Sunday, July 30, 2023

29. Crosstalk

By Connie Willis (512 pp, ebook)

I can't tell you how much it pains me to pan a Connie Willis book. I loved the Blackout/All Clear duology and I re-read The Doomsday Book during the pandemic. I loved To Say Nothing of the Dog and I enjoyed reading Passage, even if I had problems with it. I found this one a slog. It's about a young woman who works in technology. Her partner convinces her to get a medical treatment that will make them more emotionally connected and instead it makes her telepathic. With everyone. There were too many missed calls and misheard communications and the main character's family barging in with goofy problems. It wasn't that funny or romantic. But it had moments. I think it would have worked as a 300 page story.

Friday, July 14, 2023

28. The Ferryman

By Justin Cronin (560 pp, ebook)

I LOVED the Passage books. If I didn't have 300 books in my to read pile I might read them again. This one is about a utopian island where when a person's well-being breaksdown they go across the water to be remade. The Ferryman is the guy that guides them on this journey. But there is a lot going on in this world and it starts to unravel. I enjoyed reading it but didn't love it like the Passage books.

Friday, July 7, 2023

27. Slow Horses

By Mick Herron (366 pp)

I read about this writer in the New Yorker last year and started the TV series and got this book. It's another crime book with MI5 spies that made mistakes and have been sent down to Slough House where they have nothing important to do. A young man is kidnapped and the kidnappers announce they will execute him live on the Internet. It's hard to summarize in a few sentences because there are all kinds of twists and surprises. I really enjoyed it -- great characters! I love the TV series. Gary Oldman is incredible. My only issue is I had a little bit of character fatigue. It takes a lot of characters for stories like this and if I can't pick up the book for a couple days I have trouble keeping track.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

26. A Brief History of Seven Killings

By Marlon James (686 pp, also audiobook)

It took me over a year to get through this book. Don't get me wrong: it is amazing writing and a great story. But for this reader, it was tough going. It's set in Jamaica and the story is around the events of the attempted assignation of Bob Marley. There are several sections starting in 1976 and ending in 1991. It's told in a number of voices, many with a heavy patois (if that's the correct way to use that word). It's also super violent and graphic and also meandered at times. I had trouble getting into the book so I got the audiobook and thought listening and reading at the same time would help me stick with it. And it did except then I could only work on the book when I could sit there with the audiobook. I eventually switched back and forth, some parts reading and some parts listening, sometimes going back over a part twice. The audiobook is a fantastic performance. It's a really great book and I recommend. But I had to put in some effort to finish it.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

25. The Man Who Died Twice

By Richard Osman (352 pp)

I picked up a box of books from Mom's to add to our little free library donations and this was in there. It's a murder mystery where the main characters are in a retirement home. They are hilarious. It starts with one of the character's ex-husband and some stolen diamonds. (I recently saw someone misspell stolen as stollen and it made me smile because stollen is a favorite German holiday treat in this house.) And it goes on to involve various bad guys and gals. I really enjoyed the humor and characterization.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

24. Sea of Tranquility

By Emily St. James Mandel (255 pp)

I love this author's writing so much -- she is able to create a whole mood, scene, or character in just a page or two. This is a time traveler story that overlaps with the characters of The Glass Hotel. Also there's a pandemic. The story takes place with different characters in different moments in time but tied together by the time traveler. It's really good, but not my favorite of hers.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

23. Silo

By Hugh Howey (595 pp ebook)

I had a DNF before this -- it's a book I want to read but I need to wait for a time when I have some big chunks of reading time to get into it. Meanwhile, I started this. This is one of those dystopian future series set in a world where the planet is poisonous for human life and people live in silos dug deep into the ground. It starts off fast and is a fun read with lots of action and twists. But it got long for me. I intended to read the entire trilogy but after I slogged through the last 200 pages of this one, I decided to come back to it later.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

22. Amy Falls Down

By Jincy Willett (324 pp)

Hannah recommended this book to me years ago. Amy is aging novelist who teaches writing and fits the description of a curmudgeon. She falls down and bangs her head and this sets off a series of gently escalating events that leads to hilarious adventures. Lots of insightful bits about writing and publishing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

21. Moon Called (Mercy Thompson 1)

By Patricia Briggs (304 ebook)

This is my first Mercy Thompson. I've been curious to read one of these books since they are set in Washington in the Tri-Cities area. She's a shape-shifter and everyone in the story is a werewolf or a vampire or some sort of creature. She get tangled up in a battle of creatures. It's fun and page turny but I don't love the "magical Indigenous people" aspect.

Friday, May 5, 2023

20. Diving Into the Wreck

By Kristine Kathryn Rusch (336 ebook)

I feel like I already wrote about this one but I don't see it on the list. I read the first part in Asimov's years ago and remember liking it so I grabbed the book. The story is set in space where people "dive wrecks" meaning they go into derelict spaceships. Some people do it for salvage but the MC takes tourists out and also researches the ships from a historical perspective. In the story, she finds some interesting technology and has many adventures dealing with it. Great world building.

Friday, April 28, 2023

19. The Pleasing Hour

By Lily King (256 ebook)

This isn't my favorite Lily King that I've read. It's about a young American woman who is a au pair in Paris. The story jumps around in time and it felt like threads were dropped and it was sometimes hard to follow. The writing and characterization are great but also this character makes some aggravating decisions.

Look how many books I read in March and April -- 11! Yeah, a lot of them were short. But also I was recovering from Covid and we had a long wet spring. I can read a lot if the circumstances are right.

Monday, April 17, 2023

18. So Quick Bright Things Come to Confusion

By Caren Gussoff Sumption (114 pp)

Caren is one of my Clarion West classmates and it was great to read something new from her. This is about a guy who is part of a space mission on another planet who befriends a resident creature of that planet while the space mission does some sketchy studies. It's sweet and disturbing and funny and sad. Terrific characters and world building.