Monday, December 31, 2012

Reading List 2012

To kick off 2012 I decided to finish off some remaining series or authors, to look at the stack of partially read non-fiction in order to read the parts I had previously missed, and to avoid adding anything to my library holds so as to look at what set of books I would focus on next. Being snowed in for a few days gave me a lot of extra reading time. As a result, I forced my way through some tough materials fairly quickly and left myself ready to attack my reading to do lists with minimal distractions on my nightstand. As with previous year reading lists I do not list things like magazines (Astronomy subscription) or comics (Wednesday is new comic book day) or parenting stuff (driver guides and football team manuals) or online things (Grantland / Girl Genius / The Devil's Panties) I follow. After ECCC and Free Comic Book Day there was alot of comic stuff on my nightstand that otherwise would not have been there.  I had looked at a couple of lists like a soccer book list I compiled and a Don Draper Reading List of books from Mad Men so there are those books on here.  My goal was to mostly clear things off of most lists so that I could jump into the A Game Of Thrones books for summer reading. As a result, the list this year is a real hodge podge of stuff without a clear theme other than finishing stuff up on lists and in series'. The highlights are not many as far as books to really recommend to anyone, other than fans of series fiction or whatever.


Zone One by Colson Whitehead
- Some literary zombie fiction by a very talented contemporary writer.
The Sun's Heartbeat: And Other Stories From the Life of the Star that Powers Our Planet by Bob Berman
- I enjoy Berman's monthly Astronomy column and this book is like a big collection of those all on one theme.
Never Coming To A Theater Near You: A Celebration of a Certain Kind of Movie by Kenneth Turan
- I had gone through this in bits in the past and gave it a nice once over. There are a number of films in this that I liked and saw because of this.
Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life by Abigail Trafford
- This was given to me by a friend as years ago and it was good to give it a once over.
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From The Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack, Ph.D.
- Hard not to recommend this book.
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama
- A much more carefully worded and politician type of work than his previous auto-biography from before he entered politics.
The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family by Andrew Himes
- I had the chance to meet and discuss some things with the author after a Tedx talk he was a part of. I really enjoyed how his life perspective shapes his presentation of this material.
Arthurian Legends: The Land of Arthur: Its Heroes and Heroines by Marie Trevelyan
- After sitting on my nightstand for years and having skimmed a bit of it previously, I forced my way through this. A tough read with the old English and spelling.
The Final Evolution by Jeff Somers
- Book 5 of a series of 5. I dove into this and it took me through some good twists and turns.
The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel
- It got a bit tedious in points with how mundane some of the events were, which might have been her point, but it finished really well.
Ceremony - A Short Story by Sherman Alexie
- I got this in one of his emails to readers. It is very short, but says a lot. I will not list a lot of the stuff from Sherman on here, this listing is to note that he sends out little shorts and poems to his subscribers to fallsapart dot com ...


Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change by Bonnie Burton
I got this book with/for my daughter after seeing the author on a panel at GeekGirlCon in October 2011. The presentation of this material is what is important here as the material itself is available in other formats. Worth sharing with girls and parents.
The Boys: The Big Ride (Volume 9) by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson
Since I have a rule of only listing collections I should note that volume ten is a Butcher miniseries that I read as it came out. This is volume nine and I did not read piece meal so it is included like previous volumes.
The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
- I had resisted reading this for a year, but figured I would read eventually so I decided to get it from the library and get it over with. Wallace was never an easy read and this is no exception, but he was one of the few writers that can slow down my reading without pissing me off. It sucked to have to edit the previous sentences to reflect the past tense.
Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth
One of the artists whose work I always read. Once again, Kieth takes a sideways view at classic characters and gives me a good read.
This Is Water by David Foster Wallace
2005 commencement address to Kenyon College given by the late DFW. Really interesting look into his mind, and it also makes me sad.


The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by Sir James George Frazier 
- The level of detail in this work is amazing and it is a surprisingly easy to read and follow book given the subject matter, but it truly is dated to its time period. References to "savages" or "Mohammedans" give away the time period. I got this years ago as a gift and had started it, picking it up from time to time. I decided to clear off all of these books from my nightstand this year and this was the last of the unfinished stack of tough non-fiction stuff. Then, after finishing it, I realised that there was more than one more book that should have been in the stack.
Equus: A Play by Peter Shaffer
- This was on the shelf in a teacher's lounge and I read through it fairly quickly. I had heard of it, but had not actually read or seen it performed before.
Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and others
- This is the collected volume of the main series. I will also eventually check out and read the other five or so volumes of related stories in the Flashpoint series.
596 Switch: The Improbable Journey From The Palouse To Pasadena by Ryan Leaf
- In 1994 there was a freshman football player red shirting at WSU while I was an assistant coach at the same school in another sport. He was always someone who came across as talented and cocky - or worse - and his pro flame out is well documented. This book starts off with a clear explanation that he is aware of his past mistakes, has owned them, and has appeared to have grown. Good for him. The title is a reference to the play WSU would have run had the final two seconds allowed for one more play in the 1998 Rose Bowl. It was interesting to note that he offers up that he should have just run the play, which would have led to all sorts of other arguments about the end of that game. But ... just a few weeks after reading this he was arrested again.
Dynamo: Triumph and Tragedy in Nazi-Occupied Kiev by Andy Dougan
- This is interesting stuff that seeks to bring clarity to a legend. The legend of the Dynamo Kiev team is inspiring, but the truth is actually much more so.
The Turnip Princess
- This is a fairy tale from a collection recently unearthed and translated from the German.
Batman: Through The Looking Glass by Bruce Jones and Sam Kieth
- Batman goes to Wonderland. Sort of.
The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King - A Nonfiction Thriller by James Patterson and Martin Dugard
- In fifth grade the King Tut exhibit came through Seattle. One of the reasons I am finally getting around to reading this book is because of the 2012 King Tut exhibit in Seattle.
Moon Baby Poems by David Greenberg
- I had the good fortune of watching David Greenberg do a reading performance at a school I work at. He had students and teachers in the palm of his hands. That day at lunch I got a chance to chat with him and he is truly an interesting person.
Learn Latin: A Lively Introduction To Reading The Language by Peter Jones
- This is the actual last book in the stack referenced in earlier entries. Yes, a few years ago I decided to learn a little Latin.
The Ultimate Book of Martial Arts by Fay Goodman
- A survey of the major various martial arts and their histories and basic ideas.
Richards' Tae Kwon Do White Belt Thru Black Belt Curriculum Manual
- This is the Seattle Tae Kwon Do manual and I thought it would be a good idea to read it straight through after flipping through it piecemeal over the years. Technically, my edition is from the Richards' era before the name change to Seattle Tae Kwon Do so it is noted that way here.
Another Bullshit Night In Suck City: A Memoir by Nick Flynn
- The title alone caught my eye, but I really just wanted to read this before seeing the movie.
Marsupial Sue by John Lithgow (Author), Jack E. Davis (Illustrator)
- One of several kids books on this month's list. However, it was John Lithgow so I read it.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- Thought I would read this in the event I would see the film.
Pancakes and Waffles by Lou Seibert Pappas
- Oh, how I need to try some of these recipes now.
The Athlete's Kitchen by Nancy Clark
- Although this is dated in how the foods are grouped, it is still awesome in the information it provides about recovery and build up for athletes. As I get older, this gets more and more important.
500 Comic Book Villains by Mike Conroy
- I thought this would be just a simple survey, but Conroy really does a nice job of giving context to the development of the villain in comics over the decades.
The Walking Dead Survivors' Guide by Tim Daniel
- This book is one giant Spoiler Alert as I have only read the first few volumes and watched the show, but it seemed like a good idea.
This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation And Soccer In Ciudad Juárez by Robert Powell
- This is one of several "Year With The Team" books I have read. However, this one is also timely and topical in what is happening just south of the US border in what our news media likes to quickly gloss over in an overly simplified manner.
Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
- I have always loved Rushdie's prose.
Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai
- Volumes 1 & 2. Beginning my run of reading all the volumes, all 26+ of them.


Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai by Stan Sakai
- Painted stand alone graphic novel.
The Art Of Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai
- A look into the history and development of Usagi Yojimbo.
The Silence Of Our Friends by Mark Long & Jim Demonakos (Authors), Nate Powell (Illustrator)
- Good enough that I recommended it to Social Studies teacher friends.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
- Read this as part of a subbing assignment. The first novel in a series exploring Utopia and Dystopia concepts.
Theseus by Geraldine McCaughrean
- A retelling of the Theseus myths.  I decided to read this after seeing The Hunger Games since the author claims that Theseus was an inspiration.
Magic Without Mercy by Devon Monk
- Book 8 of 9 in a series that will be completed in November of this year. Looking forward to the final chapter since a penultimate chapter cannot really resolve too much and has to set up the finale.
Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint by DC Comics various creators
- There are five companion volumes to the basic Flashpoint series, one featuring each of five main JLS heroes; Superman, Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern. There is also The Flash: The Road To Flashpoint that I should have read first that I read among these five volumes. I later discovered that Time Masters: Vanishing Point was an essential tie in and read that too.  Taken as a whole I found Flashpoint to be on par with Marvel's Age of Apocalypse or House of M in regards to alternative timeline massive crossover.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
- Silent graphic novel about the immigrant experience. Beautiful. Magical.
La Linea by Ann Jaramillo
- School related reading, but glad I got this. The subject of immigration and the US/Mexico border is fascinating.


Inheritance: Or, The Vault Of Souls by Christopher Paolini
- I had enjoyed the first and second in this series but found the third tedious and dull. This 4th volume of the trilogy starts a bit slow but actually builds to a satisfying finish with an excellent post conflict wrap up. If only he had condensed the third and fourth into the original one book planned I think it would have been better.
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
- Book 12 of the Sookie Stackhouse series and the first one I have read new since getting caught up on all the books and shorts last year. Apparently, their is but one more novel to go next May.
George R.R. Martin's The Hedge Knight by Ben Avery ; pencils by Mike S. Miller ; inks by Mike Crowell ; colors by Team Kandora.
- Graphic novel interpretation of the first Dunk and Egg short set in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. I will read the actual text as soon as I can get it, but I wanted to read the stories so I got this and part two from the library and part three in text also from the library.
Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess: A Girl Genius Novel by Phil & Kaja Foglio
- Novelization of the Girl Genius early volumes.
The Walking Dead : Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
- What pushes a man to extremes?  We find out.
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
- These books were on my reading list as a rec from a friend a few years back, but I never got around to it until now.  It became evident I really needed to set aside some time to read these.  So, much of what I have done this year regarding my reading lists was to set myself up so that I could just focus on these over the summer.  Then, I got copies of these in April ... and waited.  And they are sooooooo good.


The Hedge Knight II: Sworn Sword by Ben Avery (Writer) and Mike Miller (Artist)
- Graphic novel interpretation of the second Dunk and Egg short set in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. I will read the actual text as soon as I can get it, but I wanted to read the stories so I got this and part one from the library and part three in text also from the library.
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
- Book two was read prior to seeing the second season, so I had images of the characters and surroundings in my head, but not the actual staging like when I read book one after seeing the first season.
The Mystery Knight by George R. R. Martin
- Since this was available in text I read the first two Dunk and Egg short stories in graphic novel form and will read the first two as text when I can.
Polly and the Pirates Volume 2: Mystery of the Dragonfish by Ted Naifeh (Writer) and Robbi Rodriguez (Artist)
- I am a fan of Ted Naifeh's work, from these Polly books to the Courtney Crumrin series.  I think he does a nice job of keeping things clever and creepy. 
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
- Cranked my through book three in short order.  I am thinking that I almost am going too fast at this point.
A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
- "Don't get too atached to any characters," a friend told me.  Yep.
Space Usagi by Stan Sakai
- This is the one non-regular series collection I had not read. So, I will be continuing my run through the 26+ volumes from here straight through over time.


A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
- Finishing up the final book the first few days of July was way ahead of schedule and would have been done a few days earlier if not for the ereader charging down and me not getting that taken care of quickly.
National Federation of Independent Business et al v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al - 11-393 - June 28, 2012
- Supreme Court ruling actual text. I am so not intersted in talk radio or cable news so I read the pdf of the opinion and ruling myself.
Hang Fire by Devon Monk
- Short story that ran on her blog tour that is in her steampunk universe.
Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Neil Gaiman
- I had not previously read Gaiman's look into Adams and how this whole phenomenon came about and found this actually quite interesting.  Now, I actually need to listen to the original audio dramas because I never have.


Success For Teens: Real Teens Talk About Using The Slight Edge by The Success Foundation
- A book my son's HS Football coach had the team read so I read it too.
Swing Your Sword by Mike Leach
-WSU is going for it with the hiring of Coach Leach.  As a former WSU coach in another sport I am happy to see the current paradigm shift in the WSU Athletics mentality. The book was actually a good read.
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden 
-In 1994 I was in attendance when another Escobar blocked a cross for an own goal in the Rose Bowl and was later killed for it.  I have always had a bit of a fascination with Colombia as a result.
The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
- I realized I read this last year about the time I was watching the first season of Haven on DVD and never listed it on one of these reading lists.  So, sort of a re-read, but not really.
Sahara by Clive Cussler
- Saw the movie years ago and when my dad had this in paperback I borrowed it to put on my reading shelf for eventual reading since my reading shelf was bare at that point.


Tin Swift by Devon Monk
- The second book of Monk's Steampunk series. Almost finished in August, but it spilled into September at the end. Fortunately, there will be a third book next Summer.
Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
- Book 8 in the Artemis Fowl series.  I believe we have had the "final" book before when the third one came out, so we will see.
The Perfect Parenting Poem ... by Erma Bombeck
- Handed out by my son's 10th Grade English teacher on Parent Night.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
 - Book in the teachers lounge at a school I sub at. Not a lot of books slow down my reading without making me angry.  But, I found myself both cranking through and trying to slow down at the same time.  Excellent.
Star Wars: A Scanimation Book: Iconic Scenes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away... by Rufus Butler Seder
- A fun little book I found while subbing in the library one day.
The Forest Laird: A Tale Of William Wallace by Jack Whyte
- The first of a three book series by Whyte about the heroes of ancient Scotland.  Somewhere, Sean Connery is smiling at the very notion of these books. I ordered it for my dad to take on a trip and it showed up the day after he left so I read it first.
Fast by Sherman Alexie
- Short fiction in The Stranger.
Stanza by Sherman Alexie
- Short fiction in The Stranger.
Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny! by Jan Thomas
- Kids book whose title meant I had to read it while subbing a second grade classroom.
Playing Possum by Charlaine Harris
- Sookie Stackhouse short story. Basically, this story and the next novel may be it if I understand Harris is ending the series.
The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- A book on my son's English class reading list for tenth grade.  I thought it would be good to have read a few of the books he is reading this year and this looked good and I had read a few others.  Excellent choice. Poignant.
Home And Away : One Writer's Inspiring Experience At The Homeless World Cup by Bidini, Dave.
- The very notion of this event required me to look into this book. I made a point of sharing it with several colleagues.
The Boys (Volume 11): Over the Hill with the Sword of a Thousand Men by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson
- Volume 11 of will be 12 and completed very shortly.  These guys do awesome work.  They tell insane stories, but that is the awesome part.\
Sense Memory by Sherman Alexie
- Short fiction in The Stranger.
Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Langdon Foss and Jose Villarrubia
- Graphic novel about a sushi chef in a world where they have the power.  Seriously, this needs to be a film. And, this is my fave stand alone graphic novel of the past few years.


All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
- A book to feel guilty laughing at.  FTW.
Alice In Zombieland by Lewis Carrol & Nikolas Cook
- Retelling of the Alice mythos in a horror context.
The Clockwork Girl by Sean O'Reilly and Kevin Hanna
- Romeo meets Juliet, only one is a robot and the other is a biological creation.  Graphic novel collection of the series.  Very cool.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope by Morgan Spurlock with photography by Alba Tull
- The book.  Need to see the movie.
Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories by Sherman Alexie
- Half of these are new and half old and so I had already read half of them since I basically am otherwise caught up on Alexie's published works. 
A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud by Brian Harold May
- After a brief 30 something year sabbatical to pursue music in a little band named Queen, May returned to his studies to finish his doctoral work. The start of a bunch of science reading that is necessary given the snti-science BS out there.  I need to read this stuff to keep from losing brain cells by proximity to the stupid.
The Hazards Of Space Travel : A Tourist's Guide by Neil Comins
- The title alone ... But, the timing of reading this after the skydive from space is not lost on me. 
iZombie (Volume 3): Six Feet Under and Rising by Chris Roberson & Michael Allred
- Due to this being cancelled there is only one more collection to read that comes out in a few months.  Too bad, this is awesome.
Chew (Volume 5): Major League Chew by John Layman & Rob Guillory
- This series just keeps on keeping on.
Zero: The Biography Of A Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife
- Having previously read DFW's treatise on the concept of Infinity I thought I just had to read this when I saw it for the sake of balance.  
Magic The Gathering: Basic Rulebook  & Magic The Gathering: Return To Ravnica Player's Guide
- Booklets, but pretty detailed and necessary reading as I sort out how to play this game.
Any Moment & 212 by Kori Golightly
- Poems by someone I loosely know and occassionally dance with.
The Munchkins Guide to Power Gaming by James Desborough &Steve Mortimer (Steve Jackson Games)
- I have been guilty of this in different ways at different times. I joined a group for a game of Monopoly thinking it was more competitive than it was and ended up getting slapped down by someone for power gaming.  In retrospect, I am glad that happened as a reminder to keep perspective. Fortunately, that group is still together and I am a happy member gamer.
Area 51: An Uncensored History Of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen
- This is not a debunking or expose per se.  It is a look at what is known from declassified materials and the odd interview. It looks at how Area 51 would fit into what we know of the Cold War, military technology development, intelligence secrecy, and nuclear research.  If it had turned out to be a book about how everything is a cover up for something like in The X Files I would not have read it.


Understanding Flight by David Anderson and Scott Eberhardt
- This book was recommended by Ira Flatow during a round table discussion after school recently.  It is still pretty technical, but I actually understand a lot more about flight and several very cool things I never did before. The history of the technology is also really important to show how the principles were learned and tested over time.
Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
- This was a book that had several "Oh ..." moments after as I pieced out what certain things meant. Very cool.
Magic The Gathering: 2013 Core Set Player's Guide, Magic The Gathering: Avacyn Restored Player's Guide, Magic The Gathering: Dark Ascension Player's Guide & Magic The Gathering: Innistrad Player's Guide
- I know these are pamphlets, but they are a ton of information for this newbie. I decided to read up on the previous block as it is still Standard, but only to really buy and play from the current core set forward.
Physics of The Impossible: A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku
- Another good science read.  Given the anti-intellectual bent of too much of society, to have someone take some time and work through this material is cool.
Max Weber's War by Robert Frezza
- I have looked for this for years and finally found it on eBay.  Now, if only he would publish more.
Magic For A Price by Devon Monk
- Book nine (and last) of the Allie Beckstrom series. There are going to be some spin offs, but this is the culmination of this particular story. I think this series would work really well as a cable television series.
Alien: Engineers by John Spaihts
- Original screenplay for what became the movie Prometheus. Not a huge number of differences, but there are some.
Powers (Volume 14): Gods by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming
- Seriously, how can anyone not see or cast Katee Sackhoff as Deena Pilgrim ... 


Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Official Rulebook
- I have Versions 2, 5, & 8. Learning these games is like trying to learn bridge. Except, the bridge cards never change and the rules are perpetual and not determined by new aspects of the game added by the new cards.
Pokemon Trading Card Game Rulebook
- Actually, I have a couple versions of this one too; EX Hidden Legends and Black & White Boundaries Crossed and see the evolution of the game as the different expansions have come out.
A Planeswalker's Guide To Alara: A Magic The Gathering Field Guide by Doug Beyer & Jenna Helland 
- This is a book, not a pamphlet and really gets into the story behind the Alara block.  After I played an Alara booster draft I thought that this would be cool to read.
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr.
- It is hard to believe this is almost 20 years old and I am just now getting around to reading it, but origin story retellings and prequels are not something I generally get that into.  Enjoyable, but ultimately I know how the story ends.
House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest by Craig Childs
- I read this for several reasons. I have a published short story that is the first chapter in a long ago started novel that this book should be awesome for the research on should I ever kick my ass into gear and finish it.
Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks & the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone
- Saw a student with this and it caught my eye.  The psychology and sociology of this was really what made this a good read.