Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reading Roundup

Started some, finished some, some still in progress.  Bought some, checked some out of the library this week.

Although I delude myself that someday my review rate will be 100% of my read rate, at present it looks like I'm running at about 33%...

  •  Earth Abides, reviewed here, an early classic of post-apocalyptic science fiction by George R. Stewart
  • Bad Boy, the latest Inspector Banks novel from Peter Robinson which is due out in September.  Although I have not yet reviewed this one it is, like all of Robinson's books, an exquisitely wrought thriller.  The first half of Bad Boy features DI Annie Cabbot, holding down the fort while DCI Banks is on holiday in America.  The case centers on Banks's own daughter Tracy, who has gotten involved with a very bad boy indeed.
  • Unknown, the second book in Outcast Season, Rachel Caine's spinoff to her popular Weather Warden urban fantasy series.  In this installment, cast out djinn Cassiel continues to become ever more human while fighting the good fight against evil sister djinn Pearl, whose goal is nothing less than to destroy the Earth herself.
Why do I try to read more than one book at a time?  At least these four are utterly different from one another.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, of course, as Padric and I continue our annual summer read of the whole cycle.  I'm only a few chapters in, and, as I do every time, I find myself yelling at Harry and Ron just to wait for the grownups to emerge back onto the Muggles platform instead of taking the Anglia and making their own way to Hogwarts.  Kids these days.
  • Peach Cobbler Murder, a Hannah Swensen cozy by Joanne Fluke.  These books are not particularly well-written and not at all original...they're just so darned, well, cozy, that I feel the urge to read one every now and again.  As usual, in this one Hannah and her friends drink more coffee than is humanly possible, and eat more cookies; she vacillates between the two chaste relationships she has with boyfriends Norman the dentist and Mike the cop; she rolls her eyes at her mother; she feeds her cat far too much; and, oh yes, a murder happens in Lake Eden.  Ah, small town life.
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman is one of my very occasional forays into nonfiction.  This one is directly tied into my current obsession with post-apocalyptic fiction; in it, Weisman posits a world in which mankind has disappeared--though not through any cataclysm that will destroy the earth itself or mankind's own creations, and then examines exactly how the world will react.  I've just finished the chapter entitled "The City Without Us," which details exactly how dependent our big cities are on our maintenance of them, and just how quickly nature would encroach if we were no longer around.
  • Adios Scheherazade humor and smut from the late, great Donald E. Westlake.

In addition to the books we picked up at the library sale on Thursday, I acquired a few others here and there.  
  • From the book cart at my little branch of the library: Rage, by Jonathan Kellerman, an Alex Delaware mystery; Beggars and Choosers, a futuristic SF outing from Nancy Kress; a gorgeous hardcover first edition of Topping From Below by Laura Reese, a rather naughty erotic thriller; and Sauce for the Goose, a Jimmy Flannery mystery by--I'll say it again--the criminally hard-to-find and mostly out-of-print Robert Campbell.
  • From various publisher's giveaways, a number of ARCs all with publication dates of August or September 2010: Knowing Jesse a memoir by Marianne Leone; Blue Nude by Elizabeth Rosner; The Lady Matador's Hotel by Cristina Garcia; Once Wicked Always Dead (bet you can guess what kind of book this is) by T. Marie Benchley; and The Great Typo Hunt, a gimmick book along the lines of The Know-it-All in which the authors, Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson, travel across the country armed with Sharpies and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors on signs.  
Obviously not every freebie's going to be a winner, but some of these--especially The Great Typo Hunt--look pretty good.  Stay tuned.

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