Recent Reads

7 10 2011

I “read” a lot. Read is in quotation marks because I listen to a lot of unabridged audiobooks. (I know that doesn’t make sense yet, but bear with me. I’ll explain.) I consider listening to an unabridged audiobook as having “read” that book. Somebody important in my life highly disagreed with that fact at one point in time, and since neither he nor I could come up with a clear and concise substitution for the word “read” to explain the auditory enjoyment of a book in its complete and utter entirety, I put it in quotation marks as a way to bite my thumb at him in print. (If you don’t know where the phrase “bite my thumb at him” comes from, please for the love of all that’s holy hit the link and educate yourself.)

Am I being snarky by publicly viewing my airs about “reading”? Yes. Is it a cheap victory on my part? Absolutely. He can write his own damn opinion on his own damn blog.

Do I digress? Usually. (Sorry.)

Back to the topic at hand. I thought I’d post some recommendations of stuff I’ve “read” lately (whether it be on paper or on CD) in case you’re looking for new books. It’s not as good or complete as Diana Gabaldon’s Methadone List, but hey, it’s a blog article. 1000 words or less is my goal, cause, after all, she’s published, I’m not, and you have other things to do today besides read my ramblings.

If you like sex: (That got your attention, didn’t it?) I like cheesy romances. They’re easy to listen to, and everybody goes home happy.

The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. The series starts with “One for the Money” and goes up numerically from there. The audiobooks of this series are read by C.J. Critt, and are some of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to.

A Hard Day’s Knight by Katie MacAlister. Like most of her books, the plot is kind of comedic in an “I Love Lucy” sort of way meets romance, and in this particular book, it all takes place at a Renaissance Festival. She gets a lot of the details about Ren Fests right, and for that alone I found it an enjoyable read.

Weird Stuff: I recently struggled through “This Book is Overdue” by Marilyn Johnson. This may be a worthwhile read to people who like libraries, or are curious about librarians. That being said, the humor was not all that humorous, other than the apparent trend of librarians finding human poo in random places in libraries, and a talented blogger called “the Annoyed Librarian” who speaks witty truisms with his or her tongue planted firmly in his or her cheek. I personally thought that the funniest bit of all was that this book about librarians and the Dewey Decimal System was written in a style that made stream of consciousness writing look organized and systematically thought out. Ironic, no?

Birth by Tina Cassidy. A book that’s all about childbirth, from strange practices that happened in Victorian era birthing rooms through today. I found it an intriguing read; it was engaging in the right places and with just enough explanation that it was interesting without being too graphic in explanation. (Put 100 people in front of a surgery procedure live and I’ll be one of the ones who stays, but it would be tough to do so.)

Last but not least in the category of Weird Things I’ve Read Lately: A few months ago, two friends and I had a very heated disagreement about the art of tipping. One of them is dating a waitress, and the other had worked as a waitress. I got the sharp sides of their tongue for leaving what I felt was a pretty standard tip. (I leave 15-20% as a rule when eating out.) While I’ve never worked as a waitress, both my other half and I have held pizza and flower delivery jobs in multiple cities, and let me tell you – the tips in the home delivery industry are less than 10% if averaged out. Nobody thinks about tipping the flower delivery girl, trust me. Given my background, and after leaving that conversation feeling like a complete shitheel, I looked for something that would educate me about the practice of tipping. I found it in Keep the Change by Steve Dublanica. It’s a fast-paced book and an enjoyable read. And hey, while you can’t exactly categorize it as self-help, it made me feel somewhat vindicated about the tipping conversation I’d had.

A-plus storytelling:
The Outlander Series
by Diana Gabaldon. The first one starts out a little slow, but once it gets going, goes to warp speed, as in “you can’t put it down”. Her plotlines are variously arced, meaning some reveal themselves within the same book; other plotlines take three or more books to reveal their full curvatures.

The Stand by Stephen King. Yes, he’s a horror author, but this book doesn’t really fit in the horror genre. It’s the only book of his I regularly read, and I only read the complete and unabridged version of it. The dates, are, well, dated at this point, but if you can ignore them or imagine them away, the story is still well worth the time.

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. I like when a single author compiles an entire book of short stories, and when that book comes from someone with as fertile of an imagination as Neil Gaiman, it’s a really good thing.

Happy reading.