Friday, April 30, 2010

Even More Previously Read Books (The Series Edition)

Ah the detective series, a bunch to list here.
Travis McGee books, by John D. MacDonald
Other books by John D. MacDonald that I remember reading.  There are definitely more, but I can't recall for sure so I'm not listing guesses:

Hap Collins & Leonard Pine books, by Joe Lansdale
Other books by Joe Lansdale that I've read. There are definitely more, but I can't recall for sure so I'm not listing guesses:

Several different series by George Pelecanos:
Nick Stefanos;
Derek Strange and Terry Quinn;
Other Pelecanos books I've read (the linking is getting to be too much, I'm sure you all can find these without the amazon links...);
  • The Big Blowdown
  • King Suckerman
  • The Sweet Forever
  • Shame the Devil
  • Shoedog
  • Drama City
  • The Night Gardener
  • The Turnaround
  • D.C. Noir (collection of short stories, Pelecanos was the editor)

Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell:
  • Postmortem
  • Body of Evidence
  • All That Remains 
  • Cruel and Unusual
  • The Body Farm 
  • From Potter's Field 
  • Cause of Death 
  • Unnatural Exposure 
  • Point of Origin
  • The Last Precinct

Nero Wolf books by Rex Stout.  There were several more of these but I have no recollection of the titles:
  • Fer-de-Lance
  • Some Buried Caesar
  • Black Orchids

Morgan Hunt books by Geoffrey Norman.  There was a fourth book in this series, but I have no recollection of reading it:
  • Sweetwater Ranch
  • Blue Chipper
  • Deep End

James Bond books by Ian Fleming.  Again I believe I've read a few more but cannot remember:
  • Moonrakes
  • Diamonds are Forever
  • Thunderball
  • The Spy Who Loved Me

Inspector Rebus books by Ian Rankin
  • Knots and Crosses
  • Hide and Seek
  • Strip Jack

Ok, a few more non-series books to list:
Gah, too many to list.  This was a crazy idea.  No more past book lists for a while.  How in the world can someone catalog something like this?


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another List of Previously Read Books

I don't like dumping these big lists on the site, but it's the only way I'll be able to search for a lot of these later.  These have all been read over the last decade or so.
The Bridge Overthe River Kwai, by Pierre Boulle
Jaws, by Peter Benchley
Being There, by Jerzy Kosinski
The Thin Red Line, by James Jones
From Here to Eternity, by James Jones
The Young Lions, by Irwin Shaw
Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West
The Hereafter Gang, by Neal Barrett Jr.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, by John Godey
The Loch, by Steve Alten
New Hope for the Dead, by Charles Willieford
Fast One, by Paul Cain
The Cornell Woolrich Omnibus: Rear Window and Other Stories / I Married a Dead Man / Waltz into Darkness, by Cornell Woolrich
The Bridge Wore Black, by Cornell Woolrich
Phantom Lady, by Cornell Woolrich
The Essential Ellison (including "A Boy and His Dog" and "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"), by Harlan Ellison
The Killer Inside Me, by Jim Thompson
The Getaway Man, by Andrew Vachss
Darker Than You Think, by Jack Williamson
Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk
Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk
Survivor, by Chuck Palahniuk
A Kiss Before Dying, by Ira Levin
The Stepford Wives, by Ira Levin
The Boys From Brazil, by Ira Levin
All Over but the Shoutin;, by Rick Bragg
Oh boy, there are a ton more to list.  I'm going to try to put together another post soon to cover some more of the past books.

Sailing to Byzantium, by Robert Silverberg

Another Silverberg short story, liked this one a lot too, although I did like Homefaring better.  Who is real?  What is real?  The story had me thinking and formulating ideas and guesses throughout.  A very enjoyable read, this collection is a lot of fun.  I think I'll tackle Secret Sharer (the short story) next, and then decide how many more of the stories in this collection I'll run through.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Homefaring, by Robert Silverberg

This is, to my knowledge, the first time I've posted about a short story I've read.  But Homefaring was on my to read list for such a long time I figured it warranted its own entry.  So Homefaring-- I loved this story.  I didn't expect to find it so moving, silly as that may sound, but I'll be damned if I wasn't touched by it.  You wouldn't think a story about a man whose mind(?) is sent forward in time into the body of an intelligent lobster would be so touching.  I expected funny, or maybe frightening even, but touching?  Well it was, and I'm not ashamed to say it.
The volume I'm reading, Secret Sharers volume 1 is also great because there are intros to each story by the author.  Always interesting to hear what the writing was thinking about, aiming for, or even where they were in life at the time they wrote the story.  I've moved on to another story (not reading all or even in the order presented in the book), I'm not sure if I'll do a separate entry for each story or combine the rest into one post on this site.  Probably depends if I keep reading this volume or if I pick up something in between.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Last Good Kiss, by James Crumley

  • Title:  The Last Good Kiss
  • Author:  James Crumley
  • Found At Take One/Leave One Bookcase At Ocean City Beach Condo
  • Started:  4/25/2010
  • Finished: 4/25/2010
I found this one in at the beach condo in Ocean City, MD, but I'd have sworn it was a book I've been wanting to read for a while.  Was the book there when we bought the beach condo?  Did I bring it down one weekend and forget about it?
Anyway, I brought it back to DC on Sunday and started reading it almost immediately.  From 4 pm until about 10 pm, I read the book straight through with just a few breaks.  I didn't find many of the characters, even the detective who is narrating, very likeable.  But it's a good mystery that kept me on my toes the entire time.

I hated to see the dog(s) killed, and the violence against women wasn't pleasant.  But it was a book that I started & finished in one day, so it was hard to put down.

The Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier

This one was on my "to read" list for a while and for the most part I really enjoyed it.  Part post-apocalyptic novel, part ghost/after-life story, it was overall an entertaining read.  I wondered how it would all end, and that part was a bit of a disappointment.  I was pretty sure the main character was going to die, at least after she discovered frostbite all over her body, but I expected more with those in the afterlife (called "the city").

Still I'm not sure how Brockmeier could have ended it that would have been better, or at least more satisfactory.  Overall a very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester

This one had been on my list to read for quite some time.  SciFi isn't my favorite genre, but there are some books I really enjoy (Ender's Game, Martian Chronicals, etc.).  My first (and only other) Bester novel was The Demolished Man, which I loved, maybe more than this one.  But The Stars My Destination was very enjoyable.  Both exciting and thought provoking, I'm glad I finally picked this one up.
On a side note, my local library (DC Public, MLK Main Branch) has made big improvements in the pop fiction collection.  Not only in what they now carry, but in the overall organization.  Reserving books online and then swinging by to pick them up from the reserved shelf (my name on the binding) makes it a real joy to use.  I wish more people used public libraries, but I guess I'm biased being a librarian.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

My second Heinlein novel, this was a fantastic book.  I'd read Stranger in a Strange Land a few years ago but didn't really like it (or should I say "grok" it?).  But Starship Troopers was great.  Almost a coming of age story, a very enjoyable read.  My only knowledge of the book before reading it was the 1997 movie of the same title.  The movie, while cheesy, is still a lot of fun.  But it's only loosely based on the book.  Very happy I finally was able to read this one.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We Have Always Lived In The Castle, By Shirley Jackson

I loved this book, but I made the mistake of reading the introduction by Jonathan Lethem first. I like Lethem, I loved his book Motherless Brooklyn. But what an ass with his introduction, how about a spoiler alert? I often read book introductions first but I expect them not to give away the major plot points of the book, as Lethem's did. So the book was a bit of a let down when I already knew most of what was to come and the major revelations. None-the-less, an excellent as always Jackson story. I still think Hill House is my favorite, but Castle was also superb.

The Sign of Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle

It didn't really take me more than a month to read this fantastic book. I started the book on 3/1/10, but as I noted in an earlier post we then took a trip and went to the beach, and kept on doing things where a big book like this New Annotated Holmes was just too cumbersome to bring along. So I've been reading lots of other books on those trips and took a break from this one. I was thrilled to get back to it though, as this is a fantastic book, a great mystery, and again I can only say wonderful things about the annotations by Mr. Klinger. Seeing Watson fall in love, Holmes pick up, lose, and then regain the trail of the killers. A speeding boat chase with a blood-thirsty pygmy... Such a great book.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sins of the Father, by Ruth Rendell

This is it, officially the last book left from the lot I won at the auction last year.  Did a pretty good job stretching those out of the last 8 or so months too.  This was a book I'd tried to start early in the winter but could not get into it.  Glad I waited, it was a very enjoyable mystery, maybe the best of the three or four Rendell books I picked up. 
I think it's time I got back into those Sherlock Holmes books in the new annotated collection. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thin Air, by Robert Parker

  • Title:  Thin Air
  • Author:  Robert Parker
  • Found At Take One/Leave One Bookcase At Ocean City Beach Condo
  • Started 4/3/2010
  • Finished 4/3/2010
Another Spenser novel.  I needed something to read at the beach condo in Ocean City, MD this weekend.  I haven't gone through all the books we received when we purchased this condo, so I didn't realize there was another Spenser book there.  I didn't care too much for this one, plot wise it was actually one of the better Spenser novels.  But the lack of smart-ass prose made it a lot less fun to read.  Was an easy read to polish off in one afternoon though, an almost ideal beach-read, perhaps.

The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown

I'd like to think I don't have any preconceived notions, but the reality is I was already inclined not to like this book.  Unfortunately, it lived up to my expectations.  Back when it came out I read Da Vinci Code and liked it, didn't love it, but it was reasonably exciting and a quick, fun read.  But that was it, I knew I wouldn't love any other Dan Brown books so I didn't pick any up. 
But I got The Lost Symbol as a gift and it was at our beach condo when I needed a new book to read.  It takes place in DC, where I live, and the first half was about what I expected.  Not bad, not great, but definitely a page turner.  But at about the halfway point it took a turn that was just too asinine.  I found myself barely able to complete the book as one stupid plot point followed another, as one crazy coincidence or amazing "discover" followed another.  By the time it was over I knew I'd never pick up another Dan Brown book, ever again.  That's ok though, the guy has hammed out ridiculously successful novels and will continue to do so, I'm sure.