First (1st) Monday Book Day

Spooky was spookily on the ball with today's CoC topic. I have read a few decent books recently, but nothing I absolutely love. And I'm ready for one of those books--a summer read that sucks me in and compels me to sneak in a few pages anywhere I can. I have a distinct memory of taking the peperoncino to the playground one summer day a couple years ago so he could play with some trucks in a sandbox while I perched on the side with Sweetbitter in hand. (A prize to anyone who can dig up the LTE where I talked about that book; the search function is failing me.)

Have you read anything lately that you loved? That you hated? That you found maddeningly mediocre?

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16 thoughts on “First (1st) Monday Book Day”

  1. I read the latest from Jack McDevitt's "Academy" series, The Long Sunset, which was entertaining enough but a bit fluffier than his past books; the ending could have used a bit more, but still got to where it was going.

  2. Summer and vacation is about the only times I ever have the time to actually read a book. I look forward to that starting again in two weeks, though...

    The "maddeningly mediocre" prompt spurred my memory of the book my wife and I listened to on a long car trip last month: Artemis by Andy Weir (of The Martian fame). I think maddeningly mediocre is about the best possible description I can come up with. There were some cool ideas about what life would be like in a colony on the moon, and the explanations of the engineering and physical difficulties were spot-on, but there were just so many times the book introduced some strange new device that would clearly become important somewhere down the line. Chekhov's Gun run amok.

    1. Prize to sean! Thank you kindly, sir.

      Actual Spoiler SelectShow
  3. I listened to Emergency Contact on Audible after seeing the author, Mary H.K. Choi, on Desus & Mero. It was YA, but being a book about how two people became really close through texting, it kinda hits close to home. I liked it a lot.

  4. I just finished Assassin's Quest (final book in the FitzChivalry Farseer trilogy). It was a fun, epic tale and I found myself really enjoying the final act. Good, classic fantasy.

    I also read The Name of the Wind,which makes two books in a row told in the past tense by the protagonist. The world had an interesting sort of magic in it.

  5. For a different kind of summer reading, my parents got 111 Places in the Twin Cities That You Must Not Miss. The boys have been going through and marking places that look especially interesting, and then my parents will plan visits to different places throughout the summer. Not everything is for kids, but there's a great range--from local breweries to the shoe tree to streetcars to the James J. Hill House, which I never would have thought about visiting with kids, but the jalapeno is really into the idea of seeing a mansion!

  6. Here's a fun book-related court case.

    In a decision handed down late last week, Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York denied a motion by an author requesting that a preliminary injunction be issued to prevent publication a number of books that include the word “cocky” in the title.

  7. May Reading:

    So, I made last month's book post about how excited I was to read Beyond the Rice Fields as a translated book from Madagascar ... and then I read only about a quarter of it over the whole month. I'm kind of disappointed in that, but it's still on my shelf and I've renewed my library loan, so I've got the rest of June to finish it.

    The Dead Mountaineer's Inn by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
    I think it was bhiggum who mentioned reading some Strugatsky a while ago and put the name in my head. This was an Audible book-of-the-day deal, and I grabbed it. I really liked it. It's a send up of the detective genre (snowed in hotel with a dead body, etc.) with an interesting Soviet point of view and an ending that worked for me to pull in all the other parts of the book.

    Chemistry by Weike Wang
    Narrated by a chemistry graduate student stuck in her own head, with lots of sarcasm and deflecting humor? I think this book might have been written just for me. The isolation inherent in an undertaking like graduate school (I remember working 70 hour weeks like that was a normal thing to do) is there, along with isolation experienced because of culture/language/self-doubt. That sounds depressing, but it wasn't a horrible downer of a book. I really liked it.

    Houses of Ravicka by Renee Gladmann
    Book 4 in the Ravickan series. Language, architecture, and the obfuscation and impermanence of both. For the first time we see inside the city of Ravicka and the people "in charge" of it. That perspective clears up nothing about the series.

    All Systems Red by Martha Wells
    This won the Nebula Award for Best Novella. It is some measure of fun to have the narrating cyborg refer to themselves self-deprecatingly as "Murderbot". This story has a clear push and message that it is getting across (and the cyborg as stand in for non-neurotypical -- I don't know if that's something that feels off, or if I'm making too much of something). I liked it fine, but I've read better sci-fi novellas for sure.

    Less by Andrew Sean Greer
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. A good book. Basically read the description and if it sounds like something that interests you, pick it up, it does what it does well. One of the book groups that I follow on goodreads reacted with surprise when this won the Pulitzer this year, the general consensus was that it was a good book, but not one that immediately screamed prize-worthy. I think I agree.

    The Idiot by Elif Batuman
    I loved this book too. Another smart, interior narrator, this time an undergraduate student that seems to spend most of her time unwillingly inhabiting classic Russian novels. It was light and fun and full of deeper levels that did nothing to ruin the near constant laughs that I got from this.

    H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
    I knew nothing about falconry when I started this book, and I think that worked better. It made sure that I was bound to the author as she went through a year training her goshawk and dealing with her father's death. It is beautifully written and incredibly well put together and just a great book.

  8. May/June reading:
    Poldark - The Miller's Dance (W. Graham) Book 10
    Poldark - Angry Tide (W. Graham) Book 11, 1 more to go
    Sharpe's Eagle (B. Cornwell)
    Sketches from a Hunter's Album (I. Turgenev)

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