Saturday Miscellany – 6/16/18

Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to annhwkns77, Allie Sumner and lindsayjohnna for following the blog this week.


Saturday Miscellany – 6/9/18

Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

    • Brief Cases by Jim Butcher — New collection of short stories from The Dresden Files. I started this Wednesday and cannot believe that I haven’t finished it yet. I will be expressing my deep love for this soon. (A quick update 1 hour after posting, I’m done and I had no idea an hour ago how much I loved this book. Probably my favorite thing to date in 2018)
    • The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven — introducing Washington Poe. I heard a review of this on the latest Two Crime Writers and a Microphone episode. Sounds great, sounds creepy and with great lead characters.
    • Free Chocolate by Amber Royer — I’ve been seeing raves about this for so long, I can’t believe it’s only been released now — a Space Opera with a sense of humor about a Galactic struggle to control the Earth’s chocolate. Of all the reasons I’ve seen for going to war lately, I’ve gotta say this ranks at the top.

    Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to glenn van nostrand and T.Jaye for following the blog this week.

    Saturday Miscellany – 6/2/18

    It’s the last week of the month (or it was…), plus the holiday — which always makes for a short post for me. Still,there’s some good stuff here (including, but not limited to, one that I forgot to post last week). Without further ado, odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    • Why crime fiction is booming — There’s a lot of good insight here, particularly this line: ” Good crime fiction is necessarily a reader-centred experience, because it only works if the reader is willing to engage with it – other genres can see the author be (for want of a better word) pretentious, and focus on what they want to get out of it. In crime fiction, the author wants a reader to try and solve their crimes.”
    • An Audio Addict’s Guide to Audiobook Mysteries — I haven’t listened to any of these, but I’ve read some of the novels and agree with her take on them, and she’s right about George Guidall (his Longmire work is great).
    • The Brothers Goldberg: Tod Goldberg interviews Lee Goldberg — probably the best Lee Goldberg interview possible — even if you’re not a Goldberg reader, this is worth a read.
    • 10 Small Press Books to Read this Summer — some good TBR fodder.
    • A facebook post from Jim Butcher — in response to readers thanking him for saving their lives. Honestly, if I ever met the man, I’d be tempted to say something like that to him, too. This post was just great.

    Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Eva Newermann for following the blog this week.

    May 2018 Report

    Despite starting off pretty rough, this ended up being a pretty good month — some fantastic works, a lot of good ones, but yeah, some let-downs, too. Things were fairly productive, too — all in all a good month, and the next month promises to continue that trend (phew!).

    So, here’s what happened here in May —

    Books/Novels/Novellas/Short Stories Read/Listened to:

    Fault Lines Old Black Magic Baby Shower
    3 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
    The Roaring Twenties Benedict Arnold Theophany
    3 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.5 Stars
    Reluctant Courage Not Talking Italics Gables Court
    1 1/2 Stars 5 Stars 1 Star
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone The Gauntlet The Fairies of Sadieville
    5 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars
    How to Be a Perfect Christian Proven Guilty The Assassin of Oz
    4 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 3.5 Stars
    The TV Decective Trouble is a Friend of Mine Trade Deal
    4 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
    Flame in the Dark Fleshmarket Alley Trouble Makes a Comeback
    4 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars
    Sixth Prime Spiraling  The War Outside My Window
    2 Stars 3.5 Stars 5 Stars
    How it Happened The Ship of the Dead Dreadnought
    4 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars

    Still Reading:

    Volume 1: The Glory of Christ Jesus and His Enemies Rubicon
    Any Other Name            

    Reviews Posted:

    Book Challenge Progress:

    Angel's Guilty Pleasures
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Audiobook) by J. K. Rowling, Jim Dale
  • Trouble is a Friend of Mine (Audiobook) by Stephanie Tromly, Kathleen McInerney
  • Fleshmarket Alley by Ian Rankin
  • Trouble Makes a Comeback(Audiobook) by Stephanie Tromly, Kathleen McInerney (link to come)
  • How it Happened by Michael Koryta (link to come)
  • Ship of the Dead (Audiobook) by Rick Riordan, Michael Crouch
  • Sixth Prime by Dan O’Brien
  • Reluctant Courage by Rica Newbery
  • Not Talking Italics by Russell Day
  • Gables Court by Alan S. Kessler
  • The TV Detective by Simon Hall
  • Trouble is a Friend of Mine (Audiobook) by Stephanie Tromly, Kathleen McInerney
  • How to Be a Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee
  • The Assassin of Oz by Nicky Peacock
  • Sixth Prime by Dan O’Brien
  • The Roaring Twenties: A Time of Movies, Mass Production, and Moonshine by in60Learning
  • Benedict Arnold: From American Hero to British Traitor by in60Learning
  • Reluctant Courage by Rica Newbery
  • Not Talking Italics by Russell Day
  • Gables Court by Alan S. Kessler
  • The TV Detective by Simon Hall
  • I’ve really gotta get going on this one…

    How was your month?

    Saturday, er, Monday Miscellany – 5/28/18

    Hope you all had a great Towel Day! And for you U. S. types, I hope you’re having a good Memorial Day.I got knocked out by a stomach virus this weekend — spent most of it unconscious, and the time I was awake, I couldn’t focus enough to write anything — even this. Reading was straight out — this is the longest I’ve gone without reading in years — Friday afternoon through…I dunno, really — I need to spend some time today reshuffling my schedule so I can make all the deadlines I have in the next 8 days. So anyway, I’m just saying, there’s a reason this is two days late.

    Here are the odds ‘n ends over the last week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Eva Newermann for following the blog this week.

    Towel Day ’18: Some of my favorite Adams lines . . .

    There’s a great temptation here for me to go crazy. I’ll refrain from that and just list some of his best lines . . .

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    • Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
    • This must be Thursday. . . I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”
    • “You’d better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”
      “What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
      “You ask a glass of water.”
      (I’m not sure why, but this has always made me chuckle, if not actually laugh out loud. It’s just never not funny)
    • He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
    • In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centuari. And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before . . .
    • “Look,” said Arthur, “would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”

    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    • It is a curious fact, and one to which no one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N-N-T’Nix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian “chinanto/mnigs” which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan “tzjin-anthony-ks” which kills cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.

    Life, the Universe, and Everything

    • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying.There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying.

      The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

    (It goes on for quite a while after this — and I love every bit of it.)

    • “One of the interesting things about space,” Arthur heard Slartibartfast saying . . . “is how dull it is?””Dull?” . . .

      “Yes,” said Slartibartfast, “staggeringly dull. Bewilderingly so. You see, there’s so much of it and so little in it.”

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    • Of course, one never has the slightest notion what size or shape different species are going to turn out to be, but if you were to take the findings of the latest Mid-Galactic Census report as any kind of accurate guide to statistical averages you would probably guess that the craft would hold about six people, and you would be right.You’d probably guessed that anyway. The Census report, like most such surveys, had cost an awful lot of money and told nobody anything they didn’t already know — except that every single person in the Galaxy had 2.4 legs and owned a hyena. Since this was clearly not true the whole thing eventually had to be scrapped.
    • Here was something that Ford felt he could speak about with authority.”Life,” he said, “is like a grapefruit.”

      “Er, how so?”

      Well, it’s sort of orangy-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast.”

      “Is there anyone else out there I can talk to?”

    • Arthur had a swordfish steak and said it made him angry. He grabbed a passing waitress by the arm and berated her.”Why’s this fish so bloody good?” he demanded, angrily.

      “Please excuse my friend,” said Fenchurch to the startled waitress. “I think he’s having a nice day at last.”

    Mostly Harmless

    • A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

    • Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

    (I’ve often been tempted to get a tattoo of this)

    The Last Chance to See

    • “So what do we do if we get bitten by something deadly?” I asked.He looked at me as if I were stupid.

      “You die, of course. That’s what deadly means.”

    • I’ve never understood all this fuss people make about the dawn. I’ve seen a few and they’re never as good as the photographs, which have the additional advantage of being things you can look at when you’re in the right frame of mind, which is usually around lunchtime.
    • I have the instinctive reaction of a Western man when confronted with sublimely incomprehensible. I grab my camera and start to photograph it.

    And a couple of lines I’ve seen in assorted places, articles, books and whatnot

    • I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
    • A learning experience is one of those things that says, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.”

    Towel Day ’18: Do You Know Where Your Towel Is?

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.

    A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

    More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

    Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

    One of my long-delayed goals is to write up a good all-purpose Tribute to Douglas Adams post, and another Towel Day has come without me doing so. Belgium.

    Next year . . . or later.

    Adams is one of those handful of authors that I can’t imagine I’d be the same without having encountered/read/re-read/re-re-re-re-read, and so I do my best to pay a little tribute to him each year, even if it’s just carrying around a towel (I’ve only been able to get one of my sons into Adams, he’s the taller, thinner one in the picture from a couple of years ago below). is the best collection of resources on the day, recently posted this pretty cool video, shot on the ISS by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

    Even better — Here’s an appearance by Douglas Adams himself from the old Letterman show — so glad someone preserved this:

    Love the anecdote (Also, I want this tie.)