logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: irl-bookclub
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-16 01:49
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Several colleagues and I started an IRL book club at work four months ago.  We met at lunchtime on Thursday to discuss Before the Fall.  Marketed as a thriller with the hook “On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.” The book follows Scott in the days immediately following the crash with flashbacks to the lives of the now-deceased passengers and crew.

 

Surprisingly, our opinion of the book was unanimous.  Pretty much everybody was intrigued by the concept of the book and hated the execution. The general feeling was that Before the Fall wasn’t suspenseful enough for the thriller designation and that the story stopped living up to the promise of the opening sequence as soon as Scott left the hospital.

 

As one of my colleagues said, this book is awash in red herrings, but rather than them being fat meaty fish that we could believe in, there’s this swarm of pink minnows darting around pallid characters. 

 

While you can’t really say anything about how the book ends, or “whodunit” without spoilers, we were dissatisfied with how the book ended and had some significant questions about the timing of certain things.

 

As an aside, while the consensus is that we are unlikely to read anything else by Mr. Hawley, we wish that Gil the security guard had survived the crash so that he could be the protagonist of his own book.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-06-03 22:44
May Musings

Still haven’t been feeling the urge to review as much, so here’s another quick month-end summary. I read 4 pieces of fiction and parts of 3 non-fiction books during May.

 

Fiction:

 

A is for Alibi - Sue Grafton 

 

A is for Alibi is the first book in the long-running “Alphabet Mysteries" series. While the novel was originally contemporary, it now reads as a period piece from the days before cell-phones.  While there were some wobbles, I’ve been looking for a new mystery series and I’m curious to see what kind of writer Sue Grafton matures into.  Ms. Grafton, unfortunately, died at the end of 2017.

 

Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee 

 

Ninefox Gambit was the winner of the 2016 Locus Award as wells as being nominated for the 2017 Hugo, Nebula And Arthur C. Clarke Awards. I read Mr. Lee's first full-length novel because the sequel was nominated for the 2018 Hugo Award.  The start of Ninefox Gambit was very confusing start as you are thrown headlong into a very inventive world.  But I very much enjoyed the story once all the players were in motion. I’m likely to re-read this since I feel like I missed a lot of the nuance.

  •  
  • All Systems Red - Martha Wells 

 

I’ve been seeing  glowing reviews of All Systems Red  on my feed for a while, and was able to download the ebook for free from Tor.com in April.  The story won the 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella. I'm glad I spent the time with Murderbot and I hope that my local library makes the sequels available.

 

The Protector's War - S.M. Stirling 

  

Meh.  See stand-alone review of the The Protector's War  

 

 

Non-Fiction:

 

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot  A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie - Kathryn Harkup  

 

I finally finished I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, which was the March selection from the Flat Book Society. The story of the microbiome was interesting, but for whatever reason, I found it hard to maintain the attention needed to follow Ed Yong’s well-researched summary.  I love that, while I Contain Multitudes was clearly written for a general audience, the back 20% of the book was still footnotes and citations of primary documents.

 

My IRL book-club read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for our mid-May meeting.  I’d read it several years ago as an audiobook.  I didn’t start until a week before the meeting and had finished about the first 1/3 by our discussion.  After the meeting, I just didn’t feel like taking the time to finish, so moved on to other things.

 

I read a few chapters in A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie  by Kathryn Harkup, which was the Flat Book Society selection for May.  As a non-Christie reader, I didn't find it all that compelling and chose not to finish.

 

Happy Reading!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-05-05 02:20
April 2018 Roundup
Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

I read 4 books and finished 1 audiobook during April.  With one exception they were all part of a series. My favorite was the book I'd saved for Dewey's Readathon and then devoured in an afternoon and evening.

 

Lake Silence returns to the wonderful world of The Others created by Anne Bishop.  Like every other review I’ve read, I’d like to acknowledge up front that Lake Silence introduces new characters and that the denizens of the Lakeside Courtyard who we grew to love are NOT featured (Well there are a few phone calls to consult with folks from the 5-book sequence that starts with Written in Red, but they are incidental and don’t really add much to the story).  Aside from the bad-guys being a bit too obviously set up to take a fall, it was an enjoyable story.  I loved being back in this world where if you’re not good you will get eaten.  I’m very curious to see if Ms. Bishop tries to sustain a multi-book arc featuring the new characters and the hamlet of Sproing, or if currently unnamed Book #7 moves to a different place and new folks.

 

 

A Local Habitation - Seanan McGuire 

 

A Local Habitation  by Seanan McGuire is the 2nd installment in the October Daye series.  It’s a solid, “fae in California” urban fantasy, but Verity and friends in Ms. McGuire’s InCryptid series are more appealing and inventive.  I am unlikely to continue the series since there are only so many pages that fit into a year. 

 

Invisible City - Julia Dahl 

 

Invisible City by Julia Dahl

 

Standalone book reaction post.  Likely to continue the series

 

Cast In Secret - Michelle Sagara 

 

Cast In Secret  by Michelle Sagara is book 3 in the Chronicles of Elantra Series.  Fantasy by the yard, but sometimes that’s what you want for a comfort read.  Love the multi-species world.  Planning to continue the series.

 

Dune - Frank Herbert 

 

Dune by Frank Herbert, audiobook read by Orlagh Cassidy, Scott Brick, Euan Morton, and others.

               

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain

 

Dune is a classic of SF.  I remember being wowed by Dune and enthralled by the Bene Gesserit when I first read it (college age I think).  However, as I mentioned previously, my worldview has changed and Dune now sounds misogynist and dated.  I remember the sequels as being horrid and don’t intend to continue rereading the series.

 

On the non-fiction front

 

 

  • I started a re-read of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks because my IRL bookclub will be discussing it in mid-May. I hope it will be a quick read because I haven't left myself a lot of time.

 

 

And that was my month. 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-21 02:34
Invisible City
Invisible City - Julia Dahl

First in a series is tough. Making the jump from journalist to novelist is tricky. 

 

Invisible City is a solidly plotted murder mystery that reads more like a police procedural than a cozy (though our main girl is a journalist not an officer of the peace).   While better than many first novels, there's plenty of room for growth.  In particular, I felt like the book was a hodge-podge of thinly veiled elements from a number of recent sensational news stories rather than being fully original. 

 

Like the main character, author Julia Dahl has a Jewish mother and a Christian father.  While it's always difficult to write about insular communities without a true in, I felt like a lot of Ms. Dahl's personification of the Ultra-Orthodox characters was built on stereotypes.

 

I'm counting this as an IRL bookclub read because Julia Dahl will be speaking in my community about book #3 in the series (released about a year ago) on Sunday.  I read Invisible City because Conviction was checked out of the Library and I wanted to have read something by the author before I went to brunch.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-09 03:19
Wild
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

I did not like Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail very much.  I just couldn’t get past Cheryl Strayed’s unpreparedness for long-distance hiking and found her a distasteful person who I didn’t particularly want to spend time with.  I also found the narrative disorganized and the insights she gained from her journey pedestrian. If Wild hadn’t been the selection for my office book club, I probably would not have finished the book.  As it was, partway through I stopped reading and started skimming.

 

Several of my co-workers also didn’t like Wild very much either, including one person who said that she expected much more from the author of Tiny Beautiful Things (which I have not read).  A number of others hadn’t finished, but had seen the movie, so we spent as much time comparing the book to the movie and discussing other wilderness journey movies as discussing the book itself.

 

In other news, the office book club appears to be turning into a book-to-movie club, which isn’t actually such a bad thing. Our first selection was Room, our second was Wild, and our next choice is The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a re-read for me (I listened to the audiobook a few years ago). I’m looking forward to re-reading it and  I’m interested to hear what the others think. And we’ll see how the scheduling goes, but we’re also starting to kick around the idea of a movie night where we watch the movies and talk some more.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?