sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Books Read in 2010

I started keeping this post (privately) at the top of my journal the first of January, 2010. I think I'll do the same this year, for comparison purposes. I wasn't always good about immediately noting when I finished a book, so a few may have slipped by unrecorded. Nor does the list include magazines (F&SF, Asimov's, Analog, Alfred Hitchcock's, Ellery Queen, etc.), books I reread parts of--comfort reads, mostly, when I didn't feel like reading something new--and so on. But overall it's a pretty good representation of what I read this year.

Fiction
Blood Lite, edited by Kevin J. Anderson - Some very entertaining stories (by Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, and other names. Some not so good, a little too cute for my tastes.
Flashforward by Robert Sawyer (reread) - I'd read it before, but I enjoyed rereading it. A fascinating concept well explored.
Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker- A western by Parker, mostly known for his detective novels. Reads very much like his modern heroes transplanted to the Old West, but entertaining nonetheless.
Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn - The latest Kitty Norville book, and very entertaining. Kitty signs on for a supernatural reality show and, as the catchphrase has it, wackiness ensues. Wackiness and horror. I recommend it, along all the preceding books in the series.
Night Passage by Robert B. Parker (reread) - The first of the Jesse Stone novels. I enjoy all of Parker's novels, and I admire the remarkably spare prose. He accomplishes a lot with remarkably little.
High Profile by Robert B. Parker (reread) - Another Jesse Stone novel.
Iorich by Steven Brust - The lastest Vlad Taltos novel, and an entertaining one, as usual.
Night Life by Caitlin Kitteridge - An urban fantasy set in the fictional Nocturne City. I read it, but slowly, over the course of several weeks, in small pieces. Not my usual pattern. I didn't abandon it unfinished, but...I think it was the setting. I read the whole book and I still have no idea where Nocturne City is supposed to be. California? The east coast? The midwest? What's the nearest real-world city?
Night and Day by Robert B. Parker - The most recent Jesse Stone novel. I enjoyed it, and was pleased to see some movement on the Jesse/Jen front at long last.
Storm Front by Jim Butcher (reread) - The first Harry Dresden novel. It's just plain fun to read--and a great study of how to set up a series (and series character) for those of us who think about such things.
Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison - The most recent book in the series.
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons (reread) - The graphic novel.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (reread) - I love this book. It's so full of crazily inventive ideas. From the main character's name--Hiro Protagonist--to the franchise world, the rat things, the metaverse, the Kouriers, all of it.
Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acedevdo - The fourth book in his satirical Felix Gomez, Vampire P.I. series, following such literary gems as The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, and Jailbait Zombie. I like it!
Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) - Futuristic police procedural/romance, one of a long series still ongoing. I liked it, and I like the series.
Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb - More of the same series.
Silver Borne - by Patricia Briggs - The latest Mercy Thompson paranormal. Very entertaining; I'll be going back over it (now that I've simply enjoyed it) to analyze what she did and how to steal it.
Are You There? - by Jack Skillingstead - A collection of his short stories. You know sometimes a writer's work says more about him than about the world? Yeah. They're great stories filled with questions of identity and reality and sanity and love.
Diving Into The Wreck - by Kristine Katherine Rusch - An interesting SF tale, and very different from her Fey fantasy novels, which I read years ago.
Crimes by Moonlight - edited by Charlaine Harris - A collection of short supernatural-themed mysteries, many by mystery writers who've not written in the supernatural genre before. The best story by far, alas, was the first. Charlaine Harris's own contribution. Many of the others were good...but not as good, sadly.
Dead in the Family - by Charlaine Harris - The latest Sookie Stackhouse novel. Very entertaining, as usual, though the resolution to one plot problem seemed awfully convenient. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading it.
Kiss of Death - by Rachel Caine - The latest in her Morganville Vampires series. Her protagonists get out of Morganville, but oddly, they still have serious vampire troubles along the way. I enjoyed it.
Shakespeare's Landlord - by Charlaine Harris - The first in the five-book Lily Bard mystery series, which predates her Sookie Stackhouse series. I read these first years ago and liked them. Recently had the urge to reread them. Our heroine is tough, but scarred, both emotionally and physically. I like her.
Shakespeare's Champion - by Charlaine Harris - The second Lily Bard novel
Shakespeare's Christmas - by Charlaine Harris - The third Lily Bard novel
Shakespeare's Trollop - by Charlaine Harris - The fourth Lily Bard novel
Shakespeare's Counselor - by Charlaine Harris - The fifth (and final) Lily Bard novel.
Realms: the Second Year of Clarkesworld Magazine - edited by Nick Mamatas and Sean Wallace - It seemed a good idea to get an idea what sort of stories they liked.
Best Lesbian Erotica 2010 - edited by Kathleen Warnock - What can I say? I like reading it.
Best Lesbian Romance 2010 - edited by Radclyffe - Ditto.
Dead Man's Handle - by Peter O'Donnell (reread) - A Modesty Blaise novel
The Silver Mistress - by Peter O'Donnell (reread) - Another Modesty Blaise novel
Black Hills - by Nora Roberts - one of her most recent books
Kitty Goes to War - by Carrie Vaughn
Demon Hunts - by C. E. Murphy - The latest "Walker Papers" book about a Seattle police officer who has become a shaman, dealing with the supernatural world around her.
Undead and Unfinished - by Maryjanice Davidson - the latest in her series of comic novels about the misadventures of Betsy, Queen of the Vampires.
Alias - by Brian Michael Bendis - the hardcover compilation of the Marvel miniseries (no relation to the tv show).
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove - by Christopher Moore - Another absurd comic novel.
Masked - edited by Lou Anders - A collection of superhero short stories. As usual with anthologies, it was a mixed bag. Some really good ones, some okay. None I really disliked. One in which the ending didn't make sense to me; I know what the author was going for, but the timeline seemed screwed up to me.
Mission of Honor - by David Weber - The latest Honor Harrington novel, in which (as usual) large numbers of warships are blasted to bits, and politics drive the plot. I enjoyed it, as I usually do.
Death's Excellent Vacation - edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner - A collection of stories held together by a very thin theme. Some very good stories (Harris & Kelner's, as well as Christopher Golden, Lilith Saintcrow, L. A. Banks), some okay, and only one I couldn't bother to finish.
Living Hell - by Catherine Jinks - A "teen" (young adult) novel I borrowed from the library on a lark. Interesting writing but I found the overall concept a bit hard to swallow.
Hell Fire - by Ann Aguirre - The second Corine Solomon novel, a new urban fantasy series that I really, really like. No vampires or werewolves. Wizards, sorcerors, witches, psychics and other fun things instead.
Blue Diablo - by Ann Aguirre - The first Corine Solomon novel (I read the sequel first). I really, really recommend this series to all and sundry.
Neuromancerby William Gibson (reread) - One of the first cyberpunk novels, and still fun to read.
Doc Sidhe - by Aaron Allston - Allston mostly writes game books, but he's written at least three novels (Doc Sidhe, the sequel, Sidhe Devil, and Galatea in 2D) and I enjoy them all very much. I read this in my new Nook, the first book I read thus.
Feed (ebook) - by Mira Grant - One of my favorite books so far this year. It's set in a world where the zombie apocalypse happened twenty years earlier. Life goes on, but the status quo include the ever-present threat of zombie attack. It's fascinating and enjoyable. Read it.
Infamous (ebook) - by Suzanne Brockmann - A "romantic intrigue" novel...with an unexpected paranormal element. I enjoyed it, and I will look for more of her stuff.
He Could Stop the World (ebook) - by Kenneth Robeson - An old Doc Savage novel I found on a Gutenberg Project site. Classic pulp fiction!
The Men Who Smiled No More (ebook) - by Kenneth Robeson - Another old Doc Savage novel.
The Untamed (ebook) - by Max Brand - Another of many books downloaded from the Gutenberg Project site to try. I didn't finish this. Maybe I'll have better luck with Zane Grey.
Inherit the Stars (ebook) - by James P. Hogan (reread) - Enjoyable, but dated. "The future" is NOW!
The Two Faces of Tomorrow (ebook) - by James P. Hogan (reread) - An entertaining look at how we might deal with an emerging (and potentially hostile) artificial intelligence.
Lifter - by Crawford Killian - In which our teenage hero learns to fly, and must deal with the consequences. One of my all-time favorite novels.
Sheepfarmer's Daughter (ebook)
- by Elizabeth Moon - The first book in the Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy.
Destroyer of Worlds - by Larry Niven & Edward M. Lerner - Humans and Puppeteers and Pak and Gw'oth, oh my! And all kinds of magical tech from the Known Space universe, and paranoia run rampant, and space conflicts. Fun stuff.
Rosemary & Rue - by Seanan Maguire - The first October Daye novel. Urban fantasy revolving around the Sidhe in Seattle, and very good. I'd really enjoyed Feed (under her Mira Grant pseudonym) and this didn't disappoint.
A Local Habitation - by Seanan Maguire - The second October Daye novel, and well worth reading.
An Artificial Night - by Seanan Maguire - The third October Daye novel (you sense a pattern here).
Juggler of Worlds - by Larrn Niven & Edward M. Lerner - The second "Fleet of Worlds" book, preceding Destroyer of Worlds, which I read first. I haven't found the first one yet.

Non-Fiction
How The Mind Works by Steven Pinker - An absolutely fascinating book on the human mind and brain (not the same thing), and how the brain functions. We all know (if we remember our basic biology lessons) that the brain "interprets" signals from the eyes so we can see. But do you know how many subprocesses are involved, or how they build up what is, in the end, a flat image on your retina into a 3-D world? Did you know that some of the assumptions your brain makes (it can't crunch the numbers on everything; a lot of shortcuts are used) are why television (and movies and photographs) work? It's true. And that's just one tiny piece of this fascinating book.
The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker - This book is about how we use language, and the patterns of thought revealed by the similarities in how languages around the world handle the same issues. Alas, while the early part of this book is fascinating, I lost interest in the latter half. Still, some good stuff to be learned here.
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell - A book about intuitive leaps: what they are, how they work (or don't work), and how they can lead us astray or be made more reliable. A fascinating book, though I understand some of Gladwell's work doesn't hold up to critical scrutiny. Still, some good stuff here.
How I Write by Janet Evanovitch - An interesting book, and useful in regards to learning how one (best-selling) writer works. Her advice about agents and submitting I'm not so enamored of. But it was interesting reading nonetheless.
Character & Viewpoint - by Orson Scott Card - One of several books from Writers Digest. It's a great one; I reread it specifically to refresh myself on the issue of writing "hot" or "deep" versus shallow or cinematic. I highly recommend this book.
Engines of Creation - by Eric Drexler (reread) - An older book. One of the first (and most well known) books on the coming age of nanotechnology. His predictions are no doubt going to be wildly inaccurate on many points, but it's still fascinating stuff. And great fodder for science fiction.
Class - by Paul Fussell - A book on class in America. Don't pretend it doesn't exist. It's a fascinating look into the differences between the nine (in his view) classes, from the top (and mostly invisible) uber-rich to the bottom (and also mostly invisible, for different reasons).
Story Structure Demystified (ebook) - by Larry Brooks - I discovered his website a while back and found some useful writing advice there, and finally bought this book (it was cheap on Fictionwise.com). I'm glad I did.
A Writer's Guide to Violence (ebook)  - by Rory Miller - Rory is a friend of mine. There wasn't a lot I didn't already know here from talking to him over the years, but it's all gathered in one place and is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to try to write fiction about violence. Fiction isn't reality--but you should at least know what you're changing (and why) to make the story entertaining.


sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
I finished "In Adversity" today, a tale of two old cold war opponents encountering one another again for the first time in a very long time. My lovely and talented wife read it, and liked it, so now it's printed out and sealed into a manila envelope with a cover letter and SASE, ready to be mailed to Fantasy & Science Fiction tomorrow morning. So, technically not in circulation yet, but...I'm going to count it anyhow.

That makes 13 stories out in the world at the moment. Most of the others have been in the editors' hands for a very long time, so the odds aren't good. But I'm not ready to give up on them yet. A few are fairly recent submissions, so I'm still waiting for word on those.

Printing my stories is getting to be a real pain in the ass. The printer reliably connects to my wife's computer (Win XP), and to the kid's (also Win XP). But MY computer (OpenSUSE 10.3) frequently loses its connection, and I can't figure out why. The only way to get the damn thing to recognize the printer again is to delete the printer configuration in CUPS and reinstall it. It only takes a couple of minutes, but it's goddamned annoying.

I had to do that again tonight before I could print out the story, letter, SASE and mailing labels. Grrrr. But it's done now.

In other news, I finished rereading Flashforward by Robert Sawyer today. I enjoyed it. It's quite different from the ABC television series, which took the basic idea and then quickly ran off in different directions. The book is definitely better, though the series is probably more appropriate for a general audience rather than the genre-reading audience the book was aimed at.

I'm also working my way through The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker. It's nonfiction, about the psychology of language, and what it can tell us about how the mind works. More specifically, it's about how we acquire language as children, and what innate rules the mind seems to use in doing so. We're not simply parrots, learning by rote. But while children make mistakes, overgeneralizing sometimes and extrapolating logical (but incorrect) rules from what they take in as they learn to speak, they manage to avoid literally millions of mistakes. There are rules--unspoken, but real--about the way words may and may not be strung together that kids seem to intuitively understand. There's a structure to it all, based on how the mind appears to organize concepts separate from the words themselves, but it's not easy to tease out, and that's what the book is about.

It's interesting stuff, though not quite as fascinating as How The Mind Works, also by Pinker, which I read a while ago.


Stories in Circulation: 13
Rejections: 24
Stories Accepted: 5
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Sadly, in the fictional 2010, we sent a SECOND mission to Jupiter to find out what the hell happened to the FIRST mission to Jupiter in 2001. In the real world, we couldn't even get back to the MOON in less than years at this point. That's just sad.

So, it's 2010 and I've rededicated myself to writing. Among my goals for this year:
Write, finish and mail a story a week.
Write, finish and mail 3 novels by December 31, 2010.
Learn as much as I can about writing; mostly via the Carnegie Hall route (practice, practice, practice), in part by reading writers I admire as well as books on how to pick up my game.

I'm also going to keep track of the books I read this year. I haven't generally bothered, but I decided that I'd try it this year. So. First out of the gate was Blood Lite, which is "a collection of entertaining tales that puts the fun back into dark fiction, with ironic twists and tongue-in-cheek wit to temper the jagged edge."

Some of the stories were very good. Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Kelly Armstrong and Sherrilyn Kenyon, among others, bring it. Others...were not so good. Still, I'm glad I read it. In progress: Flashforward by Robert Sawyer. I read it years ago, but decided to reread it now that the book's been made into a television series.

Stories in Circulation: 12
Rejections: 24
Stories Accepted: FIVE

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