My Half Year In Print

Right around the first of the year I came upon several people who had decided to read an average of a book a week this year. That sounded a little too strenuous for me, what with all the child raising and what not, so, I decided on the less demanding goal of a book every two weeks. I also chose not to count books that I read to the kids as bedtime stories, even though we are getting into some classics such as The Little Prince and the Ramona series. Seeing as how were about at the halfway mark for 2007 I figured I would check in and make sure I'm on track. So without further ado here is a quick rundown of the books I've read this year so far.

1. Off Season by Jack Ketchum
I think the second sentence of the Wikipedia article sums up this book better than I could "Praised by such literary icons as Stephen King,[1] Ketchum has also been condemned by a Village Voice[2] critic who once dismissed his work as violent pornography." If you know me at all then you shouldn't be surprised to find out that I really loved this book. I cannot however give it a blanket recommendation because I'm pretty sure this kind of thing is not everyones cup of bloody, bloody tea.

2. Paingod and Other Delusions by Harlan Ellison
Ok, I hate to sound like I'm going to heap praise on every book I read but, I did sort of stack the deck by filling the list with books/authors I have been looking forward to visiting for quite a while but hadn't made time for yet. On with the praise heaping- This is brilliant, brilliant stuff. A nice mixture of pulpy sci-fi elements and philosophical ramblings.

3. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Seriously, just read it, it's fucking gold.

4. Foundation by Issac Asimov
I've been planning on reading the Foundation series since I was in jr. high I actually started way back when but found it a little intimidating, and quickly moved on to Orson Scott Card and Arthur C. Clark. I enjoyed my short stay in Asimov's universe and am looking forward to returning sometime soon. I really feel unqualified to comment on this particular book very much beyond that as it is part of a much larger (15 friggin books!) work.

5. The King's Evil by Will Heinrich
The Clare Boothe Luce quote "No good deed goes unpunished." kept rattling 'round my brain as I was reading this book. (So much so that I had to go look up who the quote was attributed to .)

6. Casino Royale
7. Live and Let Die
8. Moonraker
9. Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming
I got myself this cool megaset last x-mas, having never read a James Bond story and only having seen one movie I decided it was time to jump in whole hog (I also picked up the new DVD sets). Turns out my early elitism was unfounded. I like both the movies and the books, although there are a ton of differences both in events and in tone. The books thus far are mostly a meld of noir conventions with political machinations and gobs of globe trotting thrown in. Lots of meditations on manliness and how cold vodka drinks should be served included as well.

10. The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
One of my all-time favorite writers tackling a noir story? Yes please! He managed to play around with some of the conventions of the noir genre and keep some of his trademarks running through it. I've heard that quite a few people had issues with this one, but I thought that it hummed along quite well. At any rate it was a really short read so if you don't like it its over quickly.

11. Me by Garrison Keillor
Yes, I love A Prairie Home Companion. No, I'm not in my mid 60's. I was apparently wired to enjoy folksy down home humor, along with my buckets of blood, and dames to kill for.

12. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Ok, fine, McCarthy was suggested to me a couple of years ago by an acquaintance, then, yes I also heard that the Coen brothers were adapting one of his books for a movie, and no, I didn't read one of his damn novels until Oprah said it was ok. Call me a pussy if you must but I am really glad I caught up with this. By turns heart wrenching and terrifying, what more could you ask for really? Don't be put off my it's experimental nature, it's worth the (slight) learning curve.

I do have at least a few more books I've finished since the beginning of the year, look for my thoughts on those and my planned reading list for the remainder of 2007 in the next day or so.