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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review of Books with Drew Shine

A year in review of books with Drew:

Meet my friend Drew. I worked with him for three years at Borders before it closed. He is not a blogger but he is still a book lover like me. He is awesome because he helps me edit my reviews before I post them, so I don’t sound like a rambling idiot J.  You should also think he is awesome because he got to hold a monkey, I mean how cool is that!?

Every year Drew writes a response about his reading for the year and posts it on facebook. I was helping him edit it and I thought, “Well why not ask to use this as a guest post for my blog?” It talks about books and it has a pretty diverse selection of books. When I say diverse I mean it, he even states he has to defend his masculinity hehe.

I hope you enjoy this post and maybe even find out about some new books to read, I know I did.

Books to read in 2011 conclusion
As 2011 draws its last breaths; we look over our accomplishments and our failures. I don’t do the typical resolutions. I just make a list of books I want to read for the year.
I had my list and I didn’t really care whether I stuck to it or not. I had 12 books on the list and I read seven, with one started and then abandoned. So 7.5 out of 12, gives me a 62.5%… solid.
The books in no particular order, you know what screw that; the books in chronological order by release date:
1841 Poe- Murders in the Rue Morgue- read. I wanted to read something by Poe this is one I had heard of so that’s why I chose it. It was ridiculous but entertaining.

1894  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- The Parasite-read. I wanted to read Doyle’s Vampire stories of which this is the first one. It was so awful I won’t read the others. Fuck that noise.
1943 Betty Smith- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Didn’t read.

1953 Ray Bradbury- Fahrenheit 451- Didn’t read.

1965 Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - God Bless You Mr. Rosewater- Read. I wanted to read a Vonnegut book and this definitely did not disappoint.
1983 Stephen King- Pet Sematary- Didn’t read.
1995 S. P. Somtow- Vanitas- Half Read. I can’t say this really surprised me I put down the second book for a year and then picked it up and finished it. This is the third in the trilogy.
2010 Connie Willis- All Clear- Didn’t read. I started it in 2010 when it came out but I couldn’t finish it, I thought “oh I’ll finish it this year”… Nah.
3-1-2011 Patricia Briggs- River Marked- Read. I wasn’t sure two books ago if I’d continue this series but this continues the upswing.
6-28-2011 Gail Carriger- Heartless- Read. This series rocks my socks. It has great humor and style.
9-6-2011 Michele Bardsley- Must Love Lycans- Read. Allow me to defend my masculinity momentarily. I didn’t know this was a romance series when I started it, I read the first book which became obvious that it was a romance book but it was so enjoyable I didn’t care. I didn’t care for books 1-5, 6 and 7 were still enjoyable but it was waning and this one should finish the series and I’m done, whether the author wants to continue it or not.
10-18-2011 Chuck Palahniuk- Damned- read. I wanted to read something by Palahniuk and when I read the flap I said “sure this’ll work.” Good read.
Those were my planned books. 62.5 isn’t a great percentage but whatever. I also read a boatload of other books. Not to mention my discovery this year of, which is damn near my new favorite website. This is a site that has amateur readers reading public domain stories and books for the public domain. Most of these readers are really good too. It was impossible for me to keep track of how many short stories I read on there, for example the week before Christmas I burned six various CDs of Christmas stories the CD with the shortest Christmas poems and stories had 31 stories on one disk. I’m not typing all that out. F that

So in lieu of that I’ll make hardy recommendations to some stories and books that can be found on Hey it’s free to download or you can listen right on the site. I burn to discs so I guess it costs me twenty bucks per 100 CDs which is next to nothing.
Jack London- The Iron Heel- Great Reader and awesome Story. The Author was apparently a major Commie and this is his political work. What with corporate personhood and the 99% movement this was a great one for the year.
2BR02B- Kurt Vonnegut- One of Vonnegut’s earliest stories, since everything on the site is public domain we’re talking from the 1930’s here. But it’s pure Vonnegut.
I read…er listened to a lot of Ambrose Bierce, The Stranger comes to mind, it has a beautiful quote that I put up several months ago (I forgot it, so don’t ask me) and it’s a nice little story.
I read/listened to a Solomon Kane story Red Shadows by Robert E. Howard. I like this series a lot more than his Conan stuff. He wrote a lot of Lovecraft Mythos and Solomon Kane splits the difference between Elder Gods, Conan, Billy the Kid, and Sherlock Holmes.
Year of the Big Thaw by Marion Zimmer Bradley- On librivox I thought “you know what I should do; listen to popular authors’ early works to see if I should read their nonpublic domain stuff.” I knew of Bradley before so I tried this story. I liked it so much I downloaded and listened to…
The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley- I really started liking this author and she started off as a good Sci-Fi person. This is a novel and some of the chapters (tracks) are read by some Russian person trying to learn English. You can understand it but it’s not great the rest is awesome though. So is the story.
I also listened to the Emancipation Proclamation, Some Randall Garrett, H.G. Wells, P. G. Wodehouse and many more. Great site I can’t recommend it enough for book people.
Now I did also listen to real professional audio books:
Under the Dome by King: So daunting 36 fricken’ CDs but its King, it holds up to the standard you’d expect.
Danse Macabre, also By King was a reread and re-listen and a big thumbs up.
Holidays on Ice by Sedaris also a re-listen; thumbs up.
As well as some various HPs on audio as well…

So yeah about the HPs. I am almost done with my humongous project. Again this was to read the Harry Potter series 1-7 then 7-1, then evens then odds and various combinations so that I read them all in every possible combination.  Then I go through them checking the notes and writing all the pertinent info down then… something, then …profit.
I had a lot of “ooh this is interesting make note here”, so my books are filled with marginalia (epic word) so I want to get all the marginalia down in a word document and it may or may not come to anything productive. Anywho… Onwards!
So the books I read; paper-book-read this year:
Castle in Transylvania by Jules Verne: 6 out of 10, it was pretty meh.
I read Robert E. Howard’s Collected Horror Stories and Poems. This got me into Solomon Kane before I did the librivox thing. He had a really good take on Vampires in one story and a really, really good Werewolf take just made for a CG Hollywood extravaganza. 8.5 out of 10.
Book of Tomorrow by Cecillia Ahern: Meh. 5/10, I like her sci-fi takes most times, this one didn’t hit me though.
1636 Saxon Uprising by Eric Flint:  Awesome, 8.5 to 9ish out of 10. I started rereading the entire series this year a few months later.
Dan Wells-  I Don’t Want to Kill You- The latest in the ‘I Am Not  A Serial Killer’ series it was a 7 out of 10 I’ll continue the series but it better shape up it was a let down from the others.
Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce- I read this as a book; it’s really not meant to be, it’s a dictionary format. 6.5/10.
Vampire A Go-Go by Gischler- pretty meh 6/10, it tried to be comedic and serious but failed at both.

I read the two J. K. Rowling Charity books they were enjoyable 8.5/10.
Resenting the Hero by Moira Moore- I wanted to try this series. It was good but I can’t see me continuing it. 6/10.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis- I saw the movie preview it looked good I said “what the hell I’ll read it”, I don’t even like sports in general (and Baseball in particular) and I still really enjoyed this: 8.5.
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Rowland- With that title and the cover I couldn’t pass it up. It didn’t even disappoint, and it wasn’t false advertising it was definitely white trash and zombie-ish there was a plot device I called major bull shit on, but once that was done it still scored an 7.5/10.
Goblin Quest by Jim Hines- an Author I wanted to try for a while it was enjoyable but not sure if I’ll continue the series. 6.8 out of 10.
Werewolf by A. E. Housman- Supposedly the werewolf version like Polidori’s Vampyre was to vampire stories. Total Meh (much like Polidori in fact) 3 out of 10.
Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Great Modernization, Visceral, unforgiving, and good. There are not many Werewolf horror stories that are any good. Somtow’s Moon Dance is probably the best; this might be the 21st century update the genre needed. Lots of death, good amount of gore, no punches pulled. 9 out of 10.
Grantville Gazette by Eric Flint- 1632 series fan writing I thought “yuck, why would I want to read that?” It was good 7.5.
Grantville Gazette II- more and still good 7.5.
One Nation Under Sex by Larry Flynt I think this might be the read of the year for me, I was not expecting that sitting down to read it. Let me say that there is no way I take everything he says as gospel. I heartily recommend this book but I heartily recommend you take it with a grain of salt. He contends a lot of stuff. And his notes are there in true scholarly manner. Do I buy all of it? Nope. Do I buy some of it? Yup. Was Lincoln Gay? I’m not sure I can answer that question read it for yourself. 9.2 out of 10.
Mob Rules By Cameron Haley- All Crime Lords in L. A. are sorcerers. Domino is the enforcer of the most powerful one and she’s about to go to war. Great concept well executed and the most cinematic book I’ve read in years. If the rights aren’t bought to make this a movie someone’s not doing their job. Solid 8.
Skeleton Crew by Cameron Haley- This was a sequel to the above, 7.5, still cinematic as hell.
And various rereads 1632, 1633, 1634 (Baltic War), Found: One Apocalypse, Slaughterhouse 5.
Well, with that I think it was a pretty productive year, all in all. I’m not doing a list of should reads or goal reads for 2012 I’m gonna let it fly.  I’ll read upcoming series that I like… or I won’t as the case may be. I’ll keep my arbitrary list of “I should read at some point” books. But I’m not going to try to get it done in a year’s time.


  1. Wow! That's a lot of books! Some have been on my TBR list for a while, and some I have never heard of! Very informative post - great job!

  2. That is a lot of book! He did the entire post I just found all the pictures and wrote my blurbs lol but thanks. It did take a bit to get it set up all nice and pretty. I'm glad you like the post! Thanks Cheles! <3

  3. The Michele Bardsley and defending your masculinity had me giggling. Could be that it's 330am here but I found that quite entertaining. Great post and books for the year!

  4. hehe I found it amusing also :)hehe Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Thank you so much for all of your comments. I appreciate every one. I try to comment back to every one it just may take me a while. College student=busy! when you leave links I try to visit, depending on how crazy it is I may not have a chance to go comment on your blog. Please don't take offense! A lot of the time I mean to go back and forget because life is crazy.


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