FF: Shifting Priorities

Ogapoge Considers Alternate Routes

We’re definitely shifting to autumn, here.  Since no one is advertising “Autumn Reads,” I guess I need to figure out what works on my own.

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Do you have any reads that go well with pumpkin spice?

Recently Completed:

The Bone Reader by Mab Morris.  A murder mystery combined with court intrigue, featuring a fortune teller who doesn’t believe her own prophesies.  I enjoyed but, honest assessment, the writing is not as strong as in the other books by this author I’ve read.  Still, I’d give it a thumbs up for people who like this type of story.

In Progress:

Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey.  Audiobook.  I’ll be honest.  I miss the elements of alien intelligences and artifacts.  That’s part of what made this series special to me.  If I want to read about war and the moral and ethical elements that arise, I’ll read history.  Not bad.  Just not the stretch of the mind that I read SF for.  However, I’m  not done and don’t plan to quit.

Alternate Routes by Tim Powers.  Baen Books edition of a novel that apparently had a small press release first from Charnel House.  Three cheers to Baen for making this more widely available.  I’m just getting into it and it has the usual Powers weirdness.


I’ve been deciphering the instructions for a new craft project that was one of my recent birthday gifts.  Feels as if it’s exercising my brain in all the right ways to make me a better writer.  Weird how that works!

10 Responses to “FF: Shifting Priorities”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    My TBR list pairs well with any seasonal offering. This week I finished Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey. It had a touch more alien elements than Babylon. I found it to be an exciting story.

    I am about to finish Circe by Madeline Miller. It is ok, but kind of like reading a newspaper story.

    And I am reading Brother to Dragons and Companion to Owls by Jane Lindskold, in case somebody doesn’t know. I am really enjoying it. You do an excellent job bringing characters to life! I can’t imagine the creativity it took to find appropriate quotations!

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks for the update on Persepolis Rising. I’m invested in this series, but I’m finding Babylon — I’m about a third in — repetitive and dull. This even with the death of a major character I like. I don’t want to give up.

      I’m glad the oddities in BROTHER TO DRAGONS, COMPANION TO OWLS are a positive, rather than off-putting. The quotes were more fun than not, and I did avail myself of some compendiums. However, I always limited myself by what I felt Sarah could have encountered in an appropriate context.

  2. John C Says:

    I’ve just finished Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? It is, at least for me, a striking reminder of the importance of old, inefficient, and unprofitable ways of looking at the world. As part of my rehabilitation, I’m starting up Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.

  3. the6thjm Says:

    Still reading “Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge,” three weeks later. I keep reading and re-reading other books in between chapters. That tells me something. Still, not willing to give up on this one yet. I’m waiting to see what the REAL plot of the book is, and hoping the book is not just: woman finds out certain cocktails give magic powers and learns how the bartender secret society works.

    Recently completed the third Vinyl Detective novel, “Victory Disc,” by Andrew Cartmel (who, among other things, was show runner for Doctor Who in the 1980s, at the end of its initial run, just when it was getting good again). I read these for the characters instead of the plot. They are very much in the vein of cozy mysteries, and each can stand alone, although they’re better in order. Take a guy who makes his living finding and selling rare vinyl albums (usually Jazz), and his love, who does something similar with couture clothing (apparently London has people dropping off valuable LPs and designer clothes in charity shops all the time), plus an assortment of their strange friends, and two cats. Then, someone hires him to find a very special album (or several of them) and when THAT happens, old secrets are uncovered and someone dies. Often, several someones. But the Vinyl Detective and his little band of oddballs eventually figure it all out. (Like I said, cozy mysteries.) Cartmel is almost done writing the 4th in the series, which should be out next year.

    Also read a tie-in novel, “The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase” by Greg Cox. I liked this better than his first one because the characters go off on their own and we get to see each of them shine on their own instead of always working together like a well-oiled machine with only superficial conflicts. Yes, I know “The Librarians” was a family show and they were written that way intentionally, but separating the group in the book (like the focused-on-one-character episodes) suddenly reveals their true personalities, which was very satisfying.

    Also, re-reading “Lord of Light” by Roger Zelazny. Again. And each time I re-read it, I pull something different out of it. It has that much depth.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks for the mention of the cozys. I like when they’re creative. Having bought a silk kimono once at a Good Will, all I can say i that it’s amazing what turns up.

      And I smiled at the mention of LORD OF LIGHT.

  4. Louis Robinson Says:

    Reads that go well with pumpkin spice? Aside from Joy of Cooking, not really. But then, I tend to notice seasons only in terms of where it’s comfortable to crack open the book. Portage and Main in January didn’t really lend itself to strolling along with my nose in the latest Andre Norton or James White. In July, OTOH, you could generally manage it.

    Currently reading, along with varied articles on arxiv and old Economists, The Persians. No, I’m not retrying the last one. This is another book of the same title, by Maria Brosius, in a series called Peoples of the Ancient World [by a different publisher, who must have seen that Blackwell was doing ok with their Peoples of… series]. In keeping with the theme, chapters on Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanian Iran, stopping with the Arab conquest, which is as good a marker as any for the transition from ancient to medieval Iran. It’s structured as a handbook, with concise presentations of the state of knowledge on each period, at least as of the date of writing. However, political history is only one concern, and not really the most important. Among other things, in the Achaemenid chapter, which i’m just finishing, she delves into not just what we can glean about adminisitrative practice from the accounting records that form the vast majority of the surviving texts, but what they tell us about the ordinary folks who received those payments.

    So far, not learning anything major I didn’t already know, but those tidbits are fascinating. Apparently, the women got maternity pay – extra rations – and the most highly paid worker in the Royal establishment, at one point in the reign of Darius I, was a woman. And from what she says about the evidence fro royal and noble women, on reason the Greeks found the Persians effeminate and decadent was probably the way said women wandered about the empire looking after their own affairs, instead of being properly locked away like in a civilised country.

  5. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    I completed the books in my TBR pile

    THE HISTORIAN by Elizabeth Kostova ~ This was a new take on Dracula/Vlad Tepes. It was a pretty good story. A lot of travel, different POV from the characters, the difficulties of travel in socialist eastern Europe… I enjoyed it.

    THE HUM AND THE SHIVER by Alex Bledsoe ~ In the mountains of Tennessee live a clannish group of people called the Tufa. They were there when the first Europeans arrived. It turns out the Tufa are Fae. This is the first of a series of stories and I really liked it. I’ve got the second on reserve at the library and after that I may need to look at used book stores. Once I start a series, I have to read it all. Most of the time anyway.

    FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS by Cherie Priest ~ an excellent story of ghosts and magic and finding family history. I liked the writing. It felt like the main character, Eden was talking to me and telling me her story.

    I don’t have a current TBR pile, which is beyond bizarre for me. I’ll have to look through my e-reader and see if there are books bought but not read yet.

  6. futurespastsite Says:

    Just started one of my rare re-reads, “The Power” (1956), first novel of Frank M. Robinson. We’re doing it in our library’s monthly books-made-into-movies club, where we read the book and then watch the movie (1968).

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