Friday, April 29, 2016

Recent book hauls

I got a good number of books recently and so I thought I'd show them off.

First up is a nice collection I bought at the library's twice annual sale. Normally, I wait until the bag sale on the weekend before buying any books in bulk, but I also like visiting at the beginning just to see what they have and if there's anything I might want to buy on the spot.

I only paid $7 for the whole lot, which isn't bad at all. I didn't realize until after I got home and checked the Honorverse Wiki that I had almost all of the main Honor Harrington and the spinoff Saganami Island series. I'm missing two for the former and one for the latter. I did feel some guilt for buying so many books by one author and depriving them of money, but then realized that I'm going to have to purchase new copies of all of the paperbacks in that picture because of their poor condition. And that's in addition to the missing books I'm going to buy and all of the other books in the franchise. No, no, David Weber is still going to be making a pretty penny from me in the end. :P

As for The Once and Future King, it replaces the paperback copy that I rather stupidly got rid of in last year's book purge.

So that was just the haul from Wednesday, April 13. The bag sale was on the following Saturday and Sunday, but I only went on Saturday due to the paucity of books to be had.

Unfortunately, the names on the spines of a couple of the books aren't legible. The one underneath The Night Manager in the first picture is a John Le Carre omnibus from Chatham River Press containing the classic The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, A Little Town in Germany, and The Looking Glass War. The green and white book sandwiched between the Trevanian and John Sanford omnibuses is a copy of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. I'm actually not much of a poetry reader, but I couldn't pass up a classic. I'm ecstatic that I scored not one, not two, but three Kurt Vonneguts! I've been jonesing to read Slaughterhouse-Five for ages, but strangely the library doesn't have any copies. They have copies of his other books, just not Slaughterhouse-Five.

I was pretty letdown by the aforementioned paucity of books that the library had on sale. Normally they're practically overflowing with books and my usual routine is to fill two tote bags, empty them into a box and then head back in to fill them up again. It's not uncommon for me to end up with well over fifty books and only paying $12[1], then going through them over the months until the next sale and ditching the ones I don't want. This year, they just didn't have that many. I noticed on the Wednesday that there were a lot more people at the sale than what I've normally seen. It's more common for people to wait until the week when books are cheaper, but this year was different. Oh well, there's always the sale in October and I didn't manage to pick up a nice horde in any case.

See anything you like? Let me know down in the comments.

[1]: But sometimes I've paid less because one of the elderly ladies who mans the table keeps thinking that I'm a member of "The Friends of the Library" group because my tote bags have their name on it. I'm not a member, though. I just bought them from the library because I needed them. Oh well, I'm not conflicted over it. Probably should be, but it is what it is.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Finished: The Dogs of Riga (Kurt Wallander Bk. 2) by Hennig Mankell (spoilers)


Title: The Dogs of Riga
Author: Hennig Mankell
Series: Kurt Wallander
Genre: Crime fiction/Nordic Noir
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Published: April 13, 2004

I finished The Dogs of Riga late last night, so I thought I'd write a review on it. Well, a review of sorts. I'm not going to go super in-depth with this one.

The Dogs of Riga wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t feel like a crime novel. It starts out as one when a life raft washes up on the Swedish coat with two dead (and obviously murdered) bodies in it. The bodies are eventually traced to Latvia and the police in Riga send over a major to help with the investigation.

Spoilers below:

Then several weeks later, Wallander is informed that the police major that he’d befriended was murdered the same night he returned home and Wallander finds himself flying to Riga to aid in the investigation. At this point, Dogs of Riga changes genres and becomes a spy novel all the way to the end. I get the feeling that maybe Hennig Mankell wanted to write a spy novel and decided to kill two birds with one stone by making it a Wallander book.

Generally, I liked Dogs of Riga, but my chief complaint would be the dead spots where nothing happened and things just dragged on. Normally these kind of dead spots don’t bother me because it enhances the story by reinforcing the fact that real life criminal investigations have them too, but the book just had too many long stretches. Mankell's descriptions of Riga were bland and just depressing. I get that that's what he was going for but goddamn, I thought I was going to have to buy some Midnight Hobo to get me through the near lifelessness in which he painted the Latvian capital.

I would give The Dogs of Riga a 7/10. It's worth reading, but I don't think it's not the best Wallander book I've read so far.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Boy Problems"

So I decided to watch the music video for Carly Rae Jepsen's new song, "Boy Problems." If her name sounds familiar, she's the one who sang "Call Me Maybe" and sparked a meme. Anyways, here's Wonderwa--I mean the video.

First of all, could someone spare Jepsen a lamp or pay her electricity bill? All the shots of her in that bedroom are dark as dicks. I get that it's for ambiance and all that, but I've seen caves more well lit than that room. Second, I must have reached that point in age where modern pop music no longer appeals to me. Granted, I'm only 32, but my reaction to this video was not unlike what an older person must have thought when they heard a Britney Spears song back in the 90s. Man, 90s/early 00s Britney Spears was great, wasn't she? I can tell that "Boy Problems" is a catchy tune, but I can tell at the same time that it isn't for me. I think part of it is that I don't grok the lyrics. She says that she broke up with her boyfriend but that she has worse problems. Okay, but the song is called "Boy Problems" and that's pretty much what the rest of the lyrics are about. Again, I'm probably too old to get the song's meaning, so take that with a grain of salt. Third,

Nice hairdo. Very Joan Jett.

I'd probably give the song + video a 7/10.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Here's an infographic of the many actors who have played famous superheroes

Found this on Mental Floss and thought it was worth posting here. It's not a comprehensive list of all superheroes and their portrayers and as Mental Floss points out, it's imperfect. Oh boy, is it ever. First off, Bill Bixby isn't there along with the other Hulk actors, which considering that he's probably more famous than Eric Bana and Edward Norton at the role, is a true oddity. Speaking of Bana, I'm pretty sure that's not him in the picture, but I could be wrong. There's also the rather humorous way that the pictures of Michael Rosenbaum (who voiced The Flash on the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited cartoon) and Scott Rummell (Aquaman voice actor) got switched around. Other than that, it's a rather informative infograph. I didn't know Channing Tatum voiced Superman in the Lego Movie.

If Blogger shrank the picture, then use the link to MF's article or click here.

Rogue One teaser trailer

I don't normally watch trailers, but I had to make an exception here. Yet another kickass female protagonist? Hell frakking yes!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Finished: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James (spoilers)

I picked this up from the library like two weeks ago after getting hit by a sudden hankering for crime fiction. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman isn't crime fiction, but I've been wanting to read it ever since I first heard of the book, so I figured what the hell.

The story follows the young Cordelia Gray who inherits Pryde's Detective Agency after her partner in the business commit suicide. She's not long after hired by a Sir Ronald Callender to investigate the suicide of his only son, Mark. Specifically, he wants to know why Mark killed himself and this sets off a whole chain of events that culminates in Cordelia uncover that the victim was in fact murdered and eventually who murdered him.

Generally, I liked the story because Cordelia had to struggle and work in her investigation, rather not instantly know everything like a stereotypical super-sleuth. I enjoy stories like that where the answers aren't all easy to find. The only thing I didn't like was the last part where P. D. James's other and more famous detective, Adam Dalgiesh shows up out of nowhere and lays everything that happened in the climax at Cordelia's feet. His appearance makes no sense whatsoever and has no bearing or consequence on the plot. It's almost like James wrote the ending then decided "YOLO" and threw Dalgiesh in for the hell of it.

My rating for this would have to be like 7.5/10.