Jim53 reads in 2023

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Jim53 reads in 2023

Jan 2, 10:19 pm

Welcome, friends, and happy new year! I'm not making any resolutions or commitments or challenges regarding reading this year. I'm just reading what calls to me, with just a couple of specific intentions: (1) read other books by authors of books that I have particularly enjoyed. A good example of this category is Bujold's The Hallowed Hunt. (2) read a bunch of books that we've got sitting on our shelves unread, and determine whether we want to keep them or rehome them. Then follow through. I'm hoping to make a good bit of space this year, although sadly not for more books.

Please stop in, say hi, tell me what you're reading or doing or thinking about. Old and new voices are always welcome.

Jan 2, 10:37 pm

Happy New thread!

Jan 3, 12:38 am

Happy new year and happy new thread!

Jan 3, 12:51 am

Happy New Thread, Jim. I recently saw advice about what books one should read.

!. Read only the books you want to read.
2. Don't read anything you do not want to read.

It looks like you are sticking to the rules. I hope you enjoy or get value from everything you read.

Jan 3, 3:39 am

Happy New Year; happy new thread!

Jan 3, 8:10 am

Happy New Year and happy reading!

Jan 3, 9:12 am

Jan 3, 9:16 am

Happy New Year, and I love your non-resolutions!

Jan 3, 9:32 am

The Happiest and Healthiest of New Years to you, my friend. May all of your reads this year be gems.

(I too have joined the no resolutions bandwagon!)

Jan 3, 10:32 am

>9 clamairy:
This bandwagon is getting crowded. I have been on it for quite a while. Delighted to have company.

Jan 3, 1:50 pm

>1 Jim53: found and starred your thread!

If I don't like what I'm reading, I usually STOP READING IT. :)

Editado: Jan 3, 5:43 pm

>2 Karlstar: >3 haydninvienna: >4 pgmcc: >5 hfglen: >6 Narilka: >7 Bookmarque: >8 majkia: >9 clamairy: >10 pgmcc: >11 fuzzi: Thanks for coming by and for all your good wishes, which I send back to you!

My first book of 2023 was indeed a gem. Having enjoyed the first two volumes of Nghi Vo's Singing Hills cycle, I picked up the third, Into the Riverlands. Our friend Chih the cleric, and their neixin Almost Brilliant, are travelling into a disreputable part of the kingdom, continuing to search out stories. They fall in with an older couple and two young women, one of whom is a master of martial arts. The writing is particularly beautiful in several places. For example,
The first day they were safe, and the second day they were safe, but on the third day, the moon disappeared to tend to his other wife, and the night filled with a thick and sticky summer darkness.

It's a simple enough image, but it adds to the archaic and mythic tone of the book. I recommend all three of these novellas if you haven't read them.

Jan 3, 6:09 pm

>12 Jim53: Oh, awesome! I didn't realize it had been released. I will keep an eye out for it.

Jan 3, 6:24 pm

Stopping by to wish you a year of health, wealth of reading and prosperity. Good luck on making space by reading and rehoming books. I have been trying that for about seven years now with little to show for it. ;)

Jan 3, 7:39 pm

>13 clamairy: I didn't know either, but I just happened to see it on the new-book shelf when I was looking for something else.

>14 MrsLee: Thanks, and back atcha! Yeah, making space is not all that easy. If there were a bookstore near here to which I could bring a lot of books, I would do that. I've given a few to Little Free Libraries, but that's just a couple at a time, and sometimes there is something irresistible there. Our library system has not been taking donations, but I'll check again on whether they've finished whatever project made them stop for a while. I'm saddened by the apparent disappearance of used-book stores. The ones in Durham used to have all kinds of great stuff, and they would take a lot of things in trade, as long as they weren't too ratty or Dan Brown.

Jan 3, 8:44 pm

>12 Jim53: I was so happy Almost Brilliant was back!

>4 pgmcc: Simple and clear rules are easiest to follow. :)

Happy reading in 2023, Jim!

Jan 4, 10:33 am

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy your year in reading and in life!

Jan 4, 10:32 pm

>16 libraryperilous: Thanks for the good wishes. I popped over and looked at your profile, and it says we share zero books! Hard to believe unless it's being super-picky about editions or something. I'll look through the books it said I should borrow and see if there are some I've forgotten to add.

>17 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire, and same to you!

Jan 5, 9:19 am

>18 Jim53: Oh, that's strange! I popped over to yours, and it says we share 57 books, including Priory of the Orange Tree and the Singing Hills series. I may have some kind of profile setting turned off. I'll see if I can find anything in my account.

Jan 5, 1:03 pm

Happy new year!

Jan 5, 8:20 pm

>19 libraryperilous: It says we share 0 as well. And I know that's not true!

Jan 6, 7:55 am

>21 clamairy: Oof, definitely not true. I turned off similar libraries many years ago, and I think that must be the cause. I can't find how to turn it back on. I participate in SantaThing every year. I'm sure it's been frustrating for my Santas to think we had no books in common!

Jan 6, 9:53 pm

>20 foggidawn: Thanks and back atcha! Wishing you a wonderful year.

Jan 6, 10:01 pm

I just found out that The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I remember liking quite a bit but not in a lot of detail, is the first book of three. One of the writers in Jungle Reds had gotten a copy of Harold for Christmas, and one of the blog commenters said that Harold was fun, but book two was better. So that goes on the list of things to try in the not too futant disture.

At the moment I'm doing a lot of running around and haven't read a whole lot lately. At bedtime I've been reading Malice at the Palace, another of Rhys's Lady Georgie cozies. I'm not sure why I like these so much; they do get a bit repetitive. I remember Rhys gave me a copy of A Royal Threesome (the first three in the series in a big trade paperback) after I participated in a Jungle Reds game show at Malice one year. Shortly thereafter, my father-in-law was quite ill and finally died, and for some reason reading those three fun and creative, non-gory mysteries was a great comfort to me during that time. I guess they're sort of like comfort food.

Jan 7, 3:31 pm

>13 clamairy: (Yes, I know. Your reference to Into The Riverlands was posted ten days ago and I'm really late to the game here.) I loved the first one in that set (The Empress of Salt and Fortune) but was disappointed in the second one, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. You aren't seeing any unevenness in her delivery?

Jan 7, 3:35 pm

>25 jillmwo: The second and third books are not as tightly woven as the first one. I found the third one a bit messy in its execution, but Almost Brilliant was back so I didn't care.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune is an epic—a tiny one, but still an epic. The other two books don't have the same feel.

Jan 8, 3:00 pm

>25 jillmwo: >26 libraryperilous: I, too, was less excited about When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain than about the first volume. I really enjoyed the third one, though. Perhaps I spent less time and effort decoding the setting, and was better able to enjoy the story. I'd say the story itself was less epic than The Empress of Salt and Fortune; for me, this was a plus as I felt the characters were real people and I was able to connect to them a little better.

Editado: Jan 10, 8:59 pm

>25 jillmwo:, >26 libraryperilous: & >27 Jim53: - I also didn't enjoy that 2nd one as much as the 1st. (I gave it 1/2 star less.) I am still looking forward to the 3rd!

Editado: Jan 22, 12:58 pm

>28 clamairy: I was very confused for a minute... I recently read the Trespass Collection of which volume 1 is The Tiger Came to the Mountain. Having not yet read my TOR freebie of The Empress of Salt and Fortune, I mistakenly thought you all were talking about the Moreno-Garcia short story, (in my defense, those titles are really similar).

I'm going to dive into The Singing Hills cycle soon. I read Vo's Siren Queen a few months ago and liked it pretty well.

Jan 11, 7:23 pm

>29 ScoLgo: Really similar? Practically identical! I hope you enjoy The Singing Hills. I suspect that first one will please you quite a bit.

Jan 13, 9:46 am

I'm about halfway through Magic Time, one of the unread books on our shelves. It has a sticker from Mr. K books, which is in Asheville. It's been quite a while since we were there, so it's just been sitting patiently, waiting for me to get around to it.

It's an interesting story, told in a couple of different time periods. Carter Ransom is a young man from Mississippi in the 60s, who has quit Vanderbilt law school to be a newspaper reporter, much to the chagrin of his judge father. In his youth he was great friends with Elijah, the son of his family's black housekeeper/cook. Now Lige's mother asks Carter to find her boy, who has gone off somewhere. Carter finds that Lige is heavily involved with SNCC, which he calls "snick," and isn't interested in coming home. All sorts of interesting details and themes related to the civil rights movement.

Jan 14, 2:45 pm

The fourth Singing Hills Cycle novella has been announced for this fall. Goodreads' link has a September 12th pub date.

It sounds amazing! Two neixin!

Jan 15, 2:19 pm

>32 libraryperilous: Cool! Thanks for the update.

Jan 15, 2:40 pm

I finished Magic Time late last night. It's a very good story, with echoes of other southern stories. Carter Ransom, a young man who defied his father (a judge) by dropping out of law school to become a journalist, visits his Mississippi home after his girlfriend breaks up with him. He spends a lot of time remembering his life in the sixties, when his best friend joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinated Committee, aka SNCC, pronounced "snick." Carter became involved in and sympathetic to the cause of civil rights, and fell in love with a young woman in the movement.

Judge Ransom had presided over the trial of several local members of the Ku Klux Klan in a firebombing of a church, in which several of the SNCC members, including Carter's lover, died. In the present, new evidence has come to light that gives an ambitious DA the opportunity to pin the crime on the Grand Knight, who had evaded conviction at the first trial. This provokes Carter to get involved. Various fireworks ensue.

The story is quite well paced and told. My only complaint was a couple of times when Carter philosophizes about some event, and it seems clear that he's acting as his own Greek chorus, telling us the author's thoughts about what happened. It doesn't happen too often. Marlette has a nice technique in which Carter (or someone else) is telling someone about a past event, and we segue into the telling or reliving of that event in its own time, with interesting details. I had to work just a little in the first few chapters to identify the time and place we're in; Marlette doesn't give us chapter or section headings with dates and locations.

I read Marlette's earlier novel, The Bridge, in a book club several years ago. This one dealt with the beginnings of the labor movement, and was also quite good. Before turning to novels, Marlette was a cartoonist, winning many awards including a Pulitzer.

Four stars. Another good read early in the year.

Jan 15, 8:49 pm

I'm starting a reread of Ellen Crosby's two mysteries featuring photographer Sophie Medina. I remember telling Ellen six or seven years ago that I liked this series better than her series about Lucie Montgomery the winemaker, and her telling me that she had just signed a contract for several more Lucies. So it goes. She has finally gone back to Sophie, and the third book in this series, Blow Up (which doesn't seem to have a touchstone yet) will be published in May.

Jan 17, 8:00 pm

Multiple Exposure, the first Sophie Medina mystery/espionage thriller from Ellen Crosby, held up well to a reread after seven years. The book begins with Sophie's discovery that her husband, Nick, has been kidnapped or killed. Nick is an oil-company exec who is also a CIA "asset." Sophie moves back from London to Washington and finds her own life in danger, as multiple parties seek valuable information that Nick night have. Being a photographer gives Sophie an entree into various activities that end up being related to the case, including a museum introduction of two previously undiscovered Faberge eggs and a book tour by a politico from Abadistan, which wants to break away from Russia. All sorts of hijinks ensue. Four stars.

Jan 18, 5:27 pm

Taking a break from mysteries, I've started The Good Life by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz. I can't find a touchstone for it yet. They are the director and assistant director for an ongoing longitudinal study begun in 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development. Apparently the study captures, over and over again from teenhood to death, all sorts of detailed medical and other information about its subjects, including interviews, in order to draw conclusions about the effects and importance of various areas of life for the subject's sense of living a good life, and maybe even being happy. I haven't gotten very far into it yet, but it certainly sounds promising. One of the early participants was JFK.

I heard of this book, and the study it describes, from the Well newsletter from the New York Times, which mentioned it several times recently.

Jan 19, 1:17 am

I found the touchstone because it looks interesting to me!
The Good Life: Lessons from the world's longest scientific study of happiness

Jan 19, 10:22 am

>38 reconditereader: Thanks, RR! I tried to find it thru the author page, but I had the wrong Robert Waldinger.

Jan 21, 5:40 pm

>18 Jim53:, >21 clamairy: Thanks for pointing this out to me. The mystery has been solved. I posted in the FAQ group and lesmel had an answer for me.

Jan 22, 3:41 pm

>40 libraryperilous: I clicked your name to make sure and saw the expected 57.

Jan 22, 7:58 pm

I finished my recent bedtime read, Crowned and Dangerous, which wasn't quite as much fun as some of the others in the series. That's OK, though; it was excellent bedtime reading.

Today I'm taking a break from The Good Life: Lessons from the world's longest scientific study of happiness to start my newly arrived ER book, Lee Smith's Silver Alert. Lee is the second resident of Hillsborough, NC, whose book I read this year; Doug Marlette lived there till his death. Hillsborough, which is a few miles north of Durham and Chapel Hill and was once a colonial state capital, is like a little artists' and writers' colony: in addition to Smith and Marlette, Alan Gurganus, Frances Mayes, Michael Malone, and numerous other writers live or lived there.

Jan 29, 4:01 pm

I finished Silver Alert and wrote a review. The book was quite a fun read, with an undertone of gentle humor throughout.

The Good Life: Lessons from the world's longest scientific study of happiness is quite well written, and I'm mostly enjoying reading it. Sometimes, as they discuss individual cases from the study or the theoretical basis for an assertion, I want to say, "OK, I believe you, I sorta trust you, skip this stuff and tell me the takeaway!" But I have found that authors rarely respond to such exhortations. Lord knows I've tried. This is another library book that I was able to get before anyone else, so it has the feel of a brand new book, which is kinda fun. They got just four copies, though, and there are sixty-some holds on it, so I suspect I won't be able to renew it. I might have to get back at the end of the line, or possibly I'll decide it's worth actually purchasing, which I don't do very much of these days.

Jan 29, 4:31 pm

>43 Jim53: Silver Alert sounds great. Loved your review. I might try to borrow this one when it's officially published.

Fev 12, 5:09 pm

I read a truly horrible book on NetGalley called The Tyranny of Desire. It's intentionally offensive to just about anybody, but at least it's badly written. What a waste of time. Is there a way to give negative numbers of stars?

Fev 12, 5:12 pm

In preparation for reading Ellen Crosby's new entry in her Sophie Medina series, I just finished a re-read of Ghost Image. It's definitely my favorite of the dozen or so of her books that I've read. Sophie is a great character, and Ellen puts her into some fascinating situations.

Fev 12, 5:25 pm

>45 Jim53:
When I find a book that is truly awful I give it half a star. No star would lead people to think I had not rated it. In the absence of negative scores a half star rating says it all.

Fev 12, 5:27 pm

>47 pgmcc: That sounds like a good idea!

Fev 12, 8:10 pm

>47 pgmcc: and >48 Jim53: I agree. That's a really useful approach to sending a negative message. (I've been more likely to just delete the title completely from my library if I thought something was truly awful.)

Fev 12, 8:31 pm

>47 pgmcc: This is why I prefer a 10 point scale.

Fev 13, 3:34 am

>45 Jim53: Somewhere once I saw some reviews of (IIRC) food and/or accommodation where the truly awful were awarded one to five suns, rather than stars (which were only awarded to salubrious establishments). Ever since, this has seemed to me to be a good idea. It sounds like your book deserves four or five suns. In their absence, >47 pgmcc:'s idea will do the job well.

Fev 16, 11:00 pm

I've started The Bluest Eye for our community book club. I was briefly confused by the beginning, but I've found my footing and am finding it very interesting.

Fev 17, 10:04 am

I just read, and paid attention for the first time, the blurb describing touchstones. (On my laptop, it is currently immediately to the right of the box within which I'm typing.) I am truly outraged by the final example. LoTR is not a series, dammit, it's a single continuous story that has been divided into three volumes! There are many better examples of series that consist of a collection of novels that can be read independently and don't start in medias res like "Aragorn sped on up the hill."

Apologies if I've missed prior conversations about this. I just wanted something to let off a little steam about this morning.

Fev 17, 10:39 am

>53 Jim53: It does say 'Touchstones are works, authors and series', so LoTR could fall under the 'works' description!

Editado: Fev 17, 1:20 pm

>54 Karlstar: Pretty sure those terms are relative to the three examples, so their example of LotR is showing it as a series. Let's see...

The default link for Lord of the Rings (with single square brackets) goes to an omnibus.
The default link for Lord of the Rings with triple square brackets) goes to a card game. The book series does not even make the top 10 in the 'others' link.

Generally speaking, I have found the series link function to be fairly spotty. The link will show properly in the preview to the right of the edit box but will often change to a single book link when clicking the 'Preview' button - which is exactly what has happened with the above links. The Touchstones preview to the right indicates a link to the series but when I posted this, it changed to match the omnibus link.

So yeah, I rarely use the series link function due to unexpected and inaccurate results.

EtA: I was mistaken. When I clicked the 'Preview' button while editing, both links went to the same omnibus - but when I clicked the 'Post message' button, the 2nd link correctly goes to the series page.

Fev 17, 3:18 pm

>55 ScoLgo: That has happened to me as well, the series links work on and off.

Fev 17, 10:25 pm

>53 Jim53: LOL, I never read that message before under the comment box. I knew about single and double brackets, but not triple. Thanks for the steam, my tea was getting cool. ;)

Fev 20, 12:39 pm

I finished The Bluest Eye. It has a powerful message about self-image, but the story itself requires some patience and deciphering. I suspect we'll have an interesting discussion tonight.

Fev 20, 2:49 pm

>55 ScoLgo: >57 MrsLee: As many times as I've looked at that message, I never realized that and were actually useful.

I may need to up my quota to learning a lot more than one new thing per day.

Fev 20, 4:03 pm

>58 Jim53: The Bluest Eye is a tough one. I've read it but I don't think I processed the reading experience the way one probably ought to. Comes of reading books far too quickly.

Fev 20, 9:45 pm

>60 jillmwo: I read it, too, and I only remember it being depressing.

Fev 22, 9:07 pm

>60 jillmwo: >61 clamairy: Thanks for your comments. I had a hard time sticking with it; I could only deal with a little at a time. It was on my mind a lot during the time I was reading. While I can't say I enjoyed reading it, exactly, I was impressed and appreciated what I thought she was up to: trying to see how these young girls had developed the racial hatred for themselves that they so obviously felt. There were numerous answers, I think. I was pleasantly surprised by the discussion: I had feared that a handful of members would take offense, but only a couple made snide remarks. It might have been easier to deal with because there aren't explicit white villains.

Fev 22, 9:16 pm

I've now completed the few things that I read because I committed to them, except for my NetGalley copy of Blow Up, my friend Ellen Crosby's new Sophie Medina mystery, which I fully expect to enjoy. Before I start that, however, I'm taking a ride back into Alliance space with Jack Campbell's Fearless.

Fev 26, 2:04 am

I finished Fearless, which was an easy read but not quite as fun as its predecessor. Geary's relationships with some characters have developed in interesting ways. While the central theme seems to focus on his responses to numerous temptations, the word count leans heavily toward descriptions of battles. I'll go on to the next one, but not right away.

Mar 3, 9:54 am

I grabbed One Fell Sweep after seeing references to this series in a couple of threads. For some reason I thought it was the first of the series; no idea why. The book read fine without any prior information. It was a lot of fun. I'll have to go back and see what I missed beforehand. I didn't like the picture (presumably of Dina) on the cover, though.

Mar 6, 9:24 pm

I finished my NetGalley copy of Blow Up (A Sophie Medina Mystery), and I'm still deciding what to say about it. It's a change from the first two volumes of the series, so my expectations were a bit off, but I ended up liking it a lot. It appears I'm the first person to add it, which is kinda fun. More soon.

Mar 6, 9:31 pm

My recent bedtime book has been The Last Mrs. Summers, the antepenultimate (so far) of Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series. This one was particularly fun because she riffs on Rebecca, from starting the book talking about a dream to taking us to visit the second wife of a Cornwall businessman/farmer whose household includes a demanding housekeeper. It was very good fun and moderately exciting. Now I want to read Rebecca again, and maybe even First Among Sequels, which introduces an army of Danverclones to the Thursday Next metaworld.

Mar 7, 8:22 am

>67 Jim53: I didn't love that 3rd book and stopped there. I have the next three, and should probably give them another chance. I didn't realize there were Danverclones to look forward to! LOL

Mar 7, 11:35 am

>68 clamairy: Yeah, Well was a bit of a disappointment. It had too little excitement for me, although as I recall there was some good humor. He gets his mojo back somewhat in Something Rotten (you can guess who makes an appearance there), and I really liked First Among Sequels a lot. The last two were pretty forgettable. None of the series, IMNAAHO, measure up to The Eyre Affair.

Mar 8, 10:26 am

>68 clamairy: and >69 Jim53: I was reading in an Everyman's Library edition -- a collection of stories about books and libraries -- last night (hot off the presses) and was surprised to encounter Thursday Next as one of the segments. It drew from The Well of Lost Plots.

Mar 8, 10:59 am

I've got a couple of new books going now: The Hallowed Hunt as my main read and Courageous for bedtime. Both seem to be off to interesting starts.

Mar 8, 11:01 am

>70 jillmwo: If you've never encountered Thursday, I highly recommend The Eyre Affair. I remember reading a part in the middle that had me laughing hysterically, so that my wife came to verify that I was OK. You can decide from there if you want to try the others. As mentioned above, Well was not one of my favorites.

Mar 8, 12:05 pm

All this Thursday Next talk has me wanting to do a series reread.

Mar 10, 11:39 am

I noticed that Jasper FForde has a YA series that begins with The Last Dragonslayer. One of the comments that I saw said that the reader had moved on to it after devouring the Percy Jackson books. My granddaughter finished those last year. So I requested a copy of TLD from the library in order to assess whether I think it would be good for her. I haven't decided about that yet, but right now it's perfect for me, so it's interrupted the reading I was doing. Lots of fun and silliness.

Mar 12, 9:52 am

Here's a formula for entertainment: take a Jasper Fforde story and make it more juvenile. Perhaps I should say "even more juvenile." You might end up with something like The Last Dragonslayer. It seemed to be just what I needed this week. Jennifer is outstanding. I'll definitely be grabbing the two sequels after returning from a quick trip. In the mean time I'm back on Courageous for the time being.

Mar 12, 9:56 am

>75 Jim53: The older I get the more I appreciate some well done silliness. I am glad you enjoyed your discovery.

Mar 13, 9:04 pm

>76 clamairy: Thanks! I'm finding the same thing.

Mar 13, 9:08 pm

I finished Courageous, the third volume of Jack Campbell's SSDD series. For some reason I kept expecting someone to say, "Remember, the enemy's gate is down." All the going through gates, seeing what the other army is doing, and reacting creatively really reminded me of Ender's Game. There is a slight hint toward the end that the next volume might contain something somewhat new. I have to decide if it's worth another slog to find out.

Mar 18, 9:25 am

I zipped through Scalzi's The Dispatcher in one sitting. Very interesting setup: all of a sudden, people who die at the hands of another person reappear alive, at home in their beds. This leads to the creation of a new profession: dispatchers, who are responsible for ensuring that people die in a way that permits them to come back. This novella doesn't do the concept justice, but I see there are sequels, which I will certainly hunt down. Less silliness than one sometimes gets with Scalzi, but not too heavy.

Mar 18, 9:43 pm

>79 Jim53: That is one of the Scalzi's I have not read yet.

Mar 19, 10:00 pm

>80 Karlstar: I read it because NetGalley has the third in the series. Unfortunately my library doesn't have the second. But I started the third this evening and I haven't found anything that makes me think the second one was necessary. This one is a bit longer than the first (220 pp vs 130). So far it's OK, not fabulous.

Mar 20, 11:09 am

>76 clamairy: and >77 Jim53: Quite agree. I value well done silliness in a book much more now than I did even ten years ago.

Mar 26, 12:25 am

>82 jillmwo: Speaking of which, I just finished the sequel, The Song of the Quarkbeast. Gotta make sure the whole set is suitable. Plus it's great fun.

Mar 28, 2:01 pm

>81 Jim53: I finished The Dispatcher: Travel by Bullet. True to its name, it features escaping law enforcement by having a confederate shoot you, so that you wake up elsewhere. Scalzi is further exploring the implications of the world he has set up, and in the process gives us a pretty decent mystery to solve, using crypto-stuff. Not a lot of humor, but a few interesting characters. I'm moderately interested in seeing what else he will do here, but I also would like more Kaiju. 3.5 stars.

It was interesting to see the blockchain technology mentioned. I studied it a bit about eight years ago, when my employer was working to come up with enterprise-level implementations. From what I've seen since, one of the primary, or at least most visible, ways it's being used is in transactions involving cryptocurrency.

Mar 28, 5:21 pm

My understanding is that cryptocurrency *is* Blockchain, or at least an application of it

Mar 28, 10:57 pm

>85 jjwilson61: It's an application of it. Blockchain could be used for other sorts of commerce and exchanges, but it will require lots of changes in the systems of all the affected companies. It may never be as big as was first imagined.

Mar 29, 12:31 pm

>85 jjwilson61: Probably not, but there was hope for a while.

Abr 4, 9:42 pm

I've begun reading a few books that we've had on the shelves for a while but haven't read. I zipped through Grisham's Sycamore Row, which was a pretty good legal thriller. I understand it's the second of three starring attorney Jake Brigance, and that the first and third are much more violent, so I lucked out in having found this one at an old library sale. An enjoyable read but not a keeper.

Abr 4, 9:51 pm

I've had an interesting time with Jonathan Carroll over the years. I didn't especially enjoy Sleeping in Flame, but I found The Wooden Sea and Outside the Dog Museum quite wonderful. I've just started From the Teeth of Angels, and the jury is still out. The writing is excellent as usual; I just haven't figured out how the different parts of the story relate to each other.

Footnote that probably entertains nobody but me: there was a young man named Jonathan Carroll who lived on my floor in my dorm my senior year of college (1974-5). I didn't understand how he managed it, since he never pretended to go to any classes. Maybe he was staying with a friend. I didn't get to know him well at all. He gained a good bit of notoriety because of his lovely singing voice, and the fact that he found himself in a musical group with Bill and Taffy Danoff. Anyone remember them? They have been largely reviled since their brief burst of fame.

Abr 5, 8:24 am

>89 Jim53: I had to use Google. Looks like I can blame them for Afternoon Delight. LOL

Abr 5, 12:20 pm

>88 Jim53: I have read at least one Grisham, but the violence keeps me away. Glad you found one that was a bit tamer.

Abr 18, 11:52 pm

>89 Jim53: Nooo!!! Not Starland Vocal Band! One of the funniest things I ever heard on a podcast, was the time Dan Patrick told the story of how he was driving in the car one day and from the backseat, heard his daughter ask what 'afternoon delight' was. Luckily I've never had that happen to me, I don't think my kids ever heard that one on the radio. Thanks for putting that in my head. :)

Editado: Abr 19, 2:38 pm

>92 Karlstar: we asked my mom to explain 'afternoon delight' and she informed us (with a straight face, no less) that it meant they were having ice cream sundaes for lunch. apparently the "skyrockets in flight" was to be interpreted as indicating that they had also ordered 'Bomb Pop' popsicles, which we quite liked so were more than willing to accept this explanation. My poor mom...

Editado: Abr 19, 2:41 pm

>93 Darth-Heather: Bwahaha!!! What a brilliant explanation.

Abr 19, 3:12 pm

>94 clamairy: sure, except then she had to listen to us singing "aaaaayyyyyfternoon deliiiiight" every time we went to the ice cream shop. :D

Abr 19, 4:01 pm

>95 Darth-Heather: I wonder what the other customers thought.

Abr 19, 7:46 pm

>93 Darth-Heather: Love it.

I told my husband (and myself, so I could enjoy the song) that Lou Bega's song, Mambo No. 5 is about dancing with the ladies. I just read about all the legal controversy on that song, so I'm going to see if I can find the original by Dámaso Pérez Prado.

Editado: Abr 20, 9:47 am

>95 Darth-Heather: lol!! I bet she loved that one. Good memory though.

P.S. Your post is still highly amusing.

Abr 20, 9:46 am

>89 Jim53: Back to Jim's original post - is Jonathan Carroll one of the 4 people in the video?

Abr 20, 10:23 am

Oh that's too funny about afternoon delight. My mom had a situation on her hands as well, but one of her own making. When I was little we had a cat named Puta.

Seriously. My mom named her that.

And then had to explain it to me.

She said it meant she was a naughty lady. Or something like that. OMG.

Maio 10, 5:09 pm

>99 Karlstar: Jon is the younger guy in the foursome. IIRC he wore a black vest in the video that I saw. I haven't looked lately but a while back he was doing session work around the DC area.

I first encountered Danoff in his and Taffy's incarnation as Fat City; I had an old signed LP of theirs, with a hilariously bad picture featuring (I think) cowboy hats. He was a strange bird; he was studying Chinese linguistics or some such thing at Georgetown (if you can't go to a Catholic school, a Jesuit school is the next best thing, right?). He wrote or co-wrote a good number of successful songs, including Boulder to Birmingham and Take Me Home, Country Roads.

Maio 10, 5:12 pm

I have managed to do a bit of reading lately in spite of everything. I'll mention my most recent read first, because I noticed that the story takes place in clamairy 's back yard. Clam, I looked and saw that you have it in your library: Plum Island by Nelson DeMille.

This is one of several books that we own and I haven't read, or just don't remember them, so I'm giving them a chance to convince me to keep them as I thin out the shelves. This one did not make a successful case, although it had a few good moments.

Maio 10, 5:15 pm

Last month I wanted something easy. I remembered how much I had enjoyed re-reading the first two of Sarah Shaber's Simon Shaw mysteries, which are set near my old stomping grounds in Raleigh. I didn't have the other three, but the library had two of them and I found the third on eBay. It was lots of fun re-reading those three, which I hadn't remembered at all after reading them about eight years ago.

Maio 10, 5:20 pm

We've had the three Hunger Games books on the shelf for a while. My wife had read them but I hadn't. I remember that I had seen the first one cited in a couple of places as a good example of solid narrative structure. So I gave them a try and found them quite engaging. Several of the character are quite well drawn, and the story line was interesting (I'm one of the few people who never saw the movies, so I had no idea what I was getting into). I liked the first book the best. By the third, it's hard to imagine how Katniss is functioning even as poorly as she is; it seems she would have been pretty well destroyed by what she'd been through. The second half of the third book, in particular, was rather rough sailing. But overall I think these are keepers, mostly because my wife thinks she might read them again.

Maio 10, 5:35 pm

>103 Jim53: I think I want to try one of the Simon Shaw mysteries. I was just checking up on reviews, availability, etc. Seems like the first one is a good place to start...(particularly as a rewards coupon allows me to pick up a digital edition of Simon Said for free!!!!)

Maio 10, 6:58 pm

>102 Jim53: Plum Island only worked for me because of its setting, which is here, on the North Fork of the Isle of Long. At time I read it I hadn't moved back here, but I was still very familiar with the area, having lived here during High School. But it's the only book of his I've ever read, I did try to read The Gold Coast, but I couldn't get more than 20 pages into it.

Editado: Maio 10, 9:40 pm

Another series I've been reading is the Innkeeper series by Ilona Andrews. I mistakenly started with the third one a while back, and have recently read the first two. Some of the vampires are a bit annoying, but overall the series it quite fun. I'll look for the next one soon.

Maio 10, 9:43 pm

>105 jillmwo: I'd start with the first one. You get more of a sense of who's who. Part of the reason why I enjoy them is the familiarity of the setting, but there are several enjoyable characters, and the stories are nicely assembled.

Maio 10, 9:45 pm

>106 clamairy: I was looking for you and Sammie on the beach but missed you somehow ;-) I wasn't inspired to look for more of DeMille's work. This one's not in good enough shape to give to the library, so it will go to Goodwill.

Maio 10, 9:53 pm

I've been doing a reread after several years of Molly Fox's Birthday. I remembered that I had enjoyed it a lot, but not the story. I'm pleased to report that the suck fairy has been held at bay and I'm enjoying it a lot again. It has a lot to do with how one presents oneself and how friendship endures and changes. Madden is one of the authors more of whose work I want to look for (I don't actually see a syntactic flaw in that sentence, but it seems a bit weird).

The way things have been going with rereads lately, I may never have to buy a new book again. After a couple of years, they're all like new again.

Maio 10, 10:21 pm

>109 Jim53: We must have been at a vineyard and not on the beach when you were looking for us. :o) My husband enjoyed his books, but I wasn't crazy about his style.

Maio 11, 11:25 am

Your book bullet got me on a ricochet off jillmwo for the Simon Shaw series. I purchased the first on Kindle, but no telling when I will get around to reading it. Always nice to have books waiting in the wings for the moment one needs them.

Maio 11, 2:54 pm

>107 Jim53: That's a fun series. Good to hear you're enjoying it.

Maio 11, 3:13 pm

>113 Narilka: I have an idea that you might have been the source of the bullet for that one, so thank you for that. I just picked up Sweep with Me from the library. The titles are getting more subtle all the time ;-)

Maio 11, 3:17 pm

>112 MrsLee: You're right about the value of having something waiting! I have been forcing myself to read, or at least try, stuff that we've got here so I can decide whether to let it go (a lot of yes verdicts on that lately). But sometimes I want the cool new thing, often having heard about it here. I hope you'll enjoy Simon.

Maio 13, 9:06 pm

I have begun Ordinary Notes after seeing a write-up in the NYT. I was aware of Sharpe but have not read her earlier book yet. This one takes a bit of focus, which I can muster up only occasionally, but it looks very good.

Maio 13, 9:16 pm

I've been looking at this list: www.librarything.com/bookaward/501+Must-Read+Books. I have read surprisingly few of the choices. I'm trying to decide whether to put some effort into reading more of them. I'm interested in others' thoughts about the "must-read-ability" of these selections. I decided, pretty much at random, to try Andre Norton's The Time Traders. It was published when I was four years old, and I'm not sure I've ever read any Norton. My other current reads are not real great for bedtime, so I'm hoping this will fit in there.

Maio 13, 9:32 pm

>117 Jim53: I rate the must-read-ability of that list very, very low. At least for me, I have so many other things I'd rather read or re-read.

Maio 13, 10:34 pm

>117 Jim53: I was going to suggest the approach you took - look at the list, find a book that you haven't read that interests you and read it. But taking your example, I don't know why that's the only Andre Norton on the list, there are others I would suggest over that one. Hopefully you enjoy it!

Sure, there's a lot of classics on the list like Frankenstein or Dracula or Dune, but in other cases the listed book is not the one most people associate with the author. I haven't read most of them, so I really can't comment on the readability, except the perhaps 10% that I have read, I enjoyed.

I don't see any that would be on my 'not recommended' list, if that helps?

Maio 15, 9:38 pm

Well, The Time Traders was a DNF. I got about 70 pages in and the storytelling was not much fun. The premise is sort of interesting, but building a story from it would have required a good bit more character development. Now I can say I've tried Norton.

>118 reconditereader: Agreed. There are too many books that I already know I want to read. I seem to have a weakness for this sort of list, and this one was particularly weak.

Maio 16, 11:17 am

>120 Jim53: If it doesn't resonate, it doesn't. Some authors you catch one of their works at a particular time and it lights up your brain; catch them at a different time and there is no spark. (And while it's not a particular indicator of anything, I never found Andre Norton to be particularly readable.)

Maio 17, 4:11 pm

Just stopping by to let you know that I've been reading Simon Said as my bedtime book (See >103 Jim53: above). Freakishly, my heart warmed at a literary reference to microfiche and I wanted to stop by your thread and give you full credit!

Maio 17, 8:57 pm

>122 jillmwo: Delighted to hear it! I had a similar experience a while back when I re-read Bimbos of the Death Sun. It's kind of like seeing a shoe phone or something like that.

Maio 17, 9:04 pm

Since I've been trying to focus on ROOTing and rooting out, I just brought home a dozen interesting-looking books from the library. I had to go over to the central library for our spacious county for a meeting, and I couldn't not take advantage. I picked up 20 CDs along with the dozen books.

I can't remember where I heard of Texts from Jane Eyre. It's a hilarious compendium of text exchanges between pairs of characters from many famous (and less-so) books. The snark level, as you can imagine, is frequently through the roof. One interesting aspect of the book is that it reminds me how little I remember of the details of a lot of things that I read a while back. I loved the exchange from P&P: "Remember when there was someone who wanted to marry you? You don't have that any more, do you?"

Maio 19, 8:10 pm

So far I've discovered that Luigi Boccherini is missing a certain pep in his quintets, Mozart's clarinet pieces are not among my favorites, and much of Terence Blanchard's work remains just a bit too out there for my taste. But there are plenty more CDs to try in this batch.

One of the books I brought home is This Is How It Always Is, which is next month's selection for our neighborhood book club. I'm finding it quite wonderful, and I've put away all my other books for the time being. The tone is fabulous, and the characters are great. I'm into the second section now and continuing to love it. So far it's one of my favorites for the year.

Maio 20, 9:13 am

>124 Jim53: That reminds me of the old 'Facebook Hamlet', which is very amusing.

Maio 21, 9:21 pm

This Is How It Always Is was a great, great read. The tone of the novel draws us in from the outset, and the kindness of the two parents is exceptional (and perhaps, as we see, a bit much). They are incredibly accepting when their fifth son decides he's really a girl inside. We see how keeping secrets, and exposing them, affects everyone's lives, how crucial trust is, and how limiting binary choices are. The conscientious doctor and the imaginative writer are a wonderful couple. Not everything is rainbows and unicorns, of course, and the ways in which the child and their parents learn to deal with the world are difficult--perhaps Frankel could have focused more on depicting this difficulty, but she does so many things well that I am cutting her some slack here. I don't have any life experience with this sort of situation, but Frankel seems to be both thorough and compassionate toward all her characters. My favorite read so far this year.

Maio 23, 8:46 pm

My recent trip to the library was a microcosm of the last couple of years: I had to return Ordinary Notes before I managed to make much progress in it, and I picked up Sweep of the Blade, which is much more the sort of thing I can manage these days.

Interestingly, after reading This Is How It Always Is, I stumbled into a discussion about what sort of future a half-human, half-vampire child might have.

Maio 24, 8:54 am

>127 Jim53: Yeah, I too loved that one. And yes, I cut her a lot of slack because the author is navigating this path in real life with one of her children.

Editado: Hoje, 3:22 am

>129 clamairy: I've got holds on both of the books Claire mentioned (Nevada and Summer Fun) and will see whether either comes through in time to read it before we discuss Frankel in book club. If not, I might just read one or both anyway.

I started The Sportswriter today. The writing is nice; I'm not sure how enamored I am of the characterization. I picked it up because I've had the sequel, Independence Day, sitting on the shelf for a while. But for this evening, it's back to Maud and her vampire suitor.

Maio 31, 3:46 pm

I polished off the next two Innkeeper titles, Sweep of the Blade and the novella Sweep with Me. Now I've got the final one (so far) on hold.

I haven't been finding The Sportswriter particularly compelling. I may give up on it soon.

I stopped by the library and into the YA section, which is where they keep David Copperfield. I want to read it in anticipation of getting to Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead later this year. I had no idea Copperfield was so long. I think I hurt myself pulling it off the shelf. Maybe it will keep me out of trouble for a while.

Maio 31, 3:51 pm

>131 Jim53: Bit of a door-stopper, eh? Dickens (as my eldest son continually griped in high school) got paid by the word and it shows upon occasion...

Maio 31, 6:57 pm

>131 Jim53:
The Sportswriter was a book club read for me. I bailed after about fifty pages. I could not see any positive element to it.

David Copperfield is my least favourite Dickens. After all the other Dickens books I have read I was enthusiastic to read another. Once I got to the end of David Copperfield I felt tired.

I still have many more of his books to read, but definitely, Copperfield did not fill me with the joy I felt reading the others.

Hoje, 3:23 am

Any Paul Park fans out there? He was a favorite of several Gene Wolfe fans I used to know. I just started Park's All Those Vanished Engines. It has a very meta feel at the beginning and appears likely to require a lot of attentive work. I remember enjoying his fantasy series that began with A Princess of Roumania; this has a pretty different feel so far.