What I am Reading, Early January Edition

I rarely read more than two things at a time, but right now, I’ve got four things I’m juggling. They include:

  1. Work Done for Hire by Joe Haldeman
  2. Raygun Chronicles edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  3. Wild Cards I edited by George R. R. Martin
  4. Shogun by James Clavell

I think I’ll be finished with the first two by the end of this coming week. It might take me a little longer to get through the last two. We’ll see. What are you reading this month?


  1. I almost always juggle multiple books.

    I’m reading Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman to my kids, but that’s an easy two- or three-night read.

    I’ve been working my way through Writing Novels That Sell by Jack Bickham. Each chapter takes a bit of time to process what I’ve read and see how it stands up with the time that’s intervened since he wrote the book.

    I just started the memoir My Mistake by Daniel Menaker this morning. (I finished Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone this weekend.)

    For audio, I’ve been listening to The Iron Hunt by Marjorie Liu, but I’ve also got the second and third books in the Dumarest of Terra series by E. C. Tubbs queued up to read. (Dumarest has the advantage that I can listen to it without headphones when my kids are around.)

      1. I loved it. It’s very different from Ocean, though. Here’s the review I just posted at Goodreads:

        Spent two evenings reading this to my kids. They loved every moment, every picture, every embellishment of this shaggy-dog-esque tale. From being kidnapped by aliens to stealing a god’s emerald eye, every bit of adventure and fun is laugh-out-loud funny. My daughter appreciated the ponies; I found the wumpires hilarious. A quick, light read, definitely enjoyable for the entire family.

        (“What is it,” my son asks, “with naming things after aunts?”)

  2. At the moment I’m “reading” Boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend via Audible.com. I tend to read more productivity, self improvement, leadership books (content) than fiction (sorry!!!).

    I’m curious, what dictates what books you read via audio, e-reader, and traditional paper book? I’m trying to get better at “reading” more and ever since I subscribed to Audible.com summer of last year I’ve wondered if others think, like I do, if they are doing themselves a disservice by only reading via audio books and not reading with their eyes and more so with an ol’ school paper (back) book.

    On a positive note, after taking the plunge to pay another monthly service fee, I have found that Audible.com is solely responsible for my having “read” and completed more books in the past 6-7 months than in the past 6-7 years. I’ll take that.

    1. I occasionally feel a little guilty at having converted so much of my “reading” to Audible, but then I think how there is no way I could read as much as I did last year without it. I spend at least 2 hours every day walking (my only real exercise) and I’m listening to an audio book the whole time. Also, I spent pretty much my entire work day reading with my eyes, and I spent a lot of my writing time reading with my eyes, either my own stuff or writer-friend’s stuff that I’m critiquing. In the end, I don’t worry all that much.

      These days, my rule is, if it is available in Audible, that’s my first choice, because I can read it while walking, doing chores around the house, etc. I read about 12 books a year for my book review column at InterGalactic Medicine Show and those are probably 50/50 paper and e-book. I have a tendency to listen to fiction more than nonfiction, but that may shift. I just saw that the first two volumes of Will Durant’s STORY OF CIVILIZATION series was recently added to Audible. If they get all 11 on there, you can bet I’ll be reading volumes 4-11. 🙂

      1. Thanks Jamie for the reply. As an IT professional it helps to know that others that spend so much time in front of a monitor (PC, tablet, phone) also justify the use of Audible as legitimate reading. I guess it isn’t the means to how the content is delivered to your brain but more so that it is delivered.

        I too listen to the books (as well as podcasts) during my walks in addition to my commutes.

        As always, I appreciate all of your tips, insights, documented experience you share… especially with Going Paperless, Evernote, FitBit, and the quantitative self posts.

        Thank you.

  3. I finished Work Done for Hire during my hike last Sunday. Without venturing too much into spoiler territory, when the big reveal about what was actually happening was – well – revealed, my reaction was to mutter to myself “Gimme a break”.

    If you are interested in the antecedents to the Hunter sections, Haldeman had previously used some of this material in the 2001 short story “Road Kill” (available only in Redshift: Extreme Visions of Speculative Fiction, ROC 2001).

    I am spending the rest of the month catching up with Catherynne M. Valente, starting with her first collection, Ventriloquism — I have to keep looking at the cover to remind me that I am not reading a lost set of Rachel Swirsky stories.

    1. Mark, I’m about halfway through the book, and so far I like the story. I particularly like the 3 levels of narrative at work: Joe Haldeman, war vet/writer, who writes about a war vet/writer, writing about a P.I./lawyer. It is an almost Malzbergian level of recursion. 🙂


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