What I've been reading.....
| Reading List 2001
| Reading List 2002
| Reading List 2003
| Reading List 2004
| Reading List 2005
| Reading List 2006
| Reading List 2007
| Reading List 2008
| Reading List 2009
| Reading List 2010
| Reading List 2011
| Reading List 2012
| Reading List 2013
| Reading List 2014
| Reading List 2015
| Reading List 2016
| Reading List 2017
| Reading List 2018
| Reading List 2019
| Reading List 2020
|Reading List 2021|
January - 2002
Was It Something I Said? ~ Valerie Block (1998) novel, fiction (362 pgs)
The Cat Who Robbed a Bank ~ Lilian Jackson Bruan (1999) novel, mystery, (allegedly) (242 pgs)
The Truth About Cats ~ Alan Snow (w/a) (1995) children's picture book (28 pgs)
Toujours Provence ~ Peter Mayle (1991) essays, travel (241 pgs)
Acquired Tastes ~ Peter Mayle (1992) essays, society (230 pgs)
Hotel Pastis ~ Peter Mayle (1993) novel, fiction (390 pgs)
Cat Crimes III ~ Martin Greenburg & Ed Gorman (eds) (1992) short stories, fiction (257 pgs)
Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? ~ Molly Ivins (1991) essays, politics & current affairs (284 pgs) -RE-READ-
The 57th Franz Kafka ~ Rudy Rucker (1983) short stories, science fiction (244 pgs) -RE-READ-
February - 2002
From Bauhaus to Our House ~ Tom Wolfe (1981) nonfiction, architecture criticism (143 pgs) -RE-READ-
The Free Fall of Webster Cumings ~ Tom Bodett (1996) novel, fiction (366 pgs)
Purr-Fect Shiatsu ~ Jeffrey Ranbom (w) Darren Ching (a) (1993) humor (96 pgs)
The Planiverse- Computer Contact With a Two-Dimensional World ~ A.K. Dewdney (1984) Fiction, Science(268 pgs) -RE-READ-
Wallace & Gromit "A Close Shave" Storyboard Collection (1977) Art and animation (176 pgs)
Bizarre Books ~ Russell Ash & Brian Lake(1985) humor, book history (180 pgs)
Ficciones ~ Jorge Luis Borges (1962) short stories, fantastic fiction (174 pgs) -RE-READ-
Swimming Chickens ~ Colin McEnroe (1987) essays, humor (134 pgs)
Captain Underpants And the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space & the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds ~ Dav Pilkey (1999) wonderfully weird kids book! (144pgs)
Iron Joe Bob ~ Joe Bob Briggs (1992) essays, social satire (260 pgs ) -RE-READ-
The Dictionary of Misinformation ~ Tom Burnam (1975) non-fiction (302 pgs) -RE-READ-
March - 2002
It Looks Like A President, Only Smaller: Trailing Campaign 2000 ~ Joel Achenbach (2001) Essays, humor, politics (192 pgs)
Hilarious coverage of the long drawn out presidential campaign of 2000
Quitting the Nairobi Trio ~ Jim Knipfel (2000) nonfiction, autobiography (285 pgs)
Memoires of the author's time spent in a psychiatric ward
The Barbarians Are Coming ~ David Wong Louie (2000) novel, fiction (374 pgs)
Sounded better on the endpapers; lots of unsympathetic characters, depressing, ick
Bruce! My Adventures in the Skin Trade ~ Bruce Vilanch (2000) essays, humor (142 pgs)
humorous essays on hollywood and gay life, very funny stuff
To Catch a Mouse, Make a Noise Like a Cheese ~ Lewis Kornfeld (1992) business, advertising (350 pgs)
Radio-Shack directors gives advice on advertising without ad agencies. Geared more to big companies, but an interesting read
The Funnies ~ J. Robert Lennon (1999) novel, fiction (302 pgs)
What if the creator of "Family Circus" was a drunk with a dysfunctional family? Hilarious and touching novel
The Hidden Dimension ~ Edward T. Hall (1969) nonfiction, anthropology and architecture (216 pgs) -RE-READ-
How people of various cultures react to the private and personal spaces around them in life.
Gulliver's Travels ~ Jonathan Swift (1726) novel, fantasy, social satire (300 pgs) -RE-READ-
Haven't read this since high school, loaded with wonderful material, particularly the "real" ancient folks!
Oscar Wilde ~ Richard Ellman (1984) biography (682 pgs) -RE-READ-
Pulitzer winning, in depth biography of the odd but endearing Wilde
Curious Moments-Archive of the Century (1999) history, photography (720 pgs)
Huge photo collection from early 20th century, not the big things, but the odd off-center moments in history.
A Place to Fall ~ Roger Director (1996) novel, fiction (243 pgs)
Hollywood producer must deal with huge ego of star. Funny stuff, though never breaks through to hilarious, and the ending was kind of unsatisfactory for me
Welcome to Temptation ~ Jennifer Cruise (2000) novel, fiction (381 pgs)
There's a semi-murder mystery in here, and some touches of humor, but seems mainly a romance novel
Dark Knights & Holy Fools: The Art & Films of Terry Gilliam ~Bob McCabe (1999) films, bio (192 pgs)
Great illustrated look at the films of director Gilliam, lots of interesting facts on these amazing flicks
Cats Into Everything ~ Bob Walker (1999) nonfiction, photos (92 pgs)
Stories and photos from the San Diego "cat house", a home made over for the couple to share with their cats.
Alastair: Illustrator of Decadence ~ Victor Arwas (1979) art, biography (82 pgs)
Author compares this guy a lot to Beardsley. Style similar, but to me a poor mix of Beardsley and Erté
The Best A Man Can Get ~ John O'Farrell (2000) novel, fiction (260 pgs)
Funny look at guy leading double life, married with kids and single with roommates. Good read, fun writing.
Gustave Doré - Adrift on Dreams of Splendor ~ Dan Malan (1995) biography, art history (352 pgs)
Good if uneven account of life and work of the amazing Doré. Can get overly into the minutiae of editions and variations and such, but a good read with lots of information on his life and art, and lots of reproductions
The Rhinestone as Big As the Ritz ~ Alan Coren (1979) short stories, humor (160 pgs)
Funny stuff, various style parodies, best is his "origin" of the reason for the nonsense words in "Jabberwocky"!
The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern ~ Lilian Jackson Braun (1967) fiction, mystery (192 pgs)
Mystery seems secondary to lots of character development, and since that didn't grab me, not much here
Me: By Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente ~ Garrison Keillor (1999) fiction, satire (152 pgs)
Hilarious satire of the life of Jesse (The Body) Ventura, wrassler and governor!
Divine Excess: Mexican Ultra-Baroque ~ Ichiro Ono (1995) architecture, photography (88 pgs)
A small, amazing book of photos of the densely decorated cathedrals of Mexico. Astonishing details on details on details!
Daddy-O: Iguana Heads and Texas Tales ~ Bob "Daddy-O" Wade w/ Keith & Kent Zimmerman (1995) autobio, art (212 pgs)
Amazing life of the creator of the Dallas dancing frogs and NY Lone Star Cafe giant iguana-- an inspiring read!!!
The Wrong Box ~ Robert Louis Stevenson (1889) novel, fiction, humor (152 pgs)
Classic farce by author of the better known "Treasure Island" and "Body Snatchers". Hilarious.
The Artist's World In Pictures ~Fred McDarrah(photo) Gloria McDarrah (w) (1961/88) art history(195 pgs)
New edition of photos & observations of the New York art scene of the late '50s, mostly the splatter & drip folks, with more about the artists than their artworks, thank god!
Gojiro ~ Mark Jacobson (1991) novel, fiction, weird (350 pgs)
Epic and sometimes overly self-referential tale of Gojiro, King of the Monster Movies, with his pal "coma boy" Unlike most anything you'll ever read. Odd...but good...but odd.....
The Tower Struck by Lightning ~ Fernando Arrabal (1983) novel, fiction (242 pgs)
Almost surrealistic novel of a chess match between two players whose lives are seen in flashback during the game. A fun read, and I even got caught up in the chess match itself, at one point skipping ahead of the story to follow the game!
Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies ~ Tom De Haven (1996) novel, fiction (290 pgs)
Character tale of a newspaper cartoonist and his ghost writer, built around the early days of the newspaper strips and the start of the comic book industry.
Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince ~ Marc Eliot (1993) biography (305 pgs)
Unauthorized bio of the mouse man. Delving more into labor and union problems, commie hunting and anti-Semitism. Even with that, the author seems to want to imply more. Gives Walt his due though, so holds up as a good read.
Little, Big ~ John Crowley (1981) novel, fantasy (529 pgs)
Award-winning fantasy novel of a strange family, the odd home they live in, and generations of their lifes. Although many wonderful moments, can get ponderous and slow-moving at times, and core plot moments (The U.S. becomes some sort of totalitarian nation at one point!) can be treated as almost minor details. Interesting, but not a re-reader later.
Zeppelins West ~ Joe R. Lansdale (2001) novel, fantasy, weird (201 pgs)
Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Captain "Bemo", Frankenstein's monster, "Tin", Dracula, etc etc..real, pseudo-real and fictional folks all in one quick paced tale of bizarre adventure. Joe having fun and letting us watch.
Terra! ~ Stefano Benni (1985) novel, science fiction (360 pgs)
Picked up for a buck, back cover gave comparisons to "Hitchhikers Guide"..but I couldn't finish it. Lots of ideas, but difficult to slog through it all, "wackiness" seemed forced at times, and at halfway point, figured I had better things to do.
Brad Foster, Engineer ~ Bernard Palmer (1962) novel, fiction (123 pgs)
Steve Ogden gave me this one! It's the two-fisted, road-building adventures of Bradley Foster, Christian engineer! Low-key tale of living a Christian life in a world of cheats. Struck me you could make the same moral decisions without having to be born-again, but hey, that's just me. Finally a book with my name in the title, and it turns out to be this? What a hoot!
Trader to the Stars ~ Poul Anderson (1964) collection, science fiction (176 pgs)
Three novelettes around "Interstellar Trader Nichola van Rijn" Good basic 50's style sf with straight-forward characters, strange aliens, and a problem to work out in each story. A fun read.
Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese ~ Michael J. Nelson (2000) essays, movies, humor (288 pgs)
Hilarious short "reviews" of films, actors, etc by Mr Nelson, late of Mystery Science Theater 3000
Fantastique! ~ Marvin Kaye (1992) novel, fiction, horror (262 pgs)
Mix of murder and astral projection, tries a lot of visuals with type and layout, but often I got lost trying to follow those things, and a back-and-forth style from reality to confusing other-world/ dreams/ whatever, plus no characters I really cared about, made it a slog to get through. I like the attempt at something diff, just didn't work too well for me.
Rule Britannia ~ Daphne du Maurier (1972) novel (352 pgs)
Set in the near future, but not listed in that icky genre of "sf" The U.S. and U.K. have come together uncomfortably, and US troops now occupy the island to "maintain stability". Reactions of residents of a small coastal town are followed. By turns funny, then shockingly dramatic, then back. I liked the up and down ride, keeping me guessing. Good read.
Starship Troopers ~ Robert A. Heinlein (1959) novel, sf (208 pgs) -RE-READ-
After watching the so-bad-it's-good film version once more, pulled out the book to read again after 30+ years. Still love the idea of the armored suits (which, of course, the movie completely ignored). Some of his might-is-right lectures get heavy handed, and the long explanations of military operations and command structures glazed me over, but the great action sequences of the troopers in action still hold up as a great look at truly futuristic warfare.
Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey:The Glass Doorknob ~T. Millionaire (2002) children pic book (36 pgs)
First storybook for Tony's characters, more gentle for kids than his shock-edged work in the comics. I liked it.
In Iron Years ~ Gordon R. Dickson (1980) short stories, sf (250 pgs)
Early sf, some tales stronger than others, a nice read, but no real standouts when I was done.
Fallback ~ Peter Niesewand (1982) novel, espionage (402 pgs)
Like "Rule Britannia" above, this has a core sf element, but no way they'd want to advertise that. Here in the middle of a cold-war, spies-into-USSR novel we get a brain transplant operation. If that ain't skiffy, what is? Nice page turner, though it's not a genre I could probably spend a lot of time reading in.
Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic ~ Douglas E. Winter (2002) biography (672 pgs)
A fascinating, in-depth bio of Barker. Sometimes the analysis of the books and movies gets a bit too in-depth for me- would prefer more about the creator than his creations, but enjoyed Barker's many comments on his process of work, and the battle to not be pigeon-holed creatively.
Iron Cage ~ Andre Norton (1974) novel, sf, young adult? (185 pgs)
This one reads like a young-adult novel, straight forward sf adventure, overcoming bad guys and gaining acceptance.
The Coelura ~ Anne McCaffrey (1983,1987) novel, fantasy, young adult? (156 pgs)
Almost half of this book is the great illustrations by Ned Dameron, which brings text to maybe "novelette" length, if not just a long short story. Nice ideas, but done so quickly not much development. I'm keeping it for the wonderful illustrations.
American Journey ~ Richard Reeves (1982) nonfiction, history, society / politics (400 pgs)
Reeves retraces the 1831 journey of Alexis de Tocqueville across the USA, comparing things then and now. Fascinating changes, along with things much the same. Makes me want to read the original "Democracy in America". Great read!
The Coming of the Quantum Cats ~ Frederick Pohl (1986) novel, sf (243 pgs)
Our world is invaded by folks from multiple parallel universes. Good straight ahead "idea" adventure sf.
The Starchild Trilogy ~ Frederick Pohl & Jack Williamson novel, sf (436 pgs)
[contains: "The Reefs of Space" (1963); "Starchild" (1965); "Rouge Star"(1969)]
Reading this 30 to 40 years later, I keep getting a vibe of this all being the "free-thinking hippies" versus the "up-tight organization" thing. Groovy! Not as bad as that sounds though, classic idea sf, built around sentient stars.
After the Madness: A Judge's Own Prison Memoir ~ Sol Wachtler (1997) autobiography, law (369 pgs)
A chief judge of New York state ends up in prison for a year and a half. An interesting account of prison life, and observations on the differences between law and justice. The two are not the same.
11 Harrowhouse ~ Gerald A. Brown (1972) novel (276 pgs)
A caper-story, robbing the great diamond reserves of London, with lots of cross & double-cross among the various folks involved. A somewhat unsatisfying ending, though it does show crime doesn't pay, especially for stupid people.
Chernobyl ~ Frederick Pohl (1987) novel, fiction-based-on-fact (355 pgs)
Pohl comes up with a fictional framework of people involved around the Chernobyl nuclear station explosion. Brought back memories of the real event, and watching in horror the low-tech efforts to combat this high-tech emergency.
A Very Strange Trip ~ L. Ron Hubbard & Dave Wolverton (1999) novel, sf (300 pgs)
Simple sf adventure of time travel, it reds more like a kid's book. And the large typeface doesn't help to lose that feeling! Puffed-up bio of Hubbard in the back is the funniest part to read.
Rose ~ Martin Cruz Smith (1996) novel, fiction (364 pgs)
A very enjoyable, engrossing read. Set in the coal mines of Victorian England. A missing-person / murder investigation with intriguing characters and great depth of detail on the place and world of that time. Hard to put down, a great read!
Barbarians at the Gate:Fall of RJR Nabisco ~Bryan Burrough & John Helyar (1990)business (528 pgs)
Scary book about the takeover efforts of RJR Nabisco in the late 80s. Business for the sake of business, gaining huge fees and perks by moving ownership around. The product? The employees? Screw em. Ah, welcome to big business.
Time Storm ~ Gordon R. Dickson (1977) novel, sf (342 pgs)
Awright, great skiffy adventure, always a surprise as the story progresses. If we hadn't been on the road I would have read this one straight through. Time warping on an epic scale, and puts the Hubbard "Very Strange Trip" to shame.
First Lensman ~ E.E. "Doc" Smith (1950) novel, sf (252 pgs)
Gray Lensman ~ E.E. "Doc" Smith (1951) novel, sf (253 pgs)
Two of the Lensman series loaned to me to read as reference for a possible art piece. Over-the-top classic space opera action. Giant battles, indomitable heroes, super-evil villains, lots of fun to read with purple-prose to the max. Lots of interesting big skiffy ideas, though the human inter-relationships are old fashioned and now goofy. To the stars!!
Eaters of the Dead ~ Michael Crichton (1976) novel (217 pgs)
Simple, straight-forward tales of a group of Vikings seen by an outsider. The framing device of it being based on an historical record is really the only thing of interest here, and is itself a bit suspect, since Crichton lists "The Necronomicon" among his references in the back. Got it over 20 years ago for the amazing Ian Miller pen & ink illos, never read it until now, and will still be keeping it mainly for those illos.
I Rant, Therefore I am ~ Dennis Miller (2000) essays (208 pgs)
From Miller's HBO show, short essays on the ills of the world, and some abrupt solutions, some pure rants just to get it out of his system. Clever, funny, and I agreed with him more than a few times.
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