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haikitteh ([personal profile] haikitteh) wrote2012-01-01 02:36 pm
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Book List 2012

New Year, new book list.

"Just a Geek" by Wil Wheaton. Wil's memories of struggling to free himself from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then his regret at having done so. Having been unemployed as long as I have, much of his despair at finding jobs really struck home for me. Loved the warmth of his memories of the cast, and was horrified by the way the producer treated him.

"The Seashell Anthology of Great Poetry" by Christopher Burns. In addition to having a wonderful selection of poetry, this collection was the best-formatted ebook I've ever encountered. The poems were perfectly formatted, with so few errors I could count them on one hand, and the links to the sections were a dream come true. I'm definitely checking out his other ebooks.

"A Civil Contract" by Georgette Heyer. A Regency, but not quite a romance. A Viscount marries an heiress from a working-class family to save his family's estate. More of a family drama than a romance, in the style of Anthony Trollope. Really made me appreciate Trollope.

"The Way I Live Now" by Meg Rosoff. A troubled teen from NYC goes to England to spend the summer in the country with her cousins. War breaks out and they are stranded and separated  in Occupied England. A vivid story, despite the tortured bad-fanfic style of writing, complete with endless run-on sentences and snarky asides. 

"Station Rage" by Diane Carey. The crew finds a cache of dead Cardassians squirreled away in a pylon, who unleash an assault on the station when they awaken. Pretty fun book. Written in season 2, the characterizations are geared towards those early personas: Kira is still fiery (and has a serious case of hero-worhip for Sisko, interestingly enough), and Julian is a silly ninny (phrase copyright airandangels). But the story drives forward nicely, the original characters are interesting, and there are a couple of nice Garak/Bashir moments. In one long scene, after the shit's come down and all the non-emergency personnel and civilians have vacated the station, Garak creeps into the infirmary to ask Bashir if he's also leaving. When he responds that he isn't, Garak lies and tells him that The Sisko has ordered Bashir to the planet to help with an outbreak of food poisoning! Later Kira rails against one of Garak's actions, and Bashir defends him. So clearly Ms. Carey was picking up what the actors were throwing down in those years. 

"The Admiral's Penniless Bride" by Carla Kelly. Regency Romance, this one is a marriage of convenience. The convenience was a little contrived, but the rest of it was nicely done. The characters were warm-blooded and the development of their relationship felt believable.

"The Invention of Morel" by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Someone on the Reddit Books board recommended this, and it's just not my cup of tea. Sort of Kafka-esque. Only 100 pages, but I struggled through it.

"Frederica" by Georgette Heyer. Not very enjoyable. Focused too much on the kiddie pranks and not enough on the romance. The hero rescued the kiddies from pranks gone wrong three times, and never really romanced the heroine at all. Maybe that was the point of the romance - that the hero had to remove himself from the sport of flirtation to get to know and fall in love with a different sort of woman - but it made for a dull romance.

"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson. A wonderful story of an elderly Major in a little village in Sussex, struggling with the death of his brother, his growing attraction to a lovely Pakistani shopkeeper, and the encroaching modern world. Beautiful writing and insightful characterizations. 

"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon. Historical adventure/romance/time-travel novel. Looooong. The story was a bit meandering, but the heroine was scrappy and smart, the hero a good upstanding man, and there was plenty of clan intrigue as well as intense battles. Good, but not sure I'll be following up with the many sequels.

"The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro. What an interesting book to read on the eve of taking a new job. Having devoted so much of my life to my previous job, which gave me much pleasure but ended abruptly, this gave me a lot to think about.

"Regency Buck" by Georgette Heyer. As I started this novel, I began to think I'd run my course with Heyer. Her novels have a sameness to them that disappointed me a little: the heroes and heroines all seem to run together. But this one had an interesting murder plot, as well as several historical figures who played interesting roles, such as Beau Brummell and the Prince Regent.

"Parade's End" by Ford Madox Ford. Tetralogy of novels about a lumpish, grey-faced but brilliant Englishman who goes to war, and the women who love him: his vicious wife and a tightly-wound freethinker. Horrible book. Modernist, so it's full of rambling non sequiturs in the brains of the protagonists. Unbelievably repetitive - even Trollope never made his characters go over the same issues this many times, and he had contractual obligations to fill magazine issues. I started reading this because it was recommended in a review of The New Yorker (or was it the New York Times?), which said it covered the same subjects (WWI, love of the upper classes) as Downton Abbey, and the upcoming mini-series starred Benedict Cumberbatch. Between those two things, how could it be bad? But was, relentless and agonizingly bad. Since then I've been interested in "Cabin Pressure," so it'll be wonderful to see Roger Allam playing General Campion as well. I'm sure the mini-series will be much better than this book, as it is impossible to dramatize the endless stream-of-consciousness that made this so painful.

"The Perfumes: The A-Z Guide" by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. Interesting breakdown of perfumery. Includes starred recommendations.

"The Sign of The Four" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes novel. 

"Redshirts" by John Scalzi. Ultra meta sci-fi novel about a group of redshirts serving on the flagship of their starfleet, who come to realize that they are redshirts in the Star Trek sense. A must-read for any Trek fan. Really fun read!

"Full Service" by Scotty Bowers. Marine paratrooper comes to LA in 1946 after the war, becomes a gas pump jockey, bartender, and pimp to the stars. I find his stories pretty easy to believe, though the thought of anyone having as much sex as he had in his lifetime makes me a little exhausted.

"Twelve Years A Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana by Solomon Northup. 

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
. Sci fi novel set in a near future during a devastating world wide recession, in which everyone is engaged in a gigantic video game in order to win a huge monetary prize. If you enjoy watching other people play video games, you might enjoy reading about other people playing video games. 

"The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green.  Cancer kids fall in love. A very well-written tearjerker.

"August: Osage County" by Tracy Letts.
  A play about a Southern family falling apart after the suicide of the patriarch. The usual shrieking meanness and ugly family secrets. I only read this because BC is rumored to be in negotiation to play a part. Can't figure out why he'd take it, though: it's a pretty small, thankless role.

"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" by Michael Chabon.  Inspired by the partnership of Siegel & Shuster, but highly fictionalized, the story of two Jewish kids who create comic book legends. Rich in period detail and beautifully written in places, overwritten in others.

"The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

"Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder.  Screenwriting book, very easy to follow, conversationally written, and really hits all the story points needed to make a great screenplay or tv episode.

"You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Say About You" by Jennifer Baumgartner. I picked this up in the hope of getting some inspiration for cleaning out my closet, and while it wasn't poorly written, and she made her points well, it didn't really motivate me to start throwing stuff out.

"Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell. Novel about slavery and reincarnation. Mitchell is a terrific writer, but the structure of this novel tested my patience sorely. One of the main plot points was yoinked straight out of a very famous sci-fi movie, and when I got to it, I yelled out the catchphrase from the movie, spoiling that storyline for my husband and ruining my chances of seeing the "Cloud Atlas" movie. Not sorry.

"My Man Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse
. Utterly delightful stories featuring ditzy Bertie Wooster and his omniscient valet, Jeeves.

"The Inimitable Jeeves" by P. G. Wodehous
e. I couldn't resist. So funny.

"The Fry Chronicles" by Stephen Fry. So I got interested in Stephen Fry after reading/watching Jeeves. Wonderful style, though it gets bogged down in a repetition of the various productions he was in.

"Very Good, Jeeves" by P. G. Wodehouse.  Resistance is futile.

"Thank You, Jeeves" by P. G. Wodehouse. The first novel! And Wodehouse takes advantage of the length, expanding on Bertie's moral dilemmas and his code. Quite a few touching moments of pathos for the old thing. And why wouldn't there be, since he takes such a beating in it!  Also the first woman I've liked appears in this novel, Pauline Stoker, who has a lot of gumption. Her role touches the heart of any 'shipper, as it inspires several musings from Bertie about what a gorgeous girl she is, yet he remains unaffected by her beauty.

"A Canticle For Leibowitz" by Walter M. Miller Jr.  Sci fi post-apocalyptic novel about a monastery that preserves the papers of a scientist from the atom era, who they believe to have been a saint. Not very interesting. I wouldn't have finished it (or even picked it up in the first place, for that matter) except that I was reading it for Mike's book club. Not sure I'll be sticking with the book club if this is the kind of book they're reading. Between the Fear of the Atom Bomb and the religious elements, it failed to move me.

"The Gun Seller" by Hugh Laurie. Noir novel about a shiftless London ex-Scots Guard who gets swept into the machinations of munitions dealers. Really fantastic: exciting, intense plot twists, and hilarious.

"De Profundis" by Oscar Wilde. It took a long time for me to find an unexpurgated version with the original personal first part, but I did (at mobileread, of course. Should have looked there in the first place).  So worth it - the endless pages of disdainful, painful castigation of his former lover were heartrending and juicy! It's a real testament to how great a writer Wilde was that I didn't even get bogged down in the section about how awesome Christ was, and how like him Wilde was himself. A real rollercoaster of a book!

"Right Ho, Jeeves!" by P. G. Wodehouse. Poor Bertie really takes a beating in this one, to the point that I really couldn't believe that he forgave Jeeves at the end. Features the infamous bicycle scene that launched a thousand fanfics.