Reading List

I always talk about having a huge backlog of books to read, but even I never appreciated the size of it until I wrote it all down. Here it is, the list of books I own but have not yet read. This list does not include technical books, which are often used for reference rather than being read straight through, and it does not include books Sarai has bought that I do not have definite plans to read in the (relatively) near future, which would add at least another half dozen or so.
  • Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami
  • Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami
  • Pattern Recognition, William Gibson
  • The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey
  • The Torture Garden, Octave Mirbeau
  • Rushing to Paradise, J.G. Ballard
  • Jennifer Government, Max Barry
  • The Lost World, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The above books were all purchased used within the last two weeks, the first five over this past weekend.
  • Stardust, Neil Gaiman
  • Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman
  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman
  • Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
I can’t believe the only Neil Gaiman I’ve read outside of the Sandman series is Neverwhere.
  • Spring Snow, Yukio Mishima
  • The Decay of the Angel, Yukio Mishima
These two are the first and fourth books of a four-book series, so I can’t read these until I pick up the other two.
  • Walden and Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau
  • Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  • The Plague, Albert Camus
Classics. I have no excuse for never having read these three (four, if you count the first one as two books, as they were originally published).
  • Fiction 2000: Cyberpunk and the Future of Narrative, edited by George Slusser and Tom Shippey
  • QPB Guide to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, edited by Ben Bova and Byron Preiss
These two I got for a dollar or two each and bought them just because they were there and they looked like they might be interesting. They are really low priority and I may never get around to actually reading them.
  • Dune: House Atreides, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Dune: House Harkonnen, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Dune: House Corrino, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
I’ve heard that these three aren’t very good but I’m a huge fan of Frank Herbert’s original Dune series so when I saw these for $2.00 each I figured I should give them a chance. I’ll probably want to re-read the six original books first, which will be a time-consuming undertaking in itself.
  • A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
  • Engines of Creation, K. Eric Drexler
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto, Rick Levine, et al
  • Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age, Mike Godwin
  • Noctuary, Thomas Ligotti
  • Generation of Swine, Hunter S. Thompson
  • The Color of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  • Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
This list is in no particular order. I’m just about finished with The Wild Shore. I think Good Omens is next in line. I welcome reviews or opinions about any of these, but if you’re going to suggest that I move something to the front (or back) of the queue, please tell me why, not just that I should.

I think used bookstores should be off-limits to me until I get through at least half of these (ok, that’s a lie).


darkviolet9 says:

Heh, my father has two bookcases full of yet-to-be-read books. And he keeps buying more. Books are my father’s crack! =)

I would suggest that you do not, repeat do not re-read the Dune series before starting the ahem prequels… Brian Herbert is the one who should’ve read them before writing those prequels. Supposedly he based them off of notes he found in his father’s attic/basement/wherever without realizing that sometimes discarded notes are discarded for a reason and what was actually published may be completely different from what the author wrote down one night and tossed to the side in the clear light of morning. One of Frank Herbert’s buddies was a regular customer of mine at the stationary store in Fullerton. He wouldn’t even talk about it… (yeah, I could go on for days – Dune for me is what LoTR is for sooo many others)

kchrist says:

Brian Herbert is the one who should’ve read them before writing those prequels.

I kind of assumed that since Frank Herbert obviously kept an extremely detailed background with regard to the politics, religion, etc, there’s got to be some interesting stuff in there. Too bad the person who has all that background information is a crap writer. On the other hand, if the background material isn’t up to snuff, maybe it isn’t Brian Herbert’s fault that his books suck. Or, more likely, both.

How about The Butlerian Jihad and The Machine Crusade? Have you read these? This part of the history interests me more than the House books so maybe I’ll read those first if they’re better.

I could go on for days – Dune for me is what LoTR is for sooo many others

You’re welcome to. I feel the same way myself. Dune is definitely my favorite science fiction series (followed by Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in hard science fiction).

darkviolet9 says:

I think Brian Herbert just didn’t read the actual published work before starting on the House books. He really should have. There are things which don’t match up. I don’t want to give spoilers, but just one little psuedo spoiler to give an example…

A big part of House Atreides relates to “Jessica’s mother” and how Baron Harkonnen got so fat. Which would be pretty damed cool if only Jessica’s mother hadn’t already been revealed in Children (when Leto and Ghani play the parent game one last time before splitting up in the desert). Maybe Frank was toying with one idea and changed his mind without noting that change anywhere in his papers.

There are a few big flaws like that that could’ve been avoided, thus making the prequels very entertaining. Just not as well-written, but definitely entertaining. So not as well-written – which is somewhat forgivable considering FH’s wonderful writing.

I haven’t read the others. I’m kind of afraid to. But I might take a peek, since I haven’t read Dune in a while and those others are so far in the past that there shouldn’t be contradictory info about main characters. But if I see the name Duncan Idaho, I’m burning it. Or maybe wiping my ass with it… =P

Anyhow, go ahead and read them, just don’t crack Dune open 3 months before or after…