Geeks, at least in the modern incarnation, place a lot of weight in what (and to a lesser degree, in how much) they read. This has always been more than a bit of a bother to me, because I don't remember the titles of all of the books I read. I don't always remember what I've had for breakfast this week, so the thought of memorizing literally thousands of book titles is beyond my comprehension.
That being said, it is inconvenient. When people ask how many books I read in a year, I have no idea. I've always thrown out the 30 or 40 number because it seemed arbitrarily plausible, although it has always sounded more than a little high to me. I mean, approaching a book a week; surely I don't read that much.
So this year I set out to document every book I read. As with most of my little endeavors, it began a lot more strong than it ended, but I kept it up and documented a roughly chronological listing of my reading for the year. Near the end it gets less chronological, as I would finish a book and lob it into a pile to enter later... so there are clumps that are in something like an order. Also, I am SURE I missed a book or two, but I'll be damned if I can remember what it/they is/are.
So with no further ado, the books I read from 1 Jan 2007 to 31 Dec 2007:
- Attack of the Bacon Robots (Penny Arcade, Vol. 1) by
Even if you have never missed an episode of Penny Arcade, I cannot recommend this (or any of their compilations) enough. The additional commentary totally makes it.
- Killing Floor by Lee Child
Lee Child is a fantastic author, and although I often get very bored with novels that follow one protagonist through adventure after adventure (Clive Cussler, are you listening?), Jack Reacher is as cool a hero as you can get... all the calm, cool, collected, and suave of 007, but throw in a blue-collar work ethic and a cold demeanor.
- The Innocent by Harlan Coben
There isn't a single book by Coben that I have read to date during which I have failed to get a chill down my spine when he reveals the dramatic plot twist. This usually happens in the middle of the book. He then proceeds to repeat this for effect for a couple hundred more pages. I absolutely love this.
- The Enemy by Lee Child
Just read Lee Child's stuff. Trust me.
- Act of War by Dale Brown
This isn't Dan Brown. If you are into Clancy-esque techno-war-action-adventure stories, but with a NEW plot and interesting characters, this is pretty solid. It's not high art, but it was entertaining.
- The Last Prophecy by Jon Land
This made me yearn for its undiluted older brother, The Davinci Code... painful to read.
- You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore
I can't think of anybody that I think deserves the honor of being called Douglas Adams reincarnated more than Christopher Moore. Seriously, he channels Adams without being even slightly derivative. I've read several of his books, and I am on a quest to own them all. (Oh, and this was an amazingly appreciated gift from my amazing girlfriend).
- Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
Yes, somehow I made it into my thirties as a SF/Fantasy enthusiast without having ever read any Eddings whatsoever. This has now been rectified as I read both the Belgariad and the Mallorean sets back to back. I really enjoyed them all. I found them to be very much lifted from other books in the genre, until I realized that THESE were the books being robbed from by modern fantasy (not that David didn't commit his own instances of excessive-homage here). The plot is enjoyable, the action is well paced, and the characters are extraordinarily fun.
- Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
- Penny Arcade Volume 3: The Warsun Prophecies by Jerry Holkins
- Magician's Gambit by David Eddings
- Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings
- Enchanters' End Game by David Eddings
- Friday by Robert A. Heinlein
Revisiting my childhood here, this was the first Heinlein ever read. Somehow I managed to make it past this one to find a profound love for most of his other books. Uneven, as several separate stories stitched together tends to be.
- The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein
Not one of my favorites, but a fun read.
- The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian
Go out, find and buy this book right now. I've never found myself so sympathetic and yet so repulsed by a single character before. A plot so fantastic that it could only have been stolen directly from real life in some fibbed manner, and characters that had me laughing out loud in public routinely.
- Bleachers by John Grisham
At some point, John Grisham apparently recognized that he was completely typecast as that dude who writes the lawyer books; so he has been writing out-of-genre in an attempt to prove that he is something more. He is entirely successful. This is no A Painted House, but it is damned good on its own.
- The Broker by John Grisham
You get what you expect. A fun, well written book about a lawyer falling into adventure. Letter perfect and no less enjoyable for its formula.
- A Time to Kill by John Grisham
Reading Bleachers put me in a Grisham mood, so I read a few because I do love them, despite how "normal" that must make me.
- Guardians of the West by David Eddings
You have to be a pretty good author to write the same exact story twice in a row, and have me read it excitedly both times in the same six month period. Well done.
- King of the Murgos by David Eddings
- Demon Lord of Karanda by David Eddings
- Sorceress of Darshiva by David Eddings
- The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings
- Belgarath the Sorcerer by Leigh Eddings
This was pretty fun, as Belgarath was one of my favorite characters from the stories. It got a bit long-winded at times, but I liked it overall.
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
I got it for the kids, and had to re-read it. Holy crap can this book still bring me to sobbing, sloppy, snot-filled tears. At the end, Geralyn looked up at me as I read on the couch and said "Are you actually CRYING?" When she reread it, she was similarly afflicted. I feel vindicated.
- Polgara the Sorceress by David Eddings
I feel like I might have enjoyed this more if I had waited longer after reading all of the other Eddings books. I love Polgara as a character, but I just couldn't take even more repetition and I was very burnt out by this time.
- Blindness by Jose Saramago
Oh... My... God... It is pretty rare that I find myself as impressed by award winning books as the award granting authority did. This and Life of Pi are profound exceptions to that truth. There are books that are sad, then there are books that will drive you into such a state of depression that you have to remove razor blades from your home for the duration. This was exactly that sort of book. I find myself considering re-reading it, but I don't know if I can afford the debilitating depression that accompanies it. Utterly beautiful.
- Farnham's Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein
Libertarianism expressed without million-page monologues. Take that, Ayn Ryand! Oh, and lest I forget, blatantly obvious commentary on racism. I enjoy this book every time I read it, despite its lack of subtlety (or, perhaps, FOR its lack of subtlety).
- Alternities by David Gerrold
A series of short SF stories that were starnge and different and not necessarily good. SF Erotica mostly.
- A Chip Hilton Sports Story, Fourth Down Showdown by Clair Bee
Somehow, I ended up with several off-the-wall books from my friend Nick. This was one of them, and I read it in, I think, an hour. My brother used to survive on sports fiction like this. I hope he feels shame in the memory now. :P
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste by Warren Ellis
Long live Spider Jerusalem. Every one of these I read makes me want to be a journalist that makes a difference, knows about politics, and doesn't give a shit what anyone says. Then I pull up Internet porn and jerk myself to sleep. We already have a Spider Jerusalem, his name is Warren Ellis, and he is one angry motherfucker.
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street by Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 2: Lust for Life by Warren Ellis
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Fantastic. I was spellbound by this narrative. I see why people glow over it. I am, however, horrifically late to the party, so you probably all knew all of this already.
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman
I am not a huge fan of superhero comics, but this is just great. It is funny, well drawn, engaging, and novel. It is what Nova could have been, but never quite was.
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 by Robert Kirkman
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 3 by Robert Kirkman
- Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
A "the world falls into armageddon" that deals almost entirely with the goings on immediately before and after armageddon happens. Now it seems like an obvious story to tell, but that's only after reading this brilliant treatment of it. There might be hope for humanity yet, but it's going to require a bloody comet crash!
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 4 by Robert Kirkman
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 4: The New Scum by Warren Ellis
My second favorite of this series.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
This is award winning. This is an important book! This expressed deep, important ideas. I found it to be truly and profoundly boring.
- Enders Shadow by Orson Scott Card
I found this and grabbed it because I thought I had somehow missed it. Ten pages in, I realized that not only had I read it, but I own it. Nonetheless, it was fun to revisit it, and it prompted a visit back to an old favorite, Ender's Game.
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
A collection of great short stories told from the perspective of Indian immigrants. Each is intricate, involving, and left me feeling like I should have gotten more out of them than I did. I re-read this immediately after I finished it the first time, I loved the stories so much.
- Tunnel Vision by Keith Lowe
Like The Fuck-Up, this is the story of a guy I can relate to, not because I share his obsession with the London underground (the trains), but because you can feel how he gets so wrapped up in things that rapidly spin beyond his grasp that he ends up just running along behind events, trying not to get eaten alive. I enjoyed it enough that I read it twice this year.
- The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein
This was the second Heinlein I ever read. I revisit it periodically, and I've bought more copies of it than I care to consider.
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard by Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 5: Lonely City by Warren Ellis
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 5 by Robert Kirkman
- Dreamland by Dale Brown
- Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
- When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctrow
This was my first exposure to Cory Doctrow. As a result, I am going through everything else he's written.
- Neuromancer by William Gibson
I somehow read this growing up but couldn't remember any details. I wasn't missing all that much, the story itself was fantastic, but the writing was kludgey enough to make it hard for me to read.
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman
This is how fairy tales should all be told. Awesome story, if you've seen the movie, you definitely need to read the book now.
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Gaimen created a brand new, modern fairy tale, then sold me on the notion that I'd known about it my whole life. For once, the hero actually feels real to me.
- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
In one book, Cory invents a form of social capital, a technological revolution, and a sociology wrapped around the Magic Kingdom; all woven around a great mystery story.
- Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow
This felt like it should have been so much more. At every point during the reading of this I felt like I should be getting more out of it, or like I was *just* missing something that would really tie it all together. Fortunately, Matt has taken some steps to fix the problem with his remix of the story.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
I had to go back and reread all of the books in preparation for the final chapter. Don't judge me!
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
It's almost too horrifying to truly be a children's story, but somehow it works as one.
- Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow
Doctorow writes some of the most beautiful, fun to read prose you can buy, and he comes up with some amazing plots. These things typically make up for weak characters that feel like color-by-numbers. That isn't true here, this is Cory's perfect novel.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Worth the wait? Certainly. Unexpected? Not so much. A good read? It was as much fun as the rest, if not more so.
- Penny Arcade Volume 2: Epic Legends Of The Magic Sword Kings by Jerry Holkins
- Penny Arcade Volume 4: Birds Are Weird by Jerry Holkins
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 6 by Robert Kirkman
- The Hard Way by Lee Child
- Darkness & Light - Preludes V.1 by Tonya Carter
This might have been the worst load of crap I've ever read. Ever. I struggled my way through it hoping for some payoff. The payoff was that ultimately, Carter ran out of words. Thank god!
- Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
I had forgotten this one entirely. This was my first exposure to the idea that humans might not be the most advanced species in the galaxy. Though the idea has been hit upon repeatedly since, this is a fun introductory take on it. My son loves it.
- Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein
I love this book, it's one of my favorite Heinlein SF, along with Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Time Enough for Love.
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
O NOES! The atheists figured out how to write books! C.S. Lewis will be so pissed. Interesting, if not derivative, story. Reasonably well writted, but the later books get somewhat better.
- The Husband by Dean Koontz
I love Koontz for a quick, time-killing read. This was better than normal Koontz. Good stuff.
- Refugee (Bio of a Space Tyrant, Vol 1) by Piers Anthony
Piers Anthony finally decided to shuck off the subtlety and just write porn, in this case a long, involved rape fantasy; but a surprisingly entertaining one. Sometime I have to read the rest of them.
- Hornet Flight by Ken Follett
This is the adventure version of Pillars of the Earth, and every bit as good. A must-read.
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 6: Gouge Away by Warren Ellis
- Transmetropolitan Vol. 7: Spider's Thrash by Warren Ellis
- Invincible: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 7 by Robert Kirkman
- Programming Logic and Design -- Comprehensive by Joyce Farrell
I was evaluating this book for use as a textbook. This is a bit *too* comprehensive for my purposes, but its little brother, the Intro version, on the other hand is perfect.
- The Cave of the Chinese Skeletons by Jack Seward
Another one of those weird books from Nick. Not a good one.
- Running Linux by Matt Welsh
Another evaluation read. These turn into the most involved, time-consuming reads ever. This is a great Linux primer.
- Rogue Warrior: Green Team by Richard Marcinko
Marcinko writes about the military that I wished I was joining... it's too bad it's not like that anymore. It's fun to read the words of an unrepentant warrior.
- The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the
Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs
This was another gift to me from Ger. She knows me so well. Jacobs undertook his quest and wrote about it in a fun, non-judgmental, interesting manner. A wildly entertaining read.
- Object-Oriented Programming Using C++ by Joyce Farrell
Best introductory C++ text I've ever read.
- Girls Volume 1: Conception by Joshua Luna
An interesting start to what could be a pretty great story. I'll have to read another issue or two to see.
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau
C'mon, it's Walden! Good stuff.
- On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
It's *STILL* Walden, eh!?
- Lenin's Brain by Tilman Spengler
Ugh. That's it. Just, Ugh!
- Echo Platoon by Richard Marcinko
- Common Culture: Reading and Writing About American Popular Culture by Michael F Petracca
- PHP 5 In Practice by Elliott White & Jonathan D. Eisenhamer
I don't know, it helped me write the crappy PHP that runs this site and Penguicon.org.
- Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, Book Two: City of Night by Dean
Again, it's Koontz, so it's never *bad*. This is a modern-day retelling of the Frankenstein story. I eagerly await the third installment.
- Hideaway by Dean Koontz
A okay story with a great ending.
- Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
The BEST Koontz ever.
- Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
Not a bad followup to the BEST Koontz ever.
- Up from the Bottomless Pit and Other Stories by Philip Jose
I've never read Farmer, so it's rather an oddity to find that he's something of an icon amongst SF writers. The short story for whch this collection is named illustrates why brilliantly. The rest is of similarly high quality. Now I need to find more by Farmer.
- Fallen Angels by Larry Niven
This was my first introduction to fandom. I read this in my teenage years and didn't think the characters were very realistic at all. Now that I've gotten involved in fandom, I see that I couldn't have been more wrong. If anything, he toned down the characters for realism.
- Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism
Matters by Jessica Valenti
I was very excited to read this book when first I heard about it. I mean, I had been reading Jessica's blog, Feministing for quite a while, and found her to spread a rational message of reasonable feminist ideals. This book marks the start of her descent into the madness of 3rd wave feminine insanity. There are some very good points in here, but much of it is encapsulated in the detritus of poorly formed arguments and fallacious logic. Still a worthy read, but not as great as I'd hoped.
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
It's like reading Atlas Shrugged, but with real characters, shorter monologues, and a somewhat more satisfying story. Of course, martyrdom gets old, but if you can stomach it to get through to the payoff, well... you can witness a bit more martyrdom!
- Silent Bob Speaks: The Collected Writings of Kevin Smith by
I love everything that Kevin Smith writes. This is fantastic by any standard though. Interesting insight into the man, if you are interested in him at all. It is like the literary version of his "Evening with..." lectures.
- My Boring Ass Life: The Uncensored Diary of Kevin Smith
As much as I love Kevin Smith, about half way through, this gets to be a bit much... but the "Me and My Shadow" story of Jason Mewes's struggle with drug addiction makes the entire book worthwhile.
- Brother Odd by Dean Koontz
This was better than Forever Odd but not *quite* as good as Odd Thomas. Very enjoyable.
- Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury
This was pretty okay. The writing, itself, was fantastic, but I found the story to be only moderately entertaining.
- Book of the Moon by Hockney
If you have ever found yourself even slightly interested in the moon, get this book. Information is given in an entertaining and easy to follow way.
- Past Due by William Lashner
An average pop-media murder- mystery. The story is pretty good. The writing is well done. Fun and time passing.
- Windows XP Inside Out by Bott and Seichert
- The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven
I really wish I could say that I loved this more... I mean, it's Larry Niven, but it's really, really bad Niven.
- The Experience Economy by Pine & Gilmore
If you are involved in event marketing (or marketing through events in general), this is a must read. (Cons count, folks).
- Creature by John Saul
Comfort reading. I've read it so many times, and it's always a fun way to pass time.
- Scroogled by Cory Doctorow
It's not a long story, but it is a really thought provoking, interesting story. Read it!
In this coming year, I would love to read more Stross, Gaiman, Doctorow, while making some time to fill in some gaps in my reading pedigree (any Philip K. Dick and Asimov that I haven't read, for example). I really wish I had some witty summary to this whole thing but... umm.. that's it.