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What I Read in 2014


Here are the 16 books I read in 2014. Still not near the quantity I was reading five or six years ago, but more than last year (11 total, 5 re-reads), and only one re-read in the bunch.

  1. Heechee Rendezvous – Frederick Pohl (Wrapping up the original Heechee trilogy.)
  2. The Human Division – John Scalzi (Still love the Old Man’s War universe.)
  3. Among Others – Jo Walton
  4. The Alphabet Not Unlike the World – Katrina Vandenberg (Poetry. Really, really good poetry. Like “Inspires John Green while he’s writing The Fault in Our Stars” good poetry.
  5. Mystery Comics Digest No. 6 – The Twilight Zone (August 1972 – picked this up on Free Comic Book Day.)
  6. The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon – John Harris (GeekDad review.)
  7. Avengers: Assembled – Brian Michael Bendis
  8. The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi – Julius Csotonyi and Steve White (GeekDad review.)
  9. Alpha Centauri – Or Die! – Leigh Brackett (I picked this up a couple years ago at a bookstore in the small Ohio town where Brackett and her husband Edmond Hamilton lived. I wrote about it for
  10. Star Wars: A New Dawn – John Jackson Miller (I stopped reading most Star Wars novels long ago, but this one caught me, and it was quick and fun.)
  11. The Art of John Alvin – Andrea Alvin (GeekDad review.)
  12. The Future of the Mind – Michio Kaku (Fascinating stuff.)
  13. The Importance of Being Ernest – Ernest Cline (Author of Ready Player OneInterior illustrations by fellow Northeast Ohioan and cool guy Len Peralta.)
  14. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury (re-read)
  15. Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It – Mad Norwegian Press (GeekDad review.)
  16. Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (No, I can’t believe I’d never read it either. What an incredibly fun book.)

I also spent a lot of enjoyable time in the pages of the following four role-playing game books last year, and I expect it to continue in 2015:

  • Numenera (core rulebook) – Monte Cook
  • Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook (5th ed.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (5th ed.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons  Dungeon Master’s Guide (5th ed.)


January 1, 2015 Posted by | 1980s, Fiction, geek, science fiction | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I read in 2012

I only read through 25 books in 2012, compared with 36 in 2011. (And down further from the 38 in 2010, and barely half my 2009 number: 46.) Those books (linked to my GeekDad reviews where applicable) were:

The list does include fewer re-reads than the previous few years, the exceptions being American Gods, the Hunger Games trilogy (read as a psyche-up for the movie), and Revolt on Alpha C, a childhood favorite.

I did specify at the beginning that those are the books I “read through,” because I spent a lot of time in the pages of larger reference-style books, even if I don’t count them as cover-to-cover reads (links, again, to GeekDad reviews):

I also have a monthly Kindle subscription to Lightspeed magazine, which I don’t consume beginning to end every month, but which adds another bunch of short stories and interviews to my count.

I’ll also note that this was my first year owning the Kindle, which led to something that hasn’t happened much to me in the past: Unfinished books. Being able to grab books on the cheap (or for free) made it incredibly easy to load up, and there are several books on the device (or in my Amazon cloud) which I either haven’t started yet or which remain only partially read. Part of it is because I tend to read those when I’m not at home, which is part of the point of the Kindle, after all.

Maybe I’ll put those – plus the ones on the shelf on my new bookcase which I’ve reserved for unread books – at the top of this year’s list.

Once I’ve finished the book I’m reading now, of course.

January 2, 2013 Posted by | Books, Current Affairs, Fiction, geek | , | Leave a comment

What I read in 2011

I read 36 books in 2011, which is two fewer than my 2010 total, but a number which still pleasantly surprised me, given that I landed a full-time career-changing job in February.

Mostly fiction, by far. The eight non-fiction reads included two biographies, an essay collection, a book on gaming and society, and four pop culture niche explorations.

Nine books on the list are re-reads, although one of those was the extensively annotated Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition. If you want to get technical, it’s ten counting Pillars of Pentegarn although it’s been probably 25 years – at least – since I last read it.

Obsessive streak: I closed the year on a 10-day break from work, during which time I read volumes 2-7 of the Harry Potter series. (I had planned to read the entire set, but then realized I had already read Sorceror’s Stone over the summer.)

Shared joy: My daughter and I fell in love with the Scott Pilgrim series after I bought her the first volume and then went to the library within a day or two to check out the other five.

I have Adam to thank for two books on the list which were gifts: John Landis and Manhood for Amateurs. Excellent call on both.

I reviewed twelve of the books for GeekDad.

The list:

And first on the list for 2012:

Ganymede by Cherie Priest

January 1, 2012 Posted by | Books, Fiction, Film, geek, science fiction | , , , , | 3 Comments

2010 in Books

When I went through my journal to log this year’s books, I learned I’d been a bit lazy and had completely failed to record five of this year’s reads. Fixed.

So, here’s what I read in 2010:

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins. My first daughter-recommended science fiction reads. Proud parenting moment.

The God Engines – John Scalzi. Dark. Bizarre. Innards-tangling. Not for the faint of heart, and a real deviation from Scalzi’s usual writing paths. I liked it.

Sailing to Byzantium – Robert Silverberg. I’ve liked Silverberg since I read Revolt on Alpha C as a kid, and when Kelsey was little, we read Lost Race of Mars together. This collection’s much more for the grown-up science fiction fan, and his take on Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Sharer is fantastic.

Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi (re-read)

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling (re-read)

The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway. The 100 Stories for Haiti anthology reminded me that I had been meaning to read this, and I loved it. Post-apocalyptic and mind-bendy and still human. Plus it has both Pirates AND Ninjas.

Math, Science and Unix Underpants – Bill Amend

Mainspring – Jay Lake

Cleveland’s Greatest Disasters – John Stark Bellamy II

The Sagan Diary – John Scalzi. Listened to this one on the drive back from Providence in March.

PvP Levels Up – Scott Kurtz. Bought from the man himself at PAX East, signed & Scratch Fury-ed.

Fantasy Freaks & Gaming Geeks – Ethan Gilsdorf. Couldn’t put this one down: gaming and nostalgia and adventures and explorations galore.

The City & The City – China Mieville. For me, this was 2010’s equivalent to last year’s Anathem by Neal Stephenson. It’s a mental workout to read, especially in the beginning, but absolutely worth the effort.

FoxTrot: The Works – Bill Amend

Wildly FoxTrot – Bill Amend

Quixote: A Novel – Bryan J.L. Glass. Adam introduced me to Bryan at the Pittsburgh Comicon in April. ‘Cause I’m a sucker for tilting at windmills and all.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook – Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt

The Specific Gravity of Grief – Jay Lake. Reviewed this one for GeekDad, though I would have read it regardless.

Goblin Quest – Jim C. Hines

Daemons Are Forever – Simon R. Green. This is the second book in a series – it was a freebie from the author’s lit agency – so I started a bit behind the curve, but it was so unlike just about anything I’ve read that I got hooked pretty quickly. And James Bond references tend to go over well with me.

Found – Margaret Peterson Haddix

Scenting the Dark and Other Stories – Mary Robinette Kowal. The only thing I didn’t like about this book? Too damned short. And I wish it could have included “Evil Robot Monkey”.

Red Hood’s Revenge – Jim C. Hines. The subject of another GeekDad review, and my favorite in his Princess series so far.

Locke & Key: Vol. I, Welcome to Lovecraft – Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

My Best Friend Is A Wookiee – Tony Pacitti. A Star Wars memoir from a younger fan’s perspective, growing up when the originals could only be seen on TV or videotape, and coming of age in the prequel era.

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins. The kick-ass conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy. Reviewing it for GeekDad earned me some serious bonus parenting points because it meant my daughter had it waiting for her when she got home from school on release day.

Dreadnought – Cherie Priest

Clementine – Cherie Priest. Both of these are set in the world Priest created for Boneshaker, though neither is really a sequel in the strict sense. I like this universe.

The Odious Ogre – Norton Juster. With illustrations by Jules Feiffer, this reunited the Phantom Tollbooth words-and-pictures team for the first time in almost 50 years.

Oddball Ohio: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places – Jerome Pohlen

A Western Journal – Thomas Wolfe. Inspiring me to revisit my cross-country road trip in journal form.

Little Fuzzy – H. Beam Piper. A classic of which I had no knowledge until Scalzi announced his upcoming take on the book.

Brody’s Ghost, Book 1 – Mark Crilley

Armor – John Steakley. A different, brain-cramping (in a good way) angle on the space-trooper genre tale.

Silly Rhymes for Belligerent Children – Trace Beaulieu (Illustrated by Len Peralta)

Bloom County: The Complete Library Vol. 3 1984-1986 – Berkeley Breathed

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials – Dungeon Master’s Book – James Wyatt. As someone who only recently returned to D&D, I hadn’t really begun to think about taking on the DM’s role yet. This book, though, made for a great and encouraging read in that vein – thanks Kato and Wendy! – but I also got an awful lot out of it as a new player still kind of learning the finer points of the game mechanics and structure.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Books, Fiction, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

From a trusted source.

I was reading to my daughter Kelsey since before she was born. We’ve covered a lot of ground together, from the neighborhoods of Richard Scarry’s busy world to the road that passes through a Phantom Tollbooth. Been beneath the Misty Mountains with a certain Hobbit and ridden the train to Hogwarts over and over again.

Click to read the related GeekDad post at

As she grew into an independent reader, I loved suggesting books to her like Donuthead, Whales on Stilts and Zoe’s Tale. Of course, she also found a ton of stuff on her own, and has shelves full of books in which I have no interest at all – and that’s more than OK. The fact that she’s piling them up at all is fantastic.

All this is part of the reason why writing my latest GeekDad post brought me a really special kind of joy, not because it’s about a couple books I really enjoyed, but because this time around, the books were Kelsey’s discovery, and it was my turn to say, “Hm. Okay,” and then, later, “Wow! Thanks!!!”

They get some prime real estate on the memory shelf.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | Books, Fiction, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Weblogs, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Read in 2009

1/2/2010: Oops. Quick addition: Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, by Hal Higdon. I kept forgetting this one because I didn’t read it straight through, but bounced around during my training. Also the source of the 18-week training schedule I followed.

In chronological order by finishing date:

Old Man’s War – John Scalzi (reread)
Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon – L. Neil Smith (reread)

You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing – John Scalzi
Y: The Last Man vol. 6 “Girl on Girl” – Brian K. Vaughan
Y: The Last Man vol. 7 “Paper Dolls” – Brian K. Vaughan
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (reread)
Deus ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Fan – Adam Besenyodi
Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band is Playing & Leviathan ’99 – Ray Bradbury

Y: The Last Man vol. 8 “Kimono Dragons” – Brian K. Vaughan
Y: The Last Man vol. 9 “Motherland” – Brian K. Vaughan
The Accidental Time Machine – Joe Haldeman.
Halting State – Charles Stross.
Sunken Treasure – Wil Wheaton
The Astounding Wolf Man Vol. 1 – Robert Kirkman
The Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi (reread)
Y: The Last Man vol. 10 “Whys & Wherefores” – Brian K. Vaughan

The Last Colony – John Scalzi (reread)

Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change – Bonnie Burton

Harriers: The Making of a Championship Cross-Country Team – Joseph Shivers and Paul Shivers

The Magic of Eyri – Daniel J. Hogan
Life of the Party: A Visual History of the S.S. Adams Company – Kirk Demarais
Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit – Matt McCarthy
Darwin’s Radio – Greg Bear
The Neddiad: How Neddie Took the Train, Went to Hollywood and Saved Civilization – Daniel Pinkwater
The Bbook of Geek – Brian Briggs

The Curse of the Blue Figurine – John Bellairs
Adam Canfield of The Slash – Michael Winerip
The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow – Tim Kehoe
The Stepsister Scheme – Jim C. Hines
Looking for Alaska – John Green (reread)
Be True to Your School – Bob Greene (reread)

Bugs Bunny: The Last Crusader – Rita Ritchie (reread)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart
The Android’s Dream – John Scalzi

Anathem – Neal Stephenson
Scud: The Disposable Assassin – The Whole Shebang – Rob Schrab

The Mermaid’s Madness – Jim C. Hines
Memories of the Future Vol. 1 – Wil Wheaton
Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart – John Tidyman
Punk Rock & Trailer Parks – Derf
Whiteout – Greg Rucka and Steve Leiber
Boneshaker – Cherie Priest
Metatropolis – Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, and Karl Schroeder

Triplanetary – E.E. “Doc” Smith
The Golden Globe – John Varley
The Trees of Zharka – Nancy Mackenroth

January 1, 2010 Posted by | Books, Fiction, geek, science fiction, writing | , | 1 Comment

Collect All 21! – Special Enhanced Podcast Excerpt

(If you just want to nab the George Krstic-enhanced “Collect All 21” podcast, it’s here in mp3 form, so you can right-click and “save as” for an easy download. The blog entry below tells about how it came to be, so feel free to come back and read and leave comments and feedback.)

UPDATE – George K. and I recorded a second one, too!

I’m a bit hyper about this little project having become a reality, so I’m asking forgiveness in advance for any fits of nerdbabbling.

Remember a few months back, when I got that note from “Clone Wars” writer George Krstic? Well, we’ve stayed in touch since then, and I mentioned that I’d love to do a sort of interactive podcast reading from “Collect All 21,” with George sitting in and sharing his own memories and thoughts on growing up addicted to the original trilogy.

So a couple weeks ago he let me know that he’d scheduled his usual summer return to Northeast Ohio, and we planned on hanging out and geeking for awhile and giving the interactive reading a shot.

Tuesday afternoon, then, we met up in Cuyahoga Falls for beer, pizza and wings, and passed a couple ridiculously fast hours talking writing and science fiction and cartoons and toys and video games and crazy people we’d known and cross-country road trips.

Then we headed over to my friend Keith’s house to record the podcast, which we built around the book’s second chapter, “The Droids We Were Looking For: How Kenner Took Ownership of My Childhood.”

(We actually got to Keith’s much later than we’d planned because we passed a Target and stopped to check out the Star Wars toys. I haven’t bought much of the new Hasbro stuff lately, but I picked up a very cool IG-86 Assassin Droid from The Clone Wars cartoon line because a) I was totally caught up in the evening’s geekdom and b) come on, I’m checking out Star Wars stuff with the guy who wrote “Downfall of a Droid” and created this character!)


Recording the reading and conversation with George was an absolute blast, and I hope the fun comes through in the finished product and gives some insight into what “Collect All 21” is all about. I can’t stress enough (again) how much I love hearing other Star Wars fans’ remembrances of their own experiences growing up on the toys and movies and books and comics of that era, and sitting down face-to-face and hearing some of those memories from a writer and guy like George was just an amazingly enjoyable experience.

The finished podcast runs about 45 minutes, and you can find it here.

MassiveSuperColossal Collect-‘Em-All Thanks to George – visit his web site to see the ton of neat stuff he’s done – for taking some time to nerd out and revisit the days when Real Action Figures Had No Knees, and to Keith for sharing his house and his recording setup and making this podcast possible.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, geek, Ohio, science fiction, Television, writing | , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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