February 27

2016: Beginnings

My reading’s been slow at the start of 2016, because I’ve been mainlining podcasts (every back episode of Stuff you missed in history class, Freaknomics, Question of the day, and No such thing as a fish) but I still managed to crack through eighteen volumes. Graphic novels really make the number balloon out.


The aeronaut’s windlass by Jim Butcher

A solid start to a new series by the author of the Dresden Files. There was a strong sensation, in reading, that this is the beginning of a series. There’s a lot of world building, characters take a lot of space to establish themselves, and there is absolutely no sense that any are ever in serious danger. A promising series, strongly reminiscent of the early Hononr Harrington books, but not excellent yet. Available from City Libraries.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Can a fifty year old joke be the basis of a decent novel?  Turns out that it can.  In Redshirts, a crewman on a starship notices that people who go on away missions tend to die. He needs to work out what’s going on before he, too, is killed. Book club discussion questions are available.

Under the sunset by Bram Stoker

A collection of fairy tales, I chose not to finish. The first few have pallid little morals, coupled to weak, obvious, endings. I may go back to it, if I here excellent reviews elsewhere. I listened to the start of the Librivox recording, but it is also available from Internet Archive.

How to write the popular novel by Loren Esterman

An older book on the basics of writing. Sound advice, although a little dated. I bought it from the Library book sale years ago, and it seems our copies have faded from the collection.

How to read novels like a professor by Thomas Foster

It tried this book for fifty pages, but could not find any pleasure in it. It made so little impact I’m having trouble writing a review.   It seems to be made up of smaller pieces chopped out of something else.

Good eats by Alton Brown (3 volumes)

Alton Brown is a famous American TV presenter and chef. His work has won the James Beard Award for food journalism, due to his strong emphasis on technique and the underlying science of cookery. Good Eats is a set of three coffee-table books which contain the recipes from his first television show.  They weigh about 5 kilograms, and can be used as a bookend for the rest of your cookbook collection.  They divide up by key ingredient, and are absolutely brilliant for the novice or experienced chef.

Behind the magic door by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle gives a guided tour of the favorite books in his personal collection. An excellent way of finding new authors, if you are into classics. Available from Internet Archive and Librivox.

Graphic novels

I’ve written separate reviews of each of the graphic novels. Follow the links for each.

Blood stain (volumes 1 -2) by Linda Sejic

Lumberjanes: beware the Holy Kitten and Lumberjanes: friendship to the max.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Sunstone (volumes 1 – 5) by Stjepan Šejić