SuziQoregon's 2015 Reading and occasional other nonsense (Part 3)
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Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.
Thanks for stopping by - enjoy the view of Mt. Hood, grab a book and stay a while.
I took this photo several years ago from the Washington side of the Columbia River just north of Hood River, Oregon.
I'm Juli and this is my second year with the 75 Books group and I plan to be a regular for as long as the group and I are both around. I met some great folks here last year and my TBR list exploded in a wonderful way. This year I hope to get to some of the threads of folks I haven't had a chance to get to know yet.
I'm an avid reader and blogger (at Whimpulsive). I live in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon with The Hubster and two very spoiled cats.
I read a mix of audio, paper and ebooks. I tend to read mysteries and thrillers more than other genres. I also read a lot of graphic novels.
My blog is where I post reviews of all the books I read and my reviews here are pulled from that. If you want to check out the blog just click on the image below.
What We See When We Read
1. Queen & Country Vol. 3: Operation Crystal Ball by Greg Rucka
2. Bone Vol. 1: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith
3. Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
4. Snowpiercer 1: The Escape by Jacques Lob
5. Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
6. Six Years by Harlan Coben
7. The Martian by Andy Weir
8. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast
9. Bossypants by Tina Fey
10. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
11. What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund
1. (12) Long Way Down by Michael Sears
2. (13) Dr. Mütter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
3. (14) Jack of Fables Vol. 5: Turning Pages by Bill Willingham
4. (15) Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
5. (16) Snowpiercer 2: The Explorers by Benjamin Legrand
6. (17) The Unwritten Vol. 10: War Stories by Mike Carey
7. (18) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
8. (19) The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman by Margot Mifflin
9. (20) Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
1. (21) Bone Vol. 2: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
2. (22) March Book One by John Lewis
3. (23) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
4. (24) Fables Vol. 12: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham
5. (25) Death of an Outsider by M.C. Beaton
6. (26) Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
7. (27) 100 Bullets Vol. 4: A Foregone Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello
1. (28) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
2. (29) Queen & Country Declassified by Greg Rucka
3. (30) Essex County Vol. 1: Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire
4. (31) Bone Vol. 3: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith
5. (32) How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse by Cressida Cowell
6. (33) How to Twist a Dragon's Tale by Cressida Cowell
7. (34) The Monopolists by Mary Pilon
8. (35) As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson
9. (36) The Broken Places by Ace Atkins
10. (37) March Book Two by John Lewis
11. (38) Krishna: A Journey Within by Abhishek Singh
1. (39) Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber
2. (40) Queen & Country Vol. 4: Operation Blackwall by Greg Rucka
3. (41) Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
4. (42) Girl at War by Sara Nović
5. (43) Pilgrim's Wilderness by Tom Kizzia
6. (44) Coraline by Neil Gaiman
1. (45) Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham
2. (45) Very Good Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
3. (46) The Fixer by Joseph Finder
4. (47) Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
5. (48) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
6. (49) Essex County Vol. 2: Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire
7. (50 Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe
8. (51) Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham
9. (52) Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown
10. (53) Bone Vol. 4: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith
1. (54) Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood
2. (55) After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson
3. (56) The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris
4. (57) Stumptown Vol. 3 by Greg Rucka
5. (58) Bone Vol. 5: Rockjaw, Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith
6. (59) Bone Vol. 6: Old Man's Cave by Jeff Smith
7. (60) Bone Vol. 7: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith
8. (61) Bone Vol. 8: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith
9. (62) Bone Vol. 9: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith
10. (63) Bone: Tall Tales by Tom Sniegoski
11. (64) Bone Handbook by Jeff Smith
12. (65) Queen & Country Vol. 5: Operation Stormfront by Greg Rucka
13. (66) The Country Nurse by Jeff Lemire
1. (67) Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb
2. (68) The Forsaken by Ace Atkins
3. (69) Messenger: A Walt Longmire Story by Craig Johnson
4. (70) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
5. (71) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
6. (72) A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell
7. (73) Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham
8. (74) How to Ride a Dragon's Storm by Cressida Cowell
9. (75) Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
10. (76) How to Break a Dragon's Heart by Cressida Cowell
1. (77) Academy Street by Mary Costello
2. (78) A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson
3. (79) The Gigantic Beard that was Evil by Stephen Collins
4. (80) Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
5. (81) Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire
1. (82) Friday Night Lights, 25th Anniversary Edition by H.G. Bissinger
2. (83) Jack of Fables Vol. 7: The New Adventures of Jack and Jack by Bill Willingham
3. (84) The Martian by Andy Weir (audio reread)
4. (85) Queen & Country Vol. 6: Operation Dandelion by Greg Rucka
5. (86) The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
6. (87) Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love by Chris Roberson
7. (88) The Room by Jonas Karlsson
8. (89) Any Other Name by Craig Johnson
9. (90) Chew, Volume one, Taster's Choice by John Layman
10. (91) Lists of Note by Shaun Usher
1. (92) The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
2. (93) Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
3. (94) The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
1. (95) Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo
2. (96) A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
3. (97) Hawkeye Volume 3: L.A. Woman by Matt Fraction
4. (98) Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson
5. (99) Doc by Mary Doria Russell
I realize that I've gotten a bit sloppy with assigning ratings over the past couple of years. This year I have resolved to make more thoughtful ratings. This has been my rating scale as posted on my blog since 2009 but I'm posting it here not only as information for others but as a reminder to myself to look at this carefully before assigning a rating to books I read.
- No stars – I couldn’t even finish it
- 1 star – I didn’t like it but I managed to finish it. I probably finished it out of some sort of misplaced sense of obligation due to having the book on a challenge list.
- 2 stars – It was OK. Not good, but seriously just OK. I probably kept reading hoping I would like it better or there was some plot point I had to know the answer to even though getting to that answer was maybe more work than pleasure.
- 3 stars - I liked it. I didn’t think it was great, but I thought it was good entertainment. Many of the series books I read are in this range – they’re enjoyable, but not great literature. These are books I might recommend, but only if I really know that your reading taste meshes with mine or if you already have an interest in the subject.
- 4 stars – I really liked it. I really think you might like it too. These are books I’d recommend but maybe with a caveat that ‘it’s not for everyone’. Many of these I pass along to The Hubster. I’m more comfortable recommending these books to a wide audience.
- 5 stars – It was amazing. I’d recommend this to just about anyone. These are the books that really made an impression and I’ll remember them for a long time. I’ve probably handed my copy to someone or said “you really should read this”.
The What's in a Name Challenge is a challenge I've participated in since the very first one 7 years ago. This year it's hosted by Charlie at The Worm Hole.
The challenge is to read a book whose title fits each of the categories during the year. These are the categories for 2015
The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets):
A word including ‘ing’ in it Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A colour - The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman by Margot Mifflin
A familial relation - The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
A body of water - The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
A city - Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
An animal Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I'm not planning on any other challenges at this point
Books read in 2015 from my own bookshelves
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- Dr. Mütter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
- The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- The Broken Places by Ace Atkins
- Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber
- Pilgrim's Wilderness by Tom Kizzia
Related to the above list is the ever increasing number of books on my Kobo reader that I have purchased and not read yet. This is another area of my personal library where I need to read what I already have and want to read before I get distracted by the shiny and new. therefore:
Books read in 2015 from my existing ebook collection
Welcome to Part 3!
Hope you are having a fine weekend and getting plenty of R & R in.
Glad you like the Mt Hood photo - it's one of my favorites.
I have been ridiculously busy lately and not as active on the threads as I like to be but hoping for a bit of a respite for the next couple of weeks and a chance to get out visiting around here.
I'm due for a review catch up but decided to go ahead and kick off the new thread first. If my day goes as planned I'll get the pending reviews posted later today.
>11 Ameise1: Thank you!
>12 luvamystery65: Thanks
>13 msf59: I'm trying to get a mix of R&R and getting things done this weekend.
I just love this series and I have no desire to experience the books in any other format than the audio editions narrated by George Guidall.
After spending most of the previous book on his own, Walt is back with a few of the familiar supporting characters this time around. He’s still out of his home turf though. On the Cheyenne Reservation a tragic death and some unusual circumstances have him giving “Sheriff Lessons” to the new tribal police chief.
I enjoyed the mix of murder mystery and overwhelmed Father of the Bride story. I really enjoyed Henry Standing Bear as the Wedding Planner.
Walt’s ongoing feud with Henry’s dilapidated pickup truck (Rezdawg) provided many giggles in the midst of the investigation.
As usual, George Guidall does a wonderful job of narrating this series. He doesn’t do wildly overdone different voice characterizations but he does a great job of making it clear who is speaking and providing each character with a vocal personality.
This is definitely a series worth checking out if you haven’t. I’m partial to the audio editions but I’m sure they’re just as enjoyable in print.
I was surprised to realize it had been over a year since I read the previous book in this series. I need to make sure it’s not nearly that long until I read the fourth book since the fifth book is due out this summer. Besides, I freely admit to having a literary crush on Quinn Colson.
Colson doesn’t trust ex-con turned preacher Jamey Dixon but Quinn’s sister Caddy is in love with him. When a couple of escaped convicts roll into town he’s suspicious that Jamey is hiding something and Caddy is unwilling to believe anything other than what Jamey tells her.
This one had its ups and downs – the first part moved along much slower than the final third but let’s just say a whole lot of stuff happens in that final third.
Quinn Colson is like an old fashioned Western Hero Sheriff in a modern day small Mississippi Town. He’s a bit like Jack Reacher and a bit like Raylan Givens from Justified. Quinn is ex-military like Reacher although slightly less anti-social (but not by much). The series has the snappy dialog and strong sense of place that the show Justified has.
Pretty much it’s everything I like in a series.
As in the first volume the timeline shifts back and forth between President Obama’s first inauguration and Congressman John Lewis remembering the early years of the Civil Rights movement.
Beginning in Nashville in 1960 and ending with the 1963 bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed 4 little girls it’s a story of struggle, sacrifice and amazing courage. From the freedom riders to the March on Washington in 1963 where Lewis spoke to the crowd before Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech the courage of people trying to make monumental change happen is clear. Lewis shares both the triumphs as well as the struggles among the movement’s leaders regarding what was the best approach in both actions and words.
I was too young to remember the events of the time frame covered in this volume. I do remember related protests, marches and speeches from later in the 1960’s from seeing them on TV and hearing the adults in my life discussing them.
Clearly as the recent events in Baltimore and before that in Ferguson, Missouri demonstrate, we still have a long way to go in the fight for equality.
For me the most significant thing that I felt while reading this is a deep admiration of the courage it took for the people involved to put themselves out front and in danger.
Nate Powell’s artwork is wonderful. It’s all black and white drawings but he manages to convey the small moments as well as the huge scale of the big events.
Before starting this I did some reading online about Krishna because I really didn’t know that much. I’m glad I did because it helped me to understand what was happening in several places.
This one is all about the art. The text is extremely spare, but the simplicity of that combined with the elegance and complexity of the artwork is what makes it so good.
It withers us all
It turns our smiles
Into our fears and
Into our fall
The artwork is absolutely breathtaking. It’s rich and luxurious and the colors and detail are simply stunning.
This video will give you a taste.
I first heard about this book at the Left Coast Crime convention I attended in March. At one of the breakfast sessions authors who had their first book published in the past year each had one minute to tell us about their book. It was a ton of fun. Tracy Weber caught my attention when she said that her protagonist Kate Davidson was “a yoga instructor with an anger management problem”.
I’m kid of glad I knew that going in because Kate does pretty much go from zero to “later” pretty quickly. This is a bit of a complication when she’s trying to get information from people. It also doesn’t help with her budding romance either.
This was a fun light cozy mystery. I figured out the killer fairly early but that’s pretty typical for mysteries of this type. I do plan on reading the second in the series.
I am so glad I listened to a blogger friend and got the audio version of this book. I was a bit concerned about how well and epistolary novel would work in the audio format but it worked well. It was fun and entertaining as well as a bit heartbreaking here and there.
Some characters (particularly Bernadette’s daughter Bee) I loved from the very beginning. Others had me changing my mind partway through the book about whether I liked them or not. There’s a lot of humor in this book but there are very serious issues as well. A lot has been said about the book skewering Seattle and the Microsoft culture but I think a lot of the satire hits well outside of a narrow geographical area. Corporate culture, aspirational helicopter parents, neighborhood one-upsmanship, and many other aspects of today’s culture are equal targets for Semple’s satirical darts.
I knew Kathleen Wilhoite’s distinctive voice from many television appearances so I was curious to find out how I’d like her as a narrator. She walks right on the edge of over-performing. There’s a point where having a distinct voice characterization for each and every character can become distracting or annoying. Anne Hathaway took a flying leap way past that point in her narration of The Wizard of Oz, Wilhoite, however manages to just barely push the limits of overdoing it and only lost me a time or two. I really hated the way she voiced the psychiatrist. The bottom line however, is that she and Maria Semple’s writing together managed to entertain the heck out of me.
This time around Tara Chace and her team shift from political espionage to corporate espionage. When a leading industrialist reports that he’s being blackmailed the SIS special section is called in to find out just who is behind it and why. Not only is the corporate world out of her normal realm of operations Tara has a personal connection to this case. He college friend is the man’s daughter.
This is a rather short story arc at only three issues but given that it’s a bit of a different type of plot than the others it makes sense, The first few pages are all in French but it’s not difficult to figure out what’s going on without translation.
This series has used a variety of different artists over it’s issues. This story arc is done by J. Alexander. He keeps to the dark and sometimes roughly drawn style that most of the previous volumes have employed. He does a good job of getting the scenes dark and moody when needed and lightening them up when the scene shifts to less questionable environments.
As I’ve said before, if you’re a fan of Homeland and/or The Americans you should check out this series.
I hadn’t read more than what the publisher’s blurb had said before starting this book. I was surprised and fascinated to discover some connections that Papa Pilgrim had with some rather famous people.
Kizzia does a good job of doling out the information in a way that the darker truths behind Papa Pilgrim are slowly revealed in the same way that the residents of McCarthy, Alaska discovered that the Pilgrim family was not what they first thought.
Papa Pilgrim (aka Robert Hale) was definitely a bizarre person. His ever evolving spirituality was never truly tied in with any mainstream religion. He was able to maintain his dominance over his wife an large family by keeping them isolated and uneducated.
There is definitely some twisted and ugly stuff in this book but the bright side is that his children have managed to come out of their messed up upbringing and find a better life and some happiness.
I knew I had to listen to more of Neil Gaiman narrating his own work before I was even finished listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I finally pinned down what it was about his narration that made it so special. He doesn’t simply read the story. He tells it like a storyteller.
I really didn’t know much of anything about this book at all. I’d heard about the “Other Mother” character but I didn’t know where she fit in.
This one was plenty scary and creepy but at the same time it was so much fun. Neil Gaiman can make remember exactly how I felt as a kid.
Coraline wondered why so few of the adults she met had made any sense.
Coraline knew that when grown-ups told you something wouldn’t hurt it almost always did.
Then he comes along and in a simple sentence can say something profound.
When you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.
He can also make me laugh
‘Calling cats’, it confided; ‘tends to be a rather overrated activity. Might as well call a whirlwind.’
Yes, I giggled at that even though my cats come when you call them but my cats are often more like dogs than cats.
Anyway, my second adventure with Neil Gaiman was just as wonderful as the first. I love listening to him narrate his own work but I’m hearing wonderful things about the full cast audio version of The Graveyard Book and might add that one to my list.
I'm still reading Seveneves by Neal Stephenson - it's good but long. It would have been great at about half the length. I'm finding myself skimming in places but still engaged enough with the story to want to find out what happens. As much as Andy Weir made the sciency stuff in The Martian not too sciency, this author loses me in the sciency stuff quite often.
On audio I'm absolutely adoring Very Good, Jeeves - I may never read another Wodehouse in print. This is just a delight in the audio format.
Last night I started the next in the Jack of Fables spinoff from the main Fables series by Bill Willingham This one is Jack of Fables Vol. 6:The Big Book of War.
I think I'm going to also start The Fixer by Joseph Finder today.
I had reached a major section break in Seveneves and decided to take a little break from it. That one has been up an down so far. the first 200 pages were good, the second 200 dragged but then suddenly it picked up and got very interesting again. Now I'm at the break before the final part. I'll get back to it but I wanted to read something else for a while so I started The Fixer.
I finished Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham - I love the Fables series and have not loved the spinoff series featuring Jack. This one is leads up to the big reconnecting of the series in Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover I really enjoyed the ending with some fun information revealed.
I also finished my audiobook yesterday. I absolutely LOVED Very Good, Jeeves by P.G Wodehouse. This was my first Wodehouse in audio and it most definitely won't be my last. Jonathan Cecil narrated it wonderfully.
This morning was New Audiobook Day - back to the Fables world for this one. I started Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham narrated by Wil Wheaton. It's another offshoot from the main Fables comic series in novel form. You don't have to be familiar with Fables in order to understand it. I only listened to the first few minutes this morning but I'm enjoying it so far.
Our tale, the one that couldn’t quite remain a simple love story, begins then in Fabletown and almost immediately moves up to the Farm. It happens because a witch learned something that she told to a beast, who phoned a wolf, who in turn called his wife’s twin sister, who never was a princess but perhaps should have been..
>30 msf59: Thanks Mark - I think you'll like both of those.
A busy stretch at work and getting ready to go out of town for a few days took up a lot of my online as well as reading time. I made up for it this past weekend though.
We took a couple of days off work and headed to Lake Tahoe for a four day weekend mini-vacation. The weather certainly cooperated with us. We arrived just after a few days of storms and it was simply gorgeous while we were there. Sunny and warm. It was a nice vacation with a good mix of doing fun stuff and just sitting on the deck reading and enjoying the view of the lake. We did some hiking, took a short helicopter tour (my first time in a helicopter and it was fabulous), did a Paddle Wheel boat tour of the lake, played some mini golf and finished up yesterday taking the gondola and chairlift up Heavenly Mountain for some amazing views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
I finally finished Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. It was a frustrating book for me. I liked much of the premise and story but got bored in multiple places with long mind-numbing science stuff that was not nearly as accessible as Andy Weir had made the science in The Martian. I think I would have liked Seveneves a lot more if it had been about half as long.
Speaking of The Martian I was skeptical about the casting of Matt Damon in the movie but after seeing the trailer last week I'm looking forward to the movie. Another movie trailer that I recently saw was for Everest based on Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. That was such an excellent book and it has been years since I read it. The movie trailer has me thinking of re-reading it this summer.
I finished up my weekend reading wtih The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I can't believe I never read this book. I loved it. It's kind of like a lot of the animated movies in that it's a fun adventure story for kids but the puns and brilliant wordplay really can go over their heads but appeal to adults. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I finally read it.
My new print book is Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown. I first heard about this one from Richard here in the 75 books group but then a blogging friend also mentioned that she'd loved it so I had to get it from the library. I'm only a couple of chapters in but so far it's fun.
On audio I am really enjoying Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham narrated by Wil Wheaton I'm a big fan of the Fables comic series and I really enjoy Wil Wheaton as a narrator so that made me choose audio for this spinoff from the comics. It's quite good.
We hope to make it back there one of these days.
I did finish Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe. It's a fun fantasy series about a group of female mercenary friends set in a Medieval style world. It's sexy and sassy with plenty of battle and action scenes too,
I also finished listening to Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham narrated by Wil Wheaton. I was a bit wary of reading a prose book that's related to a comic series (Fables but when I discovered that the audio was narrated by one of my favorite narrators I decided to go that route. I'm glad I did. Audio was a great way to experience this story.
Yesterday afternoon I started a new audio. I'm now listening to the 4th Phryne Fisher book Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood narrated by Stephanie Daniel.
I'm still reading Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown. A female pirate kidnaps a chef and adventures ensue. It's a lot of fun just as Richard promised but I need to be able to read for more than a few minutes at a time or it's going to take me forever.
We have hot weather settling in for the next week (or more - blergh) so I have a feeling this weekend may provide some opportunities for reading simply because it'll be too hot to do anything else.
>42 Ameise1: Oooh pretty!
>43 charl08: Glad you found me. Yes! March is an amazing series.
>44 banjo123: I am SO GLAD to have AC right now. Our supposed break from the heat wave yesterday didn't happen and we were up above 90º again (blergh).
I started another volume in the Bone series of graphic novels by Jeff Smith. Bone Vol. 4: Dragonslayer picks up right where the last one left off and is already a lof of fun. Love this series.
This morning I started After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson. This is the first in her Dandy Gilver series set in 1920's Scotland.
I'm also in the 1920's in my audiobook Death at Victoria Dock but in Australia with Phryne Fisher for that one.
My typical approach to packing for vacation is to take far more books than I can possibly read and mentally plan to read a lot. Then I get over there and sit down with my book and get distracted watching the waves on the rocks right off the back deck and end up not reading nearly as much as I'd planned. This year I'm taking a different approach. I have requested a pile of comics collections and graphic novels from the library and I have downloaded all the stacked up issues from my Comixology subscriptions to my iPad. These might work better for me for a vacation reading plan. We'll see. Of course I'll have my kobo with me so if I decide I want to focus on a novel I'll have plenty to choose from.
So catching up with what I've been reading since I last posted . . .
I finished After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson it was okay. Not great, not bad, just pleasant. I liked the protagonist and enjoyed the humor. I might read the second in the series. I definitely want to read some of the author's recent standalone mysteries. I've heard good things and I think they're more my style.
I finished listening to Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood, narrated by Stephanie Daniel. As always, the audio format of the Phryne Fisher book was enjoyable.
My current audio is Portrait in Death by J.D.Robb. The Eve Dallas series is a guilty pleasure for me and it's been a long time since I have read one. This is the first time I've listened to one on audio and I'm really enjoying it. Susan Ericksen is an enjoyable narrator to listen to and she's doing a great job with the character voices. I think I'm a convert to audio for this series.
In print I'm reading The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris. It is just a whole lot of fun. It's mostly single page information about various comic book heroes ranging from the late 1930's into the 1980's. There's plenty of humor in the write-ups. My favorite so far "Captain Science" which is now my current nickname for The Hubster (he's a chemist).
Here's what the publisher has to say about this one:
For every superhero hitting the big time with a blockbuster movie, there are countless failures, also-rans, and D-listers. The League of Regrettable Superheroes affectionately presents one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print—from Atoman to Zippo—complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary.
Drawing on the entire history of the medium, the book celebrates characters that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, like Natureboy, Dr. Hormone, Thunder Bunny, and more. It’s a must-read for comics fans of all ages!
That one is too hefty to haul back and forth to work so yesterday at lunch I started the 4th book in the Quinn Colson series. The Forsaken by Ace Atkins.
Anyway - here's the library stack that I'm taking with me for next week. I have a bit of comics and graphic novel binge planned.
Have a great vacation!
Perfect timing for a trip to the coast. I well remember my first summer in Corvallis. It was 95F and we were sweltering. P said "let's head to the coast!" I was getting in the car and she suggested that I go back in and grab a sweatshirt. I thought she had lost her mind. It turns out that it was 60F and breezy in Yachats. Perfect.
Have fun with your comics and graphic novel binge!
I've finished Stumptown Vol. 3 by Greg Rucka and I've been working on my binge finish of the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Yesterday I read
Bone Vol. 5: Rock Jaw Master of the Eastern Border
Bone Vol. 6: Old Man's Cave
and Bone Vol. 7: Ghost Circles
I started Bone Vol. 8: Treasure Hunters. I hope to finish up the series and the prequel volume today.
My plan of bringing those for vacation reading was perfect. I'm getting a lot of my TBR read and I have plenty of time to stop and stare at the ocean.
I'm also still reading The Forsaken by Ace Atkins
Yesterday we went down to the south end of Cape Perpetua and caught the tidal action at Thor's Well just at the right time. This has been a bucket list item for me for several years now and it was absolutely fascinating and beautiful.
>52 katiekrug: I think I like minor league ball better than the big league games. Lucky you with the shade.
>53 EBT1002: I always love it when I fly into Portland and we go right by Mt. Hood. Whene I'm on the north side of the plane and it's clear the view of Adams, St. Helens and Rainier all together is so cool.
Yep - sounds about right for beachwear in Oregon ;-)
>54 Berly: and that's helping our weather at the coast. When it's too hot inland the the clouds and fog can't seem to break up and hang here on the west side of the coast range - we've had sunny afternoons the past couple of days and I think it's thanks to things cooling down a bit in the valley.
Yes that's the deck of the house we stayed in there in the foreground. It's difficult to not just sit and watch the surf for hours on end.
My plan to take a pile of graphic novels and comics collections to the coast for vacation worked perfectly. It was just the kind of reading that fit our vacation. I could read a bit, then stare at the ocean a bit, the read some more, back to the ocean watching - you get the idea. I pretty much only read a few chapters of The Forsaken while I was gone. I'll get back to that today.
Fortunately it was a vacation where we drove so taking a big tote bag full of library books was an option.
Here's what I read last week:
Stumptown Vol. 3 by Greg Rucka - love this PI series set in my hometown.
Then I finished off the amazingly fun and wonderful Bone series by Jeff Smith. I finished the rest of the main nine volumes.
Bone Vol. 5: Rockjaw, Master of the Eastern Border
Bone Vol. 6: Old Man's Cave
Bone Vol. 7: Ghost Circles
Bone Vol. 8: Treasure Hunters
Bone Vol. 9: Crown of Horns
I also read a prequel volume about one of the main characters
Then it was on to an additional book of stories about the Bone cousins
Bone: Tall Tales
Finally I read the companion volume that has summaries of the books and more information about the characters and mythology of the series. It's also got some interviews with the author and colorist that were interesting.
Yesterday even though we were home I continued my vacation mode and read Queen & Country Vol. 5: Operation Stormfront by Greg Rucka.
It was tough setting that alarm last night but so far the whole re-entry thing hasn't been awful. I cleared out my email and have a manageable to do list for work at this point.
As for my other reading - I'm making progress in The Forsaken by Ace Atkins, I enjoy this Quinn Colson series. This one is including some events of the past with Quinn's father which is interesting.
On audio - I'm about 2/3 of the way through Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb. This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine but now that I've listened to an audio I'll never go back to print for this series. Susan Ericksen is a fabulous narrator and handles the large cast and accents brilliantly.
It looks like you did some good reading while relaxing. I've read the first two in the Stumptown series and I love it.
I love to hear the Lemire and Essex County warbling! He is a treasure.
>63 Ameise1: Thank you!
>64 Whisper1: Oh thank you! I liked Dr. Mutter's Marvels too. Very interesting.
>65 msf59: Well it did cool off for a few days but it's been back up near 90º far too often this summer. I LOVED Essex County so much! I picked up the combined one volume edition from the library so that I can read it straight through again plus it's got a couple of additional stories.
>66 ronincats: It was a fabulous vacation. We've already got next year booked to go back.
I'm nearing the end of The Forsaken by Ace Atkins. This one was slow for me but the final part has really picked up. I hope to finish it today.
I did finish listening to Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb last Friday. I completely enjoyed Susan Ericksen's narration. I doubt I will go back to print for this series. I'm sticking with the audio from here on out.
I have started listening to Jeannie Out of the Bottle by Barbara Eden. I generally like listening to self-narrated celebrity memoirs. This one is OK so far. She's got a couple of quirks that are slightly annoying but I'm learning to tune them out. It's a fairly short book so I think I can put up with the minor annoyances for that long because I am enjoying it despite them.
Not sure what I'll read next . . .I've got several on my shelf that are glaring at me about being ignored.
It's been a busy summer and the past couple of weeks are no exception. Busy at work, Life in general is busy. You know the drill.
We did have a nice getaway last weekend. Took Friday off and headed south. Saw a couple of plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Antony and Cleopatra was pretty good. It had it's moments. It's not one of my favorite plays but I did enjoy the actress who played Cleopatra. The other play we saw is a musical that is premiering there this summer. Head Over Heels is a mash up of story from the 1580's (The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia by Philip Sidney) with music from the band The Go-Go's. It's just as weird and wacky as you'd expect but it was actually a lot of fun. It's got some rough spots in the second half but there is definitely potential for it. Clearly there is a hope to take it to Broadway eventually and with some reworking it stands a chance.
We also visited a couple of favorite wineries while we were down there and just had a wonderful weekend. The smoke in the air from the many wildfires around the area was pretty bad at times but the air quality never got bad enough for them to cancel any of the performances.
The week before we left, The Hubster was out of town for business so I got a lot of reading time. That and our road trip audiobooks combined to push me over the 75 books mark. I think it's the earliest I've hit that number in a long time.
So . . . catching up with what I've read since I updated here last . . .
I finished Forsaken by Ace Atkins. The first part was kind of slow but it definitely picked up in the final third.
I DNF'd the audio of Jeannie Out of the Bottle by Barbara Eden. I've had good luck with audios of celebrity memoirs so I guess I was due for a dud. She seemed to think all anyone wanted to know about her was the list of leading men who had hit on her over the years of her career. Also her use of the phrase "Jeannie Blink" do denote a time shift in her narrative became annoying even before the end of the introduction. Blergh.
I went from that disaster to a sure thing and started A Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall. It's nice to be back with Walt Longmire in Wyoming again.
I finally read Nimona by Noelle Stevenson and absolutely adored it. I'm wary when everyone seems to love a book but this time everyone was right.
I also read American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I've been wanting to read this one ever since I read his Boxers and Saints and I'm glad I finally did.
Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover was a nice blending of the story from the Jack of Fables spinoff series back into the main storyline of the Fables comics. A whole lot happens in this one and sets up some interesting possibilities of where the story will go from here. Fables is a series that I need to start buying because it's one I'll want to revisit once I finish.
Road trip audio fare for us was more of the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell. These are kids books but they are so darn fun and the way David Tennant does the narration is over the top but highly entertaining and just fun. You can really tell he had a good time doing this series. They're short so they make fabulous road trip listening. We finished A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons, How to Ride a Dragon's Storm, and got partway through How to Break a Dragon's Heart and laughed our way through all three. We both finished up the last one on our own this week.
Yesterday I finished Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. What a fun bunch of odd and quirky characters. Originally serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle, it's a flashback to late 1970's pop culture set in San Francisco and it just delightful. I will definitely be reading more of this series.
Whew! I think that gets me caught up for now.
Hope you are doing well and getting some reading in.
I was talking to a brewmaster in Cleveland and he said Portland had 70 breweries. What? I did hear it was at least 50 and that is a staggering amount.
Have you had anything by Cascade Brewery? I have been hearing good things.
(That deck view is gorgeous)
>72 banjo123: Thank you - I haven't hit it this early in the year for ages.
>73 msf59: Thank you Mark. I'm not sure it's 70 breweries within the city limits but absolutely possible within the metro area. I've heard of Cascade but haven't tried anything from them yet.
>74 drneutron: Thanks!
>75 charl08: I do have a nice variety in my reading. I think it suits my short attention span. I really enjoyed Tales of the City but it would be SO much fun to actually be in San Francisco when reading it.
I have so many backlogged reviews to post it's ridiculous. I need to stop seeing it as a huge one time project and focus on posting a couple at a time.
Something about September and the whole 'Back to School' mentality that it still evokes in me has me all in a reorganizing and planning mode. I need to take advantage of this feeling and channel it productively.
As for reading - I'm enjoying both Academy Street (thanks Ellen!) and re-reading Into Thin Air (it's been many years since I first read it and the movie previews inspired me to read it again).
On audio - as always Walt Longmire and George Guidall are keeping me entertained. A Serpent's Tooth is excellent so far.
I was happy to find out that I won Girl Waits With Gun from the Early Reviewers this month. I've had my eye on this one for a while and I'm really looking forrward to reading it.
This Steampunk R2D2 was a fan favorite
>83 SuziQoregon: Aren't March Book One and March Book Two great? Nate Powell really brings the story across, and my respect for (and knowledge about) John Lewis grew exponentially.
>84 SuziQoregon: I agree, the artwork makes Krishna: A Journey Within a special one.
You've intrigued me on Queen & Country. I've been enjoying Rucka's Stumptown series a lot.
The Quinn Colson series is one that both The Hubster and I enjoy.
Totally agree with your thoughts on the March books. So well done and important stuff.
One of my co-workers lived in Sarajevo during the siege of the mid 1990’s. Her stories of sniper fire as a daily way of life are chilling. When I first heard about this book there was much of the story that sounded so similar to my co-worker that I knew right away I wanted to read it.
The story begins in the early 1990’s when Ana is a 10 year old whose childhood is shattered by the civil war. Then it shifts to ten years later when she is a college student in Manhattan only a couple of months after the 9/11 attack. She’s kept her past a secret. Ana decides to return to Zagreb and the story continues to shift back and forth in time, gradually filling in what happened to her and at the same time what she faces when she returns to the city that still feels like home.
I loved this book. The raw emotions and the horrors that Ana went through as a child were brutal. As an adult she is in a country where most people know very little about the war that changed her life.
This is a book and characters that will stick with me for a long time. Perhaps more because I know someone who experienced the horrors of the Yugoslav wars but also because Sara Nović has written a wonderful book.
The closer this Fables spin-off series gets to merging back in with the next volume The Great Fables Crossover, the more I’m enjoying it.
This time around the expected showdown at the Golden Boughs Retirement Village is looming and Jack decided he is the best man to be in charge. His monstrous ego and total lack of understanding of what is really happening continues to both annoy and amuse me.
After the battle the surviving Literals and Fables gather to determine what is next. Jack is ready to let them contact the Fables in New York, thus setting up The Great Fables Crossover which will be the next book in the series for me.
The best part of this volume is the last few pages. There are some surprising secrets revealed which rock Jack’s world. It was overdue and made me laugh. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next and I’m glad the New York Fables will be involved and it won’t be all about Jack.
As always I enjoy the art by Tony Akins and Russ Braun. They manage to portray many different types of settings and characters along with some excellent action scenes.
This audio book has ruined reading Wodehouse for me. I may never read another of his books again. That’s because hearing this book as performed by Jonathan Cecil was an absolutely delightful experience and I want get all the Wodehouse audiobooks I can. Forget print. I want Jonathan Cecil to read them all to me.
The stories almost always involve some grand scheme of Bertie’s to get himself or a friend or relative out of a jam. They are usually ridiculous and over complicated. While Jeeves might not end up doing exactly what Bertie has in mind, he always manages to do what it takes to achieve the proper outcome.
While Bertie may at times have a different plan in mind he is always impressed with the way Jeeves manages to overcome whatever obstacle may present itself.
Every young man starting life ought to know how to cope with an angry swan so I will briefly relate the proper procedure. You begin by picking up the raincoat which somebody has dropped; and the, judging the distance to a nicety, you simply shove the raincoat over the bird’s head; and taking the boathook which you have prudently brought with you, you insert it underneath the swan and heave. The swan goes into a bush and starts trying to unscramble itself, and you saunter back to your boat, taking with you any friends who may happen in the moment to be sitting on roofs in the vicinity. That was Jeeves’s method and I cannot see how it could have been improved upon.
Jonathan Cecil does a masterful job of giving each character a distinctive voice without ever seeming like he’s over performing it. He captures perfectly Bertie Wooster’s moments of overconfidence as well as his moments of missing the point.
For Jeeves he conveys an immeasurable patience as well as the ability to calmly listen to Bertie’s ridiculous schemes yet go on to do what turns out to be the right thing. Mostly however he is at all times a gentleman’s gentleman.
“What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? Do you realise that Mr. Little’s domestic happiness is hanging in the scale?”
“There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.”
These short stories are perfect for driving around audio. They are easy to drop and pick up again with listening to only a few minutes at a time. The humor is light and witty with the occasional laugh out loud moment. I enjoyed reading Wodehouse but I cannot wait to listen to more.
Oh I enjoyed this one a lot. I like the premise of an investigative journalist who ends up investigating his own father. Rick Hoffman’s father is in a nursing home and has been unable to communicate since a massive stroke many years ago. When Rick discovers a pile of cash in the old family home he’s baffled.
I enjoyed all the twists and turns in this story. Rick’s investigation is two pronged. He’s trying to find out who is trying to kill him while at the same time learning things he never suspected about his father. I won’t say more because it would be a shame to know too much going into this one. The fun of a story like this is learning every new tidbit right along with the protagonist.
Rick is not a professional investigator so he makes plenty of dumb mistakes along the way but that’s what you’d expect from an amateur. He’s not a completely sympathetic character but the story is interesting and fast paced with plenty of action.
This is one I’ll be passing along to The Hubster and recommending to my friends.
I had a hard time deciding on my overall thoughts about this book. I absolutely loved parts of it but there were parts of it I didn’t like nearly as much.
The overall story of an event triggering a relatively short term desperate effort by the entire world’s population to save a small percentage of as many forms of life on the planet as possible and the results of that effort thousands of years later is interesting and fascinating.
There are places where that story drags a bit and places where the author lost me in the science and attempts to describe the physical layout of a network of structures in space. I will admit to skimming some of that in places. Andy Weir did such a great job of making the science accessible in The Martian that the places where I got lost in the science in this one made it difficult to hold my attention and draw me back in after I set it down.
When the story got back to the people, however I never lost interest. It was a suspense thriller in space with a huge cast. There are good guys, bad guys and a lot of political gamesmanship.
I would have rated the book higher if it had been about 200 pages shorter.
I already want to read this again.
It reminds me of a lot of the animated “children’s movies’ that include a lot of subtext that is hilarious to adults but flies right over the kids’ heads. This is a fun fantasy adventure story for kids but the puns, wordplay and political satire make it plenty of fun for adults too.
The world of Wisdom that is divided over the supremacy of Words or Numbers turns out to have many fun and funny surprises. Milo’s quest to return Rhyme and Reason to the land had me giggling to myself.
I’m really not sure how I missed this book when I was a kid because it’s absolutely something I would have loved and read over and over again. I guess I’ll have to make up for it now.
Well, once again Jeff Lemire has created characters who have wrapped themselves around my heart and will stick with me for a long time. It’s no secret that I think Lemire is a talented genius. He has the ability to tell a complex and emotional story in spare and raw black and white images often with little or no text on the pages.
The events of this volume primarily take place many years before the events of volume one. It’s clear based on the character names that there is a connection with at least one of the main characters from the first book. That relationship isn’t clear until late in this volume. Also the titular Country Nurse of volume three is introduced here.
I already have volume three out from the library to read soon but I have also requested the collected one volume edition of the trilogy for a couple of reasons, The first is that I want to re-read volume one because of new information I now have. The second reason is that it also includes two additional shorts that Lemire wrote that are connected.
Once again I’m going to recommend that you read anything you can get your hands on that Jeff Lemire has done. He’s amazing.
First of all this is a comics series definitely for adults. Set in a medieval style fantasy world the Rat Queens are a group of mercenaries. Hannah is an elvish sorceress. Violet is a dwarf warrior. Dee is an atheist daughter of a family of necromancers who follow the squidlike god N’rygoth. Betty is a Smidgen thief. They are all a whole lot of fun. They’ll pretty much take on anything human or monster for the right price.
This volume picks up the day after the end of volume one so don’t expect a recap or explanation of who is who. You’ll need to read the first volume for that. Go. Read it. It’s fun.
The story in this volume includes some history of the various main characters as well as plenty of action. It’s sexy and fun but it’s also got plenty of action packed bloody battle scenes. There is a lot of humor both dialog and visual.
The series had a change of main artists halfway through this story arc which is noticeable but not a decline at all. Stjepan Sejic does a great job of picking up the baton and continuing. He has remained true to the characters as they were initially presented but at the same time is clearly on his way to stamping this series with his own vision.
This is another series that I will likely continue but digitally via individual issues rather than waiting for collected editions.
Our tale, the one that couldn’t quite remain a simple love story, begins then in Fabletown and almost immediately moves up to the Farm. It happens because a witch learned something that she told to a beast, who phoned a wolf, who in turn called his wife’s twin sister, who never was a princess but perhaps should have been.
I had been worrying a bit about reading this standalone prose novel that is connected to the extensive Fables comic series by Bill Willingham. I was so used to experiencing his stories in comic format that I wasn’t sure how I would like this. The print edition has illustrations but they’re just scattered here and there in the novel. Then I discovered that not only was there an audio edition but that one of my favorite narrators, Will Wheaton did the narration. That made buying the audio an easy decision.
I’m so glad I made that decision. I’m not sure I would have liked this as much if I had read the print format. It’s a story that benefits from being told to the reader.
Wil Wheaton is a great narrator. With previous audiobooks I’ve listened to that he has narrated he hasn’t done much voice characterization. He surprised me be doing so with this book. Then I realized that his other audiobooks I’ve listened to have both been told by the main character so it makes sense that he’d narrate them as that character. Anyway, most of the voices in this one work well. I’m not sure I’m a fan of the way he does Bigby Wolf but the rest work well.
You don’t have to be familiar with the Fables comic series to appreciate this book. There’s enough of an introduction at the beginning to set the stage and world. If you like interesting reinventions and retellings of familiar fairy tales and legends I recommend listening to this one.
Big Thank You's to Richard for recommending this one!
Oh I enjoyed this one. Give Pirates of the Caribbean a female captain and add a bit of Top Chef and you’ll end up with a whole bunch of fun.
When Mad Hannah Mabbot kidnaps Owen Wedgewood and forces him to create weekly culinary masterpieces or die he really doesn’t have much choice. While he spends much of the book planning and attempting escape he also manages to create some creative culinary magic and make me laugh along the way.
Like hams and men, it gets better with age only to a point.
Regarding the culinary uses of a cannonball after obtaining a box of assorted spices
A few of these were not ground, and I set to the task of rolling the cannonball over them. The missile serves for a pestle almost as well as it did for a rolling pin. If I ever work in a proper kitchen again, I may have to bring one along.
I might need to get The Hubster to read this before I try convincing him I need a Kitchen Cannonball.
There’s plenty of foodie fun as well as plenty of swashbuckling action in this one.
It was predictable in spots and completely surprising in others but I enjoyed the adventure and you should give it at try.
I enjoy this series so much. It’s a juvenile fiction series but it’s plenty of fun for adults. Smith has created a fun and interesting world populated with a wide variety of fantasy creatures and humans. The humor is such that both kids and adults can enjoy it.
While it was originally published in black and white, the Scholastic editions are richly colored and this only adds to the story.
After finishing this one I requested the remaining 5 volumes of the series from the library so I could binge read them on vacation.
If you haven’t tried this series you should. It’s just a whole lot of fun.
Phryne Fisher is quite unconventional for a private investigator in 1920’s Australia and she’s just a whole lot of fun
She’s wealthy enough to not care what people think of her and to be particular about the cases she takes.
This one had a couple of storylines that didn’t really intersect and in some ways it felt like the author had a couple of ideas that didn’t really work out for a full book on their own so she meshed them together in this one.
It was still plenty of fun though. At some points Phryne was solving the case of a runaway teenage girl and at others was working to foil a terrorist plot by a group of anarchists.
The books are fairly short and they are fun break between longer or heavier books. Australia in the 1920’s is an interesting time and place.
I really enjoy Stephanie Daniel’s narration. She’s easy to listen to and her voice characterizations are distinct and consistent.
One of these days I’m going to watch the television series
I enjoyed this one well enough to put the next in the series on my TBR list. It’s promising but I’m not positive it’s a series I’ll stick with long term.
Set in 1922 Scotland and featuring Dandy (Dandelion) Gilver as an upper class woman whose children are old enough to be off at boarding school. When a friend asks Dandy to look into what really happened when the Duffy diamonds were discovered to be fakes she’s happy to relieve her boredom. Dandy doesn’t seem to have any investigative experience and her friend seems willing to pay her to ask questions primarily because Dandy can do it without raising suspicions that she’s up to anything.
Anyway, suddenly Dandy is getting paid for asking questions and soon the case takes a tragic turn. Dandy with the help of young Alec Osborne is looking into not only the truth about what happened to the diamond but also a murder.
I like Dandy. She’s got a fun sense of humor. Although hired because she’s perceived as a bit clueless she’s smarter than people credit her.
Two murders need two motives, I wrote, then I put my elbows on the desk and lowered my head, but stopped in time. It was not even ten o’clock in the morning, and I could not possibly put my head in my hands already. Sherlock, I am sure, never put his head in his hands before luncheon. That should be my rule from now on. No head holding before luncheon, no putting of one’s head on the table and rolling it from side to side before tea, and no audible groaning before dinner.
The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris
This was such fun. It’s a fun book to pick up and flip through to read whatever pages catch your eye. Morris has compiled a collection of art and history about comic book heroes you’ve never heard of. Most of the entries are only a page long and don’t take long to read. Morris’s irreverent humor and comments only add to some of the already hilarious origin stories of some of these characters.
The new Blackhawks become operatives for a government peacekeeping force bearing the unlikely acronym G.E.O.R.G.E. – the Group for the Extermination of Organizations of Revenge, Greed, and Evil.
The man behind the Beast is game warden Mike Maxwell, trapped on the top of Mount Kilamanjaro when a storm disables his private twin-engine airplane (he’s one of those wealthy game wardens). He and his college buddy Rupert Zambesi Kenboya take refuge in a nearby cave. In short order Maxwell gulps down a restorative cup of water fortified by unknown minerals, develops a massive physique and tremendous strength, is set upon by a talking mutant ape (whom he quickly subdues), and is then presented by the ape with a helmet that allows Maxwell to control animals with his mind.
The lead character of Morlock 2001 may have the most ignoble origin in the history of comics. While other heroes launched their careers from fantastic alien worlds, high-tech laboratories, or your average island paradise, Morlock started life as . . . an eggplant.
Slapstick is Steve Harmon, a high school smart aleck and “difficult child” with a lifelong interest in corny humor and practical jokes. Disguising himself as a clown to avenge himself on a rival (he’s got a cream pie with this guy’s name on it), Steve is sneaking around the back alleys of a traveling carnival when he discovers an insidious, unbelievable plot. Evil Clowns from Dimension X have opened a portal between worlds and are abducting unsuspecting carnival-goers in advance of a full-fledged invasion!
One of my favorites is “Captain Science” which is now The Hubster’s official nickname.
This is just a treasure trove of nostalgia and pop-culture history. If you like oddball bits of fun, get your hands on this book.
I really enjoy this series featuring Portland P.I. Dex Parios. She’s the classic tough yet vulnerable heroine. Greg Rucka is very open about the TV show Rockford Files being a major influence on his work in this series. I enjoy that feel to the series and I love that it’s set in Portland.
I was a little concerned when I heard about the artist change with this volume and that Justin Greenwood doesn’t live in Portland. He’s done a magnificent job however, of maintaining the feel of the city and recreating familiar landmarks and neighborhoods of Portland in his art. There is naturally a bit of change in how characters are drawn but he’s stayed true to the Dex (and other characters) that I’ve become familiar with in the earlier volumes.
This story arc is wrapped around the soccer crazed world of the Portland Timbers and their fans. It’s got some good pieces about the Portland vs. Seattle rivalry. It was fun so see something I’m so familiar with become part of a story like this.
I liked the way that Rucka surprised me with some hints and insights into Dex’s history and I’m hoping that we’ll be seeing a volume four in the near future.
I really thought this story arc was well done. When one of the agents under Paul Crocker dies, the entire unit is affected. At the same time events in the country of Georgia have the intelligence communities in Europe on edge. In particular, Paul Crocker is affected because there is a connection to a case he handled in his early days as an agent.
The life of a spy is never an easy one but it’s worse when fellow agents die.
Tara Chace is put in a difficult situation by her boss and things do not go well.
As usual with this series, each new story arc is illustrated by a different artist. While not my least favorite so far, I was not enthusiastic about Carla Speed McNeil’s in this one. I’m fine with characters looking different than in previous volumes because of a different artist. My issue with this volume was that the three of the main male characters (and a few of the secondary characters) looked far too much alike. I often had to use cues from the dialog to figure out which of them was in the particular panel I was reading.
This was one of the better volumes in this series in terms of story but one of the weaker in terms of artwork.
As I’ve said before, if you’re a fan of Homeland and/or The Americans you should check out this series.
Bone, Vol. 5: Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border
Bone, Vol. 6: Old Man’s Cave
Bone, Vol. 7: Ghost Circles
Bone, Vol. 8: Treasure Hunters
Bone, Vol. 9: Crown of Horns
These were essentially the second half of the series. It’s a mix of fantasy, adventure, magic, and humor, along with tinges of politics, romance and revenge. While marketed and shelved as juvenile fiction these are absolutely just as much fun and perhaps more for adults.
After finishing the completely satisfying final volume I picked up the companion volume the Bone Handbook. It contains summaries of each of the 9 books. There are character profiles of most of the major cast. Be warned, however that you don’t want to read these before you’ve finished the series because they do talk about the entirety of the story. It has a fun little extra comic story. I enjoyed the bit of background history about the places and characters that talked about things that happened before the beginning of the series. I really enjoyed the interviews with the author and the artist who did the colorization of the Scholastic editions. All in all it was a fun follow up to the series and I’m glad I read it.
Bone, Tall Tales
Next up were a couple of additional books that aren’t part of the main storyline of Bone. Rose is a prequel about events that took place long before the beginnings of Volume 1 of Bone. The artwork by Charles Vess is different from what Jeff Smith has done in the rest of the series but for a prequel it works. It was good to get more of the history after finishing the main series.
Tall Tales is a follow up collection of stories written by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski. This one delves into a bit of history of Boneville and the Bone cousins (which may or may not be accurate). As with the rest of the series, it was simply fun and entertaining.
Seriously, if you haven’t read these, you should.
This is a series that I want to own and I plan to purchase them so I can read them again and get The Hubster to read them too. In the meantime there is a spinoff trilogy of prose novels with illustrations called Quest for the Spark written by Tom Sniegoski who worked with Smith on Tall Tales. My library has them and they’re on my wish list.
I think I was more interested in Girl at War because of the connection with my co-worker who lived in Sarajevo during the siege.
I'm a fan of the Phryne Fisher series, too. Our daughter and I have almost finished the second season of the tv series. It's excellent. Great cast. I actually like the Phryne-Jack relationship better in the tv series. He's good-looking (of course) rather than having plain, unmemorable features.
>111 jnwelch: Good to know the Phryne Fisher TV show is worth watching. Streaming TV is what keeps me from being bored when I'm on the rowing machine so I'll put that in my queue for that.
>112 scaifea: I adored it. I immediately handed it to The Hubster (who also had never read it) and he loved it too. We're both a little baffled about how we never knew this book existed when we were in school and the primary target audience for it.
>113 lkernagh: It really is a lot of fun!
Have a lovely weekend. xx
>117 EBT1002: Yep - we have an Abby too, Her full name is Abigail Rose but her nicknames include Abby Tabby, Princess Lardass and Grace McFluff (when she falls off things or misjudges a jump).
Your Abby is a beauty!
>118 PaulCranswick: Ha!!
>119 Berly: Oh you should check the library for the Bone series - just fun. I don't know about Wordstock but I'll go check out the thread just in case.
>120 Ameise1: So pretty! Thanks Barbara.
Let's see where I left off.
I finished Academy Street by Mary Costello. I'd describe that one as quietly powerful. I never fell in love with it but I find myself still thinking about it. Thanks to Ellen for the recommendation.
I read and enjoyed The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins. Thanks to Mark for recommending that one.
I finished listening to A Serpent's Tooth and as always thoroughly enjoyed the combination of Craig Johnson's writing, George Guidall's narration and Walt Longmire and all the characters in the book. I think I'll hold off on starting another in the series until we watch the new season of Longmire on Netflix.
I finished my re-read of Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer it's been many years since I first read it and I'm glad to say that it held up to being worthy of a re-read.
Speaking of re-reading I decided to listen to the audio of The Martian before we see the movie. Both The Hubster and I have read and loved the book but I've heard such good things about the audio production that I wanted to hear it. R.C. Bray is a narrator I haven't heard before but I am definitely enjoying his work with this book.
I am slowly working my way through Lists of Note compiled by Shaun Usher it's a fascinating collection that includes such things as JFK's secretary's list of possible suspects in his killing, Chrissie Hynde's Advice for Chick Rockers, a list of reasons for absence for workers in the Valley of the Kings during the time of Ramses II, etc. It's a fun one to browse for a few minutes here and there.
Last night I started Friday Night Lights, 25th Anniversary Edition by H. G. Bissinger. I've never read it nor have I seen the movie but having gone to college in Texas shortly before the time frame of this book I am well aware of Texas High School Football and the Odessa teams in the 80's. The author will be at Powell's later this month and I recently read an article about his follow up 25 years later about some of the people he knew and wrote about. I'm looking forward to attending that event.
Really glad I decided a re-read via audio was necessary. Now that I know the story I'm really enjoying being able to hear it without holding my breath.
I hope you enjoy the audio of The Martian. That is how I consumed that novel and I loved it. Bray did an outstanding job. I am looking forward to the movie. In fact, I as I
I just picked up another book about that Everest disaster, After the Wind, at Booktopia. This author was also one of the climbers.
Reading any good GNs? I just finished Rat Queens, which was a hoot.
Working on Elise Saphier, Rhonda and anyone else who wants to come.
Speaking of which, Juli, I think that Krakaeur is speaking at Wordstock. Are you up for a meet up there?
>122 SuziQoregon: LOL it's funny how many nicknames our pest end up with, isn't it? I have absolutely LOVED the audio of The Martian. I am so glad I re-read it this way.
>125 msf59: Thanks Mark - and the same right back at ya! The "Mark's Fault" tag in my library continues to grow.
I'm curious to find out what you think of After the Wind.
As for GNs - if you have not yet got your hands on Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire you must do so as soon as possible. It's wonderful. It's the first volume in a new series and I adored it. He didn't do the art in this one - it's drawn and painted by Dustin Nguyen so while it doesn't have the look of Lemire's other work it's still got the Lemire feel to the story. You will love it, I'm sure.
>126 Berly: Can't do Wordstock - we've already planned a gathering at our house that day with a bunch of friends to watch football.
>127 banjo123: I saw that but unfortunately I can't go - Have a great time!
>128 Ameise1: love that!
The Martian is just as amazing the second through on audio this time around. It was brutal this morning - I had to stop it with 10 minutes to go in the book because I had to get out of the car at the park & ride to catch my train. Dammit!
So I'll finish it when I get back to my car this afternoon. Next up on audio is the next in the Walt Longmire series - I'm binge listening to the last few to get caught up in the series. This afternoon I'll start Any Other Name by Craig Johnson.
As for print - I finished Friday Night Lights, 25th Anniversary Edition by H.G. Bissinger. It was just wonderful. The new afterword with his follow up on several of the key people 25 years later is fascinating. My favorite line from the new section is
Twenty-five years earlier I had gone in search of the Friday Night Lights. Now, during a week in April, in Texas, I went searching for those who had played under them.
I also read Jack of Fables Vol. 7, The New Adventures of Jack and Jack - this spinoff series from the main Fables storyline has been rather hit or miss for me and this one was pretty much a miss.
I'm still working my way through Lists of Note a few pages at a time here and there. It's not really a book you read straight through anyway so that works well.
I've started (barely) The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry. I've been wanting to read this one for a while but I put it off because for a while it seemed like everyone was reading and talking about it so I needed to wait for the buzz to die down before I felt I could go into it without reacting to hype.
I have plans to stop at Powell's after work before I leave downtown . . . always a fun way to finish up a Friday. I need to get the new illustrated edition of the first Harry Potter book - I have seen some of the artwork and it's fabulous.
We loved the film version of The Martian. about as good as you could hope.
Thanks for the Lemire rec. I will have to request that one. Somehow, it zipped in under my radar.
Yeah I'm still here but barely. I really haven't fallen off the planet. It's just been a matter of life in general getting in my way. It's been busy, mostly good but just a lot.
I did manage to update my books read and as you can see by the pathetic numbers of books read in November and December so far that I haven't really been reading that much. Not what I would call a reading slump but just not enough hours in the day. It's really rather annoying.
Surprisingly it looks like I might actually finish out the year with over 100 books read.
At this point I'm not going to post old reviews or anything much - just sort of holding my place here for the rest of the year and will try to update moving forward.
I will definitely be more involved again around here after the holidays.
Looking forward to 2016 with this group!!
For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!