Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What I'm reading

I used to read a LOT -- normally over a 100 books a year, at least since I started keeping track. Over the last few years, though, that has gone down considerably, I guess because I converted a lot of that reading time over to time spent on the internet. I've kind of gotten to the point where I feel guilty for sitting and reading, feeling that I should be doing something more productive. But on the other hand, I feel kind of guilty for not reading, too. It's a vicious circle.

Over the last couple of weeks, and particularly this past weekend, I made up for it a little bit, though. There were several books that came out that I was very excited about, and I pre-ordered them in ebook form, a couple from Amazon/Kindle, and one from Fictionwise.

I also picked up a few books this weekend from the library. Our library recently went through a renovation, and for the last few months the library has been operating out of a storefront in a strip mall. The new, improved library opened up the first of October, and I checked out the "new books" shelves over the weekend and got several things that had been on my wish list.

Bob was out of town, on a fishing trip to the lake, so I spent quite a bit of time reading. I went to Jason's for a late lunch on Saturday, took a book with me, and basically moved in for a couple of hours. Then on Sunday, I never even left the house. It was cold and rainy, and I spent a large part of the day on the bed, reading. It was great.

What I've been reading:

Juliet, Naked:, by Nick Hornby (ebook from Fictionwise)
Most of Hornby's books involve music (for instance, "High Fidelity"). "Juliet, Naked," is about a singer-songwriter--Tucker Crowe--who hasn't been doing any singing, or song writing, for decades, but is still the focus of a group of obsessed fans, and one in particular, a British fan, who is so obsessed that he makes a trip to the United States to stand outside some of the places that the singer had frequented. In fact, the book opens as the fan and his girlfriend are visiting, and taking photos of, the restroom that figured prominently in the singer's folklore. The fan, Duncan, asks his girlfriend, Annie, to take a photo of him pretending to use the urinal.

Then, shortly thereafter, Duncan falls into a relationship with a woman that he works with, and he and Annie break up. "Juliet" was Tucker Crowe's most famous album, written about a woman that he idolized; "Juliet, Naked" is the "unplugged" version that may or may not be an actual album. In a sequence of events that have more to do with some kind of gentle revenge than anything else, Annie starts an email conversation with Tucker Crowe that ends up being more than either of them expected . . .

A wonderful book. I devoured it.

Vicious Circle, by Linda Robertson (paperback from the library)
This was my Sunday book, the one that kept me reading in bed, reading in the bath, reading in my chair, until I finished it. It's one of the witch/werewolf/vampire genre that are so prevalent recently. Persephone Alcmedi is a witch who supplements her income by kenneling werewolves in her basement during the full moon. One of her werewolf friends is murdered, and she is hired to investigate the crime, which turns out to be not as simple as it first sounded. Even without the murder, her life had been getting complicated--first, her grandmother is kicked out of her nursing home and moves in with her, then she finds out that one of the werewolves, a tattooed, pierced lead singer in a heavy metal goth band, has a very strong crush on her.

I really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to two more books in the series, due to be published next year.

Rough Country , by John Sandford (hardback from the library)
This is the book that I took to lunch with me on Saturday. This is one in the Virgil Flowers series rather than Sandford's more usual Lucas Davenport books. Virgil is on vacation, taking part in a fishing tournament, when he gets a call from Lucas that a woman has been shot at a nearby resort, and is asked to go take a look. He does, and it turns out that the resort is a woman-only resort--not specifically lesbian, but mostly. It turns out (as it always does) that there is more there than meets the eye, and Virgil ends up investigating the murder.

I always enjoy Sandford's books, and this one was especially enjoyable.

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories), by Charlaine Harris (ebook from Fictionwise)
This is a collection of Sookie Stackhouse short stories that have been printed in anthologies over the years. This one was a little bit disappointing in that I had read all of the stories already, but I got it at Fictionwise on a 100% rebate promotion, so it wasn't really a loss. The stories are good, and I like having them all in one place, I would just have been happier if they'd been new to me.

The Mall of Cthulhu, by Seamus Cooper (ebook)
I actually picked this one up in the library, and I looked it up at Amazon on my iPhone to read the reviews. I found that the Kindle version was only $2.99, so I went ahead and bought it.

Ted, a barrista at a chain coffeeshop in New England, is still trying to get over the horror of killing a group of vampires when he was at college ten years ago. During that massacre, he saved the life of Laura, who is now an FBI agent. Laura is basically Ted's only friend, since he can't talk about the vampires to anyone else. They aren't actually a couple, since Laura is a lesbian, but they might as well be, bound together as they are.

Ted accidentally finds out about a plot by a group of Cthulhu worshipers who intend to awake the Old Ones and bring about the end of civilization as we know it, and Laura, by virtue of her connection to law enforcement, tries to help stop them. This one is especially fun if you have any knowledge of the old H. P. Lovecraft "Cthulhu Mythos" stories, but it isn't absolutely necessary.


Demon Ex Machina, by Julie Kenner (ebook)
I've been kind of saving this one. I adore Kenner's "Demon Hunting Soccer Mom" series, and this is the latest.

New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear (ebook from Baen)
I'm not totally sure about this one, but I read the sample chapters and, since it was a $5.00 download, went ahead and got it. It's kind of a steampunk/vampire/detective story that reminds me a bit of Kage Baker's novels. I like Elizabeth Bear; I don't generally like "historical" fiction, but we'll see.

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