Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A look back

   For the past 10 years or so, I've been keeping a journal of all the books I've read in the previous 12 months. Here's what I've read since January 2011:

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, edited by Ann and Jeff Vendermeer
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Horns by Joe Hill
Steampunk’d, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan Forward
The Mental Floss History of the United States: The (Almost) Complete and (Entirely) Entertaining Story of America by Erik Sass with Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur
The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer with S.J. Chambers
Zanesville by Kris Saknussemm
Clementine: A Novel of the Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
The Rivers of London/Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Thunderstruck by Eric Larson
Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Heartless (Parasol Protectorate Book IV) by Gail Carriger
Sherlock Holmes: The Giant Rat of Sumatra by Richard L. Boyer
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Sherlock Holmes: The Peerless Peer by Philip Jose Farmer
The City & The City by China Mieville
Great Tales from English History, Vol. 3 by Robert Lacey
The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes: Nine Adventures from the Lost Years by Ted Riccardi
Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan Forward
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
The Fall: The Strain Trilogy, Vol. 2 by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Ghosts by Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense, edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers

   By my count, that’s 32 books, which is the best I've done since I started keeping track. Eight of them are undeniably steampunk related. Eight or nine are nonfiction (one is nonfiction about steampunk), of which three are by Sarah Vowell. All the fiction contains either a mystery and/or an element of the fantastic, of which three are Sherlock Holmes pastiches. A few of them I have reviewed on this blog.
   I only consider three or four of them to have been a complete waste of time. Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, turned out to be more for the romance novel fan than the science fiction fan even though it was compiled by the same editors and written by some of the same writers as Steampunk’d, which I throughly enjoyed. Clementine was a sequel of sorts to a steampunk novel I didn't like, but the book was available at the library so I thought I'd give the author another chance. I won't bother trying again. I've already reviewed Sherlock Holmes: The Giant Rat of Sumatra and listed its shortcomings. I might add The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes to that worthless list because, although I admired the concept of the book ~ following Holmes' adventures after the world believed him dead at Moriarty's hands ~ they weren't in keeping with his character and behavior in Doyle's stories and they weren't sufficiently interesting on their own.
   My favorite titles are harder to decide. Maybe I'll save them for another post.


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