geekchick: (reading)
Over in [ profile] gears_and_steam, one of the members posted a steampunk/neo-victorian music compilation; I've been listening to it for a couple of days and now have a few more artists on my "hunt down their stuff and buy it" list.

I've got a raging headache and want to try getting to bed in the next ten minutes, so I'm just going to make quick note of the last set of books (since mid-November) that I finished in 2007 so that I don't forget about it as I inevitably will.

  1. Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman

  2. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Don Tapscott

  3. A Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer

  4. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, Alan Moore

  5. The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden, Catherynne Valente (I think this is my favorite book of last year.)

  6. Lord John and the Hand of Devils, Diana Gabaldon

  7. Daughter of the Blood, Anne Bishop

  8. Heir to the Shadows, Anne Bishop

  9. Queen of the Darkness, Anne Bishop

  10. Dreams Made Flesh, Anne Bishop

  11. The Invisible Ring, Anne Bishop

  12. Tokyo Look Book, Philomena Keet

  13. I'm Ready for My Movie Contract, Darby Conley (Okay, it's a collection of comic strips; let's count this as .5.)
geekchick: (reading)
Lots of B5 tie-ins, specifically The Passing of the Techno-Mages and the Bester trilogy.

  1. The Shadow Within, Jeanne Cavelos (Anna and Morden backstory about what happened on Z'ha'dum, prequel to the Techno-Mage arc. )
  2. Casting Shadows
  3. Summoning Light
  4. Invoking Darkness. A friend recommended this as not only being good tie-ins, but also being a good stand-alone story; I agree. Galen is a great character.

  5. Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi Corps, J. Gregory Keyes
  6. Deadly Relations: Bester Ascendant
  7. Final Reckoning: The Fate of Bester. I picked these up because I was always intrigued by Bester's character. (Although I admit that I keep hearing "Eee! Now say 'nuclear wessels'!" in my head as I'm reading.) I thought they were okay tie-ins, but I thought the Techno-mage books were just better all around.

  8. Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space, Philip Reeve. A boy's own tale of space pirates, giant spiders, and adventure set in an alternate Victorian era in which space travel is a fact of life and is accomplished via alchemy. Utterly charming, and now I have to pick up the sequel which was just recently released. (Starcross: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats)

  9. I know I'm missing at least two books, but I forgot to make note of them and I cannot for the life of me remember what they were. Clearly, they must've been really engaging. ;) Currently, I'm alternating between Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden.
geekchick: (reading)
Forgot this one in the recent reading list (typo: rending):

  1. Exit Music, Ian Rankin. There's no announced US release date for this final Rebus novel yet, so I sucked it up and ordered from I won't disclose the ending (although you might catch some sotto voce grumbling) but I think it was a fitting way to wrap things up.

geekchick: (reading)

  1. The Potter's Field: The Seventeenth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, Ellis Peters. While tilling a field recently given to the Benedictine abbey at Shrewsbury, the body of a young woman is discovered. It may be the missing wife of the previous tenant, who left his wife abruptly a year earlier to join the abbey. Or maybe not, because the younger son of the landowner claims he has proof that she was recently seen alive. When an itinerant peddlar is arrested for the murder, the son is able to clear his name as well, making Cadfael think that the son may know more than he's saying about what happened. The overall mood of this one seemed more melancholy and dark than the other Cadfael books I've read so far. Still enjoyable as all of them are, but a little bit of a slog because of the gloom.
  2. Strapped : Why America's 20- and 30-somethings Can't Get Ahead, Tamara Draut. There is a strong assumption made in this book that everyone wants to do the "get married, buy a house, have kids" thing. These days, in order to achieve the comfortable middle-class existence (get middle-management job, get married, buy a house, have kids) previous generations could enjoy, you have to go to college. Going to college means starting out many thousands of dollars in debt. Since you've got so much student loan debt, you end up forced to live on credit cards and you can't afford to buy a house and can maybe barely afford to have kids. In short: you're screwed. Honestly, I'm about 20 pages from the end (where she lays out her suggestions for how to address the problem) and I just can't go back and pick it up to finish it. I hoped it would be more engaging than I found it.
  3. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Diana Gabaldon. The upcoming remarriage of Lord John Grey's mother introduces him to a new romance, and coincides with the mysterious receipt by his older brother and his mother of pages from one of his father's diaries which has been missing since his death (supposedly a suicide after being accused of being a Jacobite agent). John tries to find out who is sending the diary pages and to clear his father's name, which requires grudging assistance from Jamie Fraser. The real heart (as it were) of the story though is John's romance with Percy Wainwright, who is the stepson of the man John's mother is about to marry. If the idea of two men having a romantic and physical relationship bothers you, this is not a book you should pick up.

Also interspersed in there are chapters from "Databases Demystified" as part of a class I'm taking.

And now, a meme ganked from [ profile] chadu:

These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users. As usual, bold what you have read, italicize what you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. (I've added asterisks next to the ones that are tagged "unread" in my own library.)

the titles )
geekchick: (Default)
Warning: crankiness comes and goes this evening. If I snap at you (or have done so), apologies.

A few more to throw on the "finished books" stack:

  1. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, Rebecca Mead. I swear, it's not actually Bridezilla day here at Chez [ profile] geekchick. I think anyone considering having a big, "traditional" wedding should read this at least once. Not saying at all that one shouldn't have that big white wedding if that's what you want, but maybe stop to think for a second about the billion-dollar industry whose sole purpose is to persuade brides (and their parents) that spending an average of $28,000 on a party is a requirement and not just an option. That said, I preferred All Dressed in White; it had a different focus, but also touched on the "bride as profit center" theme that is at the heart of this book.

  2. White Night, Jim Butcher. Well, hell. Now I'm all caught up and have to wait for the next book like everyone else.

  3. Sixty Days and Counting, Kim Stanley Robinson. I can't remember if I was as underwhelmed by Blue Mars or if it's something particular to this particular trilogy wrap-up. By the time I hit the last page, I'd kind of stopped caring anymore.

geekchick: (reading)

  1. Kushiel's Justice, Jacqueline Carey. Betimes I thought I could drop the woman on her head because she just would not stop with the "betimes" in every other sentence. I refrained from throwing the book across the room in annoyance though. (The fact that it belongs to the library helped, I admit.) Honestly, I think Ph├Ędre and Joscelin are much more interesting characters overall than Imriel is, but I liked this installment of the story better than I did the previous one; at some point Imriel has to grow up, and he's pretty much forced to in this book.

  2. Fifty Degrees Below, Kim Stanley Robinson. The second installment in his global warming trilogy which started with Forty Signs of Rain. Melting of the polar ice caps has caused the Gulf Stream to stall, causing massive upheaval to weather around the world; the title refers to the low measured in Washington, DC at one point during the winter. Scientists, in particular the NSF, have to find some way to reverse the collapse. Even more pointed digs at the current occupants of the White House and many of the federal agencies (although the president is never named, it's pretty clear that the inspiration is our current Buffoon in Chief), and a subplot involving domestic spying and an attempt by the party in power to rig the upcoming presidential election. As an aside, I found it kind of odd that while he clearly knows enough about the DC area to make references to street names, restaurants, etc., he'd say that cut for a spoiler about one of the plot points ) So yeah, that's really, really, REALLY minor, but I noticed it.

  3. The Book of Fate, Brad Meltzer. Had to pick it up when I saw a stack at the library, since it references one of my favorite wingnut conspiracy theories. I read the whole thing in about 14 hours, including time to sleep; it's a quick read. While I wanted to keep reading to see what happened next, I have to say that I found a lot of the characters annoying and the requisite plot twists predictable and boring; the most interesting "surprise" to me was the one that they actually mention on the dust jacket. I don't regret reading it, but I also don't regret that I checked it out from the library.

  4. The Personality Code, Travis Bradberry. If you've ever had a DISC personality profile done, you'll be familiar with pretty much everything in this book. If you haven't, buying a copy will give you a code that lets you take an online IDISC test. Having worked with DISC as part of an office workshop, I didn't see much here that I hadn't already heard discussed elsewhere but it was not a bad refresher.

geekchick: (reading)
First, let me get this out of the way before I asplode: I'm about 260 pages into Kushiel's Justice right now, and if Ms. Carey doesn't stop using "betimes" in every other paragraph (sometimes more than once in a single four-sentence paragraph), I'm going to reenact the apology scene from "A Fish Called Wanda". Aaaaaaagh!

  1. Blood Rites, Jim Butcher. Frankly, any book that has Thomas and PUPPIES! is okay with me. I think this has been my favorite book of the series so far, not just because of the PUPPIES!

  2. Proven Guilty, Jim Butcher.

  3. Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation, Chris Turner. One of the reviews I read likened this to being cornered by That Guy at a party who wants to talk to you about his pet subject (favorite movie, favorite TV show, merits of vi vs. emacs). Yeah, it kind of is, but that was okay with me. If you're looking for a serious tome about the cultural impact of The Simpsons, you might be better served elsewhere. I found it entertaining enough, although using the same couple of episodes as examples repeatedly got kind of old.

  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling. I thought it was a fine end to the series, although I would've been plenty happy without the epilogue. I know why it's there, but that doesn't mean I'm thrilled with it. Also, I cried. Repeatedly.

  5. Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, Rob Sheffield. I confess that this one made me cry in spots too. (The chapter where he describes his wife's sudden death from a pulmonary embolism at 31 required opening a new box of tissues.) And laugh. And wonder what happened to most of the mix tapes I made in my youth, when they were actually mix *tapes*.

  6. How to Be Bad, David Bowker. Meh. I kept thinking I should find it funnier than I did, and also that the list thing was done much better in High Fidelity.

geekchick: (reading)

  1. The Harlequin, Laurell Hamilton. Hey, finally an installment in one of her ongoing series (Anita Blake, in this case) that isn't just an extended sex scene with the barest possible amount of plot advancement, if any! Points for that, but I'm still not rescinding my decision to only pick these up from the library until they come out in mass-market form (if even then).

  2. Bleeding Hearts, Ian Rankin. No Rebus in sight here (unfortunately), this early novel features Michael Weston, a sniper/assassin who has apparently been set up by his most recent client. By the time we've made it from London to Yorkshire to Boston to New York to Texas to Seattle, we've got journalists, assassins, coked-out detectives, batshit crazy guys with way too much money, cops, gun dealers (and their daughters), TV producers, smarmy talk show hosts, secretive hippie cults, German tourists, passing mention of Bill Gates, and the NSA. The only things missing are ninjas. And maybe pirates. Entertaining enough for a couple days' reading, but I find I much prefer the Rebus stuff. Plus, I find it kind of disappointing when I can tell you the answer to one of the outstanding plot points within 20 minutes of cracking the cover. C'mon, make me work a little harder.

geekchick: (reading)
The "completed books" number is adding up at a much more satisfactory rate. Since the last post:

  1. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury. This was a surprise birthday gift from [ profile] redknight (Thanks again!) that just made it to the top of the "to read" stack. For some reason, I'd never managed to read it before now.

  2. Summer Knight, Jim Butcher. More Dresden Files; this one finds Harry, thanks to receiving a proposition he literally can't refuse, getting himself caught in the middle of a war between the two Faerie Courts and on the hook for saving the world. No pressure or anything.

  3. Death Masks, Jim Butcher. Felt to me like there was a bit too much going on. While the duel with Red Court vampire Ortega wouldn't be enough to flesh out an entire book on its own, it seemed like a distraction from the storyline involving the missing Shroud of Turin and everyone (including Harry, the Knights of the Cross, and a bunch of nasty demons) out hunting for it. But hey, Susan's back in town!

  4. I Want to Buy a Vowel: A Novel of Illegal Alienation, John Welter. An illegal immigrant who knows only a few words of English picked up from TV makes his way to a small Texas town in search of the land of cash and prizes, where he's befriended by the two young daughters of a preacher. I didn't find Welter's satirical look at immigration and religious hysteria to be as amusing overall as Night of the Avenging Blowfish, but there are some gems scattered throughout.

geekchick: (reading)

  1. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It, Barbara Sher. Some interesting thought experiments, but it didn't lead me to any great revelations about what I want to do when I grow up. Not that I really expected it to, of course; I think if all it took was a single quick reading of this book to make me figure out the answer to that long-standing question, I probably wasn't all that confused in the first place.

  2. What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question, Po Bronson. There were some interesting stories here from people who really did sit down to think about what they really wanted to be doing with their life, whether forced to do so by circumstances or simply because they were feeling discontent. Not so much a self-help sort of thing like the previous book, which is probably good; my tolerance for that genre is reasonably low and I hit my quota quickly.

  3. Never Mind the Pollacks: A Rock and Roll Novel, Neal Pollack. After all that big, important contemplation of What I Want to Be When I Grow Up, I really just needed a healthy dose of "WTF?" While organizing the bookshelves in the dining room, ran across this in the "unread" stack and figured it fit the bill. Uh, yeah.


Jun. 8th, 2007 02:18 pm
geekchick: (Default)
A couple of handy new features, courtesy [ profile] lj_releases:
* For Paid users: "Notify me when someone votes in a poll I posted"
* Adding linklist support to a bunch of layouts
* Going forward, you can view up to 1000 entries per tag (rather than 100). If an entry is no longer displaying on the tag view, you'll need to re-tag it so that it displays, but any future entries you tag will automatically be included in the tag view.

I have less than zero money right now to contribute myself, but if you would like to help defray some medical costs that will allow friends of a friend to keep their beloved and newly-diagnosed diabetic cat, [ profile] cyan_blue is organizing donations. (Yes, I know, "send money for medical care for a cat" is a time-honored LJ scam. I trust [ profile] cyan_blue though, and the cat belongs to one of her partners; lots of people I know also know the people in question. I'm pretty confident this is all aboveboard.)

Since I'm here anyway, might as well make a note of recent reading. OMG, I've been slacking. Three of these were read in the last 10 days though, so maybe the pace will pick up for the rest of the year.

  1. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, Crystal Zevon (and apparently everyone who ever knew the man). The book is essentially snippets of stories by people who knew him, and I found the format more than slightly annoying. Yay, epic bad behavior. The man was a genius, but ZOMG would I hate to have been involved with him.

  2. The City of Falling Angels, John Berendt. Berendt introduces a fascinating cast of characters while investigating the 1996 fire that destroyed Venice's historic La Fenice opera house. By the time I put the book down, I was even more interested in seeing the city.

  3. The Virgin's Lover, Philippa Gregory. I'm really liking Ms. Gregory's historical fiction, at least the bits I've read so far.

  4. Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Christopher Moore. One of the few I had yet to read, and again not my favorite. (C'mon, "Lamb" is a really, really high bar to get over.) We have cargo cults, cannibals, wrecked pink Lear jets owned by cosmetics company executives, secret missions to Japan involving [redacted to avoid spoilers], and the beautiful, blonde Sky Priestess. Oh yeah, and Roberto the talking fruit bat. Who doesn't love talking fruit bats? Roberto and Tucker Case will reappear later, in "The Stupidest Angel" (which was much, much more fun, IMO).

Still no net connection at home, although that should change shortly. I'm finding I miss it less than I thought I would, as I can distract myself nicely with the huge pile of unread books I have waiting for me. It makes C.'s job search much easier, though. On that note, anyone know of anything in the DC area (or telecommuting) open for senior-level C++ software engineers? (The catch being "no currently-active security clearance".)
geekchick: (reading)
Guh, I'm not going to hit even 50 books this year if I keep up at this rate. It's been so sporadic that I don't even remember with any certainty what all I've read since my last additions to the list two months ago. I think this covers it:

  1. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. II, Alan Moore

  2. Fool Moon, Jim Butcher

  3. The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, the Dalai Lama

  4. The Comfort of Strangers, Ian McEwan (I'd seen bits of the movie before, and I read the entire thing over Colorado; it's short. If you have to choose a single McEwan title to read though, don't make it this one. Pick up Atonement instead.)

  5. The Nasty Bits, Anthony Bourdain

I've also done some cherry picking in Debugging Perl and The Art of SQL, but not enough to count them as having been actually read, and I'm currently about halfway through I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon.
geekchick: (reading)
Back on track, almost.

  1. Words of Paradise: Selected Poems of Rumi, Raficq Abdulla. These words of mine are no stones )

  2. Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. I've never really read Batman comics, and mostly I picked this up because of the Victorian setting/steampunk-ish angle. The first half, "Gotham by Gaslight", was excellent, with Batman pursuing Jack the Ripper through 19th-century Gotham. The second half, "Master of the Future", wasn't nearly as compelling.

  3. Grave Peril, Jim Butcher. Book three of The Dresden Files. I accidentally lost my hold on book two and there are now 11 people ahead of me, so I skipped ahead to book three when it came up on my hold list. Harry and his friend Michael, a Knight of the Cross, have got to deal with angry ghosts (and figure out who's stirring them up), a whole honkin' lot of vampires, and Harry's fairy godmother. Kind of amusing to read Bianca in this book after watching the recent interaction between Bianca and Harry on the TV series. (As Jim Butcher says, "The show is not the books. It is not meant to follow the same story. It is meant as an alternate world, where the overall background and story-world is similar, but not all the same things happen.")

  4. Mistral's Kiss, Laurell K. Hamilton. I am really glad I got this from the library and didn't spend any money for it. Sheesh. Essentially a 200-something-page sex scene that advances the plot by about what -- four, five hours? At least this time there is some plot advancement, miniscule though it might be. While I will read the rest of the books in the series, I think I'll continue getting them from the library rather than the bookstore.

geekchick: (reading)
I've done almost no reading so far this year. Since the first of the year there's been only the four, and the first two I read so long ago now that I'm just noting them here with absolutely no commentary.

  1. What I Loved, Siri Hustvedt.

  2. A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character, and the Promise of America, Jenna Weissman Joselit

  3. Storm Front, Jim Butcher. First book in the Dresden Files series. I liked the book, I like the show, they're not the same.

  4. You Suck: A Love Story, Christopher Moore. A sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends, which wasn't actually my favorite of his books. You Suck, however, has the character of Abby Normal, whose diary entries put this one pretty high up on my list of favorites.

Disappointing. Hopefully the pace will pick up soon. Next up I'm reading Gotham by Gaslight, and then I suspect I'll get started on I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It. And now, bed.


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