Jim's (drneutron's) 2023 Reading, Chapter 4

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Diskutera75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Jim's (drneutron's) 2023 Reading, Chapter 4

Redigerat: jul 11, 10:20 am

I'm Jim, 61, husband of 38 years, father of a son gainfully employed creating our robot overlords, who reads pretty much anything. We're in central Maryland with roots in Louisiana. I like to read (obviously), cook, trail bike riding/kayaking with mrsdrneutron, and want to learn to fly fish. Of course, LT is a big time sink, but mrsdrneutron seems to have come to terms with my LT addiction...

Redigerat: jul 11, 10:39 am

Total Books: 54

Author Gender
Male: 36 (69%)
Non-male: 16 (31%)

Author Status
Living: 47 (90%)
Dead: 5 (10%)

Publication Medium
Hardback: 19 (36%)
Trade: 9 (17%)
Mass Market: 1 (2%)
eBook: 24 (45%)

Fiction: 36 (68%)
Nonfiction: 17 (32%)

Library: 40 (75%)
Mine: 13 (25%)

ARC: 5
Re-Read: 4
Series: 12
Group Read: 0

jul 11, 10:23 am

Happy new one, Jim!

jul 11, 10:29 am

Happy New Thread!!

jul 11, 10:40 am

Thanks, Katie and Harold!

jul 11, 10:49 am

Update Time!

54. The Cloisters by Katy Hayes

Neo-Gothic set in the NYC museum, following an intern in Renaissance art and history looking for a special tarot deck that could make her career. So what would you do to get what you want? What would you do to hide your past?

55. The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox

Must be my month for Gothic-ish books! Fantasy, but with a strong Gothic element. And an awesome, and perhaps evil, library!

56. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

Reread, but after a looong time. It's been a great revisit with Earthsea, will start the third soon.

I loved this one for the change in perspective, where Ged shows up halfway through, and isn't the focus. More proof that Le Guin is master at her craft.

jul 11, 11:27 am

Happy new thread, Jim.

jul 11, 11:58 am

Thanks, Arlie!

jul 11, 12:44 pm

Happy new one, Jim!

jul 11, 2:03 pm

Happy new one!

The Last Heir looks like an interesting one!

jul 11, 2:05 pm

Happy New Thread, Jim. Trying any good bourbons lately. Just finished my bottle of 1792 Small Batch. Pretty good sipper, especially for the price.

jul 11, 2:13 pm

>12 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley!

>13 figsfromthistle: It was a fun one, Anita. Hope you decide to give it a try!

>14 msf59: Hiyah, Mark! My latest was a dark rum from a distillery over on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It was a good sipper too. 1792 is definitely a good one!

jul 11, 2:26 pm

Happy new one, Jim!! Wishing you lots more great reading in 2023.

jul 11, 2:28 pm

>9 drneutron: flamingrabbit just started No.3 in the Earthsea series...I'll have to tell him to check your thread when you post about it. He's not a 75er, but he sneaks a peak when I tell him to.

jul 11, 4:51 pm

Happy new thread Jim!

I did enjoy The Wager, though I had to take breaks and none of those shipwrecked on the island came off well except in the absolute stunning fact of their survival and hardihood.

jul 11, 5:49 pm

Happy new thread!

jul 11, 7:53 pm

Happy new one, Jim. The Cloisters and The last Heir to Blackwood Library have both caught my eye.

jul 11, 8:26 pm

Happy new thread, Jim.

jul 11, 8:32 pm

>16 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks, Reba!

>17 laytonwoman3rd: Cool! Maybe we can convince him to join in. 😀

>18 quondame: Yep, fair assessment of the people. I really enjoy Grann’s telling of the story, though.

>19 Kristelh: Thanks, Kristel!

>20 BLBera: Great! I hope you enjoy them.

>21 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

jul 11, 9:48 pm

Happy new thread, Jim!

jul 12, 1:56 am

Happy New Thread, Jim!

jul 12, 8:15 am

Happy new thread, Jim - and the books look very good! Happy reading this month. 🙂

jul 12, 9:11 am

>23 atozgrl:, >34 drneutron: Thanks, Irene and Janet!

>25 PlatinumWarlock: Thanks, Lavinia! I seem to hav slowed down a bit with the reading - we're hosting a friend's wedding in September, which means I'm doing a *lot* of yard work... 😀

jul 12, 11:42 am

I loved The Tombs of Atuan as a teenager. Haven't read it for years.

jul 12, 12:54 pm

Never got around to the Earthsea books. I should fix that.

Happy new thread!

jul 12, 1:09 pm

Happy New thread, Jim!

Hit me with a BB for Blackwood Library. Evil library sounds right up my alley! What did you think of The Cloisters?

jul 12, 1:15 pm

>27 SandDune: Yeah, that was when I read them too. The reread's been fun!

>28 swynn: Yep, you should! Thanks, Steve.

>29 Storeetllr: I thought it was good - breezed right through it. Too many spoilers to talk about in detail, but I really liked the twist at the end

jul 12, 3:25 pm

Happy new thread, Jim!

>9 drneutron: I have read the Earthsea books in 2017 (first three books) and 2018 (next three books). I loved them so much that I bought my own copies to read again some day. Had not ever heard of them before I joined LT.

jul 12, 9:02 pm

Thanks, Anita! It’s definitely been fun revisiting them.

jul 13, 3:46 pm

Hi Jim, mate, a belated Happy New Thread.

jul 13, 4:01 pm

Hi, John! Thanks!

jul 13, 10:56 pm

Happy New Thread!

jul 13, 10:56 pm

jul 14, 8:32 am

Happy new thread - and a wonderful weekend, Jim!

jul 14, 12:58 pm

>35 SilverWolf28: Thanks, Silver! and thanks for setting up the readathons very week.

>37 SirThomas: Thanks, Thomas!

jul 17, 3:46 am

Happy new thread Jim. Looking through your reads I realized I've noted a lot of recs from you so far this year and that continues with your latest reads.

jul 17, 8:38 am

Great! I've been stealing a lot from others this year too. 😀

jul 17, 9:12 am

Hi Jim! I haven't read Earthsea since I wasmaybe in the 8th grade. I wonder how I'd like it now.

jul 17, 10:05 am

I was a bit older when I read it the first time. After this reread, I think think it's holding up well for me, but I suspect I'm enjoying it for different reasons.

jul 17, 4:20 pm

I'm going to reread EarthSea also.
Was not a fan for some reason when I read it in school. Might enjoy it more now.

jul 17, 4:26 pm

I hope so!

jul 17, 5:39 pm

>9 drneutron: I indulged in the all in one edition The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, but alas it's too heavy for my hands to hold comfortably. I do have separate editions of all the books, though not Kindle editions.

jul 17, 11:47 pm

>1 drneutron: Happy new thread!

Redigerat: jul 18, 3:49 am

Happy New 🧵! The Last Heir to Blackwood and Cloisters sound very good . I’ve been eyeing them .

jul 18, 7:25 am

>45 quondame: Oooo, illustrated! I'll have to check into that.

>46 ocgreg34: Thanks, Greg!

>47 vancouverdeb: I enjoyed both, probably a little bit more The Cloisters, but not much more. Will be looking to see your comments if you pick them up!

jul 18, 2:54 pm

>45 quondame: Same here, Susan - it's a lovely edition, but I wouldn't want to hold it up to read! Fortunately there are alternatives...

jul 18, 8:30 pm

I'll keep that in mind, Jim, that you found Cloisters the preferable book. If you are looking for more in the gothic department , I've read several that I loved, most particularly Weyward and The Ghost Woods: The perfect new 2022 gothic historical novel you… I can recommend more :-)

jul 18, 10:12 pm

>48 drneutron: And it was in collaboration with LeGuin!

jul 19, 9:41 am

>50 vancouverdeb: Those both look great! On to the TBR they go...

>51 quondame: Even better!

jul 20, 10:34 pm

jul 21, 8:32 am

Thanks, Silver!

jul 24, 9:05 am

Hi Jim... Busy in my household this summer and not a lot of reading happening. Or posting on Talk.

I should probably start a new thread soon and comment on the books I've reviewed on the main book pages. It's nice to read the 75er-Talk thread reviews, because often more candid commentary and feedback happens.

jul 24, 9:12 am

Hiyah, Sandy! It's been busy at out place too, so my posting is down a bit too. Fortunately, I'm still on track with reading!

If you start a new thread, I'll be there.

jul 24, 1:00 pm

Here's what we did this weekend...

So now to try out the new fire pit!

jul 24, 6:54 pm

>57 drneutron: Wow, that's an impressive architectural feature!

jul 24, 7:56 pm

It’s actually a kit from Home Depot. They deliver the bricks and the steel ring, you build it and glue the blocks together with construction adhesive. Wasn’t too hard, just heavy… and I was sore for two days. 😀

jul 25, 9:06 am

>59 drneutron: Can you grill yummy food on that? Looks pretty decent.

jul 25, 10:26 am

Redigerat: jul 25, 10:41 am

>60 SandyAMcPherson: Yeah, I plan to get a grill to fit on the top for grilling. Though mostly it's for sitting around in cool weather and sipping bourbon. ;)

>61 RebaRelishesReading: Thanks!

jul 25, 11:03 am

>62 drneutron: I like that plan (sitting around and drinking bourbon(.

jul 25, 2:08 pm

>62 drneutron: & >63 ArlieS: A fire pit and sipping bourbon sounds heavenly! Nice job, Jim!

jul 25, 7:21 pm

>63 ArlieS: 😀 You’re welcome to join us!

>64 PlatinumWarlock: As are you, Lavinia, next time you’re in the DC area! 😀

jul 26, 1:01 pm

>65 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! My aunts live in Silver Spring, just off the New Hampshire Ave exit, so I get there occasionally, and it doesn't look like Lisbon is very far away. :)

jul 26, 1:37 pm

How's the fire pit?

jul 26, 4:31 pm

>66 PlatinumWarlock: Very much not far away!

>67 The_Hibernator: Too hot to use... :) Hopefully we'll get a cooler night sometime soon so we can try it out!

jul 26, 9:58 pm

>57 drneutron: Fire pit looks great! Lots of great evenings left in the summer to enjoy it!

jul 26, 10:38 pm

Thanks! We’re gonna fire it up soon.

jul 27, 3:01 pm

Update Time!

57. Ancient Africa: A Global History, to 300 CE by Christopher Ehret

I'm on a binge of ancient history/archaeology/linguistics stuff these days - listening to a podcast with episodes on attempts to restore port-Indo-European and the origins of English, recently read a book on translation issues, now this one on ancient Africa. Ehret collates linguistics research with archaeology to present global processes in the few millennia BCE in various parts of Africa, things like the development of pottery, iron-working, long distance trade. Quite a good read, and a fair mild scolding for more Eurocentric work that ignores Africa and its influence on the world during this time period.

58. The Blacktongued Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Really fun, kind of dark, fantasy set in a well-realized world. It's essentially a D&D quest, but that's not a bad thing, and Buehlman's sense of humor is a major draw for me. This one's the start of a series - no idea how many books - but a relatively complete story. I'll be reading the rest.

59. Assyria: the Rise and Fall of the World's First Empire by Eckart Frahm

Second half of the current binge noted above, this time the Middle East and in a more narrowly focused timeframe. Plus, lots of documentation given how many cuneiform tablets have been found. Definitely some interesting history, though focussed on politics and kings rather than larger scale processes. Not sure I believe they were the first empire, though...

jul 27, 3:43 pm

>71 drneutron: listening to a podcast with episodes on attempts to restore port-Indo-European and the origins of English
Ooh, what podcast??

jul 27, 4:12 pm

The History of English Podcast by Kevin Stroud. The first 20 or so episodes discuss proto-Indo-European and how linguists are reconstructing it, how folks are using the linguistic work in conjunction with archaeology to understand these people, how they spread across Europe and Asia, and how they lived. From there he goes into the roots of English in both the Old Germanic languages and Latin.

He's a little dry on delivery, but quite informative. The early episodes are from 2013, so there has been some work done since then that he tries to capture in the episode web pages. Also pointed me to The Horse, the Wheel, and Language that was the source of some of his material.

jul 27, 5:31 pm

BB for your 58 - the other two look interesting but not right now. Also The Horse, The Wheel, and Language...which I may already have somewhere but haven't gotten around to.

jul 27, 6:14 pm

Cool! It was the first I’ve read in just a couple of sittings in a while. I hope you like it.

jul 27, 10:08 pm

jul 27, 10:25 pm

Thanks, Silver!

jul 27, 11:18 pm

>73 drneutron: Definitely adding that to my list, thanks!

jul 28, 3:50 am

Happy newish thread Jim!

Hmm; it may be time to re-read the second Earthsea book.

jul 28, 5:50 am

>73 drneutron: I love the History of English podcast! I got up to about 1200AD but then I got out of the habit when I stopped commuting.

jul 28, 10:37 am

>71 drneutron: Your book bullet has scored - specifically Ancient Africa: A Global History, to 300 CE

jul 28, 11:32 am

>71 drneutron: I really enjoyed Buehlman's Those Across the River as a great Halloween read, but I'm not sure this one would work for a non D&D player like me.

jul 28, 3:50 pm

>78 norabelle414: My pleasure!

>79 humouress: Yep!

>80 SandDune: I took a break too, then restarted recently. It's definitely a good one.

>81 ArlieS: Cool! I'll look for your thoughts on it.

>82 rosalita: Yeah, Those Across the River was a very good scary book. This one's a fantasy quest story - so there's a party with the fighter, mage, thief, and just feels like a D&D adventure without all the dice rolling.

jul 28, 4:19 pm

>71 drneutron:, >82 rosalita: Also a book bullet for me. Definitely looks interesting. Also, the book on Assyria looks interesting. I am a little over half done with Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization by Paul Kriwaczek and am enjoying it.

jul 28, 6:16 pm

Great! Swapped a BB… Babylon is now on the list…

jul 28, 8:12 pm

I'm late in visiting your "new" digs, but glad to see you've been reading some good books. And the fire pit looks great!

jul 29, 9:05 am


jul 29, 10:51 am

Wow - both the Ancient Africa and the Assyria books sound great. I will search them out.

jul 29, 7:13 pm

Great! I hope you like them.

jul 30, 6:53 am

Ooh - I forgot to mention; there's a chance I might be in DC (Maryland, really) next March.

jul 30, 11:28 am

Oooo, my turn to host!

jul 30, 8:07 pm

Nine mile bike ride, stop at the local creamery for fresh-made ice cream, then chili-lime shrimp nachos on the porch with G&Ts. Didn’t do too bad whipping this up on the spur of the moment!

jul 30, 9:56 pm

>92 drneutron: What an appetizing combination! Yum.

jul 31, 7:01 am

>92 drneutron: Wow, that looks amazing! Also, more details on the ice cream, please: what flavor?

Redigerat: jul 31, 7:06 am

Detta konto har stängts av för spammande.

jul 31, 8:37 am

>93 quondame: It was pretty good!

>94 scaifea: Dairy farm that makes fresh ice cream. I had chocolate w/chocolate chips and D had a scoop of almond joy and a scoop of pistachio.

jul 31, 7:58 pm

>92 drneutron: chili-lime shrimp nachos!! OMG, I wants that now.
>93 quondame: I agree! I never get that kind of food where we tend to eat when we're out. The pandemic seems to have hit our fave eateries and they're gone.

jul 31, 9:12 pm

>97 SandyAMcPherson: 😁

Sorry that your eateries are gone. 😒

aug 1, 8:02 am

aug 1, 8:49 am

>92 drneutron: Yum (though I don't eat seafood).

aug 1, 9:59 am

>99 scaifea: 😀 didn't last long.

>100 humouress: It's also really good with chicken!

aug 1, 6:20 pm

>71 drneutron: the book on Assyria looks interesting.

aug 3, 10:36 pm

aug 4, 7:48 am

Thanks, Silver!

aug 11, 12:58 pm

It's been a while, but I've done some reading, soooo.....

It's Update Time!

Murderland: a gripping serial killer thriller by Pamela Murray

No it wasn't - gripping, that is. Don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible book, just a rather average police procedural that made a nice diversion. And that's not a bad thing.

61. Sanctum by Sue Rovens

ER, so here's my review:

Rovens’ story of just how bad selling your house can go is a pretty mild-mannered horror. One would expect evil spirits breaking into our world would at least bring a chill up the spine, but not here. The characters were pretty cookie-cutter, without any growth, and in a couple of occasions just out and out stereotypes. So honestly, I’ll stick with Grady Hendrix.

62. Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Loved it! Of course, it helps that I'm of a certain age too, I suppose. Best example I can think of for Mamet's "Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance." Raybourn's set us up for a sequel, so yay!

aug 12, 9:33 am

Hi Jim, Simply drifting by talk threads lately. Not much to say that I haven't already belaboured on my own thread *smile*.
Only up to 71 books so far. What's been your most surprising read so far this year?

aug 12, 7:02 pm

>106 SandyAMcPherson: Hmmm… I think Jade Dragon Mountain. It was a surprise how much I enjoyed it!

aug 12, 8:32 pm

>107 drneutron: I added this Li Du mystery to my WL at the library. Looks rather different to other mysteries (I tend to favour British ones, and and sometimes others, like by American authors). The reviews make it very intriguing.

aug 13, 3:26 pm

>105 drneutron: Delighted to see you enjoyed the Raybourn. :)

aug 13, 6:22 pm

>108 SandyAMcPherson: Excellent!

>109 MickyFine: oh yeah! Now Mrsdrneutron is listening to the audiobook and enjoying it. 😀

aug 15, 2:59 am

>107 drneutron: Jade Dragon Mountain looks to be just my sort of thing...

aug 15, 8:48 am

Read it on the flight to Singapore earlier this year, was really enjoyable getting to read through in one go. I've got the second and third on the shelves at home, but can't seem to stop putting library books on reserve. :)

aug 15, 6:29 pm

>112 drneutron:
Or signing on for group read alongs on LT. They get in my way of reading what is on my shelves as much as does the library books thing.

aug 17, 2:22 pm

aug 17, 2:37 pm

Way to get some reading done! 😊 Hope your week is going well.

aug 17, 9:30 pm

So far so good!

aug 17, 10:07 pm

aug 18, 11:30 am

Thanks, Silver!

aug 18, 3:10 pm

Just popping in to say Hi!! Glad the reading has been decent lately. : )

>92 drneutron: Also, I want some!! Yum!

aug 18, 4:00 pm

>119 Berly: Glad to see you! I'll send some over... :)

aug 18, 4:19 pm

I have no hope at all of catching up, Jim, but I wanted to wish you a wonderful weekend!

aug 18, 8:05 pm

Thanks, Stasia! I hope yours is good too.

aug 22, 1:22 pm

Hi, Jim! Just passing through as one does when I got stopped short by a BB. Actually by two of them: Jade Dragon Mountain and Ancient Africa. Wasn’t Killers of a certain Age good!?! Have a great rest of the week!

aug 24, 9:15 am

Glad you found some of interest!

aug 24, 9:33 am

Update Time!

63. Haven by Emma Donoghue

An imagining of the start of a monastery on a remote Irish island in the 7th century. Also an interesting study in obsession, practicality, and how people relate. I'd read more of Donoghue's work.

64. Lady Mechanika, Volume 7: The Monster of the Ministry of Hell by Joe Benitez

Seventh in the Lady Mechanika series, this one fills in the backstory of Lady Mechanika. As usual, the artwork's fantastic and the story's gruesome. Steampunk/horror done well!

65. Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill

A respin of the Frankenstein story, McGill offers a completely different perspective on creators and their relation to their creations, and dives deep into a really interesting main character.

66. Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I'm a fan of Moreno=Garcia's work, loved her previous books. But this one, well, just took too long to get anywhere for me. It should have been my jam: Mexican film industry, Nazi occultist making movie magic, scary bits. But I didn't connect with the characters, and the pacing was off for me. Better luck with her next!

aug 24, 9:37 am

>125 drneutron: Have you read Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars, Jim? It's set in a Dublin maternity hospital during the 1918 influenza epidemic. I thought it was fantastic.

aug 24, 9:38 am

Nope, but looks like I need to add it to the TBR!

aug 24, 9:42 am

>127 drneutron: I'll look forward to seeing what you think of it when you get around to it!

aug 24, 10:10 am

The McGill sounds veddy interressting.

aug 24, 1:33 pm


aug 24, 8:53 pm

>125 drneutron: Oh dear, I've got that one on hold....

aug 24, 9:13 pm

>125 drneutron: What a wonderful update! I quite enjoy Donoghue's writing and so far has not disappointed.

aug 24, 10:35 pm

aug 25, 6:25 am

>125 drneutron: Put Our Hideous Progeny on my library wishlist!

aug 25, 8:10 am

Happy Friday, Jim. I am a big fan of Emma Donoghue, so Haven is already on the list. I highly recommend reading more of her work.

aug 25, 10:21 am

>131 quondame: If you mean Silver Nitrate, your mileage may vary. I'd still give it a try. Moreno-Garcia is a good writer and the connection with the reader also varies with the reader.

>132 figsfromthistle: Thanks! I enjoyed her work too.

>133 SilverWolf28: Thank, Silver!

>134 ursula: Great!

>135 msf59: The response has been overwhelming, so yeah, more of her work is high on the list.

aug 25, 10:39 am

Our Hideous Progeny sounds interesting. I will look for that one. I also loved Haven. My favorite Donoghue is Akin.

aug 25, 11:32 am

*sigh* another one to add to the list...


aug 25, 11:07 pm

>136 drneutron: Yes, Silver Nitrate is what's on hold.

aug 26, 6:41 pm

Hi Jim. Wow, nice firepit. Enjoy your barbeque and bourbon!

The only book I've read by Ursula Le Guin was The Dispossessed. I enjoyed it but haven't looked into her other books. Of course, I'm familiar with The Earthsea Series and may try the first one to see if it's for me.

I'm an Emma Donaghue fan. She has a new one that is still in processing at my local library. I'll probably wait awhile before I real it as I have a long list to read through first. So many books... Not a bad problem to have.

aug 27, 9:36 pm

>125 drneutron: Glad you enjoyed Haven! I haven't read it yet but I got it for my mom for Christmas and she liked it.

aug 28, 8:51 am

>140 Donna828: The new one may be Haven - I found it on the new book shelf.

>141 norabelle414: It was a good one - hope you get to it soon.

aug 30, 5:07 pm

I love your fire pit! I've been thinking about adding one to the overgrown wilderness that I call a backyard. I would probably be mostly enjoying it by myself, so I've wondered how much I would actually use it especially as it would be verboden during dry summer months. Hmmmm fire in fire pit, reading in the autumn evenings .... I may have to make this happen.

>112 drneutron: I've also been meaning to read the next two Li Du sequels since I enjoyed Jade Dragon Mountain on your recommendation. I thoroughly understand the problem with adding more books to the library hold - as well as trying to read more off my shelf.

Speaking of which, I added Our Hideous Progeny to the library hold list for October. Sounds like an October book to me .... maybe by the fire pit...

aug 30, 6:47 pm

Oh, fire pit in autumn is the best! We got ours as a kit from Home Depot. Delivered all the brick and the insert on a pallet, took me about 3 hours to lay the brick with construction adhesive. I had set the foundation pad the previous weekend.

HD has kits of various sizes and designs. Ours was one of the tallest, so I bought extra and cheap concrete blocks to make a raised floor to build the fire on. That way the flames are visible without having to build a big bonfire.

aug 31, 9:44 am

Thanks for the additional details for the fire pit. It's really cool (but not surprising) that you were able to do it yourself. I've never done concrete work so I know I'd have to find a handy man to help out.

aug 31, 10:25 pm

sep 1, 8:06 am

Thanks, Silver!

sep 1, 10:50 am

>125 drneutron: Adding Haven to the BlackHole. I enjoy Donoghue's work. Our Hideous Progeny is already in the BlackHole. Passing on the Silvia Morena-Garcia book and I still have not even read the first Lady Mechanika book, which I own based on your recommendation.

Have a wonderful weekend, Jim!

sep 2, 2:44 pm

Love the fire pit! Hope you enjoy many happy hours around it.

>126 rosalita: I'll second Julia's recommendation of The Pull of the Stars. I listened to it on audio, and thought it was fantastic.

sep 4, 8:38 am

Did a firepit night Friday night - then it got hot again… 😀 Fall’s coming, though, so we’ll enjoy it more soon.

Two recommendation? Good enough for me!

sep 4, 12:01 pm

>140 Donna828: Hi Jim. I read and liked Haven at the end of 2020. Donoghue released another new book on August 29 called Learned by Heart. She is a prolific author.

sep 4, 12:55 pm

I really enjoyed our Our Hideous Progeny earlier this year. I’ve been eyeing Learned by Heart too .

sep 4, 4:11 pm

>151 Donna828: Ah. Our library just got copies - was on the new book shelf. Definitely will be reading more!

>152 vancouverdeb: yeah, was definitely good!

sep 7, 9:56 pm

sep 11, 8:22 am

A fly by hello Doc Roc as I compile the updated reading stats.

sep 11, 1:20 pm

Hiyah, Paul!

sep 12, 5:16 pm

Update Time! You may sense a theme in this batch of reading...

67. The Exorcist Legacy: 50 Years of Fear by Nat Segaloff

Yep, 50 years since The Exorcist...

Segaloff's book is a nice look at Blatty, his novel, the movie, the sequels to the novel, the sequels to the movie... and a fun look it is. Inside scoops, snarky reviewers' comments, all sorts of fun.

The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost by Peter Manseau

William Mumler, an amateur photographer in Boston during the day sf daguerrotypes, suddenly found that spirits were showing up in portraits he took. Since this was the early days of Spiritualism, this caused quite the stir, to the point that he captured a picture of Abe Lincoln in his portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln. Or did he? 'Cause at one point, he was put on trial for fraud.

Manseau's book is a middling narrative nonfiction look at Mumler and the early history of photography in the context of the Civil War and Spiritualism. Some interesting stuff there, but it suffers from not enough meat on the bone to hold the reader's attention. At the end I just felt like there could have been more.

69. Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shapes American Democracy by Colin Dickey

Purports to be a history of how fear of secret societies has driven politics in America since, well, before we even became a country. Is really a somewhat recycled recounting of secret societies and conspiracies and rather more tenuous connections to political parties. Once again, there's potential for more here, but this wasn't it.

70. The Puzzle Master by Danielle Trussoni

Once again, what could have been a great concept just turned out to be mediocre. The mystery wasn't, the thrills weren't, and the theology was just too out there. And surprisingly, done before. Yeah, those things seem incompatible, but if you read it, you'll see what I mean. Not that I recommend you read it...

sep 14, 10:50 pm

sep 15, 9:01 am

Thanks, Silver!

sep 15, 3:06 pm

Just making rounds to catch up!

sep 15, 4:27 pm

Glad you dropped by!

sep 17, 11:37 pm

I remember reading The Exorcist while in high school. It scared the crap out of me. :)

sep 18, 12:53 am

Hmm , I think you are thinking it is October with your reads, Jim!

sep 18, 8:07 am

>162 BLBera: Yeah, me too!

>163 vancouverdeb: headed that way… I always look forward to the scary-reads month. 😀

sep 19, 8:13 pm

>163 vancouverdeb: Yeah, I thought that myself as well.

I've got enough scary rea-stuff to freak out over (hello permanent wild fires every summer ~ it doesn't rain hardly enough anymore).
So I want comfort reading.

And our row of spruce trees are in deep trouble, 'cause no one can "water" a tree after it's mature and these trees are about 80-some feet tall.

Sorry about that TMI thing. Glad you are finding satisfying books to scare yourself to sleep at night, Jim.

sep 20, 7:43 am

>165 SandyAMcPherson: Yep, the real world is scary these days. No need to be sorry.

sep 20, 10:18 am

>157 drneutron: Too bad about the recent reads, Jim. I hope you get to something worthwhile soon!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

sep 20, 1:58 pm

Sorry about your recent reads. I've had a run of Pearl rules lately, so I get it.

sep 20, 2:56 pm

>167 alcottacre:, >168 The_Hibernator: Fortunately, I found Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes. It's really funny and is holding my attention unlike the last few! And yeah, Rupert Holmes is the one who wrote/sang that Pina colada song.

sep 20, 8:44 pm

Hmmm, the one on the Exorcist is decidedly not my thing, and I think I can safely skip the rest of what you've been reading lately. Hope you continue to like your current read!

sep 21, 9:03 am

So far so good!

sep 21, 10:23 pm

sep 22, 8:39 am

Thanks, Silver!

sep 22, 11:57 am

>169 drneutron: I got excited when I saw my local library has Murder Your Employer - until I discovered that it has been overdue since early May. *sigh*

Have a fantastic Friday, Jim!

sep 22, 12:02 pm

>174 alcottacre: Last person to check it out is in jail, and cannot return the book!

sep 22, 10:01 pm

>169 drneutron: Ah! Jim, I added Murder Your Employer to our public library collection when it was published, but I didn't make the connection that it was the Rupert Holms who sang the song.

I've got to read that one.

I liked The Apparitionists a bit more than you did. I do agree it could be more engaging.

sep 24, 4:19 pm

>174 alcottacre: Rats! I hope you can find it.

>175 laytonwoman3rd: 😀

>176 tymfos: I’ve really been enjoying it Murder Your Employer. Holmes has written several more - gonna have to check them out.

sep 25, 12:42 am

I am waiting to hear about the package being delivered in the utah desert. Of course, I realize that it will be several years from now, and I am fully aware that the wheels of academe grind slowly, but I still wait with a sense of anticipation.

sep 25, 7:36 am

Yep! I know a couple of people who will get samples and it's interesting to see how carefully and deliberately they're moving on this work. Most interesting part for me is that about 3/4 of the returned material will be stored for future research. In fact some Apollo moon samples were just recently opened for more detailed analysis than was possible back in the 60s and 70s.

sep 25, 8:39 am

>178 benitastrnad: I heard an interview on BBC World Service today; apparently it will take a month to open it in a clean room but first they'll analyse a speck of dust from the outside. They were hoping to get 60g worth of material but managed to scoop up quite a bit more - hence even more than they were anticipating will be left over for future research.

Redigerat: sep 25, 12:43 pm

>180 humouress:
That BBC did several pieces on it, and I only heard it mentioned once on NPR. That is part of the reason why I love the BBC. All those programs that are focused on science, social science, history, art, etc. etc. from all over the world. It is a much more cosmopolitan than our news media.

sep 25, 1:45 pm

>181 benitastrnad: I heard it as I was driving on my way out. (On the way back, I had my 14 year old in the car so we listened to his music instead.) I love that they're all so excited (and I completely understand why) about what, to the uninitiated, would probably look like a heap of dirt and gravel.

sep 25, 9:02 pm

I checked out some of the BBC stories on line. Good repr=orting!

sep 26, 12:38 am

They do that with archaeology sites, too - dig up this area and deliberately leave that area undug because the science will (almost certainly) get better and someone digging in ten or twenty or fifty years will get a lot more from the site than we can now. They started because of some sites where that happened accidentally - funds ran out or whatever - and when they got back to the site they found things that could not have been determined with the best tools available to the original dig.

I'm very pleased to hear they're doing this - and have been doing this - with extraterrestrial samples!

sep 27, 1:31 pm

I've heard that about archaeological sites. NASA actually has some archaeologist and historian advisors that help them with best practices for preserving artifacts, collected samples, etc. Nice that they're thinking ahead...

sep 27, 1:46 pm

Update Time!

71. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Very meta, put-of-the-box mystery starring a very messed up family. What's not to love about a family where everyone has indeed killed someone trapped in a ski lodge at the top of an Australian mountain with a big bag of cash and a mysterious dead body? And what's not to enjoy about Stevenson keeping and breaking - and telling you about it - every one of Knox's rules for Golden Age detective stories? Enjoyed it, snapped me out of a series of meh reads.

72. Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide by Rupert Holmes

McMasters is a school for aspiring deletists - not murderers, we don't use that term at McMasters! You know, Hogwarts for people who need to take out a blight on humanity. And each of our three students is out to do just as it says, murder their employers!

This has to be one of the funniest books I've read in years. It's poking fun at Harry Potter, it's devastatingly smart humor, the revenge fantasies of all of us powerless people - with a helping of moral justification! You *have* to read it, even if it's just to see how well Rupert Holmes can write books as opposed to songs.

sep 27, 4:10 pm

>186 drneutron: Two BBs in one swell foop! Well done!

sep 27, 4:21 pm

>175 laytonwoman3rd: That totally explains it!

>186 drneutron: I know you are not going to believe this, but my local library shows that it owns the Stevenson book, but it has been overdue since May. I wonder if it is the same person in both instances!

sep 27, 5:18 pm

>186 drneutron: I find the direction of your reading troubling. Thankfully, I'm not your employer ;0)

>188 alcottacre: The same person with a good taste in books?

sep 27, 6:39 pm

>187 Storeetllr: Sorrynotsorry!

>188 alcottacre: 😀 Oh, that’s rich!

>189 humouress: Well. I am in the run up to retirement… 😀

sep 27, 6:44 pm

Happy Wednesday, Jim. If you are looking for a new GN series, give The Killer a try. I really liked it and Joe is currently hooked on it. There is also a very promising film adaptation coming out soon too. Just sayin'...

sep 27, 7:02 pm

Oh, that looks great! Not on Hoopla, Overdrive or at the library, so looks like a trip to the local comic store is in order, darn it!

sep 27, 8:59 pm

Hmmmm...it should be in your library system. Good luck.

sep 28, 12:18 am

The local news tonight had a story about a fireball that was seen in several states here in the Southeast. however, no explanation about it. Was it a meteor fireball? or some space junk?

sep 28, 9:13 am

>193 msf59: Did a quick catalog search last night - need to poke more. Hoopla has what looks like another series along the same lines, maybe a follow on?

>194 benitastrnad: Likeliest it was a meteor. Typically when space junk re-enters, there are several pieces in close orbit, so you see several parallel streaks. It's also pretty uncommon for junk to be big enough to be visible over several states - not uncommon, but would have been reported as such.

sep 28, 11:09 am

>187 Storeetllr: I’ll find a copy of Murder Your Employer! Looks fun!

Karen O

sep 28, 11:20 am

>191 msf59: I found only one volume (and it’s a big one!) of The Killer at my library—it’s entitled, The Complete The Killer. I requested it.

Karen O

P.s. Hi, Jim!

sep 28, 11:54 am

It seems that the asteroid packet has captured lots of attention. There was another story on NPR about it this morning.

By-the-way, I found a copy of The Whole Shebang at my local Friends of the Library used bookstore this last week. I read his book Seeing in the Dark and really enjoyed that one. As an added bonus The Whole Shebang was $2.00.

sep 28, 3:29 pm

>186 drneutron: That sounds really good. I'll suggest it at my next book club.

sep 28, 4:30 pm

Dropping in to find that like me, you also believe it's October and are reading accordingly! Hooray!

sep 28, 10:10 pm

sep 29, 9:49 am

>196 klobrien2: It was!

>197 klobrien2: Hi, Karen! Glad you found it. That's the omnibus volume, so should have the whole series.

>198 benitastrnad: Oh, cool! Those look pretty good.

>199 The_Hibernator: Great!

>200 mstrust: Yup. And it'll probably go into November... 😀

>201 SilverWolf28: Thanks, Silver!

okt 2, 4:46 pm

Hello Jim, NASA has a new British recruit, a young man who i have known since he was nine years old when i was a volunteer at Altofts Junior School. I listened to Children read and Luke was one of them. He has since progressed through High School and then University. He did a PHD in Plant and Soil Science and is now a NPP Fellow at Kennedy Space Center. I am very proud of this young man, i got on very well with his mum and his sister and they have since left for a new adventure in The Lake District.

okt 2, 5:17 pm

Cool! I’ll contact you next time I head there to see if I can make a connection with him.

okt 2, 8:20 pm

My best friend's son was also recently hired by NASA! VSI Deputy Requirements Lead. I have no idea what that means but he is over the moon about it (no pun intended). He and his family live in Houston.

okt 2, 8:46 pm

I know what it means - we have requirements leads on our missions too. Looks like he’ll be working on Lunar Gateway. Nice!

okt 2, 9:58 pm

Fun stuff here ~ I'll be skipping the scary re-reads, though.
The discussion about leaving asteroid material for eventual analysis decades later is a new concept to me. Same with the archaeology sites.

Mind you, I also know a great deal of work (from 50 to 100 years ago) in my field is being repeated. New technology makes the analyses so much more accurate and corrects a lot of mistaken interpretations made in the early 20th century (this is a phytochemistry field to which I refer, a very ancient body of knowledge).

Read on... I look forward to the reviews despite my steering clear of the book(s) myself.

okt 3, 10:04 am

>207 SandyAMcPherson:

No worries - I'll leave good comments so you can see what you're missing, scary book wise. :)

okt 3, 4:19 pm

>204 drneutron:, Thanks Jim.

okt 5, 10:08 pm

okt 6, 12:24 am

Just stopping in to see what scary reads you have going on for Deathtober, Jim. I've just started The Bee Sting , which is 650 pages, and then I have another book to read for a Library run Book club- not a scary book, so I'll have to see what I can fit in and find that suits me.

Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide sounds like fun.

okt 6, 9:31 am

>210 SilverWolf28: Thanks, Silver!

>211 vancouverdeb: I've actually been working through G-Man, a biography of J. Edgar Hoover. Which is scary, but not the way my usual October reads go. I've got How to Sell a Haunted House that I've been holding on to since Christmas that's probably next. Plus, I'm about to dig into Overdrive's selections for something appropriate for the season.

okt 7, 6:21 pm

#72 looks like just the perfect read for October. I shall have to see if the library has a copy. I have been watching a series on TVO where Chris Hadfield with the help of Dr. Fong and Dr Whiteley put various candidates through their paces for a chance to apply to the UK space agency. It is quite interesting.

okt 7, 8:14 pm

Great! I hope you get your hands on it!

okt 9, 12:27 pm

>186 drneutron: In the closing stretch of How to Murder Your Employer and have to say I’m absolutely loving it! Thanks for the recommendation!

okt 9, 2:02 pm


okt 12, 3:45 pm

>215 Storeetllr: Sadly not available in our PL system. Nice to the high regard for the story, though.

okt 12, 10:19 pm

okt 13, 8:51 am

>217 SandyAMcPherson: Aw, that's a shame!

>218 SilverWolf28: Thanks, Silver!

okt 13, 12:12 pm

Happy Friday the 13th. Stay lucky.

okt 14, 2:41 pm

Thanks! It was a decent day after all!

okt 16, 9:57 am

Hi Jim,
I have an unwelcome message in my LT inbox, soliciting me to provide a review. I have no idea where the link in the message *really* goes... (I deleted it), but copied the message to ask you, is this a situation to notify the LT programming poohbahs?

Here is what I saw:
Hello, my name is Dennis and I would humbly want to ask for a review for my book. Reviews on platforms such as Amazon kindle , library thing, kobo writing life and Goodreads are welcomed. Negative reviews are accepted too. . This is a link to the book https://www.amazon.com/HELLO-NEIGHBOUR-Dennis-Amankwah-Sir-ebook/dp/B09CGYJQVZ?r.... (/quote)

The link was truncated as shown.

okt 16, 12:22 pm

Yeah, definitely wouldn't click the link. Probably legit, but his request is definitely a violation of the LT terms of service and will get him booted. Did you report it to the admins?

okt 16, 9:06 pm

>223 drneutron: Hi Jim,
After you hinted to report it to the admins (thanks), I PM'd a message to Abigail Adams. That was apparently the right thing to do and she said she'd take care of this issue.

okt 17, 10:40 am

Great! They're usually pretty good about these things

Redigerat: okt 17, 8:31 pm

>186 drneutron: My WANT!! List™ shrank by three titles (imperceptibly, in other words) on Saturday. Now I've added the two titles in this post. Well...uh...Thanks! Both sound great.

okt 17, 9:30 pm

Heh. Not sorry… 😀

okt 19, 3:13 pm

New thread! Come join me! Plus, 75!
Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Jim's (drneutron's) 2023 Reading, Chapter 5