Current Reading: Markel, Symonds

The Kelloggs, The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by Howard Markel, biography. When I was a child, I remember my parents taking the family Pomona to see the Kellogg horse show. Beautiful Arabians in the ring prancing. I also remember we ate Kellogg Corn Flakes for breakfast. Kellogg was a household name for us.

This fat dual biography of the brothers Kellogg tells of their growing up as competing boys, their strict upbringing, their father’s opinions about health and wellness and how the family eventually became both wealthy and torn apart. Overly long and wordy, but fascinating nevertheless.

A Most Diabolical Plot by Tim Symonds, mystery short stories. These six Sherlock Holmes pastiche stories are just fair. There’s nothing here to make me seek out other writing by the author, featuring Holmes or any other character. Disappointing.

So how about you?
What have you been reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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16 Responses to Current Reading: Markel, Symonds

  1. Jerry House says:

    Again, i spent most of the week reading various short stories but I did finish two novels. Ken Bruen’s latest Jack Taylor book, IN THE GALWAY SILENCE, is a fitting addition to one of the great mystery series of our time. This time Jack faces off against a deadly killer known as Silence while trying to navigate his latest relationship (made all the more difficult by his girlfriend’s young and resentful son and by the appearance of his former wife — of a marriage that lasted only a few weeks — and the daughter he never knew he had). Throw in a murderous pedophile, a world thrown even more askew by Donald Trump, and a generous dollop of angst and you have another great book by Bruen. THE FAR HORIZON is another of Basil Copper’s many Mike Faraday mysteries.A reclusive multimillionaire, a mysterious marble crypt, and a blackmailer killed by a “jelly bomb” come together for a more atmospheric case than usual for Faraday.

    I’ve been dipping into random stories from WEIRD TALES, PLANET STORIES, NEW WORLDS, and F&SF while also finishing two Theodore Sturgeon collections: STURGEON’S WEST, a collection written with Don Ward (Ward provided the plots while Sturgeon did the writing) and THE MAN WHO LOST THE SEA, the tenth volume in Sturgeon’s collected short stories. Great stuff, because…well, because Sturgeon.

    I also read two quick graphic novels, which I covered in my FFB post. Brian K. Vaughan’s THE PRIDE OF BAGHDAD was a touching tale of the horrors of war and James Herbert’s THE CITY brought his Rats Saga into a post-apocalyptic world. Powerful stories both.

    In the queue are more short stories. I’ll be dipping into Penzler’s THE BIG BOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES as well as few other Penzler “BIG BOOK” anthologies, and most likely some more stories from the old pulps and digests.

    As always, I hope you have a great week with great books, Rick.

  2. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    Just finished The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox which I enjoyed a lot. Also Rewrite a time travel novel by Gregory Benford which was a lot of fun including Phil Dick, Robert Heinlein, Roger Ebert, Steven Spielberg and other real people as characters.
    My next read will be the new Jonathan Kellerman.
    I read the Ken Bruen also a few months back and highly recommend it although it is a bit on the dark side.
    The Kelloggs also featured in a favorite novel ,of mine-The Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle. The book is much better than the mediocre movie made from it.

    • That sounds like just the kind of thing in which the Kellogs would feature. I’m not a Kellerman fan (either one). I don’t like their characters and they did a bad snub at a Left Coast Crime convention I attended many years ago. So phooey on them.

  3. Richard, I’m currently reading TRAILIN’ WEST which consists of “seven new and classic tales of frontier danger and romance” by Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, Zane Grey, Owen Wister and others. A fine collection of Western stories.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    I need to catch up on the Ken Bruen series. I think that the last one I read was THE DRAMATIST. Quite a while ago now. I am trying to get into Kate Atkinson’s TRANSCRIPTION. Also still reading BECOMING and Janet Malcolm essays.

    • I’d think the Bruen would be too dark for you, Patti, but maybe not. I haven’t read any of his books in many years. Barbara is considering BECOMING. It was fun seeing her last night on the Grammy show.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    The Bruen/Jack Taylor series is always dark, so no surprise that this was the same. But I always race through them in a day.

    This week I read mostly short stories, generally several a day. I finished Barry Hannah’s highly praised (but somewhat uneven) collection, AIRSHIPS. Some very good stories, but overall, not an author I’ll be adding to my favorites’ list. I read GIVE-A-DAMN JONES, called ‘A Novel of the West’ accurately, by Bill Pronzini. I wouldn’t put it near the top level of his work, but it is an enjoyable fast read. Also reading in Robert Silverberg’s TIME AND TIME AGAIN, collection of 16 time travel stories, all of which I believe I have read before in his Collected Stories. As a Crippen & Landru subscriber, I got their annual Christmas story, this time “The Scrooge Society” by Elaine Viets, which was fun.

    Not sure what I will read next, but I’ve started a book whose review sounded interesting and so far, so good (if you don’t mind a psychic in your mysteries): DESERT REMAINS by Steven Cooper, set in the Phoenix area,

  6. I’ve almost caught up on reading all my Library books (I had 13 stacked up!). And I’ve tapered off my AMAZON buying. But next week the Library Book Sale season begins here so we’ll see if my New Year’s Resolution to reduce book buying in 2019 survives. I’ve been listening to some Simon Brett audio books and reading some Big Fat Books since our weather has turned frigid again. Who wants to go out into zero degree conditions? Not me.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Oh. the other two collections I got from the library are BIBLIOMYSTERIES – Volume Two and Zenna Henderson’s INCOMING: The Complete People Stories.

  8. tracybham says:

    Last night I finished reading A Killing in Quail County, Rick, and I loved it. Thanks so much for sending me your copy. I liked the ending a lot, although it was bittersweet. Mark was a great character, and I liked the picture of Oklahoma in the 1950s. It is one of my favorite reads in 2019 so far.

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