Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

Like The Witches, my wife and I read this book outloud to each other, only this time I did the majority of the reading.  I started over our 3 hour drive home from the beach on Sunday and blew through half of the book, practically yelling to cover the noise from having the top off of our jeep.  These are very fun, easy reads, extremely enjoyable.  Sharing them with someone you love, creating different voices for the characters, such fun.
Now this probably indicates that we should have kids rather than two grown people reading them to each other (even our dog in the backseat tuned out most of the story), but this is who we are, and it was damn enjoyable.

Monday, July 29, 2013

World of Wonders, by Robertson Davies

  • Title:  World of Wonders (book 3 in the Deptford Trilogy)
  • Author:  Robertson Davies
  • Borrowed from Coworker
  • Started: 7/22/2013
  • Finished: 7/29/2013 (at 3 am on a sleepless sunday night/monday morning...)
I wanted to really like this book, the final chapter in the Deptford Trilogy, but if I'm being honest this book was a let down to me.  The first book (the fifth business) was just amazing, and the next two so much less so, to me.  But I see from online reviews that I am in the minorty, many consider World of Wonders to be the best of the bunch.  Maybe I've been reading too many hack-mysteries...
Very happy to have read these three books, and grateful to my coworkers for the recommendation.

And Be A Villian, by Rex Stout

Much as I enjoy the Nero Wolfe audio books, I really need to take a break from them.  A few too many in a row, which is a shame for this book b/c it was very good.  Especially b/c Stout introduces Wolfe's "Moriarty," a shadowy figure called Arnold Zeck.  I understand this is the first in the Zeck-Trilogy, so I might skip ahead and listen to the next two if available.  After a decent interval to enjoy a few different authors, that is.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Manticore, by Robertson Davies

  • Title:  The Manticore (Book 2 of The Deptford Trilogy)
  • Aurhor:  Robertson Davies
  • Borrowed from Coworker
  • Started:  7/18/2013
  • Finished: 7/21/2013
Book two of The Deptford Trilogy was interesting, but not nearly as good as The Fifth Business.  Not even close, and it wouldn't make for much of a stand-alone novel in my opinion.  But it did add depth to The Fifth Business, and I suspect will help flesh out the trilogy as a whole. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies

  • Title:  The Fifth Business (Book 1 of The Deptford Trilogy)
  • Author:  Robertson Davies
  • Borrowed from Coworker
  • Started: 7/11/2013
  • Finished: 7/17/2013
A coworker gave me this book a while back, but I had several books lined up so it took me a while to get started.  The volume I have is huge, because it contains all three books that make up The Deptford Trilogy, the book this post is about, The Fifth Business, is book one of that trilogy.
This was a very entertaining book, something of a coming of age story, mystery, and a generational drama.  It reminded me a little of a book I read a few years ago, Barney's Version, and not just b/c both are by Canadian authors.  Anyway, thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy, especially b/c the murder mystery appears to have been solved at the end of the first book... will that prove to not be the case as I continue on?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not Quite Dead Enough, by Rex Stout, also contains the story "Booby Trap

I had listened to this book before, years ago when I first discovered both these downloadable audio books from the library, as well as the Nero Wolfe series.  My  memory is terrible, so I didn't remember the mystery and knew it would be no trouble to listen to this one again.
I enjoyed both stories (both short).  I have read that many people dislike the first (Not Quite Dead Enough) and I can understand that, it is a little rough around the edges.  In particular the narrator, Archie Goodwin, usually so entertaining, is a bit too smug and mysoginistic.  But the mystery is one of the best, it has a great twist at the end which I recount here not to spoil the book for anyone (don't read further if you don't want it spoiled), but so I can remember it later:  the twist is that the initial reports of a murder were false, but the (would-be) murdered overheard that the murder had been committted, and how, and then rush to committ the murder in that fashion.  I'm butchering the twiste here so maybe it wouldn't spoit it for anyone anyhow, but it is enough to jog my memory.
The second story, Booby Trap, is much smoother although the mystery is somewhat ridiculous.  Still it it too has a very surprising ending, with Nero Wolfe allowing (commanding?) the murder to commit suicide by hand grenade (I'm not making that up). 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Far Side of the World, by Patrick O'Brian

These Aubrey/Maturin books (aka Master & Commander) have hit a good stride now, I loved the last one (book 9, Treason's Harbour) which took place mostly on land; now comes The Far Side of the World which takes place mostly on water.  This was a fun, exciting book, and now that I've spend 10 novels with these characters I really feel like I know them.  I've said it before but the guy reading these books, Simon Vance, is amazing.  I really lose myself in these books, and can't believe I'm at the half-way point in the series now.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dr. No, by Ian Fleming

  • Title:  Dr. No
  • Author:  Ian Fleming
  • Borrowed via Amazon.com Kindle Library
  • Started: 07/01/2013
  • Finished:  7/10/2013
Well so much for the "From Russia With Love" cliff-hanger.  The start of Dr. No sums up very quickly how Bond survived the poisening, pretty lamely I might add.  Still Dr. No was a fun read, much sillier perhaps than the earlier books.  This one reads more like a typical Bond movie (sexy, often nude, girl, evil genius who must explain his entire plan, overly elaborate method to kill Bond, hidden fortress, etc.) but we don't really spend much time with Dr. No, the titular character.

The book has a lot of short comings, but still fun as hell and easy to read.  And while the death of Dr. No is pretty anti-climactic (burried under tons of bird poop), it doesn't matter much b/c Dr. No really isn't an important part of the book.  His empire/fortress/gang is, but Dr. No himself could be removed from the book without much trouble.
One final note about the Kindle version -- this is the first time I have had an issue with formatting of a volume that is sold as a Kindle book.  There were several coding issues where you would see "–" (without quotes) instead of a dash ("-").  Or at least I assume it was supposed to be a dash.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Alienist, by Caleb Carr

  • Title:  The Alientist
  • Author:  Caleb Carr
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (ebook)
  • Started:  6/1/2013
  • FInished:  7/2/2013
I don't enjoy panning books, and when I first discovered this title I thought it sounded like a fun read.  But my hopes for a good book were quickly dashed, and I struggled to finish the novel (that's why it took me a month for what should have been a quick beach-style read). 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Over My Dead Body, by Rex Stout

  • Title:  Over My Dead Body
  • Author:  Rex Stout
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Audio Book)
  • Started:  6/24/2013
  • Finished:  7/1/2013
Quick update just to get this one on the blog, mostly forgettable Nero Wolfe mystery.