30 June 2023

Books Completed Since June 1

To anyone still reading this blog, I've realized in the last year or so I just don't have time to do the things I want to do and do big book reviews anymore. I still want to keep a monthly list of what I read and whether or not I liked it and if there was anything special about it, but I don't have time to do three/four/five paragraphs or more. So it's shorter stuff from now on.

book icon  The Education of a Coroner, John Bateson
The story of Ken Holmes, who started out in the Marin County (CA) coroner's office as an investigator and later was elected head coroner. Marin County was very popular back in the 70s after a series of films; it's an expensive place to live and gorgeous, but is also home to San Quentin State Prison and has above-average drug overdoses and lots of suicides, mainly jumpers off the Golden Gate Bridge. Yeah, more of my reading spurred on by Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Lots of interesting facts here, like that government coroner's offices like to hire former mortuary workers (Holmes was one; they are used to death and know how to talk to families) and that the state coroner doesn't even have to be a medical doctor; a lot of time sheriffs are appointed coroner. Also liked this because there were lots of times the crimes didn't get solves and Holmes is straightforward about it.

book icon  CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Killing Game, Max Allan Collins
The seventh in a series of novels based on the series, and we're back to the intertwining plots. This takes place after asshole Conrad Ecklie broke the nightshift CSI team into two teams, one working nights, one working mids—and makes me wonder if Catherine ever sees her daughter Lindsay because she's always on overtime; I can't blame "Lindz" for becoming a handful as she got older. Grissom, Sara, and newbie Sofia get a case in an exclusive neighborhood, while Catherine, Warrick, and Nick investigate one in a shabby apartment, and once again Collins works his magic and the two crimes are connected. I think you'll twig to one of the baddies right away when an antagonist for Grissom is introduced, so I'll give you that spoiler straight up. Why? Well, that's what you get when you read the book.

book icon  How to Speak Science, Bruce Benamran
Fun history of science, except after a while the author's constant jokes started to get on my nerves. We start with basic "matter" and work all the way through relativity. Your mileage may vary based on your tolerance for bantering narration.

book icon  Love, Theoretically, Ali Hazelwood
Seriously, I am so glad after reading Hazelwood's books that I am not in academia. It sounds even more hateful than Congress. Elsie Hannaway is a physicist who's stuck in a teaching job, but hopes to go into research. To earn extra money, she acts as a fake girlfriend, but she discovers her favorite client's brother is the man who discredited her beloved mentor. It's only as she gets to know him that she finds out why he did so, and by then she's starting to like him. Likeable story, and a good sex scene, but, again, the politics of academia give me a rash. If this is what university instructor life is like, I'll work in a factory any day.

book icon  Lost Providence, David Brussat
History Press' publication about the lost architecture of Providence, RI, my beloved "downtown." The buildings covered are even older than my memory; the building on the cover, the Butler Exchange, was razed to build the Industrial National Bank building, a.k.a. the Superman Building (it's not; that's Los Angeles City Hall) in the late 1920s. Covers some gorgeous buildings that were bulldozed for those ugly concrete and glass monstrosities (although luckily Providence didn't get anything as ugly as Government Center in Boston!). A delight if you like old buildings and architectural edifices and enjoy authors who aren't afraid to label ugly as ugly.

book icon  Together We Will Go, J. Michael Straczynski
A surprisingly upbeat story about a group of people who plan to board a bus driving to California—and then drive off a cliff when they get there. The passengers are varied, but all are done with life, including Lisa, the bipolar woman on whom drugs have never worked and she's weary of having no friends due to going from calm to manic in seconds; Vaughn, the elderly man who was happily married but still holds a dark secret; and Karen, who has been in chronic, unforgiving pain all her life and can't bear it any longer. Like it or not, they bond to each other in a series of picaresque events as they cross country—and then the police chase begins. I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this, but I really did and was in tears by the end.