Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Update - June 2013

What a year it's been on the reading front. 21 books down as of yesterday. Not bad for a mid-year total and I'm on pace to read over 40 this year, which would be the highest total achieved since I started tracking in 2011.

The Kindle Paperwhite and ebook lending from the Hennepin County Library has played a key role in my book reading this year. I'm reading a number of old series from fiction authors and most are available in eBook format. Recently, I've gone back to some paperback and hardcover books too, because there's still nothing like reading a paper book. While I greatly enjoy the conveniences of electronic, there's still a joy for me from turning the pages and the smells and tactile responses that accompany reading paper books.

Because I'm cheap and I'm not always good about putting in reservations in at the library before the hold list hits triple digits, I've not read too many new releases this year, but that's OK, I've always been more of a back catalog spelunker anyway.

I'm caught up on John Sandford's Prey Series, having read Stolen Prey in January. His new one, Silken Prey just came out but I'll probably wait til I can get it from the library. Honestly, it's time for Lucas Davenport to hang it up. When you have a series and you're getting into the mid-20s on books, there's only so much more you can do with the characters. I still enjoy reading but they're pretty tired. At this point, we've been with Davenport for a good chunk of his life and he's managed to evolve the character through the years to keep it interesting, but I don't expect there to be many more books in this series.

On that front, I also read Sandford's Virgil Flowers series up to the most recent book. It took a book or two to warm up on me, but I'm a fan. Good entertaining, and mildly mindless page turners. I'm about half a dozen books away from polishing off the entire Sandford catalog.

I've also been making progress on James Patterson's Alex Cross series - I really enjoy Cross and his adventures - a smartly written detective series with entertaining recurring characters, both protagonist and antagonist. It's another page turner that I can get behind and I look forward to reading every time another eBook becomes available (the old books are still pretty popular).

Besides those series, I've one-offed a lot of nonfiction - recently taking in 3 non fiction travel books by Paul Theroux. I really enjoyed The Old Patagonian Express and also read The Great Railway Baazar and Dark Star Safari. The latter got a little long winded for me, but the first two train adventures were entertaining. I'll be working my way through his non-fiction for the rest of the summer, I'm guessing - it's good cabin reading.

After hearing an interview with Warren Littlefield on Bullseye with Jessie Thorn, I checked out his autobiographical Must See TV and read it in 2 days flat. It was fun to read about the behind the scenes of many shows that I watched growing up, and it really was appointment television.

I finally finished Reamde by Neal Stephenson, after about 5 false starts. Decent read, but his info dumps get really tiring, and this one was no different.

I also read a couple of Micheal Lewis books including the classic Moneyball. I enjoyed it, and I look forward to finally reading the copy of The Big Short that's been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of years.

I was sad to hear about the passing of Vince Flynn a few weeks ago. While I often didn't agree with his politics, I enjoyed him as an author and it reminded me that I have 3 or 4 books to still read of his.

I've still got many series that I'm in the middle of and more books to read than time, but that's what I love about the hobby.