27 November 2006 by Published in: book list 2 comments

What I believe I read in 2005:

  1. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Vol. 14 edited by Stephen Jones. [horror, anthology]. I have database notes on this, which I’ll copy/paste for posterity. Please note that database posts are intended for me alone and may be spoilery or annoying to you in any number of ways so read at your own risk: “Collection of Year’s Best Horror stories for 2002. Checked this out from the library after writing Loyal Companion, to get refreshed on what is going with horror these days.” I finished this on 01/05/05.
  2. Black Swan, White Raven by Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling. [specfic, anthology]. I have no memory of reading this book. I suppose I checked it out of the library, because I don’t own it. Ahhh, the database enlightens: “A series of fairy tales re-invented. I have one of the earlier iterations of this collection and I remembered it as fond reading. I found this one to be filled with lackluster stories, though one or two were pretty good.” I think I’ll just add to that the following caveat/reminder to myself: if you aren’t Kelly Link, you probably don’t have any business re-writing fairy tales. I finished this on 01/12/05.
  3. Superman Red Son by Mark Millar. [graphic novel]. I have database notes on this: “A what-if tale of Superman landing in the Soviet Union instead of the US, and the history that ensues. This was loaned to Kurt with assurances that it was very good, by David Atchley. Kurt said it was worth reading so I read it, even though I don’t really like superheroes all that much, and like Superman probably least of all. I did enjoy it, and it had some really great moments, though the ending was a real eye-roller. The art was very intriguing.” I finished this on 01/15/05.
  4. Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton. [horror]. Library. I enjoyed it, but the writing was real sloppy in places. For the most part she kept the train moving fast enough that you didn’t count rivets, but at the end I felt like I’d met my obligation and wasn’t required to read any of the others. From the database: “An animator, someone who raises zombies for money, gets called on to solve a vampire murder mystery in this supernatural detective story. A quick enjoyable read with a swaggering, sympathetic and all-too-human lead character. However, the writing is a little stilted and repetitive, and occasionally the lead character’s voice can be really distracting and annoying. A vampire book that I’d never read, and had been eyeing to try out for a while, along with Charlaine Harris.” Finished (very quickly, over a day or two) on 01/16/05.
  5. Persepolis : The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. [graphic novel, autobiography]. I own this (it was given to me). I finished this during 01/05. I liked it a lot.
  6. Light by M. John Harrison. [specfic]. I got this book from the library. I read it because of Neil Gaiman’s raving recommendation, but sadly, found it to be largely ehhh. Review here. Database says (and pardon the repetition): “This is a science fiction tale set both in the far future and the pre-millienial present, primarily dealing with quantum physics and the unique properties of light. It touches on probability in interesting ways. The characters are all seeking, and mostly find, redemption. The book is deftly written, but the characters remain a little unsympathetic. I checked this out from the library. My interest in it derived from Neil Gaiman’s exceedingly high praise for it.” I finished this on 01/27/05.
  7. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. [horror] I checked this out of the library, but I wish I owned it. Lovely book that I definitely want to re-read at some point. I finished it on 01/31/05
  8. Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman. [specfic, anthology]. I checked this out of the library (this was when we were paying two mortgages, remember?) and very much enjoyed it. There’s a couple of stories I would not mind re-reading, but I don’t feel the need to own this. I finished it during 02/05/05.
  9. McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories edited by Michael Chabon. [specfic, anthology]. Reviewed here. Yes, this one too, library. This had some good stories in it, but the bigger the author, the less impressed I was by the story, it seemed. I finished it on 02/20/05.
  10. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. [allegory, biblical]. Library. Finished on 03/12/05.
  11. The Cat’s Pajamas : Stories by Ray Bradbury. [specfic, anthology] Library. Love Bradbury with all my heart, but this collection did have some disappointments. Read review here. I was ill, that’s how I got so much solid reading time in. Finished on 03/13/05.
  12. To Have And To Hold: An Intimate History Of Collectors and Collecting by Philipp Blom. [non-fiction] Finished on 03/24/05.
  13. Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories by Warren Ellis. [graphic novel]. I borrowed this from Chris Goodwin (weren’t you tired of seeing the library?). It was fun. I finished it on 03/25/05.
  14. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. [specfic]. I bought this one, secondhand. If I had it to do over, I’d buy The Scar instead. That’s the one I’m likely to re-read. I liked the garuda, and lots of other stuff in this, but the ending was completely zuwhaa? as far as I was concerned. Also, it was too long. Meant to write a real review sometime, perhaps still will, I made some notes, though it’s getting fuzzy. Finished on 04/18/05.
  15. {Did I really not read anything between April 20 and July? See, that seems so unlikely. Is this when I first started doing origami? Because let me tell you I find it highly suspicious that I don’t have any origami books on either the 2005 or 2006 lists. I read several.}

  16. The Hallowed Hunt (Chalion, Book 3) by Lois McMaster Bujold. [specfic]. I borrowed this from Peter Keen (of WUTA). I really enjoyed it, though I found it less satisfying than the previous two books. I’m not sure why, I try not to overanalyze Bujold. Analysis is not the point. Finished during 07/05.
  17. J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars : Book 3: Change the World by Arthur Byron Cover. [graphic novel]. I bought this as soon as it came out. I’d been waiting for it for almost a year, since I’d discovered and read Volumes 1 & 2. The ending was a bit disappointing, actually, though I like the series overall and love the concept. Finished during 07/05
  18. J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars : Visitations By J. Michael Straczyinski. [graphic novel]. The less said about this one the better. I only finished it because it was so, so short. Finished during 07/05.
  19. Street Angel by Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca. [graphic novel]. I own this. This was a hoot. I laughed out loud in some places. I like the way it’s drawn. Finished during 07/05
  20. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke. [specfic]. I borrowed this from Sarah. I’m so glad I read it. When I saw the paperback was out the other day I almost bought it on the spot. I really, really want to own this book. I really want to read it again. And again. I fell inside this book completely when I read it. It was wonderful in all the ways a book can be wonderful. I read this during 07/05.
  21. A Treasury of Modern Fantasy edited by Terry Carr and Martin Harry Greenberg. [specfic, anthology] I had this foisted on me by Tom from WUTA, who really wanted me to read the Lafferty story in it “Narrow Valley”. I read the whole thing, and what most stuck with me is how readers increasingly demand quicker action, more direct plotting and overall have less patience with the prose for prose’s sake. I’m honestly not sure when I read it. I think sometime during the summer but who can say?
  22. Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday. [graphic novel]. Borrowed from Chris Goodwin. Read during 08/05.
  23. Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century by Warren Ellis. [graphic novel]. Borrowed from Chris Goodwin. Read during 08/05.
  24. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley. [graphic novel]. I own this. Cute, but not as good as Street Angel. Read during 08/05.
  25. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World by Bryan Lee O’Malley. [graphic novel]. I own this. Read during 08/05.
  26. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling, with Mary GrandPré (Illustrator). [specfic, YA] I borrowed this from John Newmark. I couldn’t afford to buy it, as I recall, when it first came out. I really hope she can deliver on her promise to wrap it all up in the next book. In enjoyed it, of course. I always do. Some quibbles I have with her writing grate increasingly as the series winds down, but that’s inevitable, I suppose. I can’t tell if it’s because Harry is a sullen teen or what, but I am so tired of being told how everyone feels in every paragraph! But of course, plotwise, the thing just barrels forward. Queen of momentum, I tell you. I read it (quickly, of course, you won’t catch me trying to count rivets) during 08/05.
  27. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. [fiction] I borrowed this from Sarah and Tim, and when it came out in paperback, immediately bought my own copy. There were many books that I read this year and loved, and many that spoke to me, but this was the one I kept trying to pawn off on people and encourage them to read (mostly unsuccessfully, though it worked on my husband, at least). This is a great book: full of humor, empathy, strangeness and sadness. Oh, and math. Really truly, if you’ve waded through this interminable jargon and notation, meant mostly to aid my memory in future, and are searching for the nugget of gold: this is it. Buy this book. Borrow this book. Read this book. You will love something about it, I promise. I read this sometime during 08/05, or early 09/05.
  28. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer. [specfic, YA]. I own this book, and have owned it without reading it for several years. This series is definitely winding down for me. The first two books were great, this one was muy shrugtastic. Unfortunately, I have the fourth book too. I should have waited before buying it. I read this sometime during 08/05 or 09/05.
  29. Secret Life by Jeff VanderMeer. [specfic]. Checked this out of the U. City library. Could not resist the cover. Enjoyed it very much, and cemented Vandermeer’s position in my authors to love list. Read during 09/05.
  30. Queen & Country, Vol. 2: Operation Morningstar by Greg Rucka, Brian Hurtt, Christine Norrie. [graphic novel]. Read this at Dave’s. Wouldn’t mind reading the whole series, actually. Finished in early 10/05, right after Viable Paradise.
  31. The Scar by China Mieville. [specfic]. I checked this out of the library, but I kind of wish I owned it. I’m not convinced I’ll read it again, but I might. This book seemed better plotted than the first book, though still, sometimes people’s motivations where not clear and so their behavior seemed erratic or nonsensical. Fortunately for China, he did not resort to overusing “desultory”, the way he did in PSS, but he overused “yaw” instead. I realize that there’s not a good substitute for yaw and everyone’s living on boats, but hey, we could keep from aggravating the problem by not using it metaphorically as well, couldn’t we? Something cool about reading this on the boat to Martha’s Vineyard, though. Won’t forget that anytime soon. I finished this at the airport, on the way home from Viable Paradise in the early part 10/05.
  32. WE3 by Grant Morrison, vols 1-3. I borrowed this series from Dave. This series was just incredible. Hail, Grant Morrison. Everyone should read this. Gut-wrenching, but worth it. I finished this during 10/05.
  33. Vimanarama by Grant Morrison, vols 1-3. I borrowed this series from Dave. I liked it quite a lot. It has everything : romance, underground cities, robots. What’s not to like? I finished this during 10/05.
  34. Seaguy by Grant Morrison, vols 1-3. I borrowed this series from Dave. I found it ehhh. I wasn’t sorry I read it or anything, but it didn’t hold a candle to the other two Morrison miniseries I borrowed. I liked it better when it was Animal Man, you know? I finished this during 10/05.
  35. Colonia : Islands and Anomalies. by Jeff Nicholson. I borrowed this from Dave, on his recommendation. I cannot believe how much I loved this book. The story is simple but strange. The protagonist is naive, but not with all the negative connotations we tend to give that word. He’s an innocent, with a pure heart, and a pretty good head on his shoulders. This story is new, yet nostalgic, and I loved the art, the weirdness, everything! I wanted so much to own this after I read it, and Dave bought it for me for my last birthday. I can’t wait to read it again. I finished this during 10/05.
  36. Hammered by Elizabeth Bear. [specfic]. I own this. It and Scardown are practically the only books I bought that year. Most of the other stuff I owned from other years or was given, and the graphic novels we bought during 2005 were mostly Kurt’s decision to buy. I liked it. Review for the whole trilogy here. I read it in late 10/05, but maybe didn’t finish it until 11/05.
  37. Scardown by Elizabeth Bear. [specfic]. I own this. I read this during reading vacation. I am transcribing my print notes: “Gripping, fast-paced. I admire the way she has no fear of casualties. Her characters are always human, usually likeable, never safe. Better closure than Hammered, more emotionally involving as well, higher stakes.” I finished this on 11/21/05.
  38. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. [specfic, literary humor]. I borrowed this from Fletcher (formerly of WUTA). I read this during reading vacation. I am transcribing my print notes:”The usual light, pun read. Not quite as clever as the first one but quite fun.” I finished this on 11/24/05. In retrospect, going to that Red Wings game appears to have cut into my reading time because there’s no way this book took me three days to read.
  39. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossein. [fiction]. Aunt Aggie wanted me to read this, and loaned it to me, so I did. I read this during reading vacation. I am transcribing my print notes:”Very sad story. Intricate, well-written, moving. A wee bit maudlin, but artfully done, worth reading.” I finished this on 11/25/05.
  40. Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. [graphic novel]. I own this (it was given to me). I read it during reading vacation. I am transcribing my print notes: “Not as strong as the first one. Less subtle, more angsty. The juxtapositions sometimes overexplained. Threads are picked up and dropped at random, scenes more fractured and don’t seem to work together as well. Still, some great, Kafkaesque moments. The mindless, nonsensical way governments work well protrayed.” I finished this on 11/25/05.
  41. Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. [graphic novel]. I borrowed this from Tim Vickers. I believe I read it during 11/05.
  42. Transmetropolitan Vol. 2: Lust for Life by Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson. [graphic novel]. I borrowed this from Tim Vickers. Read sometime during 11/05
  43. Transmetropolitan Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard by Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson. [graphic novel]. I borrowed this from Tim Vickers, but when I returned it, I realized I didn’t really need to read any of the following volumes. I had pretty much seen what I wanted to see and Spider Jerusalem was really starting to get on my nerves. It’s never good when I want to smack the main character into next week. And really, journalists as heroes? I’m too much of a cynic to buy that. Read 11/05, or possibly early 12/05.
  44. The Locus Awards: Thirty Years of the Best in Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Charles N. Brown. [specfic, anthology] I own this. I was surprised at the number of stories in it that I found meh, but of course, the outstanding stories were just that. Several will merit re-reads. I got several classic short stories under my belt by reading this volume, so I consider it educational, if nothing else. My first exposure to Tiptree, which I’m following up on this year. If I had my money back, I might have bought Dozois’ Modern Classics of Science Fiction instead. I finished this during 12/05.
  45. Go Ask Ogre : Letters from a Deathrock Cutter by Jolene Siana, Bonnie McLaughlin. [autobiography, epistolary]. I own this (it was given to me for Christmas). I read it immediately. Very compelling tale of a teen whose only light is writing to Skinny Puppy’s Nivek Ogre. Amazingly, he kept every one of her letters, and when she emerged from her teenage years in one piece, he returned them. Thus, the book. I believe I finished it around 12/28/05.

So when did I read, and did I finish Modern Classics of Science Fiction? Was that late 2005, or early 2006? Not counted in the list above is Volume 1 of Nausicaa, because I didn’t complete it, but I read most of that at Dave’s after Viable Paradise as well. I was totally ok with not completing it, or looking at any of the other volumes. Are those two my only maybe unfinished books for that year? Not bad.

Apparently, if 2006 was the year of YA, 2005 was the year of graphic novels, and the year of borrowing (mostly from the library, but some from friends) instead of buying. No wonder I felt a bit disinterested in comics this year, considering how many I read last year. I appear, also, to have been very good about entering books into the database in January, because all five of my entries are from that month, and there are none for any of the other eleven months. And it only took me twenty two months to admit that no, in fact, this system was not working for me. I notice that I did one or two line synopses for my database. I may want to do that for my Book List entries, as that might help jog my memory about the book when I’ve otherwise completely forgotten it. My reading experience for 2005 did lead me to the very valuable discovery that nothing prevents me from buying a book after I’ve read it, if I really want to (and I’m more likely to know whether I want to after I read it). The only drawback is that people don’t seem to want to give you things you’ve already read as gifts. I’ve also discovered that if I want to get close to making the 52 book challenge, I probably need to pad my stats with plenty of graphic novels, like I did in 2005. What? They count! Why shouldn’t they count? Count them (as I did) and I’m less than 10 books from 52! I had no idea I was so close. I’m also beginning to strongly suspect I undercounted for 2006, but really, I can’t remember anything else! Curse you, poor memory and wretched record-keeping! I can’t wait to turn over a new leaf with 2007. All books noted, even if it kills me!

It’s completely plain by now, Chris Goodwin, that you only thought I was reading a bunch of non-fiction. No, it’s pretty much fictional stuff in my reading stack for 2005 as well as for 2006, with just a couple of exceptions per year.

Phew. Well that’s the backlog taken care of. No. I’m not looking at 2004. Too far back. Forget it.


Tue 28th Nov 2006 at 9:45 am

Thank you for the recommendation of The Curious Incident, as it’s been on my wishlist languishing for years. I finally just bought it.

I know you don’t need more book recommendations, but if you want nonfiction and you felt (as you TOTALLY DID) the same way I did about Persepolis 1 and 2, I would recommend Reading Lolita in Tehran. I really liked that one. I read it around the same time as Persepolis, and it was a different take on the effects of the revolution.

I haven’t read The Kite Runner, but another recommendation in the same family (that family being Books You Keep Seeing People Reading Out In The World, I cannot recommend Life of Pi strongly enough. I LOVED that book.

Lastly, I didn’t hate the third Artemis Fowl book (The Eternity Code), but I *was* really disappointed in the fourth one (The Opal Deception). So you could leave those behind without much grief.

I wish I could recommend something to replace them. Have you read The City of Ember? I loved that one, and it takes about forty-five minutes to read. Did not care for the sequel.

I need a new YA series!

Tue 28th Nov 2006 at 9:46 am

My punctuation is all messed up in that comment. Don’t judge me. :)

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