Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Review: Book Report 2013

Just 2 of 200 books I read this year!
When I started the year I set my Goodreads book goal at 50 books.  It soon became clear I'd get through that pretty quick, so I upped it to 100 and then 150 and then finally 200.  Last week I reached #200!  I should probably set it higher, but I don't feel like it.

My sister would be quick to point out that a lot of these books are shorter.  Some like Rusty's "My Killbot Buddy" are probably 20 pages or so.  And there are quite a few graphic novels too.  But hey, if it's on there as a book, then it's a book.  So there.  Of course some books weren't on there and I had to add them--looking at Briane Pagel and Tony Laplume--so I could get credit for them.

My sister would also whine that reading my own books is "cheating."  I don't ever understand that.  If I'm reading the book why should it matter if I wrote it or not?  Believe it or not, I don't have my books memorized, especially those I wrote like 15 years ago.  I'd also point out it actually takes longer to read one of my own books because I have to stop to add notes when I find a typo or something like that.  Some of my own books I read more than once to edit them, which would mean technically I've read more than 200 at this point.  It occurred to me that she probably thinks my books aren't real books, not like all those trashy romances she reads; those are real books.

Besides the graphic novels and my own books, most of what I read this year came from Amazon sales.  I hardly ever paid more than $3.99 for a book.  I think the only ones I did were because I had a gift card.  Most of the James Bond ones I rented for free off Amazon.  What annoys me is that Amazon lets me rent as many movies as I want with my Prime membership but I get one measly book a month.  The Bond books are all less than 300 pages so they only take a couple of days, which means I spend about 3 weeks of the month not able to rent anything when I'd like to.  I wish Amazon would lighten up on this policy and let me borrow a few more a month if I so choose, but then I suppose they'd have to add more to their KDP pot.

Given the nature of Amazon's sales you'll note that I read a lot of Arthur C. Clarke and Kurt Vonnegut.  I guess the royalties on those were pretty cheap so that they were frequently on sale.  Which was fine with me.  I'd wanted to read more Vonnegut and I had been interested in some Clarke.  IMHO, Clarke is OK but not great.  If you read enough of them they start to get a same-y feel to them.  In his short stories especially he seemed fascinated with apocalyptic scenarios where the Earth (or another planet) is either dying or already dead.  His Tales of the White Hart is one of the best ones because many of the stories are pretty funny, as are some of the moments between stories when pub patrons are giving each other the business over their stories; imagine "Cheers" only if they were all scientists and/or inventors.

To tally it up then the authors I read the most this year were:
  • P.T. Dilloway (14, plus more under aliases) (narcissist) 
  • Arthur C. Clarke (7)
  • Ian Fleming (7)
  • Kurt Vonnegut (5)
  • William Shatner (5)

And the leader for graphic novels was Laplume's favorite Grant Morrison with 8.

I'll probably read 2 more Flemings and I have a couple more Vonneguts on my Kindle to maybe read between now and December 31.
Definitely a lot of old timey stuff in there.

The average score was 4.06 stars, it's 3.92 stars without all my books that I give 5 stars since who else will?  There were only 3 I gave 1 star:
  • Ultimate Comics Captain America    Aaron, Jason
  • The Price of Fear (Darkman, #2)    Boyll, Randall
  • Accidents Waiting to Happen    Wood, Simon

So any whiny author who wants to complain what a jerk I am for not loving their book, there you go.  One book has 0 stars but I think I forgot to rate it when I marked it finished, so it doesn't count.  I'll explain why I didn't like the Captain America one in this month's Comics Recap.  The Darkman was just awful.  It seriously seemed the author had never watched the movie.  Or maybe watched it once.  He didn't seem to really understand the characters at all.  The depiction of Robert G. Durant wearing flashy pimp suits was all wrong and there's no way Darkman would dress up like the mortal enemy who ruined his life just for a little stroll around town.  C'mon man!  I think even in 1994 when I was 16 I could have wrote a better Darkman book.  The other one was just really dumb.  It was the kind of book where everyone in it was so stupid you wished they would all die.  The hitman especially was ridiculous.  Like I said in my Goodreads review, the point of a hitman is to kill someone quickly and quietly.  You don't do that by menacing your target for weeks like Robert Mitchum in "Cape Fear."  Idiot.

As for the best, I'll pick three you probably haven't heard of and are not by me or people I know to avoid hurt feelings.

Transmigration    McIntosh, J.T.
Being a huge narcissist, I think I liked this because I saw a lot of myself in the story.  By that I mean the author approached this subject pretty much as I would have.  It's about a guy who finds as he's dying that he can leap into the mind of someone nearby.  The cool thing to me is McIntosh doesn't shy away from gender issues as the first person the guy leaps into is a mentally-challenged girl.  Later he leaps into a young guy, a middle-aged guy, an old guy, a girl who was a student of his, and a little boy.  So really, like me he didn't do it the boring way of just having him leap into guys about his own age.  Since this was written in the 60s it was probably risque to think of a guy sharing a mind with a girl.  I suppose I couldn't help liking an author who also used fake initials and probably hardly anyone had heard of.

Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain    Martinez, A. Lee
What I liked about this book is that Martinez sets it in an old-timey Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon-type universe where there are aliens pretty much on every planet of our system.  Emperor Mollusk is from Neptune but rules the Earth.  Not in the way a despot might rule it either.  That's the other thing I liked is that Mollusk is clever and while also narcissistic, he doesn't let that become a liability for him the way comic book villains and the like do.  He's a smart villain who in the context of the story is the hero.  Basically if you combine "Megamind" with "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" this is what you'd get.

Big Maria    Shaw, Johnny
This is one of those I picked up on a sale on Amazon and wasn't sure if it'd be good or not.  It was a lot better than I expected.  Basically three losers in a desert town that made me think of "My Name is Earl" set out to find buried treasure on a weapons test range.  Needless to say that creates problems.  What I liked is that it's funny but at the same time the characters aren't all cutous.  By the end of the book they really have formed a bond despite their differences in age and race.  It's not necessarily a touchy-feely Hallmark or Lifetime movie but you are rooting for the characters.

Now then here's the complete list, which Blogger will probably make look like crap.

# Title Author l-f My Rating Date Read
1 Up So Down Pagel, Briane 5 1/8/2013
2 Change of Heart (Tales of the Scarlet Knight #4) Dilloway, P.T. 5 1/12/2013
3 Batman: Arkham Asylum Morrison, Grant 4 1/14/2013
4 Betrayal Begets Blood (Tales of the Scarlet Knight 5) Dilloway, P.T. 5 1/22/2013
5 TekWar Shatner, William 4 1/25/2013
6 TekLords Shatner, William 4 1/31/2013
7 TekLab Shatner, William 4 2/6/2013
8 Future Shock (Tales of the Scarlet Knight,  #6) Dilloway, P.T. 5 2/9/2013
9 Tek Vengeance Shatner, William 4 2/13/2013
10 Living Sacrifice (Tales of the Scarlet Knight #7) Dilloway, P.T. 5 2/13/2013
11 Tek Secret Shatner, William 4 2/16/2013
12 The Con Man (87th Precinct, #4) McBain, Ed 2 2/20/2013
13 The New Deadwardians Abnett, Dan 4 2/20/2013
14 Letters to Psyche Almazan, Sandra Ulbrich 5 2/20/2013
15 The Heart of Emma Earl (Tales of the Scarlet Knight #8) Dilloway, P.T. 5 2/20/2013
16 ThunderSnow Borgne, Cindy 5 2/21/2013
17 A Drop of the Hard Stuff (Matthew Scudder #17) Block, Lawrence 3 2/23/2013
18 Chance of a Lifetime (Chances Are #1) Dilloway, P.T. 5 2/23/2013
19 Blackcollar Zahn, Timothy 3 2/28/2013
20 Second Chance (Chances Are #2) Dilloway, P.T. 5 2/28/2013
21 Last Chance (Chances Are #3) Dilloway, P.T. 5 3/2/2013
22 The Backlash Mission Zahn, Timothy 3 3/4/2013
23 Wicked Game Johnson, Tiny 4 3/4/2013
24 Twinned Universes (Catalyst Chronicles, #2) Almazan, Sandra Ulbrich 5 3/6/2013
25 Human Sacrifices Other Tales Johnson, Tiny 5 3/6/2013
26 Blood Sacrifices The Curse of Tabla Diabla Johnson, Tiny 5 3/7/2013
27 Perfect Worlds:  The Stone of Change Johnson, Tiny 5 3/8/2013
28 Batman and Robin, Vol. 1: Batman Reborn Morrison, Grant 5 3/8/2013
29 Batman and Robin, Vol. 3: Batman and Robin Must Die! Morrison, Grant 4 3/9/2013
30 Batman and Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin Morrison, Grant 5 3/9/2013
31 Visionary of Peace (Vallar Series Book 2) Borgne, Cindy 5 3/10/2013
32 The Backworlds (Book 1) Pax, M. 5 3/10/2013
33 Dead Links Mitchell, Nigel G. 5 3/11/2013
34 Eve Eden vs. the Blood Sucking Vampires (Bedeviled, #2) Korb, Suz 5 3/12/2013
35 Women of Foxwick (The Foxwick Chronicles) Reich, Cherie 5 3/12/2013
36 Dioscuri Thoma, Chrystalla 5 3/13/2013
37 Whores: not intended to be a factual account of the gender war Wilson, Nicolas 5 3/13/2013
38 The Spur - Loki's Rock Ellis, Mark 4 3/15/2013
39 The Unforgetting Mounfield, Jenny 4 3/15/2013
40 Protector (Anniversary of the Veil, #1) Smythe, Vanna 4 3/15/2013
41 Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1  Morrison, Grant 4 3/16/2013
42 Deadeye Dick Vonnegut, Kurt 5 3/16/2013
43 Mother Night Vonnegut, Kurt 5 3/17/2013
44 Casino Royale Fleming, Ian 4 3/18/2013
45 The Pleasure of My Company Martin, Steve 4 3/19/2013
46 Ubik Dick, Philip K. 5 3/19/2013
47 A Coming of Age Zahn, Timothy 3 3/20/2013
48 Brave New World Huxley, Aldous 4 3/21/2013
49 Mercury Rises Kroese, Robert 2 3/22/2013
50 We Are Now - Flash Fiction Collection Craven, Sean 5 3/22/2013
51 Passion Blue Strauss, Victoria 3 3/23/2013
52 The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter #1) Pötzsch, Oliver 2 3/24/2013
53 Batman: Knightfall, Vol. 2: Knightquest (New Edition) Dixon, Chuck 4 3/25/2013
54 Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury, Ray 5 3/25/2013
55 Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1; Wool, #1-5) Howey, Hugh 3 3/27/2013
56 Nate in Venice Russo, Richard 3 3/28/2013
57 Moby-Dick Melville, Herman 2 3/29/2013
58 Spinneret Zahn, Timothy 3 4/2/2013
59 First Contact (Rebirth #1) Filler, Eric 4 4/3/2013
60 The Savior (Rebirth #2) Filler, Eric 4 4/5/2013
61 The Baby Blue Rip-Off Collins, Max Allan 4 4/7/2013
62 The Final Battle (Rebirth #3) Filler, Eric 4 4/7/2013
63 Snuff (Discworld, #39) Pratchett, Terry 4 4/10/2013
64 The Shrinking Man Matheson, Richard 5 4/11/2013
65 Small Town Hero Stank, Jessica 4 4/13/2013
66 Crisis on Infinite Earths Wolfman, Marv 4 4/14/2013
67 Vampire Pond Swanson, Peter Joseph 4 4/16/2013
68 ALLIANCE Stank, Jessica 4 4/18/2013
69 American Goddesses Henry, Gary R. 3 4/19/2013
70 Cypress Lake Basara, Joe 4 4/23/2013
71 Project Mayhem (Mouldwarp Press Presents) Dilloway, P.T. 5 4/23/2013
72 Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan (Yoshimi Trilogy) Laplume, Tony 4 4/25/2013
73 Tales from the White Hart (Arthur C. Clarke Collection: Short Stories) Clarke, Arthur C. 5 4/26/2013
74 Perfect Worlds Part 2:  Game of Hearts Johnson, Tiny 5 4/26/2013
75 Sale Day at C Mart Basara, Joe 5 4/30/2013
76 The Death of Ivan Ilych Tolstoy, Leo 5 5/1/2013
77 Infinite Crisis Johns, Geoff 4 5/2/2013
78 Sidekick Misadventures of the new Scarlet Knight Sungenis, Pab 4 5/2/2013
79 Superhero (An Action Thriller) Methos, Victor 4 5/6/2013
80 Ham on Rye Bukowski, Charles 5 5/8/2013
81 Chet Finley vs. The Machines of Fate Filler, Eric 5 5/8/2013
82 Sinai Smethurst, William 4 5/14/2013
83 The Evil That Men Do Leon, Andrew 5 5/14/2013
84 Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain Martinez, A. Lee 5 5/16/2013
85 Liberation Front Madden, Paul L. 5 5/20/2013
86 Going Home Carl, Rusty 5 5/22/2013
87 JLA, Vol. 2: American Dreams Morrison, Grant 4 5/29/2013
88 JLA, Vol. 1: New World Order Morrison, Grant 5 5/29/2013
89 Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin Johns, Geoff 5 5/30/2013
90 The Cloak of Shrouded Men: Escapades of the Eidolon, Cotton Colinaude Laplume, Tony 3 6/3/2013
91 The Leading Men Madden, Paul L. 5 6/4/2013
92 Expedition To Earth Clarke, Arthur C. 5 6/5/2013
93 Flying Saucers Mitchell, Nigel G. 5 6/6/2013
94 Graffiti Grandma Barney, Jo 4 6/7/2013
95 The Naked World Madden, Paul L. 4 6/11/2013
96 Deadfolk Williams, Charlie 3 6/12/2013
97 The Gravy Train Lender, David 4 6/13/2013
98 Superman for All Seasons Loeb, Jeph 5 6/13/2013
99 Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity Wagner, Matt 5 6/14/2013
100 Superman: For Tomorrow, Vol. 2 Azzarello, Brian 4 6/15/2013
101 Superman: For Tomorrow, Vol. 1 Azzarello, Brian 5 6/15/2013
102 Once Bitten Leather, Stephen 3 6/17/2013
103 The Best Light Madden, Paul L. 5 6/17/2013
104 Starfire: A Vince Lombard Story Lee, Mike 3 6/19/2013
105 Higher Power Lachance, Claire 4 6/19/2013
106 A Necessary Innocence Filler, Eric 5 6/23/2013
107 Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim #1) Kadrey, Richard 4 6/24/2013
108 The Turning Barwell, Mark 2 6/26/2013
109 Doctor No Fleming, Ian 4 6/28/2013
110 Goldfinger Fleming, Ian 4 7/3/2013
111 The Last Conquest Filler, Eric 5 7/3/2013
112 Captain America, Vol. 2 Brubaker, Ed 4 7/4/2013
113 Captain America, Vol. 1 Brubaker, Ed 4 7/4/2013
114 Hit Me Block, Lawrence 4 7/8/2013
115 Perfect Worlds Part 3:  Secret of the Stone Johnson, Tiny 5 7/8/2013
116 Captain America, Vol. 3 Brubaker, Ed 3 7/9/2013
117 Captain America, Vol. 4 Brubaker, Ed 5 7/9/2013
118 The Year of the Jackpot Heinlein, Robert A. 4 7/10/2013
119 Who Goes There? Jr., John W. Campbell 4 7/10/2013
120 Gun, With Occasional Music Lethem, Jonathan 5 7/10/2013
121 The Songs Of Distant Earth Clarke, Arthur C. 3 7/12/2013
122 From Russia With Love Fleming, Ian 3 7/12/2013
123 Fates Worse Than Death Vonnegut, Kurt 5 7/16/2013
124 Raylan (Raylan Givens, #3) Leonard, Elmore 2 7/17/2013
125 Big Maria Shaw, Johnny 5 7/19/2013
126 The Pain Scale Dilts, Tyler 2 7/24/2013
127 Getting Off: A Novel of Sex and Violence (Hard Case Crime #69) Block, Lawrence 5 7/25/2013
128 Miss Otis regrets. And other short stories Moitzi, Dieter 4 7/26/2013
129 Reach for Tomorrow Clarke, Arthur C. 3 7/27/2013
130 Girl Power Dilloway, P.T. 5 7/28/2013
131 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1) Clarke, Arthur C. 4 7/29/2013
132 A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) Lehane, Dennis 4 8/1/2013
133 Flashpoint Johns, Geoff 4 8/2/2013
134 The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk Pak, Greg 4 8/3/2013
135 The Incredible Hulk: Prelude To Planet Hulk Way, Daniel 4 8/3/2013
136 World War Hulk Pak, Greg 3 8/4/2013
137 World War Hulk: The Incredible Hercules Pak, Greg 4 8/4/2013
138 The Fort Davis, Aric 4 8/5/2013
139 Live and Let Die Fleming, Ian 4 8/7/2013
140 Lost Horizon Hilton, James 0 8/8/2013
141 POWERED Young, Cheyanne 5 8/10/2013
142 The Hangman (Darkman, #1) Boyll, Randall 3 8/11/2013
143 The Avengers, Vol. 1 Bendis, Brian Michael 3 8/13/2013
144 Something Wicked This Way Comes Bradbury, Ray 5 8/13/2013
145 The Sex Gates (Sex Gates, #1) Bain, Darrell 2 8/15/2013
146 Ultimate Comics Spider-Man  Volume 1 Bendis, Brian Michael 5 8/18/2013
147 Childhood's End Clarke, Arthur C. 3 8/20/2013
148 Transmigration McIntosh, J.T. 5 8/21/2013
149 Factotum Bukowski, Charles 4 8/23/2013
150 Temporary Anne Pagel, Briane 5 8/28/2013
151 Women Bukowski, Charles 3 8/30/2013
152 Hitter Guarino, Daryn 4 9/4/2013
153 Solaris Lem, Stanisław 4 9/6/2013
154 Captain America: Winter Soldier, Volume 2 Brubaker, Ed 4 9/8/2013
155 New X-Men, Vol. 1: E is for Extinction Morrison, Grant 4 9/8/2013
156 The Confessions of Max Tivoli Greer, Andrew Sean 4 9/10/2013
157 Moonraker Fleming, Ian 3 9/12/2013
158 The Man in the High Castle Dick, Philip K. 4 9/13/2013
159 The Price of Fear (Darkman, #2) Boyll, Randall 1 9/15/2013
160 The Gods of Hell (Darkman, #3) Boyll, Randall 3 9/18/2013
161 Overdraft: The Orion Offensive Miller, John Jackson 3 9/18/2013
162 Flight from Rebirth McIntosh, J.T. 5 9/19/2013
163 In the Face of Death (Darkman, #4) Boyll, Randall 3 9/22/2013
164 Justice: Volume 2 Krueger, Jim 4 9/22/2013
165 Justice, Vol. 1 Krueger, Jim 4 9/22/2013
166 Justice: Volume 3 Krueger, Jim 5 9/23/2013
167 My Killbot Buddy Carl, Rusty 5 9/24/2013
168 Jailbird Vonnegut, Kurt 5 9/24/2013
169 The Sisters Brothers deWitt, Patrick 4 9/26/2013
170 Pull Yourself Together Glavinic, Thomas 5 9/28/2013
171 Batman: Hush Loeb, Jeph 4 9/29/2013
172 Lex Luthor: Man of Steel Azzarello, Brian 5 9/29/2013
173 The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning Helgason, Hallgrímur 3 9/30/2013
174 Accidents Waiting to Happen Wood, Simon 1 10/1/2013
175 Earthlight Clarke, Arthur C. 3 10/2/2013
176 Slapstick Vonnegut, Kurt 4 10/2/2013
177 Diamonds are Forever Fleming, Ian 4 10/4/2013
178 Sweet Tooth McEwan, Ian 2 10/6/2013
179 Pulp Bukowski, Charles 4 10/7/2013
180 Civil War Millar, Mark 5 10/7/2013
181 Fear Hubbard, L. Ron 4 10/8/2013
182 Fool Dillen, Frederick G. 4 10/9/2013
183 The Whole Bloody Affair (Yoshimi Trilogy) Laplume, Tony 4 10/10/2013
184 The Specialists Block, Lawrence 4 10/11/2013
185 Make Room! Make Room! Harrison, Harry 4 10/11/2013
186 The Status Civilization Sheckley, Robert 4 10/14/2013
187 Canada Ford, Richard 4 10/17/2013
188 The Impostors (Girl Power #2) Dilloway, P.T. 5 10/19/2013
189 Ultimate Comics Captain America Aaron, Jason 1 10/20/2013
190 Justice League of America, Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous Johns, Geoff 3 10/20/2013
191 Marvel Universe vs. the Avengers Maberry, Jonathan 3 10/20/2013
192 Avengers Assemble Volume 1 Bendis, Brian Michael 4 10/20/2013
193 Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine Maberry, Jonathan 4 10/20/2013
194 Marvel Universe Vs. the Punisher Maberry, Jonathan 4 10/20/2013
195 Blood Makes Noise Widen, Gregory 3 10/22/2013
196 Sisterhood (Tales of the Coven) Dilloway, P.T. 5 10/22/2013
197 Breakfast at Tiffany's Capote, Truman 5 10/24/2013
198 Awakening (Birth of Magic #1) Dilloway, P.T. 5 10/26/2013
199 Wayne of Gotham Hickman, Tracy 3 10/29/2013
200 Star Shepherd Dilloway, P.T. 5 10/29/2013


  1. That's an awesome list Pat. I didn't realize Shatner wrote that many books and I've been meaning to read 2001.

  2. That's darn impressive (even besides the fact that you've been adding my books for me despite the fact that it annoys you to do so), and yay for Morrison!

  3. Did you stop your list at 200? I didn't see Nigel's Elvis thing on there but I saw on Twitter that you'd read it.

    That is a LOT of books. You know what you should do? There's a TUMBLR called something like "Bookish," which says "If you liked this book try these." You should do something like that -- maybe with your books, too? "If you liked A. Lee Martinez's... try this:"

    That's always helpful to me. The Amazon "People who bought this also bought" tab is like that.

    I agree with you: reading your own books is reading. I sometimes go back and re-read stories or books I wrote. I wrote "the After" nearly 6 years ago, and if I were to go back and read it, I bet there's parts I don't remember writing. Short stories are like that, too -- I like to go back and re-read my own stories sometime. Especially the ones I wrote in college, which was 20 years ago.

    What's your goal for NEXT year? I can' t imagine reading 200 books.

    (I did something like this this year: I've kept a list of everything I've read, etc., that I'm going to put up near the end of December, kind of like my top 100 things last year but this is EVERYTHING.)

  4. You must be addicted to reading! Thanks for putting up your ratings on each one.
    I used to read a lot of kids books, then my kids thought it better to read it themselves!

  5. Man, I'm hoping to get to 50 books this year... okay, I'm not, cause that's not gonna happen. I'm not even sure how many I've read so far. >sigh< I need to get a Kindle.

  6. An impressive list of books that you've read. Your post reminds me of the time someone asked Winston Churchill if he'd read any good books lately. He replied, "If I want to read a good book I'll write one." So he sat down and wrote "A History of the English-Speaking Peoples."



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