Book Log Review – 2012

Huh.  I never did a 2012 roundup.  What’s WRONG with me?

Books read in 2004: 21
Books read in 2005: 28
Books read in 2006: 40
Books read in 2007: 30
Books read in 2008: 41
Books read in 2009: 22
Books read in 2010: 44
Books read in 2011: 28
Books read in 2012: 31

1. Installing Linux on a Dead Badger by Lucy A. Snyder

2. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling

5. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

6. A Hat Full of Sky: A Tiffany Aching Adventure by Terry Pratchett

7. Snuff by Terry Pratchett

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

10. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins

11. Restaurant Success by the Numbers: A Money-Guy’s Guide to Opening the Next Hot Spot by Roger Fields

12. A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One by R.R. Martin

13. God, No! by Pen Jillette

14. Rhubarb by M.H. Van Keuren

15. You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

16. Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese

17. Mercury Swings by Robert Kroese

18. Mercury Rises by Robert Kroese

19. A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two by George R.R. Martin

20. A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three by George R.R. Martin

21. A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Four by George R.R. Martin

22. A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) by George R.R. Martin

23. Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue (The Bern Saga Book 1) by Hugh C. Howey

24. Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing by Neal Stephenson

25. Sick Puppy by Carl Hiassen

26. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

27(x). The Force is Middlling in this One (and Other Ruminations from the Outskirts of the Empire) by Robert A. Kroese – ABANDONED

27. Forbidden Gospels and Epistles by Archbishop Wake

28. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

29. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

30. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

31. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

 

 

Book Log – Casino Royale

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

I’ve never read a James Bond novel before, so I took a chance on one when it came available on Paperbackswap.com.

It was what I’ll call historically interesting, rather than a “good book”. In a recent movie that introduced Judi Dench as M, M referred to him as a “misogynistic dinosaur”, and that pretty much sums up the novel.

There isn’t a whole lot of action, but when there is some, Bond escapes danger mostly by luck or allies, though once or twice by quick thinking. But this is his genesis; he is a young agent simultaneously doubtful and confident.

But boy, those women annoy him. They were ALWAYS messin’ stuff up back then. You know?

Book Log – Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Man, that is a lot of 80s references.

I feel really… pandered to. Here is a book full of references to things you are nostalgiac about… movies, video games, etc.

It’s a fine dystopian future plot, where a young, overweight gamer can save the world (sort of) by remembering 80s trivia, and playing video games.

Really… just so… pandered to.

But that’s fine. It’s an enjoyable ride, as long as you can overlook the Mary Sue-ness.

Book Log – I Shall Wear Midnight

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

I don’t know. It was a Pratchett Discworld Tiffany Aching book. I read it several weeks back.

I feel bad, never having anything to say about Discworld books. I like them. I really do. I obviously keep reading them. I think I’ve read just about all of them.

What happens in any particular one just dissipates quickly in my mind.

But Tiffany Aching is a fine heroine, which I’m noticing more and more are in short supply. Witches are cool. Nice ones, anyway.

Book Log – Forbidden Gospels and Epistles

Forbidden Gospels and Epistles by Archbishop Wake

I pulled this off of gutenberg.org, because I’ve read some about these rejected bits of potential New Testament, but I haven’t read any of it.

I skimmed this, and I have to say: hilarious. In small doses.

I had wondered how the stuff that got in the New Testament was chosen, and apparently, according to the Council of Nice, they put all the potential writings under a table in a church, and asked the Lord to put the good ones on the table, and it happened. This is mentioned in the introduction by Edward Hancock, who I guess edited and re-released this early collection. I’m not clear where this story comes from (he has a citation, but darned if I’m going to follow it).

At any rate, there’s a lot of gospel about Jesus’ early life, and frankly, it reads like Christopher Moore’s Lamb.

Several times, kids or adults make fun of young Jesus, and he smites them dead. At one point after this, Joseph takes him by the ear and drags him away from the scene of his latest smiting.

Seriously. Christopher Moore style stuff. He must have read these, and went… Comedy Gold.

Book Log – The Force is Middling in this One [abandoned]

The Force is Middlling in this One (and Other Ruminations from the Outskirts of the Empire) by Robert A. Kroese

I gave up on this one.

I’d read his Mercury series (two books and an interstitial short story), which was… okay. Here’s a bit from an article on self-publishing in The Independant:

Robert Kroese, author of Self-Publish Your Novel: Lessons from an Indie Publishing Success Story, decided to publish his own work because he thought traditional publishing was “like trying to get into an exclusive club”. You’re not, he said, “even sure what’s in the club, and there are some people who are coming out of it and saying ‘well, that wasn’t worth it’.” His first novel, Mercury Falls, sold about 5,000 copies, in print and e-book, in six months. Then it caught the attention of the publishing arm of Amazon, who re-released it, and it sold 50,000 more.

The problem is that Kroese is trying very, very hard to be like Douglas Adams. He is trying very hard to be funny. And while he might, in fact, be a funny person, he is simply trying too hard. The catch with self-publishing is, I’m not sure there’s anyone around to tell him so. Maybe there is. Maybe they’re just not very good at it. Or maybe they’re afraid they won’t get his cash if they do so, because he’ll go to another self-publishing house.

He comes across as that person at the party who says something absurd, and then says, “Don’t mind me, I’m a little bit craaazy!” and you nod and smile and say, “yeeaaah.”

I can’t read a whole book full of that. I don’t even go to parties very much anymore. Maybe I’m out of practice.

Book Log – Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

I don’t care what the protagonist in Diary of a Wimpy Kid says, this is a good book.

It’s funny, with a good female lead, well written. Also, she’s more or less a fictional depiction of living with my daughter. If she was living in 1908, anyway. So she’ll enjoy it some day.

I can’t get my son to try Pippi Longstocking, so I doubt I’d get him to do this one.

Especially because of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid reference. Stupid wimpy kid.

Book Log – Sick Puppy

Sick Puppy by Carl Hiassen

Rocketboy likes Carl Hiassen’s books for young readers, all of which seem to have one word titles.

Reggie Scott, an old friend from college, recommended Sick Puppy and Star Island, some of his “grown up” books, all of which seem to have two word titles. So, I guess it’s a code.

I read aloud some of Scat (one word title = young reader) to Rocketboy, and thought it was a pretty good tale, written well. Interestingly, Sick Puppy has a common character, though the age appropriateness is vastly different. Sex, drugs, plastic surgery, gruesome torture and death… those are not in Hoot.

But it is also amusing, in a Christopher Moore way, without being as outlandish as Moore. It reminds me of David Barry’s passable first effort at a novel, also set in Florida, Big Trouble (Did he do a second?1). Also, two word title. Ironically, the two came out at around the same time (1999/2000), though Carl was writing two word title books starting in 1986.

It’s a darkish satire of Florida developers and eco-terrorists. An enjoyable read.
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1 Yes, yes he did. Also, Big Trouble was apparently made into a movie with actual stars in it. How is it I know nothing of this? Not that I would have wanted to see it, but at least I feel I should have known.

Book Log – Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing

Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing by Neal Stephenson

Meh.

Did you see that? Me? A huge Neal Stephenson fan? Meh?

“Certain persons who know what they are talking about where publishing is concerned have assured me that I have reached the stage in my life and career where it is not only possible, but advisable, to release a compilation of what are drolly referred to as my ‘shorter’ works.” – from the introduction.

So, even Neal seems reluctant at the start.

This is not to say he isn’t a fine essay writer. There are a few in there I quite enjoyed.

But I jumped on it, right at publication, because I’m a fanboy. And I paid a lot for the book. Really, I should have waited until the price came down. I knew in my heart of hearts this wasn’t going to be another Baroque Cycle.

At least there’s some good stuff about the era of the Baroque Cycle, some commentary on Newton and that crew. An interesting essay on cults. Some other stuff.

I look forward to his next fiction.