Capsule book reviews.
My Chrismas Reading List for 2008 went well; I finished two novels (Revelation Space, The Last Colony) on the list and made a serious dent in the third (The Amber Spyglass), while also finishing a hefty graphic novel (Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi, Vol. 1)
After a long, hard-fought autumn spent coding, organizing projects and reviewing way, way too many video games, I've got the urge to read. It's a compulsion really, a strong desire to find a quiet corner of the house (or even a noisy, chaotic corner of the house) and lose myself in a good paperback.
I'm also looking for some good inspirational material for my Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic campaign; not necessarily things I want lift to include in the story, but rather ideas that can serve as a spring board for my own creative wanderings.
I'm particularly interested in reading newer space opera, stuff published since the turn of the century (that would be the turn of the 21st century, for those who forget which one we're living in ... which happens to me from time to time). I'm also interested in some current hard SF, but with an emphasis on Thinking Big; give me super-sized space structures, transhuman wars or encounters with alien civilizations; anything but another round of grim, near-future cyberpunk derivatives. Yeah, I like that stuff too ... but it's not what I'm shooting for right now.
I got off to a great start to my summer reading list, but it slowed down significantly after July, when my spring-summer run of work conferences ended (which had given me plenty of time to read on cross-country plane trips), and I had to double-down on my projects to meet start-of-semester deadlines.
The other problem? I ran into Moon of Skulls, a collection of short stories by Robert E. Howard.
My reading list this month is dominated by books demands spawned by the two book clubs I've joined: the Secret Lair Book Club and my gaming group's own graphic novel book club. The first two books are Market Forces, a Car Wars meets Wall Street novel by Richard K. Morgan and The Sky People, a tale of Venus as a pulp-style jungle world colonized by Americans and a Sino-Russian alliance by S.M.
The end of the summer saw me pick up a bunch of new books, including Hyperion and its sequel, The Fall of Hyperion and autumn actually gave me enough time to read one of them!
As we moved into December, the movie release of Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass – and the religious controversy that surrounded it – led me to pick up the book, and the subject of gods and religion inspired me to return to this summer's audio book listening project, Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
The summer reading list is going well. Since I finalized the list in Radio Active #51, I've finished Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, and Pushing Ice by Alistair Reynolds.
The fiction pile is growing surprisingly short, with only Jim Butcher's Storm Front and John Scalzi's The Last Colony remaining.
With vacation looming large in August, I find myself in need of a few more books for the road.
My autumn reading jag, which saw me tear through a half-dozen novels, petered out this winter as I ran into the slow, meandering text of The Difference Engine, a book that promised a steampunk revolution but got bogged down in its own minutiae. I haven't done much better on the audio front, after a preachy opening to The Light Fantastic turned me away from audio books for a bit and inspired me to catch up on my podcasts instead. Meanwhile, the double-sized January/February 2007 issue of Analog has been riding back and forth to work in my backpack for weeks, but I've only just started to work my way through its pages.
After a reading lull brought about by way too much painting in September, I've returned to my books with a vengeance.
Science fiction dominates my reading list this time around as I return to Ben Bova's "Grand Tour" of the Solar System with the hard science fiction novel Jupiter then have some fun with Vernor Vinge's high-minded space opera A Fire upon the Deep.
One of the many pleasant surprises following the birth of my son Lucas on June 14 has been how much reading I've been able to do. This is partly because I chose some particularly good books to read, but also because I have a lot more time thanks to those early morning and late night feedings, not to mention those times when he just wants to be held.
Cradling the baby in the nook of your arm while perching a book just so is something of an art, but once I figured it out, I suddenly had an extra 45 minutes a day where I could just read. Being a veteran dad, I know this bubble of reading time is an aberration that will go away once Luc starts eating solid foods so I'm enjoying it while I can.