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|
The Dangerous Alphabet ~ Neil Gaiman (w), Gris Grimly (a) (2008) children’s picture book (32 pgs)
Always liked Alphabet books, and this is another nice entry in that genre, from two great creative minds.
Boomsday ~ Christopher Buckley (2007) novel, political satire (318 pgs)
Buckley political satire that only seems crazy if you don’t pay attention to real-world politics
Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them ~ Al Franken (2003) politics, society (354 pgs)
Deliver Us From Evil- Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism ~ Sean Hannity (2004) politics, society (296 pgs)
How To Talk To a Liberal (If You Must) ~ Ann Coulter (2005) politics, society (464 pgs)
Dived in the deep end of the political pool with these three. Final opinions: the Franken book was the most factual and researched. The Hannity book verged on boring, a list of how everyone else is evil. Coulter was pure hate, dripping vitirol like a crazed Alien.
Babbitt ~ Sinclair Lewis (1922) novel (327 pgs)
Classic satire of the sadness of the businessman, conforming to whatever it takes to get ahead. Still feels contemporary.
The Devil’s Diaries ~ M.J. Weeks (2008) humor, satire (160 pgs)
Nicely designed gift book. A bit thin on actual satiric content. Only got a few grins, not much really outright funny stuff.
My Cat Spit McGee ~ Willie Morris (1999) memoir (141 pgs)
Sweet tale of a life-long cat hater, finding he doesn’t hate them, after all, when he meets the cat Spit McGee.
Time’s Arrow ~ Martin Amis (1991) novel (165 pgs)
An amazing, read, following a man’s life backwards, death to birth, with, at the core, the horror of the Holocaust. Unlike anything else I’ve ever read!
The Face in the Frost ~ John Bellairs (1969) fantasy (174 pgs)
Recommended to me as one of the fantasy novels I “had to read”. Nice enough, had good moments, but nothing stuck with me.
Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams ~ M.J. Simpson (2003) biography (358 pgs)
Intensely detailed biography of the life and career of Hitchhikers Guide author Adams. So many projects!
Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days – Which? ~ Fred R. Coulter (2010) religion (348 pgs)
This one was great, one religious view pounding another is always fun. Oh, and found out that Jesus was born Sept 2, not Dec 25, so guess there was no Christ in Christmas to begin with.
A Scanner Darkly ~ Philip K. Dick (1977) novel, science fiction (289 pgs)
Twisting story of drugs and paranoia, and a split personality that beats everyone else, hands down! Classic from PKD.
Assassination Vacation ~ Sarah Vowell (2005) history, with humor (258 pgs)
Fascinating “tour” of sites connected to the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. Informative and very funny.
Pasquale’s Angel ~ Paul J. McAuley (1994) sf, alternate history (374 pgs)
Murder and intrigue in 16th century Florence, where many of da Vinci’s sketches are real. Interesting for the speculative alt-history parts, the mystery never grabbed me. But, that’s just me.
The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century ~ Harry Turtledove, Martin H. Greenberg (eds) (2001) sf (544 pgs)
14 stories by top sf writers. Mixed back, the purely hardware/military weren’t as interesting. Cherryh’s story the best!
Villa Incognito ~ Tom Robbins (2003) novel ( 241 pgs)
Always been a fan of Robbins writing. This one was good, though since I come to him with high expectations, not as strong as many of his others.
And Another Thing… ~ Eoin Colfer (2009) novel, sf-humor (273 pgs) -unfinished-
Really tried to like this one: enjoyed the “Artemis Fowl” books by Colfer, loved the whole Hitchhiker’s series, but this one never came together. Got over halfway through it, and finally just gave up.
Bloodsucking Fiends ~ Christopher Moore (1995) novel (290 pgs)
Finally got my hands on one of Moore’s earlier books. A fave author of humrous fantasy. Great stuff!
The Atrocity Archives ~ Charles Stross (2004) science fiction (342 pgs)
Great fun: Lovecraftian horrors, office tedium, super-secret spy organizations, Nazis, and tons of weirdness!
Conjure Wife ~ Fritz Leiber (1943) fantasy (224 pgs)
Classic tale of a modern rational man confronted with real magic in his life.Quite a good read, a page turner!
Cloud Atlas ~ David Mitchell (2004) novel, (509 pgs)
Interesting idea: five stories that all stop halfway through in first half of novel, the sixth story runs complete, then the other stories are all finished in the rest of the book. There is some overlap, but less than expected. Some good material in the individual tales.
The Truth About Santa ~ Gregory Mone (2009) humor, science (144 pgs)
Coming up with scientific ideas that would let Santa Clause actually do all he is said to do. Clever in most places.
Arrowsmith ~ Sinclair Lewis (1924) novel (438 pgs)
Another wonderful read from Lewis, skewering individuals and society, good and bad people. A great writer for sure.
The Aftermath ~ Ben Bova (2007) sf (396 pgs) –unfinished-
Damn, second novel this year I just couldn’t finish. Maybe because is fourth volume of series, but also just seemed very simply written and basic kid-level sci-fi adventure stuff, never grabbed my attention.
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge ~ Carlos Castaneda (1968) anthropology, “non-fiction” (256 pgs)
A title I'd long heard of, thought I should check out. Started out as a Masters Thesis paper, turned into a series of books that newagers and dopeheads embraced as guidebooks. Mix of unintentionally (I think) funny stuff with long boring passages
Questioning the Millennium ~ Stephen Jay Gould (1999-revised edition) history (205 pgs)
What the idea of “millennium” in our tracking of time means. Great depth of research, a wonderful Gould book as usual.
Life Among the Lutherans ~ Garrison Keillor (2010) short stories (183 pgs)
A collection of some of the best of Garrison’s monologues. Dry wit and humor, with an edge on life and belief.
Singularity’s Ring ~ Paul Melko (2008) science fiction (316 pgs)
Fun basic sf read, cool science concepts to consider linked into a quick-moving story.
Stork Raving Mad ~ Donna Andrews (2010) mystery (289 pages) -unfinished-
Have read a half dozen Andrews books, and liked the first few a lot: great characters, settings. But last couple have settled down to basic murder-mystery stuff that just doesn’t hold my attention any more.
Chalice ~ Robin McKinley (2008) fantasy (263 pgs)
Not bad, but felt like a short story stretched out to book length, slogging through long passages waiting for story to advance.
Creationist ~ E. L. Doctorow (2006) essays (176 pgs)
Not those kinds of creationists! Thoughtful pieces on writers like Poe, Melville, Stowe, Lewis, Kafka- even Harpo Marx!
Cat-a-Lyst ~ Alan Dean Foster (1991) science fiction (325 pgs)
Fun, fast read from Foster: ancient aliens, time/space warping cats, ancient Inca warriors returning for revenge- the usual!
The Ghost in Love ~ Jonathan Carroll (2008) novel (308 pgs)
Another weird world story from Carroll, eerie things happen to people, strange ideas about reality. Always enjoy his books.
Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out. ~ Ted Thompson, Eli Horowitz (editors) (2005) short stories (208 pgs)
Quite wonderfully bizarre collection of stories, ostensibly for young adults or kids, but with authors like Lemony Snicket, George Saunders, Neil Gaiman, and others, it goes it’s own wonderful way. Loved it.
Gog ~ Andrew Sinclair (1967) novel (448 pgs)
Huge semi-fantasy novel of England after WWII, reads like an even wilder version of the movie “The Ruling Class”. (And just noticed I've now read a book with one of the shortest titles immediately following one of the longest titles!)
A King of Infinite Space ~ Allen Steele (1997) science fiction (282 pgs)
Standard hardware sf story. Main character kind of a jerk, and the ending was just a long explanation of things. Not bad, but forgettable in a few days.
Empire Falls ~ Richard Russo (2001) novel (483 pgs)
Wonderfully deeply drawn portraits of a variety of people in a small town, how their lifes intersect over time, all leading to a series of shocking moments at the end that really strike home, because Russo made all his characters so real in my mind.
We Others ~ Steven Millhauser (2011) short stories (387 pgs)
Another phenomenal collection of Millhauser. Unfortunately, only about a quarter of this collects new stories, the rest is from previous books- but even the re-reads are well worth the second time through. I always want more when I finish his books.
Brother Odd ~ Dean Koontz (2006) novel (430 pgs)
Koontz goes a bit “lighter”, at least for him. A quick read, felt more like an expanded short story, and not as humorous for me as others seem to think it is.
Wonder Boys ~ Michael Chabon (1995) novel (368 pgs)
Have read and enjoyed much Chabon. This one was well-written, but less adventurous than much of his other work.
The Quran – God (translated by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan) (632 BC / 2009) religion (475 pgs)
Another big book of religion. Much repetition, and pretty intense on the “believe this or burn in hell” kind of stuff.
Jimmy Stu Lives! ~ Kent McDaniel (2011) science fiction (168 pgs)
Thought would be more satirical, or more on religion in the future. Mostly a standard “chase” story, just set in future.
Steel Beach ~ John Varley (1992) science fiction (529 pgs)
Hardcore sf done big, full of ideas of the future where everything can, and does, change. Wonderful read of a possible future.
Coming of Age ~ Studs Terkel (1995) history (468 pgs)
Subtitled “The story of our century by those who’ve lived it”, it’s 70 interviews with all sorts of people, all 70 years old or older, giving a unique overview on American life in the range of the 20th century.
Lovecraft Unbound ~ Ellen Datlow (ed) (2009) short stories (421 pgs)
22 authors do their own take on Lovecraft. Not so much as directly related to his specific creations as more in the “feel” of what he wrote. Some good pieces in here.
Cthulhu’s Heirs ~ Thomas Stratman (ed) (1994) short stories (270 pgs)
Another two dozen writers tackle the Cthulhu Mythos with new stories. A mixed bag as usual: some weak, some very good.
The Hunger Games ~ Suzanne Collins (2008) y.a. novel (374 pgs)
Definitely a page-turner action book, though not sure I’m interested enough to read the reamining two in the series.
Anna Dressed In Blood ~ Kendare Blake (2011) y.a. novel (316 pgs)
Page-turning tale of a teenage ghosthunter/killer, with a couple of nice twists on idea of ghosts and such toward the end.
Lone Star Planet ~ H. Beam Piper (1958) science fiction (124 pgs)
Classic old-school sf, whereTexans now have their own entire planet, and an odd view of political assassination!
Publish and Perish ~ James Hynes(1997) novellas (338 pgs)
Three novellas of weird academia, early work leading to Hyne’s later full novels of this type of material. A good first read.
Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone ~ Ian McDonald (1994) science fiction (133 pgs)
When cyber-punk ruled! Hi-tech adventures in Japan, based around a core idea that font design can literally affect your mind!
The Ghost Brigades ~ John Scalzi (2006) science fiction (347 pgs)
More two-fisted sci-fi miltary space adventure/action from Scalzi, along with believable characters and interesting ideas.
A Map of Glass ~ Jane Urquhart (2006) novel (371 pgs)
Slow, flowing novel of a quiet woman’s life of internal solitude, and how she reaches out into the world around her.
The Partly Cloudy Patriot ~ Sarah Vowell (2002) essays (196 pgs)
Another great collection of Vowell essays, looking back through history with a loving but jaundiced, and funny, eye.
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom ~ Cory Doctorow (2003) science fiction (208 pgs)
It’s the near future and much has changed, including Disney World is now being run by rival gangs. Kind of. Just read it!
Inhuman Beings ~ Jerry Jay Carroll (1998) science fiction (249 pgs)
Page-turning tale of an alien invasion that no one can see. Read this almost straight through as kept wondering what was going to happen next and didn’t want to wait to find out.
Mirror Mirror ~ Gregory Maguire (2003) fantasy (278 pgs)
Another romp from Maguire combining fairy tales (Snow White) and history Lucrezia Borges, with some really unique dwarves!
Gravity’s Rainbow ~ Thomas Pynchon (1973) novel (776 pgs)
Interesting, and had it’s moments, but way too meandering, and often “shock because I know it will shock” kind of things. Done.
Building Stories ~ Chris Ware ( 2012) graphic novel (260(?) pgs)
Another brilliant exploration of what it is to present stories in comics. A collection of 14 different formats in a boxed set, to be read in no particular order, following the lifes of several people in an apartment building. Ware is a genre unto himself.
High Society ~ Ben Elton (2002) novel (380 pgs)
Another page turner from Elton, addresses questions of drug laws. Good, though not as much humor as previous from him.
Meeting Evil ~ Thomas Berger (1992) novel (220 pgs)
Another dark, twisted frenetic farce from Berger: wishy-washy everyman meets a totally amoral character. Only Berger does these!
Our Dumb Century ~ The Onion (1999) satire (164 pgs)
Finest News Reporting ~ The Onion (2000) satire (165 pgs)
Dispatches From the Tenth Circle ~ The Onion (2001) satire (174 pgs)
Three volumes collecting satiric news stories, even going so far as to satirize history back through previous century. Clever, and shows how it's sometimes easier to make a serious point with a joke than with a serious tome.
Revolution World ~ Katy Stauber (2011) science fiction (232 pgs)
Lots of fun, weird elements in this near future adventure. Wacky Texans battling the federal government- how timely!
Stuffed ~ Patricia Volk (2001) memoir (239 pgs)
Touching, stylish memoir of a restaurant family through the 20th century. Many fine and funny moments, enjoyable read all the way.
American on Purpose ~ Craig Ferguson (2009) memoir (268 pgs)
Two memoirs in one month? Funny, candid story of Ferguson’s life, early battles, and success in America. A happy ending to a rough start!
The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death ~ Laurie Notaro (2008) essays, humor (219 pgs)
Funny life adventures told with dark and twisted wit. A new discovery for me, and will be looking for more of her books.
Siddhartha ~ Hermann Hesse (1922) novel (152 pgs)
A spiritual quest, this one through Buddhist philosophy. A quest for enlightenment. For me, a story of a life wasted. Can see why this was a hit with the flower-children of the 60s, though.
Thirteen ~ Richard K. Morgann (2007) science fiction (544 pgs)
Techno/hitman variant of sci-fi. Plot heavy, lots of twists and double cross and, though certainly readable, not my taste.
I Am America (And So Can You!) ~ Stephen Colbert (2007) humor, satire (230 pgs)
Love The Colbert Report, but while this book was a fun read, it really wasn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as I was hoping for.
The Famished Road ~ Ben Okri (1991) novel (500 pgs)
Mystical dream/visions that go on and on but have no real meaning or affect, and angry people who get drunk and act stupid.
Beatnik Rutabagas From Beyond the Stars ~ Quentin Dodd (2001) ya, science fiction, humor (216 pgs)
Funny kids book. Not outrageously so, but a fun read- and could “hear” Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s voice for the main bad guy!
DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans ~ Jesse Ventura and Dick Russell (2012) politics (304 pgs)
Depressing as hell exam of how both major political parties are pretty much full of screwups, out for their own benefits.
Balsamic Dreams ~ Joe Queenan (2001) humor, society (210 pgs)
Not as funny as previous Queenan, think he trieds to spread too broad a satirical blanket. Did love the 7 page acknowledgements.
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