Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Project: Reading Every One of Our Books - Part 2

Part 1 of this project is here. You might want to read that first if you haven't already. 

I have decided to do this project one shelf at a time. I have our fiction books shelved alphabetically by author.  The first shelf is Adams, Douglas to Campbell, Robert.

I pushed forward the books I haven't read yet. All of the Adams, Douglas books stayed where they were. Some of the Auster, Paul books moved forward. All of the Austin, Jane books moved forward.

The Rules
I have also decided to concurrently read a non-fiction book.  These are shelved by category, not by author. I have not set any pattern to reading the non-fiction books.

As I mentioned I am reading the fiction one shelf at a time. I can jump around the shelf alternating authors and type of fiction but I have to finish the shelf before moving onto another. I have not decided if I have to keep going forward alphabetically or I can jump around.

These are the books I have read so far.

A Morning for Flamingos by James Lee Burke

One of the miscellaneous books moved forward was A Morning for Flamingos, by Burke, James Lee. A stamp on the inside cover shows it passed through The Book Swap in Horsham PA at some point; I expect it had another stop between The Book Swap and me, though I have no idea what that might have been. Not being familiar with Burke, James Lee, I doubt I bought purposefully. I suspect it was probably part of a 4 books for $5 or similar deal somewhere.

Judging the book by the cover, I think it's a mystery that takes place in Florida. After a few rather "heavy" books, this sounds like it might be a little bit lighter. After marking it as Currently Reading on, I noticed it has been rated 4 out of 5 stars. I suspect it will prove to be a good pick.

James Lee Burke, still writing, has written many books set in New Orleans and other areas of Louisiana. My brother lived in NOLA for about 13 years and I got to visit him a couple of times. Like many people I fell hard for NOLA.

Flamingos is the fourth in the Dave Robicheaux series. Robicheaux (Ro-beh-show) is/was a New Orleans cop. Written and set in the late 1980s, this book takes place in a pre-Internet, pre-cellphone New Orleans and Louisiana Bayou (not Florida). It was a great read. I wished I had read the other three Robicheaux books first. Burke is still writing Robicheaux books. 

I enjoyed it greatly and then gave it to my brother. Dave was familiar with James Lee Burke, all of his books were reviewed in the New Orleans paper when they came out, but had yet to read one.

Hell by Robert Olen Butler
One of Maureen's books. I gave up on this one after about 30 pages in.

It's set in hell a few years in the future since some living people are there. There's a whole lot of set up (actually way too much) and a lot of imagination went into this one. And there is some very good comedy. This book would make a great live action TV series.

After reading some other reviews, I realized that I would find it a slog to get through this and reading fiction is supposed to be enjoyable.

As several seasons of 30 minute TV episodes, I would LOVE this. It would probably be one my favorite shows. But as a book, I found it laborious. 

Bogie by Joe Hyms
I got to talking about Humphrey Bogart with a Grey Lodge customer. He brought this book in for me to read. 

Lots of antidotes about Bogie. The writer was a friend but that doesn't get in the way. If you are curious about Bogart's life, this is worth a good skim. If you are really interested, it is probably worth a full read. I gave it a hard skim. 

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooke 
Another one of Maureen's books. 

Not a book I would have picked up if it wasn't already on bookshelf. I'm glad I picked it up. Very fascinating fictionalized account of the history of Jewish prayer book. Combines extremely well done research with an several very interesting personal stories set in various points in time. 

Taste of China by Deh-Ta Hsiung
A Chinese cookbook that I bought off the clearance shelf at Borders sometime in the 1990s. 

This is a great book. Many of the recipes are easy to make. Most of involve deep frying and the addition of sugar, so there aren't too many healthy recipes in there.

At the beginning there is a description with pictures of ingredients and cooking tools.

 I cooked many of the recipes. Maureen really liked Red and White Prawns. 

The Music of Chance by Paul Auster 
I have read all but two of the Paul Auster books on my shelf. This was another great one by Auster. I read this mostly in the garden just as the weather got nice.

Very well written and it hums along. I tore through this book surprisingly fast. Well it was a very pleasant weekend with very little work, but even so. This book is breezy but deep. The characters are well drawn.

The whole thing builds and builds then just.... ends. Ends with finality but few answers. On the whole a bit disappointing after such a great ride. 

At Death's Door by Robert Barnard
I liked this one a lot. It took me a while to read though. It was like eating a really rich dessert; small bits are best.

The characters were really well developed. It was very masterful how he did that.

I figured out the main mystery very quickly. Some clues were a little too obvious. But that didn't affect my enjoyment of this book at all. 

One of those classic books that is easy to find cheaply due to its ubiquity. 

What a very strange book. Written in French by a Frenchman who seems very smitten with the English. It's about English POWs and English special forces in Thailand during WWII. Sufficiently suspenseful. I have yet to see the iconic movie. If I had, I suspect it would have ruined the book for me.

Another book that I probably bought years ago because it was on a discount shelf somewhere. 

A very good read. The characters are well drawn and the mystery was interesting. I'm not sure that the mystery was solvable by the reader, but very enjoyable none the less. 

Street of No Return by David Goodis 

Another very typical Goodis work. Typical yet unique. Being a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, I find the settings of places now very changed, especially interesting. If you love Goodis, you'll love this one. 

A very enjoyable read. Luckily, I noticed the notes in the back before I got too far in. I wish I read the other books in the series first. None the less, it was a great read. Great characters and a great glimpse at life in Sicily

Pyscho by Robert Bloch 
What can I say? If you saw the movie, and who hasn't, you pretty much know what you are in for. That said it holds up and is a great read. It must have been amazing if you had read it before knowing about the movie.

New Project: Reading Every One of Our Books - Part 1

I have been collecting books since I was a teenager. I wanted a book lined library some day (I sort of have it). It just seemed so cool and so classy. This was well before the Web with just about anything you want to know being just a click away, making many printed books obsolescent.

Book Collector
If you wanted a book lined library, you needed books (obviously). So planning ahead, I started collecting books when I was young,.. young and really poor. I got a lot of great books from thrift stores, library sales, used book stores, and from the clearance racks of new book stores. 30some years of collecting books. Between my wife and I, we have 100s and 100s of books.

Not like Foreigner at All - No Urgency
The problem with collecting books is there is no urgency to read them. Most are bought cheaply which further removes any urgency since they didn't really cost anything. They are bought to be read someday.

With ebooks and mp3s, you no longer need to collect physical objects like books or CDs. I now have no desire for physical items. Kindle software on a tablet is fine with me. But I still have a lot of books from the old days.

Book Ex-Collector
With my transition to ex-collector, I have become a reader. Someday is now. I want to read all of our books and then probably get rid of them.