My 2014 Reading List – Summer

Goodreads goal for 2014:   100 books (again).

So far, I’m WAY ahead of the pace with 86 – Goodreads says that’s 12 ahead of schedule.

Recap: 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. Here’s my first three month summary of the 23 books I read,  and my second quarter list numbering 31books. Below I list 32 more for the third quarter/summer.

For some reason, this year I’m picking books that are quite long – again, what’s up with that?  George Martin’s catastrophe was monstrously long for little value added, and Hostadter’s GEB, while long (and dense), was the opposite.

For the third quarter:

  • 17 nonfiction
  • 15 fiction – more of a balance this quarter
  • I’ve rated 2 more as five-star (you-really-should-read-this) on Goodreads – and another was fiction!
  • I gave 0 books a one-star rating (not-only-no-but-really-no)…but a couple came really close..
  • As before, 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. The review page links back to the Goodreads main page for the book.

July – 11

Nonfiction (7):

Miodownik ‘s Stuff is a nice look at the materials of the everyday world. Not a lot of references, but I didn’t pitch my usual fit because materials was never a favorite class. Rosenzweig’s Halo was pretty good – critical thinking applied to business book gurus.

Martell’s bio of Calvin and Hobbes’s Watterson had a few tidbits, but as private as Watterson is, it was the best that Martell could do.

Greenberg complied a nice analysis, but didn’t provide immediate references. Who’s to say he’s right? And Bathia almost got one star for calling numerology and occult “sciences” science. Nothing new, but if he thought so, well then…

I like Gardner’s games although this was less interesting to me.

Fiction (4):

I bumped up Hawke’s Ivanhoe Gambit to five stars because I keep coming back to it. Science fiction wrapped around literature? What’s not to like? Ivanhoe is about…no surprise, Ivanhoe, Timekeeper involves the Three Musketeers, Pimpernel is a recasting of Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel,

Ballantine and Morris’s Phoenix is the start to a promising steampunk series. I very much dislike contrived vernacular and they thankfully do not indulge….

Vonnegut it still weird. And so it goes.

August – 10

Nonfiction (5 ):

Brockman, of Edge.org puts out a selection of answers to a question he poses each year. This one was filled with WTH? essays and some pretty good ones. The titel for Buck’s Airship is longer than the book, and I loved the illustrations.

Grant’s short story Library struck a chord and generated a blog post and as such, earned five stars. Johnson’s Darwin made me realize I’d outgrown him. Ewalt’s D&D book was a nice walk through memory.

Fiction (5):

Payton (pseudonym) didn’t know what he was writing in Constantine and it showed. Another steampunk novel failure. Fortunately, Hawke’s #4 & #5 of his Timewars series were still entertaining.

Dashner’s Maze is a movie, which I thought I might want to see, so I read the book. The first book was okay, though I learned “young adult” is not – definitely not – “teen”. The second was not okay, but I was generous.

September – 11

Nonfiction (5):

Godin is an amazing charlatan, spewing his stuff to a gullible audience. I was generous with his as with Dashner.  Shron’s Data was a waste of time…generosity abounds with this batch. Hofstadter’s GEB was as long as I remember, but more tedious than I remember (from 35 years ago). Another in the 700+ page reads this year.

Gardner’s Games collection #7 Carnival was more engaging than the previous two and I learned a new day of date trick.

Jungk’s Suns is on the New Scientist Top 25 Popular Science books that changed the world. Gardner mentioned it in his Mathematical Carnival, so I bumped it up on my list (I intend to read all 25). Good history, not without editorial, though. Still, I learned a few things.

Fiction (6):

George R. R. Martin deserved one star for his immature, juvenile yet prurient writing. He’s a sick, perverted scum that managed to con HBO and a bunch of brainless fans. Spots of interest were immediately clouded with slime.

Hale’s Man was welcome after Martin’s trash, but Dashner’s conclusion to his Maze trilogy was drivel and not worth the read. Again, too generous. Getting too soft.

Cussler’s Havana Storm was a pretty cool read. I got to read and review the pre-published galleys because I was selected by the First to Read.com folks. Campy, but still fun. Hinton’s Outsiders was a trip through the way-way back machine. My sons are reading it for book club and I decided to read it again after 40 years. Hawke’s Timewars #6 Khyber showed his temporal ingenuity.

So, that’s it for the summer and three months left in the year to meet and exceed the goal.

 

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One response to “My 2014 Reading List – Summer

  1. Pingback: My 2014 Reading List – Final Quarter | Random (and not) Musings

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