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
- Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
- The Halo Effect: … and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers by Philip M. Rosenzweig
- Arduino for Dummies by John Nussey
- Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip by Nevin Martell
- 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History by Gary Greenberg
- Vedic Mathematics Made Easy by Dhaval Bathia
- Sixth Book of Mathematical Games from Scientific American by Martin Gardner
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.
- ***** The Ivanhoe Gambit by Simon Hawke
- The Timekeeper Conspiracy by Simon Hawke
- Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1)
by Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris
- The Pimpernel Plot by Simon Hawke
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 ):
- What Should We Be Worried About?: The Hidden Threats Nobody Is Talking about (and False Fears Everyone Is Distracted By) ed. by John Brockman
- Professor Jonathan T. Buck’s Mysterious Airship Notebook: The Lost Step-by-Step Schematic Drawings from the Pioneer of Steampunk Design by Keith Riegert & Samuel Kaplan & Jonathan Buck
- ***** I Murdered My Library by Linda Grant
- Darwin: Portrait of a Genius by Paul Johnson
- Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It by David M. Ewalt
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.
- The Constantine Affliction by T. Aaron Payton
- The Zenda Vendetta by Simon Hawke
- The Nautilus Sanction by Simon Hawke
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
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
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
- Thinking with Data by Max Shron
- Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
- Mathematical Carnival by Martin Gardner
- Brighter than a Thousand Suns: A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists by Robert Jungk, James Cleugh (Translator)
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.
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
- The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale
- The Death Cure by James Dashner
- Havana Storm by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- The Khyber Connection by Simon Hawke
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.