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Rick Kitchen

What Are We Currently Reading?

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Just finished a quick, insightful and surprising book: Buried Dreams, about the construction of the Hoosac tunnel through the Berkshire mountains in western Massachusetts. The author provides a succinct sweep of Massachusetts economic ups and downs, as it competes with the rest of the Eastern US states and global opportunities.  This sets the context for the reason for building a railroad tunnel (intercept some of the Erie Canal trade and get it to Boston), and its associated financing challenges, plus the challenges of smashing through nearly five miles of rock using mid-19th century techniques.  I found it fascinating how it echoed the issues of today: immigrant workers, safety, convincing the State to provide financing, finding engineering expertise, and covering up questionable decisions. 

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Just finished: Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering, which I really enjoyed. As somebody who reads a lot of this genre, I've come to appreciate authors who opt for small, subtle twists throughout instead of a single massive one at the end. The latter is extremely difficult to do and can ruin an entire book if done wrong. But breadcrumbing the reveals usually results in a good mix of surprises and opportunities for the reader to get ahead of things.

Next up: Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

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Reading Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, which is basically a similar plot to The Princess Diaries but in Japan. I am loving it so far!

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Nora Roberts' new single title, Legacy, dropped today, so I'll be getting comfy and get lost in another world she's created. Have no idea if this will have me edge of my seat/heart racing fear included, like she had me with The Witness and Come Sundown, but who cares?

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I love Elinor Lipman. Her best book is The Inn at Lake Devine, though I thought On Turpentine Lane was very funny, too.

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Devolution by Max Brooks. He certainly has a preferred style, as this is another 'collection' of interview snippets and journal entries that piece together the narrative of a small community of affluent tech workers who chose to live off the grid in the Pacific Northwest, who end up being attacked by a troop of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) after a nearby volcanic eruption both cuts them off from the outside world and drives the Bigfoots out of their secluded habitat.

It's not exactly full of deep characters, but the slowly escalating tension and horror of the people realising they're coming into contact with hostile creatures previously thought to be myths, is well written.

Edit: Okay, I finished it and hated the ending. Really dumb and corny, with a hamfisted 'humans are capable of the worst savagery' moral.

Edited by Danny Franks
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4 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

Devolution by Max Brooks.

I've never read anything by Brooks, but I enjoy his appearances on Real Time with Bill Maher.  I can see both his parents in him.

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I'm finally getting around to reading Chernow's bio of Hamilton.  The problem is I keep picturing Lin Miranda.

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I have started Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs.  Anna and Charles from the Alpha and Omega Series  are investigating the disappearance of a town’s entire population.  So far I am very intrigued by this modern Roanoke type mystery. 

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6 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

I have started Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs.  Anna and Charles from the Alpha and Omega Series  are investigating the disappearance of a town’s entire population.  So far I am very intrigued by this modern Roanoke type mystery. 

That sounds really interesting! Would I need to have read the Alpha and Omega series to follow, or is it like a spin off type story?

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32 minutes ago, Jenniferbug said:

That sounds really interesting! Would I need to have read the Alpha and Omega series to follow, or is it like a spin off type story?

This book is the sixth in the series.  It would probably be good to read what came before, but Briggs does describe things in a way that would help new comers to the series pick things up.

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6 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

This book is the sixth in the series.  It would probably be good to read what came before, but Briggs does describe things in a way that would help new comers to the series pick things up.

Thanks! I'll try to start with the first one! 

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Yesterday I finished Homer And Langley, about the famous hoarding brothers in NYC. Our power and internet suddenly went out just as I got to the part where

Spoiler

The city and water dept. turned off their power and water and the rats had taken over most of the house.

It was an uncomfortable experience.

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I am almost finished with My Familiar Stranger by Victoria Danann, the first book in the Knights of The Black Swan series. This series is the five time winner of the best paranormal romance series. I don't know how this is possible. This book is horrible. I enjoy her Midlife series, so I thought I would give this series a try. I haven't researched it to see if this was the first book she ever wrote, but apparently she had never heard the saying "show, don't tell". All she does is tell. Characters don't have conversations, she writes that they sat down and talked about things. You don't hear what people do, you're told what they are doing. I don't know if the series gets much better, because that is the only was I can conceive of it winning any awards, never mind fives times. 

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I just finished the audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath.  It was read by the actor Dylan Baker, who I've never really cared for.  But he did a great job with this reading.  Unlike many audiobook readers, he didn't just have vaguely different voices for the main characters, he had distinct personalities for them.  You could hear the emotional state of them.

I know this book is considered one of the great classics of American literature, and I did enjoy it.  However, I felt that apart from the characters of Tom and Ma, none of the rest of the characters were really fleshed out all that well.  I was particularly annoyed by Rose of Sharon ("I need miiiiillllkkkkk!"), Ruthie (a spoiled and nasty child), and Uncle John (still not really sure what he did that he felt guilty about, his wife dying wasn't his fault).

The book never explained why she is named Rose of Sharon.  I assume the family calls her "Rosasharn" because that's how it sounds with their accents.  But why Rose "of" Sharon.  Is Ma's name Sharon?  I have never heard of anyone named with "of" in their first (or first and middle together?) name.

I thought the book was a good examination about circumstance, poverty, and perseverance.  Ma is the hero of this story, she would do anything she could for her family and she never gave up.

The ending though... I kind of felt like Steinbeck ran out of steam and just was tired of writing so he decided to just abruptly stop without any kind of true resolution.

Spoiler

 

I hated that Tom left the family because of that twit Ruthie and that there was no reunion.  I was curious if the family would ever get word as to what became of the oldest son Noah or Connie Rivers. 

And I am truly puzzled by the last scene.  The family comes across a man and his son living in a barn (which they don't own themselves).  The man is dying from hunger.  Ma looks at Rose of Sharon and she understands, and lets this 40 year old man suck her breast and drink the milk that she has no need of since her baby was stillborn from malnutrition.  Yuck.  Just yuck.  She could have expressed the breast milk into a cup.  Not sure what was the purpose of this scene.  To, once again, show perseverance?  I would have rather they met up with Tom in the barn!

 

 

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Gideon the Ninth is a book that's caught a bit of attention in SF/F circles recently. I started it, but maybe I'm in the wrong mood. Just not moving me so far. On the bright side, I got it from the library. I should do that more. Bought too many duds recently.

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1 hour ago, blackwing said:

The book never explained why she is named Rose of Sharon.

Rose of Sharon is a plant.  I recently read a novel, Starr Bright Will Be With You Soon, where there were two sisters;  Rose of Sharon and Lily of The Valley.

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2 hours ago, sugarbaker design said:

Rose of Sharon is a plant.  I recently read a novel, Starr Bright Will Be With You Soon, where there were two sisters;  Rose of Sharon and Lily of The Valley.

Ah thanks.  I am familiar with Lily of the Valley, but not Rose of Sharon.  And didn't know that these are used as names for people.  I would think "Rose" and "Lily" would be so much less confusing!

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22 minutes ago, blackwing said:

Ah thanks.  I am familiar with Lily of the Valley, but not Rose of Sharon.  And didn't know that these are used as names for people.  I would think "Rose" and "Lily" would be so much less confusing!

But not as descriptive.

After I finished reading Homer And Langley, during our power outage I started a new book, aptly named Into The Darkness by Barbara Michaels. Now, I know she's not exactly Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen but I've read a few of her books and they were pretty good. This one is the biggest piece of trash I've ever attempted and failed to read. Bleh.

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8 hours ago, blackwing said:

I just finished the audiobook of The Grapes of Wrath

Re: the comment under spoilers -

Spoiler
Quote

And I am truly puzzled by the last scene.  The family comes across a man and his son living in a barn (which they don't own themselves).  The man is dying from hunger.  Ma looks at Rose of Sharon and she understands, and lets this 40 year old man suck her breast and drink the milk that she has no need of since her baby was stillborn from malnutrition.  Yuck.  Just yuck.  She could have expressed the breast milk into a cup. 

Not to get too crude, but when I was breastfeeding I could never hand express without making a huge mess. I would end up with milk all over myself. That would be incredibly wasteful if I were literally trying to save someone from starving to death.

 

Quote

Not sure what was the purpose of this scene.  To, once again, show perseverance?

I would take it as showing the level of desperation people felt, to be willing to do something they normally would consider unthinkable. Kind of like sailors cannibalizing a shipmate who has died in order to keep themselves from starving until they can get to shore. It's very unpleasant to think about, but it's kinda supposed to be.

 

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12 hours ago, Anduin said:

Gideon the Ninth is a book that's caught a bit of attention in SF/F circles recently. I started it, but maybe I'm in the wrong mood. Just not moving me so far. On the bright side, I got it from the library. I should do that more. Bought too many duds recently.

I'd say try sticking with it until the main action starts, it really picks up and I loved it but you definitely would have to be in the right mood for it.

I think it's going to be a year of lots of myth retellings for me. Loved Song of Achilles and The Witch's Heart (I always thought Hel was the most interesting in the Norse pantheon and was disappointed that Cate Blanchett wasn't half rotting in Thor: Ragnarok) and just finished A Thousand Ships which wasn't quite as good but I still really liked it.

 

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4 hours ago, MeloraH said:

I'd say try sticking with it until the main action starts, it really picks up and I loved it but you definitely would have to be in the right mood for it.

 

Thanks, I'll plug away at it. Though I'm really in the mood for a harder space opera, even when the last two I tried were those aforementioned duds. Sometimes I think I'm just unpleasable.

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9 hours ago, Anduin said:

Thanks, I'll plug away at it. Though I'm really in the mood for a harder space opera, even when the last two I tried were those aforementioned duds. Sometimes I think I'm just unpleasable.

Oh, yeah, I think you might just want to give up then. It actually ends up being more like a Gothic horror with bone magic and the space stuff is like background. It was really different from what I expected but the beginning is kind of slow regardless of expectations. The second book, which I haven't started yet sounds like it's going to be more like a space opera but maybe not worth reading a whole book to get to. 😅

Edited by MeloraH · Reason: typo
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Ok folks...a question:  Harry Turtledove wrote numerous works of alternative history fiction.
I read a few some years ago and found them entertaining.  
Has anyone read them more recently?
Any of the newer titles stand out?

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On 5/28/2021 at 1:32 PM, peacheslatour said:

After I finished reading Homer And Langley, during our power outage I started a new book, aptly named Into The Darkness by Barbara Michaels. Now, I know she's not exactly Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen but I've read a few of her books and they were pretty good. This one is the biggest piece of trash I've ever attempted and failed to read. Bleh.

Aww,  I rather like that one.  I mean, it's not one of her best, absolutely but I found it enjoyable.  Of course, I do have a fondness for antique jewelry so that probably had a lot to do with it.  Now, Prince of Darkness and Patriot Dreams - those were real stinkers, imo.

Barbara Michaels is an author I tend to go back to from time to time when I need comfort food books.  I'd rank Ammie Come Home, Wait for What Will Come, Be Buried in the Rain and Houses of Stone as her best.

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21 minutes ago, proserpina65 said:

Aww,  I rather like that one.  I mean, it's not one of her best, absolutely but I found it enjoyable.  Of course, I do have a fondness for antique jewelry so that probably had a lot to do with it.  Now, Prince of Darkness and Patriot Dreams - those were real stinkers, imo.

Barbara Michaels is an author I tend to go back to from time to time when I need comfort food books.  I'd rank Ammie Come Home, Wait for What Will Come, Be Buried in the Rain and Houses of Stone as her best.

Yeah, see I love all of those. This one just had too much romance and cliched characters. All the men are either brooding and mysterious or bulging with muscles. I decided to read Cold Flat Junction by Martha Grimes instead.

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On 5/29/2021 at 6:54 PM, peacheslatour said:

I decided to read Cold Flat Junction by Martha Grimes instead.

I'm a big fan of Grimes' Richard Jury novels.

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I started How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole which is second in her Runaway Royals series.  In this book the, investigator from the first book falls for a long lost Princess who doesn’t want to be royalty, but she’s determined to convince the reluctant Princess to claim her place.  I like that Cole’s characters have depth and the way she includes humor in her romances.

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Over the long weekend I read The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz and The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. Both were three star reads for me, general good writing but the stories were not that interesting. Up next is Local Woman Missing which is by a local Chicago author I was able to meet once, named Mary Kubica. I loved her first few books and thought the last one was meh so hoping this is good!

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On 5/29/2021 at 6:54 PM, peacheslatour said:

All the men are either brooding and mysterious or bulging with muscles.

I do see your point about that.  I guess I was interested enough in the jewelry aspect that I could overlook the cliched romance element.

I've found I don't care much for Martha Grimes' non-Richard Jury books, but that could just be that when I read the couple I read, I really wanted new Jury books and nothing else would've satisfied me.  Although, honestly, I stopped reading those after The Black Cat, and I actually disliked both of the two previous ones as well.  Jury is simply too old now to still be at Scotland Yard, no matter how much ret-conning Grimes did to try and age him down.  It wasn't realistic anymore.

I started the lastest Charles Todd Ian Rutledge book, A Fatal Lie, over the weekend, and am about halfway through already.  It's a great read.  I think Todd did a very wise thing in not advancing the timeline too quickly over the course of the series.

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I've found I don't care much for Martha Grimes' non-Richard Jury books, but that could just be that when I read the couple I read, I really wanted new Jury books and nothing else would've satisfied me.  Although, honestly, I stopped reading those after The Black Cat, and I actually disliked both of the two previous ones as well.  

I completely understand. I went through that with J.A. Jance. I only liked her Beaumont books and couldn't stand the Brady books. I would probably have really liked them but I wanted Beaumont dammit!

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27 minutes ago, proserpina65 said:

I do see your point about that.  I guess I was interested enough in the jewelry aspect that I could overlook the cliched romance element.

I've found I don't care much for Martha Grimes' non-Richard Jury books, but that could just be that when I read the couple I read, I really wanted new Jury books and nothing else would've satisfied me.  Although, honestly, I stopped reading those after The Black Cat, and I actually disliked both of the two previous ones as well.  Jury is simply too old now to still be at Scotland Yard, no matter how much ret-conning Grimes did to try and age him down.  It wasn't realistic anymore.

I started the lastest Charles Todd Ian Rutledge book, A Fatal Lie, over the weekend, and am about halfway through already.  It's a great read.  I think Todd did a very wise thing in not advancing the timeline too quickly over the course of the series.

I'm a big fan of both authors, both authors set their mystery novels in England, but they couldn't be more unalike.  Grimes's books are not realistic at all, they're not procedurals, they're more whimsical than anything.  These books, for the most part, are fun. 

Todd, a mother and son team, sets his Ian Rutledge novels in Post WWI England.  They are also set in a particular time, usually a month or two after the previous one.  Todd's books are serious, sometime somber novels where the mystery takes a back seat to the picture of a country ravaged by war.  I just finished The Black Ascot, I loved it. 

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6 minutes ago, sugarbaker design said:

I'm a big fan of both authors, both authors set their mystery novels in England, but they couldn't be more unalike.  Grimes's books are not realistic at all, they're not procedurals, they're more whimsical than anything.  These books, for the most part, are fun. 

Todd, a mother and son team, sets his Ian Rutledge novels in Post WWI England.  They are also set in a particular time, usually a month or two after the previous one.  Todd's books are serious, sometime somber novels where the mystery takes a back seat to the picture of a country ravaged by war.  I just finished The Black Ascot, I loved it. 

Having read both series for years, I know the difference, in both style and subject matter, and wasn't specifically comparing them.

But I do think Martha Grimes made a mistake by setting her characters very firmly in time in the early books but then wanting to keep up with current events as the years passed.  She tried to have it both ways, and it simply stopped working for me.  I was fine with the age issues for a long time because I loved the Long Piddleton characters so much, but by the last couple of books before The Black Cat, it was ridiculous, and all the retconning in the world wasn't fixing it.  She basically ruined an enjoyable series for me; I can still read most of the older books, but couldn't even get more than a chapter into Vertigo 42, and decided it was time to give up.

The mystery reading group at the Borders where I worked chose Charles Todd's first Ian Rutledge novel, A Test of Wills, for their selection one month, and one of the authors came to the event - can't remember now whether it was the mother or the son, though.  Wish I'd attended that meeting, but I was eager to get the hell out of there when my shift was over.

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2 minutes ago, proserpina65 said:

I was fine with the age issues for a long time because I loved the Long Piddleton characters so much, but by the last couple of books before The Black Cat, it was ridiculous, and all the retconning in the world wasn't fixing it.

I totally agree, I just haven't reached the point of no return, yet.

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I just finished Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli, which is a short novella meant to finish the story started in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I liked it, though not as much as previous books. But it was nice to get a closure with those characters.

Thanks to this thread I found out about Concrete Rose, as I wasn't previously aware there is a prequel. I ordered it and also Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal for Writing Your Truth, which sounds really interesting.

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On 5/19/2021 at 11:31 AM, lasu said:

HOWEVER, I just finished 50 Words for Rain which was awful.  If someone here recommended that, we duel at noon.  It started out alright, but at the same time absolutely hilarious because it began like a blueprint from Flowers in the Attic: 

  Reveal spoiler

Book: Poor mother takes child to her childhood home and insanely wealthy parents with no explanation.
Me:  Hmmh, sounds familiar.
Book: Mother tells child she must under all circumstances obey her grandmother.
Me:  As long as they don't lock her in the attic.
Book:  locks child in attic.
Me: Wut.
Book: Grandmother abuses child for the mother's sins.
Me: well thank goodness she's an only child with no brother for incest.
Book: here's her long lost brother.
Me: 🙄

The incest vibe was no joke.  Even if I hadn't been primed to be on the lookout for it, the writing was weird - he was constantly kissing and petting her, and the protagonist kept talking about how her skin tingled when he touched her and things like that.  It was creepy.  And to add to the Flowers vibe, while no one is pounding on people's chests with tiny fists, but I cannot count how many times men "smirk" and women "whimper".

It started going downhill pretty fast, but by the time I realized it was actually bad, I figured I was too close to the end to not just finish it off.  This...was a mistake.

  Reveal spoiler

The book takes place in Japan, and the matriarch of the family is obsessed with a heir to the dynasty.  She abuses the protagonist, keeps her locked in an attic, then sells her to a whorehouse at age 10.  The protagonist is recused by her brother, then lots more tragedy porn.  Her long lost brother is killed in a car accident (the same as the brother in Flower in the Attic!), and the grandparents force the protagonist (who is a bastard of an American GI) out of Japan.  She wanders the world for a while, finally setteling in London with the only person who loved her, other than her dead brother.  She lives with her friend, and falls in love with a nice guy, gets engaged.  Then the grandmother pretends to be dead to lure her back to Japan to receive her inheritance, just before her wedding.  In Japan, she finds out she is pregnant. The grandmother is not dead and reveals the car accident that killed the beloved brother was a hit meant for her, not the brother.  The protagonist then decides to fuck over her friend who loved her like a sister and her very nice fiance, and agreed to stay in Japan, marry a man of her grandmother's choosing, and continue the dynasty.  The end.  That last bit takes place over about five pages.  

So you have your protagonist being abused, raped, losing everyone she loves, etc  for the whole entire book.  She finally finds a home and people who love her.  And then with no explanation, she turns her back on these people to take over a dynasty that had treated her like shit?  It was considered a mistake that she wasn't killed upon birth, but suddenly this dynasty is going to accept her son, who is a bastard of a bastard and only 1/4 Japanese?  OK, sure. 

Infuriating.

This book was prominently displayed at my library today and I knew not to bother thanks to your review! 😆

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For June, Amazon First reads gives you two picks.  For the first time in a long time I ave actually picked my two at the beginning of the month instead of waiting for reviews. 

I picked Have We Met by Camille Baker  -- a contemporary rom-com with a touch of magic. And The Mixtape by  Brittainy Cherry sounds like an angsty rock romance.  Looking forward to the first one it sounds light and fun.  Kinda iffy on the second one but, hey,  it is free.

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I'm so behind on reading my Amazon Firsts. That's because I always saved them for travel, so I didn't need to bring physical books in my luggage, and, well, obviously I haven't really been traveling in the last year. (I don't make the time for the Amazon Firsts outside of travel because they're generally just not that great. They are offered free for a reason.)

Two books that I recently read that I'd like to spotlight: Becky Chambers's The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, and Walter Isaacson's latest, The Code Breaker.

Becky Chambers has been writing standalone novels and one novella in her Wayfarers universe, and I was pretty broken up to read at the very end of her latest that this is her finale for Wayfarers. I think there was more she could have explored, since she had set up an expansive universe. In any case, her last book in the universe is the closest in "feel" to her first book (The Long Way to a Short, Angry Planet, which everyone should go seek out right now), and I just had to immediately re-read it (for the tenth time or so) after finishing her final book. And now I really want to re-read the others too, but they are all in a storage unit at the moment. Sigh.

The Code Breaker is largely centered on Jennifer Doudna, one of the co-winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year for the CRISPR gene-editing technology she pioneered along with her co-winner Emmanuelle Charpentier. The bulk of the story, about how she and Charpentier made this huge breakthrough, and then the moral questions and discussions that followed, are absorbing in itself, but then the pandemic happened, and that takes up the last fifth of the book and is also a page-turner. One interesting point Isaacson made, that I had not been aware of, is that the best and brightest minds used to go into computer technology, but nowadays they're going into biotech. Feng Zhang, who heads the Broad Institute, may ultimately make more impact on the world than Mark Zuckerberg. Because as much as computer code has changed the world, could there be any greater or more fundamental change than our very own genetic code? I tore through this relatively thick book in less than 24 hours, because the events are exciting and very timely, and the science is explained well for a layperson.

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Just started Wendy, Darling by AC Wise, a retelling/sequel to Peter Pan where adult Wendy has to save her daughter from Peter. I do love evil Peter Pan retellings.

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I have begun Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which is a telling if The Iliad.  It’s interesting so far but still I am getting impatient.  A lot of time is spent built up the backstory/love story of Achilles and Patroclus which I enjoy, but I also kinda want to get on with it to the war.  

I have never read The Illad but have read the Odyssey a couple of times.  I plan to read Circe by Madeline Miller eventually.  

I want to ask for a recommendation a good telling of the Trojan War from Helen’s perspective.

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7 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

I have begun Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which is a telling if The Iliad.  It’s interesting so far but still I am getting impatient.  A lot of time is spent built up the backstory/love story of Achilles and Patroclus which I enjoy, but I also kinda want to get on with it to the war.  

I have never read The Illad but have read the Odyssey a couple of times.  I plan to read Circe by Madeline Miller eventually.  

I want to ask for a recommendation a good telling of the Trojan War from Helen’s perspective.

The buildup is worth it, trust me.

For retellings in Helen’s POV, I’d recommend Helen of Troy by Margaret George or Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren. HOWEVER, in a few weeks Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood comes out, which is a Trojan War retelling in both Helen and Klytemenstra’s POV, so that will be up your alley too. I know I can’t wait for it.

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7 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

The buildup is worth it, trust me.

For retellings in Helen’s POV, I’d recommend Helen of Troy by Margaret George or Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren. HOWEVER, in a few weeks Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood comes out, which is a Trojan War retelling in both Helen and Klytemenstra’s POV, so that will be up your alley too. I know I can’t wait for it.

I am very intrigued by Daughters of Sparta.  Thanks.

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Having burned out on fantasy, I leaped back to my other love. SF, preferably in the space adventure category. Also, I'm hoping it'll give me ideas about how to wrap up my own space opera. Not yet, but here's hoping.

First was Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. Interesting book. Very focussed on the big concept, without much human drama or character development. But it was just right. Sometimes exploring the big concept is enough. However, I got no more than 30 pages into the sequel before stumbling upon a blackmail subplot. No, no, no! That was the complete opposite of what I wanted. Clarke should never have let that other bozo take the wheel.

Now I'm reading Larry Niven's Ringworld. More human drama than Rama, but enough of the big concept to see me through. Going well. I read it once before, back in the 90s, but I don't remember much. Either way, I'm currently liking it.

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I’m listening to People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry. It’s a good summer rom com. You can tell where it’s going, but isn’t that the point of a rom com?  

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I enjoyed Circe more than the Song of Achilles.  

I'm a little more than half way through Kate Quinn's The Rose Code and am loving it.  Time will tell but right now I'm liking it more than either The Alice Network or The Huntress.

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I was a little iffy on The Rose Code until I started reading it. The royal wedding part of it originally made me roll my eyes, but I thought all of that was well integrated into the plot and had a reason for being there.

When you're done with that, @Haleth, try reading The Road to Station X, by Sarah Baring. Kate Quinn used her memoir as a basis for the Sarah character, and it's fun to see what was taken from it. Baring isn't much of a writer, but she cops to that.

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I am just finishing Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March which I picked up because of a review in the NY Times which made it sound like it would be just my sort of thing: a murder mystery and set in Raj India. Well, its okay, not great. Seems really unsophisticated compared to most of the other mysteries I read, almost like a "young adult" novel with lots of reiteration and a sappy romance. The historical context is interesting and the author takes pains to provide lots and lots of background info but I don't know...just not complex enough to be really satisfying from my point of view.

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I just finished "Artemis," the second book by Andy Weir (he just came out with his third, I think). I really liked "The Martian," but I had heard mixed reviews about this one. 

I liked the world building he did for the lunar city, but the story is uneven, the main character not all that likable, and the "epilogue" seems a little farfetched.

He also includes an appendix, which is an essay on how the lunar economy would work. I love it when we can learn more about the fictional society, even if everything isn't used. 

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12 hours ago, SmithW6079 said:

I just finished "Artemis," the second book by Andy Weir (he just came out with his third, I think). I really liked "The Martian," but I had heard mixed reviews about this one. 

I liked the world building he did for the lunar city, but the story is uneven, the main character not all that likable, and the "epilogue" seems a little farfetched.

He also includes an appendix, which is an essay on how the lunar economy would work. I love it when we can learn more about the fictional society, even if everything isn't used. 

I like books that do that too. And maps! If I start a book and I see maps, I know I'm in for  a good read.

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