Don Winslow – The Force. Is the story of a cop who thought himself good and spent his entire career methodically crossing line after line until he was really a villain. Maybe. Winslow seems unsure if this is going to be elegy or indictment and I found the damn thing an infuriating listen. There’s some unironic patter about his first duty is to get home to his family. Seriously.
James S. A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Book 1). It was fun dipping my toe back in hard sci-fi. I wish I’d read this before watching the first season of the show as the show was a fairly faithful retelling of the book with some alterations so that you saw more of Earth’s politics from the beginning, primarily from the view point of Chrisjen Avasarala (Shoreh Aghdashloo), who does not appear in the first book. It cannot be stated enough that I would listen to Shohreh Aghdashloo read an intro to chemistry text book for all eternity and be content.
Richard Phillips – Mark of Fire (The Endarian Prophecy Book 1). Fantasy, a little on the generic side, but well paced. The magical system was a fun departure from most of what I’ve read, and while not exactly unique, it was well fleshed out. The second book just came out in January and the third on 02/20, so I may just continue on with the series.
I’ve been driving around the country helping elderly relatives with various health stuff this month. (Pro tip: Don’t be the oldest-female-child-and-only-child-with-medical-training in a huge family.)
What to do? Listen to an audiobook, of course!
On this last drive, I started listening to the somewhat lengthy Shooting Victoria. The length – 19 hrs and 54 mins – would normally be off-putting for me, but when one has endless, mind-numbingly-boring hours to fill…feature, not bug.
Shooting Victoria tells the stories of the eight(!) failed attempts to assasinate Great Britain’s Queen Victoria over the course of the 19th century. Although perhaps a bit dry for some, it’s quite interesting to me from a social history standpoint. I’m only 8 hours in or so and we’ve already had much discussion of Bedlam, Chartism, the state of the judiciary, the plight of the Spitalfields silk weavers, and the Irish Potato Famine. Also fascinating-yet-not-surprising are the machinations of the political figures and those within the Queen’s household.
I am enjoying the book and will likely finish it on my next driving trip. Webdominatrix and I are headed to Florida soon to check in on OMWC’s elderly relative, with stops to visit Brett & his family and SugarFree & his bourbon (not a euphemism) along the way. Nothing good can come from this. No, there will not be pics.
Old Man With Candy
For sheer thrills and excitement, there’s nothing to match C.D. Motchenbacher, and I managed to score a copy of an older edition of Low Noise Electronic Design, sent to me as a gift from one of my favorite technical authors. It may be old, but so am I, and the basic physics that are discussed are still valid. It’s comprehensive and readable, everything a technical book should be.
For fun, I realized that it had been years since I picked up my copy of The Annotated Alice, the Lewis Carroll classics thoroughly annotated in a witty and scholarly style by the late polymath Martin Gardner. The fact that the author may well have been a closeted pedophile wasn’t the main attraction, I swear. I’m not a poetry kinda guy, but The Walrus and the Carpenter and Jabberwocky still speak to me in a way nothing else has, other than the works of Don Marquis. As someone whose professional career has been tied to molecular physics, I am particularly delighted by the insights of Through the Looking Glass and Gardner’s commentary. Everyone should own this.
All of my reading time since last month has still been dedicated to this sole book. The good news is that I should be testing on it in a few weeks. The bad news is that, until then, it’s going to be the only book I’m reading and I will continue to be scarce.
I read The Shadow of What was Lost by James Islington, which Amazon’s AI has been pushing on me for a long time and reviewers compare to Robert Jordan. I like Mr.Islington’s writing, but the plot is very reminiscent of Jordan, which is to say that there probably is one but I can’t discern it. The plot of the book — two young men who are destined to be magic users are set on a quest. Along the way they meet a 3rd young man who may be a mass murder as well as a wizard who is probably a mass murderer, but the men he killed were probably going to kill one of the original two young men. These 4 men meet a princess who turns out to be the 2nd young man’s cousin. Eventually an army is defeated, much wrong is righted, the young mass murderer turns out to be The Highlander — an immortal with a super-sword who has killed more people than dysentery.
Oh, and a shit-ton of Microsoft Azure and DevOps training. DevOps sounds cool if I ever work on a team of more than 1 or have clients who actually can be arsed to test what I write.
I have read so much. So bigly of the reading. Yuge reading.
Read The Iron Druid series. I liked it quite a bit, unlike some [cough]Brett L[cough]jesse[cough]. Basically Dresden Files Lite crossed with American Gods. Druids and shit. A talking dog. Hot redhead bartenders. The ultimate in “don’t stick it in crazy Death Goddess” sex. Will say… I thought the series was finished or I would have avoided it until it was. Between Planetary and GRRM, I have literary battered wife syndrome: I never want to get into that sort of abusive situation again. The final book of the series is supposed to be out in April. I’ll believe when I see it and not before, mofo.
I have this urge to read the book before I see the movie, and over the years I have built up a large backlog of movies I’ve been waiting to see. My project for the next few months is to finally do something about it. So far I’ve read/watched The Other by Tom Tryon, The Fury by John Farris, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin and I’m working on reading The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley.
The Other was a bit of a bust since the movie hews so closely to the novel. Kind of pointless if you’ve read the novel. But the novel was very good. The whole thing goes down like a fever dream.
De Palma’s film of The Fury is better than the book, honestly. The novel introduces better characterization and motives but is so disjointed it feels like maybe the copy you are reading had some chapters torn out at random. Time shifts back and forth, plot threads weave and unweave at random, and whole character arcs will have the important middle bit excited. Also, filming the novel as written would have had De Palma up on child porn charges.
I had already seen The Stepford Wives a couple of times, so it was a bit of cheat. In this case, both the novel and the film are worth it. The plot doesn’t make much sense–if you can make realistic sexbots, just sell the sexbots, make a ton of cash and buy young hot wives; lather, rinse and repeat every ten years or so President Donald style. But the feminist paranoia of the piece is so palpable and so–for the lack of a better term–hysterical, it creates excellent tension. And I’m pretty sure there’s not a single scene of Katherine Ross or Paula Prentiss wearing a bra for the first 3/5ths of the movie. It was the 70s, man. Can you dig it?
So I was reading the milk carton at breakfast, and discovered something interesting. Besides it providing me with the minimum daily adult requirement of Vitamin D, it turns out that Mary Margaret Cameron, age 9, is missing. She was last seen on October 13, 2007 in the company of her noncustodial father, and they had a cool picture of what she looked like with age progression. She’s developed well, and I’m sure he’s a proud daddy.
The only thing anyone here needs to be reading is the TUNNELL ESTATE AUCTION SALE DAY CATALOG.
Disclaimer: Contributions not necessarily actually by the author whose name appears above them.
I have had a slow reading month. I too have been enjoying Shooting Victoria at SP’s recommendation. I am currently reading Salt: A World History and I find this far more fascinating than I expected. It is, as you might have guessed, the tale of how salt has shaped civilisation.
I am also reading/listening to (Thanks, Amazon, for allowing me to switch between Kindle and Audible!) Uncertainty about Heisenberg’s principle.