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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

My 2011 Booklist

At the end of 2010, tired of having people ask me what books they should read, I posted a list of every book I read that year. I found doing that strangely fulfilling, and also a great record for myself, in case my book journal is ever lost. With that said, here is a complete list of the books I read in 2011 in the order I read them with notes by favorites or disappointments.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym -- Poe (Absolutely incredible. An unrecognized classic that deserves its due)
A Contract With God -- Eisner
A Life Force -- Eisner
Dropsie Avenue -- Eisner
The Shadow Knows -- Madden (An excellent, haunting collection of short stories. One day Madden will be remembered as the master he is. Hopefully his two Pulitzer nominations help.)
Imaginary Jesus -- Mikalatos
A Fire Upon the Deep -- Vinge (This book blew my brain apart. Vinge is brilliant)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- Twain (2nd Reading)
Decision Points -- Bush
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Allies -- Golden
My Life -- Clinton (Between this and Decision Points, I am seriously considering never voting again. I am not kidding. And was 1,000 pages really necessary?)
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex -- Denning
Fear Agent: Re-Ignition -- Remender (Art by Moore)
Fear Agent: My War -- Remender (Art by Opena)
Fear Agent: The Last Goodbye -- Remender (Art by Moore)
Tales of the Fear Agent -- Remender and Others (Art by should really check this one out.)
Fear Agent: Hatchet Job -- Remender (Art by Opena)
The Fox and the Hound -- Mannix (Incredible and CERTAINLY not for kids. I can't believe this is out of print.)
Candide -- Voltaire
The Giver -- Lowry
Fear Agent: I Against I -- Remender (Art by Moore)
A Good Man is Hard to Find -- O'Connor (My tenth time through the titular story, first through the collection.)
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Conviction -- Allston
Abducted by Circumstance -- Madden (Writing better in his 70's than most young men)
The Silmarillion -- Tolkien (I thought it would be a chore, but I think it is now one of my all time favorites. Awesome.)
What Would MacGyver Do? -- Vaughan
Fear Agent: Out of Step -- Remender (Art by Moore and others)
Tender is the Night -- Fitzgerald (Currently 202 pages in, and currently pretty disapponted.)


Stephanie said...

Did Charlie tell me you're applying to a job at a big library in Baton Rouge...?

Nicholas said...

Haha! I have no idea where that came from. Still at Taskforce/Ecovia. Actually just got boosted back to forty hours here. Just working here and the crawfish ponds! What's that crazy boy talking about?
I hereby grant you the power to give him the big brother noogie I now owe him.

Neal said...

I love Fitzgerald, but I did not care for Tender is the Night or The Beautiful and the Damned. The Beautiful and the Damned is a bit long for what he is trying to say with it, and they're both missing the spark and lyricism of his other novels (I just read his unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, and it is quite strong... might have been up there with Gatsby if he had finished it). This Side of Paradise is somewhat rough and all over, but there is something energetic about it that I have enjoyed the two times I read it.

Glad you liked The Silmarillion! It definitely reads more like a myth story than the Lord of the Rings, but there is a kind of power to it as well. I always liked myths growing up, so it went over well with me.

Trying to think of what books I have read this year or so that I liked. Started to read Terry Pratchett, and his Discworld books are great fun. The one he wrote with Neil Gaimin is good too, titled Good Omens. Don't quite agree with the philosophy/theology in it, but it's fun all the same.

One of the better serious fiction books I've read in the past year or so is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated from the french. Jessica and I read that about a year and a half ago, and that was excellent.

Nicholas said...

Yeah, what's so shocking to me about Tender is the Night so far is the clunkiness of the prose. I just can't see how the guy who wrote that last sentence in Gatsby wrote any of the sentences in this book. Unfortunately, it's turned into a grudge match read, where I am only finishing it to show it I am better than it is.
I really, really loved the Silmarillion. The fullness of the world Tolkien created there was incredible. I love that anytime it seems like he is just dropping a minor detail, it can come back 200 pages later and become a major plot point. I think I may read that one again at some point.
One day I'll give Terry Pratchett a shot.
I've heard of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Maybe I shall add it to my 2012 list. Hope you guys are doing well and had a wonderful Christmas season! My move is done, and things are great, but we have been unable to find an Internet provider in our area, which seems kind of bogus to me. I've just been checking my stuff (including this) at work.

Ris said...

get cobridge! Also..I think I am just going to buy The Silmarillion and really try to finish it this time..

Nicholas said...

I called them and they said they don't service my area. SOUNDS FISHY.
And yes, BUY IT!!! It's so awesome. I want to talk about the dog in it with you when you finish it.

Neal said...

Yeesh, I hope you can get internet somehow. I really hate how bad internet is in America. We pay through the nose for it and it's not nearly as prevalent, fast, or CHEAP as it is in pretty much other countries with similar development. Jessica and I had to downgrade our internet speed when we moved to our current apartment: it's in a well-populated residential area, but our ISP doesn't seem keen on upgrading anytime soon.

Still, it's better than none at all. I really must learn not to complain so. ;)

If you are ever up for reading The Silmarillion again, I would actually recommend the recently published book, The Children of Hurin. Basically, it's the story of Turin and his sister from The Silmarillion, but Christopher Tolkien did a great job of putting it together from the few versions his father had written. I have never sat down and compared the two versions closely, but the tale gains a lot from just being a focused story/novel like The Hobbit.

If you're into audiobooks, you can geek out and listen to Christopher Lee read it to you. He declaims a bit too much, but it's kind of fun to have the voice of Saruman reading the story. :p

Nicholas said...

Neal, I loved Children of Hurin. I bought and read it right when it was released. I really enjoyed that portion of the Silmarillion because I was already familiar with it in detail. And what a brutal ending! As much as I like it (and the lessons about pride one can glean from it), I did enjoy seeing it as part of a larger whole, and that good things happened in Middle Earth after all the doom and gloom.
And the things these Internet are telling me have to be BOGUS! It's all a big scam!

Nicholas said...

*Internet providers*

Neal said...

Oh, cool! I assumed you hadn't read that yet, heh.

What I liked most about having the story separated out is how it brought out Morgoth's curse and its themes, which is somewhat more buried when it's one tale among many. I had appreciated it before, but it really made you think about sin and how it affects you (and how you can resist it). Characters tell each other not to work for Morgoth, Tolkien consistently uses phrasing to question whether characters HAD to do something because of the curse, or whether they were letting it affect them rather than resist it.

It's kind of like the theme of "is there luck?" in Lord of the Rings. He constantly plays with the idea of whether things luckily happen, or if something greater is at work.

Hmmmm. Just realized that I like doing that with my own themes as well. Apparently I took such lessons to heart from reading Tolkien and Dostoevsky! :p