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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
23,122 pgs
Reading List 2002
20,767 pgs
Reading List 2003
24,050 pgs
Reading List 2004
21,653 pgs
Reading List 2005
24,846 pgs
Reading List 2006
21,436 pgs
Reading List 2007
22,268 pgs
Reading List 2008
30,900 pgs
Reading List 2009
29.878 pgs
Reading List 2010
23,946 pgs
Reading List 2011
24,133 pgs
Reading List 2012
22,319 pgs
Reading List 2013
22,412 pgs
Reading List 2014
21,248 pgs
Reading List 2015
19,081 pgs
Reading List 2016
14,060 pgs
Reading List 2017
17,801 pgs
Reading List 2018
17,033 pgs
Reading List 2019
12,201 pgs
Reading List 2020
11,685 pgs
Reading List 2021
11,114 pgs
Reading List 2022
15,112 pgs
Reading List 2023
12,497 pgs
Reading List 2024

    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... )
~ 2008 ~

    January 2008
        Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault On Paper ~ Nicholson Baker (2001) history, publishing (334 pgs)
Sad story of the officially sanctioned book and newspaper destruction in American libraries in the 20th century.
        The Artsy Smartsy Club ~ Daniel Pinkwater (2001) young adult novel (165 pgs)
Another fun Pinkwater tale, with kids acting like actual kids, giant chickens acting like actual giant chickens, and lots of talk about the enjoyment of creating art.
        The Thought Gang ~ Tibor Fischer (1994) novel (310 pgs)
Fun and funky tale of a philosopher-turned-bank-robber, wrapped up in a style of writing that you have to pay attention to. Different, and very very good.
        Nothing's Sacred ~ Lewis Black (2005) nonfiction, humor, autobiography (250 pgs)
Darkly funny combination of autobiographical notes and political/social rants. Pissed off comics can be so funny!
        Third Class Superhero ~ Charles Yu (2006) fiction, short stories (173 pgs)
Wonderfully different, odd little tales. Intensely stylistic experiments in writing, worth reading again!
        Et Tu, Babe ~ Mark Leyner (1992) novel (169 pgs)
Weirdness extreme-o. Not so much a story as a wild, almost stream-of-consciousness imaginary autobiography.
        Girls Lean Back Everywhere: The Law of Obscenity and the Assault on Genius ~ Edward de Grazia (1992) history, law (771 pgs)
Intensely detailed review of censorship battles in the 20th century. Info on both the courtroom and personal accounts of both sides. Sad and fascinating.
        Casual Rex ~ Eric Garcia (2001) novel, mystery, fantasy (335 pgs)
What if the dinosaurs, now human sized, lived among us in disguise, like a detective? Actually handled well, with some clever stuff.
        Hot & Sweaty Rex ~ Eric Garcia (2004) novel, mystery, fantasy (334 pgs)
Well written, but though the dino stuff is clever, this story would work as well told straight. Plus, I've never been a big fan of mafia-type-as-hero stories, and this book is built around that. sigh.

    February 2008
        The World Turned Upside Down ~ David Drake, Eric Flint, Jim Baen (eds) (2005) sf short stories (743 pgs)
Excellent mix of sf stories from the 30s through 50s, that influenced the editors when they were kids. Great stuff, and a nice variety. Though the cover design makes it seem more like an "alternate history" collection, which it is not.
        Ogre Castle: After the Spell Wars 1 ~ F.J. Hale (Robert Vardeman) (1985) novel, fantasy (209 pgs)
Basic fantasy tale of wizards and ghosts and such.
        Enchanted, Inc. ~ Shanna Swendson (2005) novel, fantasy (308 pgs)
A fun, light romantic read. Felt it could have done much more with the premise, but was fun enough.
        The Courage Consort ~ Michael Faber (2004) short stories (237 pgs)
Three great novellas, each very different, getting progressively odder, and completely engrossing to read.
        Candy Freak ~ Steve Almond (2004) nonfiction, history, food (261 pgs)
A look behind the scenes of small business candy making in America, told hilariously by the author. This is an author that I would read anything else from, based on his style here.
        Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon ~ Joe Queenan (1998) society, humor (194 pgs)
This is a record of Joe's voyage through the underbelly of American culture in food, books, movies, etc, or at least that part he sees as low culture. Bitterly funny, sometimes even unfairly so, and sometimes strangely kind to his victims.
        Widget ~ Lyn Rossiter McFarland (w) Jim McFarland (a) (2001) children's picture book (30 pgs)
Sweet little tale of a stray dog trying to fit in with a family of cats.
        The High House ~ James Stoddard (1998) novel, fantasy (321 pgs)
I was really absorbed into this book, set in an infinitely huge house that contains many lands within itself and it's rooms, large and small. Hidden passages that go for miles, ceilings hidden in clouds, adventure, mystery. I loved it!
        The Incredible Umbrella ~ Marvin Kaye (1979) novel, fantasy (301 pgs)
A cute fantasy as a guy travels in out of various fictional stories. Get the usual suspects like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, but impressed he also tossed in things like Gilbert & Sullivan and, most amazingly, Flatland!
        The Devil in Amber ~ Mark Gatis (2006) novel, mystery (245 pgs)
An interesting enough read, with some nice plot twists, but ultimately a bit disappointed as I felt it was presented as having lots of humor. There were touches, but mostly a straight-ahead action tale.
        Off Ramp ~ Hank Stuever (2004) nonfiction, sociology, history (297 pgs)
Wonderfully written stories of both big and little events in life around America, told with style, intelligence and humor. Excellent writing, I hope there will be more collections of Stuever in the future.
        Room on the Broom ~ Julia Donaldson (w) Axel Scheffler (a) (2001) children's picture book (28 pgs)
Nice rhyming structure to tale of a witch with a cat, dog, bird and frog, and their meeting with a dragon.

    March 2008
        Owls Well That Ends Well ~ Donna Andrews (2005) novel, mystery (293 pgs)
A quick read, but not my favorite of Andrews work. Seemed to be working too hard this time to pile on the quirky and eccentric characters, and it felt kind of forced.
        The Line Between ~ Peter S. Beagle (2006) short stories, fantasy (231 pgs)
Wonderful, thoughtful, exciting, lovely, touching, inventive stories from an author who is among the best of the best.
        Crazy Salad ~ Nora Ephron (1975) essays, society (208 pgs)
Great essays from the middle of the social revolution, it's like Tom Wolfe and Fran Leibowitz: entertaining and thought provoking.
        Apocalypse Culture ~ Adam Parfrey (ed) (1990) essays, society, fringe culture (362 pgs)
Collection of tales of the twisted fringes of our society. Was a kick to read, as long as the folks within stay at arm's length from me! (Always fun to see how some people who rant they should not be "judged" are often the first to judge others.)
        Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories ~ Jean Shepherd (1971) short stories, humor (350 pgs)
Collection of great Shepherd tales, his recollections of a youth at the middle of the century. Funny, often hilarious, and sometimes quite touching.
        Room Temperature ~ Nicholson Baker (1990) novel (116 pgs)
Another short but intriguing exercise in infinite attention to details from Baker, this time with a sweeter edge to the focus. Good stuff from a great writer.
        Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days- Which? ~ Fred Coulter (2006) religion (272 pgs)
Wow, it's great fun when the "My imaginary friend in the sky is stronger than your imaginary friend in the sky" go after each other! Sad, of course, to see so much energy wasted, but entertaining to watch the crazies rant.
        Only Revolutions ~ Mark Z. Danielewski 2006) novel (360 pgs) -unfinished--
I tried. I really, really tried to get into this. His first novel "House of Leaves" was astonishing on so many levels, it's one of my all time favorite novels. This one does some interesting design stuff that just seems tacked on to an almost indecipherable prose poem. Possibly if he had done this as a shorter tale, a hundred pages or so, I might have at least pushed through to the end. But 60 pages into this I still had no idea what was going on, so no point to the design beyond being a design, and gave it up as a waste of my time. Holding out hope for his third book!
        A Fate Worse Than Dragons ~ John Moore (2007) novel, fantasy, humor (231 pgs)
Another well plotted and humorous fantasy tale from John. I love his stuff because the humor is clever, not simply jokey, and the plots do pull me along to find out what will happen.
        The Ghost Library ~ David Melling (w/a) (2004) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Great book of soft colors and imaginative design. Liked the combo of regular text-with-pictures pages and the long wordless passages where the silent art told the story, plus contains a rare fold-UP page!
        Alvie Eats Soup ~ Ross Collins (w/a) (2002) children's picture book (32 pgs)
One of those cool kid's books that just wants to be fun and a little wacky, without teaching any lesson. Cool art style, too!
        The Knife Thrower ~ Steven Millhauser (1999) fiction, short stories (200 pgs)
Millhauser creates the strangest, most interesting bits of fiction I've ver read, never disappointed by his imaginative work.
        Wigfield~ Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert (2003) novel, humor, satire (211 pgs)
Wickedly twisted satire of a small full of the most disturbing personalities you'll ever meet. Hilarious.
        Pattern Recognition ~ William Gibson (2003) novel, fiction (356 pgs)
Set in a present-day so cutting-edge that it feels like the future. Lots of details on modern marketing techniques, an interesting core "mystery", the whole thing was a fun read without being overly engaging.
        Thin Air ~ Rachel Caine (2007) novel, sf (307 pgs)
This reads more like a long recap of the series, as well as an involved setup for the next volume. I know the series was originally scheduled to end with the next volume, but now new books have been ordered, curious to see where it goes.

    April 2008
        The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche ~ Peter S. Beagle (1997) short stories, fantasy (183 pgs)
More great stories from one of the finest fantasy authors writing today.
        Bobos in Paradise ~ David Brooks (2000) sociology, history (276 pgs)
Subtitled "The New Upper Class and How They Got There", a look at the merging of the bourgeois with the bohemian as the next cultural evolution in the U.S. after the yuppies. Hey, it could be worse!
        Lord Vishnu's Love Handles ~ Will Clarke (2005) novel (292 pgs)
A weird tale of, well, weirdness. Lots of good, goofy stuff, but ultimately I disliked about every character in here, so it never achieved the really super-great read I was hoping for.
        The Lynn Truss Treasury ~ Lynn Truss (2005) novels, essays, humor (629 pgs) collects:
With One Lousy Packet of Seed (1994);    Making the Cat Laugh (1995);
Tennyson's Gift (1996);    Going Loco (1999)

Funny and very densely plotted novels with enough characters and twists that, while entertaining, sometimes got a bit confusing to keep up with. (Wodehouse would have had to take notes to keep up!) Best are the short bits from her columns, often those are laugh out loud funny
        The Floater ~ Calvin Trillin (1980) novel, humor (204 pgs)
Lots of funny moments and individual lines, though i kept waiting for something bit to happen plot-wise. There is a core plot, but reads more as a series of interesting moments and characters.

    May 2008
        The Meanest Doll In the World ~Ann Martin, Laura Godwin (w), Brian Selznixk (a) (2003) illustrated young adult (196 pgs)
A cute children's story, with wonderful illos throughout fully incorporated into the text, even into fly leaf designs, and a different cover on the actual hardback than what is on the dust-jacket. Into title page, indicia, great full use of art.
        Storming the Magic Kingdom ~ John Taylor (1987) history, business (250 pgs)
Story of hostile takeover attempt of Disney company. Emphasizing the destructiveness, to me, of the buy-n-sell company men who create nothing, but cause such troubles for others by their attempts to simply make more money.
        The Toyminator ~ Robert Rankin (2006) novel, fantasy, humor (315 pgs)
Funny, clever, though sometimes he wastes time explaining the gag or parody, evidently in case we missed it.
        Are Men Necessary? ~ Maureen Dowd (2005) sociology, history, politics (338 pgs)
Thought provoking, often funny look at differences between men and women, concentrating on a historical and political perspective.
        The Unicorn Sonata ~ Peter S. Beagle (1996) novel, fantasy (154 pgs)
Another lovely tale by Beagle. Many good moments, though not as strong as other works. Lots of gorgeous full color art by Robert Rodriguez in this edition.
        Endymion Spring ~ Matthew Skelton (2006) young adult novel, fantasy (392 pgs)
Books, libraries, books, printing and books are at the core of this tale. A great read that is complete in itself, unlike so many YA fantasy these days that is a minimum of three volumes even to start. (Though it does leave things open for a sequel!)

    June 2008
        No Go the Bogeyman ~ Marina Warner (1998) history, sociology, literature, art (422 pgs)
Intensely comprehensive look at the "monster" in literature and art, and the deep sociological meanings. Woo!
        California Demon ~ Julie Kenner (2006) novel, fantasy (342 pgs)
Quick read, and nice enough, but maybe I've read too many of these "lite" monster novels in recent years, nothing in it stands out for me like her first one did.
        All-American Alien Boy ~ Allen Steele (1996) short stories, sf (267 pgs)
Impressive collection of short stories, some funny, some disturbing. Particularly liked the personal intro notes to each story, with background on the how's and why's of the creation of each story.
        The Tranquillity Alternative ~ Allen Steele (1996) novel, sf (309 pgs)
Old-school tech-centered sf, plus some fun alternate-history asides throughout.
        Spindle's End ~ Robin McKinley (2000) novel, fantasy (422 pgs)
Wonderful fantasy novel, with lots of new ideas on the old classics here, and became more and more of a page turner as I got deeper into it.
        Academy Zappa ~ Ben Watson, Esther Leslie (eds) (2005) music, society, art (249 pgs)
Subtitled: "Proceedings of the First International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology". When started, though it was a parody of over-written academic studies of small areas of society, but then realized they were serious. Zap is spinning in his grave.
        The Comic Vision ~ Peter J. Mohahan (ed) (1971) history, humor (316 pgs)
Collection of humorous writing through the centuries, plus commentary. Shows to me that much humor has a short shelf life. Interesting idea and a way to look at what was considered funny through the ages.
        Bald ~ Kevin Baldwin (2005) humor, history, sociology, science ( 212 pgs)
History and science of balding, both informative and funny. Oh, and everyone with hair is just jealous of us bald guys!

    July 2008
        Artists on Comic Art ~ Mark Salisbury (2000) art technique (247 pgs)
Interviews with 11 contemporary comicbook artists about the nuts and bolts of how they actually create their work. Some interesting information in here.
        Lost In a Good Book ~ Jasper Fforde (2002) novel, fantasy (399 pgs)
A great follow-up to his first "Thursday Next" novel. Full of wonderfully inventive new ideas on travelling through books.Great stuff.
        The Well of Lost Plots ~ Jasper Fforde (2003) novel, fantasy (375 pgs)
More wonderful ideas as Fforde fleshes out the world within books. There is some plot going on, but less important to me than the sheer inventiveness of it all.
        Something Rotten ~ Jasper Fforde (2004) novel, fantasy (383 pgs)
Continues to be highly entertaining as he expands the worlds he is creating both in and outside of books.
        The Big Ball of Wax ~ Shepherd Mead (1954) novel, sf (159 pgs)
Interesting satire from the age of the button-down businessman, taking technology to the extreme mising sex, science fiction and religion. Quite a mix.
        I Am Legend ~ Richard Matheson (1995) (1951-1989) sf, short stories (312 pgs)
I've always wanted to read this much-filmed Matheson story. Great writing throughout, with ten more wonderfully odd, scary, and even funny tales in the volume.
        A Redbird Christmas ~ Fannie Flagg (2004) novel (207 pgs)
Simple little tale, "old fashioned heartwarming" would be best description. Sweet, but not my cup of tea with sugar.
        The Future Dictionary of America ~ Various (2004) humor, politics, language, satire (208 pgs)
Hundreds of writers and artists contributed to this odd collection of new words and definitions, sold as a fund raiser for progressive groups. Inventive, funny, clever, sometimes confusing. Interesting to dip in and out of.
        The Player of Games ~ Iain M. Banks (1989) novel, sf (399 pgs)
A wonderful science fiction adventure tale, with a couple of new twists. Great read.
        The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty ~ Eudora Welty (1980) (1936-1966) short stories (62 pgs)
Decades worth of short stories, most the slice-of-life style. Often quite dark in a languid and strange way. Unique.
        Now, Where Were We? ~ Roy Blount Jr. (1989) essays, humor (252 pgs)
Roy observing and commenting on society and life. Always worth reading and grinning along with.
        Wale's Work ~ Robert Walshe (1985) novel (277 pgs)
Interesting, often confusing, but definitely worth reading once, as an editor attempts to take a dead/not-really dead publisher down.

    August 2008
        Moonpies and Movie Stars ~ Amy Wallen (2006) novel (308 pgs)
Nice enough read of a road trip from Texas to California in the '70s, but ultimately not very memorable.
        There Must Be a Pony In Here Somewhere ~ Kara Swisher (2003) business history (294 pgs)
Story of the merger of AOL with Time Warner, and an overview of the whole early days of the dot.com explosion. An interesting story of the ongoing greed of business for the sake of profits only. Well written with a touch of humor.
        Foucault's Pendulum ~ Umberto Eco (1988) novel (641 pgs)
Eco has finally done it, created both a unified field theory of all crackpot conspiracy theories. Even the characters in this novel think it's all nuts, but once they put it all together (even brining in the hollow earthers!) they find it's all true! (Kind of) Loved this!
        Glass Houses ~ Rachel Caine (2006) novel, yound adult, fantasy (239 pgs)
Usual excellent writing from Rox, another page turner story. But, never got into it as much as her adult novels. Plus had an out-of-the-blue cliff hanger shock ending, though no indication anywhere on the book that this wasn't a self-contained story.Sneaky!
        Anthem: An American Road Story ~ Shainee Gabel, Kristin Hahn (1997) travel, society (394 pgs)
Fascinating both as a travelogue and for all the interviews with both famous and not so famous Americans.
        Nickel and Dimed ~ Barbara Ehrenreich (2001) sociology (221 pgs)
Engrossing, sad and often infuriating story of what it is like to try and actually live in America on minimum wage. Eye-opening stuff.
        PopCo ~ Scarlett Thomas (2004) novel (505 pgs)
Wow! The inner workings of product branding, and exploration of cryptography, a mystery, a social satire, this is a great book! I'm going to have to keep an eye out for more by this author.
        Don't Get Too Comfortable ~ David Rakoff (2005) essays, society (222 pgs)
Funny and insightful observations on the last flight of the Concorde, high fashion, bad Broadway plays, gay Republicans, and much more. Hope he continues to put out these collections of his writing.
        Tender At The Bone ~ Ruth Reichl (1998) autobiography, food (282 pgs)
A page turner, she really conveys the ongoing discovery of a joy of food throughout her life. Also doesn't hold back from revealing she wasn't always the nicest person. A very enjoyable read.
        The Wright 3 ~ Blue Balliett (2006) young adult novel (318 pgs)
Picked up for the Frank Lloyd Wright connection, but a disappointing read. Plot threads left hanging everywhere, and treated coincidences as if they really have meaning. Could have done so much better.
        Norwood ~ Charles Portis (1966) novel (190 pgs)
Quick read with little actual plot, more a sequence of odd characters met along the one, some more interesting than others.
        Tales of Graceful Aging From the Planet Denial" ~ Nicole Hollander (2007) essays, humor (255 pgs)
Musings on growing older, with a funnily bitter edge. Good stuff.
        Anything Considered ~ Peter Mayle (1996) novel (303 pgs)
An old-fashioned kind of action novel, I can see this one easily adapted into a breezy "caper" film. (Cover is by Chris Ware, under his "George Wilson" pseudonym for pieces he feels were changed too much.)
        Espedair Street ~ Iain Banks (1987) novel (362 pgs)
Famous rock star retires young, looks back on his life, finds true love at the end. Kind of mundane and predictable for Banks!

    October 2008
        The Fog Mound, Book 1: Travels of Thelonious ~ Susan Schade (w), Jon Buller (a) (2006) children's book, graphic novel (214 pgs)
A great combo of illustrated book along with full-blown comic pages, alternating chapters. A simple yet engrossing little tale.
        The Fog Mound, Book 2: Faradawn ~ Susan Schade (w), Jon Buller (a) (2007) children's book, graphic novel (195 pgs)
The adventure continues with more strange characters and lands, and new mysteries. Art is simple and clean, and story has me eager to find the final volume to see how it ends up.
        The Broom of the System ~ David Foster Wallace (1987) novel (467 pgs)
Some good scenes, ideas, and characters. But often a difficult read. Sections of dialogue done with no indication of who is speaking, got confused on the plot, or even what it was. Did like the odd stories that were sent to the literary magazine!
        Access Denied ~ Donna Andrews (2004) novel, mystery (251 pgs)
Latest "Turing" mystery novel by Andrews. Still some interesting exploration of the idea of an AI computer trying to get by in a human world, though more focus on the mystery stuff here. Nice read, but not sure if I'll be picking up more in this series.
        Foop! ~ Chris Genoa (2005) novel (297 pgs)
Wonderfully bizarre novel of time travel, but much more beyond that. I hope this guy keeps on writing such wild weirdness!
        The Couch Trip ~ Ken Kolb (1970) novel (248 pgs)
Serio-comic novel of a guy impersonating a psychiatrist, helping patients in odd ways. Some observations on the sexes that are kind of odd now, but pretty much fit the period he wrote this.
        Thud! ~ Terry Pratchett (2005) novel, fantasy, humor (382 pgs)
Wow, two novels with exclamation points in the titles in one month- what are the odds? Another great additon to Pratchetts Discworld series. Never fails to surprise and entertain.

    November 2008
        The Gas Station ~ Michael K. Witzel (1994) history, design (96 pgs)
Photo loaded history of the gas station in America, lots of intersting tidbits and great old design work.
        Kitsch In Sync: A Consumer's Guide to Bad Taste ~ Peter Ward (1991) art, society, history (128 pgs)
History and overview of the idea of "taste" and kitsch. Brings in both British and US aspects. Gotta love it!
        The Best American Humor 1994 ~ Moshe Waldoks (ed) (1994) short stories, humor (296 pgs)
Interesting collection, -mostly- funny, some just odd. But there are several excerpts from longer novels that have me wanting to track those down to read them completely, so certainly did a good job with that!
        Classic Roadside Americana ~ Witzel, Steil (2006), history, design (191 pgs) collects two earlier volumes:
Drive-In Restaurant ~ Michael K. Witzel (1997);    Route 66 ~ Tim Steil (2000)
More well illustrated views of America's recent past. Interesting to see the drive-in had a major start in Texas.
        Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping & Social Inequality ~ Christine Williams (2006) sociology (235pgs)
Similar idea to "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich. working within business to analyze it. Some good points, though sometimes gets a bit tiring when tries to give almost literally everything a gender/racial twist.
        Everybody Hurts ~ Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley (2007) music, culture, society, humor (235 pgs)
Everything you ever wanted to know about Emo culture. And, if you have to ask what that is, this is the book for you! Funny,and also very informative. Great illos by Rob Dobi, too!
        Amphigorey Again ~ Edward Gorey (w/a) (2006) art, humor, cartoons (260 pgs)
Finally, a new oversized collection of Gorey's great work, the fourth one of what I hope will be many more. One of those artists totally unique from anyone who came before him, and much copied by others after.
        Vernon God Little ~ DBC Pierre (2003) novel (277 pgs)
Described as a dark comedy novel, this was more dark than comedy, though completely engrossing. Had a different ending than I assumed it would, which is always a plus for me with any book.
        Masters of Atlantis ~ Charles Portis (1985) novel (248 pgs)
Loved this book, best of all the Portis novels I've read. Wonderful satire of secret society cults, their members and how society reacts to them. Very funny stuff.
        Naked Ambition ~ Carly Milne (ed) (2005) sociology, sex, feminism (352 pgs)
Essays by about three dozen working in all aspects of the adult industry (i.e.: porn) Bottom line is pretty much that it's a business like any other, just with a more controversial product. If you are a good person, you'll do well. If you are screwed up, you'll get more screwed up.

    December 2008
        The Call of the Weird ~ Louis Theroux (ed) (2005) sociology, fringe groups, humor (265 pgs)
An often very sympathetic look at US fringe society, as in UFO believers, white power folk groups, porn actors and hookers, and a little bit of everything else. In depth, not just glossing over the people. They're all still nuts, but he makes them a bit more human, too.
        Pioneer Women ~ Joanna L. Stratton (1981) history (267 pgs)
A history of the settling of the state of Kansas as seen through recollections of women of that time. An interesting read.
        The City of Dreaming Books ~ Walter Moers (2004) novel, fantasy (456 pgs)
Wildly, wonderfully inventive novel, including dense pen and ink illustrations throughout by the author. A city of books,living books, dangerous books, the ultimate manuscript, one-eyed book lovers, this novel has it all!
        The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion ~ Ada Louise Huxtable (1997) architecture (183 pgs)
Critical look at the course of modern architecture. Takes shots at easy things like Vegas and Disney design. But also lists things she likes, which, to me, just shows that the world is open to all kinds of styles and approaches.
        Culture or Trash? ~ James Gardner (1993) art criticism (219 pgs)
I'll put this one with Tom Wolfe's great treatise on modern art, "The Painted Word". Less wonderfully condemning of nonsense in the art world, but still calls crap crap when he has to. "Art" is like "Fashion", some folks take it way too serious!
        Darwinia ~ Robert Charles Wilson (1998) novel, science fiction (320 pgs)
Fascinating read, has elements of straight-out adventure, high concept sf, touches of Lovecraft-style horror, and probably a few other things I can't recall. Devoured it all in one day, a good read.
        Alice In Sunderland ~ Bryan Talbot (2007) graphic novel (318 pgs)
Amazing visual tour of the life and lands of Lewis Carroll, tons of research and design clearly went into making this great addition to the body of work around Carroll and Alice.
        The Cats of Kittyville ~ Bob Somerville (2008) cats, humane treatment (80 pgs)
Story of the cat rescue section of the Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the U.S. Sad stories with happy endings, and a great organization that Cindy and I try to support in the small way we can.
        Wild Swans ~ Jung Chang (1991) history, memoir, autobiography (676 pgs)
Amazing stories of three generations of women in China through the 20th century, a period of some of the most radical changes any country hs had to endure. Engrossing, sad, and shows how life comes down not to the "system" under which people live, but depends on the qualities of those in charge. Hard to put this one down until the end.

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