31 December 2005

December's Reading

Well, I've managed to keep this up for a year. So has Make Tea Not War. Yay us!

Books read this month: 8
Total for the year: 146

Long Haul by Antony Johnston and Eduardo Barreto. Western heist comic, okay but leaves you wanting more character development and something more gripping in the resolution.

Longitude by Dava Sobel. Okay, not too great. She pushes certain themes beyond what seems to be supported by actual records.

Forgotten English by Jeffrey Kacirk. Interesting miscellany of archaic terms. I would have liked to see more of them, and more really obscure choices, though.

The Big Splat
by Dana Mackenzie. A really good book about how the moon came to be. Includes a thorough and interesting history of pretty much every development in Lunar science.

Counting Heads by David Marusek. A strange beast. It's a fascinating piece of imagined future, but a disappointing novel. Marusek uses far too many neologisms (virtually all of them unnecessary) and the story sprawls all over the place - to the extent that you can't tell what it's actually about until the end. Worth reading if you want to explore some nifty ideas about a world filled with hostile nanotech and cloning. Personally, I think there are the seeds of about three really good novels in there, none of which are developed in this one.

Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb. Really good fantasy. Toys with some cliched concepts but never quite gets to the point it annoyed me. Very much a 'first book of trilogy, it doesn't manage more than establishing the characters and setting up the hero's story. And it's long - definitely could have done with some extraneous descriptions being cut down. Still, all that stuff is really just minor flaws in a great book.

Under The Black Flag by David Cordingly. Second time for this book, an excellent history of pirates. The focus is on European pirates of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, but with some discussion of others. He also spends a lot of time talking about pirates in fiction and popular culture. Excellent. If you are interested in pirates at all, you should read this.

The Call Of The Weird by Louis Theroux. Theroux revisits several people he had previously interviewed for various documentaries. Interesting stuff, as he tries to understand why these people believe the absolutely crazy stuff that they believe and tries to work out why he himself is fascinated by them. Thoughtful, funny, and well worth the read.

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