Archive for the ‘Friday Fragments’ Category

FF: Delving Into The TBR

April 3, 2020

Persephone Reaches For A Good Book

At Christmas I was given two very different books about David Bowie.  I put them aside for when I’d need a distraction and this week decided there would never be a better time.

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.

What’s in  your TBR pile that’s getting air now?

Recently Completed:

Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions by Henry Lien.  Second book in the series.  Unlike many series featuring a talented over-achiever as a protagonist, this one looks squarely how being better than just about everyone can make that person difficult to deal with. While at times Peasprout verges on unlikeable, I didn’t give up on her.

In Progress:

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.  Audiobook.  Despite being weighed down by the need for a good edit (repetition and redundancy in particular plague this), there are moments that remind me why I’ve read this entire series.

David Bowie: A Photographic Memoir Through the Lens of Terry O’Neill.  Mostly photos, spiced with reprints of text from interviews that O’Neill provided the visual images for and some pithy quotes by O’Neill.

David Bowie: The Oral History compiled by Dylan Jones.  An ambitious project, looking at David Bowie’s life through snippets from interviews with friends and family from childhood on.  Of interest is an afterword featuring material from Bowie’s cousin debunking the well-released theme that Bowie was haunted by the specter of familiar insanity. By contrast with the other, no photos other than those on the cover.

Also:

Dipping into short fiction…

FF: C is for Comfort

March 27, 2020

Persephone Loves Comfort

This last week the unfolding news wasn’t exactly tranquil.  Like many people, I turned to old favorites for some of my reading time.  However, I also finished reading for the shorter categories for the Nebula awards.  This year, I was particularly impressed by the novella category.  As the week has rolled on, I’ve moved to two books that are new to me.

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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

When in Rome by Ngaio Marsh.  Audiobook.

In Progress:

Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions by Henry Lien.

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton.  Audiobook.  I put off finishing this series, because we’ll never get to Z.

Also:

And research.

FF: An Illusion

March 20, 2020

Mei-Ling Bravely On Top of Her House

This week the FF will look as if I’m not reading, but that isn’t true.  I’m just reading a lot of works so I can vote responsibly for the Nebula awards.  I don’t list these because if I don’t like something enough to finish it, I don’t want to need to say so.

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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

In Progress:

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

Also:

And research.

FF: Reading As A Job

March 13, 2020

Persephone Contemplates Conspiracy

Right now some of my reading time is being given to getting the final versions of Wolf’s Soul done.  After doing a lot of close focus on the manuscript, I am very fried.

When I cease being fried, I am also reading so I can responsibly vote for the Nebula Award.  Changes in the rules some years back mean that we now have one month from the final ballot to the final voting day to read a huge amount of material.

I didn’t cram this much even in grad school.  Seriously.  I’d get the reading list for my novel-centered courses in advance and read during term breaks.  And, no, it’s not possible to predict what will make the final ballot and read in advance.

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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Marque of Caine by Charles E. Gannon.  Not just a Nebula TBR for me.  I’ve known Chuck since I was nineteen or twenty.

The Big Four by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  An over-the-top pulp adventure, quite unlike her more usual Poroit.  Closer to the type of story she’d usually do with Tommy and Tuppence.

In Progress:

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  Because!

Also:

Reading a lot of short fiction before voting for the Nebula Award.  I won’t be itemizing my Nebula reads most of the time because with the short reading time, if I don’t have a reason to finish something, I won’t.

And research.

FF: Mystery and Adventure

March 6, 2020

Kwahe’e and Poirot

With the new editions of the “Breaking the Wall” ebooks done and my tax stuff completed, I moved to reviewing the copy edited manuscript of Wolf’s Soul, also known as Firekeeper 8, the direct sequel to last summer’s Wolf’s Search.  Such is the glamorous life of a writer.

Listening to my long-time favorite, Agatha Christie, I had an idea for a murder mystery…

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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

The Hollow by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.

In Progress:

Marque of Caine by Charles E. Gannon.  Quite long.  Still plowing through.

The Big Four by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  An over-the-top pulp adventure, quite unlike her more usual Poirot.  Closer to the type of story she’d usually do with Tommy and Tuppence.

Also:

Back to research reading for my next project: the fourth Star Kingdom novel, in collaboration with David Weber.

FF: Like Windblown Leaves

February 21, 2020

Persephone About to Make Her Mark

I’m still coming down from getting the new “Breaking the Wall” e-books out.  If you missed my WW post, I hope you’ll take a look.  They’re a lot of fun and now you can get the entire series for less than the price of one novel.  Even better, I think you’ll like them!

For those of you new to 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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones.  A fun romp.

Stiff by Mary Roach.  Audiobook.  Enjoyable.  Made me think a lot about medical donation of cadavers.

In Progress:

Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon).  Set in the same world as her “Clocktaur Wars” (which despite the title aren’t steampunk, more sword and sorcery) and Swordheart.  So far, enjoyable.

Double Sin and Other Stories by Agatha Christie.  So far two Poriot, one Miss Marple.  I’m familiar with these, but still enjoying.

Also:

Some research reading.  Right now.  Poisons.  I may need a good source on hallucinogens, too.

FF: Sweet Reads

February 14, 2020

Mei-Ling Offers You Her Heart

It’s Valentine’s Day, so here’s a cute kitten for you…

For those of you new to 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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Me: The Official Autobiography of Elton John.  Audiobook.  Read in part by Elton John, but not the majority.  Quite enjoyable window into long career and the changing world in which it has taken place.

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick.  For those who asked, it’s very different from the Lightspeed short story that inspired it.

In Progress:

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones.  Just started.

Stiff by Mary Roach.  Audiobook.  Just started.

Also:

Still looking at kumihimo beading articles.  I think I’m feeling bold enough to try something longer or more complex.

Mei-Ling Eats Her Heart

FF: Rocketing!

February 7, 2020

Mei-Ling Contemplates Secrets

This week I’m starting a bunch of new titles.  I’ve also been reading some shorter stuff, including more kumihimo beading articles.

For those of you new to 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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Gulp by Mary Roach. Audiobook. Non-fiction look at the digestive system, starting with the sense of smell (because odor/aroma is closely tied to eating) and ambling on through areas almost tangential to the topic but nonetheless fascinating.  The book ended with material on the various new (then) treatments for digestive disorders.  Fascinating!

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones.  Re-read.  Humor conceals a deceptively complex plot.  Mild warning.  Both narrators start out grumpy.  They get better.  And this book contains an affectionate look at SF cons, rather than the more usual snark.  Enjoyable, I would think both for those of us who know them well, and for those who have never attended.

In Progress:

Me: The Official Autobiography of Elton John.  Audiobook.  Read in part by Elton John, but not the majority.  Quite enjoyable thus far.

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick.  Just started.

Also:

Reading and re-reading parts of the “Breaking the Wall” novels.  The new e-books are almost ready!

FF: Beneath the Surface

January 31, 2020

Mei-Ling Likes This Book About Fancy String

Some of my favorite non-fiction takes you behind the scenes, beyond the basic assumptions we bring to topic.  I’m certainly getting a solid dose of that this week!

For those of you new to 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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Why Do Cats Sulk? by Arline Bleeker.  A light-hearted look at our assumptions about cats.  It’s strongest when the author is sticking to biology.  Some of her later material gets distinctly wobbly.  Nonetheless, a fun book.

“The Demons of Wall Street” by Laurence Raphael Brothers.  Novella.  Noir detective meets urban fantasy.  Very strong world building and a plot that forces the main character to think a lot about her assumptions.  Even the almost too good to be true romance couldn’t toss me out.  Available in March.

Kumihimo: Basics and Beyond by Rebecca Ann Combs.  I don’t usually mentioned craft books, but I wanted to give a nod to the author.  Not only has she written a fine book, she promptly answered a question I sent her when she didn’t cover a hoped-for-point.

In Progress:

Gulp by Mary Roach.  Non-fiction look at the digestive system, starting with the sense of smell (because odor/aroma is closely tied to eating) and ambling on through areas almost tangential to the topic but nonetheless fascinating.  There was an amusing section on why it’s so hard to get diners in the United States to eat organ meats.   We’re currently on saliva.

The Age of Faith by Will Durant.  Part Four of “The Story of Civilization.”  Audiobook.  I’ve finished Islam and put this aside for now while I let all the complex material soak in.

Also:

One of this week’s projects has been writing new cover blurbs for the three “Breaking the Wall” novels in anticipation of the new e-books that should come out sometime in February.  I went to re-read the opening of Thirteen Orphans and found myself completely sucked in.  A very odd, very satisfactory experience.

FF: Word of Mouth

January 24, 2020

Persephone Considers The Lore

This week I’ve been thinking about how word of mouth really is the best publicity.  One of the novels I just finished—and enjoyed— never would have made my reading shelf without it.  This week, my reading is heavy on fragments here and there for research, catching up on magazines, so the list is sparse.

For those of you new to 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 I really enjoy hearing about what you’re reading!

Recently Completed:

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.  Strong characters kept this from being boringly predictable and instead made it a good and gripping read.  It’s also a great example of why you readers of the FF can influence my choices.  I first heard of it here.  Then, when Alan Robson mentioned it in his “wot I red on my hols” column, I decided to try it.

In Progress:

Why Do Cats Sulk? by Arline Bleeker.  A light-hearted look at our assumptions about cats, supported by lots of solid research into felines domestic and not.  (In case you wonder, cat’s don’t sulk.  That’s a human assumption!)

The Age of Faith by Will Durant.  Part Four of “The Story of Civilization.”  Audiobook.  Great moment this week was when Jim learned about the origin of assassins.

Also:

Catching up.  Researching.