Thursday, January 1, 2009

Books read in 2008

My daughter recently published a list of the books she read in 2008 on her blog and challenged me to do the same. I decided to do her one better and this is the result. This is pretty long but it's New Year's Day. What else have you to do? More or less in the order I read them, this is my 2008 reading list.

The Myriad by R. M. Meluch - I read a lot of science fiction. This is the first book of a trilogy of 'hard' science fiction. It is very influenced by Star Trek.

Wolf Star by R. M. Meluch - the second book of the series

B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton. This is a book on CD. I have a daily commute of about an hour. I usually listen to a book on the afternoon drive. This is the second book of a series about woman private detective Kinsey Milhoune. Light fare, good for driving.

The Sagittarius Command by R. M. Meluch. The third book of the series. This was an unusual series. Due to a time travel paradox, the story rebooted after the second book and this is like an alternative ending. It was ok.

Halting State by Charles Stross. This was more like a police procedural (which I also read) than science fiction but set in the year 2018 in Edinburgh. I like Stross and this was pretty good.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (on CD). Did you see the movie The Golden Compass? This is the sequel to the book. The movie did not do well and I think we will not be seeing the sequel filmed. If you liked the movie, read the book.

Boom by Tom Brokaw. His memories of the 1960s. Pretty good although if you didn't live the '60s, the book may not mean much to you.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (on CD). I liked The Subtle Knife so much I decided to go back and read this.

Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks. This is the first book of 4. The third was published this year and looked interesting, so I found the first book to read. It is a fantasy about a very earth-like place with subtle magic based on fire, earth, water and air. I recommend this series.

Fleet of Worlds - Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner. Science fiction. I've been reading Larry Niven for years. Many of his books fit together into a structure he calls "Future History". This is the first book of a new trilogy. The book is a pretty complicated story and might be hard to follow if you're not familiar with Niven's work. The story takes place before many of his other stories.

The Letter of Marque by Patrick O'Brian (on CD). Did you see the movie Master and Commander with Russell Crowe? The movie was put together from several of O'Brian's novels about Captain Jack Aubry (the Crowe character) and his particular friend Steven Maturin. There are 20 novels in the series and this is number 12. I've listened to most of these so far on CD and they are wonderful.

Earth Logic by Laruie J. Marks. The second book of the series

Water Logic by Laurie J. Marks. The third book of the series. Notice the different cover art. Between the 2nd and 3rd books she lost her original publisher. She is at work on the 4th book in the series, called, you guessed it, Air Logic.

The Sunrise Lands by S. M. Stirling. The premise of this series is that some event, unknown to the characters in the story, caused energy intensive processes to not work. What this means is that the world is left with out electricity. Gun powder doesn't work. Internal combustion engines don't work. The 'event' happened on the East Coast (in a previous series of stories I haven't read). This current series takes place on the West Coast although in this books, some of the characters (some 20 years after The Change) are on their way across the country to find out what happened.

What On Earth Have I Done by Robert Fulghum. Pop philosopher Fulgum gives us his thoughts on what he's done with his life. Thought provoking.

Regret The Error by Craig Silverman. This was fun. Silverman runs a web site, where he posts newspaper and other print errors. The book is a compilation of some of the best.

The Hidden Family by Charles Stoross. Another series. This is about a woman who finds that she is actually from an alternative earth where her family controls trade between that earth and our earth. This is book two as I couldn't find book one.

The Family Trade by Charles Stross. After I finished Book 2, I found book 1.
There are more books in the series and although I like Stross, I really don't like this series.

How Digital Photography Works by Ron White

Advanced Digital Photography by Tom Ang. My early summer attempts to advance my skills at digital photography.

Come to Think of It by Daniel Schorr. Schorr is a long time newsman who currently does essays on NPR. This is a collection of his best since 1990.

Time's Eye by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Another long time science fiction author working with a collaborator. The first book of what I though was a trilogy but will have at least 4 books. A complicated story about advanced aliens trying to destroy the earth.

Buying In by Rob Walker. A book about modern marketing. Pretty interesting. It's about how companies come up with how they try to sell stuff to you.

Singularity's Ring by Paul Melko. Another hard scifi novel.

Sunstorm by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Second book of the series.

3 Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager by Buzz Bissinger. About Tony La Russa managing three games against the Cubs in 2003.

Careless in Red by Elizabeth George (on CD). The latest in a long series of novels (15 strong) about Inspector Lynley of Scotland Yard. George is an American writing English murder mysteries. If you like this sort of thing, start reading her from the beginning.

E is for Evidence By Sue Grafton (on CD). Another Kinsey Millhone mystery. My library has a lot of these but they are not always available. It doesn't not seem to matter if you read them in order.

D Is For Deadbeat by Sue Grafton (on CD). I was kind of liking these but this one was dumb, so it will be the last one I read.

Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. A hard scifi novel about astronauts mining the asteroid belt.

Death of a Dreamer by M. C. Beaton (on CD). An entry in a series about Constable Hamish Macbeth from the tiny fictional Scottish town of Lochdubh Scotland. These are a lot of fun and very entertaining to listen to being read in a Scottish accent.

Firstborn by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. What I though was going to be the last book of this series isn't. And I'm getting tired of it.

Watchmen by Alan Moore. The famous graphic novel (what I called a comic book) from the mid 1980s. I'd somehow never heard of this until a saw a trailer for the upcoming movie earlier this year. It's great.

The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds. Science fiction. Currently one of my favorite authors. One of a series of connected stories of mankind's far flung space settlements.

Death of a Gentle Lady by M. C. Beaton. Hamish Macbeth has suspicions about the nice old lady who moved into the big house but everybody else likes here. The she turns up dead.

The Love of Baseball A collection of odds and ends about our favorite pastime.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. Another classic graphic novel.

Phantom Prey by John Sandford. Another long running murder mystery series, this one about Lucas Davenport of Minneapolis. Davenport started out, 18 novels ago, as a beat cop. Now he works directly for the governor on politically sensitive cases.

Hoax by Robert K. Tanenbaum (on CD). This is a long running series about Robert "Butch" Karp, New Your City District Attorney. It is the first of them I've read and I didn't like it much. Apparently, this is the first one that Tanenbaum actually wrote, the others were ghost written. The consensus on Amazon is that it's the worst book of the series.

Mars Life by Ben Bova. Science fiction. A long standing mission on Mars finds evidence that intelligent life once live there but nobody back on earth seems to care. The book didn't make much sense to me then I found out it is a continuation of a series.

Books by Larry McMurtry. McMurtry is the author of Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show and many other novels. He is also a long time book seller and this is about his life with books. It prompted us to visit his giant used book store in Archer City earlier in the fall.

The Thirteen Gun Salute by Patrick O'Brian. The 13th book in the Aubry/Maturin series and the first I read rather than listen to on CD. My local library has almost all of the series but this one on CD.

The Valley-Westside War by Harry Turtledove. Science fiction. Turtledove specializes in alternate history stories and this book is from a series about a company which trades with alternate earths. I'd read another in this series which I didn't like and I didn't like this one either.

Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver (on CD). Lincoln Rymes is a quadriplegic forensic expert formerly of the NYPD. He now works for them free-lance. He and his beautiful assistant tackle the toughest crimes, usually involving serial killers. They were played by Denszel Washington and Angela Jolie in the movie The Bone Collector.

The Crowd Sounds Happy by Nicholas Dawidoff. A lonely boy grows to manhood with the help of baseball. An autobiography.

100 Great Albums of the Sixties by John Tobler. A purely subjective list of what Tobler considers the best albums of the 1960s. I mostly agree. I bought this at Booked Up, Larry McMurtry bookstore.

Zen & The Art of the Macintosh by Michael Green. Very likely the first book produced entirely on a personal computer, way back in 1986. I am a Macintosh man myself (I bought my first in 1985). Also bought at Booked Up.

The Twelfth Card by Jeffery Deaver (on CD). Another creep-fest featuring Lincoln Rymes.

Deadly Verdict by Andrew Neiderman. A very strange book about a future society where juries are made up of professionals. Trials take days instead of months. But someone is trying to subvert the system.

Norman Rockwell's Americana ABC by George Mendoza. I'm a sucker for Norman Rockwell. Mendoza took 26 paintings by Rockwell, one for each letter and composed a small verse for each one. Another book from Booked Up.

Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front by todd DePastino. A biography of the famous cartoonist who got his start drawing the Willie and Joe soldier cartoons during World War II.

The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian (on CD). The 14th in the series.

The Natural by Bernard Malamud (on CD). The Pulitzer Prize winning novel about baseball. Made into a movie with Robert Redford. The book is not as upbeat as the movie.

The Scourge of God by S. M. Stirling. Another in the series. This is the second I read this year and may be the last. The story is veering into fantasy. Although I also read fantasy, this series didn't start off as fantasy and I don't understand why its becoming fantasy.

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway. A new dectective series set on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Its a good read and a good start to a new series.

Why We Hate Us by Dick Meyer. Meyer writes and on-line column for NPR (he used to be with CBS News). In this book he examines why so many Americans are discontented with current American culture.


Anonymous said...

Neat list.

I have no idea how many books I read last year. I'm not nearly organized enough to have kept track. Maybe I'll try to in 2009.

deal said...

great list. Question: did you pick up much from the digital photography books?

Best Comment is on "the Natural" yes the book is not nearly as upbeat as the film

Scott C. said...

I don't think I could even come close to remembering which books I read this past year. Glad you found Watchmen, its possibly one of the best comic books (it was originally released as a 12 part series in traditional comic form so you weren't wrong referring to it as such) ever written.