Thursday, September 29, 2016

Running Blind, by Lee Child

  • Title:  Running Blind
  • Author:  Lee Child
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (Kindle Edition)
  • Started: 9/26/2016
  • Finished: 9/29/2016
These Jack Reacher books are some of the worst things I've ever read, and dammit, I can't stop reading them.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Haunted Hotel, by Wilkie Collins

  • Title:  The Haunted Hotel
  • Author:  Wilkie Collins
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library Audiobook
  • Started:  9/22/2016
  • Finished: 9/26/2016
I always want to like Wilkie Collins more than I do, The Haunted Hotel was no different.  So much melodrama, just not my thing.

Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age, by Dan Zak

Book club book, saving comments for the club meeting.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Flashman and the Redskins, by George MacDonald Fraser

  • Title:  Flashman and the Redskins
  • Author:  George MacDonald Fraser
  • Borrowed from Fairfax, VA Public Library
  • Started:  9/15/2016
  • Finished: 9/22/2016
Woah -- this was an amazing book.  This must be the best in the series, I'm not sure I'll even bother to read others.

As you may recall, I had so far read books one through four in the Flashman series.  Book three, Flash for Freedom, ends with Flashy hoping to escape America (where he is wanted on a variety of charges) to get back to the UK.

Today's book, Flashman and the Redskins, is book seven in the series.  I have not read books five and six, but only because they are not available in any library around me.  Since Fraser did not write the events in the Flashman papers in order, it just so happens that where book three ends, book seven begins.

What is amazing about this book is its scope and depth.  This is really two books in one.  In the first half, the typical young Flashy is fleeing for his life, rogering women, selling slaves, and generally being the cowardly ass we all know and love.  Flashy gets married twice (once to a bordello madam, the other time to an Apache).  Flash throws in with scalp hunters, lives with the Apaches, escapes with the aid of Kit Carson, and eventually makes his was back to England as his wife.

The second half (both halves are written as full length books) is 25+ years in the future.  A now early 50's Flashman returns to American with his wife.  Through a series of events that would be preposterous if you had not read other Flashman books, Flashy ends up in the middle of the battle of the little big horn in formal evening wear.

I won't go through the entire plot, but it was extremely funny, surprisingly moving, and overall a wonderful read.  Hard to imagine any Flashman book coming close to topping this one.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, by Dominick Dunne

Title: The Two Mrs. Grenvilles
Author: Dominick Dunne
Borrowed from Little Library in Ocean City, me
Started: 9/5/2016
Finished: 9/18/2016

My wife picked this one up while at the beach at the end of August.  She liked it, so I read it next.  I enjoyed it as well, very gossipy and high society.  Very entertaining.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Post Captain, by Patrick O'Brian

  • Title:  Post Captain
  • Author:  Patrick O'Brian
  • Borrowed from DC Public Library (AudioBook)
  • Started: 9/9/2016
  • Finished: 9/15/2016
Book 2 in the Aubrey/Maturin series, and my second time around on this series.  Going much slower with it this time, not sure when I'll get to book 3.

I enjoyed this one a lot more than the first time I read it.  The first time, I wanted more sea action -- this one has a lot of the Jane Austin on the shore romance stuff, but a second reading (now knowing all the characters and the general plot already), I picked up on much more than the first go-around.

The sly humor, mostly.  I'm certain I missed much of that the first time.  I had a much firmer grasp on what was going on both directly and indirectly in the book.  This is just an outstanding series.  

Friday, September 9, 2016

Flashman at the Charge, by George MacDonald Fraser

  • Title:  Flashman at the Charge
  • Author:  George MacDonal Fraser
  • Borrowed from Fairfax, VA Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started:  9/5/2016
  • Finished: 9/8/2016
Book four in the Flashman series, this was probably my second least favorite so far -- but it was still excellent.  Online accounts claim this was the authors favorite in the series.

My dislike of it comes from Flashie acting as much less of a coward (which I admire) and much more of a hero.  Even discounting the drugged up Flashie heroics near the end of the book, Flashie's overall tone in this one is much more reverent of the actions of his comrades in arms.  This appears to be totally at odds with the frightened, save your skin Flashman of the other volumes.

Still enjoyable, glad I found this series.  But between Flashman and Lew Archer, I'm getting tired of writing "MacDonald" all the time in these posts...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Archer Files, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title:  The Archer Files (complete short stories of Lew Archer)
  • Author:  Ross MacDonald
  • Purchased Used on (print)
  • Started:  8/26/2016
  • Finished: 9/5/2016
This was an interesting, if not excellent, collection of stories.  They all read a rough drafts/outlines for later novels.  Some of them clearly are, you can see the outline of two stories clearly (The Doomsters, and The Ivory Grin), but bits a pieces from other stories are throughout.

Archer is a lot tougher in these (kills several people), and they're not anywhere near as polished as the novels.  Still, these made for fun occasional reading at night before bed.

It's been Lew Archer all the time for me.  Going to take a break and read a few other books before coming back to my favorite detective.

The Wycherly Woman, by Ross MacDonald

  • Title:  The Wycherly Woman
  • Author:  Ross MacDonald
  • Borrowed from Fairfax, VA Public Library (Audiobook)
  • Started: 9/1/2016
  • Finished: 9/5/2016
A reasonably good, if not great, Archer novel.  Not nearly as good as the previous entry, The Galton Case.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

9 Dragons, by Michael Connelly

Title: 9 Dragons
Author: Michael Connelly
Borrowed from "little library" in Northside Park, in Ocean City, MD
Started: 8/26/2016
Finished: 9/1/2016

A pretty terrible and forgettable Harry Bosch novel.  Really pretty ridiculous plot, even for a series like this one. But when at the beach looking for a book to pass the leisure hours you take what you can get.

The Galton Case, by Ross MacDonald

Title:. The Galton Case
Author: Ross MacDonald
Borrowed from Fairfax, VA Public Library (Audiobook)
Started: 8/27/2016
Finished: 9/1/2016

Read this one a few times, but I wanted to pick it up again as it was the next in order in the series.  Love this book, great Lew Archer mystery.