Friday, September 05, 2008

...nor any drop to drink.

I am in a house surrounded by literally thousands of books. And I want to read something, to crank my mojo back up. And there's not a damn thing that tickles my fancy at the moment.

In the last four days I've read Crichton's Sphere, The Charm School by Nelson DeMille, and the sequel to Blade Runner, Edge of Human, by K.W. Jeter.

I decided to fall back and punt and re-read All The Trouble In The World, by P.J. O'Rourke, despite having read it so many times I durn near have it memorized. Maybe something will come to me as I'm reading it.

32 comments:

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Tam, have you read The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk? One of the Hitchens boys---I think it was the smart one---said that Hopkirk writes history as if it were a grand adventure, with the note "and it really is, isn't it?" (Or something like that.)

Reading about the First Afghan War is like watching a slow motion train wreck, you just can't tear your eyes away from it.

Anonymous said...

What a cowinkEdink. I just finished Edge of Human myself.






Tok

Crucis said...

I just finished Tom Kratman's "Caliphate." A real eye-opener that we can now see unfolding in Europe.

Vlad said...

If you haven't read World War Z yet give it a try.

Nathan Brindle said...

At least once a year I read through all 20 of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels. I just started The Truelove (#15) last night.

I have a couple of other books queued up; one is Walter Russell Mead's "Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed The World".

kishnevi said...

Next time you're famished, try this
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/
The Online Books Page
If you can't find something there to download and read--then you're truly having a bad day.

Christina LMT said...

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe novels. Do it!

Brad K. said...

Tam, Mike Shepherd's mixed military SF 'Kris Longknife' books are pretty good, starting with Kris Longknife: Mutineer.

For something really silly and worth re-reading, Frezza's "McLendon's Syndrome" - Swedish vampire taunts hapless guy in space. Who knew?

I adore Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's "Conflict of Honors", one of their "Liaden Universe" novels.

Elizabeth Moon's "Once a Hero" is very good. Another military SF author is David Weber - his long string of Honor Harrington books start with "On Basilisk Station". David Drake's "With The Lightnings" kicks off his sequence with Lieutenant O'Leary.

And the one I just finished - again - "A Brother's Price", Wen Spencer. Delightful - an invented alternate history or future after-the-apocalypse story, set in late-Wild-West era technology. With the few men carefully protected from the world. Or owning property.

For something a bit more thoughtful, though darker, Susan B. Matthews' "Exchange of Hostages" kicks off the Judiciary series.

Patricia Briggs is bridging across genres - fantasy, urban noir, horror - with her Mercedes Thompson stories about a mechanic, living next door to the local werewolf pack leader. 'Moon Called' is first, the third is 'Iron Kissed', all three are great. If you like the werewolf/vampire things, Robin McKinley's "Sunshine" and Kelley Armstrong's "Ladies of the Underworld" books are good.

Back to SF - Christopher Stasheff's "A Company of Stars" kicks of his Starship Troupers series. Theatre history with spaceships and a repressive, corrupt government. Pauline Ashwell's "Unwillingly to Earth" is uneven, but overall pretty good.

John G. Hemry (sic) writes "A Just Determination", a 'novel of Universal Law', about the Navy, set on a spaceship and orbiting space station. The story is a kind of JAG spinoff, younng officer with two months training is assigned ship's lawyer duties. The character's inexperience lets the book detail Navy culture and JAG minutia. Pretty well told, over all.

Apocalypse books "Wolf and Iron", Gordon R. Dickson, and "Postman" by David Brin. The book Postman is better than the movie. By a bunch.

If you haven't read the book Forest Gump, it is a treat. A very different story than the movie, since Tom Hanks and Sally Field didn't meddle with the story line in the book. The sequel to the book is good, too.

Elizabeth Moon's early work, "Sheep Farmers Daughter" kicks off her trilogy "Deed of Paksennarion". Awesome. Similar setting to Tolkein, but from the perspective of a young woman that runs off to join a respectable short-sword mercenary company.

staghounds said...

Pick one at random. If you've already read it, pick another until you get to the first one you haven't read.

Then read it no matter what it is.

If it's good, you're back. If you still don't want anything, repeat until you do.


Works for me.

Ted said...

Sounds like you need a librarian. ;-)

I'm in the middle of Shelby Foote's "Civil War". Far be it from me to cast stones at the Man's opus, but it's a long, long war (both in reality and on the printed page).

alath said...

Nathan Brindle - I was going to suggest Patrick O'Brian, too. I have never read anything written better than the Aubrey-Maturn series.

CounterClckWise said...

Try the Harry Flashman series. A bigger sonofabitch anti-hero there never was, and the historical settings are way cool.

Kevin said...

Tam

I suggest that you branch out to a Brit author. Try Andy McNab's books. He's very literate and the books are an excellent combination of action and accuracy.

I'm sure that gunnie inaccuracies jar on you as much as they do on me; Andy's books are based on his having been there, so any such discussion is usually correct.

You might enjoy his writing. I ordered my copies through Amazon, and got second hand ones shipped from England.

Another book I really loved is Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War". It really affected me and I just bought another copy, having worn out my old one.

I also rate Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" - and if you like that one, you might want to tackle his "Crytonomicon". Just be aware that Neal doesn't write short books, so you'll be embarking on a relationship with any of his that you pick up... :)

Have fun!

Kevin

Nathan Brindle said...

Ted: Shelby Foote was da Man, even though before he died he came out pretty strongly against the Iraq War. I have my Dad's hardbacks of The Civil War, purchased back in the '70's, and between us we've nearly worn them out.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Well, as long as we're talking about Flashman, and George MacDonald Fraser, let me send a shout-out to Fraser's other works.

"Quartered Safe Out Here" is about Fraser's service in the Burma campaign with General Slim in World War 2.

And for curmudgeons in training, check out "Lights On at Signpost", and you'll realize that, no, you're not that curmudgeonly yet.

Fraser was DA MAN!

LabRat said...

David Langford, The Leaky Establishment, his send-up of the British nuclear defense industry in the eighties. In the first couple of chapters, one of the characters asks a rhetorical question if Los Alamos and Oak Ridge have people like this. The answer is yes, yes we do, which is why we like the book so much.

Nonstop hilarious and overall WAY less fictional than first appears.

Ed Foster said...

I have to second the LT O'Leary books by Weber, as a spacefareing Aubrey-Maturin with serious overtones of Chesty Puller. Weber's seen the elephant, and it shows. I'll e-mail you for a p.o. box and send you the paperbacks. Just finished "The Way to Glory", and I'm waiting for "Some Golden Harbor" to come out in paperback.
Pass them on to some deserving S.F. freak when you're done.

Brigid said...

The library will be open for 10 days while I'm gone. Refills are available!

Jim Sullivan said...

"If you haven't read the book Forest Gump, it is a treat. A very different story than the movie, since Tom Hanks and Sally Field didn't meddle with the story line in the book. The sequel to the book is good, too."

Hated it. Rare case of the movie being an improvement on the story. And Groom's an ass.

"Try the Harry Flashman series. A bigger sonofabitch anti-hero there never was, and the historical settings are way cool."

Two snaps up, Z-formation! Loved those books.

I also thought 'Sphere' was one of Crighton's weakest stories. So much potential, so little play off. I was waiting for the squid to turn into the Stay Puft Marshmellow-man.

Isaac PC said...

Have you read "The Shiva Option" by David Weber and Steve White? It's a little dry, but good military sci-fi all the same. A lot of it deals with strategic manuevering of large scale offensives.

It's more than a little applicable to our situation in the world today. Fighting an enemy who does not know fear of death.

Carl H said...

I'll second the nomination for 'Quartered Safe Out Here', very well done indeed. I miss G.M. Fraser already, and he's only been gone a few months. If you haven't read all the Flashman books yet, get busy.

Robert F. Jones is an underappreciated author who passed away a couple of years ago. Look for 'Blood Tide' or 'Diamond Bogo' or my favorite: 'Blood Sport: A journey up the Hassayampa'. Features a duel to the death in icy trout water, armed with curare-tipped trout flies and lightweight flyrods. Good stuff.

Aubrey/Maturin. Used to read the whole canon yearly. Now I just read random books when the mood strikes plus 'The Reverse of the Medal' every year. The 'Hats off' scene gets me every freaking time. Always seem to get a bit of dust in my eyes or something.
Speaking of Napoleonic wars, I've been plowing thru the Sharpe books again. Cornwell wrote a lot of 'fill in the blank' stuff since I read these years ago.

Those Lt. Leary books by David Drake are pretty good. I like Drake's work but would like a word with his editor.

I'll also tout 'Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West' by Cormac McCarthy. It's being filmed right now, I imagine that Ridley Scott will make a damgood film of it, but even a great movie isn't the same pleasure as a book to conjure with.

Finally, there's always:
"Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."

alath said...

One thing I just had to add about O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series: Captain Aubrey is a fanatic for gunnery practice (muzzle loading shipboard cannons). The various reasons for this are expounded upon at different times during the series, but my favorite is when the Captain admits, just to himself, that a major reason he practices his crew at the guns is "the lovely smell."

I can surely identify with that: it's one of my favorite things about shooting black powder.

Mark said...

I'm re-reading the Mote in God's Eye. It's been years since I read it last and I'm enjoying it greatly.

stainles said...

I don't know if you have it, or have already read it, but I would be interested in your thoughts on Laurence Gonzales' book, *Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why*, if you care to give that a shot.

Anonymous said...

Just finished re-reading The Weapon by Michael Z. Williamson. I'm sure you've already read Freehold (if you haven't, shame on you) so you should really enjoy this one.

Brass

lornkanaga said...

If you haven't re-read Heinlein's "Friday" lately, I highly recommend it. If you've never read "Friday"--shame on you as that's his greatest portrayal of a kick-a** heroine if there ever was one.

Considering Sarah Palin's been compared to a Heinlein heroine, I think everyone should be reading that particular gem. Personally, I think Michael Whelan's rendition of Friday looks a lot like Sarah Palin in her early twenties (g).

Besides, I don't know anyone who's read the first paragraph of "Friday" and not sat down immediately to read the rest.

Anonymous said...

Another oldie, but goody is Niven and Pournelle's "Legacy of Hereot" though I was less impressed with the sequel.
I second the recommendation of Patricia Briggs - I really enjoyed those.
And Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series is pretty good, too.
JRD

hogdogs said...

May I suggest "Survive the Savage Sea"? Very good reading. I have read it several times. Completely Non-Fiction.
Brent

Anonymous said...

"The Flying Inn" by G.K.Chesterton is fun and free on the internet. It is a novel about England being ruined by islamic law. Written in 1915. Two unlikely heroes set things right in the face of massive political correctness, toting a cask of rum, a large hoop of cheese and a demolished inn's signboard.

Anonymous said...

When I find myself surrounded by books with the urge to read and nothing striking my fancy I look for a comfort read.

Something from my childhood.

I will go into my son's bedroom and grab one of my Edgar Rice Burroughs books off the shelf. It doesn't matter which one. They are all old friends. They are all easy reads that don't require you to think and you can get through it in a couple hours. There is nothing better on a lazy rainy Sunday than a few hours with Tarzan, John Carter or David Innes with a football game playing in the background.

Like comfort food sometimes you need a comfort read. it's not supposed to be good for you or even challenging, just quick easy and entertaining.

Assrot said...

I'm reading "Atlas Shrugged" for the umpteenth time. It gets better every time I read it. The first time I read it I was just a kid back in 1958.

I highly recommend it. It never gets old and I learn something new every time I read it.

Joe

Anonymous said...

"Ed Foster said...
I have to second the LT O'Leary books by Weber, as a spacefareing..."

The 'Leary' books are written by David Drake; not Weber.