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Sixty-niiiiiiiine, dudes!

List time! List time! Now that 2004 is fully past, I decided to recap all of the sixty-nine (count ‘em…no, don’t, ‘cause I already did) books that, by my count, I read last year. Aqui estan:

Finished in January

Bag of Bones, Stephen King – Yes, King can be elegant. I read this because I also loved Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll – Finally!
Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll – Also finally! My personal favorite of Carroll’s books.

…in February

She, H. Rider Haggard – Favorite line: “We continued to enjoy the mosquitoes…”
King Solomon’s Mines, H. Rider Haggard
The Shazam Archives! (a volume of Captain Marvel stories: Vol. 3, I think) – Clever, man.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Narnia Vol. 1, C.S. Lewis
Dreamcatcher, Stephen King – a big sprawling mess of a book, but which made chuckle evilly many times. I’m glad I can still eat bacon after reading this…
The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien – I had read through to the first half of The Two Towers when I got bogged down and slowed down and eventually stopped. So as Peter Jackson and Company were making the film versions happen, I’d see the film and then read the corresponding book(s). Man, they found smart ways to turn that story into celluloid.
The Toy Collector, James Gunn – yes, Mr. Gunn, writer of Troma films and of the Dawn of the Dead remake. Good, perverted stuff.
Coyote Blue, Christopher Moore – My latest go-to writer for chuckles.
Carrie, Stephen King – King wanted to be Shirley Jackson when he grew up.
I, Robot, Harlan Ellison/Isaac Asimov – Ellison’s famously unproduced screenplay. If not for an idiot Warner’s exec, this could have been Irvin Kirshner’s follow-up to The Empire Strikes Back. Boggle, I do…
Satellite Down, Rob Thomas – A novel for teens by the creator of the 1998-99 TV show “Cupid,” one of my favorite shows ever (why isn’t Paula Marshall doing more roles?). Favorite line: “I’m not saying she had special breast muscles or anything…”
Prince Caspian: Narnia Vol. 2, C.S. Lewis – I borrowed the series and read them in the original freakin’ order, not that rearranged chronological order the publishers attempted later.

…in March

Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney – I had spent a few months reading the entire poem aloud.
The Little Engine That Could – Hey, I read it to my nephews at bedtime! It counts!
Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud – Possibly the niftiest textbook ever.
The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, James Patterson – The true inspiration for the film The Ghost and the Darkness, well-praised by Teddy Roosevelt. (The book, not the film.)
McElligott’s Pool, Dr. Seuss – “…with a head at both ends!” Dr. Seuss channels Lovecraft.

…in April

The Ringworld Engineers, Larry Niven – The second Ringworld book, after I read the first in 2003. To say what is almost always said, the first one’s better. Is the third any good?
Another Fine Myth, Robert Asprin
A Conversation with the Mann, John Ridley – A switch from Ridley’s usually hard-boiled writing to pay homage to comedy, the Rat Pack, and the civil rights struggle. One of the real knock-out endings I read that year.
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice – A real slog for me, like reading through a layer of molasses. Oh, well.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Narnia Vol. 3, C.S. Lewis – Stunning; now my favorite of the Narnia books.
Watch Your Mouth, Daniel Handler – what the man also known as Lemony Snicket can write under his own name. Brutal, and about sad, sad things, but damn funny, as a college guy learns his girlfriend’s family might be engaged in complicated permutations of, um, incest. Yeah (he said through clenched teeth).
The Silver Chair: Narnia Vol. 4, C.S. Lewis
Death: The High Cost of Living, Neil Gaiman & artists
Death: The Time of Your Life, Neil Gaiman & artists
The Horse and His Boy: Narnia Vol. 5, C.S. Lewis

…in May

The Magician’s Nephew: Narnia Vol. 6, C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle: Narnia Vol. 7, C.S. Lewis
War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches, edited by Kevin J. Anderson – Short stories inspired by H.G. Wells’ novel. Didn’t hang together for me, except for the Edgar Rice Burroughs “John Carter of Mars” pastiche (where the Martian equivalent of a rogue state attacks Earth). That was an interesting idea.
Liquor, Poppy Z. Brite – “A couple of what?” Thank you, docbrite, for giving us Rickey and G-Man.
Pyramids, Terry Pratchett – a Discworld novel.

…in June

From Aargh! To Zap!: Harvey Kurtzman’s Visual History of the Comics
Half of a book: The first half (“C.V.”) of On Writing, by Stephen King. I dip into this a lot.
Forrest J. Ackerman’s World of Science Fiction
The Beatles Anthology – A coffee table book, compiled from things the band members and their colleagues said over the years. Plus plenty of picture proof of how hot ‘60s women were…
The Value of X, Poppy Z. Brite – This marked a milestone: I read this, then started re-reading it immediately because I wanted to enjoy it again.
Star Trek TNG: Forgiveness – A graphic novel by author David Brin & illustrator Scott Hampton.
Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite – You know, except for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I’ve yet to really like a vampire novel. Nothing against you, docbrite. I do need to try King’s ‘Salem’s Lot and greygirlbeast's The Five of Cups

…in July

The Devil You Know, Poppy Z. Brite – continuing my solidifying of my fondness for Doc Brite. Short stories this time, including more words about Rickey and G-Man. Good stuff.
Slippage, Harlan Ellison’s most recent original short story collection, plus the story of surviving both the Northridge quake and his heart attack.
The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek, Evelyn Sibley Lampman – Portland’s own dino-author! Woo hoo! I found this after going to a Multnomah County librarian and rattling off a list of vague (and I mean vague) memories from when I read this 23 years ago. She gleaned what I meant. Yay for her!
The Shy Stegosaurus of Indian Springs, Evelyn Sibley Lampman – It’s fun to recognize the real locations Lampman used in this book (Central Oregon represennnnnnnnnnnnt!).
Courtney Love: The Real Story, The Poppy Z. Brite-penned authorized biography.
I, Q, John DeLancie and Peter David – Perhaps the best “Star Trek” title ever, plus an early scene that reads far more creepily after Sept. 11th…
Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi – Sad truths about evil people hurting good people. I’m glad I wasn’t yet born when this happened.
Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs – Stretches of the writing here are simultaneously over-written and lazy, an interesting feat… I think I prefer Burroughs’ Mars writing.
Grrl Scouts: Work Sucks, Jim Mahfood – another graphic novel, which I read in its entirety at Multnomah Central Library one afternoon. Keep it up, Mr. Mahfood.
Misery, Stephen King – Heh, heh, heh. A good read, plus the book King had done soon before he finally decided to get off the drug junk (as detailed with brutal honesty in On Writing: “Annie was coke, Annie was booze, and I decided I was tired of being Annie’s pet writer”).

…in August

Have a Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Mick Foley – I’d like to meet Mick Foley one of these days.
Foley Is Good, and the Real World is Faker Than Wrestling, Mick Foley

…in September

The Woad to Wuin, Peter David – the second Sir Apropos of Nothing novel, which begins with an R-rated Tolkien parody and ends with an interesting idea about magic.
Songmaster, Orson Scott Card – I finished reading this while in a jury pool. I hope I can write about kids as well as Card does.
On the Air! – Tom Shales TV-related essays from the Washington Post from 1974 to 1982; early on he pans the pilot episode of “Happy Days,” but notes that that Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli character has promise…
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole – While I’d hate to meet an Ignatius J. Riley in real life, I laughed throughout the dramatics of this book. Thanks, docbrite!

…in October

Murder of Angels, greygirlbeast – Brutal and beautiful. I spent the entire month reading it aloud. “And gravity does the rest.”
Dreamcatcher: The Screenplay, William Goldman and Lawrence Kasdan – I wanted to see how they made sense of the book, and it was cheaper than renting the film…

…in November

Gothic!: 10 Original Dark Tales – which included “The Dead and the Moonstruck” by greygirlbeast, and “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves of the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire” by Neil Gaiman.
Sock – Penn Jillette’s first novel. Hardboiled detective fiction (Love! Hate! Violence! Betrayal!) as narrated by, um, a sock puppet. A very sick and twisted sock puppet.
The Grim Grotto – A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Eleventh, by Lemony Snicket. I love these books.
The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower 1 – a.k.a. The Grand Unified Theory of Stephen King. These books have hit me hard; I think I needed a story like this.
Don’t Panic, Neil Gaiman – Comfort reading for me, re-read in two days. The original 1987 edition, by the way, not either of the rewritten-by-others versions from the 1990s and this decade.
The Drawing of the Three: The Dark Tower 2, Stephen King
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore – I’m still chuckling at Joshua (the name of Christ in the novel) poking “untouchables” in their shoulders.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson – So good at disturbing you with such elegant words…

…in December

The Waste Lands: The Dark Tower 3, Stephen King. Wow, especially what happens in that big old house (I'm trying not to spoil it)…
Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower 4, Stephen King


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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