Year in Books - 2020

It has been a light year of reading for me. I am not quite sure if it is because of the COVID quarantine or not, but I struggled quite a bit this year to really settle into a book that really captured me. A large portion of the books I read this year were through audiobook and I read a surprising about of Sci-Fi. I honestly probably got the most amount of enjoyment from the handful of comics I have read this year, and Hoopla through my local library has been great for that. I think it would definitely be my worthwhile to dig a little bit deeper in a few more of those and find some series that I need to complete. 

Speaking of completing series, I think it is about time that I finally dive into the last book int the Malayan series, the Crippled God. While browsing through my Goodreads list, it occurred to me that I have been working on that series since 2012. I can't believe it has been so long since I read that first book. It is such a good series, but definitely not a light read, which is perhaps why it has taken me so long to get through them. Reading one book a year (they are like 700+ pages each) has been very methodical process. 

I also want to put on my 2021 goals to read through the Lord of the Rings again. I read those books when I was in middle schoo, so it has been 20+ years since I have read those at this point. I would like to go back and revisit them to see if they capture me like they did when I was younger. I re-read the Hobbit a few years ago and actually enjoyed it more as an adult than when I read it as a kid. 

February 2016: Reading List

The year is off to a fine start, so let's check in on what I am reading so far. I had a couple of books roll over from the end of the year into January and February. I finished up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both were wonderful books and if you haven't read them you really should. You can read my reviews of them at the links above, but they are probably entrenched enough in popular culture that you would know going in whether they would be for you or not.

I decided to start reading Young Miles, which is the second omnibus of the Vorkorsigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read the first omnibus book, Cordelia's Honor, a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I am surprised that it has taken me this long to get back around to reading more of this series. The writing in this book is superbly done so far, but for some reason it isn't quite capturing my attention. It is odd as there are parts where I have a genuine smile on my face while reading. Perhaps I am just not in the right mindset at the moment for this book. I will continue through the book though as it is a fairly easy read.  

I also went to the library this weekend and picked up the audiobook of Ancillary Justice. This is another sci-fi book and typically I don't read two of the same genre at the same time, but I have heard just too many good things about this book. First impressions after the first couple of chapters is that this books is really well done. I am enjoying the mixed narrative perspective in this book a lot since our main character is an artificial intelligence that can inhabit more than a single body at once. The narrator for this audio book is quite good as well, being able to reflect the proper tone for different characters. I have listened to the Sword and Laser podcast talk about this book when they read it as a group about a year ago and so far it is holding up to impress so far. 

August 2014 Reading List

My volume of books so far this year hasn't been really high, but that is probably because the majority of the books that I am reading seem to be in the 800+ page range. I have continued to work through the Malazan series and I am now on book #7 with Reaper's Gale

This book so far has been the hardest to get through and it is really a slog. I personally just don't have much of an interest in the story line that is happening in Lether and the characters really are not that interesting. I am close to 50% of the way through the book and we have finally be reintroduced to some of our Malazan favorites and I did get one new character called Beek, who seems like he will certainly turn into a great character in the future. 

I think after this book I will need to take a break from the Malazan series and catch up again on some of my Sci-Fi reading. I am really looking forward to reading Unstable Prototypes, which is the follow up to Joesph Lallo's Bypass Gemini. I also have on my radar to get back into the Entire of the Rose series. I read the first book in that series several years ago around 2001, and while I wasn't a fan of the main character, I did find the world very interesting.  

I would also like to read the follow up books to N.K. Jemison's Inheritance Trilogy. A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was one of the best books I have read in the past few years and I really would like to see where that world goes as well. 

B&N selling off the Nook business - I hope that is good news for Nook

News has been all over the web that Barnes & Noble has decided to split off its Nook division and sell it off. I hope this actually means good things for the Nook in the next couple of years. I am an Amazon Kindle user, but most of my family uses Nooks (sink versions). I personally think they are fantastic ereaders and they do have a really nice interface. It seems like B&N itself didn't know how to properly push the Nook devices out. Perhaps with some new management they can aggressively target the Nook like it needs to be targeted. 

It seems like the biggest problems that the Nook has had in its existence so far has been its marketing and its online services. When was the last time you saw a TV ad for a Nook? The answer is never, whereas Amazon has done a very good job of producing Kindle TV ads around the holidays. The Nook has also suffered quite a bit with its online delivery services. They have had some significant problems and they tried to implement a Whispersync type of service to sync your progress up to the cloud and other apps. For a long time it only partially worked. If a new team can get in there and fix two of these main problems I think it could help a lot. 

I would also say that they should ditch the tablet version and the whole multi-media approach. B&N has its history in books and literature. I think the Nook company could really own that space if they ditched the videos and music and went all in on the books (and may be magazines). I would love to see them really make a premium line of sink readers. Push that sink technology hard. The Kobo Aura HD has the highest resolution sink display right now and for hardcore readers that is a niche market I think could be profitable. Publishers seem eager at this point to fight back against Amazon just as they did with Apple and iTunes a few years ago. Nook could have an opportunity to strike some really good publishing deals. 

Also, if you have ever been on the Nook sites they actually have a pretty good social media team going. They have some excellent blogs and online communities that push out some great content for fans of reading. It features some good interview and other content. They also have continually offered their "Free Book Friday's" deals which I think are a boon for readers. The problem is, it is near impossible to find these on B&N's website. 

The Nook (and B&N in general) also really should highlight more that they are leveraging the epub format. Technically any book bought from the Kobo or Google Play stores can be side loaded onto a Nook without issue. KIndle's can't do that. It would be nice if Google Play or some other service could license a way to wirelessly send books purchased on these other stores right to the Nook wirelessly to alleviate the friction of side loading. The idea of having multiple stores accessible to your device is something that could be a great sell for the Nook hardware business. 

March 2014 Reading List

Despite everything that has been going on lately, I have still been reading some books. The most notable of the books I have recently read have both been graphic novels. I read The Sandman: Dream Hunterswhich is a wonderful novel in the Sandman universe. It is apparently volume #11 in this series, so I will have to go back and read the other novels. The book had a wonderful fairy tale sort of feel to it. 

I also read a book call Kabuki, Vol 1: Circle of Blood. This is a pretty adult graphic novel that follows a group of assassins  who are modeled after these TV personalities. It is a bit hard to describe from that angle, but really just picture a dystopian future where a shadow organization is trying to control the world around it. 

Jumping back over to novels I read an excellent indie novel called Bypass Gemini  which was written by Joe Lallo. I picked this book up as part of the Storybundle way back when. The book was a very pleasant surprise and was an excellent fun, light sci-fi read. 

October 2013 Reading List

Time for a reading update. Back in July I read Ringworld with the Sword and Laser Group. Can't say I really enjoyed it that much. I have found that more and more I am having problems reading science fiction books. I used to enjoy SciFI for its critique upon society, but as of late they just haven't been connecting with me. May be it is because the books i have been recently reading are older and a product of their respective time periods. Perhaps I am just looking for some more pure escapism in my reading. 

I tried to give SciFi another go this past month when the audio book of Ready Player One was on sale on iTunes for $6.00. I am again having problems really getting into this book. The narration by Wil Wheaton is fantastic and the 1980's trivia in the book is fun, but that novelty sort of wears off pretty quickly. My biggest hang up in getting into the book is my lack of connection with the main character. One of the "things" that always gets me in a lot of books are characters who make illogical decisions. Ones who risk their lives needessly or in the book have demonstrated a good skillset and then seemingly forget it or under utilize it later. The Entire of the Rose had this with the main character who just couldn't control his reckless temper and even Cordelia's Honor actually had it right at the end when our main character (who was so intelligent through all of the book) goes on a boneheaded rampaging suicide mission. In Ready Player One we have a character who was almost murdered and he is going about doing some reckless actions to expose himself. He also has just pulled himself out of poverty and constantly talks about his limited money, but then goes on to spend a large portion of it for seemingly no reason at all. 

There is also a bit too much exposition in Ready Player One describing the surrounding world. We get these long drawn out descriptions of something dozens of pages after we have already been experiencing them. 

Anyways, the main book that I am still loving is the Malazan Book of the Fallen, and I am now on book #5, Midnight Tides. Overall I have to say that this book is the slowest of the bunch for me, but it has the simplest cast of characters thus far and is still just so well written I can't help by enjoy it. The Malazan books constantly amaze me at how well crafted the world is and I know I will be cranking on right through to the other books after this. I really have fallen in love with the Malazan world. 

Shatter: The Children of Man - This Book Really Surprised Me

Every once in a while you read a book with only mild interest, only to have it take hold of you and drag you through the pages by the arm. That recently happened to me with Shatter: The Children of Man. 

I have had this book sitting on my Kindle for almost two years and I honestly have no idea how I picked it up. After my vacation a few weeks ago I decided to just open this book up and give it a go. I was completely hooked by it within the first

 few chapters and basically consumed the book within a couple of days. Shatter is written Elizabeth C. Mock and at the time of its initial publishing the book was released interdependently.  I got my wife to read the book and she instantly devoured it as well and is no onto book #2. 

I would highly recommend someone check this book out. It is only $2.99 on most ebook stores and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised as I was. If you like, you can read my full review on the book over at

November 2012 Reading List

Time for another reading list update. 

As 2012 is coming to a close, I have to say that the reading list this year has been a pretty good one. I am on track for fifteen or sixteen books read if I keep my pace up through December. It is hard to believe that I haven't posted one of these since April. 

Anyways, tons of books read. Most notable of them has been the first two books of the John Carter series. Yes, the same John Carter that Disney tried to make into a movie last summer. While the movie wasn't a smash hit at the box office. the first two books in the series are absolustely incredible. They are adventure pulp fiction at its best, and I was litterally on the edge of my seat while reading them. They have quickly gone to the top of my favorite books shelf. They are also public domain so if you have an e-reader, go download them for free. 

I also read books two and three of the Harry Potter series. I remember why those movies are so engaging. Nobody but J.K. Rowling can make boarding school sound so appealing. 

Finally I just started reading "The Hobbit" again last week. This year is the 75th anniversairy of the book and the movie is coming out in December. I think it apt to re-read the book, since I haven't read it since about fifth grade. To be honest I remember almost none of the story and I am amazed again at how good the book is. I am surprised how much the tone really comes across as a children's book though. The whole prose really gives a sort of Narnia vibe a little bit, much more so than the "Lord of the Rings". 

You can see above that my childhood copy is a bit of a wreck, so I am actually reading a copy I bought my wife several years ago. 

February 2012 Reading List

It has been a while since I have posted one of these reading lists and I thought it is time to post an update as to what I have been reading. The biggest book on the docket for the past several months has been Three Kingdoms Romance (or Romance of the Three Kingdoms). This is an ancient chinese folklore tale that covers the time period during the fall of the Han dynasty and is considered to be one of the four great chinese classics. I have been laboring on its four volumes since September of 2011. Thank the heavens for the Kindle version as it made it much easier to read.  It broadly lays out the conflicts of this time period and intersperses it with a bit of magic and demons for good measure. Overall it was a pretty good book for being over eight hundred yeas old. If you think Game of Thrones has a lot of characters, this thing had literally hundreds. 

Since that book took up so much of my time I have actually not read a ton of other books. I listened to the audiobooks of both Heat Wave and Mockingjay. Heat Wave was simply not a very good book and Mockingjay was a fitting end to the Hunger Games Trilogy. It is a pity that I just cannot stand the main character in those books. 

I also got a start on the Books of Skyrim (Download Link). This is a collection of all of the books found in the Skyrim video game. Someone on the internet kindly put them all into an ePub file. I have to say that they are pretty good actually and hey, they are free. 

For the months ahead I have several real paper books to get through. I just started Born to Run this past week and I also have sitting on my shelf Manovationals, Arabian Nights, and the Complete Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (plus a dozen more books sitting on my Kindle).