Books Dec 2008

  • Kushiel’s Mercy, Jacqueline Carey. This is the last in the second trilogy from Carey, which all, really, have the same plot. A fantasy novel, set in a sort of medieval Europe, they all have the main characters setting out on a journey to save the country, the girl, the boy. You’ll know they’ll get there in the end but you have to find out at what price. For me, Carey creates characters I care about, so I keep reading.
  • Zoe’s Tale, John Scalzi. I first read Scalzi in a free pdf that was given away from Tor, now I’m busy collecting his books. I’ve been waiting for this one to appear and glad it has, I loved it. Set in the future, where humanity is out colonising away whilst fighting against many of the other cultures it finds, it’s another story of heroism, this time to save the world, seen through the eyes of a teenage girl. A nice bit of writing there, given Sclazi is a middle-aged man.
  • Little Brother, Cory Doctorow. I read this earlier in the year via free download, now it was time to buy the book. I took advantage of a signing at Forbidden Planet to grab it, along with the two above. Loved it just as much this time round.
  • Moab is My Washpot, Stephen Fry. Fry’s biography was a critcal analysis of him as a child, someone I’m not sure the author liked too much. From school thief to credit card fraud it details all of his youthfall adventures. Wish he’d write the next installment.
  • This is the Day, Daniel Blythe. A kitchen sink drama, couple who have it all lose it all – how she copes with changing jobs and circumstances. Kep me interested in the characters, it did not end up where I expected which is always good. An OK read.
  • Caught in the Web of Words, K.M. Elizabeth Murray. A biography of James Murray and his work with the Oxford English Dictionary by his grand-daughter. An examination of the twists and turns in life that made Murray perfect to turn the OED into what it is, a classic study of the English language. Completely self-taught, Murray took on the establishment on his own way. The book is detailed and quite dry and times, but does offer a fascinating insight into what drove the decades of effort.
  • 7th Heaven James Patterson. Another of his Women’s Murder Club books, formulaic crime mystery that kept me turning the pages to find out who did it.
  • Dead Man’s Footsteps, Peter James. Crime novel, set in Brighton. Missing people, old cases, new challenges. Roy Grace solves his latest crime whilst still not moving on from his missing wife. These last two books I bought from the WH Smith half proce weekly deal, they’re by authors I’ve read before and I know that I’ll enjoy them as good commute books.
  • The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Richard P Feynman. Definitely ot a commute book, you need to focus to follow the writings of Feynman. This is a collection of pieces, illustrating Feynman’s life. Loved it
  • Blood on the Strand Susanna Gregory. Murder Mystery set in the Restoration period. I love these books for their reflection on London life then.
  • In the Blink of an Eye – How Vision kick-started the Big Bang of Evolution. Andrew Parker. I have no idea, as I couldn’t finish it. Did not like the writing style at all , got far too annoyed at that to focus on the science.
  • Gallow’s Thief Bernard Cornwall I like Cornwall’s Sharpe books and this is another hero in the same vein, post Waterloo. I’ll read more of these.
  • I’m a Believer Jessica Adams. Something I grabbed off my Mom’s shelf over Christmas, ghost/love story that read OK but nothing special.

It was Shane Richmond who inspired me to write these monthly lists, so, as he’s done today, let’s summarise my book reading habits since May.(although August appears to be missing from the list, pretty sure I read something that month)

  • I’ve read at least 61 books since May, read one book twice and not managed to finish another
  • I’ve read 12 non-fiction books, 3 of which are science based.
  • I’ve read 13 Crime novels and 7 Thrillers. I’ve also read 7 Historical books, most of which were crime novels in themselves.
  • There’s 10 fantasy and 4 sci-fi stories, along with 3 ‘future fic’ stories, those set recognisably in our world but usually with scientific or cultural changes.
  • Finally there’s 5 chick lit or normal ‘literature’ that don’t fit in other categories.

One thing I did not realise, before Adrian spoke about it at a geek dinner – the Decline of Reading and has recently written up, was how unusual this behavious is. Not the type of books I like, but the fact that I read – and read a lot. Take a look at some of the stats that he pulls out:

  • In 2006, less than half the adults in America had read ANYTHING booklike.
  • Most US 15-34 spend less than 10 minutes a day reading.
  • An even scarier stat, 87% of US adult readers do not have the reading comprehension to tell apart 2 editorials with different viewpoints

So, these are all US stats but as Adrian says, where the US goes the rest of us often follow – NOT a good trend in this situation.

I can;t add more to what Adrian says, it’s not something I’ve studied. I just know I’ll keep on reading at the same rate!

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2 thoughts on “Books Dec 2008

  1. I’m always curious to see what other people read, and I’ve so enjoyed your monthly reading lists. I’ve got the first Kushiel book in my pile of “to read.” I may have to move it up a few books.

    I’m still so surprised by how few people really read anymore. I easily read six days out of seven. I can’t imagine NOT reading books. I worry what will lose if the trend continues. For me, books often provide the spark for new ideas. The tangibility of books is also reassuring in a way that the Internet will never be. For all the information available online, it’s difficult at times to feel it’s real. Perhaps I’m showing my age, but I have difficulty imagining a time where everything we read will be on a screen. For me, I’ll always love my books.

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