Monday, July 28, 2008

The Killer Inside Me, by Jim Thompson

It took me a bit longer than I thought, but I finally did finished The Killer Inside Me late last night.  While I liked the book, I had the sneaking suspicion that I had read it before.  That's why I started this blog, I could never remember if I had read certain books.  I mean, I know I've read the big or famous ones, but the more fringe or pulp books like this, I can never remember. 
Anyway, I might have read it before (I know I have read or watched the part where the protagonist gets the kid to take the fall for him) but not positive, I don't think I've seen the movie, but hell I could be wrong about that too.  Maybe I need to add a blog about movies I've watched.  I did like the books, it was fast & gritty, somewhat disturbing but overall a fast paced fun read. 
Not sure what is up next.  I might start The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break, or The Detective.  But those are the last two book I have to read from my AbeBooks purchase, so I might save them for the beach.  I'll try to head to the public library today if I can to restock on free books.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore

Enjoyed this book quite a bit. I had gotten the recommendation to Lamb, as well as to a few other recent books I've read or plan to read (Ender's Game, The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break, etc.) from a forum on Lamb was a fun read, covering the life of Jesus (Joshua) from his birth through the crucifixion, all written in modern American English from a recently revived Biff, Joshua's best friend.

Lamb was all in good fun, and although some parts were glossed over or, conversely, ran on a bit too much, overall it was a fun read. The one part of the book I did not like was the ending, it felt rushed and suddenly the protagonist (Biff) wasn't acting anything like the character we had learned about throughout the novel. I suppose the shock of watching your best friend/son of god die could cause you to act irrationally, still it felt like the writer ran out of ideas and just rushed through this part. Otherwise a very enjoyable read.

After I finished the book yesterday I started reading The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson. Killer looks like it will be a fun, fast, and maybe a little disturbing read. Looking forward to finishing this one, which might be today.

On a side note, as I mentioned before I got all the books from AbeBooks because I was ordering one book for my wife (Short Lines) and decided if I'd spend the money on that used book, I'd get a few others I'd wanted to read that were not available at the public library. Well the first seller I tried to buy Short Lines from canceled the order after about a week. No problem chose a second seller. That second seller also canceled the order after about a week. I've always like AbeBooks, but this is incredible frustrating. I was trying to avoid using Amazon Marketplace, but that's exactly when I ended up doing. I ordered Short Lines once again, this time via Amazon Marketplace, we'll see if my wife's book finally arrives. Assuming it does, I may have to take a break from AbeBooks for a while. This experience soured them for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Ruins [Movie]

Forgot to mention in my earlier post, my wife and I watched the movie version of The Ruins last night. Pretty entertaining, different enough from the book the make me wonder what might happen next. For the most part the director just had the same thing happen to different characters, and then changed the ending so that their could be a sequel.

My wife had not read the book, so she was scared & surprised most of the way through. She usually does much better than I do with horror films (I'm a huge wimp for most of them) but for this one I was the braver one. If you do read the book, I'd watch the movie next to see what you think.

Legend & Lamb

As expected I finished all the short stories in the book I Am Legend at the beach this weekend. I didn't care for any of them really. Interesting enough, but not great by any means. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I did really like I Am Legend.

Last night I started on Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. I can't tell if I'll like this one or not, I'm only 10 or 20 pages into it right now.

I didn't get to the public library on Friday, so I'll have to try to go this week. I have a decent number of books at home now (via my recent purchases) but I'd rather save some of those for beach/pool trips.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend is really a novella, coming in at about 160 pages in my newer paperback edition. I didn't realize when I ordered it that the book contained I Am Legend as well as 6 or so other short stories. I finished I Am Legend last night, then read 3 or 4 of the short stories as well, I'll probably finish them all.

I liked I Am Legend. I was biased to like it already though, I wanted to like it, so I probably didn't read it with a very critical eye. Still I did enjoy it, and found myself wanting to finished it each time I picked it up, finally just laying on the couch last night when I came home from work and polishing it off after a couple of hours (much to my dog's dismay... I took her out for a walk first, but forgot to feed her!). The ending was about what I had imagined, I did not foresee that some of the vampires were real (dead) and others were just infected, but alive, and that it is the alive but infected ones who create the new world order. But I did already know that the protagonist was the last of his kind (we assume) and that he, not the vampires, is the legend.

So I did enjoy it, and would recommend it. As I own this book (my library didn't carry a copy) I'll pass it on to a coworker or friend as I have no desire to keep very many books around the house.

I'm not sure what is coming up next. I'll probably go to the library today (day off), we're heading to the beach this afternoon, so it will depend on what I find there. I will probably finish the other short stories in the Matheson book first, but those wont take long. I've got plenty of options, but at the library and the ones that I ordered on AbeBooks recently (all but 2 have arrived at this point).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Liquidator by John Gardner

This was a short novel & a quick read.  Decent enough, although I'm not sure I'll bother reading any other books in the series.  I enjoyed the Fleming's Bond books when I finally got around to reading them a year or so ago, but I so far I don't love any of these knock-off/parody Bond books.  No luck on watching the movie version though, Netflix let me down.  If I can't find anything at the public library on my next visit, I'll consider picking up the second Boysie Oakes novel in this series, Understrike.
When I finished the book last night (the last library book I had at home) I started on the paperback version of I Am Legend which had arrived from an AbeBooks vendor that same day.  The copy I have is from the recent movie remake (I've seen all the versions, gotta love "The Omega Man"), picture of Will Smith on the cover.  I didn't love this recent movie version, but the book so far is very entertaining.  Although I already know (I think) the twist at the end, I've always wanted to read this book so I think it will go pretty quickly.
My wife & I are headed to the beach Friday afternoon for an overnight stay.  I'll probably finish I Am Legend on this trip, or at least come close.  I don't need or desire to keep any of these books around, so if I had any readers on this blog I'd volunteer to send the book to them after I was done.  Since I don't, I'll probably offer it up to a coworker.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One More For The "To Read" List

The whole reason I was looking at AbeBooks last week was to get a specific book for my wife that wasn't available at the library. When I found it, and it was cheap, I decided to go through the list of books I want to read (I keep this in a text file on my cell phone) to find the ones that the library didn't carry.

A few days after I placed the order for the 6 books (5 for me, one for my wife) the seller of the book for my wife emailed to say they no longer had the book available. So the one book that prompted my spending spree on used books wasn't even available any longer.

I went back online, found another copy of the book, but when I went to order I thought of yet another book that I've always wanted to read (I've seen several movie versions of it) but also wasn't held by the library: I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson.

Added to the reading list:
Purchased for my wife:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Revenge of Moriarty by John Gardner

This was the second in a two part series (according to some articles there was supposed to be a third Moriarty book) and I liked them both reasonably well. I didn't love them, but they were decent reads. I read all the Holmes short stories about a year ago published in The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie S. Klinger, and that was a great read. Of course the Holmes stories are good, but the annotations really made it worth my time. The short stories are presented in two huge (and handsome) volumes, and there is a third volume (which I was unable to locate at the library) of the annotated novels. I should check the library to see if they now have that volume.

Back to the book at hand: I liked this book, it made a nice complement to the first Moriarty book, but I felt they were both lacking something.

Up next is the first book in the same author's (Gardner) Boysie Oakes series, The Liquidator. Some quick internet searching shows me that in 1965 they made this book into a movie, staring Rod Taylor. That's interesting (at least to me) because Rod Taylor was the first (and best) actor to portray Travis McGee on the screen, in Darker Than Amber. I still have a copy of that VHS around here somewhere (courtesy of eBay), it's not a great movie, but if you're a Travis McGee fan, it is worth checking out.

So when I finish reading The Liquidator, I'll have to Netflix the movie to see how it compares.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Books On My "To Read" List

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break; by Steven Sherrill
The Detective; by Roderick Thorp
Nothing Lasts Forever; by Roderick Thorp
The Killer Inside Me; Jim Thompson
Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal; by Christopher Moore

The above are not at the DC Public Library, so I purchased all of them (except Nothing Lasts Forever) from AbeBooks and expect to start receiving them in a week or so. I don't like to buy books, prefer to borrow from the library, but I was able to get all of the above books plus one other book for my wife for under $20, including shipping.

Selected Books Read In 2008, Part I

I ended up starting Revenge of Moriarty last night, I read the previous Moriarty book last week (Return of Moriarty). I'm guessing a week or so before I finish.

A few of the books I've read in 2008 (all borrowed from the DC Public Library):

I wish there was a way to get a list from the library of books I've checked out. This is all I can come up with now but I know I've read many more. I go through reading fits, right now I'm in one, and I run through many books. Other times I don't touch a book for weeks.

I liked all of the above novels. I loved Caine Mutiny, Ender's Game, and Soon I will be Invincible. But I really liked all of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Ruins by Scott Smith

Liked it a lot for what it was, a reasonably scary, slightly campy horror/suspense novel.

Next up is one of two books from John Gardner, either Revenge of Moriarty, or The Liquidator.

Books I'm Reading

I've been wanting to do this for years, finally going to give it a try. I'll be listing the books I'm reading starting today, later on I may list books I've read in the past. I'll try to note when I started & finished each book, how I got the book (library, amazon, bookstore, etc.) and then a quick rundown of what I thought of it.

Right now I'm reading "The Ruins" by Scott Smith.