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random camera phone picture: awol

Just go back from Borders. If you don't hear from me for a while, this is why.

What are you all reading?


Ah, Christopher Moore! One of my very favorite authors. Have you read anything else by him? Lamb isn't his normal type of thing, subject-wise and setting-wise, but the humor you'll find is vintage Moore.

This is my first try at Moore. This specific title was recommended. Do you have a favorite of his?

Getting Things Done, David Allen

As an eBook on my Treo 650.

Because I'm a nerd.

Just finished Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King. One of his best short stories.

Lamb is awesome. It was the first Moore book I have ever read and I loved it.

The Medici Effect on occasion. Just got PHP 5 Power Programming and I've burrowed in about 30 pages.

The Last Juror, by John Grisham

re-rereading Godel, Escher, Bach - because eventually it'll all make sense.

I found some Tim Cahill books (Jaguars/Wolverines/Pecked to Death by Ducks) so I'll be poking through them.

And I have the 1960s 30 volume red-set of Popular Mechanics "how to" books and a 10 year old ... so he and I will figure out just what sort of appendage-endangering fun we can have. So far I've ruled out building the 'a 1/8th scale train in your own backyard' because 4 car batteries and 2 young kids don't mix ... but running a zip line 50' from the deck down to a tree house (average height over earth 8') so far has not met with mom disapproval.

We're checking deductibles, homeowners insurance coverage, and such.

Stiff; a book about cadavers. Laugh out loud funny. Really.

Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Because someone has to raise the intellectual level of this comments page.

I am curious about something. Does anyone use the public library any more? At least 75% of what I read growing up came from my family's weekly trips to get FREE books from the library. And don't give me: "If I like a book I may want to read it several times." There is no limit on how many times you check it out.

Right now I'm on a Dean Koontz jag...OH STOP GROANING!

I'm just trying to get a feel for how to write for mass appeal audiences. Figured I'd read stuff by a guy who's actually sold a few books.

It's either that or Dannielle Steele.

Plus I've been reading screenplays for the same reason.

I seem to always be working on a few books at a time. Currently, the list includes:

The Longest Night (Civil War military history)
How to Cook a Rogue Elephant (cookbook, really)
Bag of Bones (Stephen King, a regular re-read)
Mistress of Mistresses (E.R. Eddision, also a regular re-read)
The Honor of the Queen (sci fi, David Weber, a regular re-read)
Pigs Have Wings (P.G. Wodehouse, humor, possibly the most re-read book in my library)

Hegemony Or Survival By Noam Chomsky

Just recently finished:
On The Run : A Mafia Childhood by Gregg & Gina Hill
Eisner/Miller by Will Eisner & Frank Miller
Seven Pillars Of Wisdom by T.E Lawrence
The Beautiful Game by Chris Taylor
According To Skull by Kerry O'Keefe
Football Against The Enemy by Simon Kuper
Bradman's Best by Roland Perry
El Diego by Diego Maradona

Next to be read:
Peanuts Collection Vol.3 by Charles Schultz

I really should clean up my bedside table.

Blogs....lots of blogs

I esp like this one call A Small... something or another.

JimK: forgot to answer your question, at least from my perspective. I, too, spent most of my childhood at the Public Library. No family trips, though...had to go by myself.

As for why this doesn't work anymore, I offer the following thoughts:

From the perspective of a child:
01. It isn't safe.
02. It isn't convenient.
03. The selection isn't as good as it used to be.

From the perspective of an adult:
Actually, pretty much the same. Who has time to get in the car, drive, find parking, and go in and get out before it gets dark? Plus, libraries don't have as many books as they used to, and the collections, while broad, aren't particularly deep. I exclude university libraries from this generalization, but then, most major universities don't allow the general public access to the stacks anymore so they don't count.

The Internet has also had a huge effect. I really don't go to bookstores anymore, either; I just search on-line. With the advent of abebooks.com, I can pretty much find anything I want without having to leave the computer, and I can select new or different quality levels of used books depending on my needs. With judicious comparison shopping my selection(s) arrive in a week or so, tax-free and frequently with free shipping. What's not to like about that?

A series of comics called 100 Bullets and a collection of short stories by Bernard Malamud.

I revisited old friends just to see if they had the same effect

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson... still effective, but if you're looking for blood or gore this is not the book for you. Nice, spine shivery creepiness and great character play.

Ingathering by Zenna Henderson

I just added this hardcover to my collection -- it is the only complete collection of her People stories. I love it! Some consider her a bit sentimental, but what a deft touch she has with character. You want to spend time with these people.

Brimstone by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

United States Air Force Supervisory Examination Study Guide. Read a book, get a stripe and more money...amazing isn't it?

The Past Through Tomorrow by Heinlein for the umtieth time.

I worked at Border for ten years. That photograph reminds me of how many times I would spend half of my paycheck before even leaving work. And I still haven't read 80% of what I bought. No wonder I'm so in debt.

I've been reading Inventing the Middle Ages by Norman Cantor. About medieval historians of the 20th Century and what a bunch of eccentric twits most of them were. Some parts are interesting, some boring.

JimK -

I'm a huge fan of the Denver Public Library system. Their collection rarely fails to turn up the book for which I'm searching, and via the magic of the internet, I can have it waiting for me at the branch near my office in a day or two. Add to that the audio books, eBooks, CDs, and DVDs, and what more could one want? :)

Now, as for buying books, if I really like a book and want to have it in my library, I do buy it - but I tend to check them out first to see if they are worth buying (unless I visit a remainders store for cheap books).

What am I reading right now? Elmore Leonard's "Maximum Bob," and several books on value investing. Whee fun.

Well, I'm 2/3 of the way through the Thomas Covenant series ... book 2 has slowed me down considerably, which is odd, since this is my 3rd or 4th reread of the series. I think it had to do with EOY stuff more than anything. Now that my summer has started in earnest, I'll be reading more.

I've also got a large paper grocery bag filled with my next books ... Douglas Adams' 'The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul' will be first, I think, then some Orson Scott Card. I've also got the Otherworld series in there ... like a kid at Christmas, I am.

I've also got 4 cases of great, new kid lit in my office waiting to be cataloged ... if I come across anything spectacular, I'll let you know. Yeah, I read most of the books in my library. Hoot is a great kid's book. It's one of the best (recent) kids books ... totally reminded me of why I love children's literature. It's the kind of book that could change a kid's life. Enjoy it!

Oh, and JimK, I'm totally with you about the public library. As an elementary school librarian, I always promote reading of any kind but, come on! Free access to ANY BOOK YOU WANT?! It doesn't get better than that! We took our summer school kids on a field trip to the public library last week and got them their first library card. Now it's just up to the parents to get them there Like that's going to happen ... but I can dream, can't I?

I guess it's different around here - our library is always crowded. Sometimes it's hard to get through the aisles in the children's department because there are so many kids picking through the books. The special programs always fill up, the tables in the reference section are always filled with people doing research papers and the fiction aisles are clogged with browsing adults all year long.

We love our library. We get there every week during the school year and every other weekend during the summer.

But I cannot resist a good sale at Borders.

-Rereading "The Grapes of Wrath," which I hadn't read since high school.
-The Complete Peanuts series
-The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
-Weird Florida by Charlie Carlson
-The Harvard Classics (currently on book 3 of 50; this is gonna take a loooong time)
-Lots o' other stuff

While I like libraries, the ones in Orlando aren't all that impressive in their collections. I worked for the Fort Myers library system for five years, though. That was sweet.

I'm also a book collector, which means I've got rooms full of books that I'm still planning on getting to, someday.

Atlas Shrugged

And, Detroit libraries suck. The "satellite" campuses have -basically - no books, and are usually closed. The main branch is a haul - and you have to pay for parking, etc, etc.

USED bookstores - that's my favorite. There is one downtown that is four-floors of books. I could spend hours in there. And have.

David Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day" - hysterical
"Stiff" a book about what happens to human cadavers donated to "science". That was a real eye opener.
"Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: tales of growing up groovy and clueless" Hysterical. Sounds like a chick-book but great for anyone!

I Will Bear Witness, 1933-1941 by Victor Klemperer. Klemperer was a German Jew who survived the war and the Holocaust. It's a very interesting read (particularly to be reminded what Nazis are really like, as opposed to what I hear some people use them in current day political discourse).

And for those of you who are such goobers you remember Werner Klemperer (Col. Klink from Hogan's Heroes), yes, Victor is a relative, an uncle if I remember.

Just finished Gods and Generals

Hey, I see Garth Nix in there! I love both the Keys to the Kingdom and Abhorsen series. I'm reading the newest Charlie Bone, a good fix while you're waiting for Harry Potter. Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy is a good read too, but you have to get the audio versions from the library. Philip Reeve's Hungry City Chronicles are a new favorite also. Can you tell I work in the children's department at Barnes and Noble?

Sandy, I almost picked up a couple of Charlie Bone books, but they looked like HP rip offs - maybe I'll pick one up when I go to the library this week.

The basic premise IS quite a bit similar, but I thought the author did an excellent job differentiating her world from Harry Potter's.

Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants

Lamb is really pretty good. My personal favorite Moore would either be Fluke or Island of the Sequined Love Nun. I can't even describe the plots of these books, really -- except to say that the former involves a whale whose tail markings spell out "Bite Me" and the latter involves cargo cults in the south pacific.

A friend of mine introduced me to Moore as well; his recommendations (before Fluke came out) can be found here.

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, courtesy of the Minneapolis Public Library, downtown branch. I also have a purchased paperback copy of Speaker For the Dead by Orson Scott Card on deck. My Mom managed to get first crack at it when she was here a couple of weeks ago. She doesn't normally read Sci-Fi, but she seemed to like it.

First person to make a comment about SF vs. Sci-Fi gets a punch in the nose.

Digital Devil Saga, Arc the Lad End of Darkness, Atelier Iris Eternal Mana, Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne Maniacs... that is, assuming that playing RPGs is kind of like reading a book...

Also got a copy of Age of Innocence, because of weird urge to reread highschool English syllabus.

I read two things this weekend.

1) Commie anti-Nazi demonstrator posters;


2) Ingredients on the bottle of blue gel stuff I put all over my badly sunburned head

The gel stuff was a bettter read.


Lamb is brilliant... really, really smart funny. Loved it.

It's summer, so a Grisham is on call... reading The Summons as well as Arcadian Adventures With the Idle Rich by Leacock. Two very different books but they pass the time nicely.


Pirate Hunter: The true story of Captain Kidd, by Richard Zacks. It was an interesting book, it's written like a novel, but it seems to have been painstakingly researched.

This weekend I finally got around to Campbell and read If Chins Could Kill. Great book, interesting subject matter and a very cool guy, it really did make me laugh a lot while I was reading it (not something I usually do, with Sedaris being a notable exception). Now I can hit Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way in the next couple of weeks.

Comics. Neal Stephenson's The Confusion. Over the weekend it was mostly me being read to, following a trip to the public library - the 5 year old read me a Captain Underpants book and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Just finished Labyrinth of Evil, the Revenge of the Sith prequel novel. Not bad, as Star Wars geekitude goes, and I may start in on some more of the Star Wars books soon. Also recently finished re-reading Heart of Darkness, which was as badly written as I remembered.

Currently reading: Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson; 1912, about the Wilson-Taft-Roosevelt election; Things Worth Fighting For, a collection of Michael Kelly's essays; and The Seekers, Daniel Boorstin's thumbnail history of Western thought. And a few other books are half-finished and I may get back to them eventually.

I got a book about the "golden ratio" recently.

I just finished re-reading Hey Nostradamus! by Doublas Coupland, which I noticed in your stack-o-books. It is maybe his best work, though I'll admit to being a huge fan of everything he has ever written... even the not-so-well-received stuff like Life After God and Miss Wyoming.

Other than that, I've pretty much been on a reading hiatus this year. Just too busy... Though I have the following on my list for when things slow down a bit:

State of Fear
by Michael Crichton

Letters of Great Americans to Their Children
by Dorie McCullough Lawson

The God Gene
How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes
by Dean Hamer

On Intelligence
by Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee

Oh yeah, and I was looking on Amazon.com the other day and found "Free To Be... You And Me" which brought back fond memories of childhood. So I ordered the book and the CD for my 4 year old daughter. Anybody other children of the 70's remember this one?

Currently Reading
Alexander Hamilton by Richard Brookhiser having just

Read Christopher Hitchens' Thomas Jefferson Author of America.

Also dog-ear'd Crimes Against Logic by Jamie Whyte

Hope to get to Freakonomics soon.


Atlas Shrugged was a great book, long read, but well worth it. I'm a big fan of Ayn Rand...I just recently read "The Fountainhead" and "We the Living" by her as well. Both were quite enjoyable. Looking for something new to read now, I'll probably try a couple of the suggestions listed above.