Below: dashed off notes on the last dozen books I've either read or attempted.
Shipwrecked: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy |
HC ISBN-10: 9780688174859 ISBN-13: 978-0688174859 (pb)
I also read this true story aloud to my daughter. A young Japanses fisherman gets shipwrecked along with his comrades in the early 1800s when Japan observed a strict isolationist policy. From there they embark on a real life adventure featuring whaling ships and learning about America and Americans first hand. The book includes many illustrations, period drawings, woodblock prints, etc. We learned a lot of interesting things about this time, especially about whaling. Interesting tale.
[finished 9 November 2013] [amazon]
Tibet Through the Red Box Peter Sís |
hc 64 pages ISBN-10: 0374375526 ISBN-13: 978-0374375522
I re-read this recently aloud to my daughter. It's an unusual story that mixes the fantastical with a diary left by the author's father, a documentary filmmaker, in a red box. The author's father had traveled to Tibet to film the making of a highway into Tibet and was gone for just over a year. The drawings within are awesome -- I'm a big fan of Peter Sís and his detailed, intricate line-drawings. And the story within is by turns fascinating and strange.
[finished 6 November 2013] 2nd reading [amazon]
Wool Hugh Howey |
tpb 528 pages ISBN-10: 1476733953 ISBN-13: 978-1476733951
This is a story that started as a series of e-book only installments and grew and grew in popularity until quel surprise a publishing company picked it up. Not only that but Ridley Scott has optioned the movie rights. AND I've heard various comments of the "you gotta read this" variety. So. Expectations were kinda high.
But. As you can see it took me over a month to read this. Doesn't classify as a page turner. I read it in very small portions and it was just okay. I don't think it'll make all that interesting of a movie either. What's it about? Well, scores of years after some unnamed apocalyptic event you've got a whole community living in an underground silo. To go outside will kill you. But the denizens of the silo are getting restless and asking the forbidden questions.
[started 12 september 2013, finished 21 october 2013] [amazon]
Hide Me Among the Graves Tim Powers |
tpb 544 pages ISBN-10: 0062210807 ISBN-13: 978-0062210807
It's been quite a while since I last read this author the mid-90s to be imprecise. He's a talented writer and I enjoy his stuff though others I've read by him I've liked better, I enjoyed this one as well. This is sort of a more literate take on a gothic horror story. There's some wonderful imagery throughout. The story takes place in mid-19th century London and its main characters include John Crawford, a veterinarian, Adelaide McKee, a reformed ex-prostitute, Christina Rossetti and her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and a very interesting rogue named Edward Trelawny. These latter three are all real characters from history. At a young age, Christina unwittingly lets loose the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, her uncle and one-time physician to Lord Byron. Polidori, along with some other vampiric spirits are up to no good and Crawford, McKee, Trelawny, and Rossettis have good reasons to vanquish him and his kind. There are occasional bits of action in the story, but too often it tends to get bogged down with the characters discussing their plight.
I didn't realize it until after I'd finished reading the book, but it's a sequel of sorts to the book The Stress of Her Regard which involved vampires, Lord Byron, and the father of John Crawford. I remember that one as a quicker moving tale. (Read it back in 1992). Took me about a month to get through this one. Powers' earlier books, On Stranger Tides and The Anubis Gates are among some all-time favorites of mine.
[started 14 August 2013, finished 12 September 2013] [amazon]
Who Could That Be at This Hour? All the Wrong Questions (Book 1)|
hc 272 pages ISBN-10: 0316123080 ISBN-13: 978-0316123082
I turned to this book after a previously started read-aloud book for the kids proved to be too boring. This isn't boring although at times it can be a bit convoluted. It's a faux-autobiographical tale of a young Lemony Snicket who's apprenticed to a dim chaperone and tasked with solving a mystery. Many of the characters are amusing and the kids once again protested every time I declared I was done reading for the night. Always a good sign. This book is the first of four in a series and left some loose ends.
[finished 6 September 2013] [amazon]
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn |
hc 432 pages ISBN-10: 030758836X ISBN-13: 978-0297859383
This thing been on the hardcover bestseller list for over a year so you may have heard of it. There's a movie coming too, of course. People are raving about this one. So I gave a copy to my wife who plowed through it and then I read it. I like mysteries, crime novels, what-have-you but this wasn't the crazy page-turner I was expecting. That said, I did read it fairly quickly. The story bounces back and forth from the point-of-view of the two main characters, Nick and Amy. They're a married couple with some serious issues. How serious the issues are are revealed layer by layer like a (rotten) onion. The story begins with the suspicious disappearance of Amy and naturally all eyes are on Nick (who lies a lot). I thought the book was fairly fun but not thrust-it-into-the-hands-of-your-friends fun but definitely oh-these-people-are-bad fun.
[started 5 August 2013, finished 13 August 2013] [amazon]
Savages Don Winslow |
mmpb 368 pages ISBN-10: 1451672535 ISBN-13: 978-1451672534
This one had popped up on my radar back when I started seeing trailers for the movie version. I never did see the movie but I've read two other books by this author (The Death and Life of Bobby Z, California Fire & Life) and really liked them. So I snagged this one out of the local library and ended up polishing it off in just three days. It's written in a very cool, slangy, breezy style... it's an effortless, summer read. I thought the characters were really cool and just thought the story and writing were a lot of fun. I gotta read more by this author.
[started 13 july 2013, finished 15 july 2013] [amazon]
The Lives of Tao Wesley Chu |
mmpb 464 pages ISBN-10: 0857663291 ISBN-13: 978-0857663290
I was casting about for a light-reading science fiction title and this one fit the bill. It's actually pretty light on the science fiction and has much more spy novel DNA. Our protagonist is Roen Tan, an out-of-shape IT worker who unwittingly becomes a host to an alien entity named Tao. Tao is a Quasing, an alien race that crash-landed on earth in pre-historic times and they'd like to use their human hosts to help them return home. The problem is that the Quasings have split into two factions, the Prophus and the Genjix, and they're at war with each other. The Prophus value their human hosts, the Genjix don't care a whit for the fate of the humans. Tao is a Prophus. So when Roen starts hearing a voice in his head, he's not crazy, but his life is about to get a lot more complicated. The story starts off strong, then loses a little bit of steam. But it's a fast read and I enjoyed it overall.
[started 25 june 2013, finished 8 july 2013] [amazon]
The Pirates! In An Adventure with the Romantics Gideon Defoe |
tpb 320 pages ISBN-13: 978-0345802903
I'm a big fan of this silly, absurdist series. These books never fail to get me chuckling and this outing is one of the better ones (although as the author tweeted to me, "THEY'RE ALL AMAZING") . And it never fails to amuse me that the chapter titles have nothing to do with the contents of the chapter. Anyway, in this outing, the Pirate Captain and his crew find themselves on Lake Geneva and eventually hook up with Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary Godwin (author of Frankenstein). The Pirate Captain gets a crush on Mary and the usual silliness goes from there.
[finished 25 june 2013] [amazon]
Juliet, Naked Nick Hornby |
hc 416 pages ISBN-10: 1594488878 ISBN-13: 978-1594488870
This was a boring story about boring people doing boring things. I'm amazed that I bothered to finish it.
[finished 17 june 2013]
Dune Messiah Frank Herbert |
mmpb 279 pages ISBN-10: 0425043797 ISBN-13: 978-0425043790
[Note: contains spoilers.]
I decided to re-read this one mostly to refresh my memory for possible re-reads of later books in this series. Also, it's way short. The first time I read it was 33 years ago so I was a little hazy on events but I remember the key bits: The introduction of Tleilaxu face-dancers; Duncan Idaho brought back from the grave as a Tleilaxu ghola; Paul gets blinded by a "stone-burner" bomb but his prescient sight is so acute it hardly seems to matter; Alia is starting to get horny; and Paul and Chani have twins: Leto II and Ghanima. It's all basically a set-up for Children of Dune. Not that much really happens and its chock-full of that quasi-mystical mumbo jumbo. You Dune fans know what I'm talking about.
[finished 7 june 2013] [amazon]
Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos Robert Lawson |
Paperback: 114 pages ISBN-10: 0316517305 ISBN-13: 978-0316517300
I read this short tale out loud to the kids. The fact that it was first published in 1939 might account for the plethora of vocabulary words it contains. But the kids followed along just fine and learned a little about Ben Franklin to boot. The story is narrated by Ben's pet mouse Amos who enjoys taking most of the credit for Ben's inventions.
[finished 4 june 2013] [amazon]
last dozen books read
Shipwrecked: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy ~ Rhoda Blumberg
Tibet Through the Red Box ~ by Peter Sís
Wool ~ Hugh Howey
Hide Me Among the Graves ~ Tim Powers
"Who Could That Be at This Hour?"
~ Lemony Snicket
Gone Girl ~ Gillian Flynn
Savages ~ Don Winslow
The Lives of Tao ~ Wesley Chu
The Pirates! In An Adventure with the Romantics ~ Gideon Defoe
Juliet, Naked ~ Nick Hornby
Dune Messiah ~ Frank Herbert
Ben and Me ~ Robert Lawson
aquisitions and turnover
"Read" includes all books read that year whether or not it was acquired in the same year.
| 2013 || 11 || 4 || 29 || 5 |
| 2012 || 13 || 5 || 28 || 1 |
| 2011 || 18 || 5 || 42 || 3 |
| 2010 || 25 || 16 || 33 || 11 |
| 2009 || 40 || 13 || 29 || 10 |
| 2008 || 38 || 12 || 48 || 13 |
| 2007 || 27 || 8 || 34 || 9 |
| 2006 || 20 || 6 || 29 || 4 |
| 2005 || 20 || 10 || 41 || 4 |
| 2004 || 19 || 2 || 34 || 6 |
| 2003 || 24 || 2 || 31 || 6 |