Monday, 27 December 2010

86: All These Things That I Have Read

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The 2010 Retrospective, Part 2.

I'm not a one for New Year Resolutions, but last December, I decided to do two things in 2010. 1) Read more books, and 2) Get more exercise.

So anyway, I read 32 books this year! I'm normally a fairly light reader, so this is the most I've read within a 12-month period in about 15 years of actually reading books. As will be apparent from the following list, I'm not a one for challenging-reading. A movie that's hard to get along with takes the same amount of time to watch as a one you're enjoying, but a book you're not into will take weeks, and I don't see the point of wasting my own time like that. So, I set myself a rough target of 30 books, and I managed 32. So well done me, yeah?

The good people of Facebook have also had to put up with me using each one of these as a profile pic as I read them. I know it's potentially pretentious, but it was a way of giving myself a mental prod to keep reading. If I'd had the same profile pic for more than a month (it happened a couple of times), I was in line for someone asking "why has it taken you over a month to read a 300 page novel?" (that didn't happen, though. Luckily.)

Anyway, this isn't the order I read them in, but I've clumped them (loosely) by genre and picked a favourite for each. That being said, I'd recommend anything on this list, if you're comfortable with that genre. Clicking on the thumbnail will take you over to the page, where you can read customer reviews etc, and buy them if you like.


The Taint, and other novellas Haggopian, and other stories The Nonesuch, and others

Necroscope: The Plague Bearer (Deluxe Edition) Ghoul Warning, and other omens Necroscope: Harry and the Pirates

Necroscope: The Plague Bearer (Mass market edition) The Zombie Survival Guide Nekropolis

The Hellbound Heart

Yeah, I'm a bit of a Brian Lumley freak. He's on-par with Star Wars and Bowling for Soup in terms of taking up my free-time.
My favourite of this little lot is Lumley's Haggopian, and other stories. A collection of Cthulhu-mythos short stories from throughout Brian's writing career. They have the power and disquiet of Lovecraft, but without the "purple prose".
Special mention goes to "Ghoul Warning, and other omens", also by Brian Lumley. This was his first published collection, and is like rocking-horse-shit to find. The regular going-price for this collection on Ebay is at £100 or more, but I was lucky enough to snag this one for less (I won't say how much less, just "significantly less"), from none other than Mrs Lumley. The upshot is, the book I've got is from Brian's own collection and is signed to me personally. This is my Holy Grail.

Science Fiction

Star Wars: Allegiance Star Wars: Deathtroopers Star Wars: Crosscurrent

Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor Star Wars: Jedi Twilight Star Wars: Street of Shadows

Star Wars: Patterns of the Force Star Wars: Imperial Commando - 501st Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (novelisation)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Marvel adaptation) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (junior novelisation) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - A Journal

Star Wars: Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu Star Wars: Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead

Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx

What? Look, you know I love Star Wars. The pile of SW books next to my bed was one of the things that made me focus on reading more in 2010. I've included Indy in Sci-Fi, just because it seems to fit here better than the other categories I've roughly chosen.
As for my favourite, it's tight, but it's going to be Joe Schreiber's Deathtroopers. The first Star Wars horror novel. It's OT-era Star Wars, with zombies thrown in. Yeah, zombies. This could very easily have gone wrong (and I'm aware that not everyone loves this book), but I absolutely loved this. There are some regular SW characters, whose presence ensures their safety (ie: they show up in the movies that take place after the events of this book), but for all the other characters - no matter how much you might warm to them - all bets are off. There's enough background to make this feel like part of the SW Expanded Universe, and it's a worthy addition to the canon.

Crime / Thriller

Relentless The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy Patient Zero

Yeah, I thought there might be more in this category, too. Apparently not.
My favourite of these is Jonathan Maberry's Patient Zero. The book cover describes it, and rightfully so, as "24 meets Dawn of the Dead". Governments, guns and zombies. Lots of zombies. There's enough sci and tech realism in here for me to not classify it as sci-fi or horror. A word like 'exhilarating' might seem like a cliché, but it sums this book up perfectly.


How Not to Grow Up The Hell of it All An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain

Yeah, "non-fiction" is kind of the only thing that links these. They're all very funny, but I'm not sure if I'd class them as Comedy as such.
Anyway, my favourite from these has got to be John O'Farrel's An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain, if only because he's one of the few people who can get me interested in actual history. 60 years of British politics, told by someone who loves taking the piss out of all the major players (and most of the minor ones). This second volume of his history of Britain is a lot more political than the first, but no less funny or engaging for it (coming from the viewpoint that any politics outside of the Galaxy Far, Far Away bores the arse off me).


So there ya go. While I'm certainly not going to hold back on my reading, that's the back broken of my bedside paperback-pile. I've got a bunch of Star Wars reference works to get through, plus at least three games for my PSP that have been severely neglected this year due to the books.

What I'm saying is, I doubt there'll be a post of this nature at the end of 2011. And if there is, I'll be surprised if it's got 32 books on it.

Happy reading, y'all.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment