The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

2010 Book list

Currently Reading:
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
The Whole Parent by Debra Wesselmann
Earth abides by George R. Steward

51. Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Wow. One of those books that hits at a lot of different levels. I picked it up due to the movie coming out but this is going to be one of those books that sticks with me for a long time. I won’t spoil the plot but the book to me is a very deep look at how the answer to the question “What is a good life?” is shaped and decided. It also challenges us to look for that answer within ourselves but in a way that isn’t preachy.

50. The Winter Men by Brett Lewis: Still trying to get a feel for this book. Think of the Sopranos except the crew are not Italian mobsters but former members of a USSR super solder program and are now dealing with life in Russia after the USSR’s fall.

49. Storming Paradise by Chuck Dixon: Interesting “What If?” involving the US having to invade Japan after the Trinity test kills the leadership of the Manhattan project. Wish the book picks pack up as it stops at a midway point.

48. Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain: 10 years after Kitchen Confidential (the book that got me really into cooking) Bourdain returns with more tales from what has happened to him since KC.

47. Gotham City Sirens by Paul Dini: Fun read with the ladies of the Batman Universe. Well done twist at the end of the book.

46. The complete short stories of Ian Flemming. The Bond stories are like comfort food for me.

45. The complete Peanuts 1969-1970: Its my 40th this year so I had to read the intro to the volume from by birth year as well as the strip that ran the day I was born.

44. The complete Terry and the pirates. Amazing the amount of work produced by Milton Caniff

43. The essential Wonder Woman encyclopedia. Read in honor of the new costume. I like how Gale Simone has given her a modern outlook.

41 and 42. Its a boy and Raising Cain by Dr. Michael Thompson
Required reading if you are the parent of a boy.

40. Harold Newton : the original Highwayman by Gary Monroe: Newton’s art reminds me of being a little kid in Pensacola Fla.

39. Wars, guns, and votes : democracy in dangerous places by Paul Collier. Maybe the quote of the year. How do you know a democracy is healthy? The photos of their leaders have smiles as they are trying to get people to like them enough to vote. In unhealthy democracies, they the leaders don’t care.

38. The case for God by Karen Armstrong: I love Armstrong’s writing but I wished I had read the epilogue first as it helps to frame the context of her argument for the importance the idea of God can have on our world. Her detailed examination of the major ideas in theism should be required reading for anyone interesting in understanding where the ideas you take as fact come from.
Still the book was a hard read as it points out that its only been in the last 200 years that the Bible has been read in the way we read it today.

For someone raised as a fundamentalist Christian, this book and Chopra’s are refreshing in that they point out that fundamentalism isn’t the only way to read the scriptures. Yet they both note that if you are looking for certainty when asking questions like “what happens after we die?”, the Bible isn’t going to ever give you a definitive answer in their view. That lack of certainty was disturbing to me and will be the source for some conversations in the future.

37. The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra: Diffcult read in that it discusses the idea that the church really doesn’t know who Jesus is. His exploration into the teachings of Jesus are both eye opening and challenging.

36. Hellhound on his trail by Hampton Sides: A very moving account of the events leading up to the assassination of Dr. King by James Earl Ray. Given our current political culture, it makes you wonder how much we really learned from the late 1960’s. The book also reminds me why I’ve never liked Jessie Jackson.

35. The City and The City by China Mieville: Very surprising book. Its one of those plots that when you try to tell it to someone, you sound like a nut. While the end broke down a bit for me, I really got into the world Mieville built and its comments on how we view ourselves and each other.

34. Wednesday Comics: Loved the large newspaper format and how they kept it for the collected edition. Really got into the Kamandi story by Dave Gibbons. Also well done was the Batman story by Brian Azzarello and the Deadman tale by Dave Bullock/Vinton Heuck

33. James Bond: Omnibus Volume 001: Based on the novels that inspired the movies (James Bond Graphic Novels) by Titan books
Love the Bond stuff as always

32. Patriots, Pirates, Heroes & Spies: Stories from Historic Philadelphia edited by Sandra Mackenzie Lloyd
Got to hear two of the stories in this book at the “Once Upon a Nation” story benches at Constitution Hall and at Independence. We loved them so much we picked up the book to read to John before we bring him to Philly.

31. Whatever happened to the world of tomorrow? by Brian Fies
A reflection on how the world we wished to build in 1939 never came to be even after the space age. Had me misting up at times.

30: Abraham: a journey to the heart of three faiths by Bruce Feiler
The first two time author on the list. Didn’t feel this one as much as America’s Prophet. Still I liked his idea that all three faiths have their own view of who is Abraham.

29. Black Widow: Deadly Origin by Paul Cornell
While I liked the art and the tour of BW’s origin, the intro mission was a bit off.

28. All Tomorrow’s Parties by William Gibson
I finally finish ‘The Bridge’ trilogy. Nice to hang out with Berry Rydell again. While I like “Boomzilla”, “Warbaby” is still the best name on the bridge.

27. Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965 by Joe Kubert.
A fictionalized account of the Battle of Dong Xoai followed by the actual event as written up by the men who fought there.

26. Total Recall: how the e-memory revolution with change everything by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell
Bell’s work has always been of interest to me. The man records and saves everything. His research into how to manage and retrieve it will be huge in the years to come.

25. Danger Girl: Back in Black by Andy Hartnell and Nick Bradshaw
pure spy pulp goodness

24. The stewardess is flying the plane! America films of the 1970’s by Ron Hogan and Manoah Bowman.
Something about 1970’s flicks have this strange hold on me.

23. The Marvel Comics encyclopedia
Sucker for Viper. Wish Marvel will user her more in their books

22. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Another “world after oil” read set in Thailand. Too much spend in the build up because when the plot ready starts to kick in, the book is over.

21. The Art of Bond by Laurent Bouzereau
I’m a sucker for Bond stuff.

20. Lyrics by Sting
Fun to read Sting’s lyrics in prose form along with his notes on how he wrote them.

19. Columbine by Dave Cullen
Cullen set out to write the history of the event without repeating the myths.

18. Julian Comstock: A novel of 22th century America by Robert Charles Wilson
A great read and made me think about what kind of world we’ll be in once the oil runs out. In this case, a return to the gilded age of the 1890’s complete with its morals and language.

17. Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead by Robin Furth, Peter David and Jade Lee.
Jade Lee is one of the best artists in comics today.

16. America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler
Outstanding read on how understanding Moses is core to understanding the American. Still it was troubling in this climate to know that it was the pro-slavery side of the debate that could claim they followed the Bible to its letter.

15. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Odd read. I found myself caring more for the supporting characters due to Kadrey’s choice to make Sandman Slim an uber anti-hero.

14. Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson
Great read from the editor of Wired on how free can be used to build a business.

13. Future noir: The making of Blade Runner by Paul Sammon.
Interesting read by a clear superfan

12. Star Wars : Knights of the Old Republic: Destroyer by John Miller

Suckered in by the cover for the first issue the story just didn’t hook me.

11. Star Wars Legacy: Claws of the Dragon by John Ostrander, Jan Duursem

First time I’ve read a Legacy book which is set after Luke Skywalker reformed the Jedi order. It was OK. I found that I enjoyed the B story involving the Moffs and the Sith the most.

10. Batman: Battle for the Cowl by Tony Daniel.

Other than the cameos by Squire and Catwoman, I didn’t feel this one as much as I would have hoped. It felt too much like War Games and its aftermath.

9. Philip K. Dick: Five Novels from the 60’s and 70’s edited by Jonathan Letham

Read the biographic timeline and the note to get a better feel for PKD’s troubled life.

8. Dr. Bloodmoney or how we learned to live after the Bomb by Philip K. Dick.

What can I say. This book is classic PKD.

7. Satchel. The life and times of an American Legend by Larry Tye

The first disappointment of the year. Tye gets points for trying to lay down the definitive history of Satchel but it gets bogged down trying to bring together everything else that has been written about the Man.

6. Batman: Rules of Engagement by Andy Diggle

The Billionaires of the DC Universe go head to head in a tale set around Batman Year 2. It was OK.

5. METAtropolis: The Dawn of Uncivilization edited by John Scalzi

I’ve been wanted to check out this Audible exculsive for a long time and it lived up to its billing. I’ll review the stories in order

Jay Lake – First time I’ve read any of his stuff but I really enjoyed it even if I was bummed by the ending and the threads that we’re left.

Tobias Buckell – Maybe the best story in terms of raw ideas. Perfect paring with Scott Brick’s narration.

Elizabeth Bear – A nice bookend to Buckell’s story. As with any goo Bear story, you will care about these characters.

John Scalzi – As with any of Scalzi’s works, this story feels real. Maybe the best dialog writer in Sci-Fi.

Karl Schroeder – Need to read more of Karl’s stuff as this story shows that he might have that Neil Stephenson touch for seeing how we’ll use tech 10 years from now.

4. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Found out about this one due to one of my media gateway dealer The Wachowski’s. It’s said that they are working on this as a movie version but how it will end up on the screen I have no idea. Still how Mitchell is able to jump from genre and style is amazing. I loved the two futuristic stories as well as the Melville-ish’ travel journal. Worth reading but you will need to focus on the details so that you catch the hooks as they appear.

3. The Losers (various volumes) by Andy Diggle and Jock

Soon to be a major motion picture, The Losers could be called the thinking person’s A-Team (also coming to a cinema near you). While some of the twists are telegraphed, the skill and cleverness at which they turned make this a worthwhile read.

2. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neil

Moore brings his near encyclopedic knowledge of English literature to spin another tale from the league. It can be dense at times but part of the fun is watching these characters interact with each other.

1. Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

Interesting look into a world where the Marvel villians win leaving only a blind Hawkeye and a broken Wolverine as the last heros. Like much of Millar’s stuff, as the ideas start to wain, the body count, gore and blood go up. Still a good read/

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