Thirty this time. I finished 30 books in 2006, compared to 52 in 2005 and 69 in 2004 (a year I wasn’t working full time, understand). Frankly, I often was a slow reader last year.
Here’s the full list. I likely will add comments to some more of these books (Jan. 7th edit: And I have! More commentary below), but I wanted to get it online tonight (hey, celticfeministw, more book-y ideas!).
Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence, Kevin Smith – Havoc wreaked in Green Arrow’s world by a bad, bad self-made villain named Onomatopoeia. Smith should do a lot more comic book writing; it’s a good way for him to stretch. His Daredevil run dealt strongly with religion; on Green Arrow, he could focus on politics, playing with the established left-wing Green Arrow/ right-wing Green Lantern dynamic and having fun with it.
Desperation, Stephen King – King on religion usually yields interesting, and intense, results, and this was no exception.
Reinventing Comics, Scott McCloud – I love his theory that art may partly have come about due to the power of boredom.
The Regulators, Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman – "Desperation is about God. The Regulators is about TV." – Stephen King. This was a re-read for me, as I wanted to see how this book relates to its sort-of companion book Desperation. If filmed, this could be the most brutal King adaptation ever, and that's saying something.
Star Trek: Nemesis, novelization by J.M. Dillard of the screenplay by John Logan – This is still an "almost" story for me; I can see what the filmmakers were trying to achieve, and I'm glad a Star Trek fan had the chance to write a Star Trek film, but it still feels light and ill-thought-out in the wrong places. Data's death still doesn't really work. And the only film Logan's written that I really like is The Aviator, where I think working with Scorcese really helped him bring his A-game. (I should add that I've yet to see Logan's films Any Given Sunday or The Last Samurai, both of which I've heard good things about.)
Waterfront Fists and others: the Collected Fight Stories of Robert E. Howard – I love when Robert E. Howard could be funny, and some of this is so over-dramatic that I'd laugh out loud.
The Big Blow, Joe R. Lansdale – A pretty harrowing introduction to Lansdale's words (my first exposure to him had been the film Bubba-Ho-Tep in 2003), describing the destruction of Galveston, Texas in 1900.
The Trail of the Beast, Matt Spencer (findable here as happyspector) – unpublished (as of now) second novel in happyspector’s trilogy that he started with The Night and the Land (which I read and helped to proofread, in 2005). I am grateful that Matt’s giving me an early glimpse into the world he’s building. More I won’t say, out of deference to him.
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry – Yes, it’s as good as you’ve heard. Very emotional. It took me months to read it (I started in September 2005, if I remember correctly; I had it while waiting to enter the church for Neil Gaiman’s appearance in October that year. This later was the first Western Alicia read. She was impressed, too.
Star Trek: New Frontier: After the Fall, Peter David – I somehow couldn’t get into the initial New Frontier books, but I’m glad I jumped back in with this. I think I was kind of missing Star Trek. (Yay for the original series being back in heavy syndication!)
Perelandra, C.S. Lewis – Where I first could really tell the influence C.S. Lewis would come to have on one of my favorite authors growing up, Arthur C. Clarke. His Venus – great seas, floating islands, ever flowing – is a haunting place, and I’m impressed with how Lewis worked himself so elegantly into the story.
Cell, Stephen King – Stephen King on the end of the world as we know it? Of course I'd like it! (My first King novel was The Stand, after all.) I don't entirely "buy" King's take on zombies, but I like how single-mindedly harrowing and bleak the book is (the introduction – the "stinking to the empty heavens" bit – is very distilled-horrific to me, if that makes any sense), and I really like Poppy Z. Brite's theory that the latter half of the book kind of represents the displacement of Gold Coast residents following Hurricane Katrina.
Mad Dog Summer, short stories by Joe R. Lansdale – More varied stories and moods by Lansdale, and it makes me more look forward to reading more stuff of his.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, novelization by Vonda McIntyre of the screenplay by Harve Bennett – this after reading her Wrath of Khan novelization in December 2005. This was my travelling-to-Virginia book (Tarah’s wedding).
To Charles Fort, With Love, short stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan, a.k.a. greygirlbeast – Words fail me. Thank goodness they don't fail Caitlin. Really recommended.I, Lucifer, Glen Duncan – Thanks for the suggestion, Alicia. Twis-ted.)
Soul Kitchen, Poppy Z. Brite (docbrite to us)
Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, Kenny Moore – the biography of University of Oregon track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. A touch overdramatic for my tastes, but maybe that's just from me not being used to sports biographies, but a good book about an intriguing man who had an enormous influence on this country (and I'm not just saying that because he taught at my college). I especially love the stories of Bowerman's proto-sports drink (attempted a decade before Gatorade was invented) and his eye-opening exposure to the New Zealand jogging culture.
Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew: the Oz-Wonderland War – a twisted mid-’80s fantasy comic (from DC Comics) about a hostile takeover of two fantasy lands, and the superheroes who join the fight to reclaim them.
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster (illustrated by Jules Feiffer) – fun. Language fun is a special kind of fun.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, novelization by Vonda McIntyre of the screenplay by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer – One thing bothered me: a totally random character who appears in one scene in this film is made in the novelization into an aspiring novelist, which I thought was a needless ornamentation. That can be a HUGE writing crutch for certain writers: write about writing as you write by writing about a writer, even someone who (to me) didn't come off like a writer. At one time I even got a little wary of Stephen King doing this; I read and loved his novel about a writer Bag of Bones, but thought at the time "OK, between this and Misery he's written enough about writers writing." I'm kind of glad I was wrong about King – he has more worthwhile things to say about the writer's life in Lisey's Story – but not every writer has to do it! I hope I never do it. Wow, that was a long comment.
The Green Mile, Stephen King – Wow. This is the King book that finally mad King 'click' for my friend Alicia; my dad also read it on my suggestion, and was impressed.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks – A different kind of 'wow.' This sort of thing is my bag, baby, heh heh.
Star Trek: New Frontier: Missing In Action, Peter David
Squee’s Big Giant Wonderful Book of Unspeakable Horrors, Jhonen Vasquez – Bless you, you beautiful freak Jhonen. (See, we're on a first-name basis now. Heh.) So wrong, yet so right.
Eragon, Christopher Paolini
A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the Thirteenth: The End, Daniel Handler writing as Lemony Snicket – I'm man enough to admit I choked up at parts of the end.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, novelization by Matthew Stover of the screenplay by George Lucas – happyspector, you’d probably like this novelization.
Lisey’s Story, Stephen King – zarhooie, I have no idea if you’re big on King, but I kept getting the feeling that you’d enjoy this book.
Dracula, Bram Stoker – This was my second read of the book, this time through a neat LJ thing called dracula1897: the letters, diary excerpts, news clippings and transcripts from this epistolary novel were posted chronologically from May through November, the period when the story takes place. I didn’t get around to finishing it until over Christmas weekend. If all goes well, the same people who made dracula1897 happen are going to give the same treatment to Clarissa – what I hear is both a great novel, and the single longest novel in the English language.
In progress as of January 5th: Lord of Samarcand and other adventure tales of the old Orient by Robert E. Howard (I’ve had this for much of the year, dipping in a story or a fragment at a time); Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff; and That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (slowly, slowly).