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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... )
~ 2015 ~

    January 2015
        Cosmicomics ~ Italo Calvino (1968) fiction, short stories (153 pgs) –RE-READ
Calvino always a unique voice and vision, time to re-read some of these great books again!
        Out of Oz ~ Gregory Maguire (2011) fiction, fantasy (568 pgs)
Enjoyable wrap of the “Wicked” series, great moments, though I kind of bogged down on all the politics.
        Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go ~ Dale E. Basye (2008) YA, fantasy (288 pgs)
Clever idea, but so-so execution. Six more in the series I won’t be reading.
        The Disappearing Spoon ~ Sam Kean (2011) science (390 pgs)
Great history of the people and events behind the creation of, and the filling in over time, of the periodic table of the elements.
        The Learners ~ Chipp Kidd (2008) novel (258 pgs)
Very much enjoyed his first book. This second has moments but, in the end, disappointed. However, will still wait for more!
        Woe is I ~ Patricia T. O’Conner (1996) grammar (216 pgs)
A book on grammar that was also fun to read. I think her advice on not using “their” instead of “his or her”, though, might be past it’s freshness date after twenty years. English, always changing!

    February 2015
        Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls ~ David Sedaris (2013) essays (275 pgs)
More from Sedaris. Bit darker in places- he doesn’t come off well as a youngster. But always bitingly funny observations.
        The Green Man ~ Kinglsey Amis (1969) horror (242 pgs)
Should have been more interesting, but even with a talk with god and a killer demon, main character failed to engage me.
        How To Breathe Underwater ~ Julie Orringer (2003) short stories (226 pgs)
Quiet, sometimes haunting little stories of “normal” lives at crossroads.
        The Martian ~ Andy Weir (2011) science fiction (369 pgs)
Great hard sf read, a space-age Robinson Crusoe story, a celebration of intelligence, and a real page turner.
        The Education of Hyman Kaplan ~ Leonard Q. Ross (1937) humor (144 pgs)
Series of humor stories about an immigrant with his own ideas on speaking American English.
        Sacre’ Bleu ~ Christopher Moore (2012) novel (403 pgs)
Another winner from Moore, a mix of humor, art history, and total weirdness. Always enjoy his work.

    March 2015
        The Story of the Stone ~ Barry Hughart (1988) fantasy (289 pgs)
Finally found this sequel to his first great novel, and just as wonderful of a read. I think there is a third out there somewhere!
        Tenth of December ~ George Saunders (2013) short stories (272 pgs)
Another collection of wonderfully odd, sometimes funny, and disturbingly strange tales from the amazing Mr. Saunders.
        Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddle of Culture ~ Marvin Harris (1974) sociology (266 pgs)
A look through time at why do some people believe the things that they do. Interesting notes on how these beliefs change.
        Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest ~ A. Lee Martinez (2013) fantasy (340 pgs)
What can I say, it’s another wonderful, imaginative, humorous and great read from Martinez. Hoping for dozens more!
        Gentlemen of the Road ~ Michael Chabon (2007) fiction, adventure (206 pgs)
Chabon does his version of “Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser”, with a Jewish twist. Love the over the top florid writing style.
        My Life From Scratch ~ Gesine Bullock-Prado (2009) autobiography (226 pgs)
Interesting story of shifting her life from unfulfilling world of Hollywood to a small bakery in Vermont, and being happy.

    April 2015
        John Dies at the End ~ David Wong (2009) horror (469 pgs)
Weirdly twisted, humorous and odd horror novel of evil from beyond, possession and replacement, and multi dimensions.
        Fargo Rock City ~ Chuck Klosterman (2001) music (273 pgs)
A look back at heavy metal music- not my favorite music genre, but Chuck makes it interesting as a history.
        From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler ~ E. L. Konigsburg (1967) children’s book (172 pgs)
Classic children’s book of the 60s. Fun little read.
        100 Years on the Road ~ Timothy R. Spears (1995) history, society, business (233 pgs)
The traveling salesman in American culture, most around turn of last century. Fascinating detail on this vanished job.
        The Last Testament ~ God, w/ David Javerbaum (2011) humor, religion (435 pgs)
God tries to clear up some of the misunderstandings in the Bible, Quran, and other writings. Funny stuff.
        The Demolished Man ~ Alfred Bester (1953) science fiction (250 pgs)
High concept tech weirdness in classic old-school sf style. The future is never what we think it will be.
        Wonder ~ R,J, Palacio (2012) novel (315 pgs)
Touching tale of young boy with a “deformed” face, dealing with new school and people. Teach to be kind.

    May 2015
        It’s Not Rocket Science ~ Ben Miller (2012) science (279 pgs)
Excellent popular-science book covering all the basics with a bit of wit, and very clear writing. Very good.
        The Future We Wish We Had ~ Martin H. Greenburg & Rebecca Lickiss (eds) (2007) short stories, sf (306 pgs)
16 short tales, mix of good and forgetable. Standout tale was P.R. Frost’s dancer with nanobots in her knees!
        A Barnstormer in Oz ~ Philip Jose’ Farmer (1982) fantasy (278 pgs)
Philip goes back to Oz with a plane and some guns, and explores a few ideas, adding some of his own.
        Enchanted Night ~ Steven Millhauser (2000) novella (113 pgs)
Short and gently sweet tale of various strange going-ons, deep in the night in a small town.
        Tomcat in Love ~ Tim O’Brien (1998) novel (342 pgs)
Wonderful style in this novel of a man who thinks higher of himself than anyone else does. Funny and even touching.
        Revival ~ Stephen King (2014) novel (403 pgs)
Read and enjoyed much early King. This one, however, is just a short story stretched out way too long.

    June 2015
        The Making of the Wizard of Oz ~ Aljean Harmetz (1977) movies, history (317 pgs)
Excellent, super-detailled look at making of the movie, plus a great over-view of early Hollywood film making.
        Killing Yourself to Live ~ Chuck Klosterman (2005) music, autobio (235 pgs)
Chuck checks out sites of famous rock and roll deaths, but mainly talks about all kinds of things, as usual.
        Accelerando ~ Charles Stross (2005) science fiction (415 pgs)
I sometimes lost my place in the dense plot, but always fascinated by the wealth of sf ideas piled in this book.
        The Princess Bride ~ William Goldman (1973) fantasy (283 pgs) ---re-read
Time for a re-read of this classic, and it is still as wonderful this time as all the other times I’ve read it!
        Troll ~ Johanna Sinisalo (2000) fantasy (278 pgs)
Very weird, very different, with somewhat disturbing undertones. Interesting once, probably not read again.

    July 2015
        Ink and Bone: The Great Library ~ Rachel Caine (2015) fantasy (351 pgs)
A new series starts from Rox. Another page turner of action and ideas, curious where she goes with this…
        The Family Fang ~ Kevin Wilson (2011) novel (309 pgs)
Wondefully weird story of a family of extreme “performance artists”. Funny, strange, and touching.
        The Psychopath Test ~ Jon Ronson (2011) nonfiction (275 pgs)
A look into what it means to be, or call someone, a “psychopath”. Like other Ronson books, a good read.
        Pest Control ~ Bill Fitzhugh (1996) novel (312 pgs)
I should have liked this more. Funny stuff, goofy situations, but it just never “clicked” for me. Not bad, just not that great.
        Infidel ~ Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2007) autobiography (353 pgs)
Amazing story of her moving from strict Muslim family beginnings in Mogadishu, out into wider world of freedoms.

    August 2015
        The $12 Million Stuffed Shark ~ Don Thompson (2008) art, history (254 pgs)
The high end art market has no real connection to “art”, let alone reality, and this book breaks it down.
        The Amazing Hamweenie ~ Patty Bowman (w/a) (2012) childrens picture book (30 pgs)
Quick and cute read of spoiled cat, nice details spread throughout.
        Skull Island ~ Will Murray (2013) novel, adventure (390 pgs)
A new Doc Savage story, set in his own past, when he met up with King Kong. Not as good as I had hoped.
        Everything and More- A Compact History of Infinity ~ David Foster Wallace (2003) math, history (305 pgs)
Love DFW’s writing, but as we got more and more into the pure math, I was out of my own comfort zone.
        Wretched Writing ~ Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras (2013) writing, language, literature (206 pgs)
A collection of bad writing through the ages. The kind of stuff that is so bad, it’s good, if you know what I mean.
        Kitty Cornered ~ Bob Tarte (2012) autobiography, cats, humor (288 pgs)
A life ruled by cats, told with great humor and cleverness. Cindy and I kept reading bits to each other.
        The Minicomix Revolution 1969-1989 ~ Bruce Chrislip (2015) history, comics (416 pgs)
A great overview of dozens of the creative folks of the mini-comix world. Doesn’t hurt my name is mentioned now and then.

    September 2015
        As Always, Julia ~ Joan Reardon (ed) (2010) history, food, publishing, biography (402 pgs)
Letters between Julia Child and a friend during the course of her working on her first book. Quite fascinating stuff!
        The Skeptic’s Guide to Conspiracies ~ Monte Cook (2009) science, history, woo (272 pgs)
A number of quick overviews, with references for further reading, of the top conspiracy theories. Presented with humor.

    October 2015
        Fool on the Hill ~ Matt Ruff (1988) novel (396 pgs)
Great fun, old-school weirdness novel.
        Stomping Grounds ~ W. Hampton Sides (1992) culture, society (272 pgs)
If more than four people are interested in something, there will be a gathering. This looks at eight of them!
        Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ~ Jenny Lawson (2012) humor (371 pgs)
Hilarious “mostly true memoir”, funny and clever. I hope there will be more collections of her writing to come.
        The Swerve ~ Stephen Greenblatt (2011) history (263 pgs)
Wonderfully written exploration of how the rediscovery of an ancient manuscript changed the course of civilization.
        Serial Killer Days ~ David Prill (1996) novel (218 pgs)
Weird, funny, and twisted view of small town life. Mayberry gone very “off”. Prill is unique.

    November 2015
        The Magician’s Book ~ Laura Miller (2008) criticism, biography (303 pgs)
A look back at the C.S. Lewis “Narnia” series and his life, with a bit of a skeptical eye. Lots of interesting bits.
        This Boy’s Life ~ Tobias Wolff (1989) autobiography (288 pgs)
Fascinating, page-turning read about the author’s young life and the screwed up people within it.
        Kafkaesque ~ John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly (eds) (2011) short stories (281 pgs)
Wonderful collection of Kafka-inspired stories of all kinds. the Jeffrey Ford was my favorite, will look for more by him!
        Scratch Monkey ~ Charles Stross (1993) science fiction (318 pgs)
Straight-up sf tale, like other Stross, but this didn’t grab me much. But new (2011) comments on writing and publishing were great!

    December 2015
        Seven Days in the Art World ~ Sarah Thornton (2008) art, sociology (266 pgs)
Fascinating behind the scenes read about world of “high” art/investment art, far beyond the regular world of plain old everyday art.
        Bucky ~ Hugh Kenner (1973) biography, history, design (316 pgs)
Different sort of bio on Buckminster Fuller, both a look at him, and at his ideas. Interesting reading.
        Science Friction ~ Michael Shermer (2005) science, skepticism (283 pgs)
Nice collection of essays on scientific aproaches to various subjects of all sorts. It’s always interesting reading Shermer.
        The Resurrectionist ~ E. B.Hudspeth (2013) fantasy/sf (192 pgs)
An intriguing title and idea, but ended up being rather slight in the text, and the art, while at first interesting, kind of repetitive.
        From Charlie’s Point of View ~ Richard Scrimger (2005) YA (278 pgs)
Blind kid helps solve a crime, but the angel who kept changing time to help him kind of ruined it: deus ex machina is lazy writing.
        Eleanor ~ Jason Gurley (2014) novel, fantasy (376 pgs)
Different kind of fantasy, how various generations of women in same family deal with death in an unusual way.


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