?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Books Read: 2007, #8-25 - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

[ website | KJC Edits - let me edit you! ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Books Read: 2007, #8-25 [Jun. 9th, 2007|04:57 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
[Tags|, , ]


I haven’t updated my list of books that I’ve read since February. So this is going to be LONG. And the order is kind of random until you get down to around number 15, maybe number 18, because I didn’t do a very good job of keeping track of when I read each of these books. (By which I mean I did read them, I just might not have nailed the exact order in which I read them.)

8. Cosmic Cocktails edited by Denise Little
9. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
10. Nail Biter by Sarah Graves
11. The Mediator #6: Twilight by Meg Cabot
12. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
13. Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn
14. Travelers’ Tales: Prague and the Czech Republic edited by David Farley and Jessie Sholl
15. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
16. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
17. The Keys to the Kingdom: Lady Friday by Garth Nix
18. Missing You by Meg Cabot
19. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
20. The Collected Jorkens: Volume One by Lord Dunsany, edited by S.T. Joshi
21. Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson
22. Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! by Ann Carhart
23. The Collected Jorkens: Volume Two by Lord Dunsany, edited by S.T. Joshi
24. Life, Death, and Everything In Between: A Paramedic’s Memoirs by Steven Kelly Grayson
25. The Bloody Streets of Paris by Leo Malet and Jacques Tardi

Details:

8. Cosmic Cocktails edited by Denise Little. As you probably know by now, I’m a little obsessed with bar stories AKA pub tales (my website on ‘em is here). This was a pretty good collection and I enjoyed reading it, but really, only Loren L. Coleman’s “Drink, Drank, Drunk” has stuck with me.

9. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It moved fast, had an engaging and strong female lead character, and although there are (of course!) two love interests, there was NOT the requisite pause-for-hot-sex so common to the tough chick genre, which I don’t really enjoy to be honest. (Yes, I know, I ship porn as one of my many jobs; whatever, life is full of contradiction.) There’s a sequel out, called Blood Bound, which I must seek out. And there’s a schedule of something like five more books to come. Briggs’ website is http://www.hurog.com

10. Nail Biter by Sarah Graves, 8th in her Home Repair Is Homicide series. I like these books. They’re kind of formulaic, and she’s retconned her main character’s son’s history from “kind of getting in trouble” to full-on “drug addict and possible alcoholic,” although the retconning is framed as “coming to terms with unacknowledged reality” so it’s not too painful. But there are lots of strong, smart women and their men. The men know when to be supportive and when to get the hell out of the way. And she’s got a knack for New England characters. I like them, but I wait til they come out in paperback. Graves’ website is here: http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/graves

11. The Mediator #6: Twilight by Meg Cabot (series originally written under the pen name Jenny Carroll), which appears to complete The Mediator series. This is Young Adult (YA) fiction and I like it. Young stubborn female who kicks supernatural ass and gradually learns to rely on others and expand her talents. Very satisfying end to a neat little series. Cabot’s website is here: http://www.megcabot.com/

12. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine. This was a recommendation from src (when I asked about strong women kicking supernatural ass) and I enjoyed it. It started in media res, maybe a little too much in the middle, and you’re constantly running around, trying to catch up, but it’s well-done. Caine’s website is here: http://www.rachelcaine.com/

13. Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn. This one was ‘eh’ for me. Three sisters, half-human, half-Fae, working for the Fae equivalent of the CIA. The narrating sister is a witch whose spells only work half the time, one sister is a shape changer but only turns into a housecat and sometimes does it accidentally when she gets upset, and the third sister is an unwilling vampire. The girls fight bad guys, all the good and neutral guys swoon for them, there are a couple of pause-for-hot-sex scenes, and everything’s set up for more adventures and more hot sex. *shrug*

14. Travelers’ Tales: Prague and the Czech Republic edited by David Farley and Jessie Sholl with a forward by Ivan Klíma. I read this shortly after returning from Prague and it made me really happy to read these flashes of experiences from the past 15-20 years. Reading it before you go could give you some great ideas for specific places to visit; reading it after you go provides some instant nostalgia. Farley’s website is here: http://www.dfarley.com/ and Sholl’s is here: http://www.jessie-sholl.com

15. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. I loved, loved, LOVED this book. Excellent hard science fiction, a dandy protagonist (even though he’s a guy) who makes a great vehicle for the reader to learn about stuff (plus he’s clever as hell), and a neat universe. Scalzi’s main website is here: http://www.scalzi.com/

16. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi. I finished Old Man’s War and almost immediately went out and bought this, the sequel. However, if I had known from the beginning that John Perry, the protagonist from Old Man’s War wasn’t going to show up ANYWHERE in this book, I would have enjoyed it more. Jane Sagan does show up and is pretty central to the plot, but I was distracted waiting for Perry. Which was dumb, since he’s not mentioned anywhere in the cover copy, but still… In and of itself, it’s a good book. A solid addition to the universe Scalzi created. Now we’ll see whether I can wait until the paperback comes out or if I break down and get the hardcover of The Last Colony, which completes his planned books set in this universe.

17. The Keys to the Kingdom: Lady Friday by Garth Nix. Published in 2007 by Scholastic, this is the 5th book in the series. Let me put it this way: I can’t wait for the paperback, I can’t wait for the library, I have to buy the hardcovers. I love this series. I am a big fan of all of Nix’s writing – it’s well and truly weird stuff, and I like the overarching Victorian sensibility of the world/universe he’s created here. And it’s all great fun and rompish while still managing to be a bit scary. Nix’s website is here: http://www.garthnix.com/

18. Missing You by Meg Cabot, #5 (and probably the last) in the 1-800-Where-R-You series. These books got turned into a series on Lifetime called Missing (originally 1-800-Missing); except they aged the character, killed off her Dad, disposed of the boyfriend pretty quickly, and ended up sending her to Quantico. All this is covered (and mocked) in book five. Apparently there was such a fan outcry to give the book series some sort of closure, that Cabot wrote this one. I thought it was great, and did an excellent job of showing how the main character had grown and changed in the intervening time between books four and five, and then wrapping things up so that she could move on with her life.

19. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. This is an unabridged version published by Aladdin Classics in 2007 (originally published in 1812). I chose it versus a couple of other publishers’ versions which also looked unabridged because this one has a detailed table of contents. Aside from the fact that the family kills and attempts to eat the first representative of every single animal species they meet, it’s a wonderfully creative and interesting book. It was inspired by Robinson Crusoe and has strong religious overtones, but it’s a nifty book about survival, adventure, and self-sufficiency.

20. The Collected Jorkens: Volume One by Lord Dunsany, edited by S.T. Joshi, and collected by Night Shade Books (http://www.nightshadebooks.com). I didn’t realize that I hadn’t finished Volume One when I began Volume Two, so I went back and finished the first before continuing on to finish the second. Printed in 2004, it collects the collections of Jorkens’ tales originally known as The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens and Jorkens Remembers Africa. The Jorkens tales are yet another example of my pub fiction obsession. The framing conceit is that there is a member of The Billiards Club named Joseph Jorkens who, when inspired by a comment or a question and a glass of whiskey, is inclined to tell stories of his youth, which was spent traveling the world (mainly India and the Middle East, with forays elsewhere). Some of the stories have been recorded and published by the unnamed narrator. The stories are short, of a rather fantastic nature (with a bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure), often silly, occasionally provocative, and very interesting from a historical perspective. I like them and they’d make excellent narrative pieces for reading aloud, since they are all in Jorkens’ voice.

21. Very Bad Deaths by Spider Robinson. This was an… odd book. Robinson tried very hard to create a bad guy so disturbing that people vomit upon hearing what he can do. The problem is, that sort of gut punch doesn’t come in the telling, it comes in the showing, and Robinson does very little showing. The characters are wonderful and the flashbacks are brilliant, if a little startling in both their suddenness and their length. In fact, the flashbacks are more vivid than the current reality. As usual for Robinson, he plays with clichés and messes with your expectations. He successfully short-circuits that standard plot for these sorts of mysteries, which was a relief in a way. It was a very interesting experiment and if you like Robinson, you’ll probably like the book. Robinson’s website is here: http://www.spiderrobinson.com

22. Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! by Ann Carhart is a book of 49 poems covering various elements of her long life. I met Ann at my first poetry reading of my adult life (where I read poetry, that is) and she is a really nifty gal. Plus, her poetry kicks ass.

23. The Collected Jorkens: Volume Two by Lord Dunsany, edited by S.T. Joshi, and collected by Night Shade Books. Also published in 2004, it collects Jorkens Has a Large Whiskey and The Fourth Book of Jorkens plus a couple of stories that weren’t otherwise in print (one previously unpublished, one only published in a chess magazine).

24. Life, Death, and Everything In Between: A Paramedic’s Memoirs by Steven Kelly Grayson, NREMT-P. It’s published by Emergency Publishers Inc. in 2005 in this weird giant paperback format available for $23 at http://www.emergencybookstore.com. I really enjoyed this collection, although it’s a bit disjointed (sometimes days pass between stories, sometimes years, but there’s no indication except in the context, which can be a bit tough to tease out). Grayson (who goes by Kelly) has a blog called “A Day In the Life of An Ambulance Driver” at http://ambulancedriverfiles.blogspot.com

25. The Bloody Streets of Paris – originally a short story written by Leo Malet called “120 , rue de la Gere,” it was turned into a graphic novel by Jacques Tardi. This version was translated by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier and published by iBooks in 2003. I don’t know if it’s still in print, I picked it up on a trip to Paris a couple years ago. It contains an effusive forward by Art Spiegelman. This is an excellent piece of noir. The illustrations do an excellent job of evoking Paris and the countryside of France. The characters are all distinctive (even the women who are supposed to look confusingly similar) and their personalities shine through both in their dialogue AND their appearance. A dandy adaptation of a nifty mystery, set in the weirdness of occupied France during WWII. http://www.komikwerks.com
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: whitebird
2007-06-09 02:18 pm (UTC)
You're the second or third person who's said the Scalzi books are good.

You might be interested in anything by Julie Czerneda, who has very strong central female characters indeed. I've also just finished, and am on Charles Stross' Singularity Sky, and its sequel, Iron Cross. Very good science fiction.

And I've always liked The Swiss Family Robinson.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: alfvaen
2007-06-09 07:17 pm (UTC)
I have some trouble with Czerneda--I liked the first two of her Web Shifters books, and the first two of her Species Imperative series, but too often she bogs down in 1)endless third-person interludes, and 2)gratuitously quirky alien species. YMMV.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-06-09 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-06-09 07:23 pm (UTC)
I know a lot of people who like Scalzi. I think infinitehotel is a big fan, among other people.

Thanks for recommendations!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-06-09 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yep, I know about The Last Colony and that it's Perry & Sagan. I just don't know if I want to pick it up in hardcover.

Did you know Scalzi has chapbooks with side stories on some of his OMW characters? Here's a link. This one is sold out, but I think they're being reprinted. And the Sagan one is still in print.

I read the LJ-feed to his blog, although I usually click over to his blog because the feed cuts off at a couple hundred words and doesn't include pictures.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kimberlogic
2007-06-09 03:27 pm (UTC)
I just started Old Man's War! My dad suggests you read The Last Colony.

I'll have to check out some of these - next up The Keys to the Kingdom.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kjc
2007-06-09 07:28 pm (UTC)
I hope you like OMW; I really enjoyed it. I guess your Dad did too?

I forgot to mention, The Keys to the Kingdom is young adult. But it kicks solid gold booty.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2007-06-09 10:56 pm (UTC)

Life, Death and Everything In Between

Thanks for the review, Kelly. It should please you to know that the weird giant paperback format is no more - thank God. The second printing of the book has been pared down to less than 400 pages, and the publisher has had his eyeglass prescription updated. ;)

As far as the format, if I kept it strictly chronological, it would be far easier to identify individual patients, which I naturally hoped to prevent in order to protect confidentiality.

Glad you liked the stories, though!
(Reply) (Thread)