August TBR

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Wrapping July 2018

Reading

  • Books Finished: 5
    • Highlight: A World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
  • Books DNFed: 1
  • Short Stories Read: 7
    • Highlight: “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell
  • Challenge Updates:
    • #20 #15 Books of Summer: I’m at 8/15. Probably not going to make it…
    • 2018 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: Making good progress here. 4/8 off my list and my percentage is up to 30% nonfiction read.
    • 2018 TBR Challenge: This month’s DNF was from my this challenge. I mean, I guess I’m clearing things off my TBR list…
    • Wild West Reading Challenge: Didn’t have a western planned for July.
    • Shelf Maintenance: Downloaded 3 ARCs and purchased 2 brand new books.

Continue reading “Wrapping July 2018”

Mini Reviews, Vol. 13

After a readathon, a mini review post is usually appropriate.

The Science of Illusions cover The Science of Illusions by Jacques Ninio (trans. Franklin Philip

I bought this book last year at The Open Book when visiting my sister in Santa Clarita. I was intrigued because Science! Illusions! What could be more up my alley? Alas, this book is very broad and not very deep. The categories on the back list it as “psychology, history of science, philosophy” and, so, it’s lighter on the hard science than I had hoped. Granted, this book was published in 1998. Our understanding of neuro-biology has increased immensely.

Challenges: #20BooksOfSumer, Nonfiction Reading Challenge

Q's Legacy cover Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff

A reread that I started back in June. The thing that has always made Helene Hanff inspiring to me is, not her faith, but her unflagging stick-to-itiveness to keep doing something related to writing and reading until something worked out. Her path to fame was circuitous, unexpected, and a little lucky. I sometimes need to remember: life goes that way.

Jane cover Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna & Ramón Pérez (Illustrator)

I read this more because I’m a fan of Ramón Pérez’s art (I’ve been a fan since his stint as an illustrator at Paladium Games) than a fan of Jane Eyre. That’s probably a good thing. While this is an adaptation, it takes some modern liberties with the story. It’s a good story, but it doesn’t quite have Brontë spirit. But the art is gorgeous!

Writing Update, 7/25

Writing Update pic
How’s It Going?
Eh.

Well, Our Past in the Uncanny Valley is out of Amazon pre-pub review jail. I needed to remove a couple stories and I’ve since restructured it. I rewrote the pertinent intro materials, but now I’m not totally satisfied with the formatting (unrelated to the restructuring). So, I’m sitting on it for the moment.

I did reformat Bounded in a Nutshell, my anthology of short fiction. I’m really pleased with how it looks now. (And I realize now that I hadn’t “finished” the publishing process last night and my changes aren’t live. That might be my current state summed up in, well, a nutshell.) [Edit: But it’s updated now! If you want to toss a dollar my way for some (hopefully) entertaining fiction: Bounded in a Nutshell @ Amazon.]

I’m going to hit all our current books with formatting updates. Next up: Luck for Hire.

It’s Monday, What Are You… 7/23

…Reading?

I got through a couple of slow reads last week. I plan to have a mini review post for Thursday. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Secret History of Magic: The True Story of the Deceptive Art Thieves, Rascals and Sore Losers: The Unsettling History of the Dirty Deals that Helped Settle Nebraska The Black Dove
  •  The Secret History of Magic: The True Story of the Deceptive Art by Peter Lamont & Jim Steinmeyer
  • Thieves, Rascals and Sore Losers: The Unsettling History of the Dirty Deals that Helped Settle Nebraska by Marilyn Coffey
  • The Black Dove (Holmes On the Range Mystery #3) by Steve Hockensmith – audio book.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

…Doing?

Surviving the heat.

It’s that week here in the Phoenix metro. That week when we have a couple of days of 114-116F temperatures and lows in the low 90s. But, it looks like we should have some monsoons next week which will bring that all down by 10-15 degrees. This is the last week before the World Masters Ultimate Club Championships, which Eric will be competing in. We’ve done a pretty good job of continuing to run this summer, but going out on Monday and Wednesday this week is going to be a challenge.

What Was I Doing?

#24in48 Readathon Summer 2018

#24in48 Readathon!

The goal of #24in48 is to read for 24 hours over the course of 48 hours.

I wavered back and forth on whether to join this time around. I really wanted to, but I have a previous engagement on Sunday night and, well, I like to sleep. (Sleep has become more important as I’ve gotten older.) But then I remembered that *technically* the readathon starts at midnight Saturday Eastern Time. Which is 9pm Friday night for me! So, if I get a few hours on Friday, a solid Saturday, and a good Sunday morning… I should be close.

Update

24in48Total

Sunday

Hour 30 Challenge:

 

Total at the end of Saturday: 13:52:00

Continue reading “#24in48 Readathon Summer 2018”

Review ~ Heaven’s Ditch

Heaven's Ditch cover via Goodreads

Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal by Jack Kelly

The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn’t just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history. Zealots invented new religions and new modes of living. The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face to face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity.

Heaven’s Ditch by Jack Kelly illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this “psychic highway” from its opening in 1825 through 1844. “Wage slave” Sam Patch became America’s first celebrity daredevil. William Miller envisioned the apocalypse. Farm boy Joseph Smith gave birth to Mormonism, a new and distinctly American religion. Along the way, the reader encounters America’s very first “crime of the century,” a treasure hunt, searing acts of violence, a visionary cross-dresser, and a panoply of fanatics, mystics, and hoaxers. (via Goodreads)

Why was I interested in this book?
I won this book from Doing Dewey almost two years ago! It falls firmly into the category of “I know nothing about this…let’s read a book about it!”

What Worked
There are many story threads in this book. I found each of them really interesting and learned a lot. The Erie Canal. The Masons. The Mormons. Millerism. Rivivalism. Abolitionism. Honestly, I probably knew the most about the history of the Mormons, but that isn’t saying much. It’s really amazing how many concepts in American religion—and American politics—came into being in this area during this time period.

What Didn’t Work
There are many story threads in this book… The organization of how they were interwoven didn’t always work for me. Granted, this is probably the most difficult thing to do well in this sort of nonfiction book.

I also really wish there would have been more about building the canal. In the early 1800s, a 363 mile was a marvel of human engineering. I’m kind of a sucker for people building amazing things. There was a lot of heaven but not enough ditch for me.

Overall
Each of the individual narratives were compelling, though my reading was slowed down by shifting gears when the “scene” changed. Good history though!

Publishing info, my copy: hardback, St. Martin’s Press, 2016
Acquired: Won it from Doing Dewey!
Genre: nonfiction, history

20 15 Books of Summer, hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books

hosted by Roof Beam Reader