Wednesday, December 5, 2018

fall reading list

A short list because I'm still plodding through the Outlander books, at least when I'm not shelling pecans.

Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon - Book 4 of the Outlander series (another tome of 1,000 pages it took me a whole month to read it)...I find myself skipping over some descriptive passages (pages) for various reasons. Clair, Jamie, Ian, and Fergis travel to North Carolina to Jaime's aunt's plantation and eventually homestead in the mountains. Meanwhile, their grown daughter Brianna and the young historian Roger who helped Claire learn Jamie survived the battle at Collodon have developed a relationship. They do research to see if they can find any trace of Claire and Jaime after Claire goes back and discover a death notice. Brianna, who also feels the pull of the stones, goes back to warn her parents and meet her father, without telling Roger who, predictably and also who conveniently feels the pull of the stones, goes after her. He finds her and then goes off on a mission of his own, she finds her parents and more things happen which prevent Brianna and Roger from going back to their own time.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon - Book 5 of the Outlander series (another 1,000 pages!). Have not finished it as I read a little and then go get something else from the library as a reprieve. I'm about 4/5 of the way through.

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley – first paragraph of the synopsis on the inside cover...”turns the epic tale of Beowulf on it's head, recasting the classic into contemporary American suburbia and telling it from the perspective of the presumed monsters, Grendel and his mother.” Soldier Dana Mills, lone survivor of her unit in the desert, somehow survives what appears to be a beheading in a video with no real memory of anything beyond the sound of the sword descending. She comes to buried in sand six months pregnant and walks until she finds Americans. She wakes up in a hospital in a prison and one of the inmates helps her escape and she runs back to the mountain where she grew up, the abandoned train station in the mountain, and the cave under the station and gives birth alone. There's a new suburb built at the base of the mountain where her home used to be populated by the entitled wealthy. Seven years go by while Dana hides and protects her son Gren from the evil monsters who would kill them. Willa, married to the son of the founder of the suburb has a son also 7 and Gren sneaks down the mountain to play with him. Willa has an unnatural fear of the mountain and calls the police one snowy night to find the trespasser. And then things start to fall apart. A nice short 300 page reprieve from the Outlander series.

The Pharaoh Key by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – I generally like Preston and Child but this was stupid. A Gideon Crew novel (#5 in the series), a man with an aneurism in his brain due to kill him in two months time when this novel opens. Gideon is out of a job as EES has mysteriously shuttered operations and when he and his partner in adventure Manual Garza arrive to pick up their things, a computer that has been working on translating the enigmatic Phaistos Disk for 5 years suddenly dings with completion. The two surreptitiously download the result, the code used to create it, while the guards are distracted and within about 10 minutes crack the code (oh, I know what this is, let's try giving the glyphs these attributes, oh the picture is a little blurry, no problem we'll assign gray scale tones) and boom, they know what it is and where it is and set off to steal the treasure they are sure is there. With camels and a guide and a mysterious woman they partner with (but not for the treasure). They are on the verge of immediate death at least 5 times and then are miraculously saved each time before they find a secret oasis in the mountainous driest in the world desert of Egypt/Sudan and a lost tribe of ancient Egyptian keepers and protectors and the treasure behind a sealed 'tomb' from the time of Akhnaten (the heretic sun god pharaoh) and what appears to be the original stone tablet of the 10 commandments only there are 11 (and the book cops out, never revealing number 11 but it is earth shattering and world changing!) and apparently Judaism evolved from the true inventor of the one god, Akhnaten. The woman and Gideon barely escape when the tribe arrives while they are packing up the goodies and Manual seemingly gives his life so they can escape but we learn later that he survived, killed off the leader and took his place leading a new life. Three months later Gideon is still alive. I'm telling you the story so you won't waste your time reading this book.

She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore - the first half of this book was really good as she introduced her characters, all with special abilities...a child, Gbessa, born on an inauspicious day in a small African village and branded a witch and banished from the village when she reached the age of 13 and expected to die from exposure and starvation and does not, cannot die; Charlotte, a slave in America who dies but doesn't know she is dead who becomes a spirit on the wind and who gives birth to June Dey, a slave who cannot be harmed; and Norman Aragon, child of a slave and an Englishman in Jamaica, who can disappear. Eventually they all make their way to the free slave colony of Monrovia in Africa and that is the second half of the book. June Dey and Norman fight slavers and protect the villagers while Gbessa becomes a housemaid for a free black family in Monrovia and tries to suppress her native character and past. There's an unsatisfying climatic end but I was less impressed with the last half of the book.


  1. More "Outlander"! I keep hearing about this series. I suppose I need to check it out.

    1. 8 books in the series. I thought only 7 and was unhappy to find out I was only half way through when I finished 4.

  2. I so appreciate your round up! I can not waste time on so so books with my one good eye

  3. That's some serious reading, woman!

  4. So many people absolutely love the Outlander series. I am thinking I should give it a whirl.


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