Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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Earlier this month I read Mr. Monk on the Road by Lee Goldberg, in which Monk and his assistant take his agoraphobic brother on a road trip. It's written in the first person from the viewpoint of the assistant, who for this adventure has her own irrational fear. The elements of the story tie together in the manner of the TV show, I liked the humour, and I thought it well-done.

As a New Year's resolution I decided to read or listen to at least one short story for every day. So far I've read stories by Geoffrey Drayton, Roger Mais, A.L. Hendricks, Stuart Hall and Edgar Mittelholzer in West Indian Stories ed. Andrew Salkey; eight of the stories in Asimov's Mysteries by Isaac Asimov (which includes all four of his Wendell Urth stories, and another tale in which the crime is solved by a government investigator from that series); and the two Egyptian stories in The Masterpiece Library of Short Stories, vol. 1: Early Stories ed. J.A. Hammerton, both of which involve magic (in one a magician causes a wax crocodile to come to life and kill his wife's lover; in the other a prince sets out on a quest to obtain the Book of Thoth and gains knowledge of powerful magical secrets). I also listened to the Librivox versions of "Olalla" by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which a convalescing man falls in love with a Spanish woman from a line which has become degenerate, and "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances at Aungier Street" by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, which is a haunted house story in which the ghost manifests itself in several forms; and the stories by Gustav Meyrink, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Bernhard Severin Ingemann, Otto Larssen, Jorgen Wilhelm Bergsøe, and Dietrich Theden in the Librivox version of Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, vol. 5: German Russian Scandinavian ed. Julian Hawthorne, several of which involve apparently supernatural events that turn out to have prosaic explanations.

This post displaced the thread Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Vol. 2: Secrets of the Dead from the home page.

I've got a higher than usual number of books going on right now.  I'm finishing up The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (I'm done with the plays and just have most of the poems to go).  I'm in the middle of a book about the 100 best baseball games of the 19th century.  I've also just started two collections: the Dangerous Women anthology edited by George RR Martin and The Complete Short Stories of Morley Callaghan volume one. 

I've been too busy to read anything sustained lately, but I'm really enjoying --whenever I get a chance to pick it up -- a book by Nick Harkaway called Angelmaker. Imagine a William Gibson story about a clock repairman who gets his hands on a decades-old doomsday device, through the eyes and temperament of Neil Gaiman. It's really good.

I just finished the Conquest of America,a Romance of disaster and victory, USA 1921 AD about a German invasion of America in 1921. I liked it, it drops a lot of names that were once famous and are now barely recognizeable, but features Thomas Edison creating superweapons to destroy the German fleet and Nicola Tesla helping out. Also Hindenburg and the Crown Prince. It was written in 1916 so it has a different perspective on a lot of things.

I have been reading Nick Offerman's Paddle Your Own Canoe, which I received for Christmas. It is far raunchier than I would have thought. Yet, somehow, even better than I would have thought.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I just finished the Conquest of America,a Romance of disaster and victory, USA 1921 AD... it... features Thomas Edison creating superweapons to destroy the German fleet and Nicola Tesla helping out.

I guess using Edison in such a story was like using Bill Gates in one today. There's an 1898 novel by Garrett P. Serviss called Edison's Conquest of Mars in which Edison avengers the invasion of Earth by the Martians in a preceding Americanised version of H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds.

I am currently reading Edgeworks, Volume One by Harlan Ellison. This contains two of his books, Over The Edge and Edge Of My Voice. Excellent book.

I've just finished Under the Andes by Rex T. Stout, which I partly read and partly listened to the Librivox(1) version of, as I often do. This is the same Rex Stout who wrote the Nero Wolfe series: he was born in 1886, and when the first book in the Wolfe series appeared he was 47. Under the Andes appeared in The All-Story in 1914. It's a story about people from the surface who discover an underground people with similarities to John Wyndham’s The Secret People and Joseph O’Neill’s Land Under England (both 1935). In this case the underground people are descendants of Incas who were supposed to be carrying a great gold ransom to the Spaniards and who fled into the caves when they became frightened. They are depicted as having degenerated into a cave people with remnants of Inca culture.

(1) This is a site of public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers. Many of the readers read the stories with great verve but sometimes the readers mispronounce words and parents should know that the books at the site include ones with adult content.

This post displaced the thread Last of the Year Reviews, Part 1 from the home page.

Does anyone know of any other books on the underground world theme? I've read Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Edgar Rice Burroughs's At the Earth's Core.

Plutonia by Vladimir Obruchev.

Thanks, Pete. I'll keep an eye out for it.

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