Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

April 24, 2023

Tundra: 100% Naturally Flavored Comics by Chad Carpenter

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , — Randolph @ 2:40 pm

These cartoons are typical of Chad’s later works. They aren’t as funny as early cartoons, but still decent and improve toward the end of the books. I don’t care for his style of having every fourth page printed sideways, it’s just awkward to read and adds nothing.

April 19, 2023

Parallel Realities: A Turing Fiction by K.R. Simms

Filed under: Science Fiction — Randolph @ 2:35 pm

This book is billed as a psycho-mystery that explores the possibility of AI implants rewriting some of the human experience.

The protagonist, Dawson, undergoes a major brain injury. The only way to help him have any kind of meaningful life is to implant an ai-on-a-chip in his brain to help him.

The book takes us through is journey from his perspective as the AI seems to modify his perception of reality, giving him experiences of multiple realities with no control of his shifting between them.

Another aspect of this book is that an AI wrote sections of it. I’ve been playing with several ai available on the web, it is clearly beyond what I have access to, yet I think this task is a bit premature. I found it’s writing poor, it almost always uses the present tense where, although it seems grammatically correct, it feels unnatural and uncolloquial. It is overly repetitive and doesn’t grasp human nature. For instance, on female character repeatedly covers her mouth every time she laughs or blushes, several times in a few pages. I can’t speak to the author, whom I haven’t read nor heard of before, who may have been writing down to the level of the AI to make the book more homogenous. In any case, it could have done with a good editor.

I did find the story itself interesting enough to work through the book. It is a fairly easy and quick read, but not one I’d recommend.

April 8, 2023

Come to Grief by Dick Francis

Filed under: Mystery — Tags: , — Randolph @ 4:42 pm

Sid Halley, ex-jockey turned detective, returns in a new book. Someone is cutting of the off-hand leg of yearlings, just below the fetlock joint. When the person injures the horse of a terminally ill child, it becomes more personal. A few clues point to a famous jockey, loved by many, friend to Halley, and who wasn’t present, the mystery deepens and the the political cost to Sid is high.

March 25, 2023

Master of Souls by Peter Tremayne

Filed under: Mystery — Tags: , — Randolph @ 5:08 pm

A ship has run aground, an abbess has been killed, the nuns traveling with her disappeared and an elderly scholar has been killed. Although at peace, some members of the Ui Figente seem to be rebellious, several scholarly text are missing and destroyed. It is up to Fidelma, with Aedulf’s help, to understand these mysteries and weave them into a single tapestry.

March 17, 2023

The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) by Katie Mack

Filed under: Science — Tags: , — Randolph @ 2:01 pm

This book explores a number of different scenarios for the end of the universe. Each is a current theory and Dr. Mack goes into non-mathematical explanations for how and why it would happen.

The book is enlightening and enjoyable.

March 4, 2023

The Cat Who Played Brahms by Lilian Jackson Braun

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Randolph @ 5:42 pm

This is the fifth book in The Cat Who… series. In this story, James Qwilleran has to move again, Maus Haus is being sold and the paper may be giving him a new beat.

Jim decides to take a vacation, to go to visit Aunt Fannie, a friend of his mother, in Moose County, ostensibly to work on his book. Being a cityfolk, he’s a bit lost in the rustic cabin Fannie is letting him use, there are noises and things go missing.

The people who live in Moose County all have their quirks, but are cordial. His calls to police turn to be animal encounters. Until he goes fishing and catches a body, things start to get interesting.

Koko, Yum Yum and Qwill’s mustache take center stage as dead bodies and odd behaviors take center stage. Qwill is out of his depth, but Koko helps make things clear.

This book isn’t as good as the previous ones. I felt is was more of an interlude between different story styles or settings – I haven’t read beyond this one yet. The story was somewhat interesting, but did pick up at the end.

February 18, 2023

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Randolph @ 11:35 am

This is a fully-text Batman story. Set in his pre-Batman years, Bruce Wayne is a rich spoiled kid coming of age. He is about to graduate from high school when he gets involved in a police matter, putting himself in the middle of the action as Nightwalkers are preying on the rich of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is to be one of their targets. he interferes with a police chase, or solved the problem depending on your perspective.

He ends up in court for his interference and is sentenced to public service, cleaning at Gothom’s insane assylum. This was the first of many irrational decisions made by key people that were necessary to further the story. And this is what ruined the story for me.

There were a number of bad decisions made, from a judge assigning a teenager to public service in a dangerous environment, police confiding in the teenager to get information, the asylum staff not keeping an eye on the teen and allowing him access to areas he should be in. It all felt rather convenient.

Then the pacing was too fast, in the style of a comic rather than prose. Much of the dialog was more suited to a visual medium and descriptions seemed weak.

Overall, the story didn’t quite work for me, but it wasn’t all bad. It was interesting to see someone’s perspective on his early life between the death of his parents and his emergence as the Batman.

February 11, 2023

Tundra: Tooth Chattering Fun by Chad Carpenter

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , — Randolph @ 3:14 pm

The book is fun, but I don’t think his recent work is as good as his early work. It’s still worth reading.

February 3, 2023

Too Many Clients by Rex Stout

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Randolph @ 8:04 pm

Starting slowly, Nero Wolfe needs clients to support his lifestyle. Archie is to find some. The mystery begins when Archie meets Thomas Yeager, the president of Continental Plastic Products. Thomas is concerned and wants to be able to make a clandestine meeting in a less-than-desirable part of town without being followed.

Archie arranges to watch him in controlled conditions so that he can make his meeting safely, but he doesn’t show. The next day Thomas Yeager turns up dead outside of the meeting location, but it isn’t the man that Archie met.

This is a good mystery, but Archie still doesn’t have a client. He proceeds with an investigation, staying both just ahead of the police and keeping out of jail for interfering.

At the address that Thomas gave, Archie finds an apartment set up as a private love nest done out in style. He manages to get several clients, the owners of the love nest, the directors of the Continental Plastics Company, and the wife of Thomas Yeager, each of whom is looking for a different outcome. He and Nero Wolfe have to keep the clients separate, feed them the information they are entitled to and feed the police what is necessary and not raise too much suspicion.

It’s a fun read and a good mystery.

January 9, 2023

Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Randolph @ 7:35 pm
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