Note: while Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinaise is on hiatus,
she may not be doing her Monday “Things That Are Making Me Happy” post.
Please feel free to make a comment here on whatever is making you happy.
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz – YA spy novel. After reading the cover article in Mystery Scene Magazine I decided to try various Horowitz books, and this was one of the first that was available at the library (lately my first choice for getting a book). This is the first in the Alex Rider teen spy series, which stretches to six (or more?) short novels. I thought it was okay, and I might try another, but I wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of these.
The Complete Psychotechnic League Volume 3 by Poul Anderson, science fiction short stories. I’m reading these out of order, and will follow this up with the second volume, which I had temporarily mislaid but have since found. Thank goodness, I was about to re-order it! It’s no secret I’m a Poul Anderson fan, and I have these stories scattered amongst other collections, particularly the NESFA short fiction of Poul Anderson volumes (7 so far), but I wanted these Baen editions – this is the third of three – because it’s nice to have them all together. Some of these later stories are a little weaker than his earlier ones, though also less preachy, but I believe any Anderson is good Anderson.
Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson – non-fiction, autobiographical, travel. I like Bryson’s writing. After reading A Walk In the Woods, I read one of two more but that had been a while, so when I saw this at the library I got it, and enjoyed the heck out of it. I don’t know my way around England, other than what I might have picked up from a mystery novel now and then, and I admit a better map in this book would have helped, but what the heck. This was fun.
How about you?
What have you been reading lately?
I really liked In A Sunburned Country by Bryson about Australia. Haven’t read any Poul Anderson since the 60’s other than The Broken Sword which I liked a lot. I remember preferring his short fiction over his novels. I have read Horowitz’s novels except for his James Bond’s and his YA. Liked them all except for Moriarity.
Just finished the new Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman-Measure of Darkness. Like most Kellerman I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. I’d give it a B. Also read Daniel Cole’s Hangman a sequel to last years Ragman. A bit disappointed. Give it a C-. Also read the new Olen Steinhauser-The Middleman. I’m a big fan of Steinhauser and I’d give this an A-. And just started The Sinner by Ace Atkins. The 8th in his Quinn Colson series. I’ve read all of them so far and doubt I’ll be disappointed by this one.
I’ve now read about five Bryson books and liked them all. I just read the follow-up to this one. I liked Horowitz’ Bond book TRIGGER MORTIS well enough, and this was okay, but I really liked his Holmes novel, though like you not MORIARTY. The others are authors I’m not familiar with, other than Atkins is writing the Spenser follow-ups, yes?
Kitty read that Bryson years ago and enjoyed it. Both Bryson and Horowitz are on my Really Should Read Them list but Lord knows when I really will. I agree that any Anderson is a good Anderson; luckily there are enough out there that I have not read that I will be kept busy for years.
Books read this week include Lester del Rey’s ROCKETS TO NOWHERE, one of his weaker works and my FFB this past Friday, Victor Lavalle’s THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM, a Lovecraftian novel set in 1924 Red Hook, and STONE MAD by Elizabeth Bear, a Karen Memory steampunk western about a tommyknocker. The Bear and the Lavalle are particularly recommended.
I’m inching my way through Leslie Klinger’s ANNOTATED FRANKENSTEIN, a detailed work that should take up most of my week. I’ll most likely follow that up with Raymond Chandler’s THE ANNOTATED BIG SLEEP, edited and annotated by Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, and Anthony Dean Rizzuto. Also coming up soon are the graphic novel version of Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS (the first of three large volumes) and Jack Snow’s 1947 collection DARK MUSIC AND OTHER SPECTRAL TALES.
It’s been cooler here this week, in the mid-nineties (all things are relative, aren’t they?). This should make thing minimally better for schoolkids waiting for the bus. Yes, school starts today on the Florida Panhandle and the deaf student for whom Christina signs is entering high school, so Christina has a later start time and will be able to get Jack off to first grade by herself — which means we get to sleep in! Woot! The three older grands will begin their semester next week, while Erin (age 16) will be moping in high school while her boyfriend starts college in Tampa. We expect a lot of tears and angst. I would not be a teenager again for any amount of money.
Have a great week, Rick!
Jerry, you caught my eye with the magic words ‘Lovecraft’ and ‘Red Hook.’ We lived in Carroll Gardens (long before it became ‘hip’) for 16 years, and saw one of Lovecraft’s former Brooklyn residences nearby. Red Hook was no more than a mile away. I put the ebook for the Lavalle on hold.
I absolutely cannot imagine starting school in the middle of August! Why? Is it a year-round with month breaks? Also, mid 90s is not cool by any definition. That’s what we’ll have again this week (!!!) and it will be miserable even without your humidity. Poor you.
Can’t say I’m a fan of annotated editions. They are so many distractions it’s impossible to read the book! I wouldn’t want to be a teen again either.
Like you, I grew up reading Poul Anderson. And, like you I prefer Anderson’s Polesotechnic League series to the Psychotechnic League series. Diane’s sister from Ohio is visiting us so reading time is reduced. I did finish Martha Wells’ latest “Murderbot” novella. Glad you enjoyed REDHEAD WEEK!
Weren’t you just in Ohio visiting her, and now she’s visiting you? Your family does a lot of visiting! I haven’t read any Wells.
Glad you liked NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND. It may have been my favorite Bryson book, partly because I do know a lot of the places he visited. Over the weekend, we tried to watch the movie version of A WALK IN THE WOODS, but couldn’t. Redford was appallingly bad casting.
I had a good week of reading. First was (the previously mentioned) THE ARGUMENTS FOR DELETING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW. If I had any, I would. Jaron Lanier makes a compelling case why Trump’s addiction to Twitter is making him even worse.
Next was a terrific thriller, SHE RIDES SHOTGUN by Jordan Harper, the deserved winner of Best First Novel Edgar Award this year. Thief Nate McCluskey gets out of prison early, but not before running afoul of Aryan Steel, a gang with wide influence, who puts a death sentence on him, his ex-wife, and his 11 year old daughter Polly. It’s too late to save the ex, but he is determined to protect Polly at all costs, and takes her on a thrill ride well worth following. I raced through it in less than a day.
Elizabeth McCracken’s THUNDERSTRUCK & Other Stories was recommended by Lorrie Moore. I liked the title novella (set largely in Paris) more than most of the stories. I’m still reading O. Henry.
Last was Spencer Kope’s WHISPERS OF THE DEAD, second “Steps” book following an FBI team tracking serial killers. The gimmick is that Magnus “Steps” Craig can somehow see the “shine” (his word) left behind by the killers and victims, which lets him and his Special Tracking Unit partner know where they’ve been and when they find the right person. This was the second in the series. I think maybe the first was a little better (more original, obviously), but I still enjoyed it.
Currently reading the first in Neal Shusterman’s dystopian YA series, UNWIND. After The Second Civil War – over abortion – new Amendments were passed making a child untouchable from conception to age thirteen. From thirteen to eighteen, however, parents can have a child “unwound,” sort of retroactive abortion. The child isn’t killed, but salvaged for his body parts to save others. Three kids are the focus of this one, which is fast moving and worth a look.
Up next: THE BREAKERS, Marcia Muller’s new Sharon McCone book. And FEVER by Deon Meyer, which I’ve already started (17% read). It’s the aftermath of a virus that has killed 95% of the world’s population. So far I’m finding it readable but not compelling. Despite Stephen King’s own comparison, it is no STAND.
The concept in SHOTGUN scares the hell out of me, so I won’t read it. Perhaps that’s ostrich behavior, but whatever. UNWIND sounds particularly strange, so another miss by me. I hadn’t heard of it, which is fine. Speaking of the Civil War, I’m reading a Civil War novel now, dealing with Gettysberg. I’m SO far behind on McCone, and I always like those books. I read a couple out of order, and there were characters I knew nothing of, and I gave it up. I should go back, get the right order, and pick up the series.
Probably so. Unlike so many series, her characters change, grow, evolve as the series goes on, and she adds new people to the mix.
We aren’t having quite the heat you are, but we are drowning in rain. Northern New Jersey had FIVE inches on Saturday, and sixteen new cars ended up floating in a local river after getting swept away. We had more showers yesterday and today it has been raining all morning. No drought complaints this year, as our reservoirs are way above normal levels and some over the top, I can never understand people who live in flood-prone areas like Wayne and Little Falls, New Jersey or Long Beach, Long Island, where it seems to flood every damn year, Hoboken is another place. It’s become somewhat trendy in recent years – it’s right across the Hudson from Lower Manhattan, the rents are miuch cheaper, etc. But like New Orleans, a lot of the city is below sea level and it floods repeatedly. I’m happy we’re on the sixth floor of our apartment building, which is already on a hill high above the Narrows.
Diane’s sister Carol is facing a total knee replacement operation in the months ahead. She wants to get as much traveling in as she can before the operation, rehab, and recovery. Diane will go to Ohio for a few weeks to help her sister after the surgery.
Then she can go to California and help Art!
I finished Death in the Clouds by Christie. As you said, it is sort of a locked room puzzle. I read a straight fiction book by Brian Morton, Starting Out in the Evening. And now I am reading The Limbo Line by Victor Canning (spy fiction / adventure).
I have not read anything by Horowitz, Poul Anderson, or Bryson. I do have a couple of books by Horowitz that I bought recently.
Jeff, I told Art Scott 10 years ago that I would come out and help him Rehab from a total knee replacement. I’ve been through the process twice so I know what he’s in for! You’ve been through it with Jackie so recovery from knee surgery is no mystery to you!
When is Art having the surgery? One or both?