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katehaney

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03:56 pm: books (mostly fiction again)
I keep thinking I’ve read all of Catherine Coulter’s FBI books, and I keep finding new ones. Not newly published, but ones I somehow missed. Point Blank is not one of the best. I’ll re-read it when I next re-read the series, but otherwise would probably discard it. They’re all implausible, what with Savich’s bizarre mind-reading thingy and supposedly AI computer, but I’ll suspend disbelief for interesting characters and good sex. Point Blank doesn’t have much of either.

I’ve loved some of Julie Garwood’s books, particularly the Roses series, which makes me sniffle. I do tend to enjoy romance series that tell various characters’ stories (like Deveraux’s Velvet series or Roberts’ Wedding series). Come the Spring is actually a continuation of the Roses, and it was fine. Not as strong as the others in the series, but satisfying enough.

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks is a marvelous, if somewhat depressing, book. I must admit that I was pleased that the emphasis was on quacks and hacks, as I know and love several people who work for big pharma. While I know there are Issues in every industry, I didn’t want to read 258 pages of bashing on my friends who work very hard to do Good Things. There was a little bashing (and there’s a lot more on Goldacre’s website), but it was fair, even-handed, and altogether tolerable.

One of things I most admire about Goldacre, generally, is his even-handedness. He is scathing toward journalists, in particular, for writing about science in ways that reflect their own misunderstanding and perpetuate laypeople’s misunderstanding as well… but he is equally scathing regardless of which side of an issue is being covered. Those who unquestioningly accept reassurances of vaccine safety are treated with as much contempt as those who unquestioningly accept portents of vaccination’s evil.

I tend to be something of a skeptic, generally, and Goldacre has certainly reinforced that that is an appropriate stance in reading most science writing. It took me far too long to get to Bad Science in my stack o’ nonfiction, and I hope anyone reading this who’s been as remiss immediately corrects that. Read the book. Please. We’ll all be better off for it.

Debbie Macomber seems to write appallingly sappy romances. Glorified Harlequins, really. A Season of Angels is no exception. I have no need to ever read it again. Not even meh. The Knitting Diaries is almost as bad. Note to self: when desperate for some trashy reading in the grocery store, pay more for something better or less for an actual Harlequin. Maybe something with cowboys. At least the sex is likely to be OK.

I vaguely recall reading Linda Howard’s romance novels, I think. I may be confusing her with someone else. In any case, she’s one of those people who mixes a smidge of murder mystery in with some sex (like Judith McNaught or Catherine Coulter), though the romance part seems to be somewhat better written than the mystery. Veil of Night is not one of her best. I’ll try it again in a few months and see if it merits a place on the shelf.

I’m not a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith, nor of cozies in general, as I prefer my mysteries with a bit more mayhem – or at least with a touch of spice. That said, The Double Comfort Safari Club is fine. I didn’t become so bored that I put it down repeatedly, though I didn’t stay up late to read it either. Meh.

Roger Ebert recommended My Turf, a collection of William Nack’s columns for Sports Illustrated, and I’m mostly enjoying it. I don’t read the sports page in the newspaper. I don’t click the sports tab on cnn.com. I don’t watch sports. But I do love horses and decades of reading Dick Francis’ mysteries (now written by his son Felix) have reinforced my fascination in the business around horse racing. Nack is a marvelous writer, which certainly helps.

I’m not intrigued by boxing (Robert Parker notwithstanding), so I’ll have to see how I do with those columns when I get to them.

I’ve finally finished Neufeld and Maté’s Hold on to Your Kids. The rant on that will be a (long) blog entry of its own, especially since I’ve read Goldacre. Parenting books deserve a whole category of their own for crap science.

Sara Paretsky’s Body Work is an excellent addition to the V.I. Warshawski series. As always, there is considerable financial skullduggery unmasked, this time in the realm of performance art. I suspect I’ve missed a couple of her recent books, as Vic seems to have a new boyfriend (a classical bass player) whom I don’t recognize. I look forward to filling the gaps. Good stuff.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: okayokay
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Comments

From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 26th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
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As usual, you're way ahead of me in reading--or maybe it's really that elusive characteristic, organization. I sometimes read recommended books, but the recommendations are more likely to be less formal: books left behind by tenants, mentioned in passing by friends or family, or Amazon or somebody trying to sell me something. I have learned the hard way that the 99 cent specials on Kindle probably aren't worth the time or the buck. Just now I'm reading a new category--books crowded on my shelves that I thought I'd read already, but haven't yet. A whole new world. And one I can't possibly traverse by Thursday. So here I am, with two new books on the I-pad, reading mildewed paperbacks left by somebody I don't know. So far, it's been okay -- one called Rag and Bone (Michael Navarro?) with a gay hero I actually cared about. It's the last of a series, so maybe a promising direction. The other is a steamy detective story placed in 1927 New Orleans. I haven't finished it yet, so unsure what my recommendation will be. We'll see. It's part of another series, so there is a future.

The part of aging I like least is my failing body, of course, but close behind are writers who die and restaurants that close. Always my favorites. Meanwhile, thanks for the many reviews.

YoMaMa
P.S. Wrote this yesterday--couldn't get it to post. Sigh.
[User Picture]
From:katehaney
Date:July 26th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)

sorry about the comment difficulty

(Link)
LJ has more glitches than some other sites.

If I could remember WHO recommended things, I'd be lots happier. Some folks (Lorna) have excellent records. Some (whoever recommended that POS parenting book I panned) don't.

Rag & Bone sounds interesting!!

I have no Kindle. No iPad. No Nook. Pitiful, really. I'm hoping, with a project I have going this fall, that my company'll get me an iPad. It's actually not unlikely.
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