monthly tally

Assorted bits: monthly tallies, podcasts, and Brian K. Vaughan

Looking at my skyscraper-like book piles at home, I realize that doing ‘monthly tally’ posts is not actually feasible. I already don’t remember what books I brought home in the past week, much less a month. My rate of acquisition is quite high (no, I don’t have piles of money, I have fellow booksellers and friends and my workplace). I might therefore attempt to do more frequent adoption/release updates in between actual reviews.

exmachinaSpeaking of release/output/reading updates. Since I dearly love Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, I had to go and find his other stuff. In the past two weeks I made my way through the entire Ex Machina series he did with Tony Harris and a few other people. It is, unsurprisingly, well-done and intelligent and very, very different from Saga. I think your enjoyment of Ex Machina will depend on whether you like politics in your graphic novels, since the main character is the Mayor of New York City. I can’t say I am normally a big fan of such things, but I also lived in NYC and had worked in a city archives before that, and I happen to find local politics quite interesting. I therefore enjoyed Ex Machina quite a bit, but on a cerebral, rather than emotional, level.

Finally, If you are the sort of geek who enjoys not only reading genre, but reading and talking and listening about genre, you should go listen to episode #180 of The Coode Street Podcast. Not only it has Kelley Eskridge and Nicola Griffith on it, but the entire hour is a geek-fest of intelligent discussions about what might or might not be fantastic fiction, awards, publishing, and reading speculative fiction.

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June reading tally: re-reading edition

I was terrible at documenting what I brought home this month. There were many and varied stacks of library books that kept getting shuffled back to the library, then back to my house. I was looking forward to reading a lot of books on my vacation, but when said vacation actually arrived, I found myself paralyzed by the multitude of books. First world problem, indeed.

June was a month of re-reads and ARCs, and here’s the list:

1. Jim Butcher, Storm Front

2. Geoff Dyer, The Colour of Memory

3. Andrew Kaufman, Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times

4. Grady Hendrix, Horrorstör

5. Jim Butcher, Fool Moon

6. Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation

7. Jim Butcher, Grave Peril

8. Garth Nix, Sabriel

9. Daryl Gregory, Afterparty

10. Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

11. Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Head Games

12. Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows

13. Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom

14. Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Clockworks

15. Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega

16. Stephen Collins, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil

17. Julia Elliott, The Wilds

18. Alyson Foster, God Is an Astronaut

19. Randall Munroe, What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

20. Matt Kailey, Just Add Hormones

21. Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos Papadimitriou, Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

22. Jim Butcher, Summer Knight

23. Susan Coll, The Stager

24. Jim Butcher, Death Masks

 

Twenty four books, which seems impressive, except eight of them were graphic novels. I started my re-read of the Dresden Files, which proceeds apace (on Blood Rites at the moment).

The Best: What If wins hands down for non-fiction. The Colour of Memory takes the fiction prize. It’s an odd novel. I loved it to bits, and yet it has absolutely no plot.

The Meh: There’s been some excitement around God Is An Astronaut, but it seemed entirely non-memorable to me.

The WeirdHorrorstör. What the what. Actually, it was delightful ‘what the what’.

 

May reading tally: ‘Too Early to Talk About’ edition

May was extremely satisfying reading-wise, but entirely frustrating when it came to reviewing. I read a few really, really good books, and I can’t tell you about them. Because it is too early. Basically, this month, I read 80% of all my ‘Can’t Wait Till Release Date” books for the entire year. These books are the ones that go immediately to the top of the reading pile, and I will, in fact, drop any other book I’m reading to read these.

What this means is that this month, my books acquired should be pretty similar to books read. Fingers crossed.

Books acquired (including borrowed) – and this time I was pretty good about photo documentation:

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A couple of bookgroup books (Sabriel and Blindsight), plus The Bees, which I reviewed here.

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Guys, guys, it’s the xkcd book! The only reason I’m not done with it yet is because I got it yesterday. Also, Sally Ride!

Continuing with non-fiction theme:

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Plutopia is supposed to be great.

I then acquired this odd hardcover edition of Dune (pictured here melding with the table):

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All these were satisfying acquisitions, but the true highlights were these babies:

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Really, how can you not drop everything and read these? I binged on Vandermeer all last Saturday, finished Mitchell in two days, and Murakami in a day and a half. The only thing I can say is that you will want to get these as soon as they are released.

And now, on to books read:

1. Chester Brown, Louis Riel

2. Joseph Boyden, The Orenda

3. Yuka Igarashi, ed. Granta # 127: Japan

4. David Mitchell, Bone Clocks

5. Jo Walton, My Real Children

6. Rivka Galchen, American Innovations

7. Douglas Coupland, Worst. Person. Ever. (this is obviously Canadian Content month)

8. Lydia Davis, Can’t and Won’t

9. Laline Paull, The Bees

10. Jon Skovron, Man Made Boy

11. Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation

12. Jeff Vandermeer, Authority

13. Jeff Vandermeer, Acceptance

14. Lish McBride, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

15. Michael Deforge, Ant Colony

16. Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

The Best: this is really hard. Vandermeer is a wizard. So is David Mitchell. Murakami is in his own category. But to be honest, the book that took over my mind for days after I was done was The Orenda.

The Worst: nothing was truly terrible. I was disappointed in My Real Children, but I think that’s because I had really high expectations, and the book just didn’t seem to match what was in my head. Also, I’m in the minority here.

I honestly have no idea why I read Douglas Coupland’s book. I needed something truly out of my reading range. I read him before, but during an entirely different phase of my life. Worst. Person. Ever. was crass and disgusting and really made me feel like I was watching a train wreck. It wasn’t terrible (in a sense of ‘boring, can’t go on’ book terrible).

The Weird: only two graphic novels! But they are both by Canadian artists (Canadian Content month continues). Ant Colony is truly weird, but really awesome. Also, I’m never touching Sweet’n Low.

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Yes, they are all ants.

April reading tally, the blurry edition

No, the images are pretty sharp. April itself was kind of a blur. Two big projects at work, finally getting some of my personal stuff sorted out (hello, puberty 2.0), having to find a new housemate. Fun times. Still managed to read some great books, squeezed in a couple of unexpected readathons, and once again paded the numbers by reading through piles of graphic novels.

I’m afraid I kind of dropped the ball on taking photos of things acquired, so I only have a couple.

Books acquired:

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Hyper-realism! Depressing Scandinavian literature! Score!

Also, people essentially give me any books about ex- or currently totalitarian and Communist regimes (Dear Leader).

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Embarrassing Confession Time! In all my time on this Earth, I have somehow avoided reading The Stand. I do not know how this occurred. I don’t think I can even blame Soviet upbringing for this one.

And hey, new Nick Harkaway!

Finally, the photo from my recent weekend blog post (cheating, I know):

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If you are waiting for Embrassing Confession Time #2, where I confess I’ve never read Sherlock Holmes, give up now. I’ve read all of it. At the tender age of 12, I think. Probably reread some of them later. But I envisioned myself sitting down this weekend with a cup of coffee and just reading through them all again.

I have also read Locke & Key, but I want to reread the earlier volumes so I can get the full impact from the last one.

And now, books read:

1. Charles Yu, Third Class Superhero

2. Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopoitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

3. Richard K. Morgan, The Steel Remains

4. Emma Donoghue, Frog Music

5. Peter Higgins, Wolfhound Century

6. Lauren Owen, The Quick

7. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan vol 5: Lonely City (reread)

8. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan vol 6: Gouge Away (reread)

9. Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Saga Vol 3.

10. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan vol 7: Spider’s Trash (reread)

11. Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor

12. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan vol 8: Dirge (reread)

13. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan vol 9: The Cure (reread)

14. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Transmetropolitan vol 10: One More Time (reread)

Aaaand then I took three days off and have absolutely zero books to show for it. I did, however, rake and mow my entire backyard and go for a couple of runs.

The Best:

Saga, Volume 3. Continues to be an amazing graphic novel series. I’m not going to rate Transmet because it is on its own plane of awesomeness (and is also a reread).

The Worst:

Nothing was particularly awful. I think The Quick was not as shiny as it had been described to me. A blurb post is upcoming for that and for Yu. I frankly no longer even finish truly awful books, so they never make it on monthly tally lists (now I hope you have this mental image of piles of abandoned books, floating in space, jettisoned to make room for books I would actually enjoy).