November 18, 2013

B(ooks) A(lready) R(ead)

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that unlike my friends/co-workers/fellow writers who have an ever-expanding TBR (aka to be read) pile of books that they never seem to make a serious dent in, I have something I like to call a BAR pile, which is the title of this post. And I thought for the next few weeks I would share with everyone what books I've read for the past year.

However, since I'm not like a few others who have their schtuff written down on a spreadsheet or notebook somewhere, I needed to do a little research on the subject. Why? Well, even though my memory is pretty damn good, the incredible voraciousness of my reading (average one to two books a week people) inevitably leaves a few gaps in my memory.

So last week, I decided to have a little fun at my local library. Overall, I spent almost an hour wandering through the library looking for books that I had read this year. I started with the new fiction section, didn't find the title of book that was classified as a western, then continued to the new non-fiction section, found a bunch of titles that I had read, and didn't find a few others that I had read (and were presumably checked out).

Moved on to the large section, where I found a few fiction titles (yes, I still read fiction) before moving on to the huge non-fiction section. I found a slew of titles that I had read, plus one that intrigued me enough to come back the next day to check out.

Overall, I came up with 32 titles that I had read or attempted to read this year. There are a few missing from the list, which if I find them later on, I will add on to my series of posts, just so that you can get even a funkier outlook on what I read.

One more thing, I will do my very best to link up the title in question with Amazon.

I do want to start this list off by listing the books that I had attempted to read but gave up on for various reasons.

1} Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I while I was perusing the stacks, I found much to my surprise (although those who read the western genre probably know this) that Lonesome Dove is part of a four book series. So I decided to read the entire series, and thus start back at the beginning again by checking out the aforementioned anniversary title, with the intent of spending time at work reading the book. However, as much as I like Larry McMurtry in general and this title in particular (read it once), I felt I couldn't properly devote the time to re-read this tome at work. Like most of you, if a book of fiction grabs me, I have a tendency to stick with it until I finish, which sometimes gets me into a world of trouble. So reluctantly, I returned it a couple of days later unread. I still plan on reading the book series, but I need to find the time to do the series justice.

2} Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Weiderhorn and Kathleen Turman. I thought this would be a really good book to read, but the further along I read, the more mindnumbingly dull it became. About the only part that I found noteworthy were the interviews with the various members of the Norwegian death metal band Mayhem, including the ex-lead singer and the other band member that murdered him. So I gave up the ghost and returned it.

3} You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posses,  and My Misadventures With Two of Music's Most Misaligned Tribes by Nathan Rabin. On face value, it looked like a good book to read. I know nothing about Phish or ICP so I thought here's my chance to learn something about both. Unfortunately, after Nathan gives us the back story on both bands, the book quickly devolves into a sob fest/self-exploration/self-discovery about his undiagnosed bi-polarism. As much as I have sympathy for people who suffer from bi-polar disease, I have very little sympathy for someone who chose to write about their journey of self-discovery under the guise of being a music critic. I gave up after a few chapters and returned it to the library.

And now, the books that I did read to completion this year.

4} The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King. I first discovered Laurie King at a library book sale when I found a copy of her book The Moor that featured Sherlock Holmes, I'm a big Sherlock Holmes fan, so I picked it up and brought it home. After devouring the tome in less than a week, I discovered that she wrote a slew of Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries. The time period which all of these takes place is during the Edwardian era and WWI. The Beekeeper's Apprentice kicks off the series and I highly recommend it. I originally bought this book back in '09 (I believe) as I always like starting book series at the beginning, and I decided to re-read this a few months ago.

5} Follow The Money: A Month In The Life of a $10 Bill by Steve Boggan. Yup, a writer from the U.K. decided to do the same thing that he did with a 10 pound note with a $10 bill here in the U.S. A very enlightening book about the trials and tribulations of trying to track a $10 bill through the Midwest. For the most part, I found the book to be very good. The only problems I had with it was when the author sidetracked and inserted his personal viewpoints about certain hot topic issues that had really nothing to do with the overall picture, but this is just my personal opinion. Highly recommended.

6} Lucien's Hell Bound Angel by Cyndi Harris. Cyndi is a paranormal romance author that I had become friends with on Facebook via a mutual writer friend. While I was going through my book review phase (I may return to that someday) and after getting to know Cyndi, I decided to pick up a copy of her book, which is unusual as I'm very picky about what I read for romance. I found her book to be highly entertaining and hard to put down. Highly recommended and available in both e-book and print. The recent version is what I've linked to.


  1. Thanks for the tip about Laurie King's Sherlock Holmes series! I'll check it out. I love SH too. These books must be set during his retirement years when he became a beekeeper -- clever move, Ms King!

  2. That Nathan Rabin book sounds problematic: it's not about what it's supposed to be about. That being said, I'd probably enjoy reading it, because I'm fascinated by mental illness. Not so fascinated by rock band bio-books. I leave those to my rockin' little sister. That's her genre.

  3. Debra: You're more than welcome. I have three books in the series and while I really enjoyed those two, I haven't had the opportunity to crack open the 3rd (four years and counting).

    And yes, they are set in his retirement years.

    S.R.: It really was problematic as just when it would get interesting, he would detour into his journey of self-discovery.

    That being said, if you're really into that kind of thing, then you will find it somewhat interesting.

  4. You're the second person this week who I've seen give a positive review to The Beekeeper's Apprentice... I may have to check that out eventually! :)

  5. Ah, but dear G, every music critic does that! Seriously, I admire you for even attempting to pick up anything written by one of those annoying fucks (music critics.)

    Like you, it is rare that I will not finish a book. It's an investment, damn it!

    Years ago, my belated great aunt gave me a reader's diary to write down the books I read. I've been keeping one ever since (14 years now) and it's really interesting to go back and see what I scribbled. Also because I think I was a bit of a pain in the ass back then, even more so than now. I can tell by the writing ;)

    BTW Phish is a REALLY annoying band. You didn't miss much.

  6. Lisa: Really? Second? Who would've thunk it? :D

    Seriously though, it is a very good book. That book does give excellent background to the rest in the series, as the books really don't stand alone very well.

    M: Actually, I've read some very decent books by music critics over the years and I was under the same impression that this would be in the same vein.

    I'll have to take your word on Phish 'cause I've never heard a single song by them.

    However, I have heard ICP's music before and even watched a very cool western that they made (direct to video) a few years ago.

    What? You, a pain the ass in the younger days? Perish the thought!

  7. I rarely finish any books I read and when I do I take about a year to read them. :D

  8. Joe: I'm like that with certain c.d.'s/albums. :D


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