23 January 2009

Reading list

I'm coming to the end of some of the stuff I've been reading, and thought I'd solicit some recommendations here.

Some ground rules - I don't do a lot of heavy readiing while deployed. I sort of consider this an extended period for "airport reading." I keep it light, avoid anything too intellectual. Reading is an escape here. I did read The Arms of Krupp (loved it!) last time, but almost anything qualified as "escape" on that tour.

Anyway, I've been doing a couple of series so far on this trip - an odd combination of science fiction (which I am not normally inclined to read) and Florida murder mysteries.

I'm almost finished with John Ringo's Posleen War series, which has been pretty good and even occasionally combined man-eating alien invaders with Nazis. How much better can it get? Ringo writes good, interesting characters, and I can ignore the sci-fi silliness (really, I'm sure someone out there cares about fictional anti-matter technology, but it ain't me) if there are good characters.

That one was recommended to me by someone who noticed I was reading David Weber's Honor Harrington series during mobilization. Ringo's character are good - I think Weber's are better. Weber's vision of the societies of the future also really rung my bell. He's a throughtful writer, and I enjoyed that armload of books. And, of course, there were treecats.

I've been breaking up the aliens and invasions with some Randy Wayne White mysteries starring Doc Ford. The good news - they remind me of John MacDonald and Travis McGee, who got me through the last trip. The bad news - Doc just isn't Travis. He tries, but... well... that's the problem with reading the series that set the standard first. Everything else is a bit of a letdown. I'm also getting a little sick of all Doc's girlfriends dying at the end of each book. Travis could never hold a lady, either, but at least his damsels would run away, meet someone else, or die. Doc's ladies just get whacked.

I picked up Matthew Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic recently, just to actually read what I heard a lot of the gun crowd referencing. Interesting, but it reminded me a little of Ayn Rand (remind me to tell you guys about the Ayn Rand fan and the Iraqi microloan guy some day when I'm whining about having nothing to write about) in that after 50 pages, you've got the point and the rest is just...remediation.

So. If, given that brief synopsis of what I've been reading and what I've thought about it, you have any ideas...please. Please share. Keep in mind - I have no problem knocking out the average novel in a day, so please - no 50-page wonders that won't get an afternoon past mail call. I likes 'em lengthy.

I'm really looking for some optimistic fiction, with good characters. I read a lot of cop novels out of the community library, but the overly dark ones...they don't do much for me.

I think I'm really about pegged on sci-fi stuff for a while, but I'll ponder all suggestions.

No Nicholas Sparks. Ever. Under any circumstances. I got desperate enough to read...what was it...well, one of those, recently. I would have flung it away in annoyance if it hadn't been all I had to read.

Any ideas, again, are welcome. A series would be best, so I could order several at a time.