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What Ya Reading in 2022?


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23 hours ago, JLSigman said:

As someone who loves alt history stuff (I enjoyed most of the Lord Baltimore comic series), I've started in on the collected Arrowsmith comics. Not too bad so far, we're getting hints that this is more than what people think, and that War is Hell No Matter the Universe.

Honestly, not bad at all. Right now my local library only has the first collection available through Hoopla, so I'll keep my eye out for more. I love that they went and got someone who writes novels for a living to do a very good write-up of the alternate history leading up to this (somewhat redacted for future plot spoilers).

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I had chipped in on Saladin Ahmed's kickstarter for his Dracula comic, and the hardcover came in the mail a couple days ago. I'm about halfway through it. It's not bad, there's just really not much new or interesting in the story yet, and it's a bit short.

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I've been reading "Psycho" by Robert Bloch (yes, the same story as the movie) and really enjoying it. There's a lot more background given to Mary (not Marion) Crane, including an anecdote that Cassidy one offered her $100 (in 1959 money) to take off with him for the weekend, which at least partially explains why she chose to rip off the $40,000.

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I never post in these threads, and I always mean to. And I always type that.

OK, quick hits:

E.M. Forster, Howard's End: Good, but not as funny as A Room with a View, which I read last summer and loved. 

Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black: I finally got around to reading this, and it's genuinely funny and incisive. I enjoyed the first season of the show, but dropped it after the second, and of course it's serialized and less grounded than the real story. In this case, I prefer the real story. 

John Grisham, Gray Mountain: Grisham's stuff is up there with Michael Crichton's "John Lange" books as some of my favorite trash to read for comfort. This is on the low-end of "fun Grisham," though. I much prefer the books that are a) set in Mississippi or b) involve jet-setting around the globe as part of some sort of convoluted plot, a la The Racketeer or even The Firm (Camino Island being one exception). 

John Grisham, Ford County Stories: This was fun and took me mere hours to read. The convoluted plot re: the casino in one of the short stories was peak Grisham.

David James Smith, Young Mandela: The Revolutionary Years: This is an interesting work. I enjoy it, but I do also think that in trying to demystify Mandela, it's sort of lurid even though it's not trying to be. I also have read Long Walk to Freedom many times, so the amount of repeated info from that memoir is sort of irritating to me. There is enough new information here to make this worth reading. I suggest this book along with Long Walk to Freedom and the volume of Mandela's prison letters that came out a few years ago if you wanted to really do a deep-dive on him. Anyway, I bought this at Munro Books, the store that Pulitzer winner Alice Munro and her ex-hubby James ran and which convinced Ms. Munro to start writing after she read a bunch of books and found them worse than anything she could do. I know we have some bookstore fans here, so yeah, put this on your list (and there are lots of good used and vintage bookstores in the area, along with a Value Village that yields pretty cool stuff sometimes). 

Jason Schreier, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: This book is decent and entertained me for what it was. Video game developers are the least-eloquent people in existence, is what I primarily learned from this book. Everything is "cool" or "awesome" or "not cool" or "epic." 

Jeff Pearlman, Three-Ring Circus: Kobe was clearly a sociopath, and Pearlman paints him as such, and also Pearlman clearly likes Kobe. This isn't as good as Showtime because all the characters on those '80s Lakers were, collectively, more interesting (though the awful HBO show based on Showtime seems to think they need to be overwritten), and I find Phil Jackson's faux-meditative whole thing to be irritating and the worst, but this is still pretty great if only for getting a deep look at how utterly psychotic Kobe was in his teens and twenties. 

Julia Child (w. Alex Prudhomme), My Life in France - Speaking of awful HBO shows, Julia is a fucking mess. Pretty, but a mess. I read My Life in France a couple of weeks before seeing that show, purely by chance, and this is one of my favorite memoirs ever. I particularly love two things that the show doesn't really commit to: First, Julia is delighted to have found her calling in life finally, and she is extremely self-assured about it. Wringing drama out of Julia not being extremely self-assured in the show is cheap and doesn't really fit with anything about her IRL that I've ever read. Second, Paul is not, and never was, bitchy about Julia's success, as the show plays with. I think the big thing that I admire about their marriage is that they were a machine and supported each other unfailingly in their career goals. The show wants to play with this, too, but why create drama when there is so much to actually dramatize (Julia's relationship with Simca, Julia and Paul's relationship with Julia's father that the show only barely touches upon, Julia and Paul's homophobia which is way more overt IRL than it is in the show and is worth talking about considering their friendship with James Beard among others, etc.). Anyway, read My Life in France because it is tremendous. 

Thomas J. Dygard, Backfield Package - Dygard, along with Matt Christopher, is one of my favorite youth sports fiction writers from way back. I pick up his books when I see them in the wild in used bookshops. This one was quaint because it was about a kid getting recruited to a big school without boosters, national ESPN hype (only a regional reporter picks up this apparently four- or five-star QB prospect's skill level and college options), or sweet sweet NIL money. And this was published in the '90s, so Dygard was fudging it big time back then, even considering that NIL deals didn't exist! 

Lots of re-reads this year, too, but yeah, I'm going to update more often. This and that Nitro-watching thread. 

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1 hour ago, Mike Campbell said:

The other day I started the audible version of "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" by Jeff Lindsay. The first in his "Dexter" series, which was the basis for the Showtime TV show. 

I read that when the show was announced, as I recall. Liked it until the last 15 or so pages. Was so annoyed by the way it ended I never read any of the rest.

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On 5/17/2022 at 8:42 AM, JLSigman said:

Finally starting to read Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy. Yes, I am way behind.

Oh these were good. I want at least one more book.

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On 5/21/2022 at 7:28 AM, JLSigman said:

I read that when the show was announced, as I recall. Liked it until the last 15 or so pages. Was so annoyed by the way it ended I never read any of the rest.

I finished it up yesterday, and I can totally see why you were annoyed at the ending.

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17 hours ago, JLSigman said:

Oh these were good. I want at least one more book.

That and one more Earthseed book. She was a goddam oracle, particularly with Parable of the Talents. 

She passed not far from where I live. 

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Top Cow comics recently dumped a bunch of their stuff onto Hoopla, so I'm currently reading Linda Sejic's Punderworld. I've been following her on social media for ages, and watched this come together, so reading it like this is awesome.

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I am almost done with Roy Moxham's A Brief History of Tea, which pairs really nicely (pun intended) with Sarah Rose's For All the Tea in China. Moxham's book is probably a bit dry for some folks (he goes so far as to discuss the mailing services that the British installed while colonizing India in detail; it's relevant and I enjoyed the information, but I can just see another reader's eyes glazing over). 

Still, it's a very good book and doubles as both a history of the East India Corporation and a primer on British colonization of China, India, and Sri Lanka. It's not particularly long, either, only about two hundred pages.

The book spends about two pages talking about Robert Fortune, a Scottish botanist who basically jacked a bunch of tea plants from China to give the British tea planters in India a competitive advantage and to challenge China's near-monopoly on tea exports at the time. Rose's book (which I first read a few years ago) really goes deeply into Fortune's story, and it's even more batshit than the Moxham book hints at. So yeah, definitely worth a read if you might at all be interested in tea or British colonization of East Asia. 

Speaking of historical books, I finally finished Ruth Goodman's How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England, which I read in bits over months. It's not bad! That's just how I ended up reading it. Ruth Goodman is my second-favorite celebrity historian in Britain after the incomparable Lucy Worsley, and this book was well-researched and entertainingly written, a fun look into Elizabethan social mores. It's like learning a new language by starting with the cuss words. Anyway, I think Goodman has some good TV specials worth watching if you can find them on Tubi or whatever (not sure they're on BritBox if you're subscribed to that - only Worsley's specials are, I think). Victorian Pharmacy is very good, as is any special where they live as farmers from an earlier period of English history. 

If that last paragraph was at all interesting to you, try Goodman's How to Be a Tudor book as well. It's also very good. 

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I'm years behind on finally getting a copy, but I'm about to start Bleakwarrior at the suggestion of (iirc?) OSJ

Read through a ton of Edward Lee, including the one he cowrote with OSJ, and finally got Bleakwarrior off Amazon after reading the short story in The New Weird, I think was the book?

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Since the Sandman trailer interested me, I have finally gotten a collection of Sandman comics through Hoopla to read. Yes, I'm late, I'm always at least a decade behind, sorry. 😉

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I've watched a few games of the new USFL so I pulled out my copy of Jeff Pearlman's "Football for a Buck" and started reading it again. This is my third time reading it and it's just as good as the first time I read it. Pearlman has a really easy to read style and doesn't get too far into the weeds on stuff. The anecdotes from the former players and the goofy and bizarre behind the scenes happenings are priceless. I just finished the portion on Steve Young and the LA Express. I forget his name but the owner of the Express struck me as an LA version of Herb Abrams, only crazier (if that's even possible).

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Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2022 at 7:42 AM, JLSigman said:

Finally starting to read Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy. Yes, I am way behind.

They're out there, I liked them but didn't love them like I did Kindred and the Parable books.

Also, if you didn't know, they're making an Amazon series "Wild Seed" with Viola Davis involved, and Nnedi Okorafor co-writing the pilot script (and I think more)

Edited by JLowe
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On 6/9/2022 at 7:28 AM, onelegbrynn said:

I've watched a few games of the new USFL so I pulled out my copy of Jeff Pearlman's "Football for a Buck" and started reading it again. This is my third time reading it and it's just as good as the first time I read it. Pearlman has a really easy to read style and doesn't get too far into the weeds on stuff. The anecdotes from the former players and the goofy and bizarre behind the scenes happenings are priceless. I just finished the portion on Steve Young and the LA Express. I forget his name but the owner of the Express struck me as an LA version of Herb Abrams, only crazier (if that's even possible).

Have you read his books on the two Lakers dynasties, Showtime and Three-Ring Circus? They are also worth reading. Really good reads. 

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On 6/9/2022 at 9:06 AM, JLSigman said:

Since the Sandman trailer interested me, I have finally gotten a collection of Sandman comics through Hoopla to read. Yes, I'm late, I'm always at least a decade behind, sorry. 😉

Finished the first of the 30th anniversary collections, Preludes and Nocturnes. I loved the bits with DC characters, especially the couple pages with the Martian Manhunter. I'm interested enough in the world building to want to read more, although this was very much stand alone and ended on a good note.

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16 hours ago, odessasteps said:

Are you reading then in chronological order or "preferred reading order?" 

I guess chronological, since the next one I'll grab is volume 2 of the 30th anniversary collections, which is called "The Doll's House". Is there a better way to read them?

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It's Sandman. Just read it chronologically like we all did either in real time or ten years later in the TPBs. If you want to go back afterwards (and you might!) then you can screw around with the reading order.

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I've started "Wall of Silence" by Dorey Whitaker. I saw the title and instantly thought it was a police/lawyer story. Well it's not (although there are a few legal aspects), but it's still very compelling and I was almost angry when I had to stop reading to go to work yesterday.

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