Saturday Miscellany – 12/8/18

I started a new job this week, which is what I’m blaming my relative silence on — I did almost complete a few posts, to be honest (and a little self-justifying). Just nothing I’m quite ready to push “publish” on. But I have an ambitious schedule for December, so I need to get busy (and I have a little bit of November to finish with, too — oops). Here’s hoping next week is busy around here.

Anyway, here are the 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:

  • The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin — a comic writer/artist consults with the LAPD in a hunt for a real-world costumed vigilante in one of the most enjoyable debuts of the year. I talked a bit about it Monday
  • Blood of Ten Kings by Edward Lazellari — The third volume of the Guardians of Aandor — an Epic Fantasy/Urban Fantasy hybrid of sorts — hit the stores this week. Listening to Lazellari describe the books on the latest Once & Future Podcast sold me on volume one.
  • King of the Road by R. S. Belcher — I missed the first novel in this UF series last year, but a group of Truckers descended from the Knights Templar who defends the roads of the US from supernatural threats — and a biker gang, apparently — has got to be worth a read.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to awesomeyou (nice blog, but I can’t read that side bar — as pretty as it is), whinney, Di Salvo Cambiamento (I assume the blog is nice, but I can’t read that language), Arganise Campbell (a very busy young woman) and Shalini for following the blog this week.

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November 2018 Report

Well, November happened. Lot’s of pretty cool stuff in my non-blog life, and things related to the blog. Pretty good reading month — almost good writing month. Some less-than-good reads, plenty of great reads. Nothing to complain about, that’s for sure.

So anyway, here’s what happened here in November.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Dark Sacred Night The Green Viper You Had Me at Woof
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
The Place You're Supposed to Laugh Be Brave, Little Puffy The Twisted Web
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation Her Last Move Degrading Orbits
5 Stars 5 Stars 3 Stars
Ghost Story The Summer Holidays Survival Guide Know Me from Smoke
4 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Ways to Die in Glasgow Kitties Are Not Good To Eat Rediscovering Humility
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
The Lord's Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New Covenant Dry Hard The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
 Small Town Nightmare The Complaints My Sister, the Serial Killer</a
3 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Curse on the Land  They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse
4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Fletch (Audiobook) The Frame-Up Play Dead
5 Stars Still Deciding 4 Stars
Them            
5 Stars            

Still Reading:

John Owen vol 4 Grounded in Heaven      

Reviews Posted:

Book Challenge Progress:

Angel's Guilty Pleasures You Had Me at Woof (Audiobook) by Julie Klam, Karen White
The Complaints by Ian Rankin
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
They Promised Me the Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner
Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg, Laura Hicks
Play Dead by David Rosenfelt, Grover Gardner

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair
The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann
Be Brave, Little Puffy by Arline Cooper
The Summer Holidays Survival Guide by Jon Rance
Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips
Kitties Are Not Good To Eat by Cassandra Gelvin
Dry Hard by Nick Spalding
Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett
You Had Me at Woof (Audiobook) by Julie Klam, Karen White
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Her Last Move by John Marrs
Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Downby Christopher Hutchinson
The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair
The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann
Be Brave, Little Puffy by Arline Cooper
The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley
Degrading Orbits by Bradley Horner
The Summer Holidays Survival Guide by Jon Rance
Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips
Kitties Are Not Good To Eat by Cassandra Gelvin
Dry Hard by Nick Spalding
Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett

✔ Read an audio book with multiple narrators: Ways to die in Glasgow by Heather Wilds, Napoleon Ryan
✔ Read a book you chose based on the cover: Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips: A heart-wrenching noir love story.

How was your month?

Saturday Miscellany – 12/1/18

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:

  • Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud by Mike Lupica — Sunny Randall’s back (the last of Parker’s series’ protagonists), and was pretty entertaining, as I recently noted.
  • The Wraith by Jeffery H. Haskell — set in his Arsenal universe, Haskell introduces a darker hero.


Saturday Miscellany – 11/24/18

Naturally, after a big week last week — a small list. But I quite like the list of 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:

    A Book-ish Related Podcast Episode you might want to give a listen to:

  • Recommended: Jane Mount and Oyinkan Braithwaite I don’t listen to every episode of this podcast, honestly. Usually only if there’s a guest like/want to hear from or at least one book I want to hear someone talk about. This episode features people less-than-3’ing The Phantom Tollbooth and Jane Eyre — Braithwaite charmed me, I was very pleased when I realized she was the author of My Sister the Serial Killer, which I’d just checked out from the library.

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

  • Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch — the gloves are off and the Folly (and the rest of the Metropolitan Police) are giving everything they have to take down the Faceless Man. Best of the series, a href=”https://wp.me/p3z9AH-3Ah&#8221; target=”_blank”>as I said recently.
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite — Not only does Braithwaite had great taste in books (see above), she’s written a witty and dark tale of a Nurse who finds her self trying to protect a sister with a knack for killing her boyfriends.
  • August by Jim Lusby — A dark crime story involving child abuse, the drug trade, populist politicians and more in Ireland. Bought it instantly, and trying to find a spot in my calendar for it.
  • Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove — The first Firefly novel — a job for Badger goes wrong. Whoda thunk it?

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome to Moonlight Snow, Fashion-Creative thinking and jennifertarheelreader for following the blog this week.

Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day/Thursday

(depending on your location/preference)

When I think about all the great things that have happened around the blog and behind the scenes this year leaves me at a loss for words, let me list a few things I’m thankful for — a very incomplete list, I assure you:

    • The readers of this blog, the authors who’ve corresponded with me/provided books for me to read/encouraged me — even promoted this here project. The messages of support/care/encouragement that we received from you all when my son got his kidney were inexpressibly helpful.
    • The publicists, publishers, book tour hosts, etc. I’ve been working with this year who’ve especially made things great — I typically hesitate to mention any by name, so as to not inadvertently miss anyone and cause offense (and make me feel bad). But I want to mention two by name this year — Lori Hettler of TNBBC Publicity and Emma at damppebbles blog tours. You two have expanded (and pushed) my boundaries this year, exposed me to some great reads I’d have not tried, and put up with my quirks and memory lapses with grace.
    • Books
    • Authors!
    • Books
    • Coffee (and other beverages both caffeinated and adult)
    • Books
    • Time to read
    • Books
    • Easily finding an appropriate image for this post for the second year in a row
    • Books
    • Easily finding an appropriate image for this post for a change
    • Audiobooks and talented narrators
    • The Nampa Public Library (and The LYNX! Consortium) — and their generous grace period
    • Books
    • Rediscovered Books and Libro.fm
    • Books
    • Goodreads, WordPress, NetGalley, BookLikes
    • Books
    • Evernote (but you’re making it harder)
    • Books
    • Organ Transplants (just to get serious for a moment)</li)
    • Authors!
    • Authors!

My supportive, understanding and encouraging wife and kids who do a pretty decent job pretending to care when their old man drones on and on about what he’s reading or what’s going on with the blog.

  • Again, all of you who read, follow, like, tweet, comment, email, etc. this page — you have no idea how much every little bit is appreciated.

Craig Johnson in Boise

I put off posting this to go along with the blog post for the book. Which I expected to do a month and a half ago. Whoops.

To celebrate the release of his new book in September, Rediscovered Books brought Craig Johnson to town for a reading, signing and whatnot — continuing something they’ve been doing since Johnson first started doing public appearances.

Johnson started off talking about his connection with Rediscovered and the early days of touring and public appearances. Then he sifted into talking about the new book (The Depth of Winter) and some of the preparation work he did for the book — including a snowy trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and a visit to Mexico where his guide kept insisting that he not tell anyone who he was (he’d be too attractive to kidnappers).

He did a little reading from the first chapter of the book — Johnson comes across as a natural at this. No offense to George Guidall, but Johnson would make a great Longmire audiobook narrator. Then he shifted to audience questions — which ranged from some talk about the TV series (maybe too much of that, but that’s probably just me) to the similarities between Vic and Mrs. Johnson to some of the early writing of the series. Johnson quickly and deftly transitioned from an answer to the question to an anecdote along the same lines, giving the audience member what they wanted to know and more. It was really one of the better Q&A sessions that I’ve been present for.

Then the signing kicked off — when my friend and I got close we heard a great story about Grace Slick’s reaction to The Western Star (I’d have paid good money for that story). My friend got in a good question and then it was my turn. And I got a refresher on why I blog instead of doing a podcast or vlog. Aside from one almost clever response to something he said, all I could muster up was 3-4 “Thank You”s to getting the picture, his signature and whatnot. No interesting question, no insightful comment about the series, observation about his work — or even an articulate appreciation for something about his writing. Nope. Just “Thank you,” and a feeling of inadequacy and inarticulateness.

Before the event, while my friend and I were waiting in line to pay for parking, I see a gentleman walk up wearing a large hat. I mutter something to myself about hoping I didn’t get stuck behind this guy, because between that hat and his height, there was no way I’d be able to see Johnson. Actually, given the “Western wear” the guy was sporting, he could almost pass for Johnson, I remember thinking. Except this gentleman was younger than I remembered pictures of Johnson appearing. Naturally, about ten minutes later, we’re talking to people sitting in the same row who talked about riding up in the elevator with Johnson. I said something about talking myself out of thinking he was in line behind us for parking. They replied with something about the green plaid shirt and I felt like the world’s worst fan. Clearly, I care more about a writer’s words than his appearance. On the plus side, not recognizing him spared both of us the opportunity to unleash my eloquence on him earlier.

That aside, it was a great night — Johnson can tell a story in person as well as he can on paper. Sure, the audience was already predisposed to enjoy him — but he kept our attention and rewarded it. If you have a chance, I highly recommend going to one of his public appearances — you’ll have a blast.

Saturday Miscellany – 11/17/18

If there are problems with any of the links/etc in this post, I apologize. My 27 lb. Pug/Beagle mix decided to jump onto my lap while I was finishing this post — I saved the laptop by milliseconds — and I’m typing this with my laptop laying ridiculously high on my chest (my beard is covering the touchpad and space bar). Awkward to say the least.

What a week . . . Stan Lee’s death — while we’ve been aware it was coming some day — shook me as much as it did other fans who appreciated his work (if not always his personal ethics) and his legacy. But the news of William Goldman’s death yesterday? I was stunned — which is strange, it’s not like he’d produced anything lately that grabbed me, but between his movies (The Right Stuff in particular — a fantastic adaptation) and his novels, he really affected the way Middle/High School me thought about the written word. The fact that the same mind produced The Princess Bride and Marathon Man/Brothers??? I think I was a sophomore when I read the latter two — pretty much up to that point everyone I read wrote in the same genre, focusing on the same kind of stories. But Goldman permanently changed the way I thought about the range an author could have — as well as trips to the dentist. One other note — did you see this tweet from Jonny Geller about the opening to the Butch Cassidy screenplay? If not, give it a read — that’s writing. The idea that we don’t have the man who can do that kind of writing in this world any more is tragic.

Anyway, I’ve got a good crop of 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 pinnaclemotivation, wittysarcasticbookclub, AlbertHolmes, and The Sunday Feeling for following the blog in some form this week.