Current Reading – Elkins, Piper, Hartman, Gaines

Library books keep pouring in. It seems everything is on hold and not showing up, then wham! Three, four or more come in all at once. Oh, the pressure!

Good Blood by Aaron Elkins – mystery. It’s been a while since I read one by Elkins, who I met at my first mystery convention, Left Coast Crime in Anaheim, CA. in 1994. He’s a nice man, and his mysteries are cozies featuring the “skeleton detective”, Gideon Oliver. This is the first book I’ve read in a while that’s not from the library; I just picked it out of a box I’d been going through. I consider these light reading, but enjoy one occasionally.

A Girl’s Guide to Missles, Growing Up in America’s Secret Desert by Karen Lynnea Piper – autobiography. An uninteresting person makes for an uninteresting autobiography. I finished it by scanning through the later chapters. Meh.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – fantasy. Hartman is a fairly hot YA author, this is her first book of three. I liked this story of a young girl who discovers she is not wholly human in a world shared with humans and dragons. Good, but I probably won’t go on to the second book unless I have nothing else to read.

Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines – autobiography. We have enjoyed the HGTV program Fixer Upper from time to time, both for the personalities of Gaines and his wife Joanna and the finished remodeled homes they create. However, they should stick to TV, which they are not as the show is now done. Don’t waste a second on this.

next up, better books: In the Bleak Midwinter and Irontown Blues.

How about you?
What have you been reading lately?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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16 Responses to Current Reading – Elkins, Piper, Hartman, Gaines

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    1. Too bad, because A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MISSILES sounds like it could have been good.
    2. I SO identify with your first line up there. I have FOUR downloaded library books on the Kindle right now. I am reading two of them: Jo Walton’s Hugo and Nebula and British Fantasy Award winner, AMONG OTHERS, and Sara Blaedel’s THE [UNDERTAKER’S] DAUGHTER, set in Racine, Wisconsin, where a 40 year old Danish woman inherits a funeral home from her late father, who deserted the family when she was seven. The Walton makes clever use of the author’s own very extensive reading in SF in a story about a 15 year old girl in Wales sent to live with her estranged father (coincidence in plot only) after her witch (literally) mother is responsible for the death of her twin sister.

    Then there are all the other library books which, as in Rick’s case, seemed to all come in at once (and I have one more waiting for pickup and another in transit):

    James Swain, THE KING TIDES: A Thriller
    Brendan DuBois, RED VENGEANCE (sequel to DARK VICTORY)
    P. J. Tracy, THE GUILTY DEAD (Monkeewrench)
    Andrew Shaffer, HOPE NEVER DIES (Obama and Biden are on the case in this mystery)
    Mary Robinette Kowal, THE CALCULATING STARS (first Lady Astronaut book)
    Abbey Mei Otis, ALIEN VIRUS LOVE DISASTER: Stories (couldn’t resist that title)
    Craig Johnson, DEPTH OF WINTER (Walt Longmire)
    AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION: Five Classic Novels 1956-1958 (DOUBLE STAR, THE STARS MY DESTINATION, THE BIG TIME, two others)

    So which of them am I reading. Well, there is the O. Henry THE FOUR MILLION, which I am finishing up. Jo Walton’s fun AN INFORMAL HISTORY OF THE HUGOS (1953-2000), which I enjoyed quite a bit. I am trying to control myself from adding too many titles to my wish list. There is Rick (Never Trump) Wilson’s EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES DIES, which Jackie asked for last week for her birthday. And the two books mentioned above.

    • Jeff, yes the books roll in. Barbara just finished the Longmire and as usual liked it a lot, said it was filled with a lot of really nasty characters. I’ve probably read all five of the novels included in that anthology of 56-58 novels, certainly I have the three you mentioned. I remember reading DOUBLE STAR in ASF. I’m not familiar with the others. I forgot in my count that I have an ebook check out as well.

  2. Hello Richard! I’m interested in reading Aaron Elkins’ work but will probably get around to it early next year. I’m currently reading the autobiography of India’s most famous and outspoken journalist-columnist-writer, the late Khushwant Singh, and THE PALADIN by Brian Garfield, whose narrative style I like a lot.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      Prashant! Good to see you back.

    • Delighted to see you back, Prashant! Hope you return frequently. THE PALADIN sounds familiar, but I’ve not read it. That autobiography sounds very interesting.

      • Thank you, Jeff and Richard. Happy to be back! I like Brian Garfield’s work. I was introduced to his novels through THE ROMANOV SUCCESSION, a compelling read. Khushwant Singh was one of India’s most celebrated and controversial writers, a nonconformist in every way. He was also a journalist, diplomat and parliamentarian who wrote really well, In fact, everything he wrote read like a story.

  3. Looks like you read a few duds this week. I’ve been there, too.

    Like you, I’ve found myself at the Library picking up a bunch of books that came in all at the same time. Our Library allows us to renew books On Hold if no one else has put a Hold them. That is a great feature! I use it all the time.

  4. Jerry House says:

    Only one dud this week, the graphic novel collection of THE COMPLETE BLACK PANMTHER, VOLUME 1, which collects the first seventeen issues of Christopher Priest’ run as writer. Little continuity (understandable because the Marvel universe is so complicated with cross-overs from title to title) and little sense. I prefer Te-Nehisi Coates’ take on T’Challa.

    On the plus side this week is THE BRIGHTFOUNT DIARIES (1955) by Brian W. Aldiss, his first book. Based on a series of sketches published in THE BOOKSELLER. Peter is a young man who works in the Brightfount book store; his diary covers six months at the store and with his rather odd family. Charming, whimsical, and biting, the book reminds me of Robertson Davies’ Samuel Marchbanks diaries — a good thing. Aldiss himself notes this was a “a novel that did not entirely hatch, the parts being better than the whole. It did serve, however, as a warning signal that Aldiss had begun writing novels that involved art as much as science.”

    Reed Farrel Coleman’s ROBERT B. PARKER’S COLORBLIND pits Jesse Stone against a far-right Nazi group intent on starting a racial revolution, targeting (for the moment) interracial couples. True evil, an “impossible” crime, and personal demons mix to make this a satisfying — albeit somewhat predictable — read. As I have said elsewhere, Coleman writes a better Parker than Parker.

    Coming up, the latest installment in Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series, the latest Hercule Poirot continuation from Sophie Hannah, and an old collection of tall tale fantasies, WINDWAGON SMITH by Wilbur Schramm.

    Have a great week, Rick!

    • I remember when Koontz was getting started, in Orange County, CA, and I went to a signing and there was only one other person there. A few years later the line was around the block and had to be cut off. I’ve not read any, nor do I read King, I’m just not a horror guy.

      I read a few issues of Black Panther somewhere along the line, but wasn’t that impressed. I couldn’t say what writer or part of the series that would have been, but probably around. 1994 or so.

      • Jeffrey Meyerson says:

        The Koontz I’d most recommend is WATCHERS. I used to read him regularly, but haven’t in years. Jackie is a much bigger fan of his than me.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    I have three books waiting at the library. They give us seven days to pick them up and I am waiting until the last day because they will all be two-week rentals. I am trying to finish IN A DRY SEASON to get to them. Peter Robinson writes such a rich book that I never rush through his books. Or am I just getting slower and slower.

    • Our library system allows three week check-outs, but I pick books up on the last day too, just to give myself a chance to read more of what’s already sitting here. Right now, it’s THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER.

  6. tracybham says:

    I love that cover for SERAPHINA.

    Recently I read BREWING UP A STORM by Emma Lathen, one of her last books. It was a reread, actually, but I forgot I had read it. Also REAL TIGERS by Mick Herron. Loved it, he is one of my favorite authors. And also read OUTRAGE AT BLANCO by Bill Criider, another excellent book. (And my first Western I think.)

    I have started Jo Walton’s INFORMAL HISTORY OF THE HUGOS, I think I am about a 5th of the way through and liking it a lot. Also reading THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, and then we plan to watch the film.

  7. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Read a non fiction book-The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams about fossil hunters and the black market. I found it pretty interesting. Reminded me a lot of the Orchid Thief. Just finishing The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran. It’s a quirky PI novel and I enjoyed it. Next up The Man Who came Uptown by George Pelecanos, one of my favorite writers. I have a lot of holds on books from the library, some of which haven’t been published yet. A nice lull in library books would be nice so I can read some new purchases-The new Peter Robinson Careless Love, Irontown Blues by John Varley, Rosewater by Tade Thompson, Soul Survivor byb G.M. Ford and a doorstopper Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. And that is just the tip of the iceberg that is my tbr pile.

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