Archive for the ‘Friday Fragments’ Category

FF: Transformative Biology

May 19, 2017

Every so often I go on a serious non-fiction binge, for no reason other than my brain wants more raw material to play with.  This round seems to be biology – oh, and a bit of military history.

Who Said I’m Domesticated or Tame?

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut.  The first full-retelling of the fox domestication experiment.  Well-written and fascinating, accessible to a general audience without talking down to it.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.  Audiobook.  A childhood favorite read by one of my favorite audiobook readers, the late Fredrick Davidson aka David Case.

In Progress:

Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser.  Audiobook. Not by the author of The Princess and the Goblin. However, I came across this when looking to see if the library had the audio of The Princess and Curdie.  A look at the campaign in Burma during WWII, from the infantry, non-officer level – very intimate.  Also read by David Case.

Gardens of New Spain: How Mediterranean Plants and Foods Changed America by William W. Dunmire.  Jim gave me this for a gift.  Just started.

Also:

Almost done with my final proof of the e-book version of my twenty-some year-old novel When the Gods Are Silent.

FF: Old Favorites and New

May 12, 2017

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Persephone Reads!

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.

Recently Completed:

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. Hadn’t read for many years…  Astonished afresh by the creative use of language.   Probably couldn’t be written today when computers would make so many of the plot devices impossible, but good if read as a sort of alternate history.

In Progress:

How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut.  The first full-retelling of the fox domestication experiment.  So far well-written and fascinating.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.  Audiobook.  A childhood favorite read by one of my favorite audiobook readers, the late Fredrick Davidson aka David Case.

Also:

Continuing my final proof of the e-book version of my twenty-some year-old novel When the Gods Are Silent.

Starts and Finishes

May 5, 2017

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Ogapoge Reinterprets the Text

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.

Recently Completed:

Whatever After by E.M. Tippets.  ARC.  Enjoyed.

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs By Derek and the Dominos by Jim Reid.  As regular readers of this Fragment know, periodically, I read rock bios.  This is a bio of an album, with fascinating material on the various people who helped create it.

In Progress:

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee.  Audiobook.  A opera diva in Second Empire Paris finds her past may be catching up with her.

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. Haven’t read for many years…  Astonished afresh by the creative use of language.

Also:

Starting my final proof of the e-book version of my twenty-some year-old novel When the Gods Are Silent.

FF: Drenched in an Idea Storm

April 28, 2017

Still writing and brainstorming rather than curling up with a good book.   Instead, I’m doing things like sitting on the ground, weeding, while my thoughts are in another world.  I haven’t even been listening to audiobooks as much as usual.

Kwahe’e Rocks!

When I have the foundations in place, reading will actually be productive because it will let my subconscious have space to work on the next part, but right now the subconscious is tumbling out all the things that have been swirling around.

Reminder!  I’ll be at Page One Books on Saturday, April 29th, between 3:00-4:30 taking part in a celebration of Independent Bookstores.  See my website (like below) for details.

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane.  Audio.  Book Four in the series.  She does a good job with doing novels that stand alone within a larger tapestry.

In Progress:

Whatever After by E.M. Tippets.  ARC.  About half-way through.  Quite fun.

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs By Derek and the Dominos by Jim Reid.  As regular readers of this Fragment know, periodically, I read rock bios.  This is a bio of an album, with fascinating material on the various people who helped create it.

Also:

Back issues of Archeology and Smithsonian, because…

FF: Reduction

April 21, 2017

A chance conversation led to an idea that seems to be becoming a new novel.  So, basically, I’m immersed in writing the novel I wish I was reading.  That means I’m not reading as much as I’d like.

Kel of the Irish Green Eyes

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith.  A re-read that, nonetheless, had me hooked.  A book that proves that knowing the basics of the plot is not a spoiler if the story is good enough.

In Progress:

A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane.  Audio.

Whatever After by E.M. Tippets.  ARC.  Just started

Also:

Lots of articles and the like for research.

FF: Inside the Self

April 14, 2017

Quests tend to get sneered at these days but, as the books I’ve been immersed in this week show, the important journey is the one that goes on inside the self.  Without that, it’s not a quest.  It’s just a road trip.

Persephone Catches The Ravens

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

Frogkisser by Garth Nix.  Audiobook.  Humorous fantasy sneaks in some serious thoughts about personal and social responsibility.  The setting is more formulaic than many of Nix’s other works, but certain twists – like the Gerald the Herald – news franchise gives a certain freshness.

Only the Dead and The Ravens by Vidal Sundstol, both translated by Tiina Nunnally.  Books Two and Three of the Minnesota Trilogy which began with The Land of Dreams.  This is truly a fantastic trilogy — in both sense of the word — an unlikely hero’s journey through which the cost of family secrets ripples as a tremendously powerful undercurrent.  I recommend for anyone who is bored by formulaic fiction.

In Progress:

Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith.  A re-read that, nonetheless, has me hooked.

A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane.  Audiobook.   Just started.

Also:

I’ve started writing something new, so less time for reading.

FF: Interior Landscape

April 7, 2017

This week I seem to be immersed in stories where the interior landscape is as important or more so than the exterior.  Even the ostensibly lighthearted Frogkisser is about the contrast between the world as the protagonist would like to think it is, and how it really is.

Who Gets It First?

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

The Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday.  Compelling,  well-written with a darkly ambivalent ending.

In Progress:

Frogkisser by Garth Nix.  Audiobook.  Humorous fantasy that nonetheless is sneaking in some serious thoughts about personal and social responsibility.

Only the Dead by Vidal Sundstol, translated by Tiina Nunnally.  Sequel to The Land of Dreams which I read a while back.  Psychological crime novel.

Also:

Continuing my re-read of my own When the Gods Are Silent.  Still feel as if I’m having conversations with a long-ago self, but I think I like her.

FF: The Making of Heroes

March 31, 2017

Here’s additional information about Sunday’s book event at the Jean Cocteau (see my website for details).  N. Scott Momaday, whose piece “The Momaday Gun” was one of editor Gerry Hausman’s direct inspirations for the Guns anthology hopes to be there.  I’m rather awed at the idea of doing a book event with a Pulitzer Prize winner…

Kel Gives Us Her Thyme

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

Lamb by Christopher Moore.  Mostly focuses on the parts of Jesus’s life not covered in the Bible.  The ending shifts perception on everything thing that goes before about ninety degrees so don’t peek.  Alan said it was a “funny” book, but this is funny like Terry Pratchett is funny – humor harnessed in tandem with a lot of thoughtful moments.

Knight of Shadows.  Audiobook.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  Moving on to the close…

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.  Audiobook.  I think this may be the story that created the trend that would give rise to Zorro, Superman, the Shadow, and Batman in which a heroic figure hides his real identity behind a relatively helpless public persona.  Like Zorro and Batman, the Scarlet Pimpernel has no superpowers, but relies on his wits and skills.

The Time Garden by Edward Eager.  A favorite from my childhood that still reads, for me at least, well today.

In Progress:

This Ancient Child by N. Scott Momaday.  I read the author’s House Made of Dawn many years ago, and intended to re-read before Sunday’s book event, but  when I saw this, I decided to try something new.

Frogkisser by Garth Nix.  Audiobook.  Just starting.

Also:

Starting a re-read of my own When the Gods Are Silent.  I feel as if I’m having conversations with a long-ago self.

FF: Moonstone and Lamb

March 24, 2017

I’m pretty much healed now, and immersed in work, but I’m still reading!

Persephone is a Little Lamb

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Recently Completed:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  Audiobook.  Proves conclusively that those who think Victorian fiction is all dry and boring have simply read the wrong novels!

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.  Not an easy book to sum up, but I can say I very much liked it.

In Progress:

Lamb by Christopher Moore.  I’m impressed with the level of research that went into this.

Knight of Shadows.  Audiobook.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  Moving on to the close…

Also:

Been spending a lot of time re-reading my own Smoke and Mirrors.  The e-book is in the final stages of preparation.  Sign up for my mailing list (a link is available on my website) to be among the first to hear when it’s ready.

FF: Medicinal Reading

March 17, 2017

For those of you just discovering this feature, 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.

Kel Claims Cat’s Cradle

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.

Recently Completed:

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.  Audio of the radio drama.  Enjoyable.

The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock.  More text than his best-selling “Griffin and Sabine” trilogy, but still heavily and creatively illustrated.

Sunchaser’s Quest: Unicorns of Balinor, Book Two by Mary Stanton.  Middle grade “missing princess” story featuring many-colored unicorns.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.  Definitely related to Alan and my discussion of SF andreligion.

In Progress:

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  Audiobook.  Many cite this as the first detective novel in English.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork.  Only a few chapters in, but I already really like Marcelo.  The “real world,” not so much!

Knight of Shadows.  Audiobook.  Eighteen episodes of The Shadow radio drama.  I’m now over the half-way point.  They don’t benefit from too many at once since, like many radio dramas of the time, they rely on set pieces and a lot of repetition.  Still, they made a great amusement amid cold and fever.

Also:

If there’s one good thing about recovering from a cold or flu or whatever it is I’ve had, it’s that I don’t feel like I’m slacking if I curl up and read.  It’s medicinal!