Jargoon Pard

Norton, Andre. The Jargoon Pard. New York: Ballantine Books, 1974.

Reason read: to continue the series started in March in honor of Norton’s birth month.

The Jargoon Pard is the companion piece to Crystal Gryphon
and the prequel to The Year of the Unicorn.
A science fiction story with a fantasy twist. Kethan is the chosen one. From the moment of his birth he was destined to lead his family. With the help of a magic belt, his fate is solidified, despite the jealousies of an evil woman, his mother’s Wise Woman.
Full confession: I didn’t really get into The Jargoon Pard. To be honest, I didn’t get more than fifty pages before I called it quits. Fantasy and I just don’t like each other, I guess. A whole bunch of fantasy words were thrown around that essentially equated to mumbo jumbo. Arvon. The Seven Lords. The Four Clans: Redmantle, Goldmantle, Bluemantle, and Silvermantle. House of the Car Do Prawn. What? What the what? I have no idea. It’s the year of the Red Boar. The month of the Snowbird. Whatever that means.

Author fact: Andre Norton was a librarian in Cleveland, Ohio.

Book trivia: Even though The Jargoon Pard is part of the Witch World Series it has nothing to do with the first book.

Nancy said: nothing beyond mentioning The Jargoon Pard is part of the Witch series.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (p 213).


February Falling Up

I can only describe February as falling up because health-wise I am up on upswing. I’m still not really running yet (I’ve gone for four under-three-mile runs, but who’s counting?). I’m not really running but I haven’t fallen down either. Hence, falling up.

We had a snow day from work, I took a few days off for my birthday and we took a trip to New Jersey so I was able to get in a fair amount of reading. I spent President’s Day reading, too. Oh, and I almost forgot. I’m barely running so there’s that, too. Needless to say, I’ve been reading a lot. Weirdly enough, for all the reading I’ve done you would think there would be more books. Oh well. Speaking of the books, here they are:

Fiction:

  • Dead Room Farce by Simon Brett. Read in three days.
  • Captivated by Nora Roberts. Read on my iPad in four days.
  • Backup Men by Ross Thomas. Read in five days.
  • The Almond Picker by Simonetta Hornby.
  • Color of Money by Walter Tevis. Read in five days.

Nonfiction:

  • City of Falling Angels by John Berendt.
  • Full Steam Ahead by Rhoda Blumberg.

Series Continuation:

  • Beyond Euphrates by Freya Stark.

For Fun:

  • Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline.

Ready, Player One

Cline, Ernest.Ready Player One: a Novel New York: Dark All Day, Inc., 2011.

Reason: My friend Pez and I were at the movies and we saw a preview for Ready Player One, the movie version of Ernest Cline’s book of the same name. Pez asked me if I had ever read the book and when I said I hadn’t, he gave me his e-copy. Too cool.

If you are fan of the 1980s, you should read this book. If you are a fan of 80s video games and pop culture, you have to read this book.

Set in a 2044 dystopia, Ready, Player One is a science fiction can’t-put-down book. High school senior Wade Watts is addicted to a virtual reality contest where the grand prize is full control over the game. Thanks to an energy crisis and global warming the world is in decline. Nearly all of its inhabitants prefer putting their heads in the sand by living in a virtual reality called the Oasis. Oasis creator James Halliday willed his entire cooperation and control over the Oasis to the first person who could find a hidden Easter Egg within the game. Watts and a band of virtual friends he has never met in person take turns helping and competing with each other to reach the Egg first. Of course, there has to be an evil villain and what better bad guy than Nolan Sorrento, head of a conglomerate that supplies nearly the entire world with internet? No one wants control over the Oasis more than Sorrento and he’ll do anything to get it.

Did I mention? This book is hot, hot, hot. Even though this is Cline’s first novel he was able to negotiate a bidding war for publication. Crown Publishers won out and RPO quickly started racking up the awards and accolades. Now, it’s being made into a movie (to come out March 2018), as I mentioned earlier.


February Progress

I have been seeing a chiropractor for over a month and have all but stopped running. At first, I admit, this bothered me to no end. Now, I’m okay with it for all the books I have been reading. And speaking of books, here is February’s plan for The Books:

Fiction:

  • The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello ~ in honor of Almond Blossom festival in Sicily.
  • The Color of Money by Walter Tevis ~ in honor of Tevis’s birth month.
  • Dead Room Farce by Simon Brett ~ in honor of February being Theater month.

Nonfiction:

  • City of Falling Angels by John Berendt~ in honor of February being the month of the Venice Carnival (AB/print).
  • Full Steam Ahead: the Race to Build a Transcontinental Railroad by Rhoda Blumberg~ in honor of February being Train Month.

Series continuations:

  • Beyond Euphrates by Freya Stark ~ in honor of Freya’s birthday in January.

For fun:

  • Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline ~ because a friend recommended it (E-book).

There might be room for more titles, considering Dead Room Farce and Full Steam Ahead are barely 200 pages apiece. We’ll see…


Tea From an Empty Cup

Cadigan, Pat. Tea From an Empty Cup. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1998.

Reason read: Read in honor of January is Drink Tea month even though this has nothing to do with the beverage.

I have admitted this before, science fiction is usually not my cup of tea. Or in this case, an empty cup is completely accurate. I made an exception with Willis’s Doomsday Book because it was clever and, more importantly, there was substantial character development. I had a hard time drinking in Cadigan’s Tea From an Empty Cup because it was missing the element that matters most to me – the character development. I ended up not really caring about a single character. Unfortunately, that made the ending bitter and hard to swallow.
The premise is simple, a young man is found murdered with his throat slashed. He isn’t the only victim but for homicide detective Dore Konstatin, it is important enough that she dons the victim’s ‘skin suit and enters the artificial reality of Nee Yawk Sitty, the apocalyptic cyberspace playground. She needs to play the same game Tomoyuki Iguchi played before he died. She needs to be him before he died. Her first lead is an allusive witness by the name of Body Sativa. Meanwhile, Tom’s friend, Yuki, is trying to uncover the same mystery.
Confessional: At first I thought this was a science fiction erotica story. The references to sex come quickly and often (pun completely intended).

No quotes to quote.

Author fact: Cadigan is famous for his science fiction.

Book trivia: Tea From an Empty Cup is dedicated to five different people. I wish I knew why. They all seem like very important people, though!

Nancy said: Nancy said Tea From an Empty Cup is “a great example of melding of science fiction with postmodernism” (p 69).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Cyberspace.Com” (p 69).


January’s Time

This year, more than ever, I am struck by time’s marching; the relentless footfalls of days and weeks passing by. I know that is mortality speaking, but it rings eerie in my mind nonetheless. Not helping the doom and gloom is the first book on my list, On The Beach by Nevil Shute. I wanted a different book from Shute but there isn’t a library local enough to loan it to me.

Here are the planned books for January 2018:

Fiction:

  • On The Beach (AB) by Nevil Shute (previously mentioned) – in honor of Shute’s birth month.
  • Clara Callan by Richard Wright – in honor of Sisters Week being in January.
  • Tea From an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan – in honor of January being Science Fiction Month.

Nonfiction:

  • Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals by David Laskin – in honor of January 26th being Spouses’s Day.
  • War Child: a Child Soldier’s Story by Emmanuel Jal – in honor of the end of the Sudan civil war.
  • Travellers’ Prelude: Autobiography 1893-1927 by Freya Stark – in honor of Freya Stark’s birth month.
  • Practicing History by Barbara Tuchman (AB) – in honor of Tuchman’s birth month.

Series Continuations:

  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman – started in September in honor of Grandparents’ Day.

For the Early Review program for LibraryThing:

  • Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Lisa Mosconi, PhD (finishing).
  • Pep Talk for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner (also finishing).

December Books

I opted out of the cutesy title for this blog because…well…I simply wasn’t in the mood to come up with anything clever. What was December all about? For the run it was a 5k that I finished in “about 30 minutes” as my running partner put it. I also ran a mile every day (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day). I think I’m satisfied with that accomplishment the most because I ran even when we were traveling, even when we were completely swamped with other things going on, even when I didn’t feel like lifting a finger. Despite it all, I still ran at least one mile.

Enough of that. In addition to running I read. Here are the books finished in the month of December. For some reason I surrounded myself with some of the most depressing books imaginable:

Fiction:

    • Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild – read in two lazy afternoons
    • Fay by Larry Brown – devoured in a week (super sad).
    • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (AB/print) – confessional: I started this the last week of November fearing I wouldn’t conquer all 600 pages before 12/31/17 but I did. (again, super sad book).
    • Wanting by Richard Flanagan (really, really sad when you consider Mathinna’s fate).
    • Between the Assassinations by Avarind Adiga (sad).
    • The Beach by Alex Garland (again, sad in a weird way).
    • God Lives in St. Petersburg and Other Stories by Tom Bissell (the last of the sad books).
    • Nero Wolf of West Thirty-fifth Street: the Life and Times of America’s Largest Detective by William Stuart Baring-Gould.

Nonfiction:

  • Iron & Silk by Mark Salzman – read in three days. The only real funny book read this month.

Series continuations:

  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha by Dorothy Gilman – read in the same weekend as Ballet Shoes.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Brain Food: the Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Lisa Mosconi (started).

For fun:

  • Hit Reset: Revolutionary Yoga for Athletes by Erin Taylor.