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2010: The Year in Reading

I read more books in 2010 than I have in years. Two things are responsible for the dramatic increase in my reading:

1. An ereader. This thing seriously increased the number of books I bought and read. The technology is just starting to edge out of the "early adopter" stage, but formats are still in flux and most of the big publishers are still wedded to stupid DRM schemes (I am told this is often demanded by their legal departments, not so much because the publishers themselves like DRM), so reading ebooks isn't quite as hassle-free as it could be (and will be), especially if, like me, you refuse to go Kindle. But I've bought tons of ebooks this year, downloaded many more free ones from Project Gutenberg or Google Books, and being able to carry several hundred books in my pocket means I will never be stuck without something to read.

2. Audiobooks. Ever since I subscribed to, I've been going through audiobooks at an average of about one a week, on top of my regular reading. An iPod full of audiobooks means any spare moment where my hands are busy but my brain isn't (walking, cooking, doing chores, exercising, driving) can be turned into extra reading time.

I also made a concerted effort to change my reading habits, trying to get back to the days when I was younger and read voraciously, multiple books per week.

So, how did I do in 2010? Not counting technical and academic books, I read 72 books and over 16,000 pages. (Audiobooks aren't counted in the page counts.) Also excluded from this: short stories, novellas, way too many blogs, crappy self-published ebooks, and fan fiction.

Inverarity's 2010 book listCollapse )

My goal for 2011 is to hit the 100 books mark. Which is looking doubtful already, because several of the books in my TBR queue are real doorstoppers.

But of course I cannot end this list without yet another plug for my books1001 challenge. We, the community, are going to collectively attempt to read and review 1001 books in 2011. Part of the challenge is that you will be assigned a book randomly, and it will very likely be something you would not have chosen on your own. I don't even know yet myself which book I will be assigned -- I will be running my random book script tomorrow (January 1). Please come and sign up! The only requirement is that you read one book in 2011, though of course more is encouraged! At this moment, we have 61 signups -- I think we'll need some more help to get through 1001 books... (And of course you can sign up at any time: January 1 is not a deadline, just the day we'll start.)

Recommend me a classic

So, is having another one of their sales and there are a whole bunch of books available for $4.95. I've already grabbed a bunch, but I'm thinking I should add a few more classics. If you're familiar with my reviews, you know that I read mostly non-fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, but I've been trying to add some more literary and classical selections to my bookshelf, as well as catching up on a few of those books everyone is supposed to read in high school but I never did. (Grumbles at Moby Dick, Catcher in the Rye, and The Grapes of Wrath sitting on his TBR stack.)

So, below are some of the selections which are on sale that I've never actually read and might conceivably enjoy. For you good folks who have read one or more of the following, please tell me which ones you'd recommend most highly and why. (Or, conversely, which ones you'd suggest I skip...)

Pride and Prejudice (I've seen it on-screen enough that I know the story, but I've never actually read an Austen novel.)
Jane Eyre (Ditto on Bronte.)
Rebecca (Looks pretty similar to the above two, but it's the only one whose story I don't already know.)
Middlemarch (Actually, this looks kind of like "generic Victorian drama," but it's supposed to be a classic...)
David Copperfield (I do like Dickens, and I haven't read this one. It's awfully long, though.)
The Brothers Karamazov (I vaguely recall liking Crime and Punishment, but that was in high school, a long time ago.)
The Beautiful and the Damned (I haven't read The Great Gatsby either.)
War and Peace (61 hours, OMG.)
Candide and Zadig (Is this actually interesting, or is it just one of those things you can say to sound all educated and cultured? "Why yes, of course I have read Voltaire's Candide...")
The Code of the Woosters (I know some people just love Wodehouse, but I dunno, the wacky hijinks of a rich prick and his smug servant?)
The Fountainhead (HAHAHA. Just kidding. I'd sooner listen to 32 hours of white noise.)
I read a lot of classic sci-fi growing up: Edgar Rice Burroughs, E.E. "Doc" Smith, Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, and so on. But there are a lot of big names that I've neglected, so when Audible ran one of their sales recently, I took the opportunity to download a few classics by authors I hadn't read much.

Enjoy three quickie reviews and a whole bunch of trippy 1960s covers!

The Illustrated Man, Way Station, and This ImmortalCollapse )

Book Review: The Secret World Chronicle, Book One, by Mercedes Lackey and Steve Libbey


Note: This "book" is currently available only as a free podcast or audiobook. However, a hardcover version from Baen is due out next year.

Superheroes. Either you love 'em or you think they're the dumbest thing ever. Kind of like vampire romances. Guess which category I fall into? (You can guess what I think of vampire romances, too. Go ahead, guess.)

I've never read any of Mercedes Lackey's books, so I listened to The Secret World Chronicle with interest but without expecting much.

Suddenly, Nazis!Collapse )

Verdict: If you're a comic book fan, and especially if you liked Wild Cards, this is worth a listen, but if you're not into superheroes, you can probably give it a pass.

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