My friend Matt has Web pages listing the books he has read since 2004. I wanted to keep better track of what I read, so at the beginning of 2007, I started keeping a list here. For one thing, changing jobs at the end of 2007 meant I had lots more reading time than I used to, because I now have what amounts to a public transit commute.

Books I read in 2016
  1. The Last Colony, by John Scalzi. Jan. 5, 2017?

    Third book in the Old Man's War series. The return of John Perry, complete with second wife and adopted child, this time as head of a new colony¬....where things do not go as expected.

  2. Detective Inspector Huss, by Helene Tursten. Jan. 20, 2017

    First in Swedish mystery series feturing Irene Huss. Probably the last I will lead. Maybe the translation stinks, maybe the author isn't very good, but oy. Confused plotting, irrational behavior all around, terrible translation, or maybe everyone does use the phrase "get hold of" on every page.

  3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. January, 2017.

    Entertaining and often charming story of a "tunneling" spaceship with a multispecies crew and an AI with quite a persoanality. First of a series, of which the second is already out. Looking forward to the rest.

Books I read in 2016

I more or less read 25 books this year, a dismal count. I got stalled out for a couple of months by feeling like I should read all 2500 pages of Dream of the Red Chamber aka Story of the Stone, then got stalled out for weeks after I started making some progress in the first volume of the book.

It's more or less because one of the listed books is three short stories/novellas, one is a novella, and one I threw against the wall and didn't finish. I read one and a half nonfiction books (I'm in the middle of Mary Beard's SPQR) and the rest is mostly science fiction and mysteries.

  • Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. January something, 2016.

    Dr. Gawande looks at how doctors, hospitals, and other institutions work with the dying and the very old, learning a lot along the way and applying some of it somewhat successfully within his own family. Not much that was new to me, except perhaps how assisted living came into being and why it's nothing like what its originator intended.

  • Chimera, by Mira Grant. Thrown against wall half-read sometime in January, 2016.

    The first two books were pretty good, but obviously she couldn't figure out a good way to wrap things up cleanly. I got bored at the pacing and repetitiveness and lost all interest in the characters, and stopped reading half-way through.

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. February 3, 2016

    Hard-to-describe fantasy novel of power struggles among mortals and among the gods. Well worth reading, first of a trilogy.

  • Farthing, by Jo Walton. February 22, 2016.

    Mashup of a Josephine Tey or Agatha Christie novel and an alternate history in which Great Britain makes peace with Hitler in 1941 but eventually things start going wrong politically. Surprising number of odd errors; the first Dior lipstick was in 1955, so you wouldn't have found it in 1949; there's a paragraph where names are, I think, mixed up, because I'm sure that a particular married couple are not siblings, etc.

  • .
  • The Broken Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. February 29, 2016.

    Excellent sequel to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, better-written and equally persuasive. What happens after two of the head gods exile the third to mortal life.

  • Ha'penny, by Jo Walton. March 7, 2016.

    Second in the alternate history series. Features Inspector Carmichael, Himmler, Hitler, and Normanby; a cross-dressed Hamlet, and a family bearing quite a resemblance to the Mitfords. You probably won't have any problems telling who is who.

  • Half a Crown, by Jo Walton. March, 2016.

    Third in the alternate history series. Structured similarly to the first two books in the series, alternating chapters of Inspector Carmichael and a female character, in this case his young ward. I wound up feeling as though the entire series doesn't quite get into the characters' emotional reactions and inner life as much as it might. Enjoyed the series greatly anyway, as it could all so easily happen here.

  • Pieces of Modesty, by Peter O'Donnell. April 9, 2016.

    Modesty Blaise short stories, mostly pretty good, but the last one is appallingly racist. I needed something to get me kick started and reading again after a somewhat difficult month.

  • Dark Triumph, by Robin LaFevers. April 13, 2016.

    Second book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy. Some of the same problems of tone and ahistorical behavior as Grave Mercy. Took it out of the library rather than spend money on it. I might or might not finish the last book in the series.

  • The Kingdom of Gods, by N.K. Jemisin. April 18, 2016.

    Third in Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy, and the most puzzling. Never mind that the biology of the gods is....odd...but I did not see how she got from the situation at the beginning of the book to the situation at the end of the book. The plotting seems muddled; it takes a peculiar turn most of the way through, and the very end is a bit of a cheat.

  • The Red Garden, by Alice Hoffman. April 23, 2016.

    Interconnected short stories telling the story of a town and its inhabitants, also its bears. Extremely charming and sometimes unexpected.

  • The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu. June 30, 2016

    Yes, two months between finishing books, because I got bogged down in the first volume of The Story of the Stone and in this book. I did not like it nearly as much as the others I know who've read it, and I cannot tell whether it was the translation, opacity in the plotting, difficulty in actually following the plot, or what. I think I had some difficulty in following the time frame - which shifts - of the novel. Not sure whether I will finish the series or not.

  • The Night Sessions, by Ken MacLeod. July 4, 2016.

    Future Scotland, after the Faith Wars and a general social revolt against religion. Robots, religion, and a police procedural - what more could you want?

  • Even Dogs in the Wild, by Ian Rankin. July 11, 2016

    The latest John Rebus / Siobhan Clark / Matthew Fox novel. The return of Big Ger Cafferty, criminal orgs at war, a very old scandal, and a small dog.

  • A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson. August 3, 2016.

    Not exactly a sequel to Life After Life, but, well, it is. More of the Todd family, especially Teddy. Another wonderful book.

  • The Nightmare Stacks, by Charles Stross. August 13, 2016.

    The latest - no. 7 or 8 - of the Laundry Files novels. We have a new viewpoint character, Dr. Alex Schwartz, whom you might remember as a PHANG. He is completely adorable. Also, we've got an interesting invasion. Also, possible the best dinner scene ever. Perhaps we'll see more of Alex's family.

  • Three Tales from the Laundry, by Charles Stross. August 22, 2016.

    What it sounds like. A novella and two short stories, all lots of fun.

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed. October 20, 2016.

    Fantasy novel set in Arab/Muslim - ish world. Excellent writing and imagination; first of a trilogy.

  • The Trespasser, by Tana French. October 28, 2016.

    The sixth Dublin Murder Squad mystery. The viewpoint character is the not-always-likeable detective Antoinette Conway. The mystery is...complex.

  • The Girl with All the Gifts, by M. R. Carey. November 11, 2016.

    Extremely disturbing, yet excellent, dystopian novel, set it a world where an infection has turned the infected into a ravening hoard. The premise is not far off the Parasite series I read last year and this, in some ways, but this is a much better book. I note that I did not realize until 100 pages that M.R. Carey is male.

  • Raising Steam, by Terry Pratchett. November 21, 2016.

    The last Moist von Lipwig novel, sigh, about the coming of steam and locomotives to Discworld. Superb.

  • Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth. November 24, 2016.

    A young nurse-midwife becomes a lay member of an order of nuns and goes to work in London's East End, c. mid-1950s. A memoir based on the author's experiences; fascinating and horrifying in various ways, between the extreme poverty of the postwar East End, the absence of ongoing medical care & birth control, and the author's clear but unexamined class issues.

  • Binti, novella by Nnedi Okorafor. December 10, 2016

    Space opera / cultural anthropology, and excellent.

  • Old Man's War, by John Scalzi. December 11, 2016

    Space opera set in a world where humans on earth can enlist in an off-earth army that defends human space colonies. First in a series. Yeah, I'll probably read the rest; the premise is well executed, though I can see exactly how he structured the first 45 pages to provide the background information.

  • The Ghost Brigades, by John Scalzi. End of December, 2016.

    The second novel in the Old Man's War series. Learn about the mysterious Special Forces.

Books I read in 2015

I finished 31 books in 2015 and left Graham Robb's wonderful The Discovery of France unfinished. Still trying to finish Sleepwalkers about the start of WWI.

Of the 31 books, one was nonfiction, Helen MacDonald's H is for Hawk. Eleven were by women, 21 by men. Several of the books by men had excellent female protagonists, including those by Pratchett, Stross, and O'Donnell, as retro as Modesty Blaise might be.

  • The Martian, by Andy Weir. December 9, 2015.

    Uh, why has this book been such a huge hit? It is a page-turner, if you don't get so bored with the title character's unending calculations of air, water, food, energy, etc. that you roll your eyes and find something more interesting to read. That's all necessary for his survival (he is stranded on Mars after being separated from his crewmates during a sandstorm and accidentally, though understandably, left for dead), but OH MAN does it get old. It also leaves no room for character development beyond "this guy is very persistent and very nerdy." And also there is an elementary arithmetic error on page 12 that I thought might turn out to be a plot point....until the people at NASA repeated it many pages later. Why, oh, why, did I not throw this book against the wall immediately???

  • Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds. November 30, 2015.

    First novel by Alastair Reynolds, a 575-page brick with a number of interwoven strands: a vanished race, a man obsessed with studying it, politics, the history of the universe. I like it but can't help feeling that it is too damn long for the story it is telling and takes an awfully long time to bring the story to a conclusion.

  • Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie. November 4, 2015.

    Third of Leckie's books about Breq, former ancillary, now a free-standing person, and the world she lives in. An excellent more or less wrap-up.

  • The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett. October 19, 2015.

    Oh, waily, waily, waily! The last Discworld novel and the last Tiffany Aching novel; the world is changing and it's easy enough to see that Sir Terry had plans for the future. I am just so sad to have finished this book and know that there will be no more.

  • Blood Hunt, by Ian Rankin. October 10, 2015.

    The worst Rankin I have read. Not a Rebus mystery; a free-standing crime/adventure/mystery novel. It's as though he had two plots about the same character and mashed them up, badly. They kind of detract from one another and some of it is over the line of believability.

  • Lock In, by John Scalzi. October 1, 2015.

    It's science fiction and mystery, two genres at once! A well-executed novel about a world where a mass illness has resulted in millions of people with locked-in syndrome, here called Haden's syndrome after a famous sufferer. A huge expenditure on researched led to a way to implant a neural network in the heads of the locked-in, enabling them to remotey control and effectively inhabit a robot-like device. A small class of people can also temporarily accept into their own bodies the minds of the locked-in. Yes, any number of interesting crimes can be committed. I would not be at all surprised if this is the start of a series.

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie. September 19, 2015.

    An early and really pretty bad Christie, the very first Poirot. Written in 1916, published in 1920; shallow and very clockworkish.

  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette). September 16, 2015.

    An 18-year-old boy, youngest son of an Emperor father who has abandoned him, unexpectedly becomes Emperor after his father and more acceptable brothers die in an airship crash. A coming of age novel as well as a novel of court intrigue.

  • Halting State, by Charles Stross. September 4, 2015.

    Policing, economics, and 21st c. nerds.

  • The Annihilation Score, by Charles Stross. August, 2015.

    The most recently-published Laundry Files book: Mo gets the spotlight and mostly Stross gets the musical details right. He seems....a bit unclear about musical forms (unlikely you'd have a violin sonata inside an opera) and the Royal Albert Hall IS in fact unusually large for a classical music venue; otherwise very satisfying, especially Mo's developing professional friendships and relationships.

  • Sabre Tooth, by Peter O'Donnell. August, 2015.

    The second Modesty Blaise novel.

  • Modesty Blaise, by Peter O'Donnell. August, 2015.

    The first appearance in novel form of the reformed super-criminal turned super-spy, and her excellent sidekick Willie Garvin.

  • The Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross. August, 2015.

    More of Bob, Mo, and Angleton, plus VAMPIRES.

  • The Apocalypse Codex, by Charles Stross. August, 2015.

    Bob goes to Colorado with an outside asset code-named BASHFUL INCDENIARY, who wears her hair in a chignon, and has a great male sidekick.

  • The Fuller Memorandum, by Charles Stross. August 8, 2015

    The third of the Laundry Files books, and really excellent.

  • Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman. July 9, 2015.

    Strange and wonderful book about the magical Owens women.

  • Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. July 3, 2015.

    Indescribably fascinating novel of parallel worlds and deja vu, and maybe about whether you can rerun your life.

  • Midnight Fugue, by Reginald Hill. June 21, 2015

    A missing cop, presumed dead; his bereaved wife; two killer in pursuit of someone who might know their secrets. Dalziel is back from near death and proves that he still has it.

  • Among Others, by Jo Walton. May 30, 2015.

    A wonderful book writing in a distinctive voice, that of a young Welsh woman recovering from a terrible tragedy, adjusting to a new life and new family configuration, and about how books save lives. I loved the dailiness of the book. It is a diary, so you get the ordinary, about good and bad food, and how classes went, along with the extraordinary (were fairies seen that day?). Also, the young woman is remarkably sensible and grounded as well as having access to the extraordinary.

  • Redshirts, by John Scalzi. May 28, 2015.

    A not-entirely-satiricle space opera; the main plot, then three follow-ups that round out the story quite well. Curious whether this is characteristic os Scalizi, whose blog I read, and a little shocked by some poorly-constructed sentences in the first chapter.

  • The Middle Temple Murder, by J. S. Fletcher. May 26, 2015.

    Classic-era British murder mystery by a journalist/novelist who wrote 225+ books, including something approaching 100 novels. This was represented to me as being rather better than it turned out to be. Somewhat entertaining (but not enough for me to read anything more by this guy), poorly paced, shallow, and completely implausible.

  • The Causal Angel, by Hannu Rajaniemi. May 22, 2015.

    The third in Ranajiemi's space opera trilogy, finally resolving the stories of Mieli, Jean le Flambeur, and Josephine. Well worth reading, but start from The Quantum Thief.

  • The Voice from the Void, by William Le Queux. May 13, 2015

    Bad 1920s murder mystery, more or less

  • H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald. April 25, 2015.

    When Helen Macdonald's beloved photographer father dies suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack, she goes a bit mad. In her grief, she decides, on impulse, to purchase a goshawk, reputed to be a fearsome bird and difficult to train. (She was already an experienced falconer.) This is her memoir of training the goshawk, whom she names Mabel, and it's also an exploration of T. H. White and his books, which include The Goshawk, about his own attempt to train such a bird. Macdonald is a magnificent writer and this is a superb book.

  • March Violets, by Philip Kerr. Sometime in April, 2015

    The first of the Bernie Gunther detective novels. Gunther is a former policeman, in Berlin, in...the 1930s. This book is set in 1936, with a slight backdrop of the Olympic games, held in Berlin that year. I started reading this MONTHS ago and it was very stop and start. I will probably finish the trilogy, but I did not love this book. It is hard-boiled but attempts to use, in English, the equivalents of presumably-contemporary German slang, and...that holds things up for me.

  • Symbiont, by Mira Grant. March 28, 2015.

    Second of three novels (third is not yet published). Things only get worse for the gang from Parasite

  • Parasite, by Mira Grant. March 18, 2015.

    Science fiction / horror / thriller novel involving a biotech company that has succeeded in selling the US and perhaps much of the world on a biological implant that treats autoimmune and other diseases from the inside. The implant is based on tapeworms. Things....eventually go wrong. First of three novels

  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker. March 14, 2015.

    This is a thoroughly charming book, the author's debut novel. A golem and a jinni meet in NYC, around 1890, and various complications ensue. Magical realism on the lower east side? Well, kind of, yes. I love both the title characters, too.

  • The Green Glass Sea, by Ellen Klages. January 24, 2015.

    YA novel about a nerdy young girl who winds up in Los Alamos starting in 1943 - a time when Los Alamos wasn't even on the map owing to a certain secret project. Moving, and an entirely excellent portrayal of what it's like to be a young nerd, how people makes friends, and how adults can really really be good to the children around them.

  • The Moving Toy Shop, by Edmund Crispin. January 19, 2015.

    Another Gervase Fen mystery, this one set before the war, in Oxford. Ridiculous coincidences, especially that lorry driver who conveniently turns up twice, an overly convoluted plot, one where the murder is basically completely implausible. Do people REALLY write wills like that?? Only in pre-war British mysteries.

  • Swan Song, by Edmund Crispin. January 13, 2015

    An extremely silly mystery about the murder of the baritone during rehearsals for a postwar performance of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurenberg by a British cast, in Oxford. The silliness includes blatant mishandling of evidence and, of course, the involvement of an amateur sleuth. Not to mention, for a book set in 1947 or 48, everyone is remarkably well fed and there's no sign of RATIONING. Crispin gets the musical details right, except perhaps for the soprano's repertory, which includes Eva, Salome, and....Mimi? Not impossible, I suppose. But whoever named the book blundered: obviously the opera in question should have been Lohengin.

Books I read in 2014

In 2014, I finished 28 books. The list below includes two books I did not finish, the novel Rupert of Hentzau and the musicological study The Sound of Medieval Song. As I'm writing this at 6:27 p.m. on December 31, I suppose I could wrap up Rupert. I am in the middle of, and will be finishing, The Sleepwalkers, Christopher Clark's study of "how Europe went to war" in 1914. The count below includes one play, four graphic novels, six books I'd call mysteries, eleven fantasy and science fiction novels, three books that might be considered historical fiction, and some odd ends. Note that two of the fantasy novels were the fourth and fifth Song of Ice & Fire novels, which are worth two or three normal novels each. The best book of the year might be The Hare with Amber Eyes, which I am pressing into peoople's hands, but boy, did I love Hild and Code Name Verity a lot.

I read four novels by Charles Stross, two by Anne Leckie, two by Elizabeth Weidn, two by Hannu Rajaiemi, two by Jo Nesbo, and two by George R. R. Martin.

  • The Trade of Queens, by Charles Stross. December 31, 2014.

    The sixth of the Merchant Princes books. His publishers announced a while back that three more of these books would be coming, with the first to be published in 2015, and a good thing it is. DEFINITELY feels like a middle book, because it is.

  • Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie. December 28, 2014.

    The sequel to Leckie/s award-winning Ancillary Justice, the continued tale of Breq, now assigned Fleet Commander of Mercy of Kalr, and the continued story of the evens of Ancillary Justice. I'm betting that there is a book called Ancillary Mercy coming, because the story isn't over.

  • The Revolution Business, by Charles Stross. November 19, 2014

    The sixth (fifth?) of the Merchant Princes books. Hoo boy, are this one and number 5 "middle books," but I am not picking up Trade of Queens just yet to see whether and how he has wrapped up the story.

  • The Secret Place, by Tana French. November 7, 2014

    French's latest Dublin Murder Squad book; like the others, it is intricately plotted, with bits of detail revealed slowly over the course of the book. Her special trick here is that there are two timelines running parallel. One, in the present, takes place over the course of one day. The other takes places in the past over a period of months, closing in on the present. It's set, mostly, in an exclusive girls' high school, with lots of characters from the parallel boys' school nearbye. As always, very, very well done.

  • The Merchants' War, by Charles Stross. Date?

    More of the Merchant Princes.

  • Rule 34, by Charles Stross. October 20, 2014.

    A shady character dies in dramatic and highly suspicious circumstances, and a pile of other events makes it look like it's not an isolated incident. Artificial intelligence, central Asian politics, CDOs, 21st century policing, alternative sexuality, all rolled into one highly entertaining ball.

  • Saints of the Shadow Bible, by Ian Rankin. September 30, 2014.

    Billed as a Matthew Fox novel, but it's both a Fox and John Rebus novel. A car accident, a suspicious death, an old, old case involving Rebus and his fellow police from his first assignment. Unusually has some third-party viewpoint sections.

  • Ancillary Justice, by Anne Leckie. September 28, 2014.

    Multiple-award-winning space opera/political thriller/gender bending mystery. It won all those awards for a reason; highly recommended. You will eventually stop being confused, too.

  • The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal. September 10, 2014.

    I flirted with this when it was newly published, but somehow never bought a copy. A friend gave me her extra and now I have read it. A book that I am going to force on everyone I know who hasn't read it already. A wonderful and almost indescribable family history/memoir revolving around a collection of netsuke assembled in the 19th century by one of the author's relatives. Although he is an Englishman with a Dutch name, he comes from a once-fabulously-wealthy and prominent Jewish banking family, and, well, thereby hangs an involved, fascinating, and sometimes heartbreaking tale.

  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. September 4, 2014.

    If you like Tana French, you will like this very complex suspense/murder mystery.

  • Special Exits, by Joyce Farmer. August 26, 2014.

    I started this about six or so weeks back, right after reading Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, but had to take a break. The two books cover very much the same territory: the slow decline of two old couples, told as graphic novels.. Where they differ is that Chast's book is hilarious as well as poignant and sad, while Farmer's book is straightforward, sad, and doom-haunted. You can see the catastrophes coming, you know they will be bad, you know the book will be merciless and that you won't have anything to laugh about. That said, the parents in Special Exits seem much less neurotic and self-centered than Chast's parents, and certainly much more endearing that Chast's really awful mother. (The awfulness is reserved for their Siamese cat, Ching, who bites and scratches all the time, gets underfoot, and hates most people.) There's no sense that the daughter in the book is anything but loving; she has none of the ambivalence that Chast has about helping her parents out. It is harrowing in some ways, but mostly because you want Lars and Rachel to accept more help, and you want them to get help, especially medically, much sooner than they do. The drawing is beautifully expressive, the story poignant.

  • His Fair Assassin Book 1: Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers. August 25, 2014.

    Interesting historical fantasy about a convent of nuns trained as assassins, working for St. Mortain, an old god now viewed as a saint because the world is Christianized. Also, it is the late 15th c. It is not exactly historically accurate; there is some clumsiness in the plotting (wait, you're telling me they send one of their assassins out without making sure she has actually studied relevant background materials? They train the assassins in poisons but not the antidotes? Really??) and in the writing (uh...I see that "quirk" is a verb, but I don't have to like it...also, why weren't those shifts of tone to modern idiom not edited out?), but entertaining YA anyway. I won't buy the next two books - I got this one used - but I'll take them out of the library.

  • The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene. July 28, 2014.

    My girlfriend got this from the library because we are seeing Jake Heggie's opera of the same name in a couple of weeks. Man, Greene sure could write, but oh my god. The principal narrator, Maurice Bendrix, is an odious human. The book is mercifully short, so I didn't have to spend that much time inside his head. A little tough to disentangle the religious material from the slightly sordid base story, also.

  • Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast. July 25, 2014.

    The wonderful cartoonist's funny and poignant graphic novel about her parents' decline, old age, and deaths. Highly recommended.

  • The Sound of Medieval Song, by Timothy J. McGee. Not finished yet

    I spent about six weeks reading 100 pages of this 180-page book, and here's a quotation that will tell you why.

    To be a longa the first note of the phrase (case 1) must be the pitch of the modal final. The second note of a multi-note syllable (case 2) is only a long if it is not preceded or followed by another one of the five exceptions. A single plicated note (case 3) is a longa when the note plicated is itself written as a longa. If it is separately written it has the value of an imperfect longa, but if it is ligated it could be a perfect longa or even a four-unit longa. (The actual value would depend on neume shape and notational context.) Also, a pair of plicated, ligated notes with the written value of two breves could have the value of breve-longa if they are followed or preceded by a longa.

    It's about interpreting medieval music notation according to medieval theorists. Let me put it this way: that very pure line and sound that you hear on chant recordings is nothing like how the stuff soudned way back when. But don't ask me to explicate the above paragraph. I'd have to read a couple of hours' worth of material to be able to explain it to you. I only half understand it myself

  • Rupert of Hentzau by Anthony Hope. Not finished yet.

    The sequel to The Prisoner of Zenda. Even more complications.

  • The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope. June 11, 2014.

    A grand adventure story that spawned a genre, the Ruritanian romance: the younger brother of a British lord goes on holiday to Ruritania just in time to stand in for the King at his own coronation, which the King can't attend because he has been drugged and imprisoned by his evil younger (illegitimate) brother. Add in the villain Rupert of Hentzau and the beautiful Princess Flavia, and complications ensue. The basis of many films and parodies, and a ripping good yard of its type.

  • The Fractal Prince, by Hannu Rajaniemi. May 29? 30?, 2014.

    Sequel to The Quantum Thief. I am not entirely sure I understand the plots of these two novels, but I did enjoy reading them. The story is not yet done, too.

  • The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi. May 22?, 2014.

    Complex science fiction story concerning a possibly resurrected thief, a woman on a mission, the secret masters who really control things, and a couple of different civilizations? societies? more or less co-existing in our solar system.

  • Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein. April 27, 2014.

    I've been reading this one for a couple of weeks, but put it down a couple of times. Quite a bit weaker than the fabulous Code Name Verity, with pacing and tone problems and perhaps too much story packed into a comparatively short book. Also, less believability on some level or another.

  • Titus Andronicus, by William Shakespeare, April 23, 2014.

    Shakespeare's bloodiest play, a swift and brutal revenge tragedy.

  • A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. April 3, 2014.

    Well, he could have reduced the Dany story line by 80% with no harm, eliminated another story line completely, and shrunken almost everything else by simply omitting his description of every step everyone takes and every meal they eat. Doesn't this guy have an editor??

  • A Feast for Crows, by George R.R. Martin. March 14, 2014.

    GOD what a slog. SO much worse than the first three books. Also, what a damn stupid decision, to split up the original monster into two books in which the action is simultaneous/parallel rather than consecutive/serial. Of course, I bought A Dance with Dragons the second I finished it.

  • Death Comes for the Fat Man, by Reginald Hill. March 9, 2014.

    A few pages into the book, an explosion near kills Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe, leaving Dalziel comatose and Pascoe trying to figure out what happened and why. A fine, fine mystery, with some oddities, and perhaps an open question or two at the end.

  • Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, February 24, 2014

    Utterly gripping, engrossing puzzle of a novel, about two young women who are best friends during WWII. That doesn't begin to get at the story, really, but a great read, wonderful book

  • Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh, February 8, 2014

    Hilarious memoir-in-drawings by a woman with a long-suffering boyfriend, two dysfunctional dogs, and chronic depression. You might know her drawing style: Clean all the things!

  • Police, by Jo Nesbo, January 21, 2014.

    I am completely caught up on the Harry Hole series, excepting no. 2, which will finally be published in English this spring some time. This is perhaps the most twisted and terrifying of the novels yet.

  • Phantom, by Jo Nesbo. January something 2014

    Harry is back from Hong Kong, for an unfortunate reason. Can he do what he needs to do? And what happens next with...

  • Get Jiro!, by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Langdon Foss, and Jose Villarubia. January 11, 2014.

    Fantastic and very funny graphic novel about an ongoing war between corporate food/cooking and crunchy organic food/cooking, with possibily recognizable real people making appearances in leading roles on the organic side. (One of them is EASILY recognizable; the other will take most people a little work.) Helps if you've read something by Bourdain and seen the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."

  • Hild, by Nicola Griffith. January 3, 2014.

    Really wondering whether I omitted a book, because I started this one on December 9, buying it from Kobo in Honolulu Airport two minutes after reading a friend's comments about it. (Oh, wait; I read 90 pages of The Dante Club, in hard copy.) Anyway, this is a superbly written and researched historical novel about Hild, following her in the early 7th century from childhood to young adulthood as King Edwin of Northumbria's niece and seer. I do not want to say much more than that, but it is wonderful and I cannot wait for the NEXT novel to come out, whenever that is, considering that this took ten years of research.

Books I read in 2013

Maybe I'll finish two excellent nonfiction books I started last year.

Well, I didn't finish those two nonfiction books, and apparently I did not complete ANY nonfiction books in 2013, although I have two in process. I hang my head in shame.

What I did read was approximately 27 books, nearly all of them genre novels, either mysteries (mostly police procedurals) or s.f. The best book of the year was Kristin Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset's great historical novel of medieval Norway, in the wonderful new(ish) Tiina Nunnely translation. Highly, highly recommended. Other favorites include Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?, Neil Gaiman's American Gods (a superb dark fantasy novel), and Christopher Priest's The Prestige..

Books I read in 2012

As always, the goal was to read more non-fiction. I didn't succeed, in part because I started, but did not finish, two important nonfiction books, Tony Judt's Postwar and Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert. Perhaps in 2013?

Meanwhile, I read a total of 29 books. I'd feel worse about that low total if the two George R.R. Martin books and the two Trollopes weren't each the length of two or three typical novels. I also started, but have not finished, The Hobbit and Bleak House. I did not list a book I read in manuscript, so I guess I can reasonably say I read 30 books in 2012.

Books I read in 2011

This year's goal: read more non-fiction.

It's January 1, 2012, and I did, more or less, manage to read more non-fiction. I did this by doing a little jamming on non-fiction at the end of the year.

I think I am starting 2012 with non-fiction - a new book and also by finishing a book I've been 95% done with for almost a year.

The 2012 count: 3 nonfiction books (four if you count the one I'm almost done with...), 27 fiction (including a couple of very short books and a couple of very long ones), 1 novel thrown against the wall partway through. I'm also still picking up Berlioz's memoirs from time to time and will finish the book eventually. Also about 180 pages into Phineas Finn on my phone and thinking I need hard copy.

Books I read in 2010

I read 40 books in full and four more fractionally (from one-half finished to 3/4 finished) in 2010.

Huge reading break from late-Feb to early April as I IGNORED Luc Sante's Low Life, which I started in February while in NYC. Log jam now broken; I'll finish Low Life in a whilesomeday.

There were several books I read only half or three-quarters of the way through in 2010. They're listed among the books I finished, for some reason - probably so I could keep chronological track of what I read.

The books I read in 2010, most of them completed:

Books I read in 2009

I read 26 books in 2009, up from 23 in 2008, but still behind the 33 in 2007 and far under what i read before the internet took over my life. I spent too much shuttle time on line answering email or blogging, I think. I read a disproportionate number of books while home sick or on vacation (two-plus during a short stay in Santa Fe, for example). I still wish I were reading more nonfiction.

Books I finished:

Books I read in 2008

Well, I had a crappy book-reading year in 2008. I blame it on blogging a lot more than in previous years, reading other blogs too much, and the election. I also got badly bogged down, to the point of blockage, by The Rest is Noise. I read part of it in April, part of it in July, and remain stuck half-way through. Read the index to see why, she said cryptically; I still haven't figured out what to say about it on my blog.

My goal for 2009 is just to read a lot more, of whatever type of book.

Books I read in 2007

Books I've been in the middle of since 2009 and might finish some day:

Books I started in 2010 or 2011 and am in the middle of right now:

Books I started and will not be finishing:

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