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|
Everything Is Illuminated ~ Jonathan Safran Foer (2002) novel (280 pgs)
Wonderful read, working different chapters in the different voices of a variety of characters in the arch of the story.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ~ Jonathan Safran Foer (2003) novel (365 pgs)
Great characters, central msytery story, how he writes the lead character, use of visuals through text. Just a great book!
Fuck, Yes! ~ Wing Fu Fing (1988) novel (382 pgs)
What an odd waste of paper. If was a parody of new-age think, was very weak. If just a straight-up story, horrible characters. Mostly boring.
Rolling Thunder ~ John Varley (2008) science fiction (344 pgs)
Slow start for me, but lots of big ideas and big events in the second half to make this a winning, pure hard-sf read.
Lost Echos ~ Joe R. Lansdale (2007) novel (341 pgs)
Another fast-paced, tight page turner from Lansdale, full of characters who all have grey areas, and some totally black.
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana ~ Umerto Eco (2004) novel (449 pgs)
A man loses his memory, and has to rediscover it through magazines, music, movies, and comics, while in parallel with WWII swirling through Europe. Kind of an abrupt ending for me, but overall, a fine read.
Changing Places ~ David Lodge (1975) novel (251 pgs)
Enjoyed this one, a humorous look at different cultures and the academic world, with dry wit and humor throughout.
Small World ~ David Lodge (1984) novel (385 pgs)
Follow-up to previous novel, even more characters, globe-spanning literary conferences bring them all together. More fun.
Dorothy on the Rocks ~ Barbara Suter (2008) novel (325 pgs)
Picked up thinking a Wiz Oz connection, but not really. Follows main charater through short period of her life.
The Terminal Man ~ Sir Alfred Mehran (Karimi Nasseri) & Andrew Donkin (2004) autobiography (254 pgs)
Sad and fascinating story of man stuck living in a Paris airport terminal for sixteen years. Stranger than fiction, as they say!
Nature Girl ~ Carl Hiaasen (2006) novel (306 pgs)
Another collision of dysfunctiional folks in Florida, convoluted and fun, though somehow not as angry as previous works.
The Boiler Room and Other Telephone Sales Scams ~ Robert J. Stevenson (1998) sociology (249 pgs)
Insider look at the world of cold-call phone solicitors, and how they operate on the edge of the law.
The Damned Busters ~ Matthew Hughes (2011) sf novel (413 pgs)
Nicely weird mix sf, superhero, and exploration of hell/heaven/reality. Interesting enough to seek out the second one!
Unknown ~ Rachel Caine (2010) sf novel (305 pgs)
Second of the “Outcast Season” series, more action and adventure, with a to-be-continued ending, darn it!
Unseen ~ Rachel Caine (2011) sf novel (306 pgs)
More non-stop action, these characters never get a day off! World in the balance, how will this end- one more to go!
Unbroken ~ Rachel Caine (2012) sf novel (308 pgs)
And of course, with all that build up of bigger and bigger events, the ending is appropriately apocalyptic!
Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America ~ Stephen G. Bloom (2000) sociology, religion (338 pgs)
Fascinating account of a conflict between hard-core religious group and small-town America. Well done.
The Demolished Man ~ Alfred Bester (1951) sf novel (239 pgs)
Early sf, and showing it’s age in the prediction end. Some interesting ideas, but not something I’d return to again.
Blindness ~ Jose’ Saramago (1995) novel (326 pgs)
Frightening tale of the breakdown of humanity when everyone in a country goes blind. Haunting stuff.
Bite Me ~ Christopher Moore (2010) novel (309 pgs)
Continuing adventures of his vampire characters. Fun and action filled, though not as much humor as previously.
The Anubis Gates ~ Tim Powers (1983) science fiction (387 pgs)
This was one heck of a time-travelling, body-switching, evil-magician butt-kicking ripping yarn!
Deadeye Dick ~ Kurt Vonnegut (1982) novel (271 pgs)
Catching up on one of my fave authors. More dark humor/satire presented as a matter-of-fact bio of a strange family.
Around the Weird in 80 Days ~ Rich Smith (2008) travel, society (293 pgs)
Englishman visits some odd US festivals. Nice level of snark, as well as appreciation of the weirdness of all people.
Misreadings ~ Umberto Eco (1963, 1993) essays, parodies (180 pgs)
Eco takes on literature in short pieces- fave was the rejection notes for The Odyssey, the Bible, Don Quixote, etc!
The Devil Notebooks ~ Laurence A. Rickels(2008) pop culture (367 pgs)
Irritating read. Could go on and on here on how many things bothered me in this, author seems more impressed by himself than anyone else. Just badly done and pointless. The relentless bad punning was particularly painful.
The Shroud of the Thwacker ~ Chris Elliott (2005) novel, humor, sf (360 pgs)
Elliott’s wild take on time travel, serial killer novels, and historical figures out of context. Crazy, convoluted, and a fun read
Kraken ~ China Miéville (2010) novel, sf/fantasy (509 pgs)
Another bizarre ride with China, coming up with characters and situations like no one else these days.
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs ~ Chuck Klosterman (2004) sociology, culture (246 pgs)
Great collection of essays. Smartly-snarky writing, with both knowledge and a step-back-from-it wit. Will look for more.
The Unincorporated Man ~ Dani Kollin and Eytnn Kollin (2009) sf novel (479 pgs)
Science fiction based around economics. Some interesting ideas, but with pretty flat, old-school style characters.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk ~ David Sedaris (2010) fiction, essays (159 pgs)
Sedaris does an Aesop’s Fables turn to investigate the dark side of people. Funny- dark, but funny, as have come to expect!
The Penderwicks ~ Jeanne Birdsal (2005) young adult (262 pgs)
Sweet little tale, in style of the classic young-adult story of a family on vacation and the “adventures” the kids have.
Next ~ James Hynes (2010) novel (308 pgs)
Have enjoyed all of the Hynes novels read so far, nice twists and humor. This one, while interesting and well done, had a main character I just felt cold about, and so the ending was not as strong as it possibly could have been.
The Shadow of the Wind ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2001) novel (486 pgs)
Gothic novel of twisted relationships, strangers set on destroying books, and mystery on top of mystery. Dense plotting to follow!
Two Weeks’ Notice ~ Rachel Caine (2012) fantasy (304 pgs)
Second of the “Revivalist” series, Caine’s new take on living-dead and corporate intrigue. A page-turner as usual!
Kippendorf’s Tribe ~Frank Parkin (1985) novel, black comedy (220 pgs)
This is one darkly funny book, characters totally without saving grace, but funny to read about for sure!
The Scar ~ China Miéville (2002) fantasy (638 pgs)
Another epic mix of adventure and wonderous new ideas from China. Have I mentioned I’m a huge fan of his work?
Haunted ~ Chuck Palahniuk (2005) novel (404 pgs)
Indescribable dark novel: black humor, twisted characters, one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in a long time.
God, No! ~ Penn Jillette (2011) autobiography, religion (229 pgs)
Ostensibly a book on atheism, and he does cover it here and there, but mostly a highly entertaining look at events in his life.
The Circus of Dr. Lao ~ Charles G. Finney (1935) novel, fantasy (119 pgs)
Strange and lyrical tale of a bizarre circus appearing one day in a small town. The movie “cutified” the hell out of this original tale.
City Life ~ Witold Rybczynski (1995) architectural history, urban planning (235 pgs)
A look at the evolution of cities, particularly modern cities in Europe and America in the past two centuries.
George’s Secret Key to the Universe ~ Lucy & Stephen Hawking (2007) childrens book, science (297 pgs)
Not so interesting framing story around trying to impart some knowledge of stars and physicists to kids. Just “okay”, if it didn’t have the Hawking name on it, probably would not even have noticed it.
French Lessons ~ Peter Mayle (2001) travel, food (224 pgs)
Mayle covers several food-centric festivals held across France through the year, in his usual fine style.
The Man in the High Castle ~ Philip K. Dick (1962) novel, sf (191 pgs)
Interesting, though hyped for so long as a major piece of work, could never live up to my expectations reading it now.
Sewer, Gas & Electric ~ Matt Ruff (1997) novel, sf (558 pgs)
Wild ride, highly inventive, clever, wacky, deep…. a great read!
A Star Above It ~ Chad Oliver (2003 [1950-1989]) sf short stories (473 pgs)
Thoughtful sf tales of encounters between humans and aliens -of all sorts-, told with an anthropologist's sharp eye.
Seeing Through Illusions ~ Richard L. Gregory (2009) science (229 pgs)
A look at visual illusions, and why we see them. More than just another collection of pictures, quite interesting.
The Kingdom Keepers ~ Ridley Pearson (2005) YA, fantasy (325 pgs)
Silly plot, stretched out way too long, an ad for the Disney parks. Insulting to all the good YA fantasy novels out now.
Bagombo Snuff Box ~ Kurt Vonnegut (1999 [1954 – 1961]) short stories ( 295 pgs)
Early career Vonnegut short stories. Interesting enough, not sure they would have been saved if not for being his work though.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette ~ Maria Semple (2012) novel (360 pgs)
Wonderfully written, inventive format novel, with characters that change through the story. Thoroughly enjoyed this.
The Matchbox That Ate a Forty-Ton Truck ~ Marcus Chown (2009) science (257 pgs)
Trying to explain how science has discovered some of the deepest mysteries of the universe. a noble try from the author, and a fascinating read, but have to admit: physics of the quantum kind hurt my little head
The End of Mr. Y ~ Scarlett Thomas (2006) novel (399 pgs)
Another great read from Thomas, new ideas, playing with sf/fantasy and science in a wonderfully weird story.
The Portable Atheist ~ Christopher Hitchens (ed) (2007) religion (480 pgs)
Great collection of essays from many folks on the question of belief and nonbelief, and belief doesn't come off too well. Good stuff!
Secret Language ~ Monica Wood (1993) novel (253 pgs)
Lives of two sisters. Simple premise, but well handled character studies made for an interesting read.
Life 102- What To Do When Your Guru Sues You ~ Peter McWilliams (1994) religion (416 pgs)
Guy pulled into a cult of personality tells behind the scenes info on it all.
At Home ~ Bill Bryson (2010) history, society (534 pgs)
Wonderful read, using rooms of the house as starting point to explore history and the development of so much in the modern world.
Engine Summer ~ John Crowley (1979) science fiction (209 pgs)
Just didn’t hold me or interest me much, read it because had been nominated for many awards. But, just felt slight to me.
One Hunded Years of Solitude ~ Gabriel Garcia Márquez (1967) novel (458 pgs)
The classic magical realist novel- an engrossing, fascinating read.
In the Land of Believers ~ Gina Welch (2010) religion, faith (330 pgs)
An oddly unsatisfying book, never seemed to come to any conclusions, more just a recording of the writer’s confusions.
The Crying of Lot 49 ~ Thomas Pynchon (1965) novel (183 pgs)
Nope. Maybe it ws groundbreaking when came out, but now, have read so much of this kind of stuff, this one lacks much impact.
Slow Burn ~ Roxanne Longstreet (1996) novel (319 pgs)
Early work from Rox, not as strong in characters, nor as interesting of a story, as in her later books.
The Stuff of Thought ~ Steven Pinker (2007) language, society (439 pgs)
A fascinating read about the3 bsics of how we communicate with language. Highly enjoyable.
You Suck ~ Christopher Moore (2007) novel (328 pgs)
More from Moore, following his vampire characters with more crazy folks joining in. Always fun to read.
Daddy-Long-Legs ~ Jean Webster (1912) novel (255 pgs)
Young woman finding her way in world. Subtle notes on religion and equality, and an energy for the discovery of life.
Why People Believe Weird Things ~ Michael Shermer (1997) society, science, religion (278 pgs)
Wide-ranging, and in-depth, on some of the strange beliefs people hold, and how they justify them. Well done.
Autobiography of Mark Twain – Volume 2 (2013) history, literature, culture (648 pgs)
Second half, best parts always after somethng like “do not print the folowing until 25 years after my death”.
The Angel’s Game ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2008) novel (441 ps)
Dark mystery tale with supernatural edges, excellent style.
A is for Salad ~ Mike Lester (2000) children’s picture book (32 pgs)
Funny stuff playing off a different way to show the alphabet. I like his line-art technique with color for the artwork.
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