Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: New Year's Resolution, Reading List, and Reading Challenges

Last year I created a combined New Year's Resolution, Reading List, and Reading Challenges for myself. It was simply to read two books a month from my TBR bookcase, a total of 24 for the year. The Bad News is that I only managed to read 15 of 24 books, not even two-thirds of my goal. The Good News is that I managed to read 15 of 24 books, therefore removing 15 books from the bookcase. Consequently, I have decided to try again this year, hoping to either make my goal or even exceed it.

Overall it was a good year. Following is a partial list of the books I did read and would recommend.

Stella Gibbons: Cold Comfort Farm
Hermann Hesse: Siddhartha
Kim Stanley Robinson: The Wild Shore
Hermann Hesse: Steppenwolf
Loren Eiseley: The Immense Journey
Fred Vargas: Seeking Whom He May Devour
Joseph Conrad: Victory
Mikhail Bulgakov: Heart of a Dog
Joseph Wood Krutch: Baja California and the Geography of HopeKS Robinson: The Gold Coast
Thomas Mann: The Transposed Heads
Russell Hoban: The Lion of Boaz-Jachim and Jachim-Boaz
Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart
Bruce Stolbov: Last Fall
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: We Never Make Mistakes
Karin Fossum: The Indian Bride or Calling Out for You
Ken Grimwood: Replay
China Mieville: Kraken
Dan Simmons: Hyperion
Jack London: The Sea-Wolf
Rudyard Kipling: Kim
Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles
Ingrid Black: Circle of the Dead
Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland
Philip Jose Farmer: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Michael Gregorio: A Visible Darkness
Arnaldur Indridason: Silence of the Grave
P. D. James: Death Comes to Pemberley
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching
Eliot Pattison: The Lord of Death
Kim Stanley Robinson: 40 Signs of Rain
Ben Sanders: The Fallen
C. J. Sansom: Heartstone
John Scalzi: Android's Dream
Manil Suri: Death of Vishnu


  1. Fred,

    Could you give a mini review of China Mieville's book Kraken? I know you said you would recommend it, but could you say specifically what you liked about it? (I was thinking of reading it.)

  2. Cheryl,

    The body of a giant squid (probably the source for the legends of the Kraken) is stolen from a museum. All agree that it's an impossible crime. Billy Harrow discovered the squidnapping and is the main suspect. He is also now believed to be the Kraken's Prophet (in the original sense of the word).

    The following is a brief description I cribbed from the library.

    "Being chased by cults, a maniac, and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid--a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be."

    Mieville has created a truly weird and wacky world here in which bizarre religious cults wage war with each other attempting to gain control of the Kraken. There's a strong Star Trek element also in the story as well as a police unit that has witches and paranormals as they investigate various cults.

    It's one of those books where you just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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  4. Cheryl,

    The answer to your question is no.

  5. Fred,

    Thanks. I didn't want my question to seem argumentative - it wasn't meant to be - so I took it down.

  6. Cheryl,

    No problem. I didn't take it that way.

  7. Fred,
    You haven't done any movie reviews in awhile. They are always entertaining and informative. Maybe you could do one in the near future? Just a suggestion.