Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Buckshot: 2008: The Year in Books

2008 has been over for about a week now, but I'm going to do a couple "year in review" posts, this being the first of them. This is just a recap of what I read over the last calendar year, accompanied by brief comments. 2008 saw me reading a lot of novels for grad school, so I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked. While I read numerous graphic novels in 2008, the first two volumes of Greg Rucka's Queen & Country series are the only ones I counted as actual "books," because their plots were much more involved than most of the comic material I read.

School-required readings are in italics.

**The Drawing of the Three: The Dark Tower II by Stephen King - Decided to finally get back into the Dark Tower series. Not a whole lot actually happens, plot-wise, but it was a very engrossing read.

** Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Out of the Madhouse: Part 1 of The Gatekeeper Trilogy by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder - Revisiting my high school years by re-reading some Buffy tie-in literature. It's held up quite well, actually.

** World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks - An amazing read. Bring on more tales of the zombie apocalypse! Better yet, do some short stories that expand on the anecdotes from this book, especially the tale of the Japanese warrior monks and their battle against the undead horde. Highly Recommended.

** The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Finally read it. And now I plan to read more of Fitzgerald's ouevre. Recommended.

** Abraham's Promise by Philip Jeyaretnam - If you like stories starring bitter old men who have let their lives go to crap, this is right up your alley. Me? I didn't really care for it.

** Nothing to Lose by Lee Child - The twelfth Jack Reacher thriller! Not Child's best, but a pretty fun read.

** Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton - I'd just finished re-reading this when the author's untimely death was announced. We miss you, Mike. Nobody did technology gone horribly wrong quite like you. Recommended.

** Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - Perhaps not deserving of its overwhelming praise, but a very engaging and at times moving read nonetheless. Recommended.

** A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf - While I understand its impact at the time of its publication, in my opinion it's really not that well-written.

** Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by Richard Rodriguez - Pretentious, even if he does make some interesting observations on occasion.

** Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition Vol. 2 by Greg Rucka - See below. Outstanding. Recommended.

** Star Trek: Captain's Glory by William Shatner - Again, there's the previous post.

** Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition Vol. 1 by Greg Rucka - This espionage series is outstanding. Highly Recommended.

** Enigma by Robert Harris - World War II intrigue involving English codebreakers. Very tense and enjoyable novel. Recommended.

** Star Trek: Captain's Blood by William Shatner - I wrote about Shatner's Trek novels recently, so you can check out that post for more info.

** Borderkind by Christopher Golden - Part two of a very entertaining series involving an alternative take on mythical characters. Jack Frost, as one of our heroes, is my favorite character of the series. Recommended.

** Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - An absolutely great done-in-one fantasy novel, which is rare when everybody and their brother envisions their story as at least a trilogy these days. Hooper will also rave about this one if you give him a chance. Highly Recommended.

** Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Recommended.

** Virtual Light by William Gibson - Meh.

** Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman - Hooper recommended this one to me. A superhero novel, told largely from the villain's perspective. Hilarious. Recommended.

** Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney - Entertaining yarn, even if the characters are kind of stupid at times.

** The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Ye Gods, was that a depressing novel. Still a good read though.

** The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells - See below. Recommended.

** Time’s Eye by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter - Mixed-up historical eras? Astronauts befriending Rudyard Kipling? Culminating in a battle between the armies of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great? If that doesn't get you interested, you may have no use for this novel. Recommended.

** The Time Machine by H.G. Wells - See below.

** The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells - I'll just say this for the three Wells novels on this list: There's a reason we call them classics.

** Wicked by Gregory Maguire - Finally read it after seeing the musical (Which was lots of fun in its own right.). A very enjoyable alternate look at a classic story. Recommended.


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