The weather has been nice, the garden looks great, things are fine. I haven’t done a lot of reading, but I finished Orbital Decay by Allen Steele, and liked it better at the end than at the middle point, which does happen sometimes with books. I read Paul Hollywood, a biography by Andrew Dagnell. It’s one of the worst biographies I’ve ever read. Slim on facts, oozing with stories from British scandal sheets and full of repeated information, this one is so bad it went directly into the recycle bin.
Vastly better, of course, is All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I bought and read this in 1974 when the hardcover was published, but considering events in Washington D.C. these last months I wanted to reread it. I couldn’t find my copy (buried in a box somewhere here) so I got this 40th anniversary edition from the library.
The uncovering of the Watergate scandals. I’d forgotten a lot of the details, but it’s in essence as I remembered, and reading the book brought back to mind the time Watergate and all the fallout was happening. I lived through it, remember reading the newspaper articles, seeing the news, later taking days off work to watch the hearings. Of course I’ve seen the film more than once, but it edits so much out to fit a time frame.
I also have a hold for The Final Days which is the follow-up and should have it from the library in a week or two.
Barbara has just about finished Jeffrey Deaver’s The Burial Hour, the latest Lincoln Rhyme novel.
She’s going to read All the President’s Men next, though she wasn’t as caught up in Watergate as I was, so we’ll see if all the detail is fascinating, as I found it, or overwhelming.
So how about you?
What have you been reading?
I should read All the President’s Men. I remember watching the hearings when I was in my early 20’s and my first husband was in pilot training in the Air Force.
This week I finished Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry, very good. Then I read Dangerous Davies, the Last Detective by Leslie Thomas and The Man with the Getaway Face by Westlake. I haven’t started my next book yet, trying to decide on one.
I haven’t read any Perry in ages, and don’t remember a title. Maybe I’ll try another when I finish some short story collections I’ve decided to try.
Read the new mystery and suspense collection from Joyce Carol Oates-Dis Mem Ber- I liked it a lot. Oates is very good about writing about young girls. Also read the third story in Jake Arnotts London trilogy-Truecrime. Highly recommend the trilogy. Also a first novel by Jordon Harper called She Rides Shotgun. Also recommended. Delved into some older books and read a few stories by Algis Budrys. Very overlooked writer. Right now reading The White Road by Sarah Lotz. Liking it a lot so far. Just got the new Denise Mina , Kameron Hurley and Steve Hamilton from the library. So they will be next in line. Have Red Snow by Ian MacLeod, The Force by Don Winslow and Kings of America by R. J. Ellroy on the backburner. Library books get first attention.
Just as library books get first attention here, too, Steve. Some very interesting books in your comment, and lots to consider side you recommend them highly. Especially Jake Arnotts London trilogy. Budrys stories are up and down for me, but I like some of them a lot. He was a good critic, too.
I finished the fifth (and perhaps final) book in THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series: THE SPIDER’S WAR. Now I’m reading WAR & PEACE…only 1400 pages!
Truly a BFB, George.
My major reading this week was LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders. Following young Willy Lincoln’s death, the sixteenth president would visit his tomb at night to mourn and hold his son’s corpse. An intricate story told in historic snippets and with the voices of the multiple dead in the cemetery who, with the exception of one. do not realize they are dead. A marvelous tale of loss, redemption, illusion, and history. Saunders, one of the country’s premiere short story writers, did an amazing job with his first novel.
Stephen King’s new book, written with Cemetery Dance’s Richard Chizmar, is a novella about a twelve-year-old girl given a magical box that comes with a great responsibility and at a great price, as she learns over the next decade or so. GWENDY’s BUTTON BOX is not a major work but it is a good story, expertly told.
Following up on last week’s TOM SWIFT AND HIS AERIAL WARSHIP, I decided to move onto the next book in the series, this one from 1916. TOM SWIFT AND HIS BIG TUNNEL; OR, THE HIDDEN CITY OF THE ANDES is, as usual, a coincidence-laden adventure that takes the young inventor to Peru to help a client blast a tunnel through the mountains. Sabotage and superstition follow. The “Hidden City” is not a major part of the story; I kept expecting it to be important but it was just a lagniappe thrown in at the end.
Two graphic novels this week: Stan Lee’s MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AVENGERS, VOLUME 3, collecting ten of the issues from 1965-6, and Chris Claremont’s X-TREME X-MEN: SAVAGE LAND, which pits our heroes against dinosaurs and the villain Brainchild. Neither are anything to write home to mother about.
We also binge-watched the first season of RIVERDALE. My, how Archie Andrews and the gang changed from when I was a kid. This teen-oriented CW show kept me watching. Most interesting to me was Miss Grundy, no longer an old hag but now a young, oversexed music teacher (taking the place of the original comic’s Mr. Flutesnoot). Looking forward to the new season.
Last week (and this week) will be dedicated to removing trees and bushes — all of which have grown tightly around water pipes. Early morning and early evening work because of the hot Florida weather. I don’t mind the work, but I hate the sweating.
Enjoy your week, Richard.
Yet you moved to Florida, knowing you’d get that sweaty weather. Tsk, tsk. I’ve come to realize we just don’t have a good place in our house, despite it’s spaciousness, to watch television or movies. But Barbara doesn’t want to spend the time or money on some special AV room, so we watch some TV here and there, and occasionally a movie in the evening, and that’s it.
You people make me feel guilty. I am reading Megan’s last book (YOU WILL KNOW ME) in preparation for my book group. They will not get it–they don’t read crime fiction and they don’t read books about families. It’s going to be uncomfortable for all of us but they chose it at the last minute when the scheduled book’s paperback release was delayed. Megan’s comic boo,k NORMANDY GOLD, comes out this week for anyone who likes such things. Titan will publish six issues and then collect it into a graphic novel. Strange world. The artwork looks amazing.
Maybe Megan’s book will convert them to the really good stuff.
I look forward to that graphic novel, Patti, and congratulations on your short story collection being picked up.
Ah, that brings back very specific memories. On July 4, 1974 we flew to London on a 7 week summer vacation. (After a week there we flew to Rome, and spent most of the trip traveling around on a Eurailpass.) The first day in London I was surprised to find that ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN was already out there in paperback, so I bought a copy and (despite the sightseeing and theater) read it in a few days. Some weeks later we were in Stockholm when I saw a newspaper announcing that it was Nixon’s last day in office, so we missed all the drama leading up to that point.
Ah, good times.
I must say, a lot of what you people are reading this week is in the “sounds really interesting, but not for me” category. Still, I’m sure many turn up their noses at what I’m reading, which is fair.
I am looking forward to Megan’s new book.
Besides seeing friends (Deb and John), going to the George Thorogood concert in Staten Island (the ferry at night is great), and seeing COST OF LIVING off-Broadway, I did get some reading done, most notably Sebastian Kope’s excellent first mystery, COLLECTING THE DEAD, which I raced through after giving up on a couple of SF books (at 50% in one case) that just weren’t doing it for me. I think I’ll stick to mysteries for the moment. Next was THE ENRAGED, #7 in the Jonathan Quinn/Cleaner series by Brett Battles, which begins immediately after the conclusion of the previous entry. These do need to be read in order. Start with THE CLEANER. Trust me.
I went back the giant Saki collection of stories and the end is in sight, at 80% finished (over 100 down, a couple dozen to go). I’m reading the latest Leo Waterman book by G. M. Ford, SALVATION LAKE. (The next one is coming in August.) Good so far.
Thanks for that story from 1974. One thing I was struck by when re-reading ATPM was the difference in technology. They used telephones (often public phones in booths) for most things, and there was no social media. Thank God for that. What a circus it would have been with Facebook and Twitter added to the mix.
I’ve started a mystery, but plan on trying to read some short stories this coming couple of weeks to get my reading moving again. I just got the latest collection from British Classic Crime Library, edited by Martin Edwards, so that will be where I start, I think.
I’m looking forward to your review of the new Poul Anderson collection from NESFA. I also admire George V. HIggins’s Watergate book, THE FRIENDS OF RICHARD NIXON.
I won’t get to that Poul Anderson for a while, as I’m currently on volume 3 of the series. This new one has several things that I especially like, though. I’m tempted to skip over to it. I’m not familiar with the Higgins book, I’ll look it up.
John O’Neill’s post in BLACK GATE raved about Volume 7 of the Poul Anderson series. I love the Vincent Di Fate cover! I don’t think the stories in the seven volumes are chronological.
They are, but only sorta-kinda. I got vol.7 a week or two ago. Did you see in the comments on that Black Gate post John offered me the chance to write for them on old SF?
Just re-watched ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (can’t imagine what made me want to look at at this exact moment …) – holds up remarkably well. i always found much more compelling than the rather dry book (sorry).
Charles, I agree the book is somewhat dry, but it has so much more detail than the movie. Still, after Barbara has finished the book, we’ll watch the movie.
Rick, you should embrace the BLACK GATE offer! You would be perfect!
I’ll just have to come up with the right topic.
Any of your SF reviews would appeal to the BLACK GATE audience. There would certainly be interest in the Poul Anderson series. Classic stuff!
I’m reading a Powder River Western by Davis Dresser under his Peter Field pseudonym. I had eye surgery yesterday and my vision isn’t 100% yet so I didn’t make much headway so far this week.
Oh wow, Bob, I hope you’re okay and will be 100% real soon now. Was it cataract surgery? I’m going to need that later this year, I think.
I’m a big fan of Thomas Perry. I have his latest THE OLD MAN, sitting here awaiting my attention. (His Jane Whitefield series is simply amazingly good.) I don’t remember reading ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN though of course, I saw the movie and loved it. I think it holds up very well. I’m sort of interested in reading THE FINAL DAYS, I think I’ll see if I can get a cheap copy from Abe books.
Your library should have it.