Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review - what I read

2008 is drawing to a close, and as is traditional it's a very dull New Year's Eve here, with the big festivities consisting of putting a dent in all the Christmas cookies and candy, and watching an episode or two of Mystery Science Theater 3000. 

However, in keeping with the year-end mindset, here's the list of books I read this year:

Phallic Frenzy: Ken Russell and His Films - Joseph Lanza
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
The Shipping News - Annie Proulx *
Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett
The Painted Veil - Somerset Maugham *
The Terror - Dan Simmons
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming
Courtesan - Diane Haeger **
Passion - Judith Morgan **
In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez
Rogue Male - Geoffrey Household
Marathon Man - William Goldman
Duma Key - Stephen King
Then We Came to the End - Joshua Ferris
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett
Stick - Elmore Leonard **
The Thrall's Tale - Judith Lindbergh **
The Stand - Stephen King *
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity - David Lynch
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J. K. Rowling *
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling *
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling *
A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway *
Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett
A Tan and Sandy Silence - John D. MacDonald
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling *
A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin *
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling *
A Clash of Kings - George R. R. Martin *
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling *
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling
The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins **
A Storm of Swords - George R. R. Martin *
A Feast for Crows - George R. R. Martin
Shatterday - Harlan Ellison
Talk Talk - T. C. Boyle
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
Wideacre - Philippa Gregory **
The Truth - Terry Pratchett
Michael Tolliver Lives - Armistead Maupin
The Preservationist - David Maine *
Loving Frank - Nancy Horan **
Clandestine - James Ellroy
The Nature of Monsters - Clare Clark
The Falls - Joyce Carol Oates
The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
Sick Puppy - Carl Hiaasen
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury *
The Tea Rose - Jennifer Donnelly *
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber *
The Road - Cormac McCarthy 
Zombies of the Gene Pool - Sharyn McCrumb **
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett
My Lady of Cleves - Margaret Campbell Barnes **
Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry *
A Stir of Echoes - Richard Matheson

* = re-read
** = unfinished

58 titles for the year, which isn't nearly as impressive as it seems. Lots of re-reads this year, mostly because I was heavily occupied with writing my mystery MS. I have a harder time explaining the number of books that, for whatever reason (failed to click, I was distracted by something shiny) didn't work for me and were unfinished.

Overall I'm pleased with what I read. Terry Pratchett's Discworld books continue to be a joy. Duma Key was a fine return to form for Stephen King. Phallic Frenzy and Catching the Big Fish were intriguing peeks into the minds of two of my favorite movie directors. The Harry Potter and Song of Ice and Fire series hold up to being re-read. And there were plenty of new discoveries: The Terror, The Road, A Stir of Echoes, The Falls, The Nature of Monsters, and The Pillars of the Earth. 

I'm hoping for 2009 to make more of a dent in the To-Be-Read shelves, which are ridiculously full even by my standards. So far the first book to be finished in 2009 is Anne Enright's The Gathering - so far I like it but I'm not entirely sure I like where it's heading. Time will tell.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Review: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

My review of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is now up over at Go check it out if you're so inclined.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gift cards are my friend

Yesterday I took the gift cards I'd received for Christmas to the Barnes and Noble, and came home with:

Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson (just started reading this and it's very creepy!)

Candy by Luke Davies

Claudius the God by Robert Graves

Young Master got a couple more Star Wars books and Mr. Cozy picked up two more of Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander books. So we're all quite happy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

God bless us every one!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate).

Had some friends over for a feast including a roast with a garlic-herb crust, potatoes gratin savoyard, spinach salad with roasted garlic and bacon dressing, creamed corn, Yorkshire pudding with sage and bacon, and for dessert a red velvet cake. Tres yummy. Oh, and assorted beverages including Framboise raspberry beer. I'd made all of this before save for the Yorkshire pudding, which was quite nice comfort food. 

For some reason I received only one book this year, Alison Weir's biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Looking forward to that. I did also get $40 in Barnes and Noble gift cards so I'll certainly put those to good use. (Post-holiday sales, here I come!)

Young Master got quite a good haul of books, including the pop-up edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a nice hardcover edition of Charlotte's Web. However, he's most excited about some young-adult Star Wars chapter books that were in his stocking. I will be happy when he can read these on his own as they are not my favorite to read to him. He also got The Mouse and the Motorcycle, which is an old favorite of mine.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In which a quasi-Luddite takes a brave, bold step...

Yes, I have finally joined the ranks of the blogging! Further updates pending as I sort out this newfangled technology and think of something to say.