Friday, January 19, 2018

A Midsummer's Equation, by Keigo Higashino

  • Title:  A Midsummer's Equation
  • Author:  Keigo Higashino
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital.com, via Worchester County (MD) Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started:  1/15/2018
  • Finished:  1/19/2018
Higashino is probably the best twist ending author alive today.  His books are so entertaining, and I have yet to actually solve/guess the final twist.

This book wasn't as tight as the others I've read, but it was still very entertaining and the twists at the end were perfect.  Really enjoy his work.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

Title: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Borrowed from Take one leave one library (paperback)
Started: 1/16/2018
Finished: 1/18/2018

What an enjoyable book. Charming, entering, heartwarming.  Really liked this one. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stone Cold, by Robert B Parker

Title: Stone Cold
Author: Robert B Parker
Borrowed from Take one Leave One library in DC, paperback
Started: 1/14/2018
Finished: 1/15/2018

A Jesse Stone book, enjoyable. 

The Snack Thief, by Andrea Camilleri

Title: The Snack Their
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Borrowed from Fairfax county VA Public Library Audiobook
Started: 1/12/2018
Finished: 1/15/2018

Another Montalbano mystery. Good stuff. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hit Man, by Lawrence Block

  • Title: Hit Man
  • Author:  Lawrence Block
  • Purchased (paperback) at Auction to Benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (Bark Ball)
  • Started: 1/10/2018
  • Finished  1/13/2018
Didnt enjoy this one very much. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Open and Shut, by David Rosenfelt

  • Title:  Open and Shut
  • Author:  David Rosenfelt
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  1/9/2018
  • Finished:  1/11/2018
This is the first in a series, a series which I've avoided because the book covers look too cutesy (all covered with dogs and most with title relating to dogs).  I love dogs, don't have kids and don't want them (much to the dismay of my parents & inlaws) but I'd have dozens of dogs if I could.  But in my downtown condo, one dog is the max (Bica, now 11, lived with us for 10 years, hound love of my life).

But as much as I love dogs, I don't want to read a mystery series centered around them with titles like "Play Dead" and "Dog Tags" and "One Dog Night."

But the first book in the series has no cute dog title, simply "Open & Shut" and it was read by one of my favorite voice actors, Grover Gardner.

With all that said -- I liked this one.  The main character (Andy Carpenter, I think) is wise-cracking, intelligent, and a bit of wimp (although somehow, of course, landing beautiful women).  I thought he seemed very Fletch-like, which I like, though I imagine these books get on the nerves of others.

Anyway, will almost certainly move onto the next one at some point.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Burglars Can't Be Choosers, by Lawrence Block

  • Title:  Burglars Can't Be Choosers
  • Author:  Lawrence Block
  • Purchased (paperback) at Auction to Benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (Bark Ball)
  • Started: 1/6/2018
  • Finished  1/9/2018
Very enjoyable easy read.  My wife read it first and enjoyed it as well.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Title: The Sympathizer
Author: Viet Thank Nguyen
Borrowed from Worcester County MD Public Library (Kindle Edition)
Started: 12/20/2017
Finished: 1/7/2018

Book club book, saving commentary for discussion. 

Faithful Place, by Tana French

Title: Faithful Place
Author: Tana French
Borrowed from Fairfax county VA Public Library Audiobook
Started: 1/1/2018
Finished: 1/7/2018

Another in the series that started with Into the Wood.  So far only enjoyed that first one. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tales from the Old West, Volume One, by Various Authors

Title:. Tales from the Old West, Volume One
Authors: Zane Gray, Max Brand, Louis L'Amore
Borrowed from Fairfax county va public library Audiobook
Started: 12/28/2017
Finished: 12/31/2017

Squeezed one more into 2017.  Loved the second story by Max Brand (Black Sheep), didn't care for the Zane Gray story.  L'Amore was very short but good.  

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Black Money, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title: Black Money 
  • Author: Ross MacDonald 
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (audiobook) 
  • Started: 12/22/2017 
  • Finished: 12/28/2017 
Lew Archer story I read back in 2017 on a road trip, but I can't help myself with these books.  So enjoyable.  Maybe the last book I finish reading in 2017 too.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Terra-Cotta Dog, by Andrea Camilleri

Title: The Terra-Cotta Dog
Author: Andrea Camilleri
Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library
Started: 12/16/2017
Finished: 12/21/2017

Book 2 in the inspector Montalbano series. Very enjoyable. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Shape of Water, by Andrea Camilleri

  • Title:  The Shape of Water
  • Author:  Andrea Camilleri
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  12/12/2017
  • Finished:  12/15/2017
Found this one the way I have so many new series -- searching for books read by a narrator I liked, in this case, Gover Gardner (who reads the Lew Archer series).

I loved this book, a very quick listen.  Good mystery, great characters.  Dialog witty and smart.  Will definitely continue through a few more in the Montalbano series.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Vanishing, by Wendy Webb

  • Title:  The Vanishing
  • Author:  Wendy Webb
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library Audiobook
  • Started:  12/11/2017
  • Finished: 12/12/2017
My quest for great haunted house books continues, not sure where I got the recommendation for this one.  Liked it ok, but didn't love it.  I had a day off in which to relax on a winter day at home and this book helped pass the time pleasantly enough.

The Chill, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title:  The Chill
  • Author:  Ross MacDonald
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (AudioBook)
  • Started: 12/7/2017
  • Finished: 12/10/2017
I was in the mood for something comfortable to listen to, so I opted for my favorite book from the Lew Archer series.  I still love it, in fact, I think I'm going to listen to a few of these over the coming weeks.  They're just about perfect.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Shores of Tripoli: Lieutenant Putnam and the Barbary Pirates, by James L. Haley

Finally made it through this work I've been wanting to read for some time.  The narration isn't great, and the book isn't as good as advertised.  A while back a WSJ book review said this was the American equivilent of the Aubrey/Maturin Master & Commander series -- not quite.  The plot is interesting, but the writing is no where near as good, and overall the feeling is just off.

Having said that, I ultimately enjoyed the book, but it is a poor companion to the beloved Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen, by Laurie R. King


I initially really liked this one, until about the halfway point or so when there was a bizarre switch to a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  That really took me out of the book, and I never found my way back as interested as at the start.  So first half great, second half terrible, in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, by Daniel Mendelsohn

Book club selection by another member.  Saving commentary for the meeting.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson, by Lyndsay Faye

Title: Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson
Author: Lyndsay Faye 
Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library Audiobook
Started: 11/11/2017
Finished: 11/17/2017

Another Holmes pastiche, good stuff. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

MAMA: The Collected Stories of Alice Bozeman Embry, Edited by Anthony Paul Minerva

Rather than review this one, I'm going to do a bit of self promotion.  This one is mine.  I didn't write the stories, my grandmother (Alice Bozeman Embry) did.  But I did edit and publish them. 

I don't expect anyone other than family to purchase/borrow/enjoy this collection, but it meant a lot to me to publish.  And I did read them (hell, I transcribed them), so it counts as one read for my list...

The Whole Art of Detection, by Lyndsay Faye

  • Title:  The Whole Art of Detection
  • Author:  Lyndsay Faye
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County, MD Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 11/4/2017
  • Finished: 11/8/2017

I'm a sucker for Sherlock Holmes pastiches, even bad ones.  Luckily for me, this was a great one, read by my favorite, Simon Vance.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

This House is Haunted, by John Boyne

  • Title:  This House is Haunted
  • Author:  John Boyne
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library 
  • Started: 10/31/2017
  • Finished: 11/3/2017
I wanted to like this one, kept hoping for more, but ultimately it was not scary nor was it that interesting.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Ghost Writer, by John Harwood

Title: The Ghost Writer
Author: John Harwood
Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County Public Library
Started: 10/20/2017
Finished: 10/30/2017

So-so gothic/horror novel. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The House Next Door, by Anne Rivers Siddons

Title: The House Next Door
Author: Anne Rivers Siddons
Purchased from Amazon print edition
Started:10/16/2017
Finished:10/22/2017

Loved this when I read it earlier this year. Cheated a bit and choose it for my book club. Second reading was good, I noticed much more foreshadowing. Still love this book. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Stir of Echos, by Richard Matheson

Title: A Stir of Echos
Author: Richard Matheson
Borrowed from HooplaDigital via Worcester MD Public Library Audiobook
Started: 10/16/2017
Finished: 10/19/2017

Only so-so, I usually like Richard Matheson, and often enjoy ghost stories, but this one felt off. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance, by Jeff VanderMeer


Three books in one big set, more than 20 hours of audio.  As is often the case, the first book was pretty good, the next two only so-so.  

The Likeness, by Tana French

  • Title:  The Likeness
  • Author: Tana French
  • Borrowed From: Fairfax County Public Library (Kindle Edition)
  • Started:
  • Finished: 10/15/2017
Book 2 following on In The Woods.  I loved In the Woods, not so much The Likeness.  It was ok, but not great.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith

  • Title: Strangers on a Train
  • Author: Patricia Highsmith
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 10/1/2017
  • Finished: 10/3/2017
I enjoyed Highsmith's Ripley series, and I've of course seen the movie version of Strangers on a Train.  So I was expecting to love this one, but I didn't.  I liked it well enough, but thought many of the actions & reactions by Guy really seemed very unrealistic.  I couldn't understand the do-nothing-and-hope-it-goes-away attitude.  Highsmith tries to explain it away near the end, but that didn't work for me.

I will say the twist at the very end was great.  I did not see that coming.  Almost made me change my mind on the book, but I'm going to stand firm.  Decent, but not amazing.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers

Title: On Stranger Tides
Author: Tim Powers
Borrowed from Worcester MD Public Library Audiobook
Started: 9/26/2017
Finished: 9/30/2017

Enjoyable book, I don't love fantasy but I don't hate it either.  This was overall a good read. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Brown Dog - Novellas, by Jim Harrison

Title; Brown Dog - Novellas
Author: Jim Harrison
Borrowed from DC Public Library Audiobook
Started: 9/16/2017
Finished; 9/25/2017

The first story in this long collection (close to 20 hours of audiobook) was fantastic.   The stories following got progressively worse, but all were entertaining.  

I'd never heard of the Brown Dog character before, very interesting and enjoyable.  

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Stranger from Tonto, by Zane Grey

Title: Stranger from Tonto
Author: Zane Grey
Borrowed from take one leave one Library in Ocean City MD print edition
Started: 8/8/2017
Finished: 9/23/2017

Another Zane Grey Western, not great.  Left it at the beach so I only read from it periodically, which is why it took so long to finish.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Borrowed from Little Library in DC, Print Edition
Started: 9/16/2017
Finished: 9/17/2017

Wow, what a terrible book. One of the worst I've ever read.  

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

Title: A Gentleman in Moscow
Author: Amor Towles
Purchased from Amazon Kindle Edition
Started: 8/25/2017
Finished: 9/16/2017

Book club book so I'll save the review for the discussion. Overall liked but did not love it.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Other Kingdoms, by Richard Matheson

  • Title:  Other Kingdoms
  • Author:  Richard Matheson
  • Borrowed from Worcester, MD Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 9/13/2017
  • Finished: 9/15/2017
This was not the book I expected, but I really enjoyed it.  A sweet (if that's the right word) fantasy novel.  I've always liked Matheson, loved "I am Legend" and "Hell House".

Part of what made this novel for me was the fantastic narration of Bronson Pinchot.  It took me a while to figure out why I knew that name, but as a child of the 80's it then hit me, "Perfect Strangers."  Anyway, he read this book exceptionally.  So much so, that I will seek out books he's narrated simply because he is reading them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Title:  The Scarlet Letter
  • Author:  Nathaniel Hawthorn
  • Borrowed from HooplaDigital via Worcester MD Public Library, Audiobook
  • Started: 9/62017
  • Finished: 9/13/2017
I continue to play catch up books that should have been required in High School (whom am I kidding, I'd have only read the Cliff Notes version anyway) or college (I did get a degree in literature).  Yet somehow I never read or was assigned The Scarlet Letter.

I liked it, it was different from what I had imagined.  I didn't love it, but probably would have liked it more if I'd read it as part of a discussion group.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cuba Libre, by Elmore Leonard

Title: Cuba Libre
Author: Elmore Leonard
Borrowed via HooplaDigital via Worcester MD Public Library Audiobook
Started: 8/29/2017
Finished: 9/5/2017

Enjoyed this one, solid Elmore Leonard novel. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbor, by Nicholas Monsarrat

  • Title:  HMS Marlborough Will Enter Harbor
  • Author:  Nicholas Monsarrat
  • Borrowed from Hoopla Digital via Worcester County (MD) Public Library
  • Started: 8/20/2017
  • Finished: 8/23/2017
This is actually a collection of three short stories, but I only read the first, and it was as good as expected.  I really loved Monsarrat's "The Cruel Sea" and HMS Marlborough was fantastic.

A Western Duo -- A Man Called Trent, and The Rider of Lost Creek, by Louis L'Amour

A couple of Lance Kilkenny stories, reasonably enjoyable westerns.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane

  • Title:  The Red Badge of Courage
  • Author:  Stephen Crane
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 8/16/2017
  • Finished: 8/18/2017
Read this one once before when I was very young, Jr High I think.  In fact I doubt if I really read it, probably just skimmed it and bought the cliff notes.  No matter what, I did not absorb anything by it at the time.

Reading it now, essentially for the first time, I understand why it is a classic.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

  • Title: Interview with the Vampire
  • Author: Anne Rice
  • Borrowed from Worcester MD Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 7/27/2017
  • Finished: 8/16/2017

Desperate for something to read I decided to give this one a try.  Never a huge vampire fan, I avoided this one when it reached popularity in my youth when the film was due to come out.

I liked the book a reasonable amount -- much of that, I suspect, is due to one of my favorite narrators reading the book -- Simon Vance.  But I give credit to the author for an overall interesting story, even if the background isn't my thing.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Beguiled, by Thomas Cullinan

Title:. The Beguiled
Author: Thomas Cullinan
Borrowed from free library in Northside Park Ocean City MD
Started: 7/25/2017
Finished: 8/11/2017

My wife and I read this one aloud to each other over the course of a few weeks. I know how disgustingly cute that might sound, but we are that kind of couple (sometimes).  Loved the book, and enjoyed reading it out loud.  I've listened to enough audiobooks that it was fun to finally be the one doing the story-telling. 

And this was a great story, really enjoyed the book and our conversations about it as we made our way through it. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

  • Title:  Bleak House
  • Author:  Charles Dickens
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  7/20/2017
  • Finished: (sort of) 7/26/2017

Cheating a bit with this one (more than a bit, really) because I did not come close to finishing this one.  The audiobook was almost 40 hours long (average novel is 6-12 hours, big novels maybe 20-25 hours).  I got about 10 hours in, and was enjoying it, but not enough to keep going for 30 more hours.

Anyway, I got enough of this one to count it for this site.  Not necessarily a "read it" but a "read enough to know I don't need to pick it up again."

The Jealous Kind, by James Lee Burke

  • Title:  The Jealous Kind
  • Author: James Lee Burke
  • Borrowed from Worcester, MD Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 7/26/2017
  • Finished: 8/2/2017
Wanted to like this one more than I did, which is how I think I feel about all Burke novels.  Not quite my thing, but they're read masterfully by Will Patton so I give them a pass...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Exit West, By Mohsi Hamid

Title: Exit West
Author: Mohsi Hamid
Purchased from Amazon Kindle Edition
Started: 7/15/2017
Finished: 7/22/2017

Book club book. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, by Joyce Carol Oates

  • Title:  The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares
  • Author:  Joyce Carol Oates
  • Borrowed from Fairfax County Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 7/14/2017
  • Finished: 7/20/2017

This was a tough collection to get through.  10 hours of audiobook, the titular story (Corn Maiden) comprising the longest overall -- and the best.

The Corn Maiden was a great story, very hard to listen to, yet hard to stop listening to as well.  I really liked this one, although as I said it was tough to get through at times.

The others were all so-so, some better than others, but none nearly as good as the opening.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories, by Agatha Christie

Title: The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories
Author: Agatha Christie
Borrowed from Fairfax county public library Audiobook
Started: 7/11/2017
Finished: 7/13/2017

Didn't love this set of stories. One decent Poirot, and I liked the love story "The Lonely God" but the rest were just ok. The titular story I hated. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara, by Alan Vanneman

Title: Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara
Author:  Alan Vanneman
Borrowed from Fairfax county public library Audiobook
Started: 7/9/2017
Finished: 7/11/2017

Pretty terrible, Watson with a foot fetish...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

In the Woods, by Tana French


  • Title:  In the Woods
  • Author:  Tana French
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 6/30/2017
  • Finished: 7/9/2017
I had read this one before, as it turns out, but prior to starting the blog.  I think I read it in print, not audiobook like this time.  But I loved it both ways, the audiobook version was great.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley

Title: Devil in a Blue Dress
Author: Walter Mosley
Borrowed from take one leave one Library in DC
Started: 7/1/2017
Finished: 7/3/2017

First Easy Rawlins book, pretty good. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Calamity Town, by Ellery Queen

Title: Calamity Town
Author: Ellery Queen
Borrowed from free library in Northside Park, Ocean City MD
Started 6/17/2017
Finished: 7/1/2017

This book was terrible.  I'd never read an Ellery Queen before and won't seek one out anytime soon. The solution to the mystery was obvious, and the melodrama a bore.  

One other note, book didn't really take me three weeks to finish. I started it at the beach in June on day, left the book there, and picked it up on July 1st to finish. Took two days to plow through, only struggling because I was bored with it.