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What I've been reading.....


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So many books, so little time. So, what the heck am I doing writing this interminable list when I should be READING???
Reading List 2001
104
23,122 pgs
Reading List 2002
80
20,767 pgs
Reading List 2003
101
24,050 pgs
Reading List 2004
81
21,653 pgs
Reading List 2005
106
24,846 pgs
Reading List 2006
82
21,436 pgs
Reading List 2007
69
22,268 pgs
Reading List 2008
111
30,900 pgs
Reading List 2009
98
29.878 pgs
Reading List 2010
78
23,946 pgs
Reading List 2011
83
24,133 pgs
Reading List 2012
77
22,319 pgs
Reading List 2013
67
22,412 pgs
Reading List 2014
68
21,248 pgs
Reading List 2015
65
19,081 pgs
Reading List 2016
46
14,060 pgs
Reading List 2017
58
17.801 pgs
Reading List 2018

    If you're curious, or simply nosey, this section is a listing of the books I've been reading lately. My reading habits tend to be all over the map as far as genre, and I also seem to have the retention ability of a screen door with the screens ripped out, and the door held open. So, more to the point, this list helps me to remember what books I've read so I don't end up buying them again. Wow, using the internet to store extra memory, how futuristic can you get?
     Now, enjoy! (Oh, and feel free to send me free books. No pressure, just a suggestion... )
~ 2007 ~

    January 2007
        Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife ~ Mary Roach (2005) history, medicine, society, paranormal (299 pgs)
Great follow-up to her first book, again well researched, seeking out original sources where ever possible. The same entertaining, informative and witty writing style. I hope there will be many more books to come!
        Gil's All Fright Diner ~ A. Lee Martinez (2005) humor, fantasy, horror (268 pgs)
Funny new take on werewolves and vampires, here presented as a "buddies" story, battling the undead and other necro-beings intent on using an old diner to release "the old one's" It's another series that could become addictive.
        Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim ~ David Sedaris (2004) humor, essays (257 pgs)
Another wonderful collection of skewed observations of himself, his family, and now and then, other people. Sedaris is always a good read. (Or a good listen when he is on the radio.)
        One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1963) novel (203 pgs)
Grim tale of simply trying to exist in the Soviet-era work camps. Read this and know the world is insane.
        Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard ~ Scott Cupp, Joe Lansdale (eds) (2006) short stories, fantasy (295 pgs)
Great collection of amazingly varied stories by two dozen writers. They are about Howard, or about his creations, or wildly inspired by them. Full of standout stories.
        His Majesty's Dragon ~ Naomi Novik (2006) fantasy (353 pgs)
A different take on telling stories with dragons, this one making an alternate history where they exist in the times of the Napoleonic wars. Excellent action read.
        Throne of Jade ~ Naomi Novik (2006) fantasy (398 pgs)
The story continues, more sea-adventure oriented this time, and I liked the ending, as it was not what I expected.

    February 2007
        Black Powder War ~ Naomi Novik (2006) fantasy (365 pgs)
This very enjoyable adventure series continues, and with such attention to detail she just makes is all seem so reasonable that this is how men and dragons would work together. I'll be looking for more in this series.
        The Last Elegant Bear ~ Dennis Kyte (w/a) (1983) children's picture book (44 pgs)
Loverly little book on the history of a bear born to wealth and privilege. I think adults would appreciate the gentle jabs at British upper crust society even more than the kids this is aimed at.
        Stupid White Men ~ Michael Moore (2001) politics, society (277 pgs)
Not one of Moore's best. More grouchy, less helpful. And when he gives his own reasons for personally not recycling, then in the next breath berates the government for not doing so, he lost me.
        House of Leaves ~ Mark Z. Danielewski (2000) novel (709 pgs)
Without a doubt, the most gripping novel I've read in years, both in story and in the amazing design of how he has worked with the actual physical presence of the page, in type and layout, to interweave the three (or more) levels of the story. Absolutely phenomenal. Stop reading my web site and go get a copy for yourself now!
        Tales of Wonder ~ Mark Twain (David Ketterer, ed) (1984- original 1862-1912) sf, short stories (385 pgs)
I'm a big fan of Twain, read a whole library shelf of his works back in the '80s. These pieces, complete and some just fragments, are interesting, but somehow never connected for me like much of his other work.
        Me Talk Pretty One Day ~ David Sedaris (2000) essays, humor (272 pgs)
Always hilarious, great observations on people. Darkly funny, Sedaris is a favorite writer.
        Slay and Rescue ~ John Moore (1993) fantasy, humor (226 pgs) ---RE-READ
Saw this on the shelf here and just decided it would be fun to read it again. And it was!

    March 2007
        Portrait of a Romantic ~ Steven Millhauser (1977) novel (316 pgs)
BIG fan of Millhauser, and while this one had a certain flow and style, if it had been the firs book of his I had read, I might not have picked up on the others. Great eye for detail, for the subtle scene, but somehow here I didn't care for anyone in it.
        Pyramids ~ Terry Pratchett (1989) novel, fantasy, humor (298 pgs)
It's Pratchett, it's Discworld, it's great. Not simply "funny" stuff, but amazingly inventive.
        Paint Your Dragon ~ Tom Holt (1996) novel, fantasy, humor (311 pgs)
St. George and the dragon inhabit statues of themselves, bring them to life and fight it out again. But which one is the good guy this time? Funny clever writing.
        The Experts Speak ~ Christopher Cerf, Victor Nevasky (eds) (1998) non-fiction, history, humor (345 pgs)
An interesting idea taken in little bits, quotes of "experts" in different fields through time, who were later proved to be wrong with their predictions. Some funny, some obvious, some really unfair using the benefit of hindsight.
        Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years ~ Sue Townsend (1993) novel, humor (277 pgs) ----RE-READ
I didn't realize I'd read this one until I'd started into it, but it was such a great book then, went ahead and finished again.

    April 2007
        Open Sesame ~ Tom Holt (1997) novel, fantasy, humor (312 pgs)
Another convoluted tale of weirdness, with Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves crossing over to "real time" being only a tiny part of the multilevel plot here. Interesting.
        The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived ~ Robert Rankin (1995) novel, humor (318 pgs)
Had funny moments, but I kept getting the feeling it would have helped to have read some of the previous books by Rankin, as there appeared to be more to many of the characters than was shown in the story here.
        Franklin Booth: American Illustrator ~ Manuel Auad (ed) (2006) art collecting, biography (128 pgs)
Biographical notes and lots of samples of the amazing pen and ink art of Franklin Booth. A master of the medium, some astounding landscapes here among so much other wonderful work.
        A Dog Called Demolition ~ Robert Rankin (1996) novel, humor (318 pgs)
Much more linear storyline here, enjoying this much more than the previous book by him, worth trying some more!
        Chill Factor ~ Rachel Caine (2005) novel, fantasy (337 pgs)
        Windfall ~ Rachel Caine (2005) novel, fantasy (330 pgs)
I pretty much inhaled both of these books, volumes 3 and 4 of Caine's great Weather Warden action series. Uniquely inventive situations, always surprising, great page-turning fun. So, when can I read the next one?
        Pig Tales ~ Marie Darrieussecq (1997) novel, fantasy (151 pgs)
An interesting premise, but never really grows any teeth as a satire or makes any real comments beyond the obvious.

    May 2007
        More Whatdunits ~ Mike Resnick (ed) (1993) sf, mystery, short stories (332 pgs)
Anthology built around murder scenarios set up by Resnick, with a few odd items for the author to work into the story. A fun idea, and a variety of interesting stories resulted.
        Naked Came the Manatee ~ Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, Dave Barry, James W Hall, Edna Buchanan, Les Standiford, Paul Levine, Brian Antoni, Tananarive Due, John Dufresne, Vicki Hendricks, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson (1996) novel, humor, mystery (201 pgs)
A great group of writers, brought together to create a serial novel. Some great moments, some surprises, but the overall total is less than you might expect from such a list, and stands more as an interesting experiment than anything else.
        The Right to Privacy ~ Ellen Alderman, Caroline Kennedy (1995) law, society (392 pgs)
Detailed look into a complicated issues of law vs personal privacy, using actual cases. Fascinating, sometimes scary.

    June 2007
        Terror Firma ~ Matthew Thomas (2000) novel, sf, humor(?) (437 pgs)
More of an action-adventure with a bit of humor laid on top than an out-and-out funny novel as the cover implies. Often drops the fun for pure action, not what I expected. Okay, but feel it should have gone stronger one way or the other.
        Six Memos for the Next Millennium ~ Italo Calvino (1988) essays, craft of writing (124 pgs)
One of my favorite authors discusses what it is about the act of writing that fascinates him, and the process of being creative.
        Journeyman: The Art of Chris Moore ~ Stephen Gallagher (2000) art book (127 pgs)
Technically proficient sf art, I liked the interview/article aspect of the Gallagher text, much more revealing of the artist than the text usually found in art books.
        Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe ~ Simon Singh (2004) science, history (497 pgs)
This is great science writing, all the details of the history of cosmology laid out clearly and understandably for slow learners like me. Fascinating, a page-turner book for sure.
        Apocalypso ~ Robert Rankin (1998) novel, humor (365 pgs)
Weird, weird story of a giant alien taking over the world, and the tiny group of folks out to stop it. Twisted humor, along with some surprisingly disturbing and scary moments as well.
        Sidhe Devil ~ Aaron Allston (2001) novel, fantasy (500 pgs)
The second Doc Sidhe adventure, where fantasy magic mixes with the action pulps. A fun, page-turning adventure.
        Waiting for Godalming ~ Robert Rankin (2000) novel, fantasy, humor (285 pgs)
I'll give him credit for having more plot crammed in here than any three regular novels. Fun moments and humor, even if it seems he might be trying a bit too hard at times.
        Firestorm ~ Rachel Caine (2006) novel, fantasy (294 pgs)
Another great action adventure with the Weather Wardens. Waited eagerly to read this, enjoyed it immensely, then find out it is the first in the series to have an actual cliff hanger ending. Ack! Waiting for the next one now.
        A Dirty Job ~ Christopher Moore (2006) novel, fantasy (387 pgs)
More wonderfully weird writing, characters and situations from Moore. Even some unexpected chills. Read 'em all!

    July 2007
        The Greedy Bastard Diary ~ Eric Idle (2005) autobiography, travel (325 pgs)
More than a simple travelogue of his tour of America with his stage show, it's also a memoir and a treatise on the very idea of humor, all with style and wit. Sounds like a guy you'd just like to hang with!
        Valhalla ~ Tom Holt (2000) novel, fantasy, humor (277 pgs)
High concept weirdness, as usual, with multiple different Valhallas, none quite what the people who ended up in them thought they would be. Fun stuff, though more of the clever sort than the laughing-out-loud kind.
        Missing Susan ~ Sharyn McCrumb (1991) novel, mystery (295 pgs)
A nice little short story idea expanded to novel length, this reads like the author went on a tour of England, then wrote it up with a minor, semi-murder plot thrown in so she could write her vacation off as a business expense for research.
        I Have Landed ~ Steven Jay Gould (2002) essays, science, history (401 pgs)
Another great collection of Gould's fascinating, wide-ranging and in-depth looks at core moments (and strange ones) in natural history. He never writes down to the reader, but still always imminently readable. Can really make you think.
        The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse ~ Robert Rankin (2002) novel, humor (342 pgs)
A murderer is loose in Toytown! More fun stuff from Rankin, a bit long at times like much of his work, enough enjoyable moments and ideas to hang in there. And the ending is clever, if somewhat out of left field.

    August 2007
        Blood Dance ~ Joe R. Lansdale (1983/2000) novel, western (203 pgs)
Very early Lansdale, a straight-ahead western. Not my favorite genre, but Joe writes a page turner with great scenes.
        Illegal Aliens ~ Nick Pollotta and Phil Foglio (1989) novel, science fiction, humor (336 pgs)
Action-adventure with funny moments, I was impressed at how they kept tossing in surprises and shifts. Plus you never know when a character you thought was major will suddenly be killed off, or a minor one become important. Fun stuff.
        The Museum of Lost Wonders ~ Jeff Hoke (2006) science, art, history, design (160 pgs)
Another of those class-by-itself projects, a multi-layered, multi-read type project, amazing design and style along with lots of great ideas. This goes on the books to keep forever shelf.
        Dead Until Dark ~ Charlaine Harris (2001) novel, fantasy (260 pgs)
A new take on vampires being "accepted" into society. Hints of deeper ideas, but mostly it's a mystery tale under all the fascination with vampires. And lots of detail on what the characters are wearing.
        Living Dead in Dallas ~ Charlaine Harris (2002) novel, fantasy (262 pgs)
Second in series, with more about other sub-cultures like shape shifters, werewolves, and some good ideas. A fun read, but find I'm still irritated by the lead character at times.
        Club Dead ~ Charlaine Harris (2003) novel, fantasy (292 pgs)
More details about the lives and interactions of all the established characters with other strange folks. The lead character can kick ass at times, gets overly "girly" at others, but still a good page-turner read.
        Dead To the World ~ Charlaine Harris (2004) novel, fantasy (291 pgs)
Less satisfying than previous books, I'm really being bugged by the way the lead is written. A good ride while it lasted.
        The Flamenco Academy ~ Sarah Bird (2006) novel (381 pgs)
Disappointed here, it's much too seriously an "obsessed-love" romance novel, and not the great, clever and funny Sarah Bird I've loved to read. Hopefully it's just a one-time stylistic experiment.

    September 2007
        Devil's Bargain ~ Rachel Caine (2005) novel (296 pgs)
A pretty straightforward adventure novel by Roxanne, proving once again she can write great page turners.     September 2007
        Alien Death Fleet ~ Edward S. Hudson (Robet Vardeman) (1989) novel, sf (207 pgs)
First volume of a trilogy, very old-school space opera, kind of a "Brick Cragjaw versus the Universe" thing.     September 2007
        Devil's Due ~ Rachel Caine (2006) novel (290 pgs)
More action adventures of Lucia and Jazz. Hints of deeper plot lines, too bad the series got yanked.     September 2007
        Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging ~ Louise Rennison (1999) novel, humor (247 pgs)
Fun but very light reading, it's nowhere near the level of the Adrian Mole books, which are clear inspiration.

    October 2007
        The Best of O Henry ~ O Henry (1989, originals 1903-1907) short stories (636 pgs)
Wonderful, turn of the century florid writing style. Usually quite melodramatic, and lots of fun when get into the style.
        Nothing But Blue Skies ~ Tom Holt (2001) novel, fantasy, humor (317 pgs)
Strongest of the Holt novels I've read so far, full of nicely weird ideas as usual.

    November 2007
        Earthclan (includes Startide Rising and The Uplift War)~ David Brin (1983, 1985) novel, sf (985 pgs)
2-in-1 volume of Brin's tales of the Uplift. It's great hard SF with lots of ideas throughout, along with ripping adventures!
        Revue: The Great Broadway Period ~ Robert Baral (1962) theater history (288 pgs)
Overview of a period of entertainment that is rapidly vanishing from memory, the big Broadway revues of the early 20th century. Lots of pics and details, reminds me of how much creative, when not recorded in any way, is now forgotten.
        The Promise and the Product: 200 Years of American Advertising Posters ~ Victor Margolin, Ira Brichta, Vivian Brichta (1979) history, art, advertising (146 pgs)
Great graphics, but also an interesting history of how advertising, as a business, came about in America.
        Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ~ Neil Gaiman (2003) bio (247 pgs)
Biography of Adams, focus is on his literary work more than personal life. Great behind the scenes info on the creative process and publishing, and done with humor he would have appreciated.
        The Guns of the South ~ Harry Turtledove (1992) novel, sf (561 pgs)
What if guys from the future went back in time and gave the Confederate army AK-47s? they'd win, of course. but then what? Fascinating alternate history read.
        Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 ~ Garrison Keillor (2001) novel (291 pgs)
Another nice slice of America from Garrison. It has it's moments, though not as subtly edgy as his best work can be.
        Leaving Town Alive ~ Confessions of an Arts Warrior ~ John Frohnmayer (1993) art, politics (342 pgs)
Memoir by the chairman of the NEA during his turbulent time there in the early '90s. Politics, art, censorship. An engrossing read, and it makes you sad about the state of our government.

    December 2007
        Skinny Dip ~ Carl Hiaasen (2004) novel (496 pgs)
Classic Hiaasen, with wild characters, twisting plot, a great enjoyable read.
        The Book of Ultimate Truths ~ Robert Rankin (1994) novel, sf, humor (347 pgs)
More wacky craziness from Rankin. the excerpts from the Book of Truths are among the high points of the whole thing.
        A Ghost In the Castle ~ Sigrid Heuck (w) Bernard Oberdieck (a) (1994) children's picture book (26 pgs)
Lovely, simple little story with some wonderful color line art.
        Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: The Tolkien Years ~ Gregory Hildebrandt Jr. (2002) art (144pgs)
Great art book, as it has not only the finished paintings, but sketches, photo shoots, and specific comments from the artists on the creation of many of the works shown.
        Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell ~ Susanna Clarke (2004) novel, fantasy (846 pgs)
Wonderful engrossing book, treating magic as a matter-of-fact in Victorian era England. A superb read, a book I look forward to reading again one day.


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