FF: The Shift Has Happened

Roary Has Reached A Year Old

As this week ends, I have made the shift to non-fiction, pretty much entirely.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, 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.  And it’s also a great place to tell me what you’re reading. 

Recently Completed:

The Renaissance by Will Durant.  Audiobook.  Moving into the end of the Italian Renaissance.  A balanced look at how many of the wonders (both of art and of thought) we remember were purchased in a fashion that led to the fall.  Some of Durant’s terminology is dated (he genders qualities as “male” and “female” for example), but if you can get around that, there’s a lot to enjoy.

Flashman and the Mountain of Light by George MacDonald Fraser.  Victorian imperialism told from the point of view of an anti-hero.  Not PC.  Great prose, and liberally footnoted both in text and with appendices.  I enjoy Flashman, but he’s not to everyone’s taste.

In Progress:

The Age of Faith by Will DurantAudiobook.  I was about half-way through this one before I decided I need a break from the history of an age often termed “Dark.”  I’m giving it another try.  Looking at some of the smaller Balkan realms.

The Irregulars by Jennet ConantI read reviews of this when it came out, then promptly forgot it until one of my sisters mentioned reading it.  A look at, as the subtitle says “Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington.”


A variety of scattered magazine articles, from scattered sources.


10 Responses to “FF: The Shift Has Happened”

  1. janelindskold Says:

    Sorry this was late. Glitch w/the site. But here it is, w/Roary cute as ever.

  2. James Mendur Says:

    Finished the books I had mentioned before.

    Began and finished “Against Time” by Dean Wesley Smith, first book in his Seeders Universe series. Interesting concept but not thrilled by the execution.

    Re-reading “Lord of Light” by Roger Zelazny. There was a book discussion group about it that I had meant to attend via Zoom last Monday but I was back in the E.R. and missed it. But it still made me want to re-read the book.

    Up next? No idea. Probably some short story collections so I can sample some new authors and see who’s writing in a style that I like.

    • janelindskold Says:

      How’re you feeling? And I hope Lord of Light holds up for you. Re-reads, especially over time, can be problematic.

      • James Mendur Says:

        I feel fine again. It’s just gonna be a long haul to get well. (And I whine too much.)

        I’m about halfway through. I’m well aware of the book’s limitations but, even with the ongoing social changes in society, it holds up rather well. One trans character is not depicted well, and it’s very male-oriented, but so was the culture it’s based on and it manages to avoid cultural appropriation by lampshading it; once you know that, the rest falls into place. We’ll see how the ending goes.

      • janelindskold Says:

        You do not whine. Reporting unexpected medical crisis is NOT whining. I’ve thought a lot about that trans character. It’s very minor, and Sam’s comment is clearly meant to give him a data point to confirm which of his past adversaries Brahma might be. While Roger himself was definitely a man of his generation (see my chapter on his female characters in the bio I wrote on his work; while he was alive), he was also very capable of growing and changing. I think that if he were with us today, we’d have seen a shift in his focus. It was already happening w/female characters.

  3. Beverly Martin Says:

    I read Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch. I enjoyed these stories. Some secondary characters got to tell their tales. And the length of each was perfect for pre-bed reading.

    • janelindskold Says:

      I keep hearing good things about this series from people (like you) whose opinion I respect and Charles de Lint. Hmmm I think Alan Robson, too. Time to check again if our library has them so I can audition them. (My usual practice before buying a new to me author.) Thanks for the reminder.

      • Beverly Martin Says:

        I think Alan Robson introduced them to me. Give the first one a try!

      • James Mendur Says:

        If it helps, here’s what I wrote about them a few years ago on one of these Friiday Fragments:
        James Mendur Says:
        April 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Reply
        Currently reading:
        The Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch
        Peter Grant is a police constable in modern London. He’s also the newest apprentice to the only wizard working for the Metropolitan Police. There are a number of continuing story arcs, so they are best read in order, beginning with Midnight Riot (US edition title). I’m on book 3 so far.
        Note: It’s helpful to have a map of London (and Great Britain in general) open in front of you in some parts. When you don’t know the city, the story is almost like a high fantasy where maps become very useful because the author knows where everything is and you don’t. Also, British English is different enough that having a British dictionary open can help, too. For example:
        > “And give her some flannel until I can get there.”
        > “Yeah, well, I’m good at flannel,” I said.
        > “So l’ve heard,” said Kittredge, and hung up.
        Flannel is BritSpeak for pointless but plausible lies; b.s.

      • janelindskold Says:

        Thanks! I’ve checked. Library has. Will be trying soon!

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