Here is the list of books I reviewed during the month of April 2014. The links lead to my book review blog, The Itinerant Librarian. These are not all the books I read in the month. They are the books I managed to write a review during the month. Feel free to click the links and check them out. Comments are always welcome here or over on the main blog.
- Simon Oliver’s FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, Vol. 1. We find ourselves in a world where the laws of physics are suddenly no longer set in stone: gravity fails in places, wormholes appear out of nowhere, and so on. By now, these events are so common that the federal government has an agency to deal with them: the Federal Bureau of Physics (FBP).
- Matz’s The Killer Omnibus, Vol. 1. This was a great discovery for me, a hit man who is also a very practical man. I am listing this one as one of the best reading experiences I have recently enjoyed.
- The New Naked: The Ultimate Education for Grown-Ups. I pretty much bucked the system on this one. It seems a good number of hotshot reviewers (read professional reviewers and such) like this one. I thought it was not worth it, and it even has some amounts of misinformation and stereotyping. One I do not recommend both as reader and librarian.
- Carol Leifer offers great advice about career and life in her new book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying. In addition to her stand-up comedy, Leifer is known for her writing on popular television shows like Seinfeld.
- Instead of post-apocalyptic, go pre-apocalyptic in Sheltered, Vol. 1. This volume compiles the first five issues of the series.
- Here is one for librarians who do readers’ advisory and need a little help in the horror genre. The book is the second edition of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror. I found it useful, and I even jotted down a few of their book suggestions to read later. So, stay tuned. I may be reviewing some more horror titles down the road.
- If you like the video game Mass Effect, you might like Mass Effect: Foundation, Vol. 1. For this one, I found that it may be better enjoyed if you play the game or at least are familiar with the game’s storylines and characters.
- From video games, let’s move to good classic pulp heroes. The Green Hornet and The Shadow team up in The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights. This is much more than an adventure tale. It is a very good piece of alternate history that is carefully researched for accuracy and authenticity. History buffs will be delighted with the many references, trivia pieces, and historical figures making appearances.
- And finally one for folks who enjoy fairy tale retellings and re-envisionings. By Pat Shand, we have Realm Knights. This is part of the Grimm Fairy Tales Presents series from Zenescope.
A nice variety this week for this list. From urban gentrification to B-movies to erotica, there is a bit of everything this week. So, let’s have a look at some things I would like to read down the road.
Items about books I want to read:
- We begin this time with a book about gentrification and cities. This new photography book, discussed in Grist, “juxtapose[s] photos of defunct New York City mom-and-pops with their depressing corporate replacements. . . .” The book is Store Front: the Disappearing Face of New York.
- Moving on to exploited and underpaid food workers. Why is this a big dea? Because among other issues, when they get sick, they cannot afford to take a sick day; hell, they don’t even get sick days. This was a topic I highlighted in my personal blog a while back, and it is one that should concern anyone who eats out. There is a new book out on the topic, Behind the Kitchen Door, and it was discussed in Bill Moyers’ website here.
- Via Bookgasm, a book about “a group of men sent on suicide missions, more or less, but always pull it off.” The book is the comic collection Rat Pack: Guns, Guts and Glory.
- As some of you know, I like beautiful women, and I do like vintage photos of classic women. So, via Bookgasm, this book which is “a babe-by-babe survey of some of 1960s cinema’s sexiest screen starlets” is certainly of interest. The book is Drive-In Dream Girls: a Galaxy of B-movie Starlets of the Sixties.
- Let’s add a little steampunk to the list here. Via Blogging for a Good Book, the recommendation for Jack Dann’s and Nick Gevers’ steampunk short fiction anthology Ghosts by Gaslight. It looks like a ghost story collection with a steampunk element.
- When it comes to erotica, I often enjoy the anthologies published by Cleis Press. For instance, I recently read Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. The book I am highlighting now has been on my cue a while, so I am adding it to my reading list now. Reviewed in Lambda Literary, the book in question this time is Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica edited by Sinclair Sexsmith.
- Via My Bookish Ways, a new author for me with a short story collection. The reviewer writes, “Daniel José Older captures all of the dark recesses of the human heart and puts them to the page, all the while capturing the blinding light of the human spirit.” The book is Salsa Nocturna.
- Let’s switch over to food a bit. Like this reviewer writing for Powell’s, I too am a fan of pizza. So a book like My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home would be of interest.
- And now, a little manga. The Neon Genesis Evangelion is a series I have been meaning to read. Viz Media is putting out omnibus editions, and A Case for Suitable Treatment reviews the first omnibus volume, which covers the first three volumes of the series.
- I often say that my generation and I may be the last ones who were actually taught handwriting formally, certainly may be the last to learn cursive. Then again, my parents sent me to Catholic school, and the brothers were big on teaching handwriting. I have to say that skill has served me well in various things including keeping my personal journals. So, this book by Philip Hensher on the topic sounds interesting. The book is The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting, and it was reviewed at Lambda Literary.
- I will admit that what attracted me to this book initially was the title. It looks like one of those light humor books I enjoy now and then, often while sitting in the porcelain throne. The book is Earn Your MBA on the Toilet, and it was featured at City Book Review.
- Let’s stay with humor a bit more. Also featured at City Book Review, here is Pu Pu Hot Pot: the World’s Best Restaurant Names.
Lists and bibliographies:
- Microhistories are one of my favorite genres in nonfiction. Book Riot had a post with a list entitled “Microhistories of the Mundane: 10 Books About Everyday Stuff.” This is the kind of neat bookish post I enjoy from Book Riot, but they just do not seem to do as many of these lately. From the list, I did read Petroski’s The Pencil, but that one was a bit disappointing. However, one not so good book is not going to stop me from reading others in the list.
- Here is another neat list Book Riot did a while back, this one on “15 Fabulous Bookish Pinterest Boards.” I am not a fan of Pinterest, but these seem worth a look.
- And if you need to find reading ideas and like reading about the reading life, a while back Flavorwire had a list of “The 25 Best Websites for Literature Lovers.”
- Smut Book Club had a list of “The Dirtiest Books Your Must Read.” Actually, that sounds like a challenge. Some of these do not sound that dirty, more like funny (if we go by some of the titles at least).
In order to share my reviews a bit more, as well as keep track of what I did when, I will be posting lists of books I reviewed in a month with links to my main blog. As always, comments are welcomed, whether you comment here or on any of the posts linked. I will include a small segment from the blog to give readers an idea of what the book was about and maybe an incentive to read it as well. By the way, when I say reviewed, it does not mean all I read in a month. It means the books I managed to post a review for at the time.
I reviewed the following books at The Itinerant Librarian during the month of March 2014:
- Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night. “This is a beautiful and pleasant book book that sings the praises of libraries, books, and those who work in them and use them in an erudite and elegant way.”
- Red Sonja, Volume 1: Queen of Plagues. The first volume of Gail Simone’s run on Red Sonja. “It is a tale of adventure and intrigue where we also get glimpses of Red Sonja’s past, learning of her origins along the way.”
- Half Past Danger by Stephen Mooney. “It is a very entertaining action comic that has it all in the midst of World War II.”
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. “The author manages to coordinate the photos with the novel very well, and this is certainly a great element and asset of the book, adding to the sense of wonder. “
- March: Book One. “This is the story of Congressman John Lewis in graphic novel form. This is the first volume of a planned trilogy.”
- Mike Richardson’s 47 Ronin. “This is Dark Horse’s version of the classic Japanese true story of bushido, with Kazuo Koike consulting on the tale as well.”
- Mark Waid’s The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction. “It is the era of the advent of television, and the big corporations are trying their best to take over the public airwaves to make them into their own private advertising venues.”
- Gene Luen Yang’s The Shadow Hero. Read the story of the first Asian American superhero as told by Yang. Yang is also the author of one of my favorites: American Born Chinese.
- Best Bondage Erotica 2014 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. “This book is indeed a collection of opportunities to experience vicariously a diverse bouquet of pleasures.”
- One for fans of Warhammer 40,000 novels. Check out James Swallow’s Hammer and Anvil. The Sisters of Battle return to the site of Sanctuary 101. “What exactly is hidden in Sanctuary 101?”
- Chris Roberson’s The Shadow, Volume 3. “This time, award-winning author Chris Roberson brings us a story where The Shadow is hunting for a serial killer, a mysterious woman dressed in white who seems to be able to use the light to her advantage and moves like a spectre.”
- Andrew Knapp’s Finding Momo. “This photography book by Andrew Knapp featuring his dog Momo is totally adorable, a beautiful book for folks of all ages.”
In addition, this month I also reviewed some first issues of new comics series. I do not usually review single issues, but I got these as teasers from NetGalley, and since I wrote feedback for them, I also posted the reviews online. You may be interested in checking these out as well:
Welcome once again to another edition of “Items about books I want to read.” This is the semi-regular feature (as in I do it when I have time or feel like it, or just have enough items to make a post) where I highlight books that sound interesting and that I think I would like to read. Consider this my ongoing TBR list. If you have read any of these, you are welcome to comment. Maybe you can convince me to move a particular book up the cue (or you want to spare me what could be a terrible book).
Items about books:
- I did not know that Carlos Fuentes had a take on Dracula. Guys Lit Wire discuss his novel of the count in Mexico, Vlad. I linked the title to a Spanish edition, but it has been translated into English for those who prefer that.
- Bookgasm highlights Robert Rosen’s Beaver Street: a History of Modern Pornography. Given I like history, and yes, I will admit that I do like some porn and find the industry a topic of interest, this seems a book not to pass on.
- From what I have seen, John Joseph Adams is getting to be quite the anthologist in fantastic and speculative literature. If you are interested in science fiction and fantasy that deals with world building, he has a book for you. That book is Other Worlds Than These. It was reviewed in Bookgasm. I am betting this is one the Better Half would enjoy given how much she enjoys short fiction in science fiction and fantasy.
- I like Sherlock Holmes, so when I see a book about the great detective, it gets my attention. My Bookish Ways reviews Guy Adams’ book Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau. Hey, Holmes and Dr. Moreau? That deserves a look. The book was also reviewed at Bookgasm.
- Some more short fiction. From Bending the Bookshelf, here is a review of The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. Like many anthologies, it is not perfect, but the reviewer still gives some encouragement to read it: “Like I said, it’s an uneven collection, but that’s likely to be the case when you have such a wide variety of authors tackling such a wide variety of genres. Fortunately, the stand-out pieces are well worth the price of admission. . . . ” The book was also reviewed by Lambda Literary.
- Another one reviewed at Lambda Literary. This one is an art book, and I do appreciate all kinds of art books. What can I say? I like pictures. The book is Gorgeous Gallery: the Best in Gay Erotic Art. The reviewer writes, “. . . this isn’t a book for art historians or researchers. This is a book that you’ll enjoy perusing at leisure. David Leddick has a sweet job, deciding which images to include in Gorgeous Gallery, and he’s done a great service in putting together a collection that’s rich in visual content but light on analysis, which is just perfect for discovery, something you look forward to doing with a new friend. ”
this isn’t a book for art historians or researchers. This is a book that you’ll enjoy perusing at leisure. David Leddick has a sweet job, deciding which images to include in Gorgeous Gallery, and he’s done a great service in putting together a collection that’s rich in visual content but light on analysis, which is just perfect for discovery, something you look forward to doing with a new friend. – See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/09/29/gorgeous-gallery-the-best-in-gay-erotic-art-by-david-leddick/#sthash.qlmx9U4E.dpufthis isn’t a book for art historians or researchers. This is a book that you’ll enjoy perusing at leisure. David Leddick has a sweet job, deciding which images to include in Gorgeous Gallery, and he’s done a great service in putting together a collection that’s rich in visual content but light on analysis, which is just perfect for discovery, something you look forward to doing with a new friend. – See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/09/29/gorgeous-gallery-the-best-in-gay-erotic-art-by-david-leddick/#sthash.qlmx9U4E.dpufthis isn’t a book for art historians or researchers. This is a book that you’ll enjoy perusing at leisure. David Leddick has a sweet job, deciding which images to include in Gorgeous Gallery, and he’s done a great service in putting together a collection that’s rich in visual content but light on analysis, which is just perfect for discovery, something you look forward to doing with a new friend. – See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/09/29/gorgeous-gallery-the-best-in-gay-erotic-art-by-david-leddick/#sthash.qlmx9U4E.dpuf
- I like a good cocktails now and then, as my four readers know. I also like to read cocktail books, even if I can’t fix a lot of the recipes. So, what’s one more cocktail book? Via Drinkhacker, here is a review of The PDT Cocktail Book.
- The Intoxicated Zodiac also has a cocktail book recommendation. She claims that this book is the perfect cocktail book. When I read it, I will be the judge of that, but in the meantime, her word is certainly good enough for me to take a chance. The book is The New Old Bar by Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith.
- As a librarian, I like books that are short introductions, things you need to know, and similar types of books on my reading radar. I am a generalist, so books like that help me learn about many things, usually in a fairly accessible way. Via Blogging for a Good Book, they recommend the book Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction. The book is part of Oxford University Press’ series of “very short introductions.”
- Adding a little manga to the list. Sean Gaffney reviews Vertical’s new re-release of Paradise Kiss, Vol. 1.
- In 2012, Jackie Huba announced that she was working on a book. That tells you how long that item sat in my feed reader cue. Well, the book is out now, and the book is Monster Loyalty: how Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics. I think there may be a lesson or two here libraries could use. Stay tuned because when I read it, I will certainly review it.
- Apparently, we can learn lessons from psychopaths. Scientific American magazine has an excerpt of Kevin Dutton’s book The Wisdom of Psychopaths. I could make a joke or two here about certain coworkers and/or bosses I have known, but I will refrain. A hat tip to 3 Quarks Daily.
- Via Inside Higher Ed, a review of the book Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas.
- The folks at Papeles Perdidos (Spanish language) take another look at El Astillero, a classic 1961 novel by Juan Carlos Onetti.
- Via the blog Contemporary Japanese Literature, a review of the book Speculative Japan 3.
- Good Show Sir is one of those blogs dedicated to highlight bad or funny book covers, especially for old books. It’s a blog I do find amusing. However, once in a while they also find a book that I think may be worth reading. This time they found The Playboy Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Sure, the 1968 cover is a little creepy, but the stories may be well worth a look. It is certainly one of those anthologies the Better Half would appreciate.
Lists and bibliographies:
- Bee Wilson discusses how to reconcile the cook and the food writer while highlighting a couple of her books in this article out of Powell’s.
- The Information Literacy Weblog highlights a couple of IL books published by Chandos. For those of you outside of academic librarianship, Chandos is one of the “high end” publishers in our field. If we want to get snarky, we can say “fancy pants.” They are owned by Elsevier, and there is no lost love between Elsevier and academic librarians for various reasons. However, as an instruction librarian I need to be aware of some of these books and read some now and then.
Welcome once again to another edition of “Items about books I want to read.” This is the semi-regular feature (as in I do it when I have time or feel like it, or just have enough items to make a post) where I highlight books that sound interesting and that I think I would like to read. Consider this my ongoing TBR list. If you have read any of these, you are welcome to comment. Maybe you can convince me to move a particular book up the cue (or you want to spare me what could be a terrible book).
Items about books:
- A bit of steampunk from Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden. Mignola is well known for Hellboy, so I don’t think I will go wrong here. The book is Joe Golem and the Drowning City, and it was reviewed here on Guys Lit Wire. This is an illustrated novel.
- The folks at Lambda Literary wrote that “somebody needed to do this: compile a knowledgeable, historical collection of queer comics.”Justin Hall has done it, and the book he created is No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics. It’s published by Fantagraphics; I’ve read other stuff put out by them, so I am willing to bet this is pretty good too.
- Also via Lambda Literary, a review of The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino. This is nonfiction, and it comes from Cleis Press. I have read other books published by Cleis, so again, going by reputation I am sure I cannot go wrong here. As the reviewer writes, “the book truly has something for folks of all experience levels, from a beginner who’s curious about exploring to more experienced readers interested in being challenged by discussion of kink community/culture, edge play and consensually pushing our limits.” For any of my four readers curious, I would fall in the beginner category.
- Once I discovered the Horus Heresy series, I was hooked. Now, it has not all been a smooth ride. I have enjoyed some volumes better than others, but overall, I have been pleased with the series. My Favourite Books has a short review of James Swallow’s entry in the series, the novel Fear to Tread. Speaking of James Swallow, I recently read a different novel of his part of the Warhammer 40,000 universe: Hammer and Anvil. My review of that is here.
- Via A Case for Suitable Treatment, a review of Sakuran.
- Because you might get thirsty while you read, well, you may want to have a good cocktail. Or you like reading about good cocktails. I know I do. So, via Liquor Snob, here is a short review of Destination Cocktails: the Traveler’s Guide to Superior Libations.
- As much as I read science fiction, Philip Jose Farmer is a gap that I need to remedy. This book of his, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, may be just what I need. I like Jules Verne, so this should be up my alley I hope. It was reviewed in Bookgasm here.
- Getting now on a serious track. The folks at Powell’s Books often pick out interesting books, like this selection they describe as “a haunting cross-country journey through the individual lives of America’s increasingly neglected working class.” The book in question is Someplace like America: Tales from the New Great Depression.
- Here is an interesting discovery: an anthology of science fiction erotica. The book is Fantastic Erotica: the Best of Circlet Press 2008-2012. The book is reviewed at Bending the Bookshelf.
- I have to say that as a librarian who strives to keep up with what is going on my profession, LISNews is just not what it used to be when they started out. I am not sure why I keep it on my RSS reader other than pity or nostalgia I guess. I used to comment on a story there now and then, but then it seemed the place just fizzled away. At any rate, once in a while they would highlight a good book here or there, and this is one of those rare times. They are mentioning a book by Alex Johnson entitled Bookshelf.
- I always enjoy a good art and/or photography book. A book about comics? Even better, so this should be right up my alley: a book about old comic book covers. Via Bookgasm, the book is Action! Mystery! Thrills!: Comic Book Covers of the Golden Age, 1933-1945. This is the kind of stuff folks refer to when they say that they don’t make them like that anymore.
- Greta Christina is promoting her book, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why. In this blog post, she highlights some positive blurb. Personally, I was hoping to borrow it via ILL (interlibrary loan to my non-librarian friends), but WorldCat is not listing many locations. Having said that, ordering it for our library is certainly a possibility.
- Via Bookgasm, a collection of three novels featuring Judge Dredd simply entitled Dredd. Though it seems to have use a photo from the recent movie, the book collects three earlier novels. I have usually read Judge Dredd in comics, so this may be an interesting new way for me to read more on this character.
- Dr. Myers, a while back, highlighted the book Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients. According to his note, “drugs that don’t work, dangerous side-effects concealed by legalistic loopholes, blatant biases in drug testing…and the data are hidden away from the conscientious doctors who try to give informed recommendations. It’s all scary stuff.” Sounds like quite a read.
Lists and bibliographies:
- A list of “Top 10 Most Provocative Books Coming Out This April ” via Tampa Bay’s Creative Loafing. From the list, I have read The New Naked (add review link), which I do not recommend. There are a couple other titles on the list I would not mind checking out.
- Again, running a bit behind on some things. Dirty Librarian’s September 2012 list has some items of interest. From that list, I did read the Who is Jake Ellis? volume. Here is also her October 2012 list. From that list, I have the Johnny Hiro volume on my TBR shelf at home. The blogger seems to have disappeared after April of 2013. A pity really given she does read some interesting things.
- Some Spanish language books. Via Papeles Perdidos, “Los 20 libros de 2012.”
- I always enjoy books about books, reading, and the reading life. So naturally, I have to take note of this list of such books from the folks at Book Riot.
- Marion Nestle highlights two books on first-hand food industry work.
I realize as I start writing this that it has been a while since I blogged here. I have been pretty active over at The Itinerant Librarian doing book reviews. Feel free to hop on over and check those out. One of the things I may do in the future is do a round up of the monthly book reviews I do over there here. That way the reviews can get a bit more exposure, and my followers here can see them. Plus it would give me a bit of a sense of what I have read recently. In the meantime, let’s have a look at a few more things I want to read. As always, book links go to WorldCat, so you can find them in a library near you, unless otherwise noted.
Books to read:
- Via Leaving a Paper Trail, a small book on the art of writing thank you notes and how they can be a positive thing. The book is John Kralik’s A Simple Act of Gratitude. The world would likely be a bit better if more of us took the time to write a simple thank-you note now and then.
- If you are interested in art journaling, then Margaret Peot’s book, Alternative Art Journals: Explore Innovative Approaches to Collecting Your Creativity, may be for you. The book was reviewed at A Penchant for Paper here.
- Wired magazine highlights photos of old gas stations from the book Gasoline by David Campany.
- The Boston Review discusses the book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir.
- I really dislike the preppy people who espouse “positive thinking” and think the workplace should just all be fun and games. I don’t mean keeping a positive attitude; I mean the whole cult of ‘positive thinking.” Also, don’t get me wrong. I do like fun in the workplace as long as it is a natural thing. Once the bosses try to impose it from above (for whatever reason), it becomes a problem. Maybe this book discussed in Big Think will help. The book is The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.
- Also via Big Think, a little help to drive your enemies crazy. Well, maybe not really drive them crazy in the sense of doing to them what they do to you. But your enemies in the workplace do drive you crazy, but you still have to deal with them, especially when getting out and striking for another job is not an option. The book highlighted here is Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit and Be a Lot Happier. Why should you let them drive you nuts? Cope and be happy and let them go crazy figuring out how you remain happy.
- And speaking of humor and happiness, I am sure you can be happier if you poop well. Here is a little scatological humor on the Kama Sutra. The book is Kama Pootra, and it was highlighted at Incredible Things.
- Good Vibes’ blog had a review of Best Bondage Erotica 2012 a while back. I am running a bit behind on reading this series, or ahead depending on how you look at it since at the moment I am reading Best Bondage Erotica 2014 (review coming soon to The Itinerant Librarian). Cleis Press always puts out some great erotica anthologies, and their Best Bondage Erotica series is a good one. If I get my hands on the 2012 one, I will review it as well.
- I recently read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (my review here). There is a sequel out now, Hollow City. Here is trailer of the sequel via Mental Floss. I was lukewarm on the first novel, and though I have the second one, it may take me a while to get to it given other books that hold my interest better for now.
- The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) highlights on their site the graphic novel The Silence of our Friends. This book is “a semi-autobiographical story told from the perspective of Mark Long, as a boy. It centers around civil rights incidents covered by his father, a television reporter in Houston, Texas, in 1968, following the Texas Southern University student boycott after the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was banned from campus. It ends with Dr. King’s assassination and the mourning of the larger Houston community as they marched in his memory that following Sunday.”
- Via Grist, we get a glimpse of “the brutal cost of a cheap chicken” and a discussion of issues raised in the book The Meat Racket.
- Learn more about how grossly underpaid food servers in the U.S. are in this excerpt out of Alternet for the book Behind the Kitchen Door.
- I am sure many have read Playboy (for the articles. Yea, sure). Now there is a book out with photography from behind the scenes of the photo shoots, so you can see more than just what you see in the glossy end product. Story via Nerve. The book is Playboy: Behind the Scenes by Patrick Van Dam.
- Via Mother Jones, highlight of a new book on “data and much more about black American life from education to the entertainment industry to the justice system.” This is the kind of data and facts you want to share with every racist, bigot, and right wing asshat you know. Need to debunk some racist nonsense? Here is your ammunition. The book is Black Stats by Monique Morris.
- Via Boing Boing, a little humor. I am sure we have all heard of a stupid law here and there. Well, the folks at Boing Boing are highlighting a book on just that topic. The book is The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance. By the way, Kevin Underhill, the book’s author and a lawyer, writes the Lowering the Bar blog, which I have added to my RSS feed reader.
Lists and bibliographies:
- Via Mental Floss, here is a list of “15 Strange and Awesome Cookbooks.” From this list, I actually have a copy of 50 Shades of Chicken, which is both a cookbook and a parody of that other erotica book. I won it in an online contest. As soon as I get to it, I will review it.
- Via The Art of Manliness, a list of “43 Books About War Every Man Should Read.” The list features classics as well as modern selections, fiction and nonfiction.
- Want more manly reading? Also via The Art of Manliness, here is Theodore Roosevelt’s reading list.
- If you want a walk on the seriously wild side, BuzzFeed has a list of “The 11 Most Disturbing Works of Monster Erotica You Can Buy on Amazon.” I will probably have to buy them from Amazon since I don’t see these coming to a library near me any time soon.
- Hungry? Like reading about food and the foodie life? BuzzFeed has a list of “14 Books Every Food Lover Should Read.”
- Comics Beat highlights graphic novels that librarians like. It’s a highlight of YALSA 2014 graphic novel selections.
- Via Big Think, some book suggestions on “Feminism for the Other 99%.”
- Via BuzzFeed, a feature they did a bit back for Presidents’ Day, here are “the favorite books of all 44 Presidents of the United States.” I think this list could also provide material for a nice library display.
- Via Nerve.com, a list of “the 15 erotic books you absolutely have to read.” I am sure there are others you could read in lieu of some on the list, but the still is still a pretty good start for those who may want to try out some erotica.
(Crossposted from my professional blog, The Gypsy Librarian)
Made it to 2013. We are in the middle of January 2014; it feels like I am running a bit late in terms of doing my annual reading report, but it’s all good in the end. I feel this has been a good reading year. It was not as good of a blogging year, at least for the professional blog (this one), but I am at peace with that. It’s not that I have stopped writing. I keep writing, but I often do more of my reflections about librarianship both my work and the profession in the privacy of my journal. I’ve also learned to simply stay away from the drama and soap opera that Librarian Blogsylvania (and a couple other forums) often displays. So, I blog here as I feel the need to or when I want to document something I feel important.
On the positive, I have been blogging more over on my personal blog, The Itinerant Librarian. For one, I decided to go back to posting my book notes here on the blog after I make notes for them in my journal. In part, I was motivated by GoodReads being bought by Amazon, and in part, well, I just wanted to post more book reviews. Reading has always been an important part of my life. As a librarian, I take pride in the fact that I read a lot, and I try to read a variety of things. Sharing them on the blog is a bit of fun, is a way to have some content on the blog, and maybe some other reader out there finds a good reading suggestion or two from my book notes.
In addition, this was the year I registered with NetGalley, and shortly after with Edelweiss. Also, this year I can say is the year I started reading more e-books via the iPad, using apps, mainly Bluefire, but also Overdrive for library books and Kindle. I may write later on some of my experiences reading e-books with these devices and software. I can say that I have slowly but surely built up as a book blogger, and I am enjoying it very much. This has allowed me to read more I think, and it has allowed me to try out a few new things; for instance, I have always read erotica (something the Better Half and I enjoy very much), but it was not something I shared publicly (in part due to that whole pesky “librarian image” thing). This year I finally decided to share some of those books and review them as well on the blog. Don’t worry. I am not going into full “sex blogger” mode; this is more just adding some depth and variety to my book blogging with something I have always read and enjoyed. If one of the four readers is too prudish, well, there are other blogs out there he or she can read. To sum up, the risk is a bit lower when you read a galley or review copy, so trying new things feels easier. Now on The Itinerant Librarian, I strive to combine reviews from newer things (many of these items via NetGalley, Edelweiss, or the one or two publishers who have me on their reviewer lists– another small experience to write about later) plus new and old things on my “to be read” lists, things from the library (yes, I still check out books quite a bit), and things I purchase. It’s been fun; it’s something I enjoy sharing and writing about, and as a librarian, it has none of the drama. Life in that regard is good.
I also tried a book challenge this year, which sadly I did not get to complete mainly due to the very serendipitous way in which I read. I will write about that soon. The other experience I enjoyed very much was participating in my local public library’s summer reading program. This also got me to read more, and I did read a few new things outside what I usually read. I have been meaning to write about it, so I hope I can do so soon. Overall, it was a good year of new experiences in reading, and I hope this new year keeps the positive reading experience coming.
So, let’s see how we did in 2013:
The basic numbers:
I read 173 books this year, including 2 re-reads.
Number of books read in 2012: 117, with 6 re-reads (the 2012 list).
Number of books read in 2011: 119, with 3 re-reads (the 2011 list).
Number of books read in 2010: 119, with 6 rereads (the 2010 list).
Number of books read in 2009: 98, with 5 rereads. I believe this is the first time I started to actively track rereads. (the 2009 list).
Number of books read in 2008: 111 (the 2008 list).
Number of books read in 2007: 85 (the 2007 list).
Number of books read in 2006: 106 (the 2006 list).
Number of books read in 2005: 73
I read a lot more this year; 56 more books than last year. As I noted, this was the year I joined NetGalley and Edelweiss. I have been more active on NetGalley (easier to use), and it shows. Many of the books I read in 2013 were either e-galleys or e-book review copies (on NetGalley, sometimes they send a rough galley, and other times they do send a full e-book version).
I did not reread much this year. One of the two rereads was Batman: The Long Halloween, which is a small tradition for me around Halloween. Rereads are marked in the list with an asterisk. As I did in 2012, I now track how many books I borrow from libraries (my library or others, say ILL), and I will go over that and other numbers in the commentary below the list. As always, if a book title is not as clear, I have added small details in parenthesis (say to make clear it is a graphic novel or part of a series). Most of the books listed below have been reviewed on my blog, The Itinerant Librarian, or you can find brief reviews on my BookLikes profile (this would apply more for older things before I restarted book reviewing on the blog, and it was imported from GoodReads. My BL profile is linked on the right side of the blogs). To read reviews at The Itinerant Librarian, simply click on the label for “books and reading.” The only exception: the professional books I read and review go here at The Gypsy Librarian.
So, finally, here is the my reading list for 2013. I will add comments and thoughts, as I always do, after the list:
- Gav Thorpe, Path of the Seer (Path of the Eldar series, Book 2, Warhammer 40K).
- Ben Counter, Galaxy in Flames (The Horus Heresy, Book 3, Warhammer 40K).
- Kagan McLeod, Infinite Kung Fu.
- David Borgenicht, Star Trek Book of Opposites.
- Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead, Book 8 (hardcover compilation).
- Pascale Le Draoulec, American Pie.
- Howard Stelzer and Ashley Stelzer, Beer Cocktails.
- Henry H. Owings, The Indie Cred Test.
- Nathan Edmondson, Who is Jake Ellis? Vol. 1.
- bell hooks, Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place.
- Lisa Dodson, The Moral Underground.
- Christian Dunn, ed., Treacheries of the Space Marines (Short story collection, Warhammer 40K).
- Don McLeod, How to Find Out Anything.
- James Swallow, The Flight of the Eisenstein (The Horus Heresy, Book 4, Warhammer 40K).
- Stephen Colbert, America Again.
- Willie Nelson, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.
- Mike W. Barr, Star Trek Archives: The Best of DS 9.
- Howard Chaykin, Batman: Thrillkiller.
- Christopher De Hamel, Bibles: An Illustrated History from Papyrus to Print.
- Geoff Johns, JLA, Vol. 18: A Crisis of Conscience.
- Frank Miller, Ronin.
- Frank Miller, 300.
- Mathew Inman, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.
- Shouji Sato, Triage X, Vol. 1.
- Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart.
- Quino, Mafalda 2*.
- Jeph Loeb, Absolute Batman: Hush.
- Scott Tipton, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine- Fool’s Gold.
- Dwayne Mack, et.al., eds., Mentoring Faculty of Color.
- Frank Tieri, X-Men: Apocalypse/Dracula.
- René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Asterix and Obelix’s Birthday: The Golden Book.
- Marc Andreyko, What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen? (Dr. Strange graphic novel).
- Ily Goyanes, ed., Girls Who Score: Lesbian Erotic Stories.
- Jonathan Hickman, The Manhattan Projects, Volume 1: “Science Bad.”
- Peter Milligan, X-Men/Black Panther: Wild Kingdom.
- Grant Morrison, JLA: Earth 2.
- Jeph Loeb, Wolverine: Sabretooth Reborn.
- Andrew Finkel, Turkey: What Everyone Needs to Know.
- Graham McNeill, Fulgrim (The Horus Heresy, Book 5, Warhammer 40K).
- Richard Sala, Delphine.
- Dan Abnett, The New Deadwardians.
- Mitchel Scanlon, Descent of Angels (The Horus Heresy, Book 6, Warhammer 40K).
- Mike Ashley, ed., The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures.
- Chris Claremont, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- David Hine, X-Men: Colossus- Bloodline.
- Chris Claremont, X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills.
- Chris Claremont and Frank Miller (art), Wolverine.
- Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo (art), Joker.
- Antony Wild, Coffee: A Dark History.
- René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo (illustrator), Asterix Omnibus, Vol. 3.
- Ron Rash, Waking (poetry).
- Rachel Kramer Bussel, ed., Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission.
- Rebecca L. Hunter, Mail-order Homes: Sears Homes and Other Kit Houses.
- Mark Waid, et.al., Daredevil, Vol. 1.
- Paul Nathan, Generation Ink.
- Stuart Manning, et.al., Dark Shadows, Vol. 1.
- Carol Smallwood, ed., Librarians as Community Partners: an Outreach Handbook.
- Dan Abnett, Legion (The Horus Heresy, Book 7, Warhammer 40K).
- E.B. Hudspeth, The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black.
- Ed Brubaker, Uncanny X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire.
- Glenn Andrews, Salsas!
- Carlos Batts, Fat Girl.
- Henry Rollins, Occupants.
- Al Feldstein, et.al and Jack Davis (illustrator), ‘Taint the Meat. . . It’s the Humanity!: and Other Stories Illustrated by Jack Davis.
- Emmet Purcell, 99 Reasons Everyone Hates Facebook.
- Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.
- Scott Adams, Your New Job Title is “Accomplice”: A Dilbert Book.
- Mateus Santolouco, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret History of the Foot Clan.
- Pete Von Sholly, Pete Von Sholly’s Morbid.
- Scott Adams, 14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric-Covered Box: A Dilbert Book.
- Kazuke Ebine, Gandhi: A Manga Biography.
- Sean Murphy, Punk Rock Jesus.
- Quinrose, Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz, Vol. 1.
- Justin Aclin, Star Wars: The Clone Wars– The Smuggler’s Code.
- Andy Hartnell, Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness.
- Scott Snyder, Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls. (DC Comics, The New 52).
- Bob Fingerman, Maximum Minimum Wage.
- Scott Snyder, Batman, Vol 2: The City of Owls. (DC Comics, The New 52).
- Clark Lawlor, From Melancholia to Prozac: A History of Depression.
- Jon Blacker, Musical Ink.
- Al Feldstein, et.al.., and Al Williamson (illustrator), 50 Girls 50 and Other Stories Illustrated by Al Williamson.
- Paul Dini, et.al., Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories.
- William Grimes, ed., The New York Times: Times of the Eighties.
- Grant Morrison, Happy!
- Jeffrey Brown, Darth Vader and Son.
- Jeffrey Brown, Vader’s Little Princess.
- Mike Mignola, B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Vol. 6: The Return of the Master.
- Ben Counter, Battle for the Abyss (Horus Heresy, Book 8, Warhammer 40K).
- Heather Arndt-Anderson, Breakfast: A History.
- Robert Lanham, The Sinner’s Guide to the Evangelical Right.
- John Ostrander, Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, Vol. 2: Prisoner of Bogan.
- Erik Burnham, et.al., The New Ghostbusters, Vol. 1.
- Stuart Moore, Wolverine Noir.
- Kristina Wright, ed., Best Erotic Romance 2013.
- Nathaniel Marunas, Manga Claus: The Blade of Kringle.
- Geoff Johns, et.al., Superman: Brainiac.
- John Owens, Confessions of a Bad Teacher.
- Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner, Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre.
- Len Wein, et.al., Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair.
- J. Michael Straczynski, Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan.
- Brian Azarrello, Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach.
- Neal Thompson, A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It Or Not” Ripley.
- John Jackson Miller, Star Wars: Kenobi.
- Fred Van Lente and Steve Kurth, G.I. Joe, Vol. 1: Homefront.
- Tom Sniegoski and Johnny Desjardins, Vampirella Strikes, Vol. 1: On the Side of Angels.
- Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau, The Flesh Cartel, Season 1: Damnation.
- Agatha Christie, Thirteen at Dinner.
- Harvey Kurtzman, Corpse on the Imjin and Other Stories by Harvey Kurtzman.
- Eduardo Galeano, Los hijos de los días.
- Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts: 1959-1960.
- Tom Nissley and Joanna Neborsky, The Reader’s Book of Days.
- Jim Heimann, ed., All American Ads of the 20s.
- William Sitwell, A History of Food in 100 Recipes.
- Scott Adams, Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies.
- Eugene Byrne, Darwin: A Graphic Biography.
- James Sturm, Market Day.
- Ronald L. Collins and David M. Skover, On Dissent: Its Meaning in America.
- Grumpy Cat, Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book.
- Chris Roberson, Sons of Dorn (Warhammer 40,000 novel)
- Andrew E.C. Gaska, Classic Space 1999: To Everything That Was: Selected Remastered Works.
- Matt Wagner, Green Hornet: Year One Omnibus.
- Scott Adams, It’s Not Funny If I Have to Explain It.
- Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor, The World Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide.
- Mairghread Scott, Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters, Volume 1.
- Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Saga, Vol. 1.
- Matthew Chojnacki, Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground.
- Brian K. Vaughan, Saga, Vol. 2.
- Mike Costa, G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files, Vol. 1.
- Marion Nestle, Eat Drink Vote: an Illustrated Guide to Food Politics.
- Mike Mignola, Hellboy: The Midnight Circus.
- Sohaib Awan, Jinnrise, Vol. 1.
- Charles Schultz, The Complete Peanuts: 1961-1962.
- Tom Taylor, Injustice: Gods Among Us, Vol. 1.
- Bernie Wrightson, Creepy Presents: Bernie Wrightson.
- Russell Shorto, Amsterdam: a History of the World’s Most Liberal City.
- George Grant and Karen Grant, Shelf Life.
- Jason Rodriguez, ed., Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened.
- Matz, The Killer Omnibus, Vol. 1.
- Dennis O’Neil, et.al., Nightwing: Ties That Bind.
- Rachel Haimowitz, ed., Bump in the Night.
- Ed Brubaker, Uncanny X-Men: The Extremists.
- James O’Barr, The Crow: Curare.
- Sean Michael Wilson, The 47 Ronin.
- Jamyang Norbu, The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes.
- Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween.*
- Various authors, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villains Micro-Series, Vol. 1.
- Scott Snyder, Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family. (The New 52)
- Ed Brubaker, X-Men: Deadly Genesis.
- Mike Mignola, B.P.R.D.: Vampire.
- Ian Doescher, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.
- Mike Mignola, Hellboy, Vol. 10: The Crooked Man and Others.
- Si Kahn, Creative Community Organizing.
- Scott Lobdell, Teen Titans, Vol. 3: Death of the Family. (The New 52)
- Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts: 1963-1964.
- Monty L. McAdoo, Fundamentals of Library Instruction.
- Matt Frank, et.al., Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.
- Howard Zinn, et.al., A People’s History of American Empire.
- Devon McCormack, Clipped.
- Patrick Shand, Robyn Hood: Wanted.
- Peter Tomasi, Batman and Robin, Vol. 3: Death of the Family (The New 52).
- William Stoddart, An Illustrated Outline of Buddhism.
- Stephen D. Korshak, ed., Frank R. Paul: Father of Science Fiction Art.
- Devin Grayson, Batman: Year One- Ra’s Al Ghul.
- Tom Taylor, Star Wars: Blood Ties- A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett.
- Michael A. Stackpole, Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron- Blood and Honor.
- Chris Metzen, Transformers: Monstrosity.
- John Ostrander, Star Wars: Darkness.
- Michael Walsh, The X-Files: Season 10, Vol. 1.
- Diane E. Muldrow, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book.
- Nick Reding, Methland.
- Neil Gaiman, Signal to Noise (new edition).
- Stephan Pastis, Rat’s Wars (Pearls Before Swines collection).
- Cullen Bunn, The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun.
Comments and thoughts:
- Though I still prefer to read in print, this was the year that I truly took off in terms of reading e-books. I use my iPad, and on the iPad I mainly use the Bluefire app., followed by the Kindle app. For e-books, it is mostly free stuff. I do not buy e-books (I do very little shopping online overall, in part because I dislike using credit cards for that purpose, so I avoid it). E-galleys have been one way for me to read e-books. Another way has been a few online freebies I learn about from various sources; this is the only reason I have an Amazon account, for the occasional book freebie. In addition, I have also borrowed e-books from my local public library using Overdrive, which gave me exposure to that system. However, reading on the iPad is not always the most pleasant experience. In addition to its weight, it is still reading on a computer screen (eye strain issues, so on). Turning pages is not as seamless as the makers of e-books make out to be (and on iPad, at times, e-books do briefly “freeze” for seconds, frustrating when you want to read the next page, and it won’t turn). Plus, for bedtime, where I do a lot of my reading, I tend to prefer reading in print as a way to disconnect. So while I do read a lot more e-books, print is still my preferred reading method, and I still read a lot in print. I have not given up for print for electronic as other people have done, and I don’t foresee doing it anytime soon.
- These days I am using BookLikes to both keep track of my books as well as just a bit of book blogging for fun. You can see my BookLikes profile here (or click the link on the right column of this blog). In a nutshell, it is like a hybrid of what GoodReads does with Tumblr. It may not be as robust for some things librarians tend to like, but it works pretty well for me. Only thing I use GoodReads for these days is mostly to post links to reviews of books I have read for review, in other words, books from NetGalley, Edelweiss, or a publisher. Those folks tend to like it when you post in “big shot” places like Amazon and/or GoodReads. Amazon is not going to happen because to post a review there, you have to have made an actual purchase (freebie downloads do not count), and I am not planning on doing one any time soon. However, since I already have a GR account, copying a link there when I add one of those books to my shelf is no big deal. I don’t give GR any more than that in terms of info. In terms of community, so far, people in BL seem fairly nice overall so far.
- I still read a lot by serendipity. This is based on either mood or whatever I find interesting at a time. Sure, I keep TBR lists in various places, but I do a lot of “ooh, shiny new book” grabbing when I see something. That is just life, and I am perfectly cool with that. As I have noted before, some of my TBR lists you can find over at Alchemical Thoughts (just click on the “books and reading” tag when you get there). I also browse a lot, and I make notes. Still loving my pocket notebook, which works well for me because it is great for reminders, including jotting down books I want to read, which I then add to a list on the scratch pad, or borrow or buy depending on mood.
- Number of books read in the best month: 17 in September. Some good stuff that month, including the first two volumes of Saga.
- Number of books read in the worst month: 11 in January, so I still did pretty good. Usually, if I get 10 books in a month, I feel in good shape. However, if I do less, I don’t lose sleep over it. I read what I read, and let the rest fall into place.
- Fiction: 122. A lot of what I read this year fell under graphic novels, and most of those are fiction. I did read some nonfiction graphic novels, but the majority were fiction. This is exactly double the amount of fiction from last year.
- Nonfiction: 51. I read five books less in nonfiction this year. I only read 2 books that would be classified as LIS. On this regard, I still do most of my LIS reading via articles. Though I have not made as many article notes this year, I do still keep up with the literature (some of it may be I read stuff, but I don’t consider it good enough to blog about it and share it). My remarks from last year regarding LIS books still hold this year. I did nonfiction in other areas of interest to librarians (or I think they should interest librarians) such as the topic of books and reading and the topic of community organizing.
- Books borrowed:102. This breaks down as follows:
- 79 books from my local public library, Madison County Public Library (I use the Berea branch, which also let’s me request items from the main branch as needed). I have to say we are very pleased here with the public library system. For a small system, they are very responsive; they do some pretty good collection development, and they are very open to suggestions from patrons. I know given that I have turned in suggestions for possible purchase. They got the items in pretty quick.
- 2 via Overdrive. Out of the 79 above, I gave my public library’s Overdrive offerings a spin.
- 8 Interlibrary loans (ILL) through my own library. If my public library does not have it, I go the ILL route. Most of my reading in the Horus Heresy series has been via ILL. I am not shy at all about using ILL whether for academic or popular stuff. Way I see it, it’s what it’s there for.
- 15 books from my own library, Hutchins Library of Berea College.
- Books read via NetGalley: 46. These were mostly graphic novels. However, I did get some nonfiction and fiction items this way as well.
- Books read via Edelweiss: 3. I don’t like their interface as much, so I tend to use it less. However, for librarians, this may be a good source even if you do not request galleys for review because of the access you can get to publisher catalogs. Also, for galleys, they do tend to have some backlist items.
- Books from other sources: 7. This would include books I have gotten directly from a publisher for review (one publisher I work with fairly regularly; the other more irregular) and a book or two won in some online contest.
- Books that are mine: 13. This means books I have purchased (that were not review copies– I sometimes do get actual books– or galleys). Out of these, 2 were the rereads.This is part of why I failed my TBR challenge. I did not pay that much attention to the books I have already. Know what? It was still fun and worth it to do all that reading.
- Graphic novels and comics: 98. Definitely a good year for graphic novels and comics. Many of these I read via NetGalley, mostly newer things such as the Before Watchmen series.
- Mangas: 3. These three were part of my personal collection (they are mine). I have a good stack of mangas, so I hope to read a few more over this new year. I particularly enjoyed the Triage X series, upon which I will comment some more below. My comments from last year in terms of difficulty finding titles still apply. I still do my runs to “the big city” (Lexington) when I want to get a good bookstore. However, since I am reading more via NetGalley and/or other review methods, buying books has not been as urgent as before. But I still hunt for specific things to add to my personal collection.
- Other categories: I read a couple of poetry books by Appalachian writers. Living in Appalachia as I do now (on the edge, but we are still Appalachia), I have felt a need to read about the region as well as explore writers of the region. You will probably see a few more of those kinds of books on my list for this year down the road. Got in some art books as well. Also, as I mentioned, some erotica, which I have always read, but this is the year I decided to go public in terms of reviewing it.
- Book challenges: I did not complete the TBR book challenge as mentioned. I will write a separate post for that soon.
If you are still here, I am glad you stuck around. Let’s look at the part my four readers have been waiting for: my favorites of 2013. This definitely was a very good year in terms of good stuff to read. I will like to my reviews if I have a published review (for some, I have reviews completed, but scheduled for later on). Some of my favorites include:
- Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga. This series for me was a pleasant discovery. I read the first trade paperback volumes, and I have to say this is among the best things I have read recently. It definitely deserves every positive accolade it has gotten. I will be looking for more volumes down the road. If you enjoy science fiction, fantasy, good stories, fables, so on, you need to be reading this. I wrote the review, and it will be appearing on this blog later, so stay tuned.
- The Horus Heresy series. This has not been perfect, but overall it remains a favorite of mine. Some volumes have been excellent, some average, and at least one bad one. The bad one, so far, was volume 6, Descent of Angels (link to my review). I am currently reading Mechanicum, volume 9 of the series, and I do plan to continue reading the series. Fans of Warhammer 40K will certainly enjoy this series as well, with the caveat that, like many series with various authors, some volumes may be better than others, but so far, the positives have outweighed any negatives.
- Dwayne Mack, Mentoring Faculty of Color. This is one of the academic books I read this year. A bit from my review: “The book fills a very important gap in the literature of higher education: how faculty members of minority groups go through getting tenure, the obstacles and challenges they face, and the various paths they take in creating a way out of no way.”
- The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1. This is another series I will be looking for. It is an alternate history take on the Manhattan Project.
- Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission. When I tell people who have read, or are considering reading, 50 Shades of Gray to do themselves a favor and find better erotica, Kramer Bussel’s book is one that I recommend right away. In addition, this book has the Better Half “Seal of Approval.”
- The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black. This was just a cool book. A great combination of gothic horror fiction and art. The art plates of the mythological creatures are excellent.
- Fat Girl by Carlos Batts. An erotic photography collection featuring April Flores. I read this as a review copy via NetGalley, but it is one I would add to my personal collection in print.
- Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Murphy. The premise? A reality show features a clone of Jesus. Yes, THAT Jesus.
- Bob Fingerman’s Maximum Minimum Wage. An oversized collection of Fingerman’s comic strip about a graphic artist in New York City, his girlfriend, and his friends. This is like a sitcom on print, but in this case, it is a sitcom done right, and it does contain some adult themes.
- Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess. Both books by Jeffrey Brown. A pair of delightful little books that every Star Wars fan has to read. Brown imagines what would have happened if Darth Vader had to raise his kids. Who knew the Dark Lord of the Sith could make a pretty good dad? Link to my review. Great humor for all ages.
- Neal Thompson’s A Curious Man: the Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It Or Not!” Ripley. A biography of the man that reads like a good yarn. You thought his comic strip and his stories were amazing? Well, his life was amazing as well. My review of this is coming soon.
- The Flesh Cartel, Season 1: Damnation. A very explicit psychosexual thriller about an organization that “could teach even the KGB a thing or two about breaking a human mind. Fortunately for their ultra-rich clients, they’re just as skilled at putting people back together again—as perfect pets, well-trained and eager to please” (from the book’s description). As I wrote in my review, “this is erotica for readers who like their kink very dark and very rough.” It is also very enthralling and well-written, but not for the faint of heart. This is the first compilation of the series.
- Luc Jacamon and Matz, The Killer Omnibus, Vol. 1. This is a hard boiled noir series about a professional killer who reflects upon his life and work. Is the stress catching up to him? Definitely worth reading. Review coming soon.
- Bump in the Night. An erotic horror collection that makes a very good read around Halloween, but you can read it any time. From my review, “if you like your horror with an element of edgy erotica, or you like your hard erotica with an element of terror and suspense, then this can be the anthology for you.”
- And last, but not least for this year, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Right away, I will say this is just a hoot. Fans of Star Wars and fans of Shakespeare have a reason to come together. From my review, “the author in essence has channeled the great bard to envision the Star Wars epic in a new light.”
What I am currently reading. As of this writing, I have already read 8 books for January 2014. I am currently reading the following:
- The Big Book of Bizarro, edited by Richard Bottles and Gary Lee Vincent. This is a big anthology, so it will likely take me a while. What I have read so far, I have enjoyed.
- Alex Strick van van Linschoten, et.al, eds., Poetry of the Taliban. It turns out the Taliban are not only the repressive former rulers of Afghanistan, but also many of their members have a poetic side. The poetry reflects much of the poetic tradition of the nation and its people. The editors sought works done by ordinary people as opposed to literary works that were clearly just propaganda from that regime. An interesting anthology so far.
- Graham McNeill’s Mechanicum. This is book 9 of the Horus Heresy series, and it focuses on the Mechanicum of Mars, the technocult that builds the weapons and supplies for the armies of the Emperor. The civil war of the Horus Heresy finally reaches Mars. If you wanted to know more about the Mechanicum, this may be the book for you. Pretty good so far.
- Mark Rahner, Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars, Vol. 1. Collection of comics based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is a NetGalley selection.
- The Best of Pantha: the Warren Stories. A collection of tales about the character of Pantha from Vampirella magazine. This is another NetGalley selection.
P.S. In case you are interested (assuming you read this far, for which I thank you), here are a few other folks who gave their year-end reading reports. I include these because I always find interesting the diversity of books that other people out there read, even the books that are not in my reading horizon:
- PhiloBiblos’ “Year-End Reading Report 2013.”
- Walt Crawford’s “A year’s reading.” From his list of books enjoyed, I have read Susan Cain’s Quiet (link to my review here).
- Mark Lindner’s “Books Read in 2013.” Being the ambitious reader he is, he also has “Reading Goals for 2014.”
- Jessamyn West’s year-end summary.
- C.W.’s “2013 Reading List.”