• My 2010 Reading List
    I am organizing by series this time, and by genre.
    I usually give
    Author, Title, Year of Publication
    Brief summary & rating
    Genre, Length, Dates I read the book
    Jim Butcher Death Masks (2003)
              The Dresden Files, Book 5.  Demons, the Shroud of Turin, dueling with a vampire, and the return of Harry's love Susan.  Never a dull moment.  For an explanation of the series, see my Spring 2010 Reading list.
              Speculative Fiction.  352 pages.  July, 2010.
    Jim Butcher Blood Rites (2004)
              The Dresden Files, Book 6.  War between and within various factions of the magical world, which includes the White Council of Wizards and three different Houses of vampires.  When my friend found her copy, I interrupted everything else I was reading to get started.
              Speculative Fiction.  372 pages.  August 10-12, 2010.
    Jim Butcher Dead Beat (2005)
              The Dresden Files, book 7.  Bad wizards make zombies.  As always, Butcher's story is fast-paced and witty.  What makes these books special, to me, is the way he slips in heartful moments about, for example, death, that are worth remembering.  (Yes, heartful;  I reserve the right to make up words when I need to.)
               Speculative Fiction.  393 pages.  August 16-18, 2010.
    Jim Butcher Proven Guilty (2006)
              The Dresden Files, book 8.  Combine a horror con with demons that feed on fear, and just for fun, an unknown dark wizard out to get our hero, and you get another fast-paced read.
               Speculative Fiction.  479 pages.  August 23-26, 2010.
    Jim Butcher White Nights (2007)
              The Dresden Files, book 9.  In this installment, Harry must solve a series of muders that look like suicides while negotiating the political machinations of both wizards and vampires.  The deep philosophy moments are about pain, and what it gives us.
               Speculative Fiction.  407 pages.  August 27-30, 2010.
    white nights
    Robert Kirkman The Walking Dead. Vol. 1 Days Gone By (2008)
              I read this last spring, and gave it a second look before reading Volume 2.  Excellent artwork by Tony Moore really adds to the story's intensity.  Rick, a cop, awakens from a coma to find the world has been taken over by zombies.  Searching for his wife and son, he does find a few human survivors.  Originally published as single magazines 1-6.
              Graphic novel.  Speculative fiction.  No pagination.  August 8, 2010.
    Robert Kirkman The Walking Dead. Vol. 2 Miles Behind Us (2009)
              Rick, his family,  and a group of other survivors search for food and safety; seemingly safe places pose unknown risks.  I was so looking forward to the second volume in the series, and was sadly disappointed.  Cliff Rathburn took over as illustrator, and not only did he change every character's face to a new look, his drawings are inconsistent and overly simplistic.  He cannot draw believable children, and the backgrounds are boring.  Kirkman's story is still good, but not as tight and intense as in the first book.  I will try to get these books from the library, maybe, but I won't spend money on them anymore.  Apparently, the series has also been made into an animated movie.  I'm not sure I'll want to see it.  Originally published as single magazines 7-12.
              Graphic novel.  Speculative fiction.  No pagination.  August 8, 2010.
    Robert Kirkman The Walking Dead. Vol. 3 Safety Behind Bars (2008)
              Idealistic Rick and the remaining members of his group - zombies, right?  So they lose people - try to make the sprawling grounds of a prison into a new home.  Okay, I knew I said I wouldn't buy them anymore, but I tried one more.  Cliff Rathburn is still the illustrator, and this one is about as good as the last; I am getting annoyed less, so maybe he got better.  Kirkman's characterization and plot are good; though I am not amazed, he did manage to surprise me.  Originally published as single magazines 13-18.
              Graphic novel.  Speculative fiction.  No pagination.  Sept 5, 2010.
    Robert Kirkman The Walking Dead. Vol. 4 The Heart's Desire (2008)
              Life at the prison turns difficult when a human turns out to be as dangerous as the zombies...and no one knows whom to trust.  Rick and the others try to hold to the rules of civilized life, but maybe that is not even a good idea anymore.  We're getting them from the library now; this book read fast, like one chapter of a novel.  Originally published as single magazines 19-24.
              Graphic novel.  Speculative fiction.  No pagination.  Sept 9, 2010.
    dead 4
    Neil Gaiman Stardust (1999)
              The novel is set in the Victorian countryside of England, where the boy Tristan has grown up, little knowing that he would be crossing into the world of Faerie to impress a girl.  I enjoyed the movie, and all my friends say the book is better.  So far, I agree.
             Interesting!  This book has been translated into several languages, and every printing seems to have its own cover.  Hardcover and paperback are also different.  Finding the cover of the book I am holding required searching, and it was too fuzzy to include.  For reference, I gave you the newest American paperback cover that ties into the movie.
              Speculative Fiction.  235 pages.  August 9-13, 2010.
    Neil Gaiman The Sandman Volume Two (2007)
              Incredible series!  I am reading the collected books; this one is the second 25% of the series.  The Sandman is the Lord of Dreams.  When his sister, Death, tells him he has punished someone wrongly, he enters Hell to make it right.  Nothing goes as planned.  Originally published as magazines 21-39.
              Fantasy/Graphic novel.  616 pages.  Started Sept 4, 2010.  See Fall 2010.
    sandman 2
    Keith Donahue The Stolen Child (2006)
              Amazing first novel!  I chose it at random while wandering the library when nothing else I wanted was in.  Filed on the regular fiction shelves, it should probably be in the SF/F section.  Donahue's chapters alternate between the boy who used to be Henry Day, and the changeling who took his place.  Superbly crafted.  I will watch for this author now.
              Speculative Fiction.  319 pages.  August 15-20, 2010.
    Ray Bradbury Bradbury Stories (2003)
              I am reading this collection of "100 of Bradbury's Most Celebrated Tales" for three reasons: as a teacher, as a reader, and as a writer.  First, I am looking for stories to pair up with Fahrenheit 451, which is a brilliant book; I want to help my students understand this man and his vision.  Second, I love reading his work; he makes me laugh out lout.  Third, Bradbury is one of my important role models as a writer.
              Speculative fiction.  Short stories.  888 pages.  Started August 19, 2010.  On hiatus.
    Holly Black The White Cat (2010)
              This is my friend Holly's new novel.  I got to see part of this book before it was published.  Holly does a good job of setting up an alternate version of our world.  The setting is New Jersey, in what seems to be the present, with the addition of people who can do curse work.  The teen protagonist, Cassel, belongs to a curseworker family, but has no skills himself.  What he does have is an awful past which is giving him nightmares.  This is the first book in a series, and it does its job: the story has only just begun, and I want to read more.
              Speculative fiction.  YA.  320 pages.  August 21, 2010.
    Terry Pratchett Hogfather (1999)
              I have read two other books by Pratchett: Good Omens, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman, and Wyrd Sisters, which is set on the fantastical Discworld.  This novel is also set on that world, which resembles ours except when it doesn't.  Sisters was a strange version of Macbeth, and Hogfather is a tale of assassins out to murder a very important figure: Santa Claus.  I am reading several books at once, but this one is the funniest.
              Fantasy.  384 pages.  Started August 23, 2010.  (I did eventually finish this, though I have no idea when.)
    May Sinclair Audrey Craven (1897)
             More work on the Master's.  This was Sinclair's first novel, and I am mining it for evidence that the author chose not to marry, despite the societal pressure that told her she must.  For an account of the whole project, and some interesting how-to examples, see that page on this website.
             Realistic fiction.  328 pages.  August, 2010.
    David Guterson East of the Mountains (1998)
             This is the third novel I have read by this author - I attached the other two covers here as well - and I really love his work.  This one is probably the least accessible to YA audiences.  An older man, a widower, has decided that his death would ease his family's troubles more than his living, and so he sets out into the mountains of his youth to die.  Of course, nothing goes according to plan.  Along the way, he meets a strange mix of people who affect his life profoundly.
             Realistic fiction.  328 pages.  July, 2010.
             Snow Falling on Cedars is a beautifully wrought tale of the people living in a small town in the Pacific northwest soon after WWII.  When a Japanese man is accused of murder, cultural differences and prejudices complicate the situation.  Guterson wrote this one while teaching by getting up really early and writing a bit each day; it took ten years.  I love stories like his.  (You know I'm writing a novel, right?)
             In Our Lady of the Forest, a teen-age runaway sees visions of the Virgin Mary, and her announcement draws crowds.  Set in Washington state, the novel explores people's dreams and the changing times.
    east     snow     our lady
    Anna Quindlen Rise and Shine (2006)
              Bridget tells the story of her life in NYC, where she works as a social worker and tries to take care of her sister, Meghan, the star of America's most-watched morning television show.  Besides divorce, media scandal and the disasters of poverty, not much is happening, but I like the characters - Bridget's coworker Tequila is a gem - and Quindlen does a fine job of making me want to stay with Bridget to see how it all comes out.
              Realistic fiction.  269 pages.  Sept 2-5, 2010.
              Black and Blue is the first novel I read by this author, although I knew her intelligent and witty newpaper column first.  Black and Blue is the story of Fran, who must leave her abusive husband and hide from him to save her life.  Fran and her son manage to make a new start in Florida, but their past comes to haunt them.
    rise  black
    Jeannette Walls The Glass Castle (2006)
              Walls seems to hide nothing as she tells of her childhood.  She grew up extremely poor and often went without what we would consider basic necessities, yet in a strange way, her parents were not total failures.  The book certainly makes us think about what we may take for granted.  This is now the summer reading book for the 10th grade college prep course, and I am looking forward to discussing it with my new classes in September.
              Memoir.  288 pages.  August, 2010.
    Truman Capote In Cold Blood (1965)
              I'm reading this to help out a senior I am tutoring.  My job?  To figure out what makes it great, so I can help him get hooked and enjoy it.  Glancing through, I see that Capote uses dialogue.  I am thinking this must have fictionalized elements to make the story more interesting.  I hope so!  Dry facts sound boring, even to me!
             OK.  Mission accomplished.  Here is the way to read this book: settle into reading as if you will enjoy every page...and you will.  Capote paints pictures for you; imagine every scene in your mind's eye, not because you have to memorize it, but because it is beautiful.  Take in the richness of the world, of the characters he introduces to you.  Finally, read it like a mystery: who did it?  why?  what was the motive?  how did they get away with it?  why weren't the perpetrators caught right away?  why was solving the mystery so hard?
              Nonfiction: true crime.  343 pages.  Started August 10, 2010.
    Check out this photo gallery of images related to the case.  I found that seeing people's actual faces really brought the book to life.  I included the courthouse below.
    capote  court  truman
Last Modified on November 14, 2012