Saturday, December 31st, 2011
9:59 pm - The Year in Books  
Ringo: Books are good.
Grandfather: *Parading's* better.
Ringo: Parading?
Grandfather: [nods eagerly] Parading the streets! Trailing your coat! Bowling along! LIVING!
Ringo: Well, I am living.
Grandfather: You? Living? When was the last time you gave a girl a pink-edged daisy? When did you last embarrass a sheila with your cool, appraising stare?
Ringo: You're a bit old for that sort of chat, aren't you?
Grandfather: Well at least I've got a backlog of memories! All you've got is - THAT BOOK!


Books are good...

Heat Wave — Richard Castle
Changes — Jim Butcher
Aftermath — Jim Butcher
My Man Jeeves — P.G. Wodehouse
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson

Three for the Chair — Rex Stout
Equal Rites — Terry Pratchett
Faust Eric — Terry Pratchett
The Jennifer Morgue — Charles Stross
Wyrd Sisters — Terry Pratchett

A Talent for War — Jack McDevitt
Polaris — Jack McDevitt
And Four to Go — Rex Stout
Witches Abroad — Terry Pratchett
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves — P.G. Wodehouse

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time — Mark Haddon
The Girl Who Played with Fire — Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest — Stieg Larsson
And on Piano... Nicky Hopkins — Julian Dawson
Naked Heat — Richard Castle

The Fuller Memorandum — Charles Stross
Champagne for One — Rex Stout
Summer Knight — Jim Butcher
Death Masks — Jim Butcher
Interesting Times — Terry Pratchett

Maskerade — Terry Pratchett
Forged in Fire — David Weber, ed.
Plot It Yourself — Rex Stout
Dogs Don't Lie — Clea Simon
Graceland — Deborah Grabien

Jaggers & Shad: ABC Is for Artificial Beings Crimes — Barry B. Longyear
Rule 34 — Charles Stross
Ghost Story — Jim Butcher
Carpe Jugulum — Terry Pratchett
The Final Deduction — Rex Stout

Homicide Trinity — Rex Stout
Too Many Clients — Rex Stout
Three at Wolfe's Door * — Rex Stout
Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space — Asimov, Greenberg, and Waugh, ed.
The Man Who Counts —Poul Anderson

Desperate Measures — Joe Clifford Faust
Snuff — Terry Pratchett
The Children of the Sky — Vernor Vinge
Justice Hall — Laurie R. King
Christmas In Murder — C.S. Challinor

Murder in the Raw — C.S. Challinor
Phi Beta Murder — C.S. Challinor
Murder on the Moor — C.S. Challinor
Greenwich Killing Time — Kinky Friedman
A Cold Day in Paradise — Steve Hamilton

Winter of the Wolf Moon — Steve Hamilton
The Hunting Wind — Steve Hamilton
North of Nowhere — Steve Hamilton
Blood is the Sky — Steve Hamilton
Ice Run — Steve Hamilton

A Stolen Season — Steve Hamilton

Asterisked books were rereads.


---
I went out of my way to try to avoid rereads this year. Apart from one Wolfe book whose turn it was in the Wolfe sequence, all the books were new to me. Toward the end, I was sort of getting desperate to find new books, so I read two entire mystery series, one terrific and one terrible (the Hamiltons were the terrific ones). It was a good exercise. I finally got around to reading Pratchett's Witches sequence, which were wonderful and I highly recommend them. Plus there was a new Vimes novel, and Vernor Vinge's sequel to A Fire upon the Deep came out, as did Barry Longyear's long awaited (at least by me) collection of Jaggers and Shad stories.

There were some duds. I was looking forward to Charlie Stross's Rule 34, but was very disappointed by the ending, or lack thereof. I liked McDevitt's A Talent for War, but the sequel, Polaris, highlighted everything I dislike about his writing. The worst of the bunch, though, were the four Rex Graves mysteries written by C.S. Challinor. Badly plotted, badly written, they're only virtue is that they're short. I really should've cut my losses after the first one, but I already had the other three waiting.

Only one non-fiction, and no baseball books at all, although I have a couple on my night stand waiting to be read. Now I'm looking forward to rereading some favorites.
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gorgeousgarygorgeousgary on January 2nd, 2012 - 01:11 am
I can't finger any specific writing style issues with McDevitt, but I definitely have my distinct preferences. Loved the three Benedict/Kolpath books I've read (including Polaris) and have the rest on the TBR bookcase; the two Hutch ones I've read (Engines of God and Deepsix) were OK but I wasn't sufficiently enthused to continue with that series. By the same token, I loved Infinity Beach and Eternity Road, but Ancient Shores was just OK and Time Travelers Never Die was underwhelming.

Maybe it's a strength-of-concept thing. For example, A Talent for War and Infinity Beach are interesting (and perhaps unique) variants on war-hero and first-contact stories. Whereas Polaris or Time Travelers Never Die are not sufficiently different than the average dime-a-dozen derelict spacecraft/missing crew or time travel stories.
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DXMachina: Marvin02dxmachina on January 2nd, 2012 - 01:47 am
What I like about McDevitt is that he thinks big, and the stuff he thinks up reminds me a lot of Niven at his best. My main problem with him is that most of his characters, especially in the Hutch books, are too dumb to live. After awhile, all the Indiana Jones-ish escapes required to get the characters out of the fixes they knowingly walked into gets boring. It's especially bad in Chindi, where I actually cheered when the stupidest of the bunch finally bought it. It's a shame. I loved the ideas and really big objects in Chindi.

My main problem with Polaris is that he changed the narrator from Benedict to Kolpath without really changing the characterization from male to female. Chase is just Alex in drag. I'd say he doesn't write women well, but I never really had this problem with Hutch. It may be that I noticed it more in Chase because she's narrating first person, so we're in her head, while the Hutch novels are third person. I saw the same thing in Jim Butcher's novella, "Aftermath," in which Murphy is narrating. She might as well be Dresden.

I sent in my registration for Boskone today.
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DXMachina: Calvindxmachina on January 2nd, 2012 - 01:52 am
And why does Livejournal think it's tomorrow already? We're both on EST, so this post should show it was posted at 8:52 pm on New Year's Day.
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