Summer Reading

At last, time to read...

My perfect holiday on a hammock with books and time!

Note the birdhouse  in the fir tree. My 15×70 binoculars wait on the ground besides the books. I have written very little (my 18th novel still awaits its conclusion), but I indulged in a reading feast! The Northern Ontario spoiled us: starry night, shooting stars, northern lights…

I have a hard time drawing trees , so drawing this illustration took the same amount of time as a full comic page! I made a first sketch of the hammock in pencil, then for certain, I took a photo of the tree in question (but not with the same angle, aaah!)

The books I read (I will leave them in the rented cottage as an informal exchange system):

Carl Hiaasen – Paradise Screwed – A series of satirical articles written for the Miami Herald Times between 1985 and 2000. Hilarious but a little sad, when the natural side of Florida is gradually disappearing under the peak for developers.


J.D. Robb – Fantasy in Death. The first of JD Robb (pseudo of Norah Roberts) which in my opinion is really science fiction: the crime is based on a technology that does not yet exist. Otherwise, all the action is perfectly transferable to contemporary policeman. There are flying cars and off-planet colonies but the action never leaves New York City.

Patricia Cornwell – Cause of Death. This is an author who is not afraid to mention the sexism attitudes in the situations. While investigating a suspect death, Dr. Scarpetta is as worried as a mother hen about her young niece who works for the FBI. A satisfactory read, but it ends quite abruptly.

Michael Palmer – Critical Judgement. A great start which immerse us into the life of a hospital emergency, where a doctor notices suspicious symptoms. The big factory gives work to the whole village… Psychology and finesse in the medical world description. The last quarter of the novel failed me, as the final explanation is too far-fetched for my taste. To read for the juicy sentences, like the interns described as “doctors with rolling wheels”.

I am reading:

Julie Czerneda, A Turn of Light, a 900-page brick, and the first of a fantasy trilogy. I read it because I know Julie. It takes fine research to create a world with an original magic system. The challenge of Julie, here, was to create an  enthralling story set in a small village. Do not expect fights or murders (Games-of-Thrones-style) every twenty pages.

It remainded me of a novel by Jo Walton (a shorter book) who created a fantasy story going counter-current of the usual tropes.

Lee Child – Never Go Back – well-described action. This is a Jack Reacher novel. The voice of the author drags us in. Just go read the description of the motel room in the first paragraph. I was in a motel room while reading the novel and really, it was accurate! The strength of Lee Child is to punch in everyday details with a touch of irony. Another quality I noticed so far (I’m still in the first part), not a hint of sexism in the novel. The Reacher character is aware of the bitter realities of the military life experimented by female officers.

Joe Walton – The Just City. An original premise, a thought experiment: what if … we built the perfect city of Plato, by dipping people plucked from various eras? But human feelings shuffle the cards. Did I mention the gods of Olympus under the whole project? A predicted collision when the beautiful theoretical philosophy strikes the hard wall of reality!

Bob Mayer – The Novel Writer’s Toolkit. Electronic edition.

And all the new online stories  (a new every Monday) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an author that excels in several genres.

I am re-reading:

John Grisham – The Testament – An eccentric rich bequeath his 11-billion fortune to an illegitimate child, now a missionary in the Brazilian jungle. The firm dealing with the will sends a grizzled lawyer fresh out of a cure in Brazil. A funny romp in the jungle for a regular of Bay Street. How will react the missionary? Meanwhile, the irated heirs hire lawyers to challenge the will. Those lawyer$ are very happy… A funny and moving story, with faint echoes of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Using:

Sibley, Birds of North America. With illustrations by the author. Birds in flight, silhouettes seen from under, male, females, juveniles… none missing!

The Audubon Guide of North America Insects and Spiders. With photos and a classification by morphology types to help find the right bug!

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