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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... )
~ 2014 ~

    January 2014
        Embassytown ~ China Miéville (2011) science fiction (345 pgs)
That rare sf book with aliens that really do think differently than humans, and explores the idea through language.
        Going Bovine ~ Libba Bray (2011) fantasy (345 pgs)
Has a few moments, but seems to be trying too hard to be wacky and just doesn’t make it. Plus, a very disappointing ending.
        Backing Into Forward ~ Jules Feiffer (2010) autobiography (446 pgs)
Great look back at his life, and the creative folks he met and interacted with.
        Chasing the Moon ~ A. Lee Martinez (2011) fantasy (310 pgs)
It’s Mr Martinez going weird again with the possible end of the world, odd monsters from beyond, and more.
        Broken Eagle ~ Chad Oliver (1989) western (296 pgs)
Fictional view of the leadup to battle of Little Big Horn. Well written, though I’de probably go with reading history over fiction.
        The Universe Next Door ~ James W. Sire (3rd edition-1997) religion (231 pgs)
Not the unbiased view of various world beliefs I had hoped to get; everything breaks down compared to the authors Christianity.
        Fallen ~ David Maine (2005) novel (244 pgs)
If Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were real, how would they survive expulsion from Eden? A unique idea, and a fine read.
        Ubik ~ Philip K.Dick (1969) science fiction (224 pgs)
Another nifty “what is reality, really” tale from the mind of PKD. (Odd fashion choices, but then it is the future!)

    February 2014
        Blasphemy ~ Leonard W. Levy (1993) religion, law, history (579 pgs)
Exhaustive look at blasphemy laws through the ages. Bottom line: I don’t like that you disagree with me, so I’ve passed this law…
        Bad Monkeys ~ Matt Ruff (2007) novel (230 pgs)
Weird , fast paced, “what’s real and what’s not” novel with more twists than the Matrix. Great read, hard to stop once started.
        Bluebeard ~ Kurt Vonnegut (1987) novel (287 pgs)
Takes on art, and “modern” art in particular, at the core of this story of what it is to be an artist. As usual, always a good read.
        Rayguns Over Texas ~ Richard Klaw (editor)(2013) sf, anthology (330 pgs)
Twenty Texas writers contribute stories to this, some quite fine pieces. (And I’ve got a small mention in an appendix!)
        Best Friends ~ Thomas Berger (2003) novel (209 pgs)
While a fan of many of Berger’s novels, this one just struck me as flat and, in the end, kind of pointless. Disappointing.
        Knocking on Heaven’s Door ~ Lisa Randall (2011) science (417 pgs)
Overview of the history, present state, and possible future of particle physics and cosmology.

    March 2014
        Dodsworth ~ Sinclair Lewis (1929) novel (380 pgs)
Another fine examination of manners and mores, as well as interesting take on Americans in Europe. Great stuff.
        Little Fuzzy ~ H. Beam Piper (1962) sf (252 pgs)
Classic sf novel, a fun and smooth read, questions on what makes a being sentient or not.

    April 2014
        Nobody’s Fool ~ Richard Russo (1993) novel (549 pgs)
Character study of various folks in a small town. No one is all bad, or all good, and was an engrossing, enjoyable read.
        The Traveler ~ John Twelve Hawks (2005) novel (456 pgs)
Run-of-the-mill style adventure. Not good, not bad, just meh. No note on book until end is first of a trilogy. Won’t be reading more.
        Lies Across America ~ James W. Loew (1999) history (436 pgs)
Fascinating look at the real history of America, showing how historic sites/plaques often get it wrong-- sometimes on purpose.
        The Nymphos of Rocky Flats ~ Mario Acevedo (2006) fantasy (266 pgs)
With vampires, nymphos, secret organizations, aliens, and action, it all ends up not really bad, but not really very good… just “meh.”

    May 2014
        The Pale King ~ David Foster Wallace (2011) novel (547 pgs)
Unfinished novel, gathered from Wallace’s notes. I read it more like a short story collection, and enjoyed very much.
        Coyote Horizon ~ Allen Steele (2009) sf (352 pgs)
Old school science fiction, exploring a new world, part of larger series. Some interesting stuff on religion, but no great shakes.
        Coyote Destiny ~ Allen Steele (2010) sf (331 pgs)
Follow-up to above. Standard sf probably more for those who are fans of the series of books.
        The Cheese Monkeys ~ Chip Kidd (2001) novel (274 pgs)
Weirdly funny satiric novel about surviving college graphic design course. And some other stuff. Yes, seriously.
        Midnight’s Children ~ Salman Rushdie (1980) novel (552 pgs)
Fantastic tale of the life of one man, running parallel to the life of modern India. Amazing visual imagery and ideas.

    June 2014
        Unfamiliar Fishes ~ Sarah Vowell (2011) history (233 pgs)
Interesting read on history of Hawaii, though a bit less of Vowell’s “voice” in this one than previous books that I enjoyed.
        Bobby’s Girl ~ J.D. Austin (2001) science fiction (268 pgs)
Not really “bad”, just not very good. More of a “meh” kind of book, easily forgotten in a few days.
        The Gone-Away World ~ Nick Harkaway(2008) novel, science fiction (498pgs)
Loved it. Weirdly funny, scary future post-apocalypse world, with a great style of writing. Want more from this author!

    July 2014
        Lewis Carroll & His Illustrators ~Morton N. Cohen & Edward Wakeling (eds.) (2003) history, art (376 pgs)
Fasincating look into the mind of Carroll, just wish there were more letters from the artists themselves, as well as his own.
        Thinks… ~ David Lodge (2001) novel (340 pgs)
Lodge back to academia to discuss ideas of consciousness and morality, more interesting than the characters.
        Alan Moore: Storyteller ~ Gary Spencer Millidge (2011) comics, bio (313 pgs)
Damn, but this guy wrote a lot of comic book stories!
        Henry Tumour ~ Anthony McGowan (2006) novel, ya (307 pgs)
Doesn’t do much with its “talking tumor” premise, and it’s not as funny as was promised. Another “meh” read, it seems.
        The Turn of the Screw ~ Henry James (1898) novella (87 pgs)
Much told this is a “classic” of suspense/horror. It’s purposelly ambiguous as to what actually goes on, didn’t grab me much.
        The King in Yellow ~ Robert W. Chambers (1895) short stories (149 pgs)
Often mentioned as having “inspiried” HP Lovecraft. On their own, not all that interesting. Though a war story in middle had some emotional impact, rest was either low-grade “thriller”, or middle-of-road romance.
        Conjure Wife ~ Fritz Leiber (1943) horror-thriller (224 pgs)
Nicely tight tale with a couple of twists, and in a style that makes it a smoothly flowing page turner: an enjoyable read.
        Time’s Arrows ~ Richard Morris (1985) science, physics (218 pgs)
So, what actually is “time”? The answer is much more complicated than one might first think!
        Homer’s Odyssey ~ Gwen Cooper (2009) autobiography (287 pgs)
Lovely tale of woman raising a blind cat. With both sweet moments and scary, it made me smile a lot.

    August 2014
        Wake Up, Sir! ~ Jonathan Ames (2004) novel (334 pgs)
Weirdly comic novel, strange week in life of a pitiful guy, but with lots of truly funny moments and style.
        Titus Awakes ~ Maeve Gilmore (2011) novel (265 pgs)
Disappointing, pointless printing of a work never intended to be published, but later family doing it to cash in on connection.
        World War Z ~ Max Brooks (2006) novel (342 pgs)
Engrossing, Brooks treating the zombie idea as realistically as possible. Quite different than anything else I’ve read.
        The Chronicles of Harris Burdick ~ Chris Van Allsburg, etc (2011) short stories (202 pgs)
14 authors create stories based on Van Allsburg’s wonderful drawings from back in 1984. Good stuff.
        House of Holes ~ Nicholson Baker (2011) novel (262 pgs) -unfinished-
Really like most of Baker’s work, some extraoridinary. But this is like a 12 year old who just learned naughty words trying to write erotica. Silly, boring, and after a little over 60 pages, gave up on it ever becoming interesting.
        Set This House in Order ~ Matt Ruff (2003) novel (479 pgs)
Intriguing blend of multiple personalities and mystery story, hard to put down once started.
        Benchley Beside Himself ~ Robert Benchley (1921-1943) essays, humor (304 pgs)
Fine, gently humorous essays from early in the last century showing that, while life changes, it also always stays the same.

    September 2014
        The Curse of Catunkhamun! ~ Tim Raglin (w/a) (2007) childrens picture book (46 pgs)
Beautifully illustrated, over-sized picture book with gorgeous pen and ink art. First of a series, hope to get more. (That's "Cat-Un-Common")
        There’s a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going To Hell ~ Laurie Notaro (2007) novel (302 pgs)
Enjoyed her first essay collection, but this first novel fell kind of flat, like trying too hard for strangeness. Will look for more essays.
        Unholy Night ~ Seth Grahame-Smith (2012) novel (307 pgs)
Meh. Not really engaging with it’s Biblical roots in any real way, just a fantasy tale laid on top, kind of a Bible fan-fic book.
        Disproving Christianity ~ David G. McAfee (revised 2nd editon) (2011) religion (139 pgs)
Quick overview of contradicitons and such in Bible. Less interesting than his varied essays, some of those at back of book.
        Straight Man ~ Richard Russo (1997) novel (391 pgs)
Not as strong as the previous two novels of his I’ve read, but still interesting character studies and intertwining lives.

    October 2014
        Rapture Ready! ~ Daniel Radosh (2008) religion, culture (310 pgs)
A look at the wacky world of American Christian popular culture. It’s all about the big J! Eye-opening, weird and sad.
        Fuzzy Nation ~ John Scalzi (2011) science fiction (355 pgs)
Scalzi re-works “Little Fuzzy”, adds a bit more plot twists and looks into what it is to be sentient. A fun read.
        Nice Work ~ David Lodge (1988) nvel (277 pgs)
Interesting slice of life with nice touches of humor as well as information, clash of cultures of academia and industry.
        Doubt: A History ~ Jennifer Michael Hecht (2003) history, religion (494 pgs)
Highly readable indepth look at people who have expressed doubt about gods and religion through the ages. Excellent book.
        The Tenth Song ~ Naomi Ragen (2010) novel (304 pgs)
Recommended to me, but just didn't click. Basically a romance book with overlay of some religion, but not all that interesting.
        Movie Censorship and American Culture ~ Francis G. Couvares (ed) (1996) history, sociology, film (311 pgs)
Interesting essays on different aspects of censorship of US films in the 20th century. Everyone had a reason to be upset!
        Mom, Dad, I’m An Atheist ~ David G. McAfee (2012) religion (140 pgs)
Slim volume about what it is like to “come out” as an atheist.

    November 2014
        On Her Majesty’s Occult Service (The Atrocity Archive and The Jennifer Morgue) ~ Charles Stross (2004, 2006) sf (562 pgs)
Highly enjoyable, weird and funny, though I’m sure I got only a third of all the tech and geek jokes in here!
        The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ ~ Philip Pullman (2010) religion (265 pgs)
A quick retelling of the life of Jesus, taking out most of the supernatural parts. Interesting, but slight.
        The Whole Shebang ~ Timothy Ferris (1997) science (352 pgs)
Excellent overview of the history of human exploration of the universe, and ideas on time and space.
        Gateways ~ Elizabeth Anne Hull (ed) (2010) sf anthology (416 pgs)
18 of the bigger names in sf offer new stories or reminiscences of SF Grand Master Frederick Pohl. Some great stuff.
        That Old Cape Magic ~ Richard Russo (2009) novel (261 pgs)
Enjoyable enough, but not as strong as the other Russo noels I’ve read and enjoyed.
        I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President ~ Josh Lieb (2009) ya novel (303 pgs)
Funny and clever, though I was just a bit disappointed with the somewhat abrupt ending.

    December 2014
        Hot Mama ~ Jennifer Estep (2007) “paranormal romance” (356 pgs)- unfinished-
Had promise, superheroes in real life, but an unlikable main character, and just not interesting. Read, then skimmed halfway through , finally gave up.
        The Prague Cemetary ~ Umberto Eco (2010) novel (444 pgs)
Dense, convoluted, time-shifting, hard to follow at times, and no characters I liked. But, flashes of the Eco that I love.
        Hex ~ Allen Steele (2011) novel, sf (328 pgs)
Hard sf, some intereting concepts, but too many stupid actions just to set up plot twists and such. Okay for what it is.
        The Strange Case of Edward Gorey ~ Alexander Theroux (2011, expanded from 2000 edition) biography (166 pgs)
Biography and a memoir by a friend. A portrait of an interesting, and somewhat antisocial, unique and brilliant artist.
        And Then There Were Nuns ~ Jane Christmas (2013) non-ficition, religion, travel (289 pgs)
An interesting read, though lacking any real depth on actual thoughts about the “god” end of being a nun, seemed more concerned about how nice it would be to not think too much about stuff.
        What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim ~ Jane Christmas (2007) travel (295 pgs)
A walk along the top of Spain. Some funny stuff, but not someone I’d like to hang with myself.


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