Thirteenth Five Books of 2007


[Dumb old Amazon. I even uploaded a picture of the Downy Duck cover and it still didn't show up here. Lame.]

065) How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, finished October 1
    I respect Orson Scott Card as a writer and as a person and although I didn't ask for this book, when En-her-gy Girl lent it to me along with this other one, I didn't say no. And, as it was shorter (and had spaceships), I finished it first. I don't intend to discuss it other than to discuss the last line of the book:

    So close this book and get back to work.

    two weeks give or take

064) Downy Duck Grows Up by Adda Mai Sharp and Epsie Young, finished September 30
    We picked this nugget up at a library sale and I spent the last week reading it to the Big O. It was good. Just check this out:

    Downy Duck

    one week

063) Humans by Robert J. Sawyer, finished September 28
    Recession Cone and I are reading these books simultaneously and he calls them "silly." I get his point. This one was "sillier" than the last. And I had some complaints. But overall I like these books. What other books have lines like this:

    ...after all, although she'd traveled to another universe, she was still in the same time zone.


    five days

062) Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer, finished September 23
    I'm having a difficult time explaining to myself exactly why I liked this book as much as I did. But I certainly did like it a lot.

    I first heard of these books during a bout of Wikipedia surfing. I read about the trilogy and was intrigued by the description of Neanderthal culture and the fact that this volume took home a Hugo. I wasn't about to run out to Barnes & Nobel and pick up a copy, but I added it to my mental list.

    Fast forward three months and I'm accepting donations for my classroom library and in comes all three volumes of The Neanderthal Parallax. So the first book I checked out from my library was Hominids and, well, I haven't sped through a book this length this quickly in quite some time.

    I was worried at first. In the book's second sentence we are introduced to a "statuesque" scientist and I though, hoo boy, here we go, bring on the litany of hoary cliches. But happily, the scientist's statuesqueness served a role as foil for another character and, in fact, one thing I like so much about this book is its avoidance of cliche.

    Briefly, the story is about a Neanderthal scientist--a quantum-physics guy--from a parallel version of Earth where they rose to prominence and we died out. Due to a lab accident (whoops!) he finds himself in Canada. Geographically, he was always in Canada, but "Canada" doesn't exists in Neanderland. Anyway, he is the alien in this story but instead of being zooed or dissected or (etc), he's treated as an adult and fellow scientist by our scientists. Once everyone learns to speak with one another, that is.

    I didn't know Sawyer from Adam (so to speak) last week, but now I've learned what a big deal he is and that his work often deals with religious issues, and I have to say, this is (intentionally or not) one of the most persuasive atheist tracts I've ever read. See, I totally believe in the existence of Neanderthals in a parallel world now and, since they don't understand even the concept of God and since I cannot believe in a God who would abandon an entire world of people, my mind is spitting up error messages right now.

    The storytelling is excellent. He's not a stylist on the order of, say, Orson Scott Card, but his storytelling is excellent. Great read.

    fourish days

061) Making Comics by Scott McCloud, finished August 20
    I held off buying this book for a year as I waited for Scott's 50 States Tour to bring him to Berkeley. Then I realized that was dumb and that it made more sense to read the book before I met him so I could ask interesting questions. So I bought it the day before he showed up and read, oh, five/ten pages. Ah well.

    Anyway, the book's great. I love comics and if I was a better person, I'ld learn how to draw better. But it's much too late for that.

    If you want a taste of this book, you might read Chapter 5½ on webcomics which is online, as webcomics--makes sense--are easier to webcomic.

    As usual, Scott's deconstruction and reconstruction of basic obvious stuff is topnotch. I reread Understanding Comics earlier this year and it's still pretty danged awesome.

    That's all I really have to say about this today -- You just have to read some Scott McCloud. Now you just need to pick which one of the three to start with.

    one month and two days

060) Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov, finished September 14
059) The Pearl by John Steinbeck, finished September 11 and again on September 12
058) The Dog Is Not a Toy: House Rule #4 by Darby Conley, finished September 3
057) Brother Brigham by D. Michael Martindale, finished August 29
056) The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov, finished August 27
055) Ode To Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka, finished August 20
054) Polygamy Was Better Than Monotony by Paul Bailey, finished August 10
053) Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, finished August 7
052) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, finished July 24
051) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling, finished July 21
050) The Ruins by Scott Smith, finished July 13
049) Favorite Stories by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey, finished July 12
048) Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins, finished July 2
047) Flight Volume Three edited by Kazu Kibuishi, finished June 27
046) Nobody Is Perfick by Bernard Waber, finished June 14
045) First Paragraphs: Inspired Openings for Writers and Readers by Donald Newlove, finished June 12
044) The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, finished June 11
043) Dune by Frank Herbert, finished June 9
042) The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill, finished June 8
041) The Roald Dahl Omnibus by Roald Dahl, finished June 6
040) Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo, finished May 31
039) The End by Lemony Snicket, finished May 23
038) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 by Charles M. Schultz, finished May 22
037) The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket, finished May 21
036) The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket, finished May 18
035) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, finished May 15
034) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, finished May 14
033) Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006 by Chip Kidd, finished May 9
032) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, finished May 7
031) The Complete Peanuts 1959-1960 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 25
030) Devils & Demons edited by Marvin Kaye, finished April 23
029) Talk Talk Talk: Decoding the Mysteries of Speech by Jay Ingram, finished April 23
028) Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman, finished April 20
027) The Long Chalkboard: and Other Stories by Jennifer Allen and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, finished April 19
026) Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, finished April 19
025) Frank by Jim Woodring, finished April 12
024) The Complete Concrete by Paul Chadwick, finished April 3
023) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished March 30
022) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, finished March 28
021) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller et al, finished March 23
020) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, finished March 16
019) Batman: Gothic by Grant Morrison et al, finished March 13
018) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, finished March 7
017) Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald, finished March 7
016) 50 Professional Scenes for Student Actors: A Collection of Short 2 Person Scenes by Garry Michael Kluger, finished March 6
015) Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, finished March 5
014) Frindle by Andrew Clements, finished March 1
013) Brain Wave by Poul Anderson, finished February 27
012) The Best American Comics 2006 edited by Harvey Pekar and Anne Elizabeth Moore, finished February 26
011) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, finished February 15
010) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ edited by Mormon and Moroni, finished February 7
009) Lisey's Story by Stephen King, finished February 1
008) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, finished January 26
007) Empire by Orson Scott Card, finished January 24
006) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, finished January 22
005) Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, finished January 17
004) Superman Adventures Vol. 1: Up, Up and Away! by Mark Millar, finished January 16
003) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, finished January 12
002) Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, finished January 11
001) Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, finished January 10

    Read about
The First Five (001 - 005)
The Second Five (006 - 010)
The Third Five (011 - 015)
The Fourth Five (016 - 020)
The Fifth Five (021 - 025)
The Sixth Five (026 - 030)
The Seventh Five (031 - 035)
The Eighth Five (036 - 040)
The Ninth Five (041 - 045)
The Tenth Five (046 - 050)
The Eleventh Five (051 - 055)
The Twelfth Five (061 - 060)


  1. hmmm... I'm still looking for a satisfying way to blog about books. this year, my tactic to to just post a list in December.

  2. .

    I like this way, but few people actually read it. Which wasn't part of my goal, really.

  3. Ah, you read Scott McCloud. I'm no artist, but I like some of his ideas. We should discuss a different version of the 24 hour comic for ourselves. A 24 hour short story? I'm not one for gimmicks, but maybe in the interest of exercise?

  4. .

    I've found that many a "gimmick" results in something usable.

    And although I can't draw that well, I've always wanted to do a 24hr comic anyway.