05 January 2020

Book list - 2019

Dreadful Company -- urban fantasy, by Vivian Shaw
Neptune's Inferno: The US Navy at Guadalcanal -- WW II, by James D Hornfischer
Figure Away -- mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor *
The Mask of the Sun -- AH/time travel, by Fred Saberhagen *
Baphomet's Meteor -- SF, by Pierre Barbet *
Burning Water -- urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey *
Children of the Night -- urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
Pelican at Blandings -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Runestone -- historical fiction, by Don Coldsmith
Dead Man's Folly -- mystery, by Agatha Christie
Hell's Gate -- SF/fantasy, by David Weber and Linda Evans *
Hell Hath No Fury -- SF/fantasy, by David Weber and Linda Evans
The Road to Hell -- SF/fantasy, by David Weber and Joelle Presby
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions -- science, by Randall Munroe
Bombs Away -- AH, by Harry Turtledove
Fallout -- AH, by Harry Turtledove
Rome: A History in Seven Sackings -- history, by Matthew Kneale
Encounter with Tiber -- SF, by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes
"Down in the Bottomlands" -- AH, by Harry Turtledove
Armistice -- AH, by Harry Turtledove
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin -- German history, by Erik Larson
Hominids -- SF, by Robert J Sawyer
At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels through Paraguay -- travel and history, by John Gimlette
The Bad Popes -- history, by E R Chamberlin
Terns of Endearment -- mystery, by Donna Andrews
Finity -- SF, by John Barnes
Satan's World -- SF, by Poul Anderson *
The People of the Wind -- SF, by Poul Anderson
The Man Who Counts -- SF, by Poul Anderson *
Paleofantasy -- evolution, by Marlene Zuk
Galactic Derelict -- SF, by Andre Norton *
Forerunner -- SF, by Andre Norton
Forerunner: The Second Venture -- SF, by Andre Norton
Owl Be Home for Christmas -- mystery, by Donna Andrews
Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona -- WW II, by Walter R Borneman
If I Were You -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
"The Swoop!" and "The Military Invasion of America" -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Daybreak Zero -- post-apocalyptic SF, by John Barnes
The Last President -- post-apocalyptic SF, by John Barnes
The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution -- palaeoanthropology, by Ian Tattersall
Hiding in Plain Sight: My Holocaust Story of Survival -- memoir, by Beatrice Sonders
Seven in a Jeep: A Memoir of the Vietnam War -- memoir, by Ed Gaydos
The Year of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly and the Manhunt That Changed the Nation -- US history, by Joe Urschel
The Emperor's Men: Arrival – timeslip, by Dirk van den Boom
A Stone in Heaven -- SF, by Poul Anderson
The Game of Empire -- SF, by Poul Anderson 
The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines That Battled Japan -- WW II, by James Scott
Below -- fantasy, by Lee Gaiteri
Look Both Ways -- mystery, by Carol J Perry
Storm Front -- urban fantasy, by Jim Butcher *
Fool Moon -- urban Fantasy, by Jim Butcher *
Dead Beat -- urban Fantasy, by Jim Butcher
A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America -- history, by Tony Horwitz


54 books this time round, 10 of them rereads (marked by asterisks) -- a vast improvement over the last few years.

Best books of the year: Hell's Gate, Hell Hath No Fury, and Encounter with Tiber. Arrival was a good story, and an interesting concept-- a German light cruiser shifted from 1914 to 378 -- but it was extremely poorly edited (serious problems with verb tenses, for instance, especially the past and present perfect).Reviews on Amazon say that the poor editing continues at least through the sixth book, so I won't be buying any more.

Could have sworn I'd read all of the Harry Dresden books, but I somehow missed Dead Beat.  And only the first chapter of Turn Coat seemed familiar, so it will be on my 2020 list of books.

Onward....



06 October 2019

George Cross: A B Fasson and C Grazier

Anthony Blair Fasson, Lieutenant, Royal Navy; HMS Petard
Born: 17 July 1913, Lanton, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Died: 30 October 1942, Mediterranean Sea

Colin Grazier, Able Seaman Colin, Royal Navy; HMS Petard
Born: 2 December 1912, West Bromich, Birmingham, England
Died: 30 October 1942, Mediterranean Sea


The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS to:—
Lieutenant Anthony Blair Fasson, Royal Navy.
Able Seaman Colin Grazier, P/SSX.25550.
for outstanding bravery and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of danger.


The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the George Medal to:—
Junior Canteen Assistant Thomas William Brown, N.A.A.F.I.,
for great bravery and devotion to duty in the face of danger.


On 30 Oct 1942 HMS Petard was one of five destroyers searching for a German U-boat -- U-559 -- which was known to be in the area.  Petard made contact and attacked with depth charges, eventually forcing the U-boat to the surface, where her crew opened the sea-cocks and abandoned ship.  Fasson, the destroyer's first lieutenant, and Grazier volunteered to swim to the sinking submarine to search for documents and other classified material.  When Fasson and Grazier boarded the submarine, 16-year-old Brown, one of the personnel aboard a whaleboat which had followed them, joined them.  The two men located several documents and passed them to Brown, who handed them up to the men aboard the whaler.  When U-559 suddenly sank Brown managed to swim free, but the other two were trapped below decks and drowned. The documents recovered turned out to include a pair of codebooks, which turned out to be a tremendous help in breaking the German navy's Enigma codes.

Brown died 13 Feb 1945 of injuries received whilst attempting to rescue his sister from a house fire.

[London Gazette issue 36169 dated 14 Sep 1943, published 10 Sep 1943.]

05 October 2019

Detectives

My ten favourite mystery series.  Asey is definitely Number One; the others are listed in the order of their first appearance.

***************

Asey Mayo (24 books, 1931-51, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor).  Asey, "the Codfish Sherlock," is a jack-of-all-trades on Cape Cod.

Judy Bolton (38 books, 1932-67, by Margaret Sutton).  The series begins with Judy as a high-schooler in Pennsylvania, and continues after she finishes school and gets married.

Nero Wolfe (47 books, 1934-85, by Rex Stout, and 7 authorised sequels, 1986-94, by Robert Goldsborough, plus pastiches by numerous other authors).  Wolfe is a private detective in New York City.

Luis Mendoza (37 books, 1960-86, by Elizabeth Linington writing as "Dell Shannon").  Luis is a lieutenant in the LAPD Homicide (later Robbery/Homicide) Division. Linington wrote two other series about LA-area cops: Vic Varallo (13 books, 1961-85, by "Lesley Egan") and Ivor Maddox (13 books, 1964-86, using her real name).  Vic is a patrolman in the Glendale PD, and Maddox is a sergeant with the Hollywood PD.

Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee (18 books, 1970-2006, by Tony Hillerman).  Lt Leaphorn and Sgt Chee are members of the tribal police on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico and Arizona.  After Hillerman's death his daughter Anne added four books to the series (2013-18).

Colin Flagg (8 books, 1973-94, by M K Wren).  Colin owns a bookstore on the Oregon coast.

Brady Coyne  (25 books, 1984-2010, by William G Tapply).  Brady is a Boston Lawyer. Tapply also co-wrote three books (2001-07) with Philip R Craig, in which Brady teams up with J W Jackson, the star of 19 books by Craig.

Meg Langslow (25 books so far, 1999-2019, by Donna Andrews).  Meg is a blacksmith and mother somewhere in central Virginia.

Walt Longmire (21 books so far, 2004-19, by Craig Johnston).  Walt is a county sheriff in Wyoming.

Alafair Tucker (10 books, 2005-18, by Donis Casey).  Alafair is an Oklahoma farmer's wife; the stories are set before, during and immediately after WW I.  Casey's plan was to write one book centred on each of Alafair's ten children; having completed that, she is starting a new series which she says is a spinoff from the original series.


06 January 2019

Book List -- 2018

Clash of Eagles -- AH, by Alan Smale
If You Survive: From Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to the End of World War II -- WWII memoir, by George Wilson
Just One Damned Thing After Another -- IMHECT, by Jodi Taylor
A Symphony of Echoes -- IMHECT, by Jodi Taylor
Much Depends on Dinner -- food history, by Margaret Visser
Matt Helm: The War Years -- spy fiction, by Keith Wease
To the Last Salute -- WWI memoir, by Georg von Trapp *
Brief Cases -- urban fantasy (short stories), by Jim Butcher
The Ghosts of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms -- botany, by Connie C Barlow
A Long Time Until Now -- timeslip, by Michael Z Williamson
Toucan Keep a Secret -- mystery, by Donna Andrews
The Alexander Inheritance -- timeslip, by Eric Flint and Gorg Huff
Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King -- archaeology, by Mike Pitts
Strange Practice -- urban fantasy, by Vivian Shaw
Recce: Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines -- memoir, by Koos Stadler
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef -- memoir, by Gabrielle Hamilton
Lark! The Herald Angels Sing -- mystery, by Donna Andrews
The Survivors (aka Space Prison) -- SF, by Tom Godwin


Eighteen books this time round, only one of them a reread (marked by an asterisk).

IMHECT: "[T]he phrase 'time travel' is so sci-fi.  We don't do that.  Here at St. Mary's we investigate major historical events in contemporary time."

The best book of the year, I think, was Strange Practice, the first in a series about a London doctor who provides medical services for vampires, ghouls, mummies, and other undead. Honourable mention goes to the two St Mary's books by Jodi Taylor and to A Long Time Until Now, about a group of American soldiers in Afghanistan who suddenly find themselves shifted back in time to the Palaeolithic.

11 March 2018

Medal of Honor: M. Hanna

MARCUS HANNA

Sergeant, US Army; 50th Massachusetts Infantry

Born: 3 November 1842, Bristol, Maine
Died: 21 December 1921

Citation: Voluntarily exposed himself to a heavy fire to get water for comrades in rifle pits.



Notes: On 28 Jan 1885 Hanna was chief lighthouse keeper at Cape Elizabeth, Maine, when the schooner Australia was wrecked on the rocks nearby. He was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for heroism in saving the lives of two of its crew. USCGC Marcus Hanna (WLM 554) was named in his honour.

02 January 2018

Book list - 2017

Tales of a Cold War Submariner -- memoir, by Dan Summitt
Secret of the Lost Race -- SF, by Andre Norton *
A Study in Charlotte -- YA mystery, by Brittany Cavallaro
The Many Lives of John Stone -- YA, by Linda Buckley-Archer
A School for Unusual Girls -- YA AH, by Kathleen Baldwin
Summer Lightning -- humour, by P G Wodehouse *
Heavy Weather -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Uncle Fred in the Springtime -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Longbow Girl -- YA time travel, by Linda Davies
Gone Gull -- mystery, by Donna Andrews
1635: A Parcel of Rogues -- SF, by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis
The Finch That Stole Christmas -- mystery, by Donna Andrews
By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia -- history, by Barry Cunliffe
The Killing Trail -- mystery, by Margaret Mizushima


Only 14 books this time round, two of them rereads (marked by asterisks).  The Cunliffe book (which covers the period from ca 7500 BC to AD 1300) was fascinating; John Stone and Parcel of Rogues were the best of the stories.

07 January 2017

Book list -- 2016

Adaptation - SF, by Mack Reynolds *
Red November: Inside the Secret US-Soviet Submarine War - military history, by W Craig Reed
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - writing/biography, by Steven King
Death Without Company - mystery, by Craig Johnson
Ink and Bone - YA AH/fantasy, by Rachel Caine
Hot Rod - YA fiction, by Henry Gregor Felsen *
Death Lights a Candle - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
Lifeboats - YA modern fantasy, by Diane Duane
Keeper of the Castle - mystery, by Juliet Blackwell
Give up the Ghost - mystery, by Juliet Blackwell
In the Drink - mystery, by Allyson K Abbott
Steal the North - YA fiction, by Heather Brittain Bergstrom
Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000 - history, by Barry Cunliffe
French Pressed - mystery, by Cleo Coyle
Die Like an Eagle - mystery, by Donna Andrews
The Highwayman - mystery, by Craig Johnson
Morning Star - SF, by Pierce Brown
The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution - palaeoanthropology, by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza


Only 18 books this time round, two of them rereads (marked by asterisks), though I hadn't actually read Adaptation before; what I'd read was The Rival Rigelians, which I believe was slightly modified from the original version. I've no idea what the changes were - every scene I remembered from TRR was present in the original.


I'd say the best reads of the year were Ink and Bone, Steal the North, and Europe Between the Oceans. (Honourable mention to Morning Star for the twist at the end.) I was given a copy of another of Cunliffe's books, By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean, this past Xmas, and am looking forward to reading it.


I was in 6th or 7th grade when I first read Hot Rod. I've been wanting to reread it for a few years now, but had no idea what the author's name was. I'm sure you can imagine the results one gets when doing a Google search for "hot rod".... Last year I stumbled across it somehow on line, and was happy to see that it was back in print. Bought a copy with my share of the Xmas gift card from my sister-in-law. :)


Once again, wasting way too much time on the computer and not reading enough!

03 January 2016

Book list - 2015

Here's the complete list of books I read in 2015. I didn't set a goal for this year, so I can't report success in reaching it (nor must I admit to failure, either).

Numbers refer to the order in which the books were read.


"Adult" Fiction (17 books)
2. Punch with Care - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
3. Dead Ernest - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
7. The Aethers of Mars - SF/steampunk, by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon
9. My Real Children - AH, by Jo Walton
10. Hell with the Lid Blown Off - mystery, by Donis Casey
11. Richard Bolitho - Midshipman - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
12. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - SF, by Jules Verne
13. Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
14. Stand Into Danger - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
15. In Gallant Company - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
16. Lord of the Wings - mystery, by Donna Andrews
18. Command a King's Ship - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
19. Red Rising - SF, by Pierce Brown
20. Golden Son - SF, by Pierce Brown
21. The Cold Dish - mystery, by Craig Johnson
22. Kindness Goes Unpunished - mystery, by Craig Johnson
23. A Brother's Price - AH, by Wen Spencer

Children's/YA Fiction (0)

Non-Fiction (7)
1. At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea - evolution, by Carl Zimmer
4. Undersea Warrior: The World War II Story of "Mush" Morton and the USS Wahoo - biography/WW II, by Don Keith
5. The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy's Most Powerful Strike Force - WW II, by David Hobbs
6. What If? - AH (essays), edited by Robert Cowley
8. What If? 2 - AH (essays), edited by Robert Cowley
17. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution - genetics, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending
24. Nathaniel's Nutmeg: or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History - history, by Giles Milton


The main categories were mysteries (6) and historical fiction (5). Alexander Kent was the most-read author of the year (5 books). None of the 24 books were rereads.

My favourites? I'd say The Cold Dish, the first book in the Longmire series by Craig Johnson, and A Brother's Price, by Wen Spencer, tied for the number one spot this year. These five (listed in the order in which I read them) were also very good:
Punch with Care, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
My Real Children, by Jo Walton
Red Rising, by Pierce Brown
Golden Son, by Pierce Brown
Nathaniel's Nutmeg, by Giles Milton

Having not set a goal for last year, I'm not setting one for this year either. But I do hope to do a lot more reading this year....

01 January 2016

Book list: Jul-Dec 15

Hell with the Lid Blown Off - mystery, by Donis Casey
Richard Bolitho - Midshipman - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - SF, by Jules Verne
Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
Stand Into Danger - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
In Gallant Company - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
Lord of the Wings - mystery, by Donna Andrews
The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution - genetics, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending
Command a King's Ship - historical fiction, by Alexander Kent
Red Rising - SF, by Pierce Brown
Golden Son - SF, by Pierce Brown
The Cold Dish - mystery, by Craig Johnson
Kindness Goes Unpunished - mystery, by Craig Johnson
A Brother's Price - AH, by Wen Spencer
Nathaniel's Nutmeg: or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History - history, by Giles Milton



Fifteen books this time round, none of them rereads. And I'm still at 58 of 76 on the Carnegie Medal winners.

I had the Classics Illustrated version of 20,000 Leagues when I was a kid, but this is the first time I've actually read the book.


Note to self: Stop wasting so much time on the computer and read more!

01 July 2015

Book list - Jan-Jun 15

At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea - evolution, by Carl Zimmer
Punch with Care - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
Dead Ernest - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
Undersea Warrior: The World War II Story of "Mush" Morton and the USS Wahoo - biography/WW II, by Don Keith
The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy's Most Powerful Strike Force - WW II, by David Hobbs
What If? - AH (essays), edited by Robert Cowley
The Aethers of Mars - SF/steampunk, by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon
What If? 2 - AH (essays), edited by Robert Cowley
My Real Children - AH, by Jo Walton


Only nine books this time round, though none of them were rereads.


Note to self: Stop wasting so much time on the computer and read more!

02 January 2015

Book list - 2014

Here's the complete list of books I read in 2014. I didn't set a goal for this year, so I can't report success in reaching it (nor must I admit to failure, either).

An asterisk indicates a reread. Numbers refer to the order in which the books were read.


"Adult" Fiction (27 books)
1. Figure Away - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
2. Old Bones - mystery, by Aaron Elkins *
3. Spring Harrowing - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor *
4. The Danish Scheme - AH, by Herb Sakalaucks
5. Make No Bones - mystery, by Aaron Elkins *
6. The Crimson Patch - mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
7. 1636: Seas of Fortune - AH (short stories), by Iver Cooper
8. Icy Clutches - mystery, by Aaron Elkins *
11. Curses! - mystery, by Aaron Elkins *
12. New Amsterdam - AH/fantasy, by Elizabeth Bear
13. Twenty Blue Devils - mystery, by Aaron Elkins
15. The White City - AH/fantasy, by Elizabeth Bear
16. Night of the Living Deed - mystery, by E J Copperman
17. The Martian - SF, by Andy Weir (ARC)
18. The Mysterious Island - adventure, by Jules Verne *
19. The Grand Tour - historical fantasy, by Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
20. Mammoth - time travel, by John Varley
22. 1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies - AH, by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon
23. Mairelon the Magician - historical fantasy, by Patricia C Wrede *
24. Magician's Ward - historical fantasy, by Patricia C Wrede *
25. Skin Game - urban fantasy, by Jim Butcher
26. MASH - Korean War fiction, by Richard Hooker
27. The Good, the Bad, and the Emus - mystery, by Donna Andrews
29. The Ides of April - mystery, by Lindsey Davis
30. The Nightingale Before Christmas - mystery, by Donna Andrews
31. Enemies at Home - mystery, by Lindsey Davis
33. Against the Tide of Years - AH, by S M Stirling *

Children's/YA Fiction (3)
9. The Old Powder Line - children's time travel, by Richard Parker
14. Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures - children's, by Kate DiCamillo (Newbery Medal, 2014)
32. Mockingjay - YA SF, by Suzanne Collins

Non-Fiction (3)
10. Locomotive - children's railroading, by Brian Floca (Caldecott Medal, 2014)
21. Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-1945 - naval history, by Christopher McKee
28. Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) - travelogue, by Jerome K Jerome


The main categories were mysteries (13), AH (6), and fantasy (6). Aaron Elkins was the most-read author of the year (5 books); Phoebe Atwood Taylor and Patricia C Wrede were second (3 each). And 9 of the 33 books were rereads.

My favourites? I'd say The Martian, by Andy Weir, was the best book I read all year. These seven (listed in the order in which I read them) were also very good:
New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear
The Grand Tour, by Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Mammoth, by John Varley
Mairelon the Magician, by Patricia C Wrede
Skin Game, by Jim Butcher
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), by Jerome K Jerome
Against the Tide of Years, by S M Stirling
The first book of 2015 will be At the Water's Edge, by Carl Zimmer.

Having not set a goal for last year, I'm not setting one for this year either. But I do hope to do a lot more reading this year....

01 January 2015

Book list - Oct-Dec 14

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) - travelogue, by Jerome K Jerome
The Ides of April - mystery, by Lindsey Davis
The Nightingale Before Christmas - mystery, by Donna Andrews
Enemies at Home - mystery, by Lindsey Davis
Mockingjay - YA SF, by Suzanne Collins
Against the Tide of Years - AH, by S M Stirling *


Only six books this time round, one of them a reread (marked by an asterisk). And I'm still at 58 of 75 on the Carnegie Medal winners.