Tbis is a Good Book Thursday, February 7, 2019

I think Mercury is in Fucked again because things are falling apart everywhere I look, and not just for me. Solution: Read. Comfort reads, new books, soup cans, crochet instructions, the twitter feeds about Pelosi’s shade clap, the ingredients in dog cookies, just read. I was talking to my new therapist who is a genius, and she said, “One of the books I read this year is my favorite ever. Good Omens.” I shrieked and said, ‘Pratchett and Gaiman! That’s my favorite, too!” So I reread Good Omens because it reminds me that people are basically good. Also that any tape left in a car too long becomes a Best of Queen tape. I must get a Best of Queen CD for my car and leave it in there. Right now there’s just the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (the first one) and there’s only so many times you can hear “Please go all the way” before you really need some Freddie.

Where was I? Oh, right. What did you read this week?

99 thoughts on “Tbis is a Good Book Thursday, February 7, 2019

  1. I read books 2 and 3 in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles. Book 2 was really hard to get into. I think it was chapter 5 or so before he hit his stride. Book 3 started fine. Ending was fairly satisfying. He did leave himself a wide open doorway for a battle between the Greek Gods of Percy Jackson and the Egyptian Gods of the Kane Chronicles. I have to see what Riordan series my daughter wants to move to next. 🙂

    Next up is to work with my daughter on her note cards for Battle of the Books at school.

  2. Snagged an ARC of The Bird aking by G. Willow Wilson. Loving it so far. It’s about a Muslim concubine during the Inquisition.

  3. I am in a sea of “meh” when it comes to my own reading. I have been DNF’ing with abandon, which does feel kind of freeing, but I’m hoping to find something good soon. Maybe some of the recommendations here will help.

    The family is really enjoying our read aloud “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” My husband is designated reader for this as he really enjoys putting on accents and voices. We have the new super deluxe Jim Kay illustrated version and if I was just reading it for my own amusement, I might not care, but it is wonderfully done and adds another level for sharing as a family.

    1. Ah, I really think that is my favourite Harry. My dad read it to me when I was 12 and had to undergo surgery for my eye, and I was terrified but he threw himself into the storytelling with gusto and made voices and accents and crazy remarks, which helped me relax a tiny bit and helped me survive those 3 hospital days. The story pulled him in so much that we read the other 4 books together after that too as soon as they were released. Reading for the kids was mum’s thing, but after dad discovered Harry Potter through me, it became our thing.

      I still miss those cosy after-school nights when we curled up on his bed and he read chapter after chapter and we laughed and cheered and gasped and were enchanted by the stories together. Some of my best childhood/teenage memories. <3
      (Our teacher had read the first two books for us at school, dad had never read any of them before Azkaban, and I'm happy that he fell as much in love with the world and story as I did.) <3

    2. I rarely DNF…but I do hyper skim with abandon now if it’s not good at all. I envy your recklessness in reading. Or is that not reading?

  4. I started last week with Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells, followed by Every Woman for Herself by Trisha Ashley, The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles and What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

    I also found 4 Terry Pratchett books at the thrift store, which is unusual and exciting.

  5. I’m compulsively reading the prologue and first chapter of Firstborn by Michelle West which I believe is the 15th book in her series by fan count. By her count it is something like the 7th in her House Wars arc but as House Wars is the 3rd arc with more or less the same characters fan-count wins

    It has taken her 3 3/4 years to write this book but at least we only have to wait until June until the next book War because originally Firstborn and War were supposed to be only 1 book but unfortunately it was so long it was physicallly impossible to bind it as a single book 🙂

    Lovely lovely books. If you start reading her, start with the Sacred Hunt arc, followed by the Sun Sword arc. The Sacred Hunt arc actually covers many of the same events as the 1st two books of the House Wars arc so if you can’t find those two books, just start with the Sun Sword books. Some of my favorite fantasy books ever

    1. I only mentioned the long lag because it is much harder to wait for the next book in a series than for an entirely new book. I did not mean to make you feel bad Jennie. Furthermore, I don’t think Michelle West fans are irritated with her either. She had been writing 3 series simultaneously and she always has problems finishing a long arc.
      It’s worth the wait. BUT we only had a sub climax in the prior book and the entire House Wars series, while absolutely delightful, is a bit of a detour away from the biggest overall story arc which will be addressed in the next series which will no doubt be another 7-8 books and therefore another 10-15 years. We love having so many books, but are also impatient to see how she resolves not only the larger conflict but also all the individual character arcs. While I haven’t counted how many characters there are, there must be at least 60-70 where I really care what happens to them. I’ve reread each of your books at least 10 times and I’ve reread hers at least that often too. Always worth the wait.

  6. Ha! I just started Good Omens for the first time, after hearing good things here. Dog just showed up.

  7. Guardians of the Galaxy, first one is the favourite. GDs love it too. Still reading Murder, Magic and What We Wore. And a couple of comfort reads.

  8. I read something that was first-person alternating pov and I just can’t recommend it. It was slow reading.

    There’s some first-person books that I can read by certain authors and I finally figured out that it is because the characters are not as self-conscious as in the books that I can’t read.

    I enjoyed and re-read Mr Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau but I can’t be bothered to re-read Grumpy Fake Boyfriend. To me, the author got book 2 (CEO) just right. YMMV.

    Also, am abed by 18.00hours my time. Because rest, dammit! I found, or someone showed me, The Nap Ministry on Instagram and it is amazing. Naps as Resistance. With the capital ‘R’. As in resisting the oppressive structures that keep us downtrodden. Rest allows us the ability to think and function well, thus potentially awakening us to Resistance, and dare I say – Rebellion.

    In Argh-speak, I’ve got two crocodiles (alligators) trying to climb into my boat and I only have one oar. Must do better.

    1. Yeah, the number of alligators trying to get into my boat tripled, but I think I’ve got a handle on them. Jeez.

  9. Yay for people enjoying Good Omens! I am looking forward to watching it with my boyfriend who hasn’t read it. So much fun!

    I am drinking Twinings Winter Spice tea. I do not tolerate caffeine well, so it’s really an herbal infusion.

    I have to drink a lot of it quickly, because spring will be here soon: the crocuses in my front lawn are blooming!

  10. Ironically, Murderbot kept me from bathing in the blood of my co-workers this week. I had put off trying it, even though it has been so heartily recommended here, because I thought it would be heavy and I can only take so much soul-wrenching. But my hold finally came and I read the first one. I didn’t expect it to be so funny. Just what I needed! I have the second one on hold now. Maybe I will search out Good Omens next…

    1. Oh, yes. For anyone still on the fence about it, I’ll reiterate that the series is definitely not heavy. Very light, despite a good bit of mayhem and death (of bad guys mostly). And the whole “murderbot” thing. But it’s handled very deftly, and the bot is very self-deprecating even when he wallows in how bad a being he is.

        1. I thought of Murderbot in a male looking body, but with a female voice. I mean, if you are building a bot for security you are going to want it to be big and intimidating looking. But the snark definitely read as female for me.

      1. He/she — the security bots vs sexbots are codified* gender roles, so I think one of the things that is so interesting and affective reading it is an unusual take on not fitting into a restrictive role, with no sex or romance to confuse things.

        There’s a throwaway line somewhere about they had to put human intelligence in to make the bots competent at even boring work, and the depression and neuroticism just came for free. Ah, the human condition.

        And it’s also a class problem — I don’t think the Annoying Research Transport is so depressed.

        * Or reified. All puns accepted.

  11. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. It’s a prequel to Practical Magic that follows the aunts in that story when they were younger. I don’t usually read fiction while writing but made an exception and am listening to the audio version. Always good to have a little magic in life:)

    Plus, I’m finishing a prequel of my own and thought this an interesting study even though the genres are different. Or maybe because the genres are different. So far, it’s been quite engaging and nice to have since I read Practical Magic years ago and it’s a nice tie-in and a fun read.

  12. Mercury in Fucked again would explain why I missed my John Lewis delivery this morning, though I was at the house. I felt absurdly upset: the guy didn’t knock, but I should have put a note up asking him to. And then there was the usual automated nightmare, complicated by the fact that my mobile only has a reliable signal in the front bedroom, which is not where I’m working at the moment.

    I’m rereading ‘A Close and Common Orbit’ by Becky Chambers at the moment. Enjoying it, but I think I could do with something really silly at the moment. I’ve got the third one out of the library – it was a request, so I need to read it soon.

  13. I zipped through T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon)’s Seventh Bride. The last I knew, the digital version was on sale for just a buck and well worth that!

    Beyond that, I can’t settle on anything. Mostly I’m just waiting for Patricia Briggs’ new Mercy Thompson book next month and the Aaronovitch novella this summer (June maybe?). And the next Harry Dresden that hasn’t been completely written yet. And I could really use another Captain Lacey (Ashley Gardner) mystery, but she’s focused on a different series at the moment. Ditto for Lindsay Buroker, who’s working on series I like less than her others (although she’s announced a new series that sounds right up my alley for later this year).

    1. Umm not to pile on the meh but the Mercy Thompson has been delayed until May.

      Given we seem to share a lot of similar tastes have you tried Rachel Aaron,Melissa F Olson, Patrick Weekes or Drew Hayes?

  14. I’ve been reading cookbooks! I found out that recently produced books from the library (at least the Swedish ones) can be read by a book-reader through my screenreader, which in short allows me to read them in braille via my computer instead of listening to the audio. (Though I can still choose to read them in audio, if I want to.) I’m all for audio/talking books normally, but when it comes to cookbooks I want to “see what I read with my fingers”. It’s much easier to go back and check something when you try out a new recipe if you can do it yourself and don’t have to wait for someone reading it, skipping too far back in the audio recording and whatnot. Furthermore, for fiction, I usually prefer my computer’s non-human voice to library-narrators whom sounds like reading is the most boring job on Earth.

    Aaanyway, I have not cooked so much though 😉 I will try some things out later this year when F goes out on e-sport-tournament-adventures and I can try things out and screw them up without screwing up his dinner. I don’t mindd fucking up my own food so much, but I don’t want to fuck up others’.

    I also finished “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee. It’s a really good book, I definitely recommend it. The main character is arrogant and a butt at times, but somehow you want to tag along on his journey anyway. And there is character growth, which is nice. It’s YA fiction about finding yourself, fighting for what’s important to you, and realizing when you are an asshat. It deals with discrimination of people with different skin colour/culture, the limitations of being a woman in the 1700’s, how you are responsible for your own life and happiness and how your own choices form your life and future. The MC is bisexual, infatuated with his male best friend, trying to figure out how and who to love in a world that does not accept same-sex relationships.
    I’m not gonna try to write a description that can make it justice because I probably can’t. So, summarized: It’s a great book. Read it. 🙂 I might pick up the sequel too when I get the chance.

    1. May I ask a question about audiobooks specifically for vision-impaired? I’m just curious about why they’re recorded separately from the commercially available audiobook. I’ve been wondering about this ever since I saw a narrator tweet about having been chosen to narrate the vision-impaired version of one of Ben Aaronovitch’s books, and wondering why anyone would want to listen to someone other than Kobna Holdbrook-Smyth. I’m guessing it’s got something to do with rights and making money (or waiving the money for social benefits), but I don’t know.

      1. I know nothing about the making of audiobooks in that light. I’ve actually considered making my own audiobooks of my flash fiction (under 1000 words, some under 300) just by using the recording software that came with the computer(s). I suspect it would take a number of tries to get one acceptable recording.

        I’ve mentioned reading Marion G, Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape” series (repeatedly.) On his blog, I asked when he would get an audiobook contract. Well, he did. I also speculated that, since Hope/Astra is a soprano, and most of the first books are in Hope’s voice, they’d need a soprano to narrate the books. Well, they found one.

        I can barely listen.

        Fortunately, the Audible player has the ability to speed up or slow down the playback, and slowed down she is more tolerable. This is another example of “be careful what you wish for lest you get it.”

        1. My first two Baba Yaga novels were made into audio books. The narrator was so unsuitable for the books, I listened for five minutes and then turned it off. (I’ve read of readers complaining too.) Not surprisingly, then didn’t continue the series in audio, which is too bad.

      2. I can’t speak for all countries, it might be different depending on where and how and which organization is making the books. The difference, generally speaking, is juridical. A talking book is a complete book produced for libraries to make a written book accessible for people with reading disabilities (blindness, dyslexia etc). This includes all parts of the book: text on the cover, copyright information, publisher information, table of context, possible tables, graphs, pictures and other visual elements of a book. And, of course, the story or all facts the book contains. The reader should describe visual elements of the book if needed and do their best to include all written, or otherwise shown, information. In short: A talking book is a complete substitute to a written book. The narration is (alas) not central as such, however most talking book-reading people prefer a good narrator as much as anybody else. Interestingly enough, not all libraries seem to get that. Luckily a lot of the narrators themselves do, and really do their best to bring a book to life. The books don’t have to be recorded with a human behind the mic – however (fortunately) still uncommon, some books are recorded by computer synthesizers, like the ones you can hear in Windows Narrator or on VoiceOver (on iphone) or Talkback (android phones).

        Talking books are usually also produced in what they call DAISY-format. If you’re curious about what that is, you can read more here:

        In Sweden, a particular paragraph of the copyright law states that books can be produced for people with reading disabilities (blindness, dyslexia etc) for non-profit goals (i.e. library books) without first asking the copyright holder for permission. This goes for braille books as well. I assume this is more or less the fact in other countries as well but I can’t say for sure. Our library is owned by the government and they produce many books every month to try to cover both recently published and older works by a wide variety of authors and genres, both fiction and non-fiction. This also includes educational litterature for kids and adults at school.

        In The Netherlands, the talking book library is depending on donations and funds from other organisations and their own members. They produce a lot less books and are also depending on volunteers to record them, as far as I have understood.

        An audiobook is a commercially published book for everyone, not just people with reading disabilities. Anyone can purchase and read such a book. It doesn’t have to be a complete work and not all parts of those books are included in the recording. Logically enough publishers want these books to have good narrators to catch customers. (Yes I love them too.)

        When I was a kid, commercially produced cassette books were very, very expensive and hard to come by. Same for the CD-books, when they took over. I usually paid approximately 1.5-2.5 times as much for my audiobooks as my friends did for their “normal” ones. The market has exploded the last 10 years or so, before that it was definitely a known thing, but not even a third of all audiobook-reading people now read them back then. It’s become a real hype – of which I am thankful, for though I am very, very grateful the talking book libraries exist, I love me a good narration now and then. 😉 Besides, the Swedish library doesn’t have access to as many English books as Audible does. And vice versa- in fact, as far as I’ve seen there are no Swedish books on Audible. That so many people read audiobooks nowadays also gets the prices down, which is also a definite plus.

        Sorry for the endless babble – I hope this answered your question! 🙂

        1. Thank you for going in depth into this. This was not my question but your answer gave me so much to think about.

          1. My pleasure 🙂
            I think it’s an absolute plus that people know the difference. Especially if it can open up reading-possibilities for people with a reading disability. Young or old, dyslectic or blind or visually impared or whatever the reason might be you can’t read “normal” books’ the stories are still there for you. Reading should be accessible to everybody. Talking book libraries try to make sure they are.

        2. Not endless babble — I really wanted to know, and I appreciate the time you took. I hadn’t thought about things like the copyright page. I was thinking the practice of a separate version might be partly left-over from the fact that until fairly recently, unabridged audio was really hard to find commercially, and places might not have adjusted to its current availability. Especially for fiction, I wonder if there will be decreasing demand for the talking book, and it will go away eventually. Presumably text-to-speech could fill in the gap for the extras that only a small percentage of fiction readers care about. Just thinking out loud here. It’s interesting the way technology changes things, sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much.

          Thank you!

          1. I’m keeping a good eye on things regarding the talking-book libraries, and thus far I have seen no negative trend for production of talking books. In fact, last year the Marrakech Treaty was signed and ratified (this has been a long process and I’m not 100 % up to date on the exact details on whom signed or ratified what and when), which is meant to be a way for talking book- and braille-libraries to make book exchanges across the boarders, regardless of the laws of talking book/braille book production in the country requesting the book. This is to allow for a greater collection of accessible media for print-disabled people all over the world and – just as importantly – a way for people to read books in their native language even if they live somewhere where it’s not spoken, or talking books aren’t produced in larger quantities or are mor difficult to access.

            TTS can only do so much and most people prefer to have a human reading to them. I can live with TTS for non-fiction (sometimes), but I think it’s horrible for fiction. (Unless I have no other choice, like when I read my friends’ stories on my computer.)

            Seen as to talking books being a substitute and not an addition to a book, I think that it will stay for a good while longer. 🙂 Not all books are interesting for the audiobook-publishers either, I suppose. Like cookbooks. Most people would prefer to have the text there, they probably wouldn’t make Audible’s top-pics list that quickly. 🙂

            Thanks for reading my explanations. Have a great weekend with much good reading!

  15. Someone here recommended CiCi and the Curator, a YA science fiction novel that was fun. It’s by S.J. Wynde, who it turns out writes paranormal romance, with the paranormal being psychic abilities and ghosts, instead of witches, vampires and werewolves, under her full name of Sarah Wynde.
    The main character in book 1 can see and talk to ghosts and thinks she’s crazy. The first book is A Gift of Ghosts and I’ve read three of them so far and really enjoyed them.

  16. I can heartily recommend “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik, which I am rereading again before it goes back to the library. Very cool and interwoven.

  17. I recently read the first four of the five Cazalet books by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Very leisurely — it’s the story of an upper middle-class family in England from 1938 to 1958. There’s no plot that I could describe and it’s not exactly a character study, but I really came to care about most of the family (Neville made me deeply uneasy), and reading it has been an immersive experience.

    There’s a bit of a time jump between the fourth and fifth novels, 1947 to 1956. I’ve been afraid to start it — I don’t want to see people suffer. So instead I’ve started reading/listening to Bob Woodward’s The Last of the President’s Men, about Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who revealed the existence of the White House taping system. It’s focused on his experiences in the Nixon White House and I’m finding it fascinating.

  18. Started reading Elizabeth Hoyt – historical romance with adventure. Started with her new one, Not The Duke’s Darling, and then three Maiden Lane books. The new book has a secret society of Wise Women who pass on knowledge and help women in trouble (the book opens with the heroine helping a widow escape with her infant son so his uncle can’t kidnap him and control his inheritance). Thief of Shadows is probably the one I’ve enjoyed the most so far of the Maiden Lane books I’ve read. These are set in the mid-1700s. The Maiden Lane series involves a slum neighborhood called St. Giles, and it has a vigilante who runs around rooftops dressed as a harlequin and fights crime. It’s like 18th century Batman. I love it. Thief of Shadows has a duel in a theater that Hoyt says is based on the one in the movie Scaramouche; it is an excellent sword fight (both Hoyt’s and the one in the movie).

    Thanks for the reminder I have to read Good Omens. I have it, it’s just that the pile of library books has grown at an alarming rate, and the stuff I own has to wait. Definitely want to read it before the the show is released, though. For sure have to watch that because David Tennant.

    1. I really love Elizabeth Hoyt. She is one of the few historical authors I read regularly. I especially like Duke of Midnight (I think) where she redeems the big bad villain from several other books. I love a good evil-doer. 🙂

    2. Maiden Lane series numbered among the few new books I read last year, nice light historical romances, very enjoyable

  19. I’m finishing the last of seven RITA reads, so have not been able to comment for a few weeks. Some interesting books though. This weekend I get to browse Amazon and see what is out there for the Kindle. I might even go check out B&N.

  20. I DID just finish “The Only Woman in the Room” about actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr. I really wanted to like it, but problem A-first person drove me crazy!! Problem B-The author made Hedy seem like a whiner to me. I know the author had to take some creative license, but unless Hedy left detailed diaries, it felt like a LOT of navel-gazing was going on. I’ve read other books by this author under her pen name, and liked them quite a bit, but this novel left me wanting more about Hedy, and more about her scientific work.

  21. I read ‘The Weight of Ink’ by Rachel Kadish. The cover compares it to ‘Possession’, and there is a definite similarity, with two different time periods running through the book, and a focus on the academic interpretation of lost manuscripts. But this is very much its own book as well. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and the story of a young Jewish woman in London in the 1660s, trying to find an outlet for her considerable intellect, is beautifully matched by the modern story of a sick old woman with a love of Jewish history.

    Now I’m reading ‘How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk’, which is a bit of an eyeopener, as well as being utterly brilliant.

    I’m also reading ‘The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England’ by Ian Mortimer, which is also an eyeopener, but in a completely different way.

    1. It must be a zeitgeist thing. I also re-read Good Omens . I worried for a while that I was not going to like it so much a second time but as everything starts to build toward the end it all came together and was wonderful again. Looking forward to the TV and what Miranda Richardson does with Madame Tracy…
      Also read Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid. I was a bit disappointed – it wasn’t a bad book, but it had the billionaire boyfriend thing which I’m not into and hadn’t realised in advance but also something that really irritates me – characters signalled as highly intelligent who only act like they are when it moves the plot forward. Hmmm.
      Moved on to Patricia Veryan’s The Tyrant. Was looking forward to this but it seems we have another spoiled rich girl with a lesson to learn. Ho hum, maybe I’m just easily irritated this week.

    2. “How to Talk…” ended up teaching me much better ways to talk with my husband. And any other human being.

  22. I reread Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. Always satisfying.

    I wrote my first piece of fanfiction in the Chalion world. The heroine and hero were based on Andi and North Archer of Maybe This Time (except metal springs didn’t exist then, so I couldn’t describe Andi’s curls correctly). I really liked putting solid-as-the-diner people into Bujold’s fantasy medieval world.

    Jenny, I hope your next story is the kind of gut-fantasy tale that you present in Bet Me. Min is surrounded by allegorized theories for handling Fate: Bonnie’s fairy tales, Tony’s chaos, and Cynthie’s shared psychological steps. You brought everything magical down to the good Ohio earth.

    And it wasn’t considered supernatural.

    1. Elizabeth! I was thinking the same thing about Bet Me. And the Chalion world, omg how I love it. I don’t know if you’ll loop back to read this, but if you do, is there a place to read your fanfic?

      1. Meredith, you’re very sweet. My writing is at beginner level. It’s on Archive of Our Own. Desuma, my 3rd story, is better than the other two.

    2. I’m going through all the WiPs now and pulling them together for proposals. Nothing in there like Bet Me, but Paradise Park is a six-part novel (one book, just six parts) based on fairy tales.

        1. That’s fantasy. I think they want a straight, contemporary romance. I’m trying to find out, but it’s complicated.

          1. I was thinking that what they probably wanted was a” typical Jennifer Crusie book” (if there is such a thing). Bet Me or Faking It, or something along those lines. Which we would love to read, but is it what you want to write?

          2. No.
            They would like contemporary women’s fiction. Unfortunately, I’m not a contemporary woman any more. I have no clue what dating is like now. Actually, I had no clue what dating was like when I was dating. Clueless, that’s me.

        1. I did a speech once arguing that, that romance has its roots in fairy tales, not because love is a fantasy, but because fairy tales are bedrock stories, the foundation of subconscious narrative.

          I gave a speech once about that at college, discussing Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Heaven, Texas, arguing that it was based on the Cinderella tale. Susan was in the front row, and she kept shaking her head, frantic that I was making a mistake. I finally said, “Susan, you may not have realized it, but you wrote Cinderella.” Then I took the book apart, showing how she’d used the Ur tale. About half way through, she started taking notes. At the end, she said, “I did. Why didn’t I see that?” She didn’t see that because we write the story, not the roots, but the roots are always there.

          I don’t think you can do that with most romance, but since most romances are about a protagonist who goes out to seek her fortune, one way or another, and encounters opposition along the way to a happy ending, yes, I think romances are rooted in the fairy tale tradition.

  23. I’m still doing comfort book rereads. I’m onto Katie Fforde now. And trying to figure out which books to take on a long trip to CA next week. 8 hours in each direction, plus time at the airport. Oy.

    And reading my critique partner’s very good work in progress, which is YA SF.

    1. If you need help along the way – a meal, a recommendation, airport entertainment – remember, please, we’re in San Diego and generally at loose ends.

      1. Thanks, sweetie. The San Diego leg of the trip is to visit my parents (and youngest sister, who lives out there too) on my way to a large Pagan convention in San Jose. So I’m good. But I much appreciate the offer. xxx

  24. I read the first Murderbot over Christmas, loved it, and immediately got on the wait list for the next one at my small local library. I was 21 on the list, and 7 weeks later, I’m at 17. It’s a freakin’ NOVELLA people! How long does it take to read? At that rate, I’ll be reading the last one after my second kid goes to college!! I’d buy them, honestly, but they’re like $16 each and kid one is headed for college, and so I wait …

    Then I realized I have a friend whose husband is a librarian. He’s at an even smaller library and hadn’t bought the series yet, but promptly did so (honestly, within 2 minutes of me asking). I promised him much good beer in exchange for one weekend with the series before he puts them into circulation.

    I’m all a-quiver, despite a little queasiness at jumping the line, but screw it, his patrons wouldn’t even have the books on their shelves except for me, and yes that’s a justification but double screw it, when my own book sells I’ll buy the series for my library and soothe my conscience (although it’s a paranormal, so …. argh)

    1. Alas, my library emailed the other day to say they can’t get the Murderbot series from their supplier. Guess the print format’s a small US publisher. And the library has a very limited ebook selection. Never mind.

  25. Today was the final day of In-Service Training at Sussex II State Prison. We started with the hands-on part of First Aid/CPR/AED. This year, the mannequins are equipped with bluetooth wireless sensors and programs – it could track whether my chest compressions were the correct depth or 100 to 120 per minute, and whether my two rescue breaths were of sufficient volume. I foresee problems as the mannequins age and suffer use, but it’s a marvelous idea.

    We also did a couple of courses which didn’t add anything to the on-line pre-reqs, and could or should have been eliminated. Then we wound up with the Human Resources Lady talking about the VaLors retirement system, which applies primarily to corrections officers (and not at all to me) and their pay raise (I didn’t get one) and an incentive program for recommending anyone to become a corrections office. That bounty is up to $1,000 if they get hired and last a year.

    With In-Service on the brain, I still haven’t finished book 3 of the Frontier Magic series, and I’m not sure I’m moving on to Kate and Cecelia. I keep reading recommendations for Good Omens and Murderbot and my brain may be ready for something completely different.

    1. My Annie (nickname for the CPR mannequins) always died. I decided I’m the one who quickly announces, “X and I will call 911. Y will do CPR.” However, the context was a boarding school.

      1. If only we could have done it that way! Our grade was based on how well we actually performed the CPR and used the AED. I did quite well with the chest compressions, and after discarding two face barriers with tears in the plastic, got through the rescue breaths.

        Should I ever have opportunity to use these skills in real life, I picture myself saying aloud, “I check the scene for safety! I don personal protective equipment!”

        Including four years of Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts, I have been practicing for this for almost forty-five years. Some of the first aid came in handy, but nobody (thank God) has ever needed the CPR. Not even me.

        1. My brother saved a guy’s life, and he said it was surreal: he used the exact phrases he’d learned in CPR training, ordering one person to call 911 and another to get the gym’s defibrillator. It kept him – and everyone involved – on track.

          1. Damn. Now I feel like I should go back and renew the first aid and CPR training I got 30 years ago (because it was required for the job I had at the time).

          2. I’ve given CPR to a workmate. It was absolutely terrifying and he’d had too severe a heart attack and didn’t survive. But I was so glad I knew what to do.

            So, yes, go do the training, everyone!

  26. I’m re-reading Envious Casca, because I needed a palate-cleansing comfort read after reading a YA book that was good, but SO depressing!

  27. I read The Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill

    A mystery set in Vietnam, and I so enjoyed the narration. It was gentle in a way, even though it was full of murder. I would recommend it.

    Also, read Artificial Condition – the second in the Murder Bot series – but I didn’t like it as well as the first one.

    As for everything falling apart – I hate my refrigerator I’ve hated it for 14 years and I never thought it would last this long. But this morning I decided I should appreciate how long it has lasted and then panicked. Surely the minute I start to feel an affinity with it it’s going to quit working! That’s how things have been going. But I also have to say that a friend cleaned the contacts on my car’s battery and it’s working better so perhaps I won’t have to replace it right away. So while other things are not going well, these two things seem to be going okay.

    1. I thought the second one was the weakest in the series. Although I liked it better when I reread it. (I reread it right away because I knew it would be awhile before I could get it again from the library).

  28. This week I read Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal. I had not read her before and I really enjoyed it. I have also been reading Lilith Saint crow. Some of her books are dark for me but I always finish them and I never hesitate to get them so obviously not too dark.

    I have just started on The Last of the President’s Men by Bob Woodward. At one time I was a complete Watergate junkie then I got a life. But I have not read this and it seems appropriate for the time we live in, given that I can’t stand to read anything that mentions the jackass in the White House by name (Well, I listen to Stephen Colbert but that’s my light relief).

  29. I read Liam Tanner’s City of Lies and Museum of Thieves. I have the third waiting for me, Path of a Beasts. I’ve been enjoying them. Cheers, Liam.

    I also read The Dry by Jane Harper. I didn’t see the end coming but all the clues were laid out in plain site looking like they were saying something else. Also the unremitting heat in the midst of a drought was like another character. Very well done.

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