Sunday, August 17, 2014

I got the mid-month, no-time-for-reading blues

An influx of family from the west coast is leaving zero reading time for the rest of this month, except what little I can snag after everyone's gone to bed.   I feel like an addict in withdrawal lately.  And forget about grabbing solid hours of computer time ... nope. Ain't gonna happen.

All has not been lost, though -- I've managed to finish The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber so that's a plus, and I'm planning on starting Lan Cao's The Lotus and the Storm tonight after everyone falls asleep, if I can stay awake long enough.   Crimewise I've finished The Panda Theory by Pascal Garnier and Savage Night by Jim Thompson, only because they're both really short.  That's about it; everything else I planned to read over the summer is getting pushed to September, when Larry's away for three weeks and all family has returned home.

And then there's those pesky Booker shortlist novels which should be announced that month... so many books yet no freakin' time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

a rollicking good yarn that just happens to be true: In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides

Doubleday, 2014
454 pp


Once in a great while I come across a book that is so good that I have to recommend it to everyone I know -- and this book is one of them.  It's In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides.  I love anything remotely related to polar exploration to begin with, but the way that Mr. Sides delivers this true account puts him up there in the ranks of finest storytellers ever. For once each and every author blurb on the back was right on the money, not at all overrated.  To try to convey just how enthralled with and immersed in  this book I was,  my months-ago-preordered copy came yesterday at around 1:00 in the afternoon, causing me to drop everything, open it it up and start reading. I skipped dinner, and literally did not set it down all night, finishing it this morning at breakfast.  It's that good. I've written more about it  at the nonfiction page of this reading journal,  "The real stuff," where I say in part that the book literally reads like a novel, complete with cliffhangers, moments for rejoicing, and above all, page-turning scenes making it impossible to set the book down.  It's an ultimate true "rollicking adventure" story, one that should be on everyone's reading list.  Go and get a copy. Now.