Has it been a month already? Where does the time go? Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. It’s been a fun 30 days or so, right? … Right?
I am currently reading Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn. Compared to the first entry in his reboot of the Thrawn trilogy, Zahn does a better job with his characterization of Grand Admiral Thrawn. In the first novel, I felt that Zahn played up the ‘fish out of water’ angle too much and Thrawn’s rise read much more like the diary of an Imperial officer with Asperger’s Syndrome who took too much colloidal silver. With Thrawn: Alliances, we see a Thrawn capable of simple and routine social interaction without shitting his pants mid-conversation. That having been said, as a character, Thrawn now seems to suffer from competence porn syndrome. Zahn has yet to find the middle ground where Thrawn can demonstrate that he is the galaxy’s absolute master of military tactics and strategy while still having a realistic and suitable foible. In the end, it could be that despite having created the character in the medium of print, Zahn’s Thrawn cannot compete with the quiet menace of Thrawn as depicted in the Star Wars: Rebels animated series.
Andrew Mayne – The Naturalist (books 1-3). Ran through these on Audbile pretty quickly. They are easy enough procedurals although the second and third books lost some of the charm that the first book had because the main character had blossomed from a nerd to a thrill-seeking serial killer hunter by the second book.
Arkady Strugatsky – Roadside Picnic. I’d been chipping away at this for a while but had mostly stalled out. I’m glad that I took the time to finish it. The enigmatic ending was perfect for the story (although there’s still something that throws me off about Russian genre storytelling). The afterward by one of the authors is a delightful sampling of what it took to get a bowdlerized Roadside Picnic through the publishing process in the USSR.
I power skimmed a few the books in Humble Bundle’s Eat Like a Geek bundle. Nothing super exciting there. Ice Cube Tray Recipes was a good reminder that I have everything I need to make jello-shots, but a lot of the recommendations were banal for someone who frequently portions and freezes things like homemade chicken stock or caramelized onions in ice cube trays as is. Chinese Street Food looked intriguing. I’m waiting to hear back on a few books with recipes featuring a recently legalized “herb.” I mostly picked it up for the Medieval feasts and Edwardian cooking books, which I’m putting off until I have the chance to dig into them. I really enjoy modern takes on historical cooking such as The New Art of Cookery, A Spanish Friar’s Kitchen Notebook.
I’ve been super busy lately, but I am always ready to make time for my favorite author, Chuck Tingle. His latest works have really opened my eyes to the importance of continuous consent and learning to be comfortable with the occasional dry spell. Mr. Tingle is likely the most erudite commentators on contemporary sexual discourse and is
absolutely probably not a pen name of SugarFree.
I read the Ray Electromatic series by Adam Christopher, a science fiction spin on the oft-imitated Raymond Chandler genre. Set in an alternate 1960s where robots–the clanking metal variety–were introduced and then rejected by the public, the lead character is the last of his kind and the only one programmed to be a private detective. Working in a cliched LA full of secrets, lies and sin, Ray untangles mysteries–when he’s not working his sidejob as a hitman.
Well, I haven’t been able to do much reading outside of investment/work-related articles, but I can tell you about what’s on my bedside stand! …Get your minds out of the gutter; it’s just a big stack of books. OK, it’s a small stack of comic books and two proper books. The first one is Black Jack by our very own Moriah Jovan. Not my usual sci-fi or fantasy, but I am looking forward to branching out while still staying in some familiar territory. (Jack is an “uncouth bond trader,” so maybe there’ll be some interesting finance-related subplot(s)?) I bought this book–and the next one–last August. So. Super busy, or at least too busy to sit down and read a paperback. This month, though! Maybe! The other book is The Very Best of Charles de Lint, which was recommended to me by jesse.in.mb. He had me at “crow girls.” I’m sincerely hoping I can get to each of these in the next month, and give you guys a proper review at the end of April. Wish me luck. Or don’t. You’re adults.
I read an actual book during my vacation in Ireland. This time I picked 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann. Why would I do that? As it turns out most of the B&B’s I stayed in happened to have a TV, and quite frankly Irish TV is disturbingly British which means they must love their game shows…
At any rate, this book is thoroughly researched and suggests many of the lessons we were taught about life in Pre-Columbian America is, to be blunt, wrong. One of the myths that seems to perpetuate the most is that the Americas were an untouched, pristine wilderness when the first European settlers arrived. Not so. What is now postulated is the earliest Spanish explorers arrived in Florida and brought pigs with them. Why pigs? Because refrigerators weren’t invented yet and Spaniards like pork. Pigs often carry diseases and since they are mostly domesticated a plague could’ve jumped from humans to the pigs, or vice versa. Pigs escaped, became the invasive species they still are today, and came in contact with the Native Americans. The Native American’s, of course, had little immunity to these diseases and died in biblical proportions. The explorers left and decades later settlers arrived in time to find that nature had reclaimed most of the continent.
Its a thought-provoking point of view that if you are into history, I would certainly recommend.