42. Throttle: A Tale Inspired by “Duel” by Joe Hill and Stephen King, 42 pages, Suspense, 2009. An e-book short story inspired by Richard Matheson’s “Duel”, finds father and son authors writing about a father and son in a motorcycle gang. They are at odds after a particularly gruesome deal gone wrong. On the road later, a semi truck starts running down members of the gang. I liked the way the strained relationship between father and son comes across, and the storytelling is good. But I didn’t like the subject matter.
43. Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen, Illustrated by Jonathan Case, 234 pages, Graphic Novel, 2011. The son of Tom Jensen, one of the detectives who worked the Green River serial murders, wrote this graphic novel about his dad’s work. While it does jump around a bit in time, it clearly marks when in the story we are. Excellent book about a serious topic, it was done well and was quite compelling.
44. Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, Volume 1 by David Lapham, Illustrated by Mike Huddleston, 150 pages, Graphic Novel, 2011 (The Strain Graphic Novel, Book 1). The introduction says it is not just a direct retelling of the book in graphic form. What it is, is a very strong beginning to a vampire plague that I want to read more of. They end this book shortly after the virus starts to spread. I also need to pick up the novel and give that a try.
45. Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 356 pages, Mystery, 2008 (In Death, Book 26). Lt. Eve Dallas is assigned a salacious case of a wealthy man murdered during what appears to be a sex act while his wife is out of town. But there are problems with the scene that leads Dallas to believe that there is something going on here, anything but what the scene appears to be. It’s beautiful, the way she took down the perpetrator in the end.
46. Death Walker by Aimee & David Thurlo, 380 pages, Mystery, 1996 (Ella Clah, Book 2). Ella Clah has left the FBI to become a special investigator with the Navajo tribal police force. So she is first on the case when a serial killer targets those who are teaching others about Navajo traditional beliefs and ways. Excellent book, not afraid to stand by traditional interpretations of events, but also modern systems of order.
47. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh, 369 pages, Humor, 2013. I have been a fan of the popular blog, Hyperbole and a Half, for many years now. And I’m thrilled to see her work turned into a book.
48. Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 353 pages, Mystery, 2008 (In Death, Book 27). A priest is poisoned by the sacramental wine while performing funerary rites. Lt. Eve Dallas thinks it is an intensely personal kill. But then a televangelist performing in NYC is killed by poison in his water bottle, and the priest turns out to be a former local gang banger masquerading as a priest. Serial killer or copycat becomes the question of the day. This book was incredibly easy to read; I enjoyed it very much.
49. Promises in Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 342 pages, Mystery, 2009 (In Death, Book 28). Once you read a series for a long time, a series you like, the characters become as real as friends and family. I look forward to reading what adventures Lt. Eve Dallas is up to, along with the rest. This book was hard to read, because of that. Chief Medical Examiner Morris has been an important character. And this time, Eve has to tell him his lover is dead. Not only was she his lover, she was a cop and it looked like she was killed while doing the job. It may have been a rough read emotionally, but it was a nicely twisted plot with just the right amount of revenge.
50. Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 374 pages, Mystery, 2009 (In Death, Book 29). A good cop’s daughter is brutalized, raped, and killed in their home, and Lt. Eve Dallas must catch the perpetrator quickly. Unfortunately, she’s not quick enough, as the crime is repeated on a realtor about to be married. It isn’t until she makes a startling connection between the victims, which her millionaire husband, Roarke, helps with some holographic tech to save time in interviews, that Dallas is able to close the net. I would like to take a moment to gloat – while my goal for YEARS has been 50 books, this is the first year I have reached it.
51. Bad Medicine by Aimee & David Thurlo, 369 pages, Mystery, 1997 (Ella Clah, Book 3). The Reservation is on edge, and racial tensions at the mine lead to murder and reprisals. Add to that a tribal leader whose daughter dies after ingesting peyote laced with poison, mysterious illnesses, a vendetta against the Medical Examiner, and more, anything can happen. Ella Clah works the cases as much as she can with a mixture of solid police work and her preternatural premonitions.
52. Inferno by Dan Brown, 462 pages, Suspense, 2013 (Robert Langdon, Book 4). Art historian and symbologist Robert Langdon wakes up in Florence, Italy, with his last memory being walking across campus at Harvard days earlier. Trying to recreate the memories, he follows the clues he still has, aided by a young doctor, Sienna Brooks. Robert and Sienna traipse across Italy, increasingly concerned that what they are trying to find has dire consequences if not figured out in time. And then what little Langdon has put together takes a different turn when he finds out how long he’s been lied to. Dan Brown actually surprised me, completely turned the story around, and even channeled a bit of Michael Crichton toward the end. Very nicely done, even though I still wish his stories would come with maps and building diagrams.
For each mood, there is a short writing, a couple of Bible text to check and so on... actually a very handy book and definitely recommended.
82. St. Thérèse Of Lisieux - Simply Surrender
83. Julian Of Norwich - All Will Be Well
84. St. Teresa Of Avila - Let Nothing Disturb You
A series of daily prayers and mediations plus a little sentence-reminder for the day. Julian's was perhaps the most comforting, but the others had their strong points too, so all are worth reading.
85. Barth - God Here & Now (English translation)
A bit academic but thought-provoking texts from a great writer. Brings up some things that otherwise would be overlooked. Slim but lovely.
86. Beckett - Joy Lasts: On The Spiritual In Art
Talking about what makes or breaks the good/bad moods of religious or nearly-religious art, with some interesting pictures.
87. Beckett - Encounters With God: In Quest Of The Ancient Icons Of Mary
88. Beckett - Real Presence: In Search Of The Earliest Icons
The icons shown here are those made before the destruction of icons in certain period of time during Byzantium's reign that survived because they were kept outside its borders or in very remote areas. Some are in pretty bad condition but some really shine. And the icons don't yet follow certain rules the icons made post-destruction time most of the time follow, so more uniqueness exists. Very interesting; some overlapping between the books, but both are essential for full view (the first concentrates on Mary pics - less than ten!).
89. Tassone - Thirty-Day Devotions For The Holy Souls
Companion in my shelf with two other book on same subjects from the writer, pretty good and inspiring.
90. Yamamoto Tsunetomo - Hagakure: The Book Of The Samurai (English translation)
Not the whole text, but the best bits, and enough for me for it brings the essentials without feeling long.
91. Wilson - Choose The Perfect Baby Name
Seriously not the first baby name book you should buy... it gives a bit of a 'lazy research' feel, and may date fast. Choose some other well-rated one first!
92. Treece - Through The Year With Padre Pio: Daily Readings
I've read a few other books of his writings, and this is a good 'daily read' type. Liked it a lot :)
93. Lo - Quick & Easy Chinese Cooking
From the early 1970s, and written for those who really didn't have much access to Chinese ingredients beside soy sauce, ginger and maybe some chilies, but really trying to make things with what few were there. Got this one from my parents some years ago.
94. P. Smith - Just Kids
A sweet, richly-written memoir with some nice pics. Recommended. <3
95. Chase (transl.) - Angelic Spirituality: Medieval Perspectives On The Ways Of Angels
Or what was written about angelic orders, what each type of angels did, etc. Interesting and deep.
96. Coupland - Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture
A re-read, felt I got it from another angle than the first time, but still great :)
Broke a new reading record with 1 book, now it's time to start another list :D
49. Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson (238 pages)
I really enjoyed a lot of the articles. I think my favorite was "Whores and Goddesses." There were a few I actually did not like--a few of the authors seemed unable to look beyond their own Western perspective. I also loved getting Jewel Staite's take on the episodes, complete with insider information on where the nickname "Captain Tightpants" originated. The essays made me appreciate the nuances of Firefly, and notice more of them.
50. The Simple Truth, by Philip Levine (80 pages)
A lovely example of his work. Reminds me in some ways of Whitman and Ginsberg.
51. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth (526 pages)
A lot of people seem torn over this one, but I think the thing that drew it to me the most was the characters being true to themselves. As a result, the story gets a bit misshapen at times, pulled in different directions based on the various characters' motivations. So while I understand their concerns, it was one of the things that I actually liked about it. We have character arcs that threaten the plot at times, but they engrossed me. I loved, and was heartbroken, by the conclusion to this series, but I love that Roth doesn't pull the punches. I also love that this series leaves an entire dystopic, post-apocalyptic United States to be explored.
December pages: 844
Pages to date: 15,763
December 2013 Comics/Manga reading:
294. A Bride's Story: Volume 5, by Kaoru Mori (208 pages)
295. Fate/Stay Night, Volume 6, by Dat Nishiwaki (192 pags)
296. xxxHolic: Volume 7, by Clamp (192 pages)
297. Arata The Legend: Volume 15, by Yuu Watase (192 pages)
298. Zombie-Loan: Volume 7, by Peach-Pit (174 pages)
299. Descendants of Darkness: Volume 6, by Yoko Matsushita (192 pages)
300. Ceres: Volume 5, by Yuu Watase (200 pages)
301. Bleach: Volume 20, by Tite Kubo (216 pages)
302. Case Closed: Volume 18, by Gosho Aoyama (192 pages)
303. Case Closed: Volume 19, by Gosho Aoyama (192 pages)
304. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Volume 10, by Naoko Takeuchi (248 pages)
305. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Volume 11, by Naoko Takeuchi (248 pages)
306. The Wallflower: Volume 11, by Tomoko Hayakawa (192 pages)
307. Black Butler: Volume 15, by Yana Toboso (176 pages)
308. The Wallflower: Volume 12, by Tomoko Hayakawa (192 pages)
309. The Wallflower: Volume 13, by Tomoko Hayakawa (192 pages)
310. Case Closed: Volume 20, by Gosho Aoyama (192 pages)
311. Case Closed: Volume 21, by Gosho Aoyama (200 pages)
312. Kekkaishi: Volume 11, by Yellow Tanabe (192 pages)
313. Loveless: Volume 9, by Yun Kouga (184 pages)
314. Fate/Stay Night: Volume 7, by Dat Nishiwaki (192 pages)
315. Fate/Stay Night: Volume 8, by Dat Nishiwaki (192 pages)
316. Ceres: Volume 6, by Yuu Watase (200 pages)
317. Ceres: Volume 7, by Yuu Watase (200 pages)
318. Bleach: Volume 21, by Tite Kubo (200 pages)
319. Bleach: Volume 22, by Tite Kubo (216 pages)
320. Translucent: Volume 1, by Kazuhiro Okamoto (186 pages)
321. Translucent: Volume 2, by Kazuhiro Okamoto (196 pages)
322. Pandora Hearts: Volume 18, by Jun Mochizuki (192 pages)
323. xxxHolic: Volume 8, by Clamp (192 pages)
324. xxxHolic: Volume 9, by Clamp (192 pages)
325. Bride of the Water God: Volume 13, by Mi-Kyung Yun (164 pages)
326. Zombie-Loan: Volume 8, by Peach-Pit (171 pages)
327. Zombie-Loan: Volume 9, by Peach-Pit (173 pages)
328. Someday's Dreamers Spellbound: Volume 4, by Norie Yamada (192 pages)
329. Descendants of Darkness: Volume 7, by Yoko Matsushita (192 pages)
330. Descendants of Darkness: Volume 8, by Yoko Matsushita (184 pages)
331. Candidate for Goddess: Volume 2, by Yakiru Sugisaki (144 pages)
332. Gunslinger Girl: Omnibus 4, by Yu Aida (320 pages)
333. Doonesbury: The Long Road Home, by G.B. Trudeau (96 pages)
334. Doonesbury: In Search of Reagan's Brain, by G.B. Trudeau (128 pages)
335. Chi's Sweet Home: Volume 10, by Kanata Konami (160 pages)
336. Yotsuba&!: Volume 12, by Kiyohiko Azuma (224 pages)
337. The Wallflower: Volume 14, by Tomoko Hayakawa (192 pages)
338. The Wallflower: Volume 15, by Tomoko Hayakawa (176 pages)
339. Blue Exorcist: Volume 10, by Kazue Kato (192 pages)
340. Sakura Hime: Volume 10, by Arina Tanemura (184 pages)
341. Nabari no Ou: Volume 13, by Yuhki Kamatani (192 pages)
342. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Volume 12, by Naoko Takeuchi (276 pages)
343. Detroit Metal City: Volume 3, by Kiminori Wakasugi (192 pages)
344. Boy Princess: Volume 1, by Seyoung Kim (200 pages)
345. Kekkaishi: Volume 12, by Yellow Tanabe (192 pages)
346. Kekkaishi: Volume 13, by Yellow Tanabe (192 pages)
347. Case Closed: Volume 22, by Gosho Aoyama (200 pages)
348. Case Closed: Volume 23, by Gosho Aoyama (200 pages)
349. Dance in the Vampire Bund: Volume 8, by Nozomu Tamaki (192 pages)
350. Spice & Wolf: Volume 7, by Isuna Hasekura (192 pages)
351. Durarara!! Saika Arc: Volume 2, by Ryohgo Narita (176 pages)
December pages: 11,028
Pages to date: 69,038
Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Much more than a series of battle scenes, the Iliad is a work of extraordinary pathos and profundity that concerns itself with issues as fundamental as the meaning of life and death.
It took me close to two years to read this book but I was determined to (my own novel series references it, so I felt I had to in order to be legitimate) so I got there in the end. It’s a tough slog, very descriptive, and sometimes I got so bogged down in those and trying to keep track of who’s who that I lost the story. The thing I took most of it was how little Helen is discussed despite the fact that she is the whole reason the battle even takes place. Ultimately, I felt sorry for Hector more than anyone. When I watched the film, starring Brad Pitt and Eric Bana, I really felt sorry for Achillies as well, but that same sentiment doesn’t come through in the book, except perhaps towards the end. The Hollywoodisation of the story improves it in my opinion, though obviously I appreciate that the time period the book is set in is very different. Ultimately it’s a fascinating story about life, death, the choices we make, and what drives us to do the things we do. Now to read the Odyssey!
6 / 50 books. 12% done!
2965 / 15000 pages. 20% done!
Book 7: The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. – 343 pages
Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
In this groundbreaking book, Dr Louann Brizendine describes the uniquely flexible structure of the female brain and its constant, dynamic state of change - the key difference that separates it from that of the male - and reveals how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and whom they'll love. She also reveals the neurological explanations behind why: a woman remembers fights that a man insists never happened; thoughts about sex enter a woman's brain perhaps once every couple of days, but may enter a man's brain up to once every minute; a woman's brain goes on high alert during pregnancy - and stays that way long after giving birth; a woman over 50 is more likely to initiate divorce than a man; women tend to know what people are feeling, while men can't spot an emotion unless someone cries or threatens them with bodily harm! Accessible, fun and compelling, and based on more than three decades of research, "The Female Brain" will help women to better understand themselves - and the men in their lives.
I picked this book up several years ago when I was on holidays in Dubai (I know, weird right?) and I was on a small non-fiction kick this year so decided to read it. Whilst I don’t agree with all the book says, it does give a very interesting perspective on how the female brain works and how it drives a woman’s decisions. Moreover, it provides quite an interesting comparison of the way male and female brains differently perceive emotion, and I must admit, I have referred to it on a number of occasions in real life (i.e. reminding myself that a reaction from a man doesn’t necessarily mean what I think it means because we perceive things differently, which should be obvious and yet I know so many people who don’t even care to think that someone else might perceive something differently to the way they do). I also enjoyed the piece on menopause (not that its remotely relevant to me at the moment) as I explained a lot of what is happening to the body at the time much better than anything I’ve ever read. I’ve even offered to give a little summary of the book to my female colleagues at work (we have a future female business leaders discussion group within the professional services firm that I work for) as I think there is definitely stuff in here that every woman should know about (even if its just to be conscious of it in raising our own daughters and dealing with our mothers and sisters!).
7 / 50 books. 14% done!
3308 / 15000 pages. 22% done!
Book 8: Why Some Like It Hot: Food, Genes, and Cultural Diversity by Gary Paul Nabhan – 223 pages
Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Do your ears burn whenever you eat hot chile peppers? Does your face immediately flush when you drink alcohol? Does your stomach groan if you are exposed to raw milk or green fava beans? If so, you are probably among the one-third of the world's human population that is sensitive to certain foods due to your genes' interactions with them. Formerly misunderstood as "genetic disorders," many of these sensitivities are now considered to be adaptations that our ancestors evolved in response to the dietary choices and diseases they faced over millennia in particular landscapes. They are liabilities only when we are "out of place," on globalized diets depleted of certain chemicals that triggered adaptive responses in our ancestors. In Why Some Like It Hot, an award-winning natural historian takes us on a culinary odyssey to solve the puzzles posed by "the ghosts of evolution" hidden within every culture and its traditional cuisine. As we travel with Nabhan from Java and Bali to Crete and Sardinia, to Hawaii and Mexico, we learn how various ethnic cuisines formerly protected their traditional consumers from both infectious and nutrition-related diseases. We also bear witness to the tragic consequences of the loss of traditional foods, from adult-onset diabetes running rampant among 100 million indigenous peoples to the historic rise in heart disease among individuals of northern European descent. In this, the most insightful and far-reaching book of his career, Nabhan offers us a view of genes, diets, ethnicity, and place that will forever change the way we understand human health and cultural diversity. This book marks the dawning of evolutionary gastronomy in a way that may saveand enrich millions of lives.
I went on holidays to Hawaii in November this year just gone. Every time I go somewhere new I randomly decide a few months before hand that I should read some books about the place, that I should learn the language, the culture, etc. I never do. This year at least, I actually made an effort. I typed Hawaii into the local library’s catalogue and ended up ordering three books, of which this was one. Coincidentally, this book suited my new interest in diets and intolerances. The Hawaii connection is pretty small, a discussion in the final chapter. The actual book itself is about the significant increases in food intolerances and issues as a result of deviating from historical diets established in particular races over thousands of years as a result of the food available in their native homes. It’s an interesting hypothesis, and being from Australia, with our own indigenous population who are fairly well known to have issues with alcohol (personally I think this whole country has problems with alcohol – the binge drinking culture is out of control – but I say that as a non-drinker), learning of similar problems in other indigenous cultures and Nabhan’s theories on why was a great learning piece for me. Moreover, as I have recently self-diagnosed myself as being gluten intolerant, learning about the increase in similar problems throughout the world was fascinating. A good read, and an interesting hypothesis, even if it is backed up by as much anecdotal evidence as it detailed research.
8 / 50 books. 16% done!
3531 / 15000 pages. 24% done!
- The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory – 437 pages
- Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore by Bettany Hughes – 412 pages
- The Diviners by Libba Bray – 578 pages
And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
- One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
31) Christmas Bestiary Edited by Rosalind M. Greenberg and Martin H. Greenberg. 1992. A collection of winter holiday themed stories. Most of them were good and with the long winter nights, sometimes short stories are not a bad choice for time wasting.
32) Sisters of the Raven by Barbara Hambly. 2005. What happens when men lose the ability to work magic and women start to wield their powers? When you depend on magic to bring the life giving rains, would you adapt or die? I always liked Barbra Hambly, she's always a good reliable read. Will look for the follow up novel Cirle of the Moon in the new year.
33, 34, 35) The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, Vathek by William Beckford, The Vampyre by John Polodori, Three Gothic Novels, and a Fragment of a Novel by Lord Byron. Three Gothic Novels Edited by E. F. Bleire. 1966. This collection of early gothic novels can be very illuminating on the development of style, themes, and format of the new form pf prose.
36) A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens. 1984. Having never read A Christmas Carol, decided I should. The other stories have ghosts, and fragments of stories pulled together under a common theme.
37) Bullfinch's Mythology: The Age of Chivalry/The Legends of Charlemagne. Thomas Bullfinch. 1962. Had this on my bookcase having taken it from my mom's books. The language is archaic and ponderous. But if you want to get into the medieval mindset in it's forms of prose, this is the book to slog through.
38) The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination. Edited by John Joseph Adams. 2013. This delightful short story collection is entertaining, amusing, and sometimes heartbreaking. Well worth the money paid.
Did not get 50 done this year but I am not surprised because I did not have as much free time like I did last year. But that is OK, I still averaged 3 books a month and that's pretty good when you work full time, watch anime and too much TV. So here is hoping I can do 50 books in 2014, and try and get more books out of my bookcase.
#102. “Deadshot: Urban Renewal”
#103. “ Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk”
#104. “Deadpool Kills the marvel universe”
#105. “Batman: A Death in the family”
#106. “Batman: Harley Quinn”
#107. “Batman: Fortunate Son” (NOTE> This is the worst comic I have ever read...)
#108. “Batman: Absolution”
#109. “Batman: Nosferatu”
#110: “Batman: The long Halloween”
#111. “Fevre Dream” by George R Martin
#112. “Labyrinth” by Kate Mosse
#113. “Lord of Misrule” by Christopher Lee
#114- 141. “Marvel: Civil War” (complete saga)
#142. “The meaning of Liff” by Douglas Adams
I was on a bit of a comic-reading bender at the end of November/ December and got through quite a few reads and re-reads. Please excuse the short hand for "Marvel Civil War" it was a huge crossover involving titles: Spiderman, Wolverine, X-men, Iron man, Captain America, Young Avengers/ Runaways, heroes for hire, Punisher, Black panther and Moonkinight. I don't have the exact list of issues to hand, really enjoyed the re-read though.
Heres to some great new reads in 2014!
The Sleep Room by F.R. Tallis
The Mating Chase and The Mating Hunt by Bonnie Vanak
The Devil on Horseback by Victoria Holt
What to Buy the Shadowhunter who has Everything and The Last Stand of the New York Institute by Cassandra Clare
The Sex Diaries Project by Arianne Cohen
So here's the final tally for 2013 and it was an interesting cross section of fiction and non-fiction.
Pender's bi-op of serial killer Roy Fontaine was equal parts entertaining, frustrating, and terrifying, both in terms of what Fontaine did/how he lived and in how Pender interacted with the convicted criminal.
The Sleep Room was a bust. I feel like people should just go watch Shutter Island and they'll get the idea behind this drawn out, disappointing novel--disappointing in how the ending suddenly turned to resemble the end of this superior movie.
Cohen's research was enlitening and somewhat sad, but I'm glad that it really focused more on the different types of relationships people have/live in/experience in their lives than lots of sexual encounters. As the author suggests, I really had to make a concious effort not to put my own personal views onto the sections and simply enjoy the diarists and hopefully gain some insight from their problems.
I'm in love with Victoria Holt. I finally got around to reading this particular book (an exchange from earlier in the year) after mistakingly believeing it to be a collection of short stories, a medium I'm not fond of. This book is about one young Englishwoman and her roundabout witnessing of the French Revolution, adding in forbidden (confusing) romance and upper class intrigue. Holt wrote under a number of names--Jean Plaidy is another, and is actually the next book on my shelf, I think--and I enjoy the mystery behind her as a person.
119. Angels at the Table: A Shirley, Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story by Debbie Macomber
120. The Winter of Candy Canes by Debbie Viguie
121. The Spring of Candy Apples by Debbie Viguie
122. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
123. The Constant Princess by Philipa Gregory
124. Gun Shy by Donna Ball
125. Sassy, Single and Satisfied by Michelle McKinney Hammond
126. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
127. Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox
128. Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted