Reading and Viewing – 9/13/06

I’ve been reading a viewing a variety of things over the last couple of weeks and I thought I’d comment on a few of them and provide “buy” links.

First on my list is a mystery by a new author (for me), Donna Andrews, titled Access Denied. This is one of a series, the Turing Hopper mysteries, featuring a sentient, or near sentient, artificial intelligence. I found the characters interesting, but not fascinating, and the artificial intelligence is an interesting concept, though I don’t think a great deal was done with it. I rate this book a 3 of 5 (My Book Ratings).

To keep my hand in with reading I can count on for enjoyment, I also read two books by Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies and Men at Arms. Pratchett can always be counted on for good fun, and I rate the discworld novels a 4 pushing a 5. I have to be honest and admit that there are others books that I will pick up first, so the most honest rating is 4.

I did try a new book, Joanne Fluke’s Cherry Cheesecake Murder, subtitled A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes. If I were to rate this one myself, I would be forced to give it a rating of one, but I also loaned it to my wife. Her tastes and mine overlap but are not identical. The average rating should probably be about a 3 or 4. The problem is that I have little patience for a book that spends too much time building the characters while leaving me without any action. I prefer characterization that happens more as the story moves. Further, the recipes don’t interest me, which I knew when I picked up the book. In other words, this isn’t a bad book; it’s just not a book for me. Jody thought it was pretty good.

To round out my reading I picked up a couple by Ngaio Marsh, Light Thickens and When in Rome. Marsh is regular reading for me. There’s some similarity to Agatha Christie, but though that comparison originally attracted me, as I’ve read Marsh I don’t see them as all that similar. One major difference is that Marsh’s lead characters appear to be more official than Christie’s.

Now for viewing, I have to admit to indulging my love for British comedy, I watched a number of episodes of Jeeves and Wooster, which I find quite amusing in a light sort of way, and a few more of Yes, Minister/Yes Prime Minister.

In terms of full length movies I watched Creator, which is somewhat humorous but doesn’t attain to greatness (I waver between a 2 and a 3). Next was Mr. Holland’s Opus, which I rate as a 4. That’s not really all, but I didn’t really keep a list.

Of the current crop of TV programs, the only one I’m following with diligence is The Closer (First Season). This is one of the several shows (CSI and West Wing are others) that my wife and I both follow with diligence, even extending to recording them when we’re out, a truly rare accolade on our part.

Well, that’s it. Perhaps you’ll find some reading or viewing ideas in the list. I’ll continue to write fuller reviews of materials that are new to me, and that I realy find attractive.