Book Thread: November 2017


I live in a really well-off county (Loudoun County VA) but our digital library services suck. I typically look up any book mentioned in these threads and my hit rate is about 5% (for example I just looked up the books referenced by @wumpus above - they don’t have the Underground Railroad, and the Last Policeman says “coming soon”). The good news is that I just looked and it turns out I can qualify for a Fairfax County library card so I will get one soon (and their digital library is pretty good).


You might want to check if they have agreements with other library systems. My local library here in Kent County Michigan has a mediocre eBook selection, but they have agreements with other Michigan systems so I can get eBooks from them. The trick is you have to know how to get there. In my case, I have to go through the regular (not eBook) library search catalog, then click through a few menus to get to the associate system. Terrible user experience but it does sometimes net me a book that wouldn’t be otherwise available.


My library offers both a regional library network, SWAN for suburban Chicago is a really great library share program, and they contract through Hoopla for digital services.

Which is really nice as it has allowed me to borrow and read multiple books while abroad. I’ve managed to read the entire Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia Butler, Making Money by Terry Pratchett, and Rendezvous with Rama. And just starting on The Forge of God.

That said the hit rate for books is fairly low. Clarke, for example, has a bunch of books. Including all the 2001 sequels, but not 2001 itself. Most of Pratchetts books are audiobooks (actually they generally seem to have better modern selection of audiobooks than reading ones). It’s good to have, but a bit limiting when searches for Gibson, Eco, and many others turn up nothing.

I’ll post thoughts on them later when not on mobile, but that’s a pretty good month of reading, I must say. Even if Xenogenesis had a little more focus on intraspecies sex than I had anticipated.


She’s probably my favorite (living) fantasy author. GRRM is a cool dude, but he’s one cheeseburger away from a massive coronary.


I’m super into this first book, and it looks like I have a treasure trove of adventure before me. It’s pretty exciting!


Robin Hobb’s Fitz series is one of my favorites of all time. Frequently crushingly depressing, though.


Good recommendation! I really enjoyed it.

Written in such a way that you don’t have to be an alternate history fan to enjoy, too.

Added to the backlog!


For my birthday my wife got me Ron Chernow’s new biography of Grant. Only 20 pages in but I’ve already learned tons of stuff I never knew about him, and I’m a pretty serious Civil War buff.


I finished Midnight Line, the latest Reacher novel by Lee Child.

Overall, I liked it. It’s a return to the old days of the series. There were a few detours the books made a few years ago I wasn’t happy with, but this is back to reacher just floating around.

There is some extra emphasis on Reacher’s size this book that a lot of the GoodReads reviewers didn’t like. I think this is his way of making sure you don’t have Tom Cruise in mind when you read it.


Lol that’s hilarious, because yeah Cruise is kinda short isn’t he?


Being larger than life is such a big part of Reacher being Reacher,the casting still boggles my mind…


I’d actually forgotten he was a big dude.

I also read the John Puller series by Baldacci, and now the two characters are mushed into one.


Read Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. It is really, really good. Well-written, interesting characters. The way it uses all the different characters to tell different interwoven stories is well executed. Funny and smart. At times a tough and unpleasant read, but a really fresh take on, err, magical social realism or whatever this genre should be called.


I really enjoyed this as well. Ray Porter is in my top 5 narrators. Always does such a great job.

Now reading Artemis by Andy Weir.


I too just finished Lovecraft Country, mostly based on Tom’s recommendation in this thread.

It had been sitting in my Audible wish-list for some time, and I’m really glad that I pulled the trigger on it. Quite good, and the audiobook narrator (Kevin Kenerly) was fantastic.

I’m quite looking forward to the HBO series, if Peele manages to get it off the ground.