Searing Summer Reads: The Third Third

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows Sirius A, the brightest star in our nighttime sky, along with its faint, tiny stellar companion, Sirius B.

Sirius rising before or with the sun, so the ancients believed, caused the ‘dog days’ of summer.  The term ‘dog days’ only obliquely refers to our four-legged furry friends; and more directly points to the Dog Star (aka Sirius), the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.  I cannot confirm or deny Sirius’ proximity to our sun, thanks to the record-breaking heat and humidity scorching the Heart of America and hazing the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn night.

Appropriately, Monday, the 1st of August, 2011, marks another Ozone Red Alert Day in the Kansas City metro area.  My new central air conditioning system barely cycles while the sun shines.

I received word from my hubby that the leather chaise lounger we purchased a week ago at Nebraska Furniture Mart arrived undamaged.  The delivery guys wrangled it upstairs to my new library, where I hope to spend many cool evenings reading the final third of my hot summer reads.  Almost immediately upon the heels of the phone call about the furniture delivery, my husband sent me a text message to let me know the roofers had finally arrive (again on the hottest day of the month so far) and stripped the old shingles off in less than an hour.  By the time I return home, I may have a new roof.  Ironically, a representative from our insurance company stopped by (before the roofers but after the furniture delivery guys had left) to take photos of the property.  Terry tried to explain to him that the roof was about to be redone (how prophetic his words became), followed immediately by the driveway (complete rip out and re-do on it as well).  I just hope the interior designer we scheduled an appointment with for this evening can envision and inspire our remodel despite the normal chaos.  And it will be after the sun sets tonight before I can relax and enjoy my new lounger in my new library with one of the following sizzling summer reads:

The SciFi and Fantasy Book Club at GoodReads started Red Mars for the August science fiction selection.   From the book blurb:  “Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. Red Mars shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.”

My most anticipated reads beckon from my favorite book club, the Beyond Reality group (also at GoodReads).   Our illustrious leader, Stefan, noted in his Welcome to August 2011 post our serendipitous C.J. Cherryh group reads for both science fiction and fantasy.  I started Foreigner this morning and plan to read The Fortress in the Eye of Time soon after.   I am most excited about reading all of the Honor Harrington novels (see my previous posts campaigning for David Weber’s series to overcome Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files).

My other two book clubs, Fantasy Book Club and FBC Series, continue to serve up excellent reads and discussions.  I jumped the gun on the August read for FBCS by finishing Mistress of the Empire on Saturday.  But I renewed the Black Prism, checked out earlier in July from the KC Public Library.  As soon as I finish The Snow Queen, I’ll start reading the latest from Brent Weeks.

Most of these books sport astounding cover art by two of my favorite cover artists:  Don Maitz and Michael Whelan.  My permanent collection of the Empire Trilogy and Magician (Apprentice and Master) includes the editions with cover art painted by Don.  Of those five covers, my favorite is probably this one:

My hardcover of The Snow Queen does not have a dust jacket with the famous Michael Whelan cover art, but I needed some MW eye candy:

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention cover artist David Mattingly, painter extradonaire of both the Honorverse and Darwath.   Of all the Honor covers, this is probably my favorite:

Of necessity, I kept my August summer reading to a bare minimum.  I will sacrifice about a week of reading time at the end of the month to drive to Atlanta and attend the 25th iteration of Dragon*Con.  And if I though it was hot in Kansas, I can’t wait to melt away in Hotlanta with fans and friends of fantasy.