What I'm Reading Now: Belated Edition, 11 May 21

The procrastination equation: how to stop putting things off and start getting things done-- Piers Steel (non-fiction)
Crunch time--Diane Mott Davidson
Sweetheart-- Chelsea Cain
The wire in the blood-- Val McDermid
Neuropath--Scott Bakker
Be different: adventures of a free-range Aspergian-- John Elder Robinson (non-fiction)
Alone together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other-- Sherry Turkle (non-fiction)
Kiss me, kill me-- Ann Rule (true crime)

I don't know why I've been reading so much non-fiction recently, but it's been most enjoyable. (Well, with the exception of Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. I had no objection to her writing, but I found the subject of the book, Louis Zamperini, to be... an unsympathetic character. Then again, I may not have given him a proper chance, but I have other books I'd rather be reading.)

I have to say something about The procrastination equation: how to stop putting things off and start getting things done, by Piers Steel. Steel is a professor at a Canadian university, and he's been studying procrastination and motivation for most of his professional life. In this book, he's pulled together a lot of data, and processed it into some easily-understood causes for procrastination, and comes up with strategies against them. Steel has an interesting, down-to-earth writing style, and it makes me want to sit in on one of his lectures. Now, I have to admit that reading the book did not cause an "Eureka! I'm cured!" moment, but I've learned a few things, and at one point, I did put the book down and go do a few of the things I'd been putting off for a while. For that alone, it was worth reading.

Neuropath, by Scott Bakker, was one of the creepiest books I've read in a long time. It's a thriller that includes a serial killer, and the serial killer is probably the least disturbing parts of the book. It's not so much the graphic violence, or the R rated scenes... it's the whole philosophy: what is real, anyway? If neural stimulation can cause us to feel lust, love, faith, fear... are any of them valid? Neuropath was very well written, but I don't think I'll be reading anything else of Bakker's any time soon.

Sweetheart, by Chelsea Cain, was another thriller I read this week. To my chagrin, it's not the start of the series (it's the second; the first is Heartsick), and this is a series where each book builds on the one previous. I did figure out what was going on, but I kept feeling like I was missing important information. The basic story: detective Archie Sheridan is barely holding himself together with the help of Vicodin. He’s trying to reconnect with his family and get over his obsession with  with incarcerated serial killer Gretchen Lowell, but it seems doomed to failure. Reporter Susan Ward is trying to break the biggest story of the year, but it’s being suppressed by the higher-ups. Then Gretchen Lowell escapes... Yes, I plan on reading the others.

Crunch time is the latest in Diane Mott Davidson’s mystery series featuring caterer Goldy Bear (Schulz).  This time, a private investigator is shot, and his house burned to the ground. Which of his cases pushed someone to murder? Then there’
possible adultery, an animal-rights activist with only eight fingers, a Cuban people-smuggler, and a lot of marijuana... It read like a bit of a mish-mash that never really cohered, but for all that, it was stial a decent read. As a bonus, it includes recipes. I didn’t try any of them, but I got my second-favorite brownie recipe from Davidson’s second Goldy Bear mystery, Dying for chocolate. My advice? If you're not obsessive about reading entire series (as I often am), read the earlier Goldy Bears, and leave Crunch time for some day when you don't have anything better to read.