Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Catch Up Post August -- December 2007

I haven't been posting for a while, so I thought I'd catch up by listing the books I've read since the last post here with a one or two sentence comment. Trying to do real reviews at this point would be too time consuming and I'd rather get up to speed fast and resume regular posting than risk falling so far behind that I don't bother to start posting again.

  1. Pohl, Frederik. The Boy who Would Live Forever. New York: Tor, 2005. 384pp.
    Pretty typical late period Pohl. Kind of rambling and discursive, a bit weak on plot but full of lots of heart and enjoyable characters. Worth it for fans of Pohl's work or the Heechee books but probably not for the casual reader.

  2. Hamilton, Donald. The Wrecking Crew. New York: Fawcett Gold Medal, 1960. 176pp.
    Another short sharp shock, the second in the Matt Helm series. Lots of twists and turns, hardboiled and noir, violent and cruel. Good stuff.

  3. Wellington, David. 13 Bullets. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007. 336pp.
    Over the top horror at it's finest. A modern vampire vs. copy tale, violent and bloody, no refugees from Anne Rice-land either. the vampires are deliciously evil and demented.

  4. Dozois, Gardner, ed. The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty Second Annual Collection. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. 704pp.
    Self-recommending. Full of great stories. Read it and it's brethren from previous and later years if you care about science fiction at the shorter lengths.

  5. Stracher, Cameron. Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table. New York: Random House, 2007. 256pp.
    A heart-warming tale of a type-A workaholic dad who tries to slow down a bit and cook dinner for his family more often. A story of overwork, overstress, long commutes and crazy schedules. Mostly, Stracher makes it work.

  6. Stephen Jones, ed. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: 16. New York: Carroll & Graff, 2005. 512pp.
    Another can't miss collection. I've been reading these for 10-plus years and I'm not sure if there's been an over all better selection than in this edition.

  7. Scalzi, John. The Last Colony. New York: Tor, 2007. 320pp.
    A bit of a disappointment. A bit too talky and slow-moving compared to the previous installments with not enough emphasis on the action that has made Scalzi famous. Also, he really needs to expand this palette of characterization. Not everyone wise-cracks constantly. Also, the Perry/Jane/Zoe family unit is way too transparently Scalzi's own family for my liking. Again, to get to the next level as a novelist, he really needs to work on his characters.

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What I read: 2007

What do you care what I read in 2007? Nothing, of course, but I do. As I get older (I was 20 in 1983 when I started keeping track of the books I read) I find myself more and more in the position of looking at a stack of books on my shelves by, say, Cornell Woolrich and they all have the word "Black" in the title. I know I've read a couple but I can't remember which ones. Fortunately, I've been maintaining a little list in a little brown book since April 1983 of all the books I've read (or at least attempted). By putting this list here it will be searchable. I may ultimately put at least some of it in something like LibraryThing, but for now I'll be putting it here. The advantage is that the blog is quick and dirty, without a lot of effort per entry. The books are in the order I read them.

By way of adding some value to the list, I'll italicize any work that I remember as being particularly wonderful.

  1. Hybrids by Robert J. Sawyer
  2. The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney
  3. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
  4. Over My Dead Body by Lee Server
  5. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006 edited by Brian Greene
  6. The Best American Science Writing 2006 edited by Atul Gawande
  7. Demons by John Shirley
  8. The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2006 edited by Bora Zivkovic
  9. Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels by David Pringle
  10. Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal
  11. It by Stephen King
  12. The Google Story by: Inside the Hottest Business, Media, and Technology Success of Our Time by David Vise & Mark Malseed
  13. Witness to Myself by Seymour Shubin
  14. Lady Yesterday by Loren D. Estleman
  15. Follies of Science: 20th Century Visions of Our Fantastic Future by Eric Dregni & Jonathan Dregni
  16. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  17. The Fabulous Riverboat by Philip Jose Farmer
  18. The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin
  19. Still Life with Crows by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
  20. Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change by Walt Crawford
  21. The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters by Ardea Skybreak
  22. The Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli
  23. You'll Die Next by Harry Whittington
  24. Trials of the Monkey: An Accidental Memoir by Matthew Chapman
  25. Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder by David Weinberger
  26. Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy
  27. Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
  28. Days of Infamy by Harry Turtledove
  29. The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril
  30. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
  31. The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
  32. The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester
  33. Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry
  34. The Boy who Would Live Forever by Frederik Pohl
  35. Glut: Mastering Information Through The Ages by Alex Wright
  36. Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature by David Quammen
  37. The Wrecking Crew by Donald Hamilton
  38. 13 Bullets by David Wellington
  39. The Year's Best Science Fiction: 22 edited by Gardner Dozois
  40. Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table by Cameron Stracher
  41. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
  42. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror: 16 edited by Stephen Jones
  43. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
  44. Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts by John McCain, David Dunbar, and Brad Reagan
  45. The Best American Science Writing 2007 by Gina Kolata
  46. Dead Man's Song by Jonathan Maberry