30 December 2013

Books Read in 2013

I conclude the year 2013 with reading 38 books –down three from last year. That also lessened my page count, as I read 2,900 less pages then in 2012. Of course last year I read multiple books that were close or well over a 1,000 pages –and had I read A Feast of Crows and A Dance of Dragons by George R.R. Martin, I might’ve reached my previous page count, but probably not as many books. The longest book I read this year was 820 pages.  

I’m unsure if I’ll even get to those Martin books in 2014. Like always, I never set a plan –just go where my fancies take me.  Still, I have a few John Irving books to read and there will be another Stephen King book (but it was a remarkable year in that department, as I read two King books plus his two sons, Owen King and Joe Hill) sometime in 2014. I’ve got plenty to read, and will add more as the year unwinds. 

And funny, as much as I try to avoid series books, I seem to end up getting caught up in them. As age and internet seem to sap my will to read, I ruminate that there are many stand-alone books I should be reading and not spending time reading multi volumes of never ending series (I mean, unless you are a fast reader, the 14 volume Wheel of Time series can take up a whole year or more to complete. Who’s got the time for that?). Plus I think I have less time in front of me than behind and I feel the need and desire to read as much as possible and waiting on series books seems pointless to me. 

But like I said: I never have a set plan. Happy reading!! Happy New Year!!!

Books read in 2013:

01.   Bossypants by Tina Fey (275 pages)
02.   Earthbound by Joe Haldeman (258 pages)
03.   West of Here by Jonathan Evison (484 pages)
04.   Elliot Allagnash by Simon Rich (224 pages)
05.   Until I Find You by John Irving (820 pages)
06.   Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (480 pages)
07.   The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (482 pages)
08.   Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John La Carré (381 pages)
09.   In One Person by John Irving (425 pages)
10.   Redshirts by John Scalzi (314 pages)
11.   The Company of the Dead by David J Kowalski (750 pages)
12.   Double Feature by Owen King (412 pages)
13.   Putting on the Ritz by Joe Keenan (325 pages)
14.   What in God’s Name by Simon Rich (223 pages)
15.   Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander (292 pages)
16.   N0S4A2 by Joe Hill (686 pages)
17.   Inferno by Dan Brown (463 pages)
18.   Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese (658 pages)
19.   Murder As A Fine Art by David Morrell (347 pages)
20.   Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (352 pages)
21.   Lost Boy, Lost Girl by Peter Straub (336 pages)
22.   In The Night Room by Peter Straub (368 pages)
23.   Joyland by Stephen King (283 pages) 9, 638
24.   Lexicon by Max Barry (387 pages)
25.   The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (455 pages)
26.   East of Eden by John Steinbeck (601 pages)
27.   Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (651 pages)
28.   London Falling by Paul Cornell (395 pages)
29.   Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (528 pages)
30.   Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey (595 pages)
31.   Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (274 pages)
32.   Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (196 pages)
33.   Abaddon’s Gate By James S.A. Corey (539 pages)
34.   The Lives of Tao By Wesley Chu (456 pages)
35.   The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu (460 pages)
36.   The Gates By John Connolly (293 pages)
37.   The Infernals by John Connolly (309 pages)
38.   The Creeps by John Connolly (319 pages)6,458 = 16, 096 pages

29 December 2013

Books: The Creeps By John Connolly (2013)

In John Connolly’s third book with Samuel Johnson and his dog Boswell, the author continues his quirky, often hilarious look at Hell, demons who aren’t as evil as word “demon” defines them, and the Multiverse.

Much like The Gates and The Infernals, in The Creeps Samuel must deal with the Great Malevolence and Mrs. Abernathy, who despite having her atoms scattered throughout the Multiverse for her failure to allow Hell on Earth and then take revenge on Samuel, is using what part of her that still remains –her deep hatred for the boy- to destroy Biddlecombe and eventually the entire Multiverse. But Samuel, as always, has help in Nurd and Wormwood along with assorted dwarfs, policemen and even the scientist of CERN. And then there is the upbeat and generally happy gelatinous cube sliming around. 

Once again, Connolly has created a weird world, where the battle against the forces of evil come off as a delicious romp that seems to combine all the best elements of Douglas Adams, Monty Python, Christopher Moore and Terry Pratchett into an entertaining series. Connolly also continues to use the footnotes, which are just as informative as they are funny. I admit they threw me at first in The Gates, but I’ve found them important to the story. 

But alas, it seems Connolly brings his trilogy to a close with The Creeps, but he did leave a little wiggle room for more books dealing with Samuel Johnson and his faithful dachshund Boswell. I’ll be there if he does.

26 December 2013

Books: The Infernals by John Connolly (2011)

"Samuel Johnson is in trouble. Not only is he in love with the wrong girl, but the demon Mrs. Abernathy is seeking revenge on him for his part in foiling the invasion of Earth by the forces of evil. She wants to get her claws on Samuel, and when Samuel and his faithful dachshund, Boswell, are pulled through a portal into the dark realm, she gets her chance."

Why this book is called The Infernals is beyond me. While there are such creatures in this second Samuel Johnson book, they really don’t play too much into the plot –Mrs. Abernathy is using their help to bring her back into the good graces of the Great Malevolence. The original UK title was Hell’s Bells, and I’m curious as to why the US publisher changed the title. Of course, it probably has to deal with the word Hell in the title of a YA novel. The Puritan Americans or those One Million Mom nutcases would probably go off on some tangent if a book geared to “impressionable” young people had a title such as Hell’s Bells

Then again, I think folks outside the United States think Americans are simple minded folks who never grasped the concept of satire. And they’re probably right.

Anyways, Samuel and his dachshund Boswell are pulled into Hell by Mrs. Abernathy, who also manages to open a portal from her (it?) Multiverse to ours. The only thing is, she also snags two police officers, an ice cream man and his truck and four antisocial dwarves –Connolly’s Magnificent Seven? This time, the book takes on a quest like saga, with Samuel traveling through Hell in search of way back to his own dimension, meeting along the way all sorts of demons, damned souls and what not. Meanwhile, Nurd, Wormwood and the Aston-Martin used to close the doorway between worlds are back, and we learn there is an emotional connection between the demon and Samuel and Nurd sets out save Samuel from Mrs. Abernathy. 

Once again Connolly sums up his dry wit and ability to handle multiple plots (which, for a book marketed towards younger adults, might be a bit troublesome) along with talking about time travel and other aspects of the Multiverse –and yes, the footnotes come back as well.

While the Samuel Johnson books are an easy read, that should not be taken as a fault. They’re entertaining and that is what is more important. Adults and kids will simply find the tale of good versus evil given a nice twist. Now The Creeps beckon.