Current Reading: the reading blahs

I’ve been picking up books and putting them back down. I’ve been reading a few pages, and finding myself staring out the window. I’ve been napping, leafing through magazines, watching some TV. I’ve read maybe twenty or thirty pages in the last week. I returned two library ebooks unread. I guess I’ve got the reading blahs this week.

I do have a couple of things that are promising, if I can stay focused.

Barbara, however, is plugging along, having the Maltabano she was reading last week and now moved on to I Found You by Lisa Jewell, which came from the library. She got it based on a review in Mystery Scene.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

note: replies to your comments will be delayed due to the usual weekday reason.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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27 Responses to Current Reading: the reading blahs

  1. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    I read Killer of the Flower Moon by David Grann a nonfiction book by the author who also wrote The Lost Cities of Z. Liked it. It was a quick read as was The Dispatcher a novella by John Scalzi. I enjoyed that also but not as much as his novels. Just finished Zodiac by Sam Wilson. A alternate history crime novel that takes place in a world like ours but where every ones place in society is determined by their birth. Also finished the Reggie Oliver collection Holidays from Hell.

    • I listened to The Dispatcher on Audible, as it was offered free. I agree with you that I like his novels better. The Wilson sounds a bit like Victorian England, with class levels.

  2. Bob Napier says:

    Sometimes you just have to take a break and concentrate on other things.

  3. Jerry House says:

    What Cap’n Bob said. (I was going to include a limerick about you and the blahs but for the life of me I couldn’t come up with one that wasn’t obscene. Maybe I’ll work on a sonnet for later posting instead.)

    I read the latest Jack Reacher from Lee Child, NIGHT SCHOOL, as well as BRIMSTONE, a Virgil and Hitch Western by Robert B. Parker. The Reacher was very good although it had less action than many of the others in the series. The Parker was typical Parker, a fast read with clipped conversations; Parker upped the angst level on this one, though.

    On the graphics scene, MARY WORTH and ASTRO BOY, BOOK TWO were comic compilations and my FFBs this week. I also read Volume 2 of SPIDER-GWEN, an alt-universe take on Marvel characters. That one tried too hard, leaving me meh.

    Much of my week was spent watching television…a half dozen or so BBC MISS MARPLEs, an old miniseries based on Robert Harris’ ARCHANGEL, and the first four episodes of the latest incarnation of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 — all interspersed Trump bashings from Jon Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, and others.

    The tornadoes by-passed our area and the flash flood warning expires in an hour and a half, so it looks like we’ll have a good week here.

    Be well, Richard.

  4. Deb says:

    Whenever I go through a “blah” phase (and I think all readers experience them periodically, for a variety of reasons), I usually pick up a couple of Maigrets: they’re generally short, so I don’t have to devote a great deal of time to them, there’s a lot of them, so I usually don’t grab something I’ve read before, and they usually get me thinking about reading again. I find them a good “palette cleanser”. That being said, you can’t force yourself to read. Perhaps the old zen exercise of allowing yourself to do anything EXCEPT reading for a specific amount of time will do the trick and make you want to pick up a book or two again.

    This week I’m reading Amy Gentry’s GOOD AS GONE about what happens to a family when their daughter, abducted and presumed dead as a teenager, returns home after eight years. After the initial euphoria wears off, the mother begins to see holes in her daughter’s story. It’s well-written but, as a mother of daughters, I have to say it’s hard to read in parts.

    And I must mention Amber Bardan’s KING’S CAPTIVE, a crazysauce “romance” novel I went into knowing very little about. The daughter of a mafia boss is kidnapped by the head of a rival outfit and is kept on a secret Caribbean island. There’s a lot of extremely explicit sex, which is not unusual for a contemporary romance novel, but there’s also the crime element (drug-smuggling, gun-running) and some very unromantic violence. But what I’ve found really interesting is some of the stylistic choices, like flashbacks and (a first for any romance novel I’ve read) an unreliable (or at least very selective) narrator.

    We’ve been watching the “Shetland” mysteries on Netflix, based on Anne Cleeves’s Jimmy Perez books. Very good–but God, are those accents thick!

    • Good advice, Deb, thank you. I have a promising book in hand, but three more things just popped up at the library – 2 novels and an ebook – so suddenly I feel both malaise and overwhelmed simultaneously.

      I had no idea current romance novels had lots of extremely explicit sex. Why? It can’t be necessary to the plot, can it? Pfui. The Gentry sounds interesting, but only mildly so.

  5. Bill Crider says:

    Finished JACK OF EAGLES by James Blish and DRAGON’S CLAW by Peter O’Donnell, among other things. Just started THE NOVEL by James Michener. I’ve gone through the “blahs” before, but not recently.

  6. Patti Abbott says:

    I read THE ATLANTIC cover to cover if that counts. I am reading 1984 for my book group. Just started THE DRY (Jane Harper) after waiting five months for it. Yes, you really need close captions for the Shetland series. But i watched PARANOID without them pretty much.

  7. I already have my tickets to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 so I have that movie on my dance card this week. I’m reading a cozy mystery (a rare event) and I have another Big Fat Book in the on-deck circle. Plenty of short story collections arrived during the past week. THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION OF THE YEAR Edited by Neil Clarke weighs in at 611 pages!

  8. Jeff Meyerson says:

    If you read Patti’s blog you’ll see I had much the same reading problem, though it’s as much having TOO many books to read as anything else. I’ve read a lot of short stories (some very short ones by Lydia Davis), including PIECES OF MODESTY, the first Modesty Blaise collection by Peter O’Donnell. Total for the month: 86. Year to date: 302!

    I did finish one other book, the second Claire Codella mystery by Carrie Smith, FORGOTTEN CITY, which I enjoyed (possibly more than the first one).

    Currently reading: THE PRINCESS DIARIST by Carrie Fisher.
    BROKEN HOMES by Ben Aaronovitch, next in his Rivers of London series.
    THE ENRAGED by Brett Battles, next in his Jonathan Quinn (The Cleaner) series, which I should have read earlier, as it follows immediately after his last one, THE COLLECTED. In that one, Quinn’s former apprentice, Nate, takes on a case as Quinn, who is not working, and ends up in deep trouble by a dictator who wants revenge for past action. Quinn rescues Nate and the other prisoners, but we’re left with his girlfriend Orlando shot and in grave danger, and a major supporting character in the series (SPOILER ALERT!), Peter (Quinn’s former boss), dead (END SPOILER).

    As I said, the new one picks up from that point.

    • Deb says:

      I finished THE PRINCESS DIARIST about a week before Carrie had the heart attack that eventually killed her. I thought it had the feeling of a magazine article that had to be expanded to book length. I liked it, but it seemed more like a “lap dance” (Carrie’s term for anything she did basically just for money) than an actual fleshed-out book-length analysis of how being cast as Princess Leia changed her life.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        So far, I agree. I liked WISHFUL DRINKING, the book and especially her performance of it on stage. Her stuff on her father (still alive then) was hilarious, if pretty tough.

    • See my comment to Deb, above, about too many – 3 at the library as of today. So many short stories! I have many collections waiting for me to pick them up. I read that Fisher, if it’s the one she wrote years ago, if it’s new then no. I fell behind on the Rivers of London series after number 2 or 3, just too many rings to read. Have not read any cleaner books.

  9. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Jackie wanted me to talk about her reading, but the stupid computer froze halfway through and I lost it all. She reads, first, what you could call paranormal romantic suspense – J. R. Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Lara Adrian, Chloe Neill, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, Lora Leigh, Shelley Laurenston (also as G. A. Aiken, both humorous writers), Alexis Morgan. Also straight romantic suspense and occasional romances, plus certain mystery authors and some SF with romance/paranormal elements. Other favorites include J. D. Robb (and Nora Roberts), Iris Johansen, Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Jayne Castle – futuristic ones, and Amanda Quick – Victorian era), Linda Lael Miller, Cherry Adair, Suzanne Brockmann, Cynthia Eden, Heather Graham, Maggie Shayne, Carla Neggers, Faye Kellerman, Lori Armstrong/Lorelei James, Julia Spencer-Fleming, J. A. Jance, Elizabeth Lowell, Shannon McKenna, Karen Robards, Betty Webb,

    Since she got the Kindle she tends to read a book there in bed, and a library book (or one of her own) during the day.

    • That’s a long list, and I have to say only a few of the names are even familiar to me. I have read maybe 2 of them (Robb, Jance) and not recent;y. But then romance and paranormal, unless the latter is SF, aren’t my cup of tea, I’ll bet Deb knows many of them.

      • Deb says:

        Oh yeah–I know quite a few of those writers, although I generally read Regency or other historical romances. Romance novels cover such a wide variety of subgenres, styles, and time periods, there really is something there for every woman. (And, at the risk of being incredibly sexist, I really find it to be a woman’s genre. Even the male-male romance novels–yes, they are a thing–are written by and for women.)

        • Jeff Meyerson says:

          Deb (and Rick): until she retired, Jackie found it hard to concentrate on reading except in the summer. Teaching just takes too much out of you and she would veg out in front of the tube. One exception was the year she fell and broke bones in both feet, and was confined to the couch, where she read a lot.

          When she retired she started reading more, and there were things in Borders, saying “If you like so-and-so, try this, this, and this.”

          At that time she was reading Diana Palmer (still a guilty pleasure, though she complains every book about how terrible the writing is and swears this is the last she’ll read), a lot of those thin Harlequins including Iris Johansen, Tami Hoag (before she hit it big), Cait London, Sherryl Woods, Tori Carrington, Sandra Brown, etc. Then came the period of Hoag, Linda Howard, Rachel Lee, Stella Cameron, Tess Gerritsen, Susan Donovan, Erica Spindler, Susan Andersen, Elizabeth Lowell, Marjorie M. Liu, etc.

          Eventually she discovered paranormal.

          I’m not listing the mystery authors in toto, but some are P. J. Tracy, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Scottoline, Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, Charlaine Harris, Dororhy Cannell, Nancy Pickard, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, G. A. McKevitt, Jamie Freveletti, Jill McGown, Michael Palmer, Leonard Goldberg (she’s always liked medical thrillers, in books as well as on television), Janet Neel, Katy Munger, Steven White, Jon Land, plus Dean Koontz and Laurell K. Hamilton, both of whom she’s dropped in recent years.

  10. I’m looking forward to finishing final exams so I can put some more reading time in.

  11. I went through that quite a lot for the first part of this year…more not having the desire to read at all vs. picking stuff up and not liking it. And to clarify, I mean fiction. I am pretty much always reading some nonfiction.

    This past weekend, however, I attended the local Comicon and found out an acquaintance of mine who is a comic writer had taken over Ragnarok Publishing. They had a booth with a book called Blackguards which is a short story anthology with a lot of names I’ve heard of, but mostly not tried, and others I hadn’t. I liked the cover and wanted to support him so I picked up a copy and have been enjoying the heck out of it. I’ve cranked through 250 pages of it in just a few days, which is good for me given all the other things I’ve had going on.

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