Reading!

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
Reached my minimum book amount (20) for a summer; but there are still a couple weeks to go.

The newest "Chet & Bernie" mystery, Heart of Barkness by Spencer Quinn. As always, narrator Chet the dog is wonderful. Bernie DIDN'T die in the previous book (that's no spoiler here), and they take on a case (sort of) that takes them into New Mexico and old Mexico, about murders associated with an aging country western singer. Funny at times, thoughtful at times, with a late wrap-up and a surprise last sentence!

Michael Crichton's Westworld, for the 1970s film (which I didn't know he directed), so it's actually in script form. I've seen a little of the HBO series, but not enough to grasp the plot specifics beyond the Fantasy-Island-goes-horribly-wrong (or, "worng," as the book cover shows) concept. Scary how some authors predict the future with their writings. I guess if I watch the movie, instead of the TV show, I might notice some details from having read it already. A very fast read.

Richard III, by William Shakeshere or something (I love the variations on his last name I get from students who write about his plays WHEN THEY HAVE THE BOOK RIGHT THERE TO READ THE CORRECT SPELLING. Ahem. About a country's leader who is delusional, self-centered, unsupported by most of his underlings who aren't the ones let go, does anything to get ahead but then questions why these poorly-designed plans fail? Nope; never heard of anyone fitting THAT description in the past 100+ years or so... I might have preferred the footnotes and introductory material more than the play itself (but you gotta love Shakespearean wordplay! ).
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
With 2 more: over 6K pages and 22 books. One was really good, and the other was not.

New-writer Rory Power's Wilder Girls was on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, and I heard it was something to read. Well, I did read it. But it's trying to jumble too much into one story: girls on an island with a disease-thing infecting them, have to survive with occasional supplies sent by boat, plus poorly-constructed dialogue and clichéd and predictable plotlines. Oh, and there's profanity, horror, and "feminism," according to the blurbs on the book cover (but I don't think their definition of the term fits). But the cover painting is awesome! (I first judged this book by this way)

A classic: Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. I saw the recent film version, and had heard the book ended differently. Not too differently, though; but her style is to gather all the facts, present it logically, then let the truth come out. It works well.

[edit: 7/23/19] These next 3 books are part of a milestone for my summer reading stats: I have now read 500 books over the past 16 summers, and over 135K pages.

July, July by Tim O'Brien, known for novels set in the Vietnam era. It's about a school reunion in July of 2000 that looks back on the events of mainly July 1969: people making poor and life-changing choices, regretting or ruing said decisions. Runs the gamut of emotions: sometimes funny, usually brooding, occasionally surprising. Pretty good overall.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, who won the Pulitzer Prize for an earlier book. Based on a 100+ year history of a Florida juvenile center (basically a jail, despite being called a reformatory school), it's a fictionalized chronicle following one boy's time there. A twist towards the end (as all good twists do) makes the reader re-examine all the parts that preceded that point. It's brutal in its descriptions and with the inspiring words of Martin Luther King, Jr. echoing throughout the story, the reality of was IS going on is juxtaposed with the ideas of what COULD happen in the future.

Mirror Image by, wait for it... Ice-T and Jorge Hiojosa. I was looking for an "I" author on the bookshelves of the library and was surprised to see this book by the "star of Law & Order: SVU," as the cover stated. It's not very good overall, as it begins with some of the most horrible descriptions I've read (chapter 2 made my shoulders hunch and my mind cringe), then continues with all the reasons why Scarface and Grand Theft Auto fans are so misguided and myopic, going into an interesting set-up for the elaborate heist plan, then degenerates into cliched dialogue and situations that are begging to please turn this into a big-budget movie with a star-studded cast! Yeah! ... No.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
Book #29 of the summer vaults me over 8000 pages read.
Looking for an 'X' author (no, not Chris Claremont), I found another of Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen mysteries, The Mao case. The character is a poet who knows English, as well as being a cop in Shanghai around the turn of the century (still not sure of what year its set; this was published in 2009 though). The case involves a possible item connected to Mao Zedong, and how this item might be seen as negative towards the reputation of the leader. It's slow for the first 2/3 (I nodded off a few times), but it takes off quickly towards the end. There's an item that the inspector doesn't look at (it's hidden inside another object), which sure might disappoint readers, but it stays consistent with Chen as a character.
 

The OC47150

Force Sensitive
Nov 9, 2018
52
4
51
Almost done with Master and Apprentice.

Read Vince Flynn's Term Limits at the Y. It was good.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
OC, I think that El Chuxter liked M&A more than I did, but it was still a good read.

My summer reading is at an end, with these last two...

Is There Life After Housework?, by Don Alsett. I had never heard of this man, nor the city where he was from (Pocatello, ID) until this summer. I got this book from his Museum of Clean on a road trip through that part of the country. This book shows off his knowledge of cleaning and organizing techniques, products, and hints. Sometimes funny, always considerate of people's time and resources, it's a good step-by-step process of how to make one's home better settled.

The World We Found, by Thrity Umrigar. I wanted a 'U' author and found this book about 4 close friends from college in India who drift apart for different reasons. It became a suspense book at one point, more so than a relationship renewal story, in trying to get the converted-to-a-different-religion woman away from her husband to make it to the airport and plane to visit the terminally-ill friend now living in America. I learned quite a bit about Indian history in the late-20th century and the difficulties some groups (by gender, by religion, by socio-economy, by age) have in fitting into society at-large and within families and friends. Well constructed novel; I think I have a few more 'U's available now in future summers, seeking out her other books.

Final summer data: 2019 (31 books = 8600 pgs.; 277 pgs. per), past 16 summers (506 books = 138,400 pgs., 274 pgs. per, 32 books per summer).
Categories: general fiction (6 books), Childrens/YA (5), Star Wars (3), Mystery (3), Movies/TV (3), Classics (2), Auto-/Biography (2), History/Science (2), Travel (1), Humor (1), Philosophy (1), Fantasy (1), Play (1).
Authors by last names: A (2), B (4), C (4), E, F, G (2), I, M, O, P (2), Q, S (3), U, V, W (3), X, and Z (2).
 

The OC47150

Force Sensitive
Nov 9, 2018
52
4
51
Have less than 15 pages left in M&A. No spoilers here but I will say I think this was the first SW novel I've read (and correct me if I'm wrong) where boobs and getting laid were mentioned. I know I'm gonna sound like an old fogey when I write this, but I didn't expect that in a SW novel. Kinda surprising.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
Sadly, after the passing of Toni Morrison, I read one of hers, knowing that unless there are unpublished manuscripts out there, what's out there now is all there ever will be. :( So, Love, a short novel, was my choice. Set along a beach area with a formerly-famous hotel owned by a now-dead owner, the women associated with him handle his death and his estate. It's got wonderful wordplay in the narration, but unusual shifts in point of view and setting. Still not sure by the end what actually happened (and, I believe, the title only appears as a word in the novel once or twice, near the end), but I am sure that's the point. Really good.

[edit: 8/24] Not because of the film's release recently, but someone let me borrow a copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Most of the time reading it was a pain: unrealistic situations (even considering it's told through the POV of a dog; but I have read series that do just that before, and in much better styles than this one) and dialogue, cruel scenarios the characters are forced to deal with (and making the reader suffer through them, too). The human protagonist is a potentially-great race car driver whose family situations make that dream difficult at times. By the end, it got better, but the process of getting to that end was so laborious and taxing that I almost quit. Maybe the movie's better.
 
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Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
My book for September might end up being this one: Only Human by Silvain Neuvel. I found out this sci-fi book is the 3rd of a trilogy. Ugh. It was what I would expect from fan fiction, not a major publisher: inconsistent dialogue format, less-than-realistic "file" chapters, lame 21st century references, a plot that drags on, blatantly obvious connections to today's "hot issues." The storyline is that a distant planet of aliens and robots is holding some Terrans (people of Earth, of course) but with all the "files" flashing back, it's not confusing to follow but uninteresting, which is probably worse. Ugh again. [p.s. This is my 1400th book ever read]
 

The OC47150

Force Sensitive
Nov 9, 2018
52
4
51
Finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. Very good.

Picked up Black Spires and started reading it. Less than 30 pages in so I will reserve judgement.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,059
59
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
Finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. Very good.

Picked up Black Spires and started reading it. Less than 30 pages in so I will reserve judgement.
Was the title Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders? ;)

I, too, am about a chapter into BS. Most SW books about another platform (Ruins of Dantooine, both Force Unleashed books, et al) have not been very good. I hope this bucks that trend.
 

InsaneJediGirl

Jedi Apprentice
Jan 12, 2002
2,453
14
Earth
Finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. Very good.

Picked up Black Spires and started reading it. Less than 30 pages in so I will reserve judgement.
I just picked up Theodore Rex, haven't started it yet. You've given me another to add to the list/collection.