October 12th, 2007

reading/watching while sick

_No Humans Involved_ by Kelley Armstrong, the Jaime Vegas novel. In which Vegas lives in a house in Brentwood, initially not realizing she's being filmed for a Big Brother Spiritualist Edition. Her relationship with Jeremy proceeds, leading to what Mark Penn (we'll get to him in a minute) would refer to as a LAT (living apart together). She works through some left-over issues with her necromancy and her childhood -- her raising and her raising, so to speak. ;-)

Good entry in the series; may or may not work as a stand-alone.

I finished _Microtrends_ by Mark Penn, which I could have sworn I mentioned in an earlier post. It's got a lot of problems, but is overall worthwhile.

Several more Suzanne Brockmann Troubleshooters novels, which are basically a lot like the first one: primary, secondary, WW2, ongoing arcs, minor characters from one novel become central in later novels. Brockmann's got a reader's guide accessible as a .pdf on her website that breaks each novel down in more or less those exact categories.

_The Defiant Hero_, _Over the Edge_ and _Out of Control_: while it's difficult to know how accurate any of the action stuff is in these (or any other) novels, it is possible to identify things that are glaringly Of Their Time. _Over the Edge_, for example, is a classic action plot that post-911 probably won't ever happen again: lone gunman hijacks plane, which lands in some other location. Standoff, boarding, etc. ensue. By contrast, the lax security that allowed Meg to get a gun into the K-stani embassy in _The Defiant Hero_ is probably eternally valid (altho maybe not, since she'd almost certainly have to take her shoes off these days).

But it is a satisfying series and I'll continue to read more when they arrive. Many thanks to K. for telling me to give Brockmann a try.

_Caught In the Act_, the second novel in the omnibus _Enticing_ by Lori Foster. Mystery writer who believes in up close and personal research is nearly shot in the middle of a jewelry store robbery, saved by an off-duty undercover cop who falls on top of her. See, he'd been lusting after her from afar for a few days. Anyway, developing relationship while she keeps an eye on him (nursing him back to health) and he keeps an eye on her (because he's suspicious, eventually, and because he lusts after her/is afraid for her safety, initially) in the middle of all his friends. So, a pretty straightforward Foster plot but without any assault-by-former-boyfriend/husband subplots. Haven't read the first novel in the omnibus yet.

_Unearthed_ by C.J. Barry. This is sad, but a perfect example of why to never read backwards in a favorite romance author's oeuvre. The cover is terrible, and the contents are, surprisingly enough, even worse. The primary reason I finished the book is because it was moderately amusing to count all the cliches imported direct from Star Wars/Trek franchises. Gack.

I also watched _An Inconvenient Truth_ and _The End of Suburbia_. I had meant to start Documentary/Movie Night at the library, but have not gotten around to it for a variety of reasons, mostly revolving around me being chickenshit and avoiding the place when I don't have to be there. Gore does a very nice job of laying it out (Best Use of Slides EVER). I'm always stunned that anyone could find that documentary controversial. Hardly. But there's always someone.

_The End of Suburbia_ is a Peak Oil Will Make Us Move Into New Urbanist Neighborhoods documentary. Now, I'm down with the Peak Oil. Their comments about alternative sources will not be a direct-replace for what we have now are absolutely correct. They have fantastic footage from the mid-50s (a Redbook short film about surburbia) -- which makes it even more stunning that they completely missed the obvious point: there isn't really anything stopping us from reversing the consumption trends. And in fact, as oil has gone up, we've actually seen the point at which demand is elastic (people really do find ways to consume less energy). While Gore is notable in terms of giving us some very easy, drop-in, always-on ways to reduce our consumption of energy, we have undone a lot of the things we did during the first oil crunch -- there is, once again, a ton of low hanging fruit.

I don't disagree with the central conclusions (what we are doing now is not sustainable, even in the short term, and very distant from jobs housing is about to become unlived in). It's nice that someone else is coming to them as well. I could wish they presented a little better, but you have to have a big crowd of people headed in one direction before you find the Al Gore, _Inconvenient Truth_ quality presentation.