Anderson’s THE PURPLE FLAME and Other Detective Stories, in the Lost Classics Series. Most of the stories are from the 1920s and 1930s. The ‘bonus’ was a very short story by Sarah Caudwell, “Malice Among Friends.” Got another in the Maigret reprints being done by Penguin, THE SHADOW PUPPETS, which I’ve read under the title MAIGRET MYSTIFIED. (THE SHADOW IN THE COURTYARD was another alternate title.) Also got the newest Deadly Pleasures this week.

    My reading has still been slow, though I read a lot more short stories. I read the 20 short stories in HERE’S O’HARA, the most memorable of which is “The Doctor’s Son.” I still have the Library of America collection of John O’Hara’s stories too. I also read his short Hollywood novel, HOPE OF HEAVEN, which is narrated by the aforementioned ‘Doctor’s Son’ James Malloy.

    I’m close to finishing A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL by Jeffrey Ford (favorite stories: “The Blameless” and “Blood Drive”) and Jeffrey Siger’s SANTORINI CAESARS, where Andreas Kaldis takes more of a back seat than usual while his underlings do the legwork in Santorini, supposedly all that is left of Atlantis. I’m also reading MISSISSIPPI NOIR (shorts).

    The library books are piling up again, including a few I really want to get to quickly.

    • Jeff, not sure 13 hours is “fairly quickly’, but a good part of it was while we slept. The light we left on let us know when it came back on, and we seem not to have lost any food from ‘fridge or freezer. I’m not surprised you didn’t like the Miss Seeton books.

      Twenty short stories in a week is a lot, I think, depending on their length. I haven’t gotten to the latest Jeffrey Siger. I’m still one behind. I’ve had poor success with the various Noir volumes, so stopped reading them. I’ve got two at the library, and two to go back, so if the wind and rain let up today or tomorrow (they say we might see some sun Thursday) I’ll go.

  4. I just finished reading NEVER GO BACK, the Jack Reacher novel that the new Tom Cruise movie that opens on Friday is based on. It’s mid-semester time so the rest of the week will be consumed with grading and posting the 150 student grades to the College on-line grading system. And answering student emails and voicemails when they see their grades.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Just a couple more months and you’ll be done marking papers forever, George.

  6. macavityabc says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of rereading lately. Just started Simak’s ENCHANTED PILGRIMAGE.

  7. Jerry House says:

    Slow week here, Richard. Finished both THRICE THE BRINDLED CAT HATH MEWED (the latest Flavia de Luce novel from Alan Bradley) and DEATH WITHOUT COMPANY (a Walt Longmire from Craig Johnson). Flavia is now twelve years old and has returned to England from her short-lived stay at a Canadian boarding school. She soon discovers a body hung upsidedown on a door and the game’s afoot. Flavia still straddles the line between a mature intellectual (and expert on poisons) and a pre-teen girl; the combination remains fascinating. The Longmire was the second book in the series and involves the death of an elderly Basque woman, a man missing for thirty years, and high-finance chicanery. We also are introduced to soon-to-become deputies Double Tough and Saizarbitoria and watch Longmire begin to struggle with his feelings about Victoria Moretti. As always, Johnson gives us a great read.

    I’ve been dipping into Otto Penzler’s massive THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES anthology. It’s amazing how many stories I a) have not read, or b) don’t remember.

    .I spent much of the week cataloging books. I’ve gone through 117 banker’s boxes so far and still have a lot more to go. I did spend one night sitting on cold cement bleachers watching over 800 students from out county high schools perform in a marching band competition. (I was there because granddaughter Erin is a member in her school’s color guard.) I was blown away by the professionalism and talent of all these kids. They were amazing and I was glad I came. Well, except for the fact that I discovered why the bleachers were dubbed “the hemorrhoid-maker.” Next time I’ll bring a cushion.

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around Ed’s death. To me, he seemed the Engergizer Bunny of multiple myeloma — he just kept going and going. He reminded me of many of Kitty’s Irish aunts and uncles — you couldn’t kill them with a stick…until…

    Have a great week, Richard, and tell the weather to be nice to you.

    • I still haven’t read Flavia, but one of these days… Same with Longmire.

      Naturally, I’ll be skipping that Penzler’s anthology. Vampires, werewolves, zombies…ENOUGH! Catalogging books is tiresome but worth doing. Of course when you get rid of a book you need to de-catalog it. I just did some of that when I put a bunch of books into a big bag to go as a donation.

      I didn’t know Ed Gorman except as an author and from reading his blog, but everyone seems to agree he was a really nice man.

  8. Evan Lewis says:

    Since you’re on a Chandler kick, Mr. R, might be a good time to re-see the HBO versions of some of those stories. They’re here:

    • I appreciate the suggestion, but I’ve seen a couple of them, and find I prefer reading the stories and novels and letting my mind do the “picturing” instead of a casting director. Now I just wish Comcast would get our systems working. I can barely get these posts out and the landline has been haywire on and off. Maybe it’s the weather, but it started before that.

  9. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Been dipping into short stories from In Sunlight Or In Shadow edited by Lawrence Block. Each story is a response to a Edward Hopper painting. So far I have read the Stephen King, Joe Lansdale and Michael Connelly. Also contains stories from Joyce Carol Oates, Megan Abbott, Jeffrey Deaver and Lee Child.
    In novels I read an oldie-Fred Hoyle’s October the First is Too Late-liked the first half but thought the last half disappointing. Also read Darktown by Thomas Mullen. This is one of my favorite books this year. Follows around a couple of black policeman in Atlanta in 1948. The year they were first allowed on the force. Right now I am reading Murderabilia-a crime novel by Scottish writer Craig Robertson. Coming next(if it arrives in time) the new Junior Bender novel by Timothy Hallinan.
    You can never go wrong with Chandler. I make it a point to reread The Long Goodbye every couple of years.

  10. Richard, you wouldn’t believe it, but I’m reading an “Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators” story for old times sake. I’m also about to start reading “Master’s Choice,” an anthology of crime stories edited by Lawrence Block. It has some top writers. I picked up the secondhand paperback last evening, while waiting to catch a bus home.

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