21 May 2004

Surely Not More 50 Books?

  1. The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. This is another one of my heavy science readings. Except it really wasn't all that heavy. And it has a lot to do with science and religion, or at least with science as an antidote to superstition. Good reading, and food for much thought.
  2. Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black. (Spiderwick Chronicles Book 3) Illos by Tony diTerlizzi. I love Spiderwick! This is a really fun series of kids' novels (really one novel in 5 parts, and probably too short to include on the list, but like I said before, it's my list). There are fairies, of course, and intrepid siblings (twin brothers and an older sister), and really pretty pictures.
  3. Shades of Dracula by Bram Stoker (ed. Peter Haining). This is kind of an odd collection, beginning with the subtitle: "The uncollected stories of Bram Stoker." I suspect that should be "previously uncollected." Anyway, there are, of course, several Bram Stoker stories in it (enough commas there for you?), which range from kinda flaky to really good. There is also a newspaper article (not by Stoker) that Stoker cut out of a paper in the US, and which was probably a major influence for Dracula. And there is a story called "Another Dracula?" (also not by Stoker) which was written by an American writer "based on an idea by Bram Stoker." As I said, odd, but worth the reading. This should also count under my "League of Extraordinary Books" reading. And it made me decide to read Dracula again. Except then I got distracted, as you'll see below.
  4. How to Write a Mystery by Larry Beinhart. I picked this up hoping it'd help me get into writing Reading the Bones (a book which looks less and less likely to happen any time soon). It didn't. You can read my review for CW for Teens to see what I thought.
  5. The Criminal Mind by Katherine Ramsland. Another book I got from the library to help me get into mystery-writing mode. This one was really good, though not all that helpful for the plot I have planned. I also reviewed it for work.
  6. The Dark Place by Aaron Elkins. Now this is what distracted me from Dracula. I went to the used book store looking for . . . actually I can't remember what I was looking for, but I ended up in the "e"s in the mystery section, thought the title looked interesting, discovered the protagonist was a physical anthropologist and ended up buying two of the books. And so I got hooked. Except I figured out the whole "supernatural force" necessary to create the mortal wound by the time I got to the end of the back cover copy. The characters didn't figure it out until several chapters in, which was very frustrating. But I used to live with a guy who made replicas of "stone age" tools. He made one of the things used in the murder (which I won't spoil by telling what it was). I used one myself. Fun with archaeologists.
  7. Old Bones by Aaron Elkins. This is the second Gideon Oliver mystery I got at that used book store (actually, I think it was the title of this one that first caught my eye). This one's set in France where a skeleton is discovered buries in the basement of an old manor house by the workmen who are there to fix the drains.
  8. Skeleton Dance by Aaron Elkins. This one I had to get from the library. I think I read it in one day. Maybe two. Hooked I say. Except I never did figure out what the title had to do with anything (except the obvious skeleton bit).
  9. Murder in the Queen's Armes by Aaron Elkins. After searching two used book stores, I found two more Gideon Oliver book in the same store where I'd found the first two. In this one, Gideon's in England, and there's academic intrigue and thefts of artifacts and a really, really big dog.
  10. Briar Rose by Robert Coover. This is a lush and beautiful book (and it doesn't even have pictures!). Coover manages to fits just about every conceivable retelling of Sleeping Beauty into this novella, all within the context of a single retelling. That makes sense if you've read the book. This is a fantastic example of revisionary/retold fairytale, and I've added it to my "must own" list (alas, the copy I read belongs to the library, and they're going to want it back soon). (I might read it again before then.)
  11. The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde. More retold fairy tales! This time one of my favourite YA authors tries to answer questions like "Why did a creature that cold spin gold from straw want the girl's gold ring and necklace?" and "What would such a creature do with a baby?" in six very different versions of one old story. Besides being a wonderful read, this book is a good example of how one plot can reseult in many different stories.
  12. How to Create Action, Fantasy and Adventure Comics by Tom Alvarez. There wasn't much in here that I didn't know, and the writing ranged from mediocre to cringe-inducing, but I actually did pick up a few tips and ideas from this book, so it wasn't a waste of time to read. Heh. How's that for a glowing review. Partly, I was disappointed because the focus was more on superheroes than anything else. Don't wanna make superhero comics.
  13. Icy Clutches by Aaron Elkins. Another Gideon Oliver mystery, this time to do with the bones of lost hikers melting out of a glacier. These things are addictive. I was going to read Dracula, wasn't I? But I can't stop reading this series. They're like candy. But good candy that doesn't get too sweet after you've had a few.
  14. Animal Bone Archaeology by Brian Hesse and Paula Wapnish. My attempts to write a mystery novel with a zooarchaeologist main character (plus my love affair with Gideon Oliver mysteries) got me to pull out this old textbook. It was really fun to read it again. MNI. TNF. Oh yeah, we zooarchaeologists speak a secret language. I am reminded, though, that I probably should forget my thoughts about maybe doing a master's in zooarch. I'd have to re-learn an awful lot of technical stuff. But bones are cool.
  15. Science Fiction Comics: The Illustrated History by Mike Benton. This was a lot of fun, though perhaps a little light on text. Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, plus all kinds of obscure sf comics. One of the really interesting things covered was the relationship between the sf pulp magazines (that is, the ones with short fiction in) and the sf comics. I hadn't realized so many early sf writers wrote comics scripts as well as stories.

Look, ma, I'm caught up. Yep. That's all the books I've read so far this year (besides graphic novels, of course). Think I'll make it to 50?

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