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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... )
~ 2016 ~

    January 2016
        Youth in Revolt ~ C.D. Payne (1993, 1995) novel (499 pgs)
Adventures of a somewhat sociopathic young man in love with a girl who doesn’t seem to care. Funny, but not a sympthetic character at all.
        Who Goes There? ~ John W. Campbell (and William F. Nolan) (1938, 2009) science fiction (161 pgs)
The original novella, plus Nolan’s unproduced screen treatment for “The Thing”.
        Revolting Youth ~ C.D. Payne (2000) novel (273 pgs)
Continuing tale of an unlikable youth. But got to admit, amazed at what the author keeps coming up with to happen to him!
        Pilgrim At Tinker Creek ~ Annie Dillard (1974) philosophy, science (271 pgs)
Observations of nature, mixing in some hard science, and thoughts on what, if anything, it might all “mean”. Good read.

    February 2016
        The Rook ~ Daniel O’Malley (2012) novel, weird (498 pgs)
Wonderfully weird novel of another super-secret group of odd folks fighting the even odder bad guys out there. Lots of humor.
        Science: A Four Thousand Year History ~ Patricia Fara (2009) science, history (390 pgs)
Excellent look at the long history of science, putting it into perspective with real people and history, dropping the myths.
        Lazarus Is Dead ~ Richard Bean (2011) novel (263 pgs)
The story of Lazarus, as both a novel, and an historical look at his appearances in art and other fictional writings. Different.

    March 2016
        Swamplandia! ~ Karen Russell (2011) novel (397 pgs)
Strange, odd, sometime disturbing, and wonderfully written novel of a strange family in the Florida swamplands.
        The Alchemist ~ Paulo Coelho (1993) novel (192 pgs)
Book I was told I “had to read”. But just low-level mysticism about the quest for our “Personal Legend. Forgettable.
        Jennifer Government ~ Max Barry (2003) novel (320 pgs)
Great satire of what a world truly run by corporations would turn into. Plus, lots of action!
        Our Tragic Universe ~ Scarlett Thomas (2010) novel (425 pgs)
Another great one from Thomas. A meta-fiction book on meta-fiction, with more ideas thrown out and away than any ten full books!

    April 2016
        Therapy ~ David Lodge (1995) novel (320 pgs)
Another gently interesting look at middle-age life from Lodge, with an interesting framing device to tell the story this time.
        Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard ~ Lawrence M. Schoen (2015) science fiction (376 pgs)
A wonderful read, a new world, new race, new ideas, new look at how things work. This is what science fiction should be!
        The Underpainter ~ Jane Urquhart (1997) novel (340 pgs)
Beautiful writing style, an engrossing tale of a self-centered artist looking back with regrets on his life, and those within it.

    May 2016
        The World of Null-A ~ A.E. Van Vogt (1945) science fiction (190 pgs)
Heard was a “classic” of early sf. But, found it confusing and written in old-school clunky style. Not impressed.
        Adventures in the Arts- Mystery of the Gooey, Grey Glob ~ Mike Bundlie & Denis Bradley (2005) children (233 pgs)
Fun idea to get kids interested in various kinds of art, though overall story rather weakly presented.
        Both Flesh and Not ~ David Foster Wallace (2012) essays (328 pgs)
Great selection of short and long pieces, down to earth and high-brain, and always interesting and fun to read.

    June 2016
        The Serpent of Venice ~ Christopher Moore (2014) novel (326 pgs)
Clever mashup of Shakespeare and Poe with heaps of irreverence and cleverness, as only Moore can do it.
        Slant ~ Greg Bear (1997) science fiction (349 pgs)
Hard sf with lots of great new ideas, wrapped up with action-movie assault on building to bring down AI. Interesting.
        The Finkler Question ~ Howard Jacobson (2010) novel (307 pgs)
Well written, but ultimately kind of boring, never really engaged with the characters.
        City of Stairs ~ Robert Jackson Bennett (2014) fantasy (452 pgs)
Great ideas, some killer characters, many wonderful scenes, a real page turner. Going to look for more by this author!

    July 2016
        Costume Not Included ~ Matthew Hughes (2012) sf novel (378 pgs)
Just as nicely weird a mix of superhero and religion as the first in the series. Different, and hope he does more.
        The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Dime Museum Murders ~ Daniel Stashower (2012) mystery (217 pgs)
Okay “mystery”, mostly just a gimmick to use Houdini as a character. Not bad, just nothing memorable either.
        Places I Never Meant To Be ~ Judy Bloom (editor) (1999) children's books, censorship (202 pgs)
Short stories from a dozen authors, though it's their comments on censorship that were the most interesting.

    August 2016
        The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time ~ Mark Haddon (2003) novel (221 pgs)
Fascinating story, written in first-person voice of an autistic boy trying to solve the murder of a dog. Quite engrossing.
        Doomsday Book~ Connie Willisn (1992) science fiction (578 pgs)
Interesting read, but felt much too long and stretched out. (And wow, what an unfortunate cover art choice on this edition!)
        Thank You For Smoking ~ Christopher Buckley (1994) novel (272 pgs)
Great satire from Buckley again, Nick fights the battle to keep cigarettes available for all free people everywhere.
        Half Empty ~ David Rakoff (2010) essays (224 pgs)
Acerbic, clever, biting, and often quite touching essays from a master of the craft, David Rakoff.
        Vampires in the Lemon Grove ~ Karen Russell (2013) short stories (243 pgs)
Weirdness treated as matter-of-fact, oddness as just another reality: love these kinds of tales, wonderfully written.
        Alan Moore ~ Lance Parkin (2009) biography / reference (158 pgs)
Mostly an overview of his work in comics, movies, etc. Some bio detail. Interesting little tidbits of info on it all.
        Silver Screen Fiend ~ Patton Oswalt (2015) autobiography (222 pgs)
Wonderfully written look at his early career as a stand-up comic, along with his movie obsession. Great read.

    September 2016
        The Nuclear Age ~ Tim O'Brien (1985) novel (312 pgs)
Enjoyed previous novel by O'Brien I've read. This one, not so much so. Had its moments, but mostly “meh”.
        Popcorn ~ Ben Elton (1996) novel (298 pgs)
Now this is a “dark humor” novel. Hollywood satire mixed with serial killing couple, and pulls no punches.
        People I Want To Punch in the Throat ~ Jen Mann (2014) essays, humor (208 pgs)
Great title for a collection of snarky essays on everyday life and dealing with other people.

    October 2016
        The Glass Bead Game ~ Hermann Hesse (1943) novel (558 pgs)
Strangely interesting tale of a life devoted to thoughts and ideas. Some good stuff, some silly, but always interesting.
        Veronika Decides to Die ~ Paulo Coelho (1998) novel (210 pgs)
An easy read, but nowhere near as “deep” as the reviews led me to believe. Am I getting too old & jaded for this stuff?
        Vanishing Point ~ Michaela Roessner (1993) science fiction (332 pgs)
Page-turner of a nifty adventure, an sf twist on the whole “Rapture” idea. Well done, very enjoyable read.

    November 2016
        Mirage ~ Matt Ruff (2012) novel (414 pgs)
Alternate history/side-slip alternate world, flipping 9/11 from US to Mideast, but still with overlaps. Very different!
        To Infinity and Beyond ~ Eli Maor (1987) science, math (234 pgs)
A look at the history of our relationship with and understanding of the idea of the infinite.
        I Feel Bad About My Neck ~ Nora Ephron (2006) essays (137 pgs)
More of Ephron's dry humor and observations on life and what it is like to grow older in America as a woman.
        The Philosopher's Apprentice ~ James Morrow (2008) novel (411 ps)
Morrow redoes Frankenstein with multiple rebirths, shambling grown zygotes, more questions of belief, and much weirdness.
        Going Out ~ Scarlett Thomas (2002) novel (357 pgs)
Nice character-study fueled novel, quirky enough to keep me engaged. Disappointed with ending: he should have burst into flame.
        The Kraken Project ~ Douglas Preston (2014) novel (352 pgs)
Poorly written “thriller”. Cardboard characters, a cartoonish view of AI, and the biggest cop-out ending since last episode of “Lost”.

    December 2016
        Redshirts ~ John Scalzi (2012) science fiction (317 pgs)
From a funny Star Trek meme, Scalzi builds an entire clever and funny novel. Very well done, a page turner for sure.
        Drop Dead Healthy ~ A.J. Jacobs (2012) health (369 pgs)
A fun read, with lots of good info along with the humor, as Jacobs human guinea-pigs himself once more.
        Inkdeath ~ Cornelia Funke (2007) fantasy (663 pgs)
Wrapping up the massive fantasy trilogy. (At least, until she decides to write a fourth one!)


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