The year has now officially ended, and the clocks have been reset. I completed (reading) 18 “new” books, while making my way through various degrees of two others. So, I came close… to my hopes of about 26.
We shall start with the “Honorable Mentions” – the two that are “Mostly Done”, and should (hopefully) be finished pretty soon.
Eric Clapton’s Clapton: The Autobiography. As I write this, I actually only have about 40 pages to go, si it will probably fall as the “First book of 2008”. The other title, The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman has been a fixture on the list for months. It is not a bad book, it is just very detailed – very thick images that take time to fully digest. I am sitting at the half-way mark, but I want to finish, if for nothing else than to say, “Huzzah! I have conquered!” Outside of the thick images, the story is actually very good.
Now, the completed works of the year (in reverse order, or combined by author):
Just a Geek and Dancing Barefoot: Wil Wheaton – Both are actually very good, and are ripped from the pixels of his blog (with any appropriate editing and expanded exposition as the stories may call for). I’ve periodically read the blog years ago, but over the last year, it has moved into my “daily routine” (while at work, anyway). I have his latest, Happiest Days… as one of the Wheaton 300, and will no doubt read through it at some time this year.
Rita Mae Brown: Outfoxed. This was loaned to Jenn when she was nursing her leg. I don’t know if she ever got a chance to read any of it, but I know she was looking forward to it. After misplacing it for a couple of months (I kept wondering where I had put it) I added it to my stack, if for no other reason than to be able to return it. I thought it was a good read, and I seen other books by the author when browsing shelves at the bookstores. The mechanic of changing voices (from the people, to the animals, and back) was something cool to see. And since Jenn had a few story ideas for fox-hunt related mysteries, well, I know where I can look for guidance.
Steve Martin: The Underpants: A Play by Carl Sternheim. Ok… yes, it’s a script for a stage play. This just goes to show that I don’t read just novels or memoir-style items. The script itself is great. I thought it was very funny (and a very quick read). Seeing the play live, however, was another story. I know it is a comedy, but why does everyone feel the need to try to take (and perform) some comedies so over-the-top?
Katrina Firlik: Another Day in the Frontal Lobe. A book about being a neurosurgeon, by a femal neurosurgeon. It was a very good read, and helped to provide some insight to the medical field (in general), and neurosurgery as a field.
JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. How could I not have read the book? There were a couple of moments that I really had to question (a couple of items that almost seemed a little forced – but with so much material needing to be tied together, I can understand), and it was a very enjoyable read and end to the series. The whole time, though, I was also thinking about how the screen adaptation is going to look… and it’s going to be very fast paced…
Chuck Palahniuk: Fight Club. My first comment on Fight Club – I have never seen Fight Club. My second comment about Fight Club – I have never seen Fight Club. It was a very interesting read, and one that may beg to be reread after seeing the movie. Maybe some of the fuzzy moments when I was reading it will click better with a visual.
Frank McCourt: Teacher Man. Funny, and very easy read. And that’s a memoir… I wonder how his fiction will read.
Sue Grafton: B is for Burglar, and C is for Corpse. Continuing the cases of Kinsey Milhone. My plan is to eventually make it through the seies.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. Again, I say, “No, I have not read this before.” I liked the chance to see how the times were back then, from a period voice – the language, the manners, and an example of how roaring the 20’s could be…
Joe Hill: Heart Shaped Box. I started this just before Jenn passed away. It took me a while to get back to finishing it. Overall, I thought it was a good book, and an interesting idea, and he carries the family mantle well (Hill is actually his middle name… King is his last… and yes, he is Stephen’s son).
Scott Hahn: The Lamb’s Supper. My in-laws got the book for me after my wife passed. I started it soon after I got it, but some of the thicker (theological) sections took some time for me to digest. Overall, I thought it to be a good book, and presented another perspective that I could understand a bit better.
Chris Baty: No Plot? No Problem! Having tried (and under-shot) a session with NaNoWriMo, I decided this would be a good read – and it was. Now, I may need to add it to a writing rotation (to read, and make notes) – as means to help kick my own butt while writing.
Sue Grafton: A is for Alibi. I did not group this one with the others for a couple of reasons. First, this was the last full book that I read before my wife passed. Second, I read most of it on a Saturday, finishing the last few (about 60) pages on Sunday. Yeah, I thought it was that good. The others that I have read have taken me a bit longer to get through… but I like it when a book can keep me interested enough to spend almost an entire day reading. I had passed the tittles for a while, but when I kept thinking about trying to write PI/Mystery stories, Grafton was the first name that came to mind, and where I wanted to start.
Dan Brown: Angels and Demons. The book before the DaVinci Code, but with less hype. This one is similarly paced (which is a stylistic item that I like – which is why it works well in suspense style fiction), and I think hits harder than DC (I don’t want to reveal too much, but the the main storyline involves a bomb being placed underneath the Vatican, strong enough to raze it, but still leave most of Rome intact).
Cesar Millan: Cesar’s Way. Another borrowed text, as we were having some issues with the puppy, and we wanted to nip the issues. This one took some time to get through as well… but I think the training tips and suggestions were worth it.
Steven Pressfield: The Legend of Bagger Vance. I started the year with this one, and it was a very good read. I also enjoyed doing background work for the story, and discovering where it originated (it is a contemporization of an Eastern story… the specifics are now fuzzy, but I wouldn’t mind retracing and reading the original story).
That sums up the year in books… and with any luck I can make it through more in 2008. Now for the movies…