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Sunday, February 13, 2011

100 Books a Year?

Back in December, Sylvia and I met Bruce and Leslie at Joey's for dinner. During our conversation, Bruce asked me if I thought I read 100 books a year - a goal Leslie was shooting for. Without really thinking about it, I shrugged and said, "Sure."

But since then, I've wondered. 100 books a year is about two books per week, roughly. And I don't have time to read as much as I used to. So for fun, I decided to track my reading in 2011. Here's what I've read so far:

A Disturbance of Fate (Mitchell J. Freedman, 2003): Alternate history novel about the presidency of Robert Kennedy. 

Exegesis (Astro Teller, 1997): Epistolary by email between an emergent computer intelligence and the PhD student who accidentally designed it.

Geodesic Dreams (Gardner Dozois, 1992): Excellent short story collection from the accomplished SF editor. 

Hell Can Wait (Theodore Judson, 2010): See my review here.  

The Martian General's Daughter (Theodore Judson, 2008): Moving narrative describing the long, painful decline of technological civilization.

Player One (Douglas Coupland, 2010): The first fiction offering in the CBC's Massey Lecture Series. Interesting character study set during the chaos following a peak oil crisis.

Starbound (Joe Haldeman, 2010): Sequel to Haldeman's first-contact novel Marsbound.

Star Trek 365 (Paula Block, 2010): Given the number of books I've read about Star Trek, I was surprised that this thick, colourful behind-the-scenes tome still had some new stories and photographs to offer.

U.S.S. Enterprise Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual (Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley, 2010): Parodying the popular Haynes workshop manuals by creating one for the various Starships Enterprise should have produced a fascinating cultural oddity, but the lightweight execution leaves a lot to be desired. Fails to live up to its potential.  

The World in 2050 (Laurence C. Smith, 2010): Study of the "four forces shaping civilization's northern future:" climate change, demographics, demand on natural resources, and globalization. Interesting for Albertans in that the book opens with a trip to Fort McMurray and a tour of the oil sands.

That's ten so far, about six weeks into the year. Looks like I'm on track to reach 100!


Sean E. Woods said...

I think I'm up to 20. I should start keeping track of this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Earl, Wow! I'm delighted that you're doing this, too. Let's plan to compare notes at the end of the year.


Earl J. Woods said...

For sure, Leslie. I think the different lists will be quite interesting.

Sean, let me know of any books you particularly recommend.

"Jeffturn To Tomorrow" said...

By "Sean", I read that as "anybody else", I figure. If so:

Read the Raymond Chandler novels, if you haven't already. Dashiell Hammett is good if you want more hard-boiled prose.

Read all of the Patrick O'Brien Aubrey-Maturin novels.

Read Shake Hands with The Devil by Gen. Dallaire.

Read Fate Is The Hunter and The Aviator by Ernest K. Gann, who has some of the prettiest writing since Shakespeare, no exaggeration.

Did you ever get around to LOTR? Some folks really like it, I say it's worth at least one go.

I'm going through another phase of avoiding fiction. Most of it does not appeal to me so much anymore, but there are always exceptions.

I'm reading maybe a book a month. It might be more if you count the half-dozen times I tried starting Moby Dick.

susan_rn92 said...

Does the owners manual to your new appliances count?