Mahsdad's (Jeff) 2015 Thread - Part 3
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If you're new, my name is Jeff. I live in Southern California. I'm an avid reader (obviously, why else would I be doing this :) ), but I also enjoy photography, hiking and playing games and hanging out with my family. Book-wise, I have a pretty eclectic taste in what I read and I hope to give you not so much reviews but my impressions about what I read.
What you will find here is mostly my rambling, way too many (according to some :) ) Wishlist and TBR pile temptations and a smattering of my photography.
My 2013 Reading Thread
My 2014 Reading Thread
Today's Thread starter is the August selection from my 2015 Calendar. I took it at the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawai'i.
Owned - 12
Bought 2015 - 15
Free/Found - 3
Library - 7
Gift - 4
Audio - 19
eBook - 1
Early Review - 5
Graphic Novel - 2
67. The Deaths of Tao - Wesley Chu
66. Acceptance - Jeff VanderMeer (AUDIO)
65. Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
64. Authority - Jeff VanderMeer (AUDIO)
63. Slade House - David Mitchell (ER)
62. Watchmen - Alan Moore (GN)
61. Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer (AUDIO)
60. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter
59. Epitaph - Mary Doria Russell (AUDIO)
58. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
57. The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan
56. Doc - Mary Doria Russell (AUDIO)
55. The End of All Things - John Scalzi
54. Moneyball - Michael Lewis
53. Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro (AUDIO)
52. The Financial Lives of the Poets - Jess Walter
51. Scorch Trials - James Dashner
50. Tenacity - J.S. Law (LTER)
49. Life After Life - Kate Atkinson
48. Dead Zone - Stephen King
47. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi (GN)
46. Slow Apocalypse - John Varley
45. Killing Floor - Lee Child
44. Thirty Seconds Over Toyko - Ted Lawson
43. Book of Strange New Things - Michel Faber
42. Tomorrow and Tomorrow - Thomas Sweterlitsch
41. Hollow City - Ransom Riggs
40. The Lost Years - J.M. Dillard
39. Paris Trout - Pete Dexter
38. IT - Stephen King (AUDIO)
37. Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer
36. Among the Ten Thousand Things - Julia Pierpont (ER)
35. Trigger Warning - Neil Gaiman (AUDIO)
34. He Wanted the Moon - Mimi Baird (ER)
33. Earth Unaware - Orson Scott Card
32. The Strange Library - Haruki Murakami
31. Hang Wire - Adam Christopher
30. Blood and Thunder - Hampton Sides
29. Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
28. Guns of the South - Harry Turtledove
27. Cujo - Stephen King (AUDIO)
26. The Shambling Guide to New York - Mur Lafferty
25. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
24. Homeland - Cory Doctorow (AUDIO)
23. Bright Earth - Philip Ball
22. Beyond Band of Brothers - Dick Winters (AUDIO)
21. We Live in Water - Jess Walter
20. Firestarter - Stephen King (AUDIO)
19. The Handmaid's Tale - Margraret Atwood
18. The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
17. Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King (AUDIO)
16. Insurgent - Veronica Roth
15. Get in Trouble - Kelly Link (ER)
14. Argo - Antonio Mendez (AUDIO)
13. Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman (AUDIO)
12. Bird Box - Josh Malerman (EBOOK)
11. The Black Rose - Presumption of Innocence - Robert Johnson
10. The Dog Stars - Peter Heller
9. Spin - Robert Charles Wilson
8. Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke (AUDIO)
7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
6. American on Purpose - Craig Ferguson
5. Montana 1948 - Larry Watson
4. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman (AUDIO)
3. California - Edan Lepucki (AUDIO)
2. The Flame Alphabet - Ben Marcus
1. Their Life's Work - Gary Pomerantz
2015 - 9
2014 - 12
2013 - 6
2012 - 8
2011 - 1
2010 - 2
2009 - 2
2006 - 2
2005 - 2
2003 - 2
2002 - 2
2000 - 1
1997 - 1
1993 - 1
1992 - 1
1990 - 1
1989 - 1
1988 - 2
1987 - 2
1986 - 1
1985 - 1
1981 - 1
1980 - 1
1979 - 1
1973 - 1
1969 - 1
1950 - 1
1943 - 1
Men - 52
Women - 15
Brisingr - Christopher Paolini (Michael Read)- S: 1/12/14
The Math Book - Clifford Pickover - S: 2/9/14
The Ongoing Moment - Geoff Dyer - S: 8/7/15
World War Z - Max Brooks - S: 10/12/15
Creativity, Inc - Edwin Catmull - S: 10/23/15
The Revenant - Michael Punke - S: 12/21/15
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth - Kevin Wilson - S: 12/27/15
Mirror, Mirror - Gregory Maguire - Brownbag Books
Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl - The Last Bookstore
Free Fall - William Golding - Brown Bag Books
Creativity, Inc - Ed Catmull - KeHE seminar
The Marauders - Tom Cooper - msf59
The Water Knife - Paolo Bacigalupi - msf59
Seabiscuit - Laura Hillenbrand - YMCA
Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett - PV Library Sale
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen - PV Library Sale
Virus - SD Perry - PV Library Sale
H is for Hawk - Helen Mac Donald - Airport Bookstore
Gentlemen of the Road - Michael Chabon - PBS
Night Film - Marisha Pessi - B&N
The Tome of Bill - Rick Gualtieri - Kindle
This Book is Full of Spiders - David Wong - B&N
The Golden Shore - David Helvarg - Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
The Information - Martin Amis
Chaplin A Life - Stephen Weissman
Owned - 11
Bought 2014 - 16
Free/Found - 11
Library - 4
Gift - 5
Audio - 27
eBook - 7
You can go back to my 2014 thread to see the whole list, but my top 6 books last year were, in no particular order:
Just One Damned Thing After Another
A Wild Sheep Chase
The Brief History of the Dead
It was pretty amazing being there.
39. Paris Trout by Pete Dexter : Wealthy, Southern, White business owner is accused of killing a little black girl during a loan collection visit gone bad. In a small town in Georgia during the 50's, race relations and prejucies figure prominently. Told from the point of view of Paris, his lawer, his wife and others in this town. An excellent story about mostly repugnant characters
40. The Lost Years by J. M. Dillard : a story from the classic era of Star Trek TOS spin-off books. What happens to Kirk and his merry band of misfits when their 5 year Enterprise mission is over. Kirk gets a promotion, McCoy retires, Spock goes searching for his pure Vulcan self. The calm can't last for long. Circumstances pull them back together to defeat and ancient enemy they didn't know existed. Sets up some of the coming story in Star Trek - The Motion Picture. A fun read.
41. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs : Part 2 of what is becoming a trilogy that started with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, As the middle book, it suffers from what other 2nd books do; lots of exposition and setup of drama and tension that won't be resolved until the last book. That being said, still and excellent read. I love the idea of time loops that house and protect kids with very unique "super powers". A steam-punky, urban fantasy where Riggs uses antique photographs from his (and others) collection to illustrate and enhance his story. When he is writing, sometimes he uses a picture to suggest a character/plot, but other times he tries to find a picture that fits with something he's already written. If you've read Peregrine, you must read this. If not, go back and read Peregrine, Hollow City will be waiting.
BTW, how the hell did it get to be that the 80's are THIRTY years ago. Damn I'm old.
I think this is the fastest I've ever received an ER book. Kudos to Henry Holt and Company's Marketing department
If anyone wants it, my profile name is mahsdad, or just post here and I'll be glad to send it to you.
But here's today's image. Its a stitched panorama I took from the deck of the USS Cape St. George (a missile cruiser). It was in town for Navy Days. It gave the general public the opportunity to visit real active naval vessels. Heck, we paid for them right?
The image itself is of the Vincent Thomas bridge looking north-east at Terminal Island.
42. Tomorrow and Tomorrow - Thomas Sweterlitsch - A cyberpunk, quasi-post-apocalyptic murder mystery love story. I'm intrigued. That its partially set in Pittsburgh? I'm way in. Ten years after, the city of Pittsburgh is destroyed in a nuclear terrorist attack. The main protagonist, John survives because he's out of town. But his wife did not, along with millions of others. Ten years later, an online recreation of the city and all the people in it is created as a memorial. People can enter the city thru their Adware implanted computer that everyone has implanted in their heads. (its like Facebook and Google Glass on steroids ad, and lists and suggestions projected over top of real life)
John obsessively visits the city to see and "live" with his lost wife. When not living in the past, he works as an insurance investigator researching deaths in Pittsburgh, thru the Archive that may not have been caused by the explosion. As a part of this, he is asked to investigate the disappearance of a mysterious beautiful girl from the archive. This leads him on a thrill ride both in and out of the Archive, murder, drugs, John struggles to keep his sanity as he begins to find out who this girl is.
Very interesting take on where social media technology "could" go. Loved seeing a story set in my beloved hometown. Perhaps its a cliche to fellow Burghers, but I loved that every time he enters the city in the Archive, its by driving down the Parkway East thru the Tunnel. A view I will always cherish. Check it out, its a good read.
S: 7/27/15 F: 8/6/15 (11 Days)
Well, that is an interesting combination for a story. Glad to see it is worthy of reading.
And, thanks for the opening image. .. so beautiful!
^I hope you are having a fine birthday, Jeff and I hope you finish the day with a cold one or two.
Hooray, for the Martian! Warble it, brother!
And stop beating me at Trivia Crack. Respect your elders. LOL.
Actually next week on Tuesday, I'm thinking of going to the Last Book Store in LA to see John Scalzi and pick up a copy of his latest "Old Man's War" book.
Happy Foto Friday!
Today's image is brought to you by Sun, Sand and HEAT. Last weekend was baking on the left coast. But at least it was a little breeze at the beach. Long Beach was having a little family festival, part of which was a sand castle event. The actual building happened on Saturday. We went on Sunday, so they were a little worse for wear, especially from the huddled masses who tromped thru said sculptures. Anyway here's a little guy that I thought was pretty cool Not exactly sure what it is, or what the message was, but it had something to do with reading and books, so it was a winner to me...
Have a great weekend.
I found Among the Ten Thousand Things on audio, a couple nights ago, so I decided to go with that format, since I have so many Booktopia print books lined up. I know you were a bit disappointed in this one and now I know exactly how you felt. This is just a flat family drama, without any spark or likable characters. WTH? Tomorrow is my last work day, so I will just finish it out.
There was a lot of buzz on this one, most of it outside of LT. You would think I would know better by now.
We are the sort (at least I am) that are NOT the target of mainstream marketing and are generally review proof. Hell, look at Ancillary Justice, I disliked it a lot, but its award winning and generally loved by all.
Oh well, plenty of other pages on the shelf...
Oh well, plenty of other leaves on the tree.
Going up to LA to see John Scalzi tonight. Anyone (expecting the answer no) that reads this local and going as well? If so, email me at mahsdad at gmail dot com
John read a new Urban Fantasy that he just finished.
IMO, Scalzi's stuff is fun reading. As he said last night, he writes "commercial fiction", so he is trying to write appealing/engaging stuff. This book is part of his Old Man's War Universe.
When I went up to the table, he said he had a Jeff at his last signing that looked just like me and was I sure I wasn't him? Funny.
A book I saw while waiting in the signature line, and as a former musician, I find fascinating.
The man himself. Poor quality, too far away, bad light...
Bank vaults are generally cool, are they not? We had an old vault as a storage area in my old workplace, it's as dark and cool all year round.
I am hopefully on the cusp of being able to keep up with you all again.
43. The Book of Strange New Things - Michel Faber (AUDIO) - Peter is a recovering drug addict who found his faith in recovery and became a devout minister. He and his wife run a church in London. He is, however looking for something bigger and signs on to become the pastor to an alien humanoid race on a newly discovered planet called Oasis. He leaves his wife, his church and his world to travel trillions of miles away to become a missionary to a very alien race, build a church, and delivery the gospel across the universe.
As he meets and interacts with his new charges, he finds that they are expecting him and are excited to hear from the Book of Strange New Things (ie, the Bible). While there, he can only communicate with his wife thru essentially intersteller email and while he starts out with good intentions as a devoted husband, as he begins to go a little native, he loses touch with his wife, even as she struggles to survive in a world that seems to be falling apart (dystopian apocalypse perhaps?). In the end, the science fictiony place and weird aliens hide a basic story where Peter is ultimately struggling with the life he left behind and the life that his calling drew him to. Can he get back?
Pretty good story, in the audio version, the accents the narrator used for the aliens made them sound like Sleestax from Land of the Lost, a little hard to take at times.
S: 7/16/15 F: 8/7/15 (22 Days)
I got my preorder of The End of All Things but I haven't read it yet. The Book of Strange New Things is also on my shelf, waiting to be read.
Life after Life - whenever I goto the library, or bookstore for that matter, I always go thru my Wishlist on GR (love the app on my phone) to direct my searching. A God in Ruins was right near the top and I knew that I needed to read this one first.
Persepolis - after all of Mark's gentle proding to get me to venture into the world of GN's, I picked this up. Always wanted to read it.
44. Thirty Seconds Over Toyko - Ted W. Lawson - In the wake of the Pearl Harbor attacks, the US Military was looking for a way to retaliate, to strike back at the enemy and to boost the moral of a shocked nation. That way was the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle put together a group of volunteer B-25 crews that would take 16 planes off the deck of the USS Hornet (an airstrip VERY much shorter than the plane would normally use), fly for over 6 hours at wave top levels, pop up and bomb their military targets in various Japanese cities and try to make it to the allied fields in mainland China.
This is the specifically the story of Ted Lawson, who was the pilot of plane #7; the Ruptured Duck. He wrote the story a year after the raid and it tells of how he became a pilot, joined Dolittle's group, and how he survived the aftermath of the mission, with several horrific injuries, far from the rendezvous point in the Chinese back country. Since it was written while the war still raged, and so close after his experiences, Lawson gives a vivid account of an amazing adventure.
This was, and continues to be, one of my favorite books. I must have read it more than half a dozen times as a teenager, and I'm glad to have picked up a new copy when I visited Pearl Harbor several years ago. A very easy read and a must for any WWII buff.
S: 7/27/15 F: 8/9/15 (14 Days)
I hope you enjoy Persepolis. I think it is a terrific launching point for GN exploration.
I am also a big fan of the Atkinson books. I hope they work for you.
Loving Persepolis. Learning things I never knew. New understanding of the time and the region.
I saw this idea on Paul's thread for his Nobel Authors read list. I liked it and wanted to adopt it for my Pulitzer list. I'll add this to my top of thread posts if/when I goto #4. For now, it will stay here. There were awards given prior to 1940, but I probably won't go that far back (tho I should read Gone with the Wind and The Good Earth which were in the 30's)
2011 - A Visit from the Goon Squad
2010 - Tinkers
2008 - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
2007 - The Road
2006 - March
2005 - Gilead
2003 - Middlesex
2001 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
1993 - A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
1992 - A Thousand Acres
1984 - Ironweed
1983 - The Color Purple
1981 - A Confederacy of Dunces
1979 - The Stories of John Cheever
1975 - The Killer Angels
1972 - Angle of Repose
1968 - The Confessions of Nat Turner
1961 - To Kill a Mockingbird
1952 - The Caine Mutiny
1940 - The Grapes of Wrath
2014 - Ancillary Justice (DNF)
2013 - Redshirts
2009 - The Graveyard Book
2008 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union
2006 - Spin
2002 - American Gods
2001 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
1999 - To Say Nothing of the Dog
1996 - The Diamond Age
1988 - The Uplift War
1988 - Watchmen - category : Other forms
1987 - Speaker for the Dead
1986 - Ender's Game
1985 - Neuromancer
1984 - Startide Rising
1976 - The Forever War
1974 - Rendezvous with Rama
1971 - Ringworld
1970 - Left Hand of Darkness
1969 - Stand on Zanzibar
1967 - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
1966 - Dune
1964 - Way Station
1962 - Stranger in a Strange Land
1961 - A Canticle for Leibowitz
1960 - Starship Troopers
1953 - The Demolished Man
Retro Hugos - this are given for years when no award was given (more than 50 years ago). Of those...
1939 - The Sword in the Stone
1951 - Farmer in the Sky
1954 - Fahrenheit 451
Today's image is my SEPTEMBER images (where does the time go) from my Calendar. It was taken at the Sunnylands Retreat center in Rancho Mirage CA.
Have a Great Weekend!
I listened to the Alexie/Walter podcast, where they interviewed Marlon James and they discussed his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. It was fantastic. They also discussed audiobooks, which was very insightful. This podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorites!
I am loving the podcast more and more. I like hearing about their technique and listening to them read their works in progress.
I have to read more of Alexie's stuff. Heck, any of Alexie's stuff
1921 The Age of Innocence
1928 The Bridge of San Luis Rey
1932 The Good Earth
1939 The Yearling
1940 The Grapes of Wrath
1941 For Whom the Bell Tolls (sort of won)
1953 The Old Man and the Sea
1961 To Kill a Mockingbird
1967 The Fixer
1989 Breathing Lessons
1994 The Shipping News
1995 The Stone Diaries
Not a bad baker's dozen of books though if I say so myself.
Have a great weekend, buddy.
Netflix has made it into a movie. The trailer looks equally intense. Will start playing in October. Check it out...
45. Killing Floor - Lee Child - The first "Jack Reacher" novel, by pulp thriller writer Lee Child. A former military polic detective loaner, passes thru a southern town, is accused of murder, jailed, exonerated, uncovers a deep conspiracy in the town, effectively joins the same police department that jailed him, and is the only one that can save the day.
Literary prose it ain't, but its a hell of a good read. Sure its far fetched and there doesn't seem to be any moral or legal consequences of the actions Reacher takes to solve the mystery, but with this type of a story, reality isn't what you are looking for. Escapist thrills make a good police procedural, at least for me.
S: 6/17/15 F: 8/12/15 (57 Days)
One interesting fact, its been "moored" in Long Beach Harbor as a museum/hotel/banquet center, longer than it was on the water as an Ocean Liner.
Another interesting fact, it still holds the record for the most # of people transported on one ship. Over 16,000 men were crammed into it on a WWII troop transit from America to England. Very claustrophobic.
Finished Dead Zone (continuing in my trip thru King's oeuvre), that makes 5 this year.
Finished Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Loved it, very unique story style.
Blowing thru Tenacity my ER Thriller from last month. It was too hot to do anything other than read, but its a good page turner nonetheless.
Also just started Moneyball, I've already seen the movie, but it was on the freebie shelf at the "Y", and I couldn't resist
Now back to your regularly scheduled lives. :)
Anthony Bourdain does a web series called Raw Craft (Its sponsored by a whiskey maker called Balvenie), where he goes and finds people making stuff by hand. This link is to a book manufacturer called Arion Press. Its way cool. Its currently unlisted, but the link should work.
If it doesn't, I'll try to find a better link.
I've heard of Balvenie, but have never had it. I'll have to check out the video.
As far as the video, there's a whole series of different makers that Bourdain went to. All good.
46. Slow Apocalypse - John Varley - Varley is one of my goto authors. If he wrote, I have or will very likely read it. Generally he writes science fiction and has written some fantastic short stories (the collection Persistence of Vision is a favorite) and did some excellent unique and odd world building in the fantasy tinged hard sci fi trilogy Gaea. In this book he ventures into the dystopian/disaster thriller genre and while it is a good accessible read, its not my favorite Varley.
To get the scifi (or future fiction) mcguffin out of the way (its mentioned on the back cover, so we might as well), Dave is a Hollywood screen writer and he discovers that there is a secret government lab, where a scientist has discovered a way to destroy a country's oil supply. A very scary scenario that seemed all to real and plausible to me. Being a writer, he imagines a worst-case scenario and goes into prepper mode, as the world slowly winds its way towards the inevitable (see the title of the book). Well, as the proverbial dookie impacts the air mover, the rest of the book is an aftermath/survival tale set in the Hollywood Hills. There is the requisite anarchy, roving bands of hungry hordes, natural disaster and exhaustively detailed descriptions of trips thru the San Fernando valley and Los Angeles, pointing out how the famous landmarks of LA have faired, including virtually real-time trips along Southern California's freeway system. (sometimes I thought he was just panning thru Google maps instead of writing narrative).
I think that aspect, somewhat drawn out descriptions of place, pulled my opinion of the book down. Otherwise, its an engaging story, just not above the high bar I expect from Varley.
S: 8/9/15 F: 8/31/15 (23 Days)
I had never gone thru and compiled what I've read off the lists.
2006 edition = 55/1001
2008 edition = 58/1001
I've got a LOT of reading to do. :)
47. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi - This is the first real graphic novel I've picked up. Its Satrapi's story of her and her family's life in Iran during the fall of the Shah and the Islamic Revolution. Her family descended from Persian royalty and decidetly clashes with the Islamic Arabs who take over the country in the late 70's. She brings a lot of sardonic wit to her experiences, from her desire to get western things, such as a denim jacket and an Iron Maiden poster, to dealing with having to wear a head scarf, to missile attacks during the Iran/Iraq wars. A very interesting story about an interesting and troubled land, told thru the eyes of a "typical" and recognizable teenager. Now I have to go find part 2.
A quick read, but I highly recommend. Learned somethings I never knew.
S: 8/29/15 F: 9/1/15 (4 Days)
I would also say just jump into the Gaea Trilogy Titan, Demon and Wizard
Red Thunder is the first book in a series of juvenile sci-fi yarns in the manner of old Heinleins that is pretty good.
He also wrote the story (called Air Raid) that was the basis for the late 80s movie Millenium (dystopian time travel thriller starring Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristofferson) and ultimately wrote a full novelization.
This particular section, the author was talking about photographing thought.
"Who would have thought it? Some of the most successful photographs of thought - of ideas - turn out to have been made in what is often thought of as the brainless area of glamour or fashion. The interface of fashion thought has today become so commonplace that even totally gormless models know how to look like they are thinking. The most frequently photographed English footballer, David Beckham, never sounds particularly clever. What sets him apart from his teammates, though, is his ability to look intelligent."
Its a slow but very interesting read. I have to keep doing google image searches to see the images that he is talking about.
And The Ongoing Moment sounds really interesting!
I missed last week, and I apologize. Today's image is from the working port that is San Pedro. Last weekend my wife was at a arts fair where she was selling her jewelry. While we were there, some big ships left port. This is a car carrier (probably Toyota), not sure what it cares going back, but when it comes in, its full of new vehicles.
On this cruise ship were a who's who of science and fiction; Pohl, Asimov, Heinlein, Sagan, Minsky, Mailer. How cool would have been to be on that cruise. It was a cruise-con before there were cruise-cons.
The link below has a 20 minute YT video of the cruise. its fascinating both in the conversations recorded about what/how/who should be exploring space and in how we are having the same conversations now. Also, its kinda of a trippy video, culture-wise, 40 years on. There's also a link to Fredrick Pohl's blog about his experiences. Just started reading that.
Check it out.
Today's image is my October entry in my family calendar. Enjoy.
I know people don't generally go back up to the top of a thread every time (I use the unread message count to jump me right into the action), so if you are so inclined, take a gander back up to see what I thought my favorite was each month.
Or wait until my next thread, which at this rate might be in next year's group. :)
Its banned books week (or at least it was, its almost over). This is a very good little article about one of them Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. One that I need/want to read. I don't have to say it to this crowd, but: Go read a challenged book.
I'm sure I shared this at some point in the past, but I just stumbled on it and watched it again. Too good not to share. Its Hank Green (of vlogbrothers fame, John Green's brother) and its him ranting about books, the business and manufacture of books, not the content.
Part-Time Indian is wonderful. Highly recommended.
Look forward to your Dead Zone review. That always one of my favorite King books.
I just started Armada. It has received a lukewarm response and I am hoping for a fun & light listen.
Have a great weekend, buddy.
48. Dead Zone - Stephen King - King has always been one of my favorite authors. He's probably the primary reason for my obsession for reading. As a teen, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a new King novel. This is my 5th read (or re-read) of King's work this year. Dead Zone was originally published in 1979 and is his 7th novel.
You always hear of King as a horror writer, I don't think that's always true, this book included. Creepy, sure, but its not what I would consider horrific. John Smith (imaginative name, huh?) is a school teacher in Maine and on a late night taxi ride, a really bad accident occurs that puts him into a coma for four years. When he comes out of it, he feels that he's come back from a "Dead Zone" and finds that he has the paranormal ability to see the future of anyone he touches. Reluctantly, as As skeptics want to scorn him and believers want his help, he uses his "gift" to help a local sheriff solve a serial murder spree. The final climax of the book finds him fighting with his conscious as to influence/prevent an improbable, crooked politician/business man who is sweeping elections and whom Smith has seen ominous visions of the future with him. I was surprised to see how much of the current improbable business tycoon front-runner I thought of when I was reading the book.
A pretty good story that has its flaws, but its still a must for any Kingophile. As is the case with most popular books made into movies and TV, all I could picture in my mind's eye were Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen. Oh well. Always read the book first.
S: 8/12/15 F: 9/10/15 (30 Days)
That reminds me, I gotta do my review of my last ER book Tenacity, as well as mark my March win as a no-show - again.
49. Life After Life - Kate Atkinson - On a winter's day in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. Then on the same say in 1910, that same baby is born and does take her first breath. Thus begins the excellent book by Atkinson, about the life of Ursula Todd.
Take the premise; "If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Hitler?", but take out the time machine, because that's just impossible and ludicrous. Instead, the universe of this book seems to have a plan for Ursula and it employs a cosmic reset button that starts her life over, whenever fate takes over and brings Ursula's life to a premature end. From the influenza epidemic of the late teens, to the Blitz of London in the 40's, to Hitler's Eagle's Net in Berchtesgaden. Ursula sees the horrors of war and struggles of life during that time. Anytime her current life comes to an end, she immediately starts back over in 1910. She has no knowledge that this is occurring (perhaps natural selection on a cosmic but personal scale), other than a gradually increasing sense of deja vu.
A very good story with a very interesting structure. Not completely circular, the first couple lives we go directly back to the beginning and start over, eventually the story leaps around, revisiting the same time period multiple times, some times with new information, or showing the reader things from a slightly different view that takes the story and Ursula's life in a new direction. Can't wait to read the sequel; A God in Ruins
S: 9/1/15 - F: 9/12/15 (13 Days)
I just got some more Drake's Aroma Coma and Aroma Prieta, as well as a local DIPA - Knuckle Sandwich by Bootlegger's
Can't wait for God in Ruins.
As I said before, last weekend we went to a swap meet/fair at the International Print Museum in town. Like a dope, I didn't bring my camera, but I had my phone and took a few shots. Here's one...
It's an art piece that they were selling, and of course I had to take a picture of it. I guess you shouldn't let your inks dry out. :)
Having an Enjoy By, watching the Cubs! Life is good.
The End of All Things - John Scalzi : What you'd expect, good read, more political intrigue than action
Moneyball - Michael Lewis : Freebie. Fun for statistician nerds
Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro (AUDIO) : Liked it. Excellent narrator.
The Financial Lives of the Poets - Jess Walter : Loved it.
Scorch Trials - James Dashner : Read it because the movie was out.
Tenacity - J.S. Law (LTER) : Police procedural on a sub. Not too bad
I know have library cards at 3 different libraries. Maybe that's a new bucket list/collection topic for us bibleophiles. Get a library card from every place you visit. Hmmm
I was inspired this month to jump off of Mount TBR and join the AAC group for October, its Ray Bradbury and I picked up The Martian Chronicles, and my new work book.
Here's an artsy shot from our visit to the print museum a couple weeks ago. It a type cabinet.
50. Tenacity - James Law - I got this book thru the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing. Its a thriller set in the British Navy. The main character, Lt. Danielle "Dan" Lewis is an investigator on the Kill Team (special Investigation Branch's homicide division). It starts out, like a lot of thrillers (think Bond), with an opening gambit, where Dan confronts a criminal that she's been chasing. It goes well, but then it doesn't. As a result, she has to go on leave to recover and the main story starts as she come sback to work. her first case is an apparent suicide (or is it) on a nuclear submarine.
She has only a couple days to investigate before the boat has to go back out to sea. She ends up having to go along as the only woman on an attack sub. Typically, her work is hampered by the old boys network of the silent service and a hidden conspiracy she is about to uncover. Can she solve the crime before then shadowy forces at work can get to her.
A pretty good read, exciting and very claustrophobic at times. I will look for more from this first time author.
S: 9/12/15 - F: 9/18/15 (13 Days)
Have a great weekend.
thanks for swinging by...
Happy Weekend Jeff.
51. The Scorch Trials - James Dashner - Book 2 of the series. If you've read Maze Runner, then you'll want to read this one. It starts right after the boys (and one girl) escape from the glade. Now they are being tasked to run a gauntlet out in a wasteland of unrelenting sun and heat, having to avoid the Cranks (zombie-like people who are in the end stages of the Flare disease). They have to get from here to there in 2 weeks, and oh by the way, they've all been given the Flare disease too. The cure is at their destination, incentive for them to run. WICKED is still running the show, there's some nasty traps that the kids get caught in and some don't survive.
It's a YA book, so its a quick easy read. Its good, with plenty of action, but, of course, its a middle book, so a lot is setting things up for the final book. If you've already seen the movie, be prepared as there are a lot of differences in how the story flows in the book, verses the movie.
S: 9/18/15 - F: 9/23/15 (13 Days)
Ack! No, too soon, too soon. :)
Come on, it's not like I do not have anything else to read. Jeesh...
I just listened to another Walter/Alexie podcast. This has quickly become my favorite bookish podcast. Have you listened to any more?
I have a review of Financial Lives of the Poets in the works. Finished that a couple weeks ago. Really enjoyed it.
Today's image comes to you from Highway 111 coming out of Palm Springs last weekend. It was a good cloud day.
No one quite "appreciates" my occasional book list warbling like you do.
Nice to see RD out and about.
Have a great weekend, Jeff.
If anyone wants to take a look. On Bookmooch search for user "mahsdad"
Now, I haven't searched very hard for books to grab myself (part of the shelf cleaning made me realize how big Mt TBR has gotten, gotta read more of what I already have), so I'll reserve full on comparisons between the 2 sites. But for now, I'm just glad I can send books to willing homes.
52. The Financial Lives of the Poets - Jess Walter - Matt Prior is a Financial Reporter, who, after getting laid off from his newspaper, comes up with the bright idea of starting a web site/blog where he'll give sound financial advice, but in the form of poetry (poetfolio.com). How could it miss? But this book is set 2008 during the financial crisis and the housing bubble. Perfect time to start a new business. "Matt's world goes from bad to worse. One, late night fateful visit to 7-11 to get some milk, leads him down a path he wasn't expecting to go. Add a killer joint, and Matt has a brilliant plan to get himself back on top.
A funny, satirical look at family crisis and what not to do to get yourself out of debt. I'm not a big poetry guy, but Walter uses it here to great effect. Recommend.
"And my disappointment is not that my home has lost half its value. What disappoints me is me - that I fell for their propaganda when I knew better, that I actually allowed myself to believe that a person could own a piece of the world when the truth is that anything you try to own ends up owning you. We're all just renting. And this is how the poets failed us."
"...And that might be the stupidest thing we did - not starting a poetry-business website or buying shit on eBay or taking the six-month stay of financial execution, not emailing old boyfriends or getting high at a convenience store - no, the truly stupid mistake was believing that when we fell, a net made of money could catch us"
S: 9/18/15 - F: 9/23/15 (13 Days)
On this day before Halloween, I thought I'd give you something creepy.
Check this little guy out. And by little, I mean about 3 inches long. Enjoy?
So now everytime we walk in the house, the first thing we see, is our TBR shelves. (or at least some of them). The top shelf is the boy's, middle is Laura's and the bottom is mine.
That book sounded good to me in your review, and I think I might look out for it. Mark's comments make me think I might like it too. It reminds me of social /psychological experiments or research where someone is removed from 'their kind' and deposited somewhere foreign.mand never having got into audio, I would definitely go for print version.
>159 mahsdad: tbr shelves! Fantastic plan, you will be faced with them on a daily basis and maybe this will make you get to them. All. :)
Wikipedia is saying that its automimicry. When at rest it's hard to tell which end is which. 50-50 chance for a predator to get the biting end
First up Michael's. Granted this is just the books that I had that I thought he would be interested in reading. He has a whole bunch of stuff in his room that he still has to read.
You never know, I might like it. Even though you and I were voices in the desert with our opinion of Ancillary Justice, we might have different reactions to this book. It was a library sale book, so I'm sure I paid less than $2 for it. Certainly worth my time for 90 pages or so. When I get to it (and it won't be anytime soon), I'll let you know.
To irk you some more, you might not have been able to read the spine, but the book on the far left on my shelf is Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by the aforementioned Pessl. It was a library sale book as well. I've always wanted to read it based on the title alone.
I know you think less of me, but please still be my friend. We can't all be perfect. (please read with implied sarcasm)
I love when you stop by, looking forward to many future visits...
Listen, the only people I don't speak to over books read are the Aynholes...readers of Ayn Rand. Pessl isn't spreading a diseased and horrifying world-view, she's just blahbitty-blah-blahin' to no particular purpose.
I just got, and plan to read soon, THE GREAT FORGETTING. I've never even heard of James Renner, but this book--if it lives up to its promise--will put him firmly on the radar.
The Great Forgetting? The description is very intriguing. On the list it goes...
Well, maybe really liking his time traveling finds will make up for it! :)
Mark you are correct about Blood and Thunder as well as a couple more that came from your shelves. Not to mention that there are a couple from couple from Richard as well in there. Sharing is nice.
The hard part about reciprocating with all you professionals is that I'm hard pressed to find something that I have that you all haven't already read. :)
If you are up for doing the flash drive thing, I am really stockpiling some fine new titles.
Speaking of audio, I'm about 3/4's thru Epitaph, loving it. It took me a minute to get used to the woman narrating, after just finishing Doc, which had a really good gentleman doing it there. But after a little bit I settled in.
Here's the image from the November entry of my yearly calendar. This means I got to start finding stuff for next year. Its going to be tough. This was a very light year photography-wise.
Have a great weekend all!
Hope you have a good weekend planned, my friend.
53. Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro : Read this on audio and it was a very enjoyable experience, but I'm not sure about the book its self. Pretty sure a lot went over my head. In the time after King Arthur, in a cursed enchanted land where everyone has forgotten the past, an elderly couple travels to their son's village. Along they way, the meet a Saxon warrior and Sir Gawain, Arthur's nephew who is on a quest to kill a great dragon. The story gets more mystical and fantastic (in the literary sense) as it goes along. There is a buried giant, but its significance went right by me. 5/10
54. Moneyball - Michael Lewis : A book for the sports freak who is also a statistics nerd, or is it for the statistics freak who is also a sports nerd. Its the story of the Oakland A's and its general manager Billy Beane and how he used freely available but widely disused stats to build a contender in the MLB. The basis of the Brad Pitt movie. An enjoyable read. 7/10
55. The End of All Things - John Scalzi : The latest in the Old Man's War universe. Like his last book, Scalzi uses multiple novellas to tie together a larger story. In this case more about political conspiracy and diplomacy than war per-say. If you enjoyed the past OMW books, you will enjoy this. 8/10
How can I go to the library and JUST drop off a book. Ya got to a least come out with something right? Even though (as the photographic evidence shows above), I got a shelf full of stuff to choose from at home.
Watchmen - how have I never read this. Always wanted to, seen the movie already, but its about time.
In the Stacks - a short story collection of stories about Libraries and Librarians. Just a grab from the stacks (pun intended), I had never heard of this before. Stores from LeGuin, Bradury, Cheever, Borges, Munro. What's not to love, or at least cause me to want to read it.
You aren't doing so bad, Jeff. You borrowed two books, right?
I returned a book to the library, but noticed the $5/bag sale had been extended. Came home with 18 books. Bahhhhhhhh.
56. Doc - Mary Doria Russell (AUDIO) - This is a historical fiction account of the life of John Henry "Doc" Holliday in Dodge City Kansas. It tells the tale of his life as a frontier dentist, gambler, tuberculosis sufferer and friend to the Earp brothers. Its a time before the moved to Tombstone and famous gunfight at the OK Corral. An excellent and fascinating tale. Sure there is lawlessness and stereotypical western violence, but there is also realness to the story, from the politics and bureaucracy of the sheriff and marshall's offices, the domestic lives of the women of the west, to the technical savvy of Doc the dentist. (Geesh I wouldn't want to have tooth issues in the 1800's). I know its a novel, but it read like fact. Recommend.
S: 10/10/15 - F: 10/21/15 (13 Days)
From Publisher's Weekly, the Top 10 genre-bending books. I've read a few of these. Probably should read the others. Enjoy...
Hey, Joe, your name is conspicuously absent from the Christmas Swap list. Going to join us? :)
The book section today (Star Wars edition) had a few good books that I added to my WL
Brooklyn - "funny 2009 novel about an Irish immigrant torn between two men". Movie version is coming out. Sounds interesting
The Man who Spoke Snakish - Just for the title alone. "Set in medieval Estonia, this fairy tale follows a young forest-dwelling boy who is the last speaker of a language used to command animals"
10:04 - A writer in nearly apocalyptic Manhattan
And one I already had on my list, but a welcome reminder...
Tenth of December - short story collection by George Saunders
Only have 11 books that I'm currently reading (in one phase or another). I know, its a good problem to have.
>214 msf59: Yeah, well maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. :) Almost done with Watchmen, loving the overlaying of the Black Freighter stuff over top of the action, as well as the prose interludes (though not as much with them).
On the shelf it goes...
(from a question about what book people would be surprised you own)
"I exercise my right not to be religious, but this bible is a monument to language and human endeavour and it connects me with earlier, starker centuries."
Here's an image of Catalina, in the distance. Took it a couple weeks ago on a hike along the cliffs. Its not a great image, but I'm drawn to the vastness of our world. (That's 26 miles of water between me and the island). I also like the ethereal quality of Catalina in the haze.
Hope you all have a great weekend. Its going to be a hot one out here (sorry my Chicago friends, I couldn't resist)
Got your address, so you're down for the swap.
Have a great, if not a poetic, weekend mate.
I've decided not to swap this year, but I wanted to say thank you for putting it together, nonetheless.
Also, I already can't even imagine it being "a hot one" anywhere - we have 12 inches on the ground and it's 20F with a 12F windchill this morning... Ha, glorious Wisconsin...
I am alive, and happy, and living this better-than-I-thought-possible life. And I thank you each and all for it.
Check it out
Here's the list, if you don't want/or can't watch the video (note the links probably won't work, given the way I cut and pasted them)
BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978081...
THE WHITE BOY SHUFFLE by Paul Beatty http://www.indiebound.org/book/978031...
THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker http://www.indiebound.org/book/978015...
DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather http://www.indiebound.org/book/978067...
ARE YOU MY MOTHER by Alison Bechdel http://www.indiebound.org/book/978061...
CITY OF CLOWNS by Sheila Alvarado and Daniel Alarcón http://www.indiebound.org/book/978159...
BEAUTY FROM ASHES by Eugenia Porter - You'll have to cut out your own flask-shaped hole, I'm afraid.
THE PEOPLE IN THE TREES by Hanya Yanagihara http://www.indiebound.org/book/978034...
A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara http://www.indiebound.org/book/978038...
GILEAD by Marilynne Robinson http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gilea...
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS by Marlon James
MIDNIGHT ROBBER by Nalo Hopkinson http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midni...
FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS by Nalo Hopkinson http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falli...
THE FLAMETHROWERS by Rachel Kushner http://www.indiebound.org/book/978143... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-f...
JUST KIDS by Patti Smith http://www.indiebound.org/book/978006... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-...
NO GOD BUT GOD by Reza Aslan http://www.indiebound.org/book/978081... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-go...
SPQR by Mary Beard http://www.indiebound.org/book/978087... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spqr-...
A THOUSAND MORNINGS by Mary Oliver http://www.indiebound.org/book/978014... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-tho...
FAITHFUL AND VIRTUOUS NIGHT by Louise Gluck http://www.indiebound.org/book/978037... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/faith...
FIRST AND THEN by Emma Mills http://www.indiebound.org/book/978125... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first...
THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds http://www.indiebound.org/book/978144... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-b...
THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen http://www.indiebound.org/book/978014... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truth...
VALIANT: A MODERN TALE OF FAERIE by Holly Black http://www.indiebound.org/book/978068... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/valia...
BALL DON'T LIE by Matt de la Peña http://www.indiebound.org/book/978038... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ball-...
SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson http://www.indiebound.org/book/978031... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/speak...
MIRACLE'S BOYS by Jacqueline Woodson http://www.indiebound.org/book/978014... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mirac...
LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Peña http://www.indiebound.org/book/978039... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-...
BOOT AND SHOE by Marla Frazee http://www.indiebound.org/book/978144... / http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/boot+...
My Mom was visiting and we took her to the Getty Museum. Here is a panorama from the museum. Downtown LA is off in the distance to the left. Westwood and Century City are closer in. The main road you see is the 405.
ETA : to fix that completely mangled sentence. Sorry. :)
57. The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan - This was a library book sale grab that was at least worth the buck I paid for it. In 1914, an ocean liner sinks in the North Atlantic (think Titanic or Lusitania). Newly wed Grace finds herself in an overloaded life boat without her husband and a collection of people (mostly women) from all walks of life. The bulk of the story is how she survives the elements and the interpersonal clashes of her fellow castaways. Interestingly, we know that she survives, as the opening chapter starts out with her (and a few others) on trial for crimes occurring on the boat. What could the isolation, no food, and no water done to take her down such a path.
Interesting read. A debut novel for the author.
S: 10/13/15 - F: 10/21/15 (9 Days)
58. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury - Read this many years ago, probably in High School. Had totally forgotten that this book is a series of interconnected short stories. It starts out with Earth's attempts to land on Mars and those expedition's effects on the native people of Mars and their effect on the expeditions. Eventually the Earthling's make a toehold on the red planet and begin to colonize (as we always do). Later in the book, a pending global nuclear war causes the vast majority of those on Mars to patriotically make their way back to Earth to join the fight. After the war, Mars is cut off and the few remaining on the planet find themselves alone on a new world, effectively, the new Martians.
This is a book very much of its time (written in the 50's), quaint in the technological ease in which they are able to travel back and forth between Earth and Mars (as I type this I am watching NASA TV and the painstakingly slow process of launching a rocket to the ISS. Slow that is until they actually launch the rocket). It really brought to my mind the old Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials. I'm sure there are other symbolism in the book that I totally miss (the Cold War, colonization of North America and the treatment of Native Americans to name a couple), but that doesn't detract from the fact that it is a very interesting read. Worth your time.
S: 10/14/15 - F: 10/28/15 (15 Days)
I ended up liking The Persistence of Vision more than I originally thought. It grew on me. The last story, (the title story) was excellent and in some ways reminded me of The Book of Strange New Things.
Several of these stories were loosely connected, (or set in the same place and time) and I wonder if they represented his other books as well?
I believe that some of the stories are generally connected. If you goto the Wikipedia page for Varley, it has a grid of the novels and which "series" they are in. A bunch of his novels and the short stories too are in the "Eight Worlds" series.
You're intuition is astute.
BTW, I'm loving Bone Clocks, only about 70 pages in, but it grabbed me right away. More so than Slade House, which I loved in the end.
No one writes like Mitchell, just like no one writes like Murakami.
HAPPY FOTO FRIDAY. Its the first Friday of December and to celebrate that fact, here's the December image from my family calendar for 2015.
It was taken summer of 2014 at Arches National Park in Moab Utah.
Have a great weekend all!
59. Epitaph - Mary Doria Russell (AUDIO) - This is the sequel or continuation of the story started in Doc. Its historical fiction that reads like narrative non-fiction. At its core, its the story of the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. But its so much more. The actual gun fight only took about 30 seconds and Russell takes about 3 pages to describe it. The rest of the book builds up the reasons and conditions that inevitably lead up to the fight; politics, personal grudges, and friendships. After the fight, she tracks the aftermath that comes to those involved, especially the Earps and Doc Holliday.
A fascinating read (or listen in this case). Personally, I think I enjoyed Doc a little more, but this brought my understanding of life in the West into sharper focus.
S: 10/21/15 - F: 11/10/15 (21 Days)
If you've followed me for a while, you might have come to realize that I have a skewed perspective when it comes to photography. I'm always taking shots of odd things, or normal things at odd angles.
Here's one of a wall at the Getty Museum from a couple weeks ago. I like the sky against the travertine (the main stone that the place is made out of)
All of southern Utah is like that. Absolutely amazing. I would definitely add it to your US Bucket list, if you ever get the chance.
Here's my Smugmug gallery of all my Utah pictures (f you are bored :) ).... http://mahsdad.smugmug.com/keyword/utah/
60. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter - Jess Walter is my favorite author this year. This is my 3rd book of his that I've read this year. It was a library book, but I should have picked up my own copy, as its one I probably should have on my shelf.
The book spans 50 years, starting in a litlle hole in the wall coastal village in Italy with an even littler hole in the wall hotel. A mysterious actress comes from the set of Cleopatra comes to convalesce for an illness. The story jumps back and forth from Italy in the 60's to modern day Idaho and Hollywood and involves a cast of characters (including an aging Hollywood producer, an aspiring screenwriter and Richard Burton) who were touched by the life of this one-time/almost actress.
A beautiful story of lost lives and loves and redemption. Enjoyed it, both in terms of the story itself and the prose Walter uses to convey it. Recommend.
S: 10/28/15 - F: 11/11/15 (15 Days)
Only actor listed so far is Imogen Poots. Latest thing she was in was Need for Speed. Also in V for Vendetta years ago.
I'm behind over on GN, cause I'm behind on my reviews. I'm actually at 64 books and it looks like I might squeak in at 66 or 67 for the year. That's about normal for me. Last year (81) I think was the hubris of me trying to keep up with all you nutjobs. :)
And I mean nutjobs in the best of all possible lights.
Only one more left in 2015, amazing.
Here's a quick phone shot of some Christmas lights on my house...
More later, but I enjoyed it. (Gives a lot more context to Slade House)
Here's IO9's best of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Reads for 2015. Some I have, and a few that I want to have...
For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!
61. Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer (AUDIO)
64. Authority - Jeff VanderMeer (AUDIO)
61. Acceptance - Jeff VanderMeer (AUDIO)
It wasn't that I didn't like these books, it was more I didn't get them. In the first book, an organization called the Southern Reach sends an expedition (the 12th) of 4 scientists into a place known as Area X. Some geologic/atmospheric anomaly occurred there. The expeditions are an attempt to figure out what's going on and gather information. People either don't come back, or come back different than they left. Things quickly go awry for the anthropologist, surveyor, biologist and psychologist The second book is told from the prospective of Control, the new director or the Southern Reach tasked with figuring out what happened during the expedition in the first book. Along the way he finds that the previous director was the psychologist of the 12 expedition and things aren't as they seem at the Southern Reach. In the end, he has to excape the Southern Reach facility with the Biologiest from the previous expedition and they find that the only way forward is to go back. The last book is kind of an origin story of Area X, jumping back and forth between a time just before the anomaly occurred and present day inside of Area X with the main protagonists from the first 2 books. It was an origin story that really didn't give you much of an origin. Still kept me guessing at the end.
They were good, but very weird. Usually this is a good thing for me, but these were almost too far out there for my tastes.
Still have a couple of reviews to write, but I just might do them over on the 2016 thread.
If I don't see you here, Happy New Year, see you over in 2016!