Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What I Read (2013) [BOOKS]

Jan. 1, 2013  A.J. Jacobs, The Know-it-all: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World  "Interesting account of man reading entire Encyclopaedia Britannica from start to finish."

Jan. 6, 2013  Jeff Kinney, Journal d'un degonflé: çe fait suer!  "Fourth book in the series, as Greg has exploits over summer vacation.  Funny in places, though perhaps less so than previous books."

Jan. 6, 2013  Karen Traviss, City of Pearl  "Story of expedition to distant planet inhabited by lost colony and alien presences.  Not bad, but doesn't really catch me."

Jan. 7, 2013  Jasper Fforde, Something Rotten "Always enjoyable, incredibly original and witty.  One of my favorite series."

Jan. 7, 2013  Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire  "Very readable, but similarity in plot to first book is disappointing.  Looking forward to third book."

Jan. 13, 2013  Nancy Kress, Crossfire "Story of a colony of different cultures finding itself entangled in alien war.  Not as good as some, but would read sequel."

Jan. 16, 2013  Rosemary Hunter, et al., Thinking About Law: Perspectives on the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Law "Good, well-researched collection of introductory essays."

Jan. 21, 2013  David Eddings, The Tamuli  "I loathe this trilogy with the fire of ten thousand burning suns.  A whole cast of perfect Mary-Sues triumph against outmatched foes in poorly plotted, poorly described adventures.  Gives fantasy a bad name.  Not to mention, annoying gods who are omnipotent except, for plot convenience, when they are not."

Jan. 24, 2013  Alexander Reilly, et al., Australian Public Law  "Excellent overview and synthesis."

Feb. 11, 2013  Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution  "Massive book, leads one to abhor the revolution and feel sympathy for the monarchy."

Feb. 24, 2013  Connie Willis, Doomsday Book  "This has been on my shelf since I first read it as a teenager, and I'm glad I kept it.  Very evocative of one of the worst times in human history."

Mar. 5, 2013  Laird Koenig & Peter L. Dixon, Attention: Les Enfants Regardent  "Odd thriller about kids who accidentally kill their housekeeper and then try to cover it up."

Mar. 7, 2013  Sean Howe, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story  "Fascinating history of Marvel comics, with tons of behind-the-scenes drama that helps to explain so many of the company's strange decisions."

Mar. 2013  J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy  "Excellent novel of social insight.  Believable, memorable characters with great sense of voice.  Sad, but well-written."

Mar. 23, 2013  Karen Traviss, 501st  "I really liked this and bummed Traviss left the novels and story may never be resolved."

Apr. 13, 2013  Tanith Lee, The Secret Books of Paradys I & II  "Hard to described these stories--somewhere in the horror/dark fantasy genre.  Almost Cthuluesque in spots.  Good, I think, but not great."

Apr. 2013  Robert Jordan  Knife of Dreams  "Some stuff starts to happen: Faile rescued, Tuon and Matt married, etc."

May 13, 2013  Emmanuel Carrere, La classe de neige "A beautiful little novel about the tragic future facing a boy on the cusp of adolescence.  I'm not explaining it well, but the author has a touch for detail and introspection that comes across so well."

May 25, 2013  R.A. Salvatore, The Legend of Drizzt Volume 1  "Trilogy of Homeland, Exile and Sojourn.  Tells of Drizzt's early life in the Underdark and escape to surface.  Well done and evocative settings."

June 2, 2013  Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl  "Very clever, fast-paced story of a criminal genius and fairy law enforcement.  Awesome action scenes."

June 19, 2013  Eoin Colfer The Arctic Incident  "Second Artemis Fowl book.  A little contrived beginning, but overall quite enjoyable."

June 2013  Barbara Hambly, Children of the Jedi  "Luke is trapped aboard massive planet-killing starship.  Introduction of Callista was interesting, but otherwise a bit of a slog to get through."

July 15, 2013  Eoin Colfer, The Eternity Code  "Third Artemis Fowl book.  Remains entertaining, with some hilarious moments."

July 25, 2013  Joseph Heller, Catch-22  "Hilarious and cutting after all these years."

Aug. 2013  Elizabeth George, A Traitor to Memory  "George always does a fantastic job with characters, both her main ones and minor ones.  I always feel a little let down by the resolution of the mystery, however."

Sep. 1, 2013  Richard Lee Byers, Unclean  "First of a Forgotten Realms trilogy set in Thay.  Strong plot, setting, and good action scenes."

Oct. 2013  J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter et Le Prince De Sang-Mêlé  "6th book, as Harry discovers horcuxes.  Stuff on Voldemort's backstory was more gripping the first time I read it."

Oct. 2013, Kevin J. Anderson, Darksaber  "Fairly standard Star Wars novel, but entertaining enough.  A unified Imperial fleet and another superweapon!"

Oct. 25, 2013  Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass  "Second time I've read the book, and I enjoyed it more this time.  Original setting and interesting ideas, looking forward to second in trilogy.  Audio book is a fantastic production."

Oct. 25, 2013  Rich Eisen, Total Access: A Journey to the Center of the NFL Universe  "Overall entertaining book about NFL Network.  Hilarious Pro Bowl karaoke anecdote."

Nov. 5, 2013  Jane Austen, Sense & Sensibility  "Tale of two sisters, one mature and serious, the other passionate and romantic.  Enjoyable."

Nov. 2013  Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey "Five people die when a bridge collapses, and a monk asks: why did God choose those five?  Short book, but interesting and with nice ending."

Nov. 2013  Kerry Greenwood, Flying Too High  "Second Phryne Fisher mystery, as she investigates a murder and an unrelated kidnapping.  Memorable characters and solid story."

Nov. 2013  Richard Lee Byers, Undead  "Second book of Thay trilogy, set 10 years into civil war.  Again, great atmosphere and setting."

Nov. 2013  Guy Adams, The Men Who Sold the World  "Prequel to Torchwood: Miracle Day, starring Rex Matheson.  Surprisingly entertaining given absence of rest of team.  Love Mr. Wynter."

Nov. 2013  Various, Earth (The Book)  "Second book by Daily Show staff.  Lots of laughs."

Dec 2013  N.D. Wilson, 100 Cupboards  "Second read.  Really enjoy premise and characters."

Dec 2013  Howard Berk, The Sun Grows Cold "Man with amnesia awakens in strange institution and tries to discover who he is and why he is there.  Classic plot let down by hurried, far-fetched revelations at very end."

Dec. 8, 2013  N.D. Wilson  Dandelion Fire  "2nd book in 100 Cupboards trilogy.  Still like the idea and writing, but disappointed it goes into very well-trod epic fantasy (evil queen, lost heir) territory."

Dec 10, 2013  Thomas More, Utopia "Readable account of the ideal country that gives the concept its name.  Most surprised by prevalence of communism as central tenet.  Obviously a political ideal that has longer roots than often thought."

Dec. 12, 2013 Michael Moorcock and Joe R. Lansdale, Sojan the Swordsman/Under the Warrior Star "Planet Stories double-feature of 'sword and planet' books.  Lansdale's is good, Moorcock's pretty bad."

Dec. 14, 2013 Eugene Byrne, ThigGMOO "Really fun, clever story about socialist AIs taking over the world.  One to recommend to people with the right sense of humor."

Dec. 18, 2013 Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto "Norton Critical Edition.  Really improved my understanding of the historical context in which it was written and place in evolution of communist ideologies."

Dec 21, 2013  Jeff Grub and Kate Novak, The Wyvern's Spur "Sequel to Azure Bonds.  Very different, but really good.  A great example of a fantasy novel that is set entirely around one small city, and combines domestic mystery with sword and sorcery."

Dec. 22, 2013  Richard Baker, et al., Player's Guide to Faerun "Very well-done and useful D&D 3.5 supplement for Forgotten Realms."

Dec. 24, 2013 Kate Kingsbury,  Herald of Death "Holiday mystery set at turn of the century inn.  Above average."

Dec. 28, 2013 Shane Lacy Hensley, Savage Worlds Deluxe "Well-regarded genre-free system; looking forward to trying it out sometime."

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