Friday, January 29, 2021

more books

June 2020–January 2021, gonna need a bigger library!
How would I have gotten through 2020 (and so far, 2021!) without books? When I can't stand the news and realize I'm just doom scrolling I shut off the phone and go to my "library." It is just a corner of my house with my books, but in my dreams I have a two-story tower with rolling library ladder and get to keep every thing I've ever read…

I probably re-read more books than ever last year. There was the month of August when everything was closed, it was too smoky to go outside, and I read almost a book every-other day. That was awesome (if a bit unsustainable!).

But today it is raining, and will continue to rain for days (all the muddy trails, sob!), what better time to share books with friends. Here is what I've read, good and bad, the last 6 months or so, (books with ***** are my most recommended):

6/2/20: Bone Silence, Alistair Reynolds, A*****
Final in series, really interesting

6/4/20: The Last Emperox, John Scalzi, B *****
Final in series, love these characters

6/8/20: Prelude To Mars, Arthur C Clarke, B

6/21/20: Old Man's War Series, John Scalzi (Re-Read)
The whole series is a fun read, the first is still the best
    Old Man's War, A*****
    The Ghost Brigades, B+
    The Last Colony, B
    Zoe’s Tale, B
    The Human Division, B-
    The End Of All Things, B

6/22/20: Powersat, Ben Boba, B-
just a bit dumb

6/24/20: Scrapper, Matt Bell, C
completely forgettable!

6/27/20: Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson, A-
entertaining sci-fi by a master

6/29/20: Fleet Of Worlds, Larry Niven And Edward Lerner, A
Prequel To Ringworld, and I love that series

7/4/20: When The Great Days Come (Short Stories), Gardner Dozois, B
vintage sci-fi stories, some very haunting

7/9/20: Forsaken Skies (Book 1 Silence Trilogy), D. Nolan Clark, B+
military-ish sci-fi, just entertaining

7/13/20: The Wasteland Saga (3 Novelas), Nick Cole, B
back to apocalyptic stuff, entertaining, unsurprising

7/15/20: God’s Fires, Patricia Anthony, A-
interesting with historical info, if a bit depressing

7/21/20: The Massacre Of Mankind, Stephen Baxter, C-
Remembered why I really hate most Baxter stuff

7/28/20: Learning The World, Ken MacLeod, B
very good, with the lovely strange worlds MacLeod creates

7/30/20: Salvation, Peter F Hamilton, A *****
another great, amazing adventure by one of my favorites

8/2/20: Salvation Lost, Peter F Hamilton, A*****
second in series, can't wait for the third!

8/8/20: Forbidden Suns (Book 2 Silence Trilogy), D. Nolan. Clark, B
military-ish sci-fi, just entertaining

8/9/20: Forgotten World (Book 3 Silence Trilogy), D. Nolan. Clark, B
military-ish sci-fi, just entertaining

8/10/20: Logos Run, William C Dietz, C
vintage sci-fi, never captured me

8/12/20: At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, Peter Matthiessen, B
Now for something completely different: missionaries in South America! Very good, but see the excellent movie too.

8/13/20: The Martian, Andy Weir (Re-Read), A
always entertaining. I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this…

8/14/20: We Never Talk About My Brother (short stories), Peter S Beagle (Re-Read), A *****
Lovely, poetic stories by the author of the amazing Last Unicorn

8/15/20: Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein (Re-Read), A *****
There is a reason this is classic, all should read

8/16/20: Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman (Re-Read), A *****
different genre (though Gaiman is his own thing), a fantasy I like

8/18/20: Star Quake (Cheela 2), Robert L Forward (Re-Read), A
Life on a neutron start, why not, love this series

8/22/20: West Of Eden, Harry Harrison (Re-Read), A*****
What if the dinosaurs didn't die? And got smart…

8/26/20: Winter In Eden, Harry Harrison (Re-Read), B
sequel is still fun

9/2/20: Return To Eden, Harry Harrison (Re-Read), B
trilogy ending not as strong

9/8/20: A Fire Upon The Deep, Vernor Vinge (Re-Read), A
World building at it's finest

9/15/20: Black Out, John Lawton, B
Historical mystery, interesting

10/4/20: Far North, A Novel, Marcel Theroux, B-
thrift store impulse buy, predictable

10/9/20: Predators I Have Known, Alan Dean Foster, B
Fun sci-fi author relates his world adventures, fun

10/11/20: Blue Heaven, CJ Box, C+
thrift store mistake, so very predictable

10/12/20: The End Of The World Running Club, Adrian Walker, B
apocalyptic but entertaining

10/18/20: Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewel, C+
thrift store murder mystery, meh

10/24/20: Mission Critical, Edited By Jonathan Strahan, (Short Stories) , B
A mostly solid collection of stories about what can go wrong in space

11/4/20: The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August, Claire North, A *****
This was a strange find that I loved, a man relives his life many times, highly recommend

11/10:20: The Aftermath, Ben Bova, B
Standard space story by usually solid Bova

11/20/20: A Deepness In The Sky, Vernon Vinge (Re-read), A*****
This is my favorite Vinge novel, wonderful world building and creatures!

11/30/20: The Pharaoh Key, Preston And Child, D
so dumb, so, so dumb

12/5/20: The Final Frontier (short stories), edited By Neil Clarke, B
More short space stories, entertaining

12/10/20: Good Morning Midnight, Lily Brooks Dalton, B+
good, easy read, don’t see the movie, very changed to pacify stupid people who need a happy ending

12/20/20: The Peace War, Vernor Vinge, B
Sci-fi with interesting inventions

12/27/20: Solar Express, Le Modesitt, C-
Why a mostly fantasy author should not write sci-fi

12/28/20: The End Of The World Survivors Club, Adrian Walker, B
Sequel to The End Of The World Running Club, so more apocalyptic but entertaining

1/5/21: Future On Ice (Short Stories) edited by Orson Scott Card, B
editor is an asshole human, but the stories were pretty good

1/9/21: Artemis Awakening, Jane Lindskold, D
so very stupid, why I should not read fantasy…annoyed the whole time

1/13/21: Infinity Beach, Jack Mcdevitt (Re-Read), B+
A good, sci-fi story by a solid author

1/23/21: The Children In The Sky, Vernor Vinge, B
Finally got my hands on this hard-to-find sequel, good

someone (Jack!) likes to steal my fireside reading pillow…
  So that was my (long) list (I'll try to do these more often so they're shorter!) I could just show my favorites but I like you to see I make bad book choices too! If I had to suggest three books, I'd say: Old Man's War by John Scalzi (accessible sci-fi), The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North (interesting premise), and Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein (still an important classic).

I'd love some new suggestions (though I admit, I am a bit sworn off of most fantasy…), let me know what you've read lately that you really liked!


  1. I do almost all of my books via Audible, and much of my list from last year was intended to be a distraction, so lots of murder mystery/thriller/detective stuff. Like cotton candy lol. But I did do some literature as well - these three were exceptional:

    Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer: at the top of my list of best books ever

    Heavy - Kiese Laymon: Found this author through some beautifully written Atlantic monthly articles. Very timely and really made me feel what he was saying.

    The Queen's Gambit - Walter Tevis: decided to read the book before watching the Netflix series. So well written. He also wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth...

    1. sometimes a good murder mystery is perfect as a distraction. I sometimes get my Mom's hand-me-down books, that is what she likes!

      I will look up all your suggestions! I love "The Man who fell to Earth" heartbreaking. But your Braiding Sweetgrass suggestion sounds great too. thanks!

    2. Just out of curiosity - did our Christmas card ever make it to Cali? We received yours (thank you!) but it took nearly a month to get here lol...

    3. yes, I loved your card! Got it before Christmas…there is never too much glitter…

  2. I had a dream last night you and I did an endurance ride in California, with you taking care of me. I asked you if it shared trails with Tevis and you said no, we're much further north (!?). The trails looked exactly like your photos, it was so vivid. Mag and Major got along great (Mag was wearing baby blue biothane, ew) and we completed together. I remember it was a 50 and there were no vet checks til the end. But at the end, a vet aids took the horses away from us to check them without "our influence" or whatever. The horses were sad to leave us with strangers. Also, they made *us* run 20 meters to see if we were fit to continue *lol*. I remember you called me Lytha and I didn't know what to call you. We both got our Tshirts.

    1. wow, vivid! I'd ride with you anytime, but that vet check for humans sounds like a terrible idea!