What are you reading?

«The Hollow Man» by John Dickson Carr. Aka «Three Coffins» in the US. It’s a locked-rom mystery, regarded as a Classic. I’ve read it before, but a looong time ago, so the only thing I remember is that I liked it.

This puzzles me however:

"The most regular attendants of the club were fussy bald-headed little Pettis, the authority on ghost stories; Mangan, the newspaperman; and Burnaby, the artist; but Professor Grimaud was its undisputed Dr Johnson."

Dr Johnson? Huh? What does this mean? Anyone knows?

pibbuR who doesn’t but certainly would like to. Know.
 
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«The Hollow Man» by John Dickson Carr. Aka «Three Coffins» in the US. It’s a locked-rom mystery, regarded as a Classic. I’ve read it before, but a looong time ago, so the only thing I remember is that I liked it.

This puzzles me however:

"The most regular attendants of the club were fussy bald-headed little Pettis, the authority on ghost stories; Mangan, the newspaperman; and Burnaby, the artist; but Professor Grimaud was its undisputed Dr Johnson."

Dr Johnson? Huh? What does this mean? Anyone knows?

pibbuR who doesn’t but certainly would like to. Know.
What does Grimaud do? Is there a famous XYZ Johnson with the same profession?

EDIT: When I search 'Dr Johnson', I get Samuel Johnson, a writer who was called 'Dr Johnson'. I don't know if that helps. Maybe Grimaud and he have something in common.
 
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Three Inch Teeth went so fast, possibly because I quite enjoy the Pickett universe and simply devour these books. This one was a non-stop tour de force, and the ending sees Nate reverting back to his feral form, so I'm already hankering for the next volume, though I know I've a wait.

Now I'm reading the Ranger, the first in a series by Ace Atkins, the bloke that did such a fine job on some recent Spenser books. After seeing the work he did there I was keen on checking out his own stories and so far it's good.
 
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What does Grimaud do? Is there a famous XYZ Johnson with the same profession?

EDIT: When I search 'Dr Johnson', I get Samuel Johnson, a writer who was called 'Dr Johnson'. I don't know if that helps. Maybe Grimaud and he have something in common.
I think you're on to something. According to Wikipedia "Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, sermonist, biographer, editor, and lexicographer."

Said Giraud was the main source of things to discuss in that little club.

pibbuR who does not compare himself to said doctor, since he a couple of years ago (voluntarily) renounced his license to practice (which he btw hated). And said doctor actually wasn't a doctor.
 
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After a few other books, I finally decided to read Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Heads-up: there might be a minor spoiler about the TV series below.

I have mixed feelings, though I found it rather good overall.

On the one hand, it's quite well written, and there are great sad, profound, and funny moments. I like that the story is mainly told from the main protagonist but also told from other perspectives, which gives the author opportunities to expose misunderstandings due to prejudices, shyness, or misinformation. The characters are relatively well developed and coherent throughout the book, too, and it's easy to get attached to some of them and feel for their misfortunes - but more on that later. They have their strong points but also their blind spots, which makes them real enough, except a few antagonists who are just bad no matter how you look at them.

On the other hand, there are glaring passages that feel too much like a 101 lecture on patriarchism or similar issues and which stick out like a sore thumb. By comparison, though, the racial aspect isn't as developped as in the series, where they invented the whole story about Harriet's fight to preserve the neighboorhood (she's fighting for something else entirely in the book). I also had the same feeling as when I watched the series that the suffering, unfairness, and injustices inflicted upon the main protagonist and a few others were repeatedly carried to excess, which makes the book too obviously purposed to denounce the issues in gender equality and greed in that period - and still today. The problem is really in the dosage, which is too bad in a story about chemists. Worst, it made me think that the author, prompted to write this book after her own misfortune, has overdone it to tap into that sensitive topic and gain more audience on one side rather than rallying the other side, which is a shame since we all know covalent bonds are stronger (sorry, couldn't help it).

Finally, also like the series, I was a little concerned about the apparent aimlessness of the story at a certain point. In my interpretation, the real main plot appears at the very end, which gives an explanation to some mysteries and a late sense of purpose, but it feels badly stitched in some areas, as if the exaggerations had torn the fabric of the story somewhat.

Thankfully, the good parts overweigh the bad ones, so I'd still recommend reading it if you're not too regarding about those little issues and, of course, if 'woke' isn't a slang word you'd normally use pejoratively rather than for its true meaning.
 
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The Ranger was a solid read yet sadly it's the only book in the series that my library has. Pity because I'd certainly keep going. The protagonist is a career ranger, come home to his hamlet in very rural Missouri, and finding lots of corruption in the town. Mayhem ensues!

Next up for me is Malice by John Gwynne, book one in a fantasy series. So far so fun!
 
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I just finished Malice and man, for a debut book it's really good. I look forward to reading more from this guy!

Now I'm starting book four in the Jesse Stone series, Stone Cold.
 
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Stone Cold was a different take for Jesse, and the cast is down one recurring character. A solid story for sure!

Now I'm reading Shadow of the Gods, a different take on Nordic tales, and what might have happened with their gods/realms in a different world. It's quite good, I like how the greater impact is felt with the gods having co-mingled with mortals in this novel.
 
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Shadow of the Gods was really good, I quite enjoyed this different take on Nordic mythos and how Ragnarok might have played out. And as the focus of this tale seems to be what happens afterwards, I find that even more enticing!

Now I'm back to the Stone series with book five, Sea Change.
 
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Been trying forever to find a good fantasy series but striking out left and right. Shadow of the Gods was one I looked at, so maybe I will give it a go. Thanks for posting about it.

FYI...here are my recent swings and misses:
Aching God by Mike Shel, finished but very underwhelming (C-)
Azure Bonds by Kate Novak, honestly not even sure why I thought this would be worth reading...foolish nostalgia purchase (D+)
Theft of Swords by Michael Sullivan, underwhelming and didn't finish (Incomplete)
Rhapsody by Elizabeth Hayden, terrible and didn't finish (Incomplete)
Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie, finished but just OK (C+)
Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, good book...but I think it was overhyped for me...was expecting awesome but was just good (B)
Once and Future King by TH White, didn't finish...not what I was expecting...should have read more reviews in advance (Incomplete)
 
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Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie, finished but just OK (C+)
Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, good book...but I think it was overhyped for me...was expecting awesome but was just good (B)
I've only read a couple of those.
I agree on the Sanderson. For me, Sanderson needs a bit more spice to lift his work to truly top tier.
I really liked Best Served Cold - I thought it was like sword & sorcery by way of Quentin Tarantino, so it's an A for me. It might be more enjoyable if you've read the preceding trilogy. It's not essential, but there are enough references that it gives you some little rewards here and there. Doubt it'd be enough to lift it from a C+ to A for you, though.
 
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New Scientist has provided a list of their favorite science fiction books in no particular order

  • The Culture series by Iain M. Banks
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  • Flatland: A romance of many dimensions by A Square (Edwin Abbott Abbott)
  • War With the Newts by Karel Čapek
  • 17776 by Jon Bois
  • God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  • The City & the City by China Miéville
  • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
I have read a few of them, and my favorites among those are the ones written in bold letters in the list above. Very much recommended

A quote from the magazine:
"Murderbot doesn’t actually want to kill people. After all, this machine-organic hybrid is a Security Unit designed to protect human clients. Sure, it has hacked the governor module that enforces obedience to humans. Sure, it frequently tears apart anything that threatens its teammates. And fine, it is the one that named itself “Murderbot”. I love the narration in this series of books: our protagonist is snarky and grouchy, socially awkward but eminently capable. It can strategise expertly, hack almost any system, fight brutally and even murder when that is what it takes to protect the often-irritating people and bots that it, annoyingly, sort of cares about. Beyond the tentative friendships it forms against its will, Murderbot is on a quest for full personhood and independence – even if what it does with that freedom is binge-watch as much media as is (in)humanly possible."

pibbuR who BTW also recommends New Scientist.
 
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Sea Change was a daunting, pedo-icky book that I almost felt the need to shower after reading. At least the villain was caught.

Now I'm onto a book titled Lost in Time, by A G Riddle. I'm almost halfway done, these six scientists are trying to create one thing, wind up creating something else entirely, a way to deal with the most hardened/violent criminal offenders, and what a tangled web it all weaves.
 
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Lost in Time was great, I didn't see that particular ending coming and with all the time shenanigans going on, practically everything was unpredictable. Good tale and I'd read other stories from this guy for sure.

Now I'm reading a Ludlum classic that I've not read before, the Scarlatti Inheritance.
 
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The Ludlum book was really good, a deep dive into some corporate backings that are fictionalized as helping the Reich take form in the late twenties. A neat tale of what could have happened.

Now I'm onto Kill Zone, book one in a new series.
 
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I finished listening to the Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy. Listening because I don't have time to read books these days but can listen to audiobooks while doing chores, driving and training. I remember reading the two first books when I was a teen and they didn't really open to me. This time they did. Good books with excellent writing. I liked the low fantasy setting until toward the end. The long travel sections were especially to my liking. So was the closeness to the nature and animals of the main character. On the other hand, the characters lacked...character...and were far too brainwashed. Especially the main character who had slow wits to the point of being stupid but this was the authors way of keeping readers encaged in the story. The excitement was often when would the main character figure out the obvious. Quite excellent writing indeed.

The ending was a let down. Apart from that, I have not enjoyed fantasy books this much in decades. Much recommended if you haven't read/listened to them already. I'll continue with the next trilogy by the author.
 
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Nice list, @pibbuR !
I think almost all of those are pretty good.
The only authors there I'm not familiar with are Jon Bois and Rivers Solomon.
Interesting that they chose God Emperor of Dune, as that's where it all started to go downhill for me.
Also, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter - decent enough, but I think both authors have written better books both solo and in partnership.

My favourites in the list are probably:
  • The Culture series by Iain M. Banks
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
 
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