Friday, December 31, 2021

Thoughts on reading in 2021

It wasn’t a book, but an author I fell in love with in 2021.

S.A. Cosby is the author of Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears; two

powerful works of noir that received both critical and popular acclaim.  In Razorblade Tears two men — one black, one white — reluctantly team up to avenge the death of their sons, a gay couple.  


Without abandoning the tropes of noir, Cosby deftly explores themes of homophobia and racism.  It is a remarkable literary high-wire act resulting in one of the most satisfying reads in years.  Razorblade Tears is an instant classic. 


Here's my highest praise: I will purchase Cosby's next book without hesitation and it will immediately find its way to the top of my reading list.


(Otto Penzler on noir in literature: “The people in noir fiction are dark and doomed— they are losers, they are pessimistic, they are hopeless.”)


Two other books worth exploring: Harlem Shuffle by the genre-busting Colson Whitehead and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.  


In Harlem Shuffle, Whitehead dips into crime fiction with just a tinge of noir. 


Chambers makes science fiction fun again with a space opera featuring an entertaining multi-species crew. The aliens are fully drawn and not mere sketches.  Chambers’ skill in developing credible aliens rivals that of sci-fi grandmaster Larry Niven.


In the final three months of 2021 a wallet-stretching number of novels by notable authors hit the bookstores.  Many of those books ran to 600 pages or more, and, sadly, most of those books fell short of my expectations.


The best of the bunch -- Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen.  


Worth exploring:

The Lamplighters, Emma Stone

Matrix, Lauren Groff

Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead

The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles

Bewilderment, Richard Powers

Oh William!, Elizabeth Strout

Silverview, John Le Carré

Billy Summers, Stephen King

Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr

The Magician, Colm Tóibín

The Sentence, Louise Erdrich


Much of my reading in 2021 was devoted to crime novels, which, like my grandmother’s homemade candy, I find irresistible; graphic novels; and non-fiction on the subject of comic books, comic strips and cartoons.  


Finished the year with 112 books read. That’s the lowest total for me since reading 114 books in 2010.  

2021 Reading List

“The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved. You cannot make a spoon that is better than a spoon.”

Umberto Eco--

January

1.     The Martian, Andy Weir

2. Steve Canyon, 1949-1950, Milton Caniff

3. Tomorrow’s Kin, Nancy Kress

4. The Marvel Legacy of Jack Kirby, ed. Brian Overton

5. A Big Storm Knocked It Over^, Laurie Colwin

6. Music: A Fold-Out Graphic History, Nicolas O’Neill, 

Susan Hayes & Ruby Taylor

7. Altered Carbon, Richard K. Morgan

8. Sabrina, Nick Drnaso

9. The Man In The High Castle, Philip K. Dick

10. Brune Hogarth’s Lord of the Jungle, Brune Hogarth

11. Shine On, Bright & Dangerous Object^, Laurie Colwin

12. Home Cooking, Laurie Colwin

13. The Unfinished Presidency, Jimmy Carter’s Journey

Beyond the White House, Douglas Brinkley

14. Crazy Blood, T. Jefferson Parker


February

15. Dead Lies Dreaming, Charles Stross

16. The Last Good Guy, T. Jefferson Parker

17. Skim Deep, Max Allan Collins

18. The Lone Pilgrim^, Laurie Colwin

19. Then She Vanished, T. Jefferson Parker.

20. The Dream Is Real, My Life on the Airwaves,

Bob Davis & Jeff Bollig

21. The Library of Graphic Novelists: Will Eisner,

Robert Greenberger

22. The Library of Graphic Novelists: Neil Gaiman,

Steven P. Olson

23. Family Happiness, Laurie Colwin

24. Godric^, Frederick Buechner

25. The Winter of Frankie Machine, Don Winslow

26. Three Hearts and Three Lions, Paul Anderson

27. Changing Planes, Ursula K. LeGuin

28. Satori, Don Winslow


March

29. Another Marvelous Thing, Laurie Colwin

30. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan

31. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay^, 

        Michael Chabon

32. Brendan^, Frederick Buechner

33. My Ántonia^, Willa Cather

34. Echo House^, Ward Just

35. A Marvelous Life, The Amazing Story of Stan Lee, 

        Danny Fingeroth

36. The Ice Harvest, Scott Phillips

37. Not Dark Yet, Peter Robinson

38. Way Down on the High Lonely, Don Winslow

39. True Believer, The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, 

        Abraham Riesman


April

40. The Many-Colored Land^, Julian May

41. The Finisher, Peter Lovesey

42. Wild Minds, The Artists and Rivalries that Inspired 

        the Golden Age of Animation,  Reid Mitenbuler

43. Gahan Wilson’s America, Gahan Wilson

44. The Golden Torc^, Julian May

45. The Library of Graphic Novelists: Colleen Doran

        Aaron Rosenberg

46. California Fire and Life, Don Winslow

47. The Non-Born King^, Julian May

48. Dark Sky,  C.J. Box


May

49. Invisible Men, The Trailblazing Black Artists of 

        Comic Books, Ken Quattro

50. The Adversary, Julian May

51. Smoke, Joe Ide

52. The Night Always Comes, Willy Vlautin

53. Machers and Rockers, Rich Cohen

54. Win, Harlan Coben

55. The Big Bang, Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins

56. The Library of Graphic Novelists: Joe Sacco, 

        Monica Marshall

57. The Dead Hour, Denise Mina


June

58. Intervention^, Julian May

59. I Feel So Good, The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy,

Bob Riesman

60. Jack the Bodiless^, Julian May

61. The Secret to Superhuman Strength, Alison Bechdel

62. Diamond Mask^, Julian May

63. Magnificat^, Julian May

64. The House In France, Gully Wells


July

65. How Lucky, Will Leitch

66. Big Hair and Plastic Grass, Dan Epstein

67. Theories of Everything, Roz Chast

68. The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris

69. The Heathens, Ace Atkins

70. The Cover Wife, Dan Fesperman


August

71. Dream Girl, Laura Lippman

72. I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya, My American Blues Story, Bobby Rush

73. Blood Grove, Walter Mosley

74. The Night Gate, Peter May

75. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, Richard Flanagan

76. Blacktop Wasteland, S.A. Cosby

77. The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex

78. Monsters, Barry Windsor Smith

79. Razorblade Tears, S.A. Cosby


September

80. Heavy Weather^, Bruce Sterling

81. In The Spirit of Crazy Horse, Peter Matthiessen

82. A Slow Fire Burning, Paula Hawkins

83. Matrix, Lauren Groff

84. Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead

85. Black Smoke, African Americans and the United States of 

        Barbecue, Adrian Miller

86. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers


October

87. When Ghosts Come Home, Wiley Cash

88. The Speckled Beauty, A Dog and His People, Rick Bragg

89. Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead

90. The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles

91. Poet Warrior, Joy Harjo

92. Daughter of the Morning Star, Craig Johnson

93. Run, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, L. Fury & Nate Powell.

94. Bewilderment, Richard Powers

95. Oh William!, Elizabeth Strout

96. Silverview, John Le Carré

97. All of the Marvels, Douglas Wolk


November

98. Billy Summers, Stephen King

99. Guarded By Dragons, Rick Gekoski

100. Crossroads, Jonathan Franzen

101. Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr

102. On Animals, Susan Orlean

103. The Dark Hours, Michael Connelly.

104. Better Off Dead, Lee & Andrew Child


December

105. The Judge’s List, John Grisham

106. The Magician, Colm Tóibín

107. Hell of a Book, Jason Mott.

108. The Madness of Crowds, Louise Penny

109. The Sentence, Louise Erdrich

110. Rizzio, Denise Mina

111. The Marvel Art of Joe Quesada, Joe Quesada

112. Savages, Don Winslow.


^ Re-read


“To be truthful, I always wanted to write about a dog with a story to tell. I think a lot of writers do, the ones who have a soul; the rest are cat people, I suppose.”

Rick Bragg

The Speckled Beauty

A Dog and His People



“(Sunday) Strips . . . show the Metropolis Marvel in a predicament familiar to longtime Superman readers: super-obesity.  (DC editor Mort) Weisinger, bald and overweight, was famously self-loathing about his appearance.  It’s no coincidence that, under his long tenure, the Superman characters presumed that the absolute worst, most repulsive fates any of them could suffer were getting fat or losing their hair. It was, in all seriousness, a bizarre recurring theme in Weisinger’s books.”

Mark Waid, in an introduction of The Atomic Age Superman

(featuring 13 Super Sunday Adventures, 1956 to 1959.



“To lend each other a hand when we’re falling . . . Perhaps that’s the only work that matters in the end.”

Brendan by Frederik Buechner


“You can’t get over things you do to other people as easily as you can get over things they do to you”

Louise Erdrich

The Sentence


Saturday, January 02, 2021

On re-reading in 2020

I’m going to channel Stan Lee and insist on going full bore with hyphens.  Reread is an ugly word, difficult to parse. Re-read is clumsy, but has the benefit of clarity.

Re-reading books has its pleasures and its pitfalls.  The pleasure comes in re-reading a much-loved book, rediscovering its charms, taking away a new insight each time. As with most life-long readers, I have re-read numerous books through the years. Willa Cather’s My Antonia, for example, is a book I return to every other year or so.


Walter Wangerin’s Book of the Dun Cow and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are also books I cherish and re-visit regularly.


A pandemic offers little opportunity to browse local bookstores, and on-line purchases have limited appealed. Fortunately, I have thousands of books here at home and maintain a list of books I have entertained re-reading.


Here’s where the pitfalls appear. Whether a decades-old sci-fi novel or a classic of English literature, some books simply don’t hold up well. 


I re-read Why Call Them Back From Heaven and City by Clifford Simak, Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein, Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz, The Peripheral by William Gibson and Lilith by George MacDonald.  Four works of sci-fi and three of fantasy. (Side note: Bradbury is impossible to categorize, but fits best in fantasy.)


Sci-fi of the ‘50s and ‘60s tends to be outdated. Predictions fall wide of the mark and cultural advances leave some older texts feeling awkward and tone deaf, i.e. a husband jocularly threatening to spank his wife for lack of obedience. Women, in these older works, are rarely fully drawn, appearing as stereotypes — the Madonna, the prostitute with a heart of gold, the shrewish wife, the empty-headed blonde.  


When I was a kid, Simak was one of my favorite sci-fi writers. I can’t say that now. The same is true for Heinlein.  I did find The Puppet Masters mildly humorous compared to the horror it evoked when I first read it at 14. And I was pleased to see that a line I vividly remembered from that first decades-old read was just as I remembered it, and still carried a frisson of horror.


Admittedly a newer work, Gibson’s The Peripheral was fine.  I primarily re-read it to set up Gibson’s newest novel, Agency.  Gibson is always worth a spin around the block.


By its nature, fantasy avoids the problems inherent in sci-fi.  Bradbury’s book was mesmerizing. MacDonald’s eerie and with its magic duels and court intrigue, Kurtz’s novel — her first — was just plain fun.


The classics, and I think each of the books that follow warrant that description, were also a mixed bag, although to a much lesser extent.  I re-read Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, They Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien and The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson. (Note: maybe I should have included Bradbury here. He does transcend genres.)


Among all these books, only Catch 22 fell flat.  A satirical look at war and the military, it felt like a one-trick pony.  It was clever, until it wasn’t.


I’m curious how broadly read Ken Kesey is today.  I found One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was a powerful, insightful book that warrants a wider audience.  Perhaps a new generation will discover this merry prankster.  (Year ago, I read Kesey’s Sometimes A Great Notion, and loved it.  I need to track down a copy and re-read it this year.)


Slaughterhouse Five, They Things They Carried and The Long Ships cemented their status as favorite books.   (Note: Anyone who is a fan of Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series is advised encouraged to read The Long Ships.)   


I plan to re-read more books from my home library.  Pleasures and disappointments await.


Friday, January 01, 2021

Further thoughts on 2020 reading -- Ursula K. Le Guin & the 33 1/3 series

 On Discovering Ursula K. Le Guin

Despite the vast amount of science fiction and fantasy that I read as a kid, and as an adult, until this past year I had never read a book by Ursula K. Le Guin. (For that matter, I never read Philip K. Dick, either, but let’s leave that for later.) 


I am at a loss to describe this lapse in my reading.  All the criteria is there for a successful author-reader rapport:


  • Le Guin wrote (and I read) both science fiction and fantasy.
  • Several of her books, notably A Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness enjoyed critical and commercial success, and are now rightfully considered classics.  (The Left Hand of Darkness won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel. Le Guin was the first woman to earn that achievement.)
  • She influenced many writers that I have, and do, read, including Neil Gaiman, Iain Banks and David Mitchell. 
  • In 2003 she became the second woman named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The great covid pandemic of 2020 brought us together.  I quickly plowed through the stack of books I planned to read this past year, and, limited in my ability to purchase new books, I raided the shelves of my personal library. There I found nine books by Le Guin. 


Yes, nine.  Waiting patiently to be discovered.

There was nothing for it, but to read these books: The Left Hand of Darkness, The Telling, Orsinian Tales, Rocannon’s World, The Dispossessed, Tehanu, The Beginning Place, Gifts and The Other Wind.  


I loved them. I absolutely fell in love with this writer.  Le Guin is a powerful and luminous writer who explores sexuality, feminism, social and political systems, race, gender and coming of age themes set among alien worlds or fantastic worlds filled with magic, dragons and fantastic quests.


I especially liked Tehanu and The Other Wind  — fantasy of the first order. (Note: these books are closely connected. Tehanu should be read first.)


There are a number of books by Le Guin I have yet to read.  I will continue to address that oversight in 2021. 


The 33 1/3 Series


I like music, lots of styles from blues to rock to country, and I like reading about music, so it is no surprise that I both enjoy and recommend the 33 1/3 series from Bloomsbury Academic.


These are small books (rarely more than 150 pages in length) about popular music, focusing on individual albums by artists.  I’ve read 11 books in the series, ranging from Murder Ballads, the album from Nick Cave and Bad Seeds, to Dusty In Memphis, featuring Dusty Springfield, to Workingman's Dead, my favorite album by the Grateful Dead. Other books I've read feature John Cash, AC/DC, Jethro Tull and Neil Young.


I like to listen to the album, read about a particular track, and then listen again.  


It’s an ideal series for music lovers.  Currently, there are 151 books in the series. 


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Thoughts on my 2020 Reading


Behind the Numbers — 

I read 132 books in 2020. That’s one less than I read in 2019.  I had a slow start with only eight books dispatched in January and seven in February.  The pandemic took hold, and I settled in to a more normal pace of 12-15 books each month.  I have been keeping a book list since 1996. I read 67 books that year.  From ’96 through 2020, I have read 3,404 books.  So many books, so little time. 


Best Fiction — 

In many respects, I dislike the idea of the best of this and the best of that.  Let’s just say that the books I single out — both new and old — are among the books I enjoyed the most, and that I believe others will enjoy as well.  My enjoyment can derive from the author’s skill, the characters (Dickens has no equal here), the narrative or a concept or idea that’s being  put forth.  With that caveat before us, here are the books I most highly recommend:


Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell

Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

The Mirror & The Light, Hilary Mantel

Simon the Fiddler, Paulette Jiles

In the Memory of the Forest, Charles T. Powers.

The Soul of Kindness, Elizabeth Taylor

The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney

The Searcher, Tana French

Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler

Slaughterhouse-Five, Ryan North & Albert Monteys based on the novel by Kurt Vonnegut


I started praising Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet as soon as I put it down in April. In a word it is superb, and is absolutely the best book that I read this year. O’Farrell is an Irish novelist and not well known in the states. That’s unfortunate, she a superb writer.   Hamnet is an excellent introduction to O’Farrell. I also recommend The Hand That First Held Mine.


Another little known novelist is Paulette Jiles.  Born in Missouri, Jiles was graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She spent many years in Canada before moving to Texas where she now lives on a 36-acre farm west of San Antonio.  The background helps explain Jiles two most recent books — News of the World and Simon the Fiddler — both set in Texas. News of the World was recently made into a movie starring Tom Hanks.  If you liked Lonesome Dove, these books are for you.


Shuggie Bain, which won the Booker Prize, is a stunningly powerful first novel.  


In the Memory of the Forest by Charles Powers was recommend by the novelist Dan Fesperman. Like Jiles, Powers was born in Missouri. He worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star, later serving as foreign correspondent for the Los Angles Times.   In the Memory of the Forest, set in Poland, is his first and only novel.


Slaughterhouse-Five by Ryan North and Albert Monteys is an excellent adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s extraordinary novel. If you’re curious about graphic novels, but not sure where to begin, this is a great entry point.  It shows how the addition of “pictures” (art, drawings, whatever you choose to call it) can illuminate and expand on an author’s writings.


Mantel, Taylor, Berney, French and Tyler are not new to my “best of” list.


Best Non-Fiction — 

Perhaps it’s just me, but there seemed to be a broad range of excellent non-fiction books this past year.  Let’s look at those I found especially worthwhile:


Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald

The Big Goodbye, Sam Wasson

His Truth Is Marching On, John Lewis and the Power of Hope,Jon Meacham

No Time Like The Future, Michael J. Fox

Sticky Finger, The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, Joe Hogan

Anything You Can Imagine, Peter Jackson & the Making of Middle-Earth, Ian Nathan

Dirt, Bill Buford

Astral Weeks, A Secret History of 1968, Ryan H. Walsh

Yellow Bird, Sierra Crane Murdoch


Remember H is for Hawk? Yeah, Vesper Flights is by that Helen Macdonald.  Is it going too far to say these essays on nature take flight? The Big Goodbye is an account of the making of one of my favorite films, Chinatown.  As for the rest . . . a tribute to an American hero, the third memoir from Michael J. Fox, Lord of the Rings, French food, misdeeds on the reservation and Van Morrison.  Squarely in my wheelhouse.


I re-read a number of books in 2020, and I want to say more about that. I also want to write about:


falling in love with the works Ursula K. LeGuin, 

books that disappointed me this past year, 

self-published books (which didn’t disappoint), 

the 33 and 1/3 series, 

historical fiction, 

mysteries,

the poverty of the national book awards, 

and the value of a home library containing books you have yet to read. 

My 2020 Reading List


 “Books are always better when read than explained.”

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern 


January

1. Texas Flood, The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan, 

Alan Paul and Andy  Aledort

2. Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens

3. The Shores of Tripoli*, James L. Haley

4. Demelza, Winston Graham

(Book Two in the Poldark series)

5. A Flame of Pure Fire, Jack Dempsey and the Roaring ‘20s, 

Roger Kahn

6. A Darker Sea*, James L. Haley

7. Why Call Them Back From Heaven?^, Clifford D. Simak

8. Many Rivers To Cross, Peter Robinson


February

9. Enough, C.D. “Tony” Hylton, III

10. Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book, Harvey Kurtzman

11. The Peripheral^, William Gibson

12. Agency, William Gibson

13. Marley, Jon Clinch

14. The Caribbean Account, Alan Furst

15. Fredericksburg!, George C. Rable


March

16. The Big Goodbye, Sam Wasson

17. The Worm Ouroboros, E.R. Eddison

18. The Falcon Thief, Joshua Hammer

19. Long Range, C.J. Box

20. American Secession, F.H. Buckley

21. The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio, ed. Mark Evanier

22. Apeirogon, Colum McCann

23. Lilith ^,  George MacDonald

24. Sticky Finger, The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and

Rolling Stone Magazine, Joe Hagan

25. The Mirror & The Light, Hilary Mantel


April

26. Eight Perfect Murders, Peter Swanson. Mystery

27. The Man Who Walked Through Time, Colin Fletcher

28. The Last Voyage of the Emir, David Riley

29. Hi Five, Joe Ide

30. Encounters with the Archdruid, John McPhee

31. Leopoldstadt, Tom Stoppard.

32. No Cheering in the Press Box, ed. Jerome Holtzman

33. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

34. Redhead by the Side of the Road, Anne Tyler

35. The Boy From The Woods, Harlan Coben

36. Harvey Kurtzman, The Man Who Created Mad and 

Revolutionized Humor in America, Bill Schelly

37. Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell

38. Broken, Don Winslow

39. Writers on Comics Scriptwriting, ed. Mark  Salisbury

40. A Silent Death, Peter May


May

41. Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks

42. Trouble Is What I Do, Walter Mosley

43. Do No Harm, Max Allan Collins

44. The Sandman Companion, Hy Bender

45. Catch 22,^ Joseph Heller

46. King of the Comics, ed. Dean Mullaney

47. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest^, Ken Kesey

48. In The Tennessee Country, Peter Taylor

49. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

50. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

51. Fair Warning, Michael Connelly


June

52. Slaughterhouse Five^, Kurt Vonnegut

53. Simon the Fiddler, Paulette Jiles

54. The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún, J.R.R. Tolkien

55. Wilson, A. Scott Berg

56. The Telling, Ursula K. Le Guin

57. The Book of Eels, Patrik Svensson

58. Lullaby Town, Robert Crais

59. Orsinian Tales, Ursula K. Le Guin

60. Glorious Boy, Aimee Liu

61. The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin

62. The Magicians, Lev Grossman

63. Dirt, Bill Buford


July

64. Rocannon’s World, Ursula K. LeGuin

65. The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney

66. Best SF: 1971, ed. Harry Harrison & Brian Aldiss

67. Dandelion Wine^, Ray Bradbury

68. Caniff, A Visual Biography, ed. Dean Mullaney

69. The Boys On The Bus, Timothy Crouse

70. The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin

71. Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben

72. The Magician King, Lev Grossman

73. The Revelators, Ace Atkins

74. Tehanu, Ursula K. Le Guin

75. The Death and Life of Bobby Z, Don Winslow


August

76. City^, Clifford  Simak

77. The Things They Carried^, Tim O’Brien

78. The Beginning Place, Ursula K. Le Guin

79. Anything You Can Imagine, Peter Jackson & the Making of

Middle-Earth, Ian Nathan

80. In the Memory of the Forest, Charles  T. Powers

81. Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell

82. The SFWA Grandmasters, Vol. 3, ed. Frederik Pohl

83. Sharpe’s Devil, Bernard Cornwell

84. The Other Wind, Ursula K. LeGuin

85. Yellow Bird, Sierra Crane Murdoch


September

86. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

87. Bone Coda, Jeff Smith

88. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, 

        John Steinbeck

89. My Life As A Villainess, Laura Lipman

90. The Once and Future King, T.H. White

91. Superman, The Unauthorized Biography, Glen Weldon

92. Slaughterhouse-Five, Ryan North & Albert Monteys

based on the novel by Kurt Vonnegut

93. The Less Dead, Denise Mina

94. Squeezeme, Carl Hiaasen

95. Monogamy, Sue Miller


October

96. His Truth Is Marching On, John Lewis and the Power 

        of Hope, Jon Meacham

97. The Soul of Kindness, Elizabeth Taylor

98. Next to Last Stand, Craig Johnson

99. Jack, Marilynne Robinson

100. All In Color For A Dime, ed. Dick Lupoff & Don Thompson

101. H.M.S. Surprise, Patrick O’Brian

102. A Song for the Dark Times, Ian Rankin

103. Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald

104. All The Devils Are Here, Louise Penny

105. The Bookseller’s Tale, Martin Latham

106. Treason’s Harbour, Patrick O’Brian


November

107. War Lord, Bernard Cornwell

108. The Searcher, Tana French

109. Gifts, Ursula K. LeGuin

110. You Have Arrived At Your Destination, Amor Towles

111. Piranesi, Susanna Clarke

112. Surfacing, Kathleen Jamie

113. Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

114. The Sentinel, Lee & Andrew Child

115. Astral Weeks, A Secret History of 1968, Ryan H. Walsh

116. The Law of Innocence, Michael Connelly

117. Don’t Let Go, Harlan Coben


December

118. The Tin Can Tree, Anne Tyler

119. Pappyland, Wright Thompson

120. From Elvis In Memphis, Eric Wolfson

121. The Long Ships^, Frans G. Bengtsson

122. Deryni Rising^, Katherine Kurtz

123. Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu

124. Murder Ballads, Santi Elijah Holley

125. The Puppet Masters^, Robert A. Heinlein

126. She Come By It Natural, Sarah Smarsh

130. The Neil Gaiman Reader, Neil Gaiman

131. No  Time Like The Future, Michael J. Fox

132. Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens


  • Books 1 & 2 in the Bliven Putnam Naval Series

^ Re-read


“But the direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be.”

— Colin Fletcher, The Man Who Walked Through Time


“ . . . she was not so naive as to think there was any necessary relation between religion and morality, or that if there was a relation it was likely to be a benevolent one.”


“ . . . if the Telling was a religion it was very different from Terran religions, since it entirely lacked dogmatic belief, emotional frenzy, deferral of reward to a future life, and sanctioned bigotry.”

— Ursula Le Guin, The Telling


The best thing for being sad . . . is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails.”

— T.H. White, That Once and Future King


“Vodka is for the skinny and scotch is for the strivers and bourbon is for the homesick.”

—Wright Thompson, Pappyland, 

A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, 

and the Things That Last