What I've been reading.....
| Reading List 2001
| Reading List 2002
| Reading List 2003
| Reading List 2004
| Reading List 2005
| Reading List 2006
| Reading List 2007
| Reading List 2008
| Reading List 2009
| Reading List 2010
| Reading List 2011
| Reading List 2012
| Reading List 2013
| Reading List 2014
| Reading List 2015
| Reading List 2016
| Reading List 2017
| Reading List 2018
| Reading List 2019
| Reading List 2020
| Reading List 2021
| Reading List 2022
|Reading List 2023|
The Man Who Would Be God ~ Paul Ruffin (1993) short stories (155 pgs)
Low key, off beat, odd little tales of strange people and goings on in East Texas.
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet ~ Andrew Blum (2012) science, history (271 pgs)
A look at the actual physical core that makes up the internet, and how it grew and grows.
Calypso ~ David Sedaris (2018) essays (259 pgs)
More of the Sedaris view of life. More personal, and somewhat darker work this time, but still a treat to read.
The Science Fiction Century ~ David G. Hartwell (editor) (1997) sf short stories (1,005 pgs)
Huge volume with 46 authors spanning the entire 20th century of science fiction, back to 1895!
Take the Cannoli ~ Sarah Vowell (2000) essays (219 pgs)
More great, thoughtful, funny work from Sarah-- and Tony Millionaire illustrations too!
Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F.Neumeyer (2011) biography, art (252 pgs)
Gorey and author exchange letters around 1968. Interesting bits, love his work, but probably not been a friend with Gorey.
The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup ~ Susan Orlean (2001) essays (311 pgs)
Quick looks into the varied lives of people, famous and not, all around the world. Engrossing and fascinating.
From the Teeth of Angels ~ Jonathan Carroll (1994) novel (212 pgs)
Carroll’s style is always a joy to read, though I think this was more of a short story idea pushed out to make a novel.
The Last Days of New Paris ~ China Mieville (2016) fantasy (205 pgs)
Short one as heroes battle both Nazis and surrealist paintings come to life in an alternate Paris. Weirdly wonderful.
Emperor of the Air ~ Ethan Canin (1988) short stories (179 pgs)
Essence of modern short stories- well written, low-key slices of life, often no real beginning or ending. Interesting.
Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception ~ Charles Seife (2010) math, society (260 pgs)
How numbers can be used as propaganda, to prove pretty much what you want, if no one is paying attention.
Proud Monster ~ Ian MacMillan (1987) novel (140 pgs)
Gut-wrenching look at Eastern front in WW II, through a series of tight vignettes of people on all sides of conflict.
The Sugar Frosted Nutsack ~ Mark Leyner (2012) novel (247 pgs)
When you go meta on your meta-novel about a meta story that goes meta. "Bizarre" does not begin to cover this!
The Old Man and Mr. Smith ~ Peter Ustinov (1990) novel (261 pgs)
God and Satan show up on Earth and are confused by people. Fun if a bit obvious at times about how wacky we are.
Shady Characters ~ Keith Houston (2013) history, typography (250 pgs)
The origin stories for ampersand, hyphen, interrobang, and more odd punctuation marks. I love this stuff!
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story ~ Sean Howe (2012) history (432 pgs)
In depth history of the company, fascinating behind the scenes details of creative versus business ideas.
Sitting in My Booth: One Husky Man Selling His Art ~ Chris Paulsen (2019) humor, art (252 pgs)
Starts as funny stream-of-consciousness observations of people at art festivals, and gets even odder. Great fun.
The Shadow of the Wind ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2001) novel (487 pgs)
Well written, but more of a gothic romance than the fantasy strangeness I had hoped it would be.
Everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too ~ Jonathan Sun (2017) cartoon book (304 pgs)
Simple cartoons and simplistic "lessons" of life. Have seen better on both levels.
A Twister of Twists, A Tangler of Tongues ~ Alvin Schwartz (1972) word play (118 pgs)
Most of these didn’t strike me as that much of a tongue twister, I think he cast his net too wide to collect these.
Luke Skywalker Can’t Read, And Other Geek Truths ~ Ryan Britt (2015) pop culture (205 pgs)
Funny series of essays taking deep dives into strange fan theories about popular sci-fi and fantasy culture.
Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling ~ Ross King (2003) art, religion, history (318 pgs)
Wonderfully detailed account of the painting of the Sistine Chapel and all that that entailed.
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain ~ George Saunders (2021) writing literature (406 pgs)
Saunders in depth analysis of five classic Russian short stories, and how literature is made. Excellent.
I Drink for a Reason ~ David Cross (2009) essays, humor, society (236 pgs)
Dark, funny, angry, not putting up with bullshit, and sometimes quite moving essays on life. And comedy.
The Pirates and the Mouse ~ Bob Levin (2003) history, comics, law (254 pgs)
In depth look at Dan O’Neill & the Air Pirates copyright battles with the Disney corporation
My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents & Giant Bugs ~Matthue Roth (writer),Rohan Daniel Eason (artist) (2013) picture book (30 pgs)
Fine, but I was evidently expecting more - either in a funny direction, or a weirder one. And it’s just kind of… okay.
The Writing Life ~ Annie Dillard (1989) essays (111 pgs)
Not as strong as her "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" collection, but does have a good moment or two.
Get in Trouble ~ Kelly Link (2015) short stories (336 pgs)
Strangely weird, low-key genre-twisting shorts. Love some, meh others, but all are fascinating!
Round In Circles ~ Jim Schnabel (1994) pseudo-science, history (294 pgs)
Over-view of the crop circle craze of 80s and 90s. Amazing story of all the "experts" who kept getting it wrong.
The Evolution of Physics ~ Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld (1938) science (297 pgs)
Without using any math, the man himself explains how physics evolved over time to reach relativity. I got -- some.
This Book is Full of Spiders ~ David Wong (2012) horror (406 pgs)
More over the top weird horror from Wong, reads like a screenplay for new action monster flick!
The Brief History of the Dead ~ Kevin Brockmeier (2006) novel, fantasy (252 pgs)
Starts out with some great ideas, then meanders on, ends up with silly ending, as if didn’t know what else to do.
High-Rise ~ J.G. Ballard (1975) novel (207 pgs)
My taste for dystopia fiction is fading. I kept wondering, why don’t they just leave the stupid building?
An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments ~ Ali Almossawi (writer) Alejandro Giraldo (artist) (2013) language (55pgs)
Short collection of some logical fallacies, with brief definitions. The illustrations really don’t add much.
The Uncollected David Rakoff ~ David Rakoff (2015) essays (339pgs)
Funny and moving essays as he neared the end of his life. The Gregor Samsa/Dr Seuss letter exchange is great!
Letters From a Skeptic ~ Gregory A Boyd (1994) religion (190pgs)
Usual unconvincing apologetics, oddly wishy-washy in places, and the "conversion" feels more to satisfy his son.
Reefer Madness ~ Eric Schlosser (2003) law, history (221 pgs)
Underground economies of sex, drugs, and migrant workers. Huge business in doing things against the law.
Philistines At the Hedgerow ~ Steven Gaines (1998) history, architecture, sociology (310 pgs)
Fascinating story of the people and homes of the Hamptons- the rich are different, and the same, as the rest of us!
The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts ~ Louis de Bernieres (1990) novel (363 pgs)
Wonderful read, dark humor, political satire, "magical realism" style, and just found out start of a trilogy!
Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine ~ Kevin Wilson (2018) short stories (269 pgs)
Great collection of short tales of flawed people in odd situations. Some funny, some disturbing, but all interesting.
Nothing Happened and Then It Did ~ Jake Silverstein (2010) essays, short stories, memoir, fiction (231 pgs)
Half truth, half fiction, and even though he tells us which is which, the lines definitely blur. Interesting
The Bad Popes ~ E. R. Chamberlin (1969) history, religion (290 pgs)
When a pope is good, that’s nice. But when a pope is bad, that can be disastrous!
Trust Me on This ~ Donald E. Westlake(1969) mystery, humor (293 pgs)
Another fast-moving fun read from Westlake, social humor with a bit of mystery thrown in.
The Greatest Stories Never Told ~ Rick Beyer (2003) history (210 pgs)
Snippets of lesser-known bits of world history, the precursor to the telegraph pole was new to me!
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage ~ Alice Munro (2001) short stories (323 pgs)
Slice of life tales of different lives, quiet but often gripping.
Unweaving the Rainbow ~ Richard Dawkins (1998) science (313 pgs)
Making the pitch that science can be interesting and full of wonder. He’s right, too.
Secret Lives of the Supreme Court ~ Robert Schnakenberg (2009) history, politics (288 pgs)
Short, punchy, often wonderfully wacky looks at the backgrounds of supreme court justices.
The Spirit of Science Fiction ~ Roberto Bolano (2016) novel (196 pgs)
Moments of interest, but felt pointless. Found out written in 1984, published after he died, don’t think he intended it to be.
The Cemetery Book ~ Tom Weil (1992) history, travel (396 pgs)
Interesting bits, but kind of all mushed up together so kind of drags on after a while.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake ~ Aimee Bender (2010) novel (292 pgs)
Is there such a thing as "gentle surrealism" in writing? Strange and wonderful stuff.
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why ~ Bart D. Ehrman (2005) history, religion (218 pgs)
Detailed look at the copying, and miscopying, and the whys that occurred, of the Bible through the centuries.
Bringing Home the Birkin ~ Michael Tonello (2008) memoir, business (257 pgs)
Fascinating tale of stumbling into the on-line resale market for high-end luxury fashion. Interesting and fun to read.
The Mummy Congress ~ Heather Pringle (2001) history, science (341 pgs)
Detailed and engrossing look at the history and science of mummies all over the world.
The Dot ~ Peter H Reynolds (2003) children’s picture book (28 pgs)
Yes, this is almost exactly how I get just about anyone who says they cannot draw to start drawing. Love it!
Baudolino ~ Umberto Eco (2000) novel (521 pgs)
More amazing Eco, enter the weird world of religion, where you believe the lies you know you made up. Wonderful read.
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