Greg (gmalivuk) wrote,
Greg
gmalivuk

Books of 2010

Happy New Year!

In keeping with previous years, here's what I'm reading in 2010.
(2007, 2008, and 2009)

1) Terry Pratchett: Carpet People (audio, finished 01-04) One of his few pre-Discworld books, it has apparently been described as "Lord of the Rings on a rug". Which is pretty apt.
2) Terry Pratchett: Strata (audio, finished 01-06) Another pre-Discworld novel set on a flat world (this one planet-sized and quite possibly the inspiration for Discworld itself). As SF rather than fantasy, this one is largely a parody of (and homage to) Niven's Ringworld. Since I'm a huge fan of both Pratchett and Niven (especially the Known Space collection of which Ringworld is a part), I enjoyed this one immensely.
3) Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion (text, finished 01-19) Very good, as I've found all the other Dawkins I've read, and undeserving of most of the religious criticism leveled at it, which as usual seems to come largely from people who missed the point entirely. Seemed to downplay physical and sexual abuse a bit to make the point that religion itself can be a kind of abuse to young children, though, which point I think he could have made much better without trivializing other forms of abuse with a few anecdotes (one his own) of people who were not themselves traumatized by them.
4) Max Brooks: World War Z (text, finished 02-23) Excellent story. I'd heard lots of good things about it from friends already, but it wasn't until my coworkers got it for my birthday that I actually got around to reading a copy. While the zombie genre itself sometimes bothers me with the fact that the zombies are essentially magical, needing no food or water or air or even most of their body parts to survive, I definitely appreciate their creepiness and I also like how world-spanning this book was. Most of the zombie movies folks have made follow one person or small band of people around as they cope with the disaster. This book was rather more interesting, as it covers what happens all over the world as the disease first appears, causes panic, is fought against, and finally beaten back. And once you accept the magical zombie premise, the book is incredibly detailed and well-researched, which I guess makes it fit with the kind of scifi I like: the author gets one major premise to make up, and then the rest of the story should be as realistic as possible around that.
5) Jack London: The Scarlet Plague (audio, finished 03-10) Interesting short story set 60 years after a plague destroys civilization in 2013. London's rather quaint notions about civilization and barbarism were somewhat distracting, and imagining his protagonist in the actual world of the 2010s (instead of how London thought it might be when writing in 1912) made me not really care for him and his racist and classist notions.
6) Richard Jeffries: After London (audio, finished 03-17) Another post-apocalyptic one, this from 1885 and quite a bit better than the last one. Kind of a sudden and unsatisfying ending, though.
7) Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game (audio, finished about 03-23) Helen had this audiobook (and a couple other Ender ones), so I stole them from her to listen to again since it was ages ago that I read them.
8) Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner: Fleet of Worlds (text, finished 04-09) Kind of a prequel to Ringworld, takes place on the Puppeteer Fleet. Pretty good, but lacked something that Niven's earlier Known Space stories had.
9) Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner: Juggler of Worlds (text, finished 04-14) Parallel and a sequel to both Fleet of Worlds and the Beowulf Shaeffer short stories I first read in Crashlander. While it's interesting to see familiar events from a different perspective, having read all those short stories already made some bits of plot rather uninteresting for me because I already knew what was going on.
10) Philip Pullman: The Golden Compass (audio, finished 04-30) Very good, as I knew it would be. Makes me want to see the movie again, since as I recall it seemed fairly faithful to the book, apart from obviously having to leave out parts that would have made it too long.
11) Philip Pullman: The Subtle Knife (audio, finished 05-03) Also quite good, but I feel it either lacked something of the first one or I missed something on account of listening to most of it while doing the 20-mile-long Walk for Hunger and thus not paying enough attention in parts.
12) Philip Pullman: The Amber Spyglass (audio, finished 05-17) The last book of the original trilogy, though now apparently there's a fourth one that I might check out at some point. Very enjoyable, though I couldn't get past the fact that the main characters are like 12, and so my main response to their love for each other was, "You're like 12. You'll get over it."
13) George Stewart: Earth Abides (text, finished 06-02) I read this for the first time back in high school, and wanted to check it out again now that I'm more familiar with other similarly themed books. It was still really excellent, though I think I had a harder time this ...time getting past the fairly undeveloped other characters and outdated gender things and such.
14) Neil Gaiman: American Gods (audio, finished 07-18) Excellent story crafted around the very interesting premise that gods are real and brought to new places by their believers, often to be abandoned there. Kinda made me want to see some tacky roadside attractions, too.
15) Frank Herbert: Dune (audio, finished 08-23) Decided to listen to at least the first few of these again, partly because they're awesome and partly because I'm going to play a very Fremen-like character for a Wheel of Time themed role-playing game soon.
16) Frank Herbert: Dune Messiah (audio, finished 08-30)
17) Frank Herbert: Children of Dune (audio, finished 09-13)
18) Terry Pratchett: Small Gods (text, finished 10-30) I'd skipped this one before because the audio file was messed up and Meaux didn't have her copy handy. (I borrowed it from Sophy's boyfriend Ed after his Halloween party.) Quite wonderful, and I definitely understand why Sophy would be inspired by this one to make her tattoo. It's got some interesting religious commentary, and is pretty stand-alone from the other Discworld books, though I suppose it helps to know something about the ape Librarian of Unseen University to get one small reference.
19) Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals (finished 11-07) Also quite good, as is usual for Pratchett. Some described it as feeling like his last real Discworld book, though I didn't get that impression (even though it probably is going to be one of the last, given his aging and Alzheimer's...).
20) Terry Pratchett: I Shall Wear Midnight (finished around 11-14) I was really glad to get one more Tiffany Aching book, since my first introduction to Discworld was Wee Free Men, where she is first introduced.
21) Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon (finished 12-11) Though the characters were pretty annoyingly flat at times, the amount of research and humor that went into the overall setting and plot more than made up for it, to make this a quite enjoyable read.
22) Michael Crichton: Pirate Latitudes (finished 12-20) Despite not particularly caring for much of his later sci-fi, this one was pretty good and made me want to take a look at Crichton's other historical fiction (Great Train Robbery and Eaters of the Dead).
Tags: books
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