Goodreads goal for 2014: 100 books (again)
The way I’ve been recounting my book readings the past couple of years means overly long posts (100+ books with comments?). For 2014, I’ve decided to break up the year into quarters.
A few of the books I read these three months were quite long, so I’m off the pace by one according to the challenge master.
For the first quarter:
- 14 nonfiction
- 9 fiction
- I’ve rated 4 as five-star (you-really-should-read-this) on Goodreads
- I gave 0 books a one-star rating (not-only-no-but-really-no)…guess I was lucky so far.
- I’ve linked all of my Goodreads reviews (even if only one line) to each title, in case anyone is interested in what I thought beyond the commentary below. If not, the review page still links back to the Goodreads main page for the book.
January – 8
- Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian and a Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into the Future of Technology byJames H. Carrott & Brian David Johnson
- Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner by Martin Gardner
- Hexaflexagons and Other Mathematical Diversions by Martin Gardner
- ***** River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins
- Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power by Dan Hurley
- The Second Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions by Martin Gardner
- ***** The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow
My review of Vintage Tomorrows started with “Don’t mistake this as a book about steampunk – it’s more about the two authors than it is about the genre.” It’s not a bad book, just not what was advertised.
I missed Gardner’s autobiography when it was published last October, but ordered a copy as soon as I found out about it. Seemed rambling stream-of-thought, but hey, it’s Gardner! After it, I decided to go through all the collections of his Mathematical Games columns and read the first two in January. Still not a topography fan, but even those sections make for stimulating reading.
Eden and Drunkard’s Walk were both excellent. Dawkin’s writes well while explaining evolution and Mlodinow does a very good job with probability. I liked Hurley’s Smarter on the science of increasing intelligence…good read.
Fiction (1 ):
- Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
We watched “Saving Mr. Banks” and as I’d never read any of the books… now I can say I read one. Ummm, okay. Whatever her reservations were, the Disney known for butchering books in this case did the book better.
February – 7
Nonfiction (2 ):
- Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports by John Eric Goff
- The Computers of Star Trek by by Lois H. Gresh & Robert E. Weinberg
Goff’s Physics was good, but will never reach a broad audience because he got too deep into the actual physics. I liked it, but then I like physics. I also like Star Trek and computers, but wasn’t overly thrilled with Gresh’s book – mostly a see how many things we can pick apart…ignoring that the subject was a bunch of television series.
Fiction (5 ):
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- The Rapture of the Nerds: A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross
- The Warlock Unlocked by Christopher Stasheff
- Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
- The Warlock Enraged by Christopher Stasheff
I got an email from Half Price Books about Divergent being their book club read of the month and checked it out. Disappointing. Dumbed down too much for young adults. Overdone dystopian theme, implausible premise.
Stasheff’s books are fun and it seems I’m going to be reading at least the Warlock series this year. Oh, hurt me.
I heard about VanderMeer’s new book and as I liked The Steampunk Bible very much, jumped in. Not to my liking, but I’ll see what the last two of the remainder of the trilogy bring.
March – 8
- ***** Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
by Neal Gabler
- Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences
by Howard Gardner
- ***** The Masked Rider by Neil Peart
- The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku
- As I See It: My View from the Inside Out by Tom Sullivan
Gabler’s bio of Disney is flipping huge (880 pages!). And unvarnished … un-Disney-fied. Enjoyable, if long. Gardner’s Frames was less enjoyable…which is why it took me so long to get through it. I didn’t agree with some of his intelligences.
Peart’s travlogue/memoir was a surprise. Informative, enjoyable and insightful. recommended. As is Sullivan’s 14th book. A bit sappy, but also insightful.
- King Kobold Revived by Christopher Stasheff
- The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
- A Case Of Conscience by James Blish
Stasheff…the best by far of the three fictions I read in March. Powers’s Gates was glowingly recommended…and yet missed by so much. Blish’s Conscience was also touted as one of the best science fiction novels on at least two lists I saw. I was not impressed, although I liked reading Blish when I was young.