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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books I Read in 2015

With 127 books read this year, I managed to beat last year's tally by precisely one. That's not much improvement, but one of my goals was to read more works by women, and I'm happy to say I achieved that. I read 59 books by women this year, and 67 by men. That's not quite parity, but it's closer than I've ever come (at least since I started keeping track of what I read).

Without this goal in mind, I may never have been exposed to the delights of Lucy Maud Montgomery, and my continued exploration of the works of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. LeGuin may have been delayed by years. I knocked two more of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books off the list this year and just cracked open The Deathly Hallows, but I doubt I'll finish it before midnight given the day's activites.

Reading women also bumped up the number of mainstream/literary novels I read this year, nearly doubling my non-genre reading over last year.

 Rediscovering Phil Dick was the year's biggest pleasure, though. It turns out there's good reason for his reputation, and I'm glad to have read his major works.

As usual, more than half the books I read this year were published in the very recent past, despite my efforts to catch up on important works from further back in time.

Here's the list...

January: 15
I Married a Dead Man (Cornell Woolrich, 1948)
The Killer Inside Me (Jim Thompson, 1952)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Patricia Highsmith, 1955)
Pick-Up (Charles Willeford, 1955)
Down There (David Goodis, 1956)
The Real Cool Killers (Chester Himes, 1959)
Armageddon 2419 A.D. (Philip Francis Nowlan, 1928)
Star Trek The Fall: Revelation and Dust (David R. George III, 2013)
The Airlords of Han (Philip Francis Nowlan, 1929)
Amazing Amy, Tattle Tale (Gillian Flynn, 2015)
The Lottery; or, The Adventures of James Harris (Shirley Jackson, 1949)
Dreamsnake (Vonda McIntyre, 1978)
Black Man (Richard Morgan, 2007)
The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson, 1959)
Arslan (Mary Jane Engh, 1976)

February: 11
Star Trek the Fall: A Ceremony of Losses (David Mack, 2013)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Shirley Jackson, 1962)
Star Bridge (Jack Williamson and James E. Gunn, 1955)
Among Others (Jo Walton, 2011)
Star Trek The Fall: The Crimson Shadow (Una McCormack, 2013)
The Lathe of Heaven (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1971)
The Word for World is Forest (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1976)
Come Along With Me (Shirley Jackson, 1968)
Just an Ordinary Day (Shirley Jackson, 1997)
Work Done for Hire (Joe Haldeman, 2014)
Lock In (John Scalzi, 2014)

March: 11
Undercity (Catherine Asaro, 2014)
The Dispossessed (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1974)
Star Trek The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice (James Swallow, 2013)
You (Austin Grossman, 2013)
The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1969)
What We See When We Read (Peter Mendelsund, 2014)
The Ice Dragon (George R. R. Martin, 1980)
Alpha (Catherine Asaro, 2006)
Star Trek The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms (Dayton Ward, 2014)
Influx (Daniel Suarez, 2014)
Alfred Hitchcock’s America (Murray Pomerance, 2013)

April: 12
Rocannon’s World (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1966)
Planet of Exile (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1966)
City of Illusions (Ursula K. LeGuin, 1967)
Mad Skills (Walter Greatshell, 2011)
The Telling (Ursula K. LeGuin, 2000)
The Legion of Space (Jack Williamson, 1947)
The Hemingway Hoax (Joe Haldeman, 1990)
The Scapegoat (C.J. Cherryh, 1985)
Blackout (Connie Willis, 2010)
Seasons (Joe Haldeman, 1985)
Star Trek Enterprise Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic (Christopher L. Bennett, 2015)
Cordon Sanitaire (Timothy Zahn, 1985)

May: 5
All Clear (Connie Willis, 2010)
The 10th Victim (Robert Sheckley, 1965)
Victim Prime (Robert Sheckley, 1987)
Ancillary Justice (Ann Leckie, 2013)
Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie, 2014)

June: 9
Parasite (Mira Grant, 2013)
The Affinities (Robert Charles Wilson, 2015)
Deadline (Mira Grant, 2011)
Blackout (Mira Grant, 2012)
Finders Keepers (Stephen King, 2015)
My Real Children (Jo Walton, 2014)
What Makes This Book So Great (Jo Walton, 2014)
Star Trek Voyager: Acts of Contrition (Kirsten Beyer, 2014)
Star Trek The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic (Jeffrey Lang, 2014)

July: 12
The Man in the High Castle (Philip K. Dick, 1962)
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (Philip K. Dick, 1965)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Philip K. Dick, 1968)
Ubik (Philip K. Dick, 1969)
The Fold (Peter Clines, 2015)
Star Trek Section 31: Disavowed (David Mack, 2014)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke, 2004)
V-S Day (Allen Steele, 2014)
Star Wars Sequel Screenplay (Leigh Brackett, 1978)
14 (Peter Clines, 2012)
The Long Mars (Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, 2014)
Spirit of ’77 (David Kizzia and Bob Richardson, 2015)

August: 13
Armada (Ernest Cline, 2015)
Martian Time-Slip (Philip K. Dick, 1964)
Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb (Philip K. Dick, 1965)
Now Wait for Last Year (Philip K. Dick, 1966)
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (Philip K. Dick, 1974)
A Scanner Darkly (Philip K. Dick, 1977)
A Maze of Death (Philip K. Dick, 1970)
VALIS (Philip K. Dick, 1981)
Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Missing (Una McCormack, 2015)
The Divine Invasion (Philip K. Dick, 1981)
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Philip K. Dick, 1982)
Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse (Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Editor, 2014)
Farthing (Jo Walton, 2006)

September: 10
Ha’penny (Jo Walton, 2007)
Half a Crown (Jo Walton, 2008)
Star Trek The Next Generation: Takedown (John Jackson Miller, 2015)
The Unteleported Man (Philip K. Dick, 1966)
Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan (Robin Maxwell, 2012)
The Blind Assassin (Margaret Atwood, 2000)
The League of Regrettable Superheroes (Jon Morris, 2015)
The Complete Peanuts 1995 to 1996 (Charles M. Schulz with an introduction by Rifftrax and MST3K, 2015)
Peanuts Every Sunday 1952-1955 (Charles M. Schulz with a foreword by Jonathan Rosembaum, 2013)
Peanuts Every Sunday 1956-1960 (Charles M. Schulz with a foreword by Chuck Klosterman, 2014)

October: 7
The Autobiography of James T. Kirk (2015, David A. Goodman, Editor)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Emmuska Orczy, 1905)
Transhuman (Ben Bova, 2014)
The End of All Things (John Scalzi, 2015)
The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell, 2013)
The Robber Bride (Margaret Atwood, 1993)
The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison, 2014)

November: 12
The Best of Connie Willis (Connie Willis, 2013)
The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins, 2015)
Six Months, Three Days (Charlie Jane Anders, 2011)
Ancillary Mercy (Ann Leckie, 2015)
Lois Lane: Fallout (Gwenda Bond, 2015)
Coming Home (Jack McDevitt, 2014)
Back to the Future: A Visual History (Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk, 2015)
The Penelopiad (Margaret Atwood, 2005)
Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger, 2009)
The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi, 2009)
Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883)
Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1908)

December: 10
Anne of Avonlea (Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1909)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling, 2003)
The Library at Mount Char (Scott Hawkins, 2015)
The Complete Peanuts 1997 to 1998 (Charles M. Schulz with an introduction by Paul Feig, 2015)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling, 2005)
Strange Itineraries (Tim Powers, 2005)
Wilderness Tips (Margaret Atwood, 1991)
The Tent (Margaret Atwood, 2006)
Chronicles of Avonlea (Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1912)
Black Beauty (Anna Sewell, 1877)

Fiction: 120
Nonfiction: 7

Science Fiction: 63
Mainstream: 28
Star Trek: 12
Fantasy: 10

Horror: 3
Peanuts collections: 4

Top Authors
Philip K. Dick: 14

Ursula K. LeGuin: 8

Jo Walton: 6

Margaret Atwood: 5
Shirley Jackson: 5

Mira Grant: 3
Joe Haldeman: 3
Ann Leckie: 3
Lucy Maud Montgomery: 3
Charles M. Schulz: 3
Connie Willis: 3

Catherine Asaro: 2
Peter Clines: 2
David Mack: 2
Una McCormack: 2
Philip Francis Nowlan: 2
J.K. Rowling: 2
John Scalzi: 2
Robert Sheckley: 2
Jack Williamson: 2

Katherine Addison: 1
Charlie Jane Anders: 1
Randal Atamaniuk: 1
Paolo Bacigalupi: 1
Stephen Baxter: 1
Christopher L. Bennett: 1
Kirsten Beyer: 1
Tom Bissell: 1
Gwenda Bond: 1
Ben Bova: 1
Leigh Brackett: 1
C.J. Cherryh: 1
Susanna Clarke: 1
Ernest Cline: 1
Mary Jane Engh: 1
Gillian Flynn: 1
David R. George III: 1
David Goodis: 1
David A. Goodman: 1
Walter Greatshell: 1
Austin Grossman: 1
James E. Gunn: 1
Paula Hawkins: 1
Scott Hawkins: 1
Patricia Highsmith: 1
Chester Himes: 1
Stephen King: 1
David Kizzia: 1
Michael Klastorin: 1
Jeffrey Lang: 1
George R. R. Martin: 1
Robin Maxwell: 1
Jack McDevitt: 1
Vonda McIntyre: 1
Peter Mendelsund: 1
John Jackson Miller: 1
Silvia Moreno-Garcia: 1
Richard Morgan: 1
Jonn Morris: 1
Audrey Niffenegger: 1
Baroness Emmuska Orczy: 1
Murray Pomerance: 1
Tim Powers: 1
Terry Pratchett: 1
Bob Richardson: 1
Greg Sestero: 1
Anna Sewell: 1
Allen Steele: 1
Robert Louis Stevenson: 1
Daniel Suarez: 1
James Swallow: 1
Jim Thompson: 1
Dayton Ward: 1
Charles Willeford: 1
Robert Charles Wilson: 1
Cornell Woolrich: 1
Timothy Zahn: 1

Books by Women: 59
Books by Men: 67
Books by Decade
1870s: 1
1880s: 1
1900s: 3
1910s: 1
1920s: 2
1940s: 3
1950s: 7
1960s: 15
1970s: 9                                
1980s: 8
1990s: 4
2000s: 15     

2010s: 58

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Futility of DRM

Several weeks ago, I purchased Ex Machina on Blu-Ray. Tonight I decided to watch it, but my computer now refuses to play Blu-Rays thanks to some DRM hogwash and I can't even use the Google Play code provided because "you cannot redeem this code in your country."

You know, content owners, I paid for the  movie because I support the arts and good movies in particular, and I hear that Ex Machina is very good indeed. Why do you insist on throwing up roadblocks in front of paying customers, when it's been demonstrated again and again that all you're doing is encouraging piracy? 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mr. Peanuts

My paternal grandmother left behind these intriguing Mr. Peanut salt and pepper shakers, presumably a collectible giveaway from some decade long past. One Mr. Peanut is missing a hat, making him useless as a spice dispenser, but he still cuts a dashing figure. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Today's Little Gift

While watching The Monster That Challenged the World this morning, I thought to myself how sad it was that the holidays fly by so quickly. "Tuesday already," I thought.

But then I wondered. Was it truly Tuesday? I looked at my phone. "Sunday, 27." That didn't seem right.

Sylvia was out visiting a friend. When she returned, I asked "Is today Sunday, Monday or Tuesday?"

"It's Sunday!" she said.

What a nice surprise. Now back to Romeo & Juliet (1968). 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2015, Day 23

Skimming on the snow
Santa's new sleds bring the toys
Rudolph is enraged

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2015, Day 15

Christmas train passing
Nothing says Christmas quite like
A turbolaser

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2015, Day 12

A rack of blasters
Protects presents from Jawas
Ben and Beru shot first

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2015, Day 10

A stormtrooper scowl
Has no force at Christmastime
Not while spruces smile

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Monday, December 07, 2015

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar 2015, Day Five

The sandcrawler creeps
Across the hard ice runway
The biplane watches

Friday, December 04, 2015

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2015, Day Three

Christmas tradition
Lemon cream pies for all, but
We don't serve droids here

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2015, Day One

Sail barge glides on snow
Leaving toy cars far below
Remote controls dead