Books I have read — 2014

Another year another list. For the previous two years (2012, 2013) I have been tracking my reading habits and posting them and so as not to break with tradition, my first post of 2015 will once again share with the world the long list of mind-candy that kept me amused and distracted.

So here they are, appearing in the order in which they were read:

Books 2014

Lost and Found Alan Dean Foster (2005)
Taken Trilogy Book 1- ebook;

Wool Omnibus Hugh Howey (2011)
Wool – ebook;

The Black Company Glen Cook (1984)
Chronicles of The Black CompanyBook 1 – ebook;

Shadows Linger Glen Cook (1984)
Chronicles of The Black CompanyBook 2 – ebook;

On a Snowy Night Jean Little/Brian Dienes (2013)
– Hardcover Picture Book

The White Rose Glen Cook (1985)
Chronicles of The Black CompanyBook 3 – ebook;

Lost & Found Shaun Tan (2011 Omnibus)
– Hardcover Picture Book

Tangled Up In Blue Joan D. Vinge (2000)
Snow Queen Book 4 – ebook;

Cryoburn Lois McMaster Bujold (2010)
Miles Vorkosigan – ebook; reread

Necessity’s Child Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (2013)
Liaden Series – ebook; reread

My Own Kind of Freedom Stephen Brust (2007)
Firefly Fanfic – ebook;

And I Love You Ruth Krause & Steven Kellogg (1987)
– HC picture book;

Apocalypse Troll David Weber (1999)
– ebook; reread

Bears Ruth Krause & Maurice Sendak (2005)
– HC picture book;

Sheepfarmer’s Daughter Elizabeth Moon (1988)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 1 – ebook; reread

Divided Allegiance Elizabeth Moon (1988)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 2 – ebook; reread

Oath of Gold Elizabeth Moon (1989)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 3 – ebook; reread

Terms of Enlistment Marko Kloos (2013)
Frontlines Book 1 – ebook; reread

Lines of Departure Marko Kloos (2014)
Frontlines Book 2 – ebook;

Tiassa Steven Brust (year)
Vlad Taltos Book # – ebook; reread

Blood of Dragons Robin Hobb (2013)
The Rain Wilds Chronicles Book 4 – ebook;

Overkill Robert Buettner (2011)
Orphan’s Legacy Book 1 – ebook; reread

Undercurrents Robert Buettner (2011)
Orphan’s Legacy Book 2 – ebook; reread

Armageddon 2419 A.D. Philip Francis Nowlan (1928)
– ebook; reread

Software Rudy Rucker (1982)
Ware Tetralogy Book 1 – ebook; reread

Wetware Rudy Rucker (1988)
Ware Tetralogy Book 2 – ebook;

Golem David Wisniewski (1996)
– HC picture book;

Freeware Rudy Rucker (1997)
Ware Tetralogy Book 3 – ebook;

The Truth of Valor Tanya Huff (2010)
Confederation Book 5 – ebook; reread

The Lion of Farside John Dalmas (1995)
Farside Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Bavarian Gate John Dalmas (1997)
Farside Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Lion Returns John Dalmas (1999)
Farside Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Airlords of Han Philip Francis Nowlan (1929)
– ebook;

The Yngling John Dalmas (1971)
Yngling Saga Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Homecoming John Dalmas (1984)
Yngling Saga Book 2 – ebook; reread)

Hunting Party Elizabeth Moon (1993)
Heris Serrano Book 1 – ebook; reread

Sporting Chance Elizabeth Moon (1994)
Heris Serrano Book 2 – ebook; reread

Winning Colors Elizabeth Moon (1995)
Heris Serrano Book 3 – ebook; reread

Trade SecretseARC Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (2013)
Liaden Series – ebook; reread

Legion of the Damned William Dietz (1993)
Legion of the Damned Book 1 – ebook;

Imperial Bounty William Dietz (1988)
Sam McCade Book 2 – ebook;

Drifter William Dietz (1991)
Drifter Book 1 – ebook;

Wizard’s Bane Rick Cook (1989)
Wiz Biz Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Wizardry Compiled Rick Cook (1989)
Wiz Biz Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Wizardry Cursed Rick Cook (1991)
Wiz Biz Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Wizardry Consulted Rick Cook (1995)
Wiz Biz Book 4 – ebook; reread

The Wizardry Quested Rick Cook (1996)
Wiz Biz Book 5 – ebook;

His Majesty’s Dragon Naomi Novik (2006)
Temeraire Book 1 – ebook;

Throne of Jade Naomi Novik (2006)
Temeraire Book 2 – ebook;

Black Powder War Naomi Novik (2007)
Temeraire Book 3 – ebook;

Empire of Ivory Naomi Novik (2007)
Temeraire Book 4 – ebook;

Tongues of Serpents Naomi Novik (2010)
Temeraire Book 5 – ebook;

Crucible of Gold Naomi Novik (2012)
Temeraire Book 6 – ebook;

Blood of Tyrants Naomi Novik (2013)
Temeraire Book 7 – ebook;

The Republic of Thieves Scott Lynch (2013)
Locke Lamorra Book 3 – ebook;

Like a Mighty Army David Weber (2013)
Safehold Book 7 – ebook;

Scholar L.E. Modesitt (2011)
Imagers Portfolio Book 4 – ebook;

Princeps L.E. Modesitt (2012)
Imagers Portfolio Book 5 – ebook;

Imager’s Battalion L.E. Modesitt (2013)
Imagers Portfolio Book 6 – ebook;

The Meat Market James Chalk (2013)
Jonathon Harkin Adventures Book 1 – ebook;

Hyperion Dan Simmons (1989)
Hyperion Cantos Book 1 – ebook;

Defender Mike Shepherd (2013)
Kris Longknife Book 11 – ebook;

Point of Hope Melissa Scott & Lisa Barnett (1995)
A Novel of Astreiant Book 1 – ebook; reread

Antiagon Fire L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2013)
Imager’s Portfolio Book 7 – ebook;

A Soldier’s Duty Jean Johnson (2011)
Theirs Not to Reason Why Book #1 – ebook;

Point of Dreams Melissa Scott & Lisa Barnett (2001)
A Novel of Astreiant Book 2 – ebook;

Five-Twelfths of Heaven Melissa Scott (1985)
Roads to Heaven Book 1 – ebook;

Silence in Solitude Melissa Scott (1986)
Roads to Heaven Book 2 – ebook;

Empress of Earth Melissa Scott (1987)
Roads to Heaven Book 3 – ebook;

The Sleeping Dragon Joel Rosenberg (1983)
Guardians of the Flame Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Sword and the Chain Joel Rosenberg (1984)
Guardians of the Flame Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Silver Crown Joel Rosenberg (1985)
Guardians of the Flame Book 3 – ebook;

Point of Knives Melissa Scott (2012)
A Novel of Astreiant Book 3 – ebook;

Fairs Point Melissa Scott (2014)
A Novel of Astreiant Book 4 – ebook;

Crown of Renewal Elizabeth Moon (2014)
Paladin’s Legacy Book 5 – ebook;

Libriomancer Jim C. Hines (2012)
Magic ex Libris Book 1 – ebook;

Codex Born Jim C. Hines (2014)
Magic ex Libris Book 2 – ebook;

Trilisk Ruins Michael McCloskey (2005)
PIT Book 1 – ebook;

The Three Pigs David Weisner (2001)
– HC;

Dawn for a Distant Earth L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1987)
The Forever Hero Book 1 – ebook;

The Silent Warrior L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1987)
The Forever Hero Book 2 – ebook;

In Endless Twilight L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1988)
The Forever Hero Book 3 – ebook;

Hawk Steven Brust (2014)
Vlad Taltos Book 14 – ebook;

A Officer’s Duty Jean Johnson (2012)
Theirs Not to Reason Why Book #2 – ebook;

Hellfire Jean Johnson (2013)
Theirs Not to Reason Why Book #3 – ebook;

Hardship Jean Johnson (2014)
Theirs Not to Reason Why Book #4 – ebook;

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome
John Scalzi (2014)
Lock In Novella – ebook;

Lock In John Scalzi (2014)
Lock In – ebook;

Mighty Good Road Melissa Scott (1990)
– ebook; reread

Fool’s Assassin Robin Hobb (2014)
The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy Book 1 – ebook;

The Shadow Academy Adrian Cole (2014)
– ebook;

The Fire’s Stone Tanya Huff (1990 [2012])
– ebook;

Snow Crash Neal Stephenson (1992)
– ebook;

The Silvered Tanya Huff (2012)
– ebook;

Islands of Rage and Hope John Ringo (2014)
Black Tide Rising Book 3 – ebook;

Assassin Mike Shepherd (2014)
Vicki Peterwald (Kris Longknife) Book 1 – ebook;

A Call to Duty David Weber & Timothy Zahn (2014)
Manticore Ascendent Book 1 – ebook; reread

A Hymn Before Battle John Ringo (2000)
Posleen War Book 1 – ebook; reread

Gust Front John Ringo (2001)
Posleen War Book 2 – ebook; reread

When the Devil Dances John Ringo (2002)
Posleen War Book 3 – ebook; reread

Hell’s Faire John Ringo (2003)
Posleen War Book 4 – ebook; reread

Cally’s War John Ringo & Julie Cochrane (2004)
Cally’s War Book 1 – ebook; reread

Sister Time John Ringo & Julie Cochrane (2007)
Cally’s War Book 2 – ebook; reread

Honour of the Clan John Ringo & Julie Cochrane (2009)
Cally’s War Book 3 – ebook; reread

Starship Troopers Robert Heinlein (1959)
– ebook; reread

Eye of the Storm John Ringo (2009)
Legacy of the Aldenata Book 8 – ebook

The Stats

106 books; .29 books a day; 2.03 books a week
67 new titles
39 rereads

100 ebooks

I broke 100! I pushed a lot in December as I knew I was nearing the goal, so it probably skews the results a bit, but since the holiday break is typically a time to consume whole books in a day, in the end it doesn’t skew it all that much. I also added in a few paper books which were little more than picture books, but hey, a book is a book in my books.

This year I added a Kobo Aura reader to the stable because of the backlight. The old Sony (PRS-650) has pretty much bit the battery bucket and L was using my new Sony (PRS-T1) a lot on holidays so it was an excuse to make reading at night a bit easier without admitting I might possibly, just a tad, need glasses. Sony is out of the ereader business and there was no way in hell I was getting a Kindle with their proprietary formats so a Kobo was next easier choice. Subsequently I have discovered a raft of other ereaders online that are not tied to any particular retailer (a scam I so so hate) so that will probably be the way I go next time.

That was/is my only beef with the Kobo: it is intimately tied to the Kobo store. I had to get a new Kobo login so it wouldn’t try and take control of my previous purchases and I had to dance through a few hoops to get it set up to sideload through Calibre. Once again people, if you are not using Calibre or some other ebook management system then you are being screwed. Speaking of the Kobo Store, they have finally cleaned up their act and the site usability has gone way up. It is, for now, my go-to ebook store if I can’t buy direct from the publishers although, as I previously blogged about in October, they are on shaky ground with some of their practices.

I also dabbled some more in self-published books this past year and ran into my first serious disappointments. I started strong with Hugh Howey’s Wool Omnibus. I wasn’t surprised at how excellent it was as he has had great commercial success and rave reviews. But my first inkling of what was in store came when I finally got around to reading Stephen Brust’s fanfic ode to Firefly: My Own Kind of Freedom. I am a massive Steven Brust fan but this left me cold and disinclined to read any more fan fiction. I don’t know if it was because it was published without the benefit of a professional editor, or perhaps because his vision of the characters clashed with mine (I had just finished watching the whole Firefly series on Netflix), but I definitely was missing the warm and fuzzy feeling I usually get upon completing one of his books.

Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos, this was a follow up to his excellent Terms of Enlistment which I had read the previous year, was terrific and I enjoyed it as much as the first — Self Publishing Redeemed!— or so I thought.

Then there was The Meat Market by James Chalk. Ugh. Bad plot, bad characters, bad pacing, bad continuity… just bad. I had read reviews, visited his website (This is the home page for science fiction writer James Chalk, author of the critically acclaimed, pulp, cyberpunk technothriller, “The Meat Market.” NOT! I should have known from the quotation marks around the book title this want going to end well.) and done what I thought was my due diligence. And I was burned anyway. I am seriously thinking of deleting the book which, if you know me, is a most serious contemplation on my part.

Trilisk Ruins by Michael McCloskey was next up. This is the first of a 6(?) book series by a “software engineer in Silicon Valley afflicted with recurring dreams of otherworldly creatures, mysterious alien planets, and fantastic adventures.” My thinking was if he wrote that many books then he must have the sales to support it, and if he had the sales to support it then the content must be worthwhile… right? Wrong. I think the actually logic should have gone, if he had 6 books in a series and still hadn’t been picked up by a publisher, then this was a man with more time and energy than actual skill and craft and probably someone to be wary of. Pure dreck. To be fair, the plot and world building wasn’t bad, but he just couldn’t grasp the nature of building a continuous story without whipping out new out-of-the-blue facts to cover his butt every time he got ahead of himself or dropping in big honking deus ex machina‘s from the heavens just to make the story work out. Disappointing enough that I am not even tempted to see if he got better in subsequent books. Which is kinda sad.

But the pièce de résistance of my disappointment was The Shadow Academy by Adrian Cole. This wasn’t even a self-published book but the first title I have bought and read by local Alberta sci-fi publisher Edge. I was so very disappointed. Adrain Cole has apparently written lots of books in the past, but I think he must of gotten lazy, gone senile or just plain forgot how to write. And I think Edge skimped on hiring a good editor. A good editor could have revived this dismal attempt at telling a good story; because the story was good and I was never tempted to stop reading it. I just cringed every 10 pages or so at the bad writing, poor plot development and outright laziness in character development. And nothing says bad book to me than being pulled out of a story. I wouldn’t be reading the brain candy I do if I wasn’t all about the immersion. I’ll probably give Edge another chance, but just not too soon…

One last disappointment was Mike Shepherd’s self-published (under the guise of GCU Press) novella Kris Longknife’s Assassin. I will let this Goodreads review speak for me in this case:

But it loses stars for sloppy newbie errors. Minus 1 star for poor layout and formatting. Minus 1 star for lack of editing & proofreading. The number of typos and other grammatical problems is astonishingly large. Someone who has been trad published really should know better. Minus 1 star for polluting 20% — Yes SERIOUSLY 20% — of the book’s space with promo material for the next one.

I am not sure if Penguin, Mike’s usual publisher, didn’t want to pick up this short work or if Mike himself decided to just give it a go, but the above comments mirror my own. As a designer and production person you got to know editors aren’t my favourite people in the whole wide world, but come on people, there is a reason besides greed that publishers exist and have the processes they do. If you’re going to do it yourself, then at least do it right.

The Library

I am up to 375 ebooks now. That’s 57 more than last year mostly thanks to Zak’s gift of gift cards and the fact that I realized I had points on my Visa that could be exchanged for even more gift cards.

I picked up some backlist Melissa Scott at a new publisher/retailer called Crossroad Press’s store. Check them out as they have a few good titles and while the online store isn’t all it could be, the publisher David Niall is really helpful and deserve some press for his attitude towards independent publishing. Their main site: Crossroad Press

I continue to to break all my DRM’d books and have yet to give away or distribute any title illegally so I still feel pretty righteous about it. I also discovered my first ebook reseller — Tom Kabinet — although they are in the midst of a legal battle. Unfortunately they are Dutch so of little use to me until I learn another language. The world is still in the throes of transition in regards to electronic media with all sorts of subscription models being thrown around in the movies and music worlds. And the first book subscription services are starting to appear, but have yet to break into the big time. Amazon continues their domination of the ebook world and poor ill-informed readers continue to fill Amazon’s pockets with money for books they don’t actually own in formats that they can’t read without giving Amazon even more money to acquire a Kindle. I don’t know how it will all end, but someday (I sincerely hope) the publishers are going to have to come to their senses and stop letting retailers dictate the terms of how their customers use their products. And the fact that they (the retailers) are enabling badly written and edited books to not only be sold in the same marketplace but also produced and ‘published’ is diluting the market and making it even harder to sort the wheat from the chaff (that still being the single biggest issue — in my opinion — that successful marketing of ebooks faces) is not going to end well.

Publishers

Here is a list of publshers of the ebooks as listed in my Calibre library. I find it interesting that I have many more small publishers represented than I do in paperback collection, as well as the fact that some ebook aggregators are taking over the slot of ‘publisher’ in the metadata. If I have time, one day I will go through all the epub buds and Feedbooks and see who the actual publishers are. I suspect — actually I know — that many of the epub bud books are not legitimate and I am slowly working on replacing them with properly acquired copies.

47North (self-publisher) 1
Ace 4
Baen 145
Baker & Taylor 1
Ballentine 15
Bantam 2
BookOS 3
Crossroad Press 4
DAW 2
Del-Rey 3
E-Reads 2
Echo Library 1
Edge 1
epub bud 26
epub books 3
Feedbooks 2
Fictionwise 2
GCU (self-publisher) 1
Gollanz 1
Grand Central 1
Harper Perennial 1
Harper Collins 8
InfoCOM 1
Jabberwocky Literary Agency 1
JRH Publishing (self-publisher) 1
Knopf Doubleday 1
Lethe 2
Little Brown 2
MacMillan 2
Manybooks.net 15
Melissa Scott (self-publisher) 2
Michael McCloskey (self-publisher) 1
Nightshade Books 2
Open Road Media 3
Orbit 5
Penguin 14
Project Gutenberg 8
Roberts Brothers 1
Scalzi Private Reserve (self-publisher) 1
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (self-publisher) 2
Signet Classics 1
St Martin’s Press 2
Steven Brust (self-publisher) 1
The Pennsylvania State University 2
The University of Adelaide Library 3
Thomas Dunne 1
Tor 44
Touchwood Editions 3
Wordfire Press 1

So there you have it: 2014 in a, albeit rather large, nutshell. First up for 2015 is a real book: Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle.


Leslie’s summary booklist can be found here: My Reading Rainbow. Not a complete list but all, I think, we are going to get out of her — except the totals which are found right here. Earl’s book list is now up here.