Books & Blog: September 14, 2015

Books & Blog: September 14, 2015

Books of the Week:

  • Make Me, Lee Child
  • Murder of an Open Book, Denise Swanson
  • Redshirts, John Scalzi
  • Magic Shifts, Ilona Andrews

I’ve known Lee Child for a few years now, and I’ve always loved his books. I remember reading Killing Floor when it came out in paperback and telling my friends at Murder by the book (in Houston) what a great book it was. Make Me is centered on action and the unique character of Jack Reacher just as much as the older books, but there are a few differences. Reacher gets hurt this time. He keeps staggering around, but he’s not at full Reacher-dom. And he has a sexual partner this time who’s somehow better than his other encounters. And the motivation for the bad guys turns out to be even worse than I’d anticipated. So don’t miss this one.

I’ve also been friends with Denise Swanson for many years, and Murder of an Open Book is another happy entry in a series that entertained me consistently. From being an unhappy single, Skye has had her own dating misfortunes, but she’s now happily married to police chief Wally Boyd . . . and she’s pregnant. On her first morning swim, she encounters the very unpleasant girls’ coach, who’s very vocal. The second time she encounters the coach, she’s not so vocal. But as revelation after revelation come to light about this coach’s methods, we can’t be too sorry. . .

Redshirts is delightfully funny and more than a little confusing. But if Scalzi can keep the intricate plot straight, I kept telling myself that I could, too. Imagine being the newest recruit on a fleet ship in space . . . and going on a trip to an alien planet’s surface in a red shirt. Luckily, Ensign Andrew Dahl begins to figure out that his survival chance is at just about zero, in the nick of time.

Magic Shifts is Ilona Andrews’ latest Kate Daniels book, but I kept having to put off reading it because I realized I’d missed a couple of other books in the series. I wanted to have the whole series read before I embarked on the new one. Kate and her mate Curran have split with the pack, but it’s clear Curran needs a new project. When their friend Eduardo disappears from his job at the Mercenary Guild, that project practically screams itself into being. I love all these books.


Sadly, things that bother me are legion. I am not a person prone to fits of anger, but I do seem to have an endless capacity for irritation.

Here are the things that have bothered me lately, and I think you will agree that it’s a mixed bag.

  1. Miley Cyrus’s tongue. Geez, girl! Enough already with the tongue sticking out!
  2. Kim Davis and her husband. Obey the law or quit the job. And for goodness’ sake, what’s with him showing up in overalls and a straw hat for her jail release?
  3. Donald Trump. His pronouncements on the attractiveness of the women around him put him way outside the pale if his other views did not already accomplish that.
  4. My elbow. Just when my physical therapist was about to release me, she hit some nerve in my arm that made me want to punch her. (Just reflex, I think she’s great.) So more therapy.
  5. Our terrier, who has decided that she will put her front paws into every water bowl, just to get the fresh water nice and dirty.
  6. People who cannot seem to understand that I am not responsible for television scheduling, casting, or filming. While it might be nice to be that omnipotent, it’s not going to happen.
  7. The apparent inability of our electricity repair people to correct a light that cuts off all on its own. To be honest, we have not had much luck with our electricity at all recently. Our monthly electric bills seem to have soared and I am not happy about it. We do use our lights often but our bills should not be anywhere near as expensive as they are at the moment. That being said, an old colleague of mine has recommended that I compare some of the most popular light companies in houston to determine whether switching energy suppliers could help us to save money. It is safe to say that I will definitely be doing some research of my own if these electricity and lighting issues continue for much longer!

I think that’s enough to start with, right? I know it’s futile to let stuff like this get to me. I have no control over any of it. I should let it go! And truthfully, I try to. For example, homophobic Kim Davis could not care less what I think about her.

I just wish people like Kim Davis would take a more liberal viewpoint. I find it so frustrating that people like her think of the LGBT community as less deserving of the same rights and protections as straight people. Besides, who is she to judge who someone chooses to love? Her decision to defy a U.S. federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples was just cruel.

Honestly, it is stories like this that remind me just how important it is to host pride parades and wave the rainbow flag for all to see. Of course, it is no secret that internalized homophobia is always going to be an issue within more conservative areas of the world, but I have hope that things are changing for the better.

In case you were not already aware, internalized homophobia is what can sometimes happen when people take the biases, prejudices, and hatred towards gay people that are reinforced by society (aka societal homophobia) and turn these biases inwards. Ultimately, in my opinion, everyone should be welcome to love who they please, regardless of their sexuality, and it is for this reason that I will always champion LGBT causes.

Anyway, sometimes I feel like I’m carrying my own load of grumpiness around with me. What do you do with your load of grump?

Charlaine Harris