ebook Update 2020

We’ve added a few more books this year to the list.

L and I worked on some childhood favourites of hers and I added a few plays, some Wodehouse and a Barsoom book. As usual they can all be found at Standard Ebooks‘ website and the whole list is current on my portfolio site: astart.ca.

And so…

The Wodehouse shorts took a lot of work and research—a massive canon and many only available in modern collection or the original serial publications. And there are still a lot more stories to add. It was fun to delve back into Restoration drama (The Way of the World) and I added a few Shakespeare—I had actually never read The Merry Wives of Windsor. As always, I hope you give some of them a try. I also try to keep a current list of books over at astart.ca/ebooks.

Last Books of the decade: 2019

Well it’s that time again. I am a little late this year as I haven’t actually written anything before New Years day — as a result additional commentary might not be all that well thought out. But as The Raes said back in 1978, Que sera, sera. So without further adieu, here is what I read in 2019:

Books 2019

January (10)

The Gate Thief Orson Scott Card (2013)
Mithermage Book 2 – ebook;

Gatefather Orson Scott Card (2015)
Mithermage Book 3 – ebook;

The Consuming Fire John Scazi (2018)
The Interdependency Book 2 – ebook;

Friendly Fire Dale Lucas (2018)
Fifth Ward Book 2 – ebook;

The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story Stephen R Donaldson (1990)
The Gap Cycle Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Gap into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge Stephen R Donaldson (1991)
The Gap Cycle Book 2 – ebook; reread

Stand by for Mars Carey Rockwell (1952)
Tom Corbett: Space Cadet Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Gap into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises Stephen R Donaldson (1992)
The Gap Cycle Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order Stephen R Donaldson (1994)
The Gap Cycle Book 4 – ebook; reread

Major Barbara George Bernard Shaw (1905)
– ebook; reread

February (10)

The Gap into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die Stephen R Donaldson (1996)
The Gap Cycle Book 5 – ebook; reread

Six Characters in Search of an Author Luigi Pirandello (1921)
– ebook; reread

Star Hunter Andre Norton (1961)
– ebook;

The Armored Saint Myke Cole (2018)
The Sacred Throne Book 1 – ebook;

Our American Cousin Tom Taylor (1858)
– ebook;

Firebird Jack McDevitt (2011)
Alex Benedict Book 6 – ebook;

The Queen of Crows Myke Cole (2018)
The Sacred Throne Book 2 – ebook;

Pygmalion George Bernard Shaw (1913)
– ebook;

An Ember in the Ashes Sabaa Tahir (2015)
An Ember in the Ashes Book 1 – ebook;

A Torch Against the Night Sabaa Tahir (2016)
An Ember in the Ashes Book 2 – ebook;

March (13)

A Reaper at the Gates Sabaa Tahir (2018)
An Ember in the Ashes Book 3 – ebook;

Coming Home Jack McDevitt (2014)
Alex Benedict Book 7 – ebook;

Short Fiction Ivan Bunin (1907)
– ebook;

The Second Mrs. Tanqueray Arthur Pinero (1893)
– ebook; reread

Chanur’s Venture C.J. Cherryh (1984)
Chanur Book 2 – ebook; reread

Sing the Four Quarters Tanya Huff (1994)
Quarters Book 1 – ebook;

Dr Faustus Christopher Marlowe (1604)
– ebook; reread

Under a Graveyard Sky John Ringo (2013)
Black Tide Rising Book 1 – ebook; reread

To Sail a Darkling Sea John Ringo (2014)
Black Tide Rising Book 2 – ebook; reread

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

Strands of Sorrow John Ringo (2015)
Black Tide Rising Book 4 – ebook; reread

Fifth Quarter Tanya Huff (1995)
Quarters Book 2 – ebook;

No Quarter Tanya Huff (1996)
Quarters Book 3 – ebook;

April (18)

The Alchemist Ben Jonson (1610)
– ebook; reread

Alice Payne Rides Kate Heartfield (2019)
Alice Payne Book 2 – ebook;

A Memory Called Empire Arkady Martine (2019)
Teixcalaan Book 1 – ebook;

Shards of Honor Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)
Vorkosigan Book 1 – ebook; reread

Barrayar Lois McMaster Bujold (1991)
Vorkosigan Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Warriors Apprentice Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)
Vorkosigan Book 3 – ebook; reread

Mountains of Mourning Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)
Vorkosigan Book 4 – ebook; reread

The Vor Game Lois McMaster Bujold (1990)
Vorkosigan Book 5 – ebook; reread

Ceteganda Lois McMaster Bujold (1995)
Vorkosigan Book 6 – ebook; reread

Borders of Infinity Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)
Vorkosigan Book 7 – ebook; reread

Brothers in Arms Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)
Vorkosigan Book 8 – ebook; reread

Ethan of Athos Lois McMaster Bujold (1986)
Vorkosigan Book 6.5 – ebook; reread

Mirror Dance Lois McMaster Bujold (1994)
Vorkosigan Book 9 – ebook; reread

Memory Lois McMaster Bujold (1996)
Vorkosigan Book 10 – ebook; reread

Komarr Lois McMaster Bujold (1998)
Vorkosigan Book 11 – ebook; reread

A Civil Campaign Lois McMaster Bujold (2000)
Vorkosigan Book 12 – ebook; reread

Winterfair Gifts Lois McMaster Bujold (2004)
Vorkosigan Book 12.5 – ebook; reread

Diplomatic Immunity Lois McMaster Bujold (2002)
Vorkosigan Book 13 – ebook; reread

May (15)

Cryoburn Lois McMaster Bujold (2010)
Vorkosigan Book 14 – ebook; reread

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance Lois McMaster Bujold (2012)
Vorkosigan Book 15 – ebook; reread

The Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen Lois McMaster Bujold (2016)
Vorkosigan Book 16 – ebook; reread

The Flowers of Vashnoi Lois McMaster Bujold (2018)
Vorkosigan Book 16.5 – ebook; reread

A Passage of Stars Kate Elliot (1990)
Highroads Book 1 – ebook; reread

Revolution’s Shore Kate Elliot (1990)
Highroads Book 2 – ebook;

The Price of Ransom Kate Elliot (1990)
Highroads Book 3 – ebook;

Falling Free Lois McMaster Bujold (1998)
– ebook; reread

Finders Melissa Scott (2018)
Firstborn, Lastborn Series Book 1 – ebook;

The Cloud Roads Martha Wells (2011)
Raksura Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Serpent Sea Martha Wells (2012)
Raksura Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Siren Depths Martha Wells (2012)
Raksura Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Edge of Worlds Martha Wells (2016)
Raksura Book 4 – ebook;

Blackcollar Timothy Zahn (1983)
Blackcollar Book 1 – ebook; reread

Backlash Mission Timothy Zahn (1986)
Blackcollar Book 2 – ebook;

June (6)

Tarnsman of Gor John Norman (1966)
Gor Book 1 – ebook; reread

Spinning Silver Naomi Novik (2018)
– ebook;

Cold Welcome Elizabeth Moon (2017)
Vatta’s Peace Book 1 – ebook;

Into the Fire Elizabeth Moon (2018)
Vatta’s Peace Book 2 – ebook;

Ancestral Nights Elizabeth Bear (2018)
White Space Book 1 – ebook;

Starless Jacqueline Carey (2018)
– ebook;

July (10)

Madness in Solidar L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2015)
The Imager Portfolio Book 9 – ebook; reread

Treachery’s Tools L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2016)
The Imager Portfolio Book 10 – ebook; reread

Assassin’s Price L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2017)
The Imager Portfolio Book 11 – ebook; reread

Endgames L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2019)
The Imager Portfolio Book 12 – ebook;

Short Fiction Mack Reynolds (2019)
– ebook;

Imager L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2009)
The Imager Portfolio Book 1 – ebook; reread

Imager’s Challenge L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2009)
The Imager Portfolio Book 2 – ebook; reread

Imager’s Intrigue L. E. Modesitt Jr. (2010)
The Imager Portfolio Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Merry Wives of Windsor William Shakespeare (1605)
– ebook;

Terminal Uprising Jim C. Hines (2019)
Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse Book 2 – ebook;

August (10)

Octavia Gone Jack McDevitt (2019)
Alex Benedict Book 8 – ebook; reread

Henry V William Shakespeare (1599)
– ebook; reread

Merchanter’s Luck C.J. Cherryh (1982)
Alliance-Union– ebook; reread

Finity’s End C.J. Cherryh (1997)
Alliance-Union – ebook; reread

Empress of Forever Max Gladstone (2019)
– ebook;

Warhorse Timothy Zahn (1990)
– ebook; reread

Pawn Timothy Zahn (2018)
Sibyl’s War Book 1 – ebook;

The Orphans of Raspay Lois McMaster Bujold (2019)
Penric and Desdemona Book 7 – ebook;

Red Sister Mark Lawrence (2017)
Book of the Ancestors Book 1 – ebook;

Grey Sister Mark Lawrence (2018)
Book of the Ancestors Book 2 – ebook;

September (7)

Rimrunners C.J. Cherryh (1989)
Alliance-Union – ebook;

Nevernight Jay Kristoff (2016)
The Nevernight Chronicle Book 1 – ebook; reread

Godsgrave Jay Kristoff (2017)
The Nevernight Chronicle Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Jeeves Stories P.G. Wodehouse (1920)
– ebook;

DarkDawn Jay Kristoff (2019)
The Nevernight Chronicle Book 3 – ebook;

Good Company Dale Lucas (2019)
Fifth Ward Book 3 – ebook;

Holy Sister Mark Lawrence (2019)
Book of the Ancestors Book 3 – ebook;

October (6)

Through Fiery Trials David Weber (2019)
Safehold Book 12 – ebook;

Hammered Elizabeth Bear (2005)
Jenny Casey Book 1 – ebook; reread

Scardown Elizabeth Bear (2005)
Jenny Casey Book 2 – ebook; reread

Worldwired Elizabeth Bear (2005)
Jenny Casey Book 3 – ebook; reread

Denver is Missing D. F. Jones (1971)
– ebook; reread

On the Beach Neville Shute (1957)
– ebook; reread

November (11)

The End of the Matter Alan Dean Foster (1977)
Pip and Flinx Book 4 – ebook; reread

Flinx in Flux Alan Dean Foster (1988)
Pip and Flinx Book 5 – ebook; reread

Mid-Flinx Alan Dean Foster (1995)
Pip and Flinx Book 6 – ebook; reread

Reunion Alan Dean Foster (2001)
Pip and Flinx Book 7 – ebook;

Flinx’s Folly Alan Dean Foster (2001)
Pip and Flinx Book 8 – ebook;

Sliding Scales Alan Dean Foster (2004)
Pip and Flinx Book 9 – ebook;

Crystal Singer Anne McCaffrey (1982)
Crystal Singer Book 1 – ebook;

Killashandra Anne McCaffrey (1985)
Crystal Singer Book 2 – ebook; reread

Crystal Line Anne McCaffrey (1992)
Crystal Singer Book 3 – ebook;

Running from the Diety Alan Dean Foster (2005)
Pip and Flinx Book 10 – ebook;

The Ruins of Gorlan John Flanagan (year)
Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1 – ebook;

December (7)

Bloodhype Alan Dean Foster (1973)
Pip and Flinx Book 11 – ebook;

Trouble Magnet Alan Dean Foster (2006)
Pip and Flinx Book 12 – ebook;

Knight Timothy Zahn (2019)
Sibyl’s War Book 2 – ebook;

Velocity Weapon Megan E. O’Keefe (2019)
The Protectorate Book 1 – ebook;

The Harbors of the Sun Martha Wells (2017)
Raksura Book 5 – ebook;

Patrimony Alan Dean Foster (2007)
Pip and Flinx Book 13 – ebook;

Flinx Transcendant Alan Dean Foster (2008)
Pip and Flinx Book 14 – ebook;

((\
(-.-)
o_(“)(“)

The Stats

123 books
64 rereads
0 audiobooks
10.25/month, .337/day

My ebook library now sits at 735 books.

This is significant because for the first time in my entire life I have a backlog of unread books to get through. Frankly I am a bit ashamed: 87 unread books! Now granted, around 31 are ebook copies of paper books I have previously read, and a further 16 are classic fiction, emergency books (like Around the World in 80 Days or Middlemarch) that I downloaded many years ago “just in case,” but that still leaves a whopping 40 titles I need to get through to establish some equilibrium. Time to cut down on the rereads I guess…

What I Read

As usual it was primarily SF and Fantasy.  Due to my work in the Standard ebook project I did add a bit of variety including 9 plays and 4 non-sf/f titles which included a massive collection of depressing, yet fascinating Russian short stories and  a bunch of the original Jeeves stories. I commend both to your attention.

Significant among the rereads were Stephen R Donaldson’s Gap Cycle which, while I was among the legion of Thomas Covenant fanboys back in the day,  seem to me to be a much better work and certainly more able to stand the test of time. I also revisited Elizabeth Bear’s first published books, the Jenny Casey series which were still great though they bore the rough edges of a new writer. I say this only because she has gone on to become probably my most revered author of the modern age—man that woman can spin a good story… again and again… and again. I also reread the entire Bujold Miles Vorkosigan tale, all 16 books with associated side stories and novels, and John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising zombie apocalypse trilogy — both of which were as enjoyable as ever.

I did reread and then finish off two series: the first was Martha Wells’ Rakusa where I reread the first three books and finished off the last two. I have to say it was ok, but paled in comparison to much more excellent Murderbot series of novellas. Part of that is that the Rakusa novels had a very clunky, episodic feel—I admit to being a bit nervous about the forthcoming Murderbot novel…maybe her forté is shorter fiction? Speaking of test of time, the second series I finished off definitely suffered, although I don’t know if that was me or the books. I first encountered Alan Dean Foster’s Flinx and his sidekick minidrag Pip back in the late 70s. It was certainly some of the earliest SF I ever read. I faithfully read along as he published new novels until about 1995 (Book 6) and then sort of dropped the ball for almost 25 years. As of today I have one more to read (Strange Music, Book 15, published in 2017) and then I assume he is done. What started as  a sort of advanced YA morphed into a more adult-oriented series but I  am not sure the style suited it. Suffice it to say I was not as enamoured of the later books and even the early ones reread a bit less than my expectations/memories.

Another eye opener was my decision to reread the Tarnsman of Gor which was the first in the Gor series written by John Norman. Written in the style of Burroughs’ Barsoom books, they are definitely not recommended for any reader that can’t situate themselves in a 50s or 60s mindset. Seriously. They would probably cause a brain aneurism for most younger, modern readers. And while the first one isn’t that bad, I seem to remember that by Book 8 or 9 he started to spend whole chapters talking about the natural servility of women and other pretty ridiculous theologies. It was good to remind myself of the past, but I find myself pretty settled in the future now, thank-you very much.

One last word on the past. I edited a collection of Mack Reynolds stories for Standard Ebooks. Written in the 50s mostly for SF rags, they are a pretty amazing look into the future of human political systems and technology. I was truly impressed about how much he got right. An underrated author if you ask me.

Modern SF

One last bit on the theme. It occurred to me this year that modern Science fiction and Fantasy these days (let’s say the last 15 or so years) is a lot tighter and better written than the older stuff. I am too lazy to seriously look at what that means or why it is (I left that all behind with my English degree) but overall the craftsmanship is way up. I am sure a lot of that is the people in the trade these days—both writers and editors— are standing on the shoulders of giants, and that the freeing of the publishing world from the oppressive yoke of traditional publishing has contributed to greater exposure for authors. (Note: I am being extremely sarcastic about the oppressive yoke bit, but not about the potential contribution. See Hugh Howey and Andy Weir.)

Whatever the reasons, I have found a new interest in fantasy, an interest which had almost died out with the never-ending, multi-book, soap opera-like series that had dominated the market that last bunch of years, and I was delighted several times this past year with authors like Sabaa Tahir, Mark Lawrence and Jay Kristoff. Even the now venerable Jacqueline Carey stretched her wings with a most excellent stand-alone novel: Starless

And the SF has  kicked it up a notch too; check out some truly “novel” and exciting stuff by people like Arkady Martine and Megan E. O’Keefe.

All this to say, I am enjoying the new crop of my chosen genre’s publishing efforts. Congratulations to each every one of you that has contributed to what I will deign to call a resurgence 😉


C’est tout. As I said I am behind times so hopefully you can already catch Leslie’s 2019 book & music list here and the one, the only, the original Earl’s list here.

Links to previous years book posts:

 

 

 

 

ebook Update

As a side project in late 2018 I started to produce ebooks for Standard Ebooks. Details about that can be found here on this older post.

My ebooks so far…

So here is the complete list of the books I have worked on so far, including the last 3 that have yet to be approved, but will likely be posted in a week or so…

               

And so…

The Mack Reynolds text is my first collection. A great read of most of his short stories and novellas by an under-appreciated sci-fi author. I did very little of the textual work on the William Carlos Williams book as poetry is not my jam, but I convinced Dr. L to collaborate, so I did the code work and she stepped in as editor. Those two and the Shakespeares have proven to be great learning experiences both in ebook coding and how texts have been handled over the centuries; seriously after almost finishing a Masters degree in renaissance drama, I am astounded about how much minutia I didn’t know about source texts and four centuries of editing practice.. Hope you give some of them a try. I also try to keep a current list of books over at astart.ca/coding/ebooks.

ebook creation

As a side project in late 2018 I started to produce ebooks for Standard Ebooks. I had been wanting to broaden my knowledge of epubs so I went casting about the internet for some good starting places. And I stumbled across this project:

Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style manual, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to create a new edition that takes advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.

It sounded perfect. And the addition of current semantics and web standards in construction also allow them to be more accessible which was something I had also been looking into. Volunteers pick a book project and after the redesign of the base code, they are modernized, proofread again and issued on the Standard Ebook website in multiple formats. And the whole system is also setup to allow maintenance after publication with fixes and updates by both the original producer and readers at large using GitHub. I would absolutely recommend that if you are thinking of downloading an ebook from Gutenberg that you check with Standard ebooks first to see if it has been worked on. It’s a much better choice.

So what do you do?

Well first off you need to subscribe to their google groups mailing list. Then you pick a copyright free (U.S. copyright free) book and propose it to the group. They prefer that the first project be short (~40,000 words) to encourage you to finish it rather than getting bogged down and abandoning the book. I get the sense that this happens a lot. Once the proposed title is approved  you head over to the their website and follow their handy step-by-step guide. Step one is downloading their tools. These are a set of Python-based command line tools that take care of a lot of the technical bits. If you’ve never used command line (Terminal on a Mac) it can be a bit intimidating but if you are interested you really shouldn’t let that stop you. Downloading the tools can take a lot of time so be patient.

The process

Essentially you follow these basic steps:

  1. Find the book on Gutenberg (or some other archive). Also locate online scans of the original text.
  2. Create a basic ebook template using the downloaded files (via the toolset).
  3. Clean up the files and make them conform to Standard Ebook standards.
  4. Fix the typography (via the toolset).
  5. Check the typography against their thorough typography manual.
  6. Add Semantics (again first via the toolset, then by using their semantic manual).
  7. Modernize spelling and punctuation.
  8. Find a cover (this is really rather a difficult and time-consuming step because they insist you find a CCO public domain image or something that was previously printed prior to 1922.)
  9. Complete the ToC and add links to various pages.
  10. Finish off the metadata (usually just a matter of writing a synopsis and filling in some blanks).
  11. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
  12. Submit for approval (and inevitably revise based on things you’ve missed).

Interestingly enough

This is a project started by and mostly inhabited  by bibliophilic computer geeks. They use a programmer’s approach to both structure, methodology and problem solving and rely on all sots of computer tools like GitHub—and the things I have learned about regex’s (high-powered search and replace paradigms) makes me giggle in glee. I can’t say, as a book designer I always agree with them and some of their stricter choices but the results speak for themselves. The main the thing their approach brings is an easily updated and maintained ebook that suffers very little from the idiosyncratic problems I find in “professionally” designed ebooks. And their collaborative approach ensures that multiple contributions by multiple contributors can be managed swiftly and easily, something that almost never happens in the real publishing world.

My ebooks so far…

After the first couple of books I settled into doing mostly plays. It’s a form I have always enjoyed, a genre that I am really familiar with and the technical challenges make them much more interesting to work on. And they’re fairly short which works well with my short attention span.

       

 

If you’d like to see a current list of books I will try to keep the page over at astart.ca/coding/ebooks current.

In conclusion

I plan to continue doing this as long as I have time. I am learning an incredible amount about ebooks, ebook structure, programming tools, css and html, art, literature, and even a bit about copyright and the open source community. I am trying to talk L into collaborating on a project with me (we are thinking William Carlos Williams’ pre-1923 poetry) where I will focus on the tech end and she can do the “boring” proofing and editorial. There might be an opportunity to work  straight from a scanned original—bypassing the Gutenberg process altogether. That will make it much more challenging. And I will probably start adding some notes about my various process and fixes to the site. After all I did originally start it as a way to save my bits and bobs of computer experimentation for posterity. So if you start seeing things like:

Find stage direction in brackets: [maid dusts the mantlepiece] \[(.*?)(.*)\] Replace with: <i epub:type="z3998:stage-direction">\u\1\2\.</i>

…you will know what it’s all about.

Books 2018—Is this the last year?

Books I have read — 2018

Well it look like this is the seventh year I have been recording my ‘books read.’ One of the things I have noticed is that I am actually rushing through books occasionally or choosing to not read some of the longer 500+ page books because they might affect my count—seems we humans can become competitive with anything, even counting books. So I am seriously considering giving up the counting. On the other hand, as you will see, I blew my previous numbers out of the water so…who knows what 2019 holds except, obviously, more books.

So without further ado, here are the books of 2018:

January

Issola Steven Brust (2001)
Vlad Taltos Book 9 – ebook; reread

Dzur Steven Brust (2006)
Vlad Taltos Book 10 – ebook; reread

Jhegaala Steven Brust (2008)
Vlad Taltos Book 11 – ebook; reread

Iorich Steven Brust (2010)
Vlad Taltos Book 12 – ebook; reread

Tiassa Steven Brust (2011)
Vlad Taltos Book 13 – ebook; reread

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

First Watch Dale Lucas (2017)
The Fifth Ward Book 1 – ebook;

Fortune’s Pawn Rachel Bach (2013)
Paradox Book 1 – ebook; reread

Honor’s Knight Rachel Bach (2014)
Paradox Book 2 – ebook; reread

Heaven’s Queen Rachel Bach (2014)
Paradox Book 3 – ebook; reread

Oath of Swords David Weber (1995)
War God Book 1 – ebook; reread

The War God’s Own David Weber (1998)
War God Book 2 – ebook; reread

Wind Rider’s Oath David Weber (2004)
War God Book 3 – ebook; reread

February

War Maid’s Choice David Weber (2012)
War God Book 4 – ebook; reread

An Oblique Approach David Drake & Eric Flint (1998)
Belisarious Book 1 – ebook; reread

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Mark Twain (1889)
– audiobook; reread

In the Heart of Darkness David Drake & Eric Flint (1998)
Belisarious Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Time Machine H.G Wells (1895)
– audiobook;

Just So Stories Rudyard Kipling (1902)
– audiobook;

Destiny’s Shield David Drake & Eric Flint (1999)
Belisarious Book 3 – ebook; reread

Fortune’s Stroke David Drake & Eric Flint (2000)
Belisarious Book 4 – ebook; reread

The Hounds of Baskerville Arthur Conan Doyle (1902)
– audiobook;

The Tide of Victory David Drake & Eric Flint (2001)
Belisarious Book 5 – ebook; reread

The Happy Prince and Other Tales Oscar Wilde (1888)
– audiobook;

March

The Dance of Time David Drake & Eric Flint (2006)
Belisarious Book 6 – ebook; reread

Killing Gravity Corey J. White (2017)
Voidwitch Saga Book 1 – ebook;

Assassin’s Fate Robin Hobb (2017)
The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy Book 3 – ebook;

Valor’s Choice Tanya Huff (2000)
Confederation Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Better Part of Valor Tanya Huff (2002)
Confederation Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Heart of Valor Tanya Huff (2007)
Confederation Book 3 – ebook; reread

Valor’s Trial Tanya Huff (2008)
Confederation Book 4 – ebook; reread

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

An Ancient Peace Tanya Huff (2015)
Peacekeepers Book 1 – ebook; reread

April

An Peace Divided Tanya Huff (2017)
Peacekeepers Book 2 – ebook; reread

Good Guys Steven Brust (2018)
– ebook;

Karen Memory Elizabeth Bear (2015)
Karen Memory Book 1 – ebook; reread

Stone Mad Elizabeth Bear (2018)
Karen Memory Book 2 – ebook;

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

A Call to Arms David Weber, Timothy Zahn (2015)
Manticore Ascendant Book 2 – ebook; reread

A Call to Vengeance David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Thomas Pope (2018)
Manticore Ascendant Book 3 – ebook;

Neogenesis Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (2017)
Liaden Book 21 – ebook;

May

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

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

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

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

The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde (1891)
– audiobook;

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

Three Parts Dead Max Gladstone (2012)
The Craft Sequence Book 1 – ebook;

Two Serpents Rise Max Gladstone (2013)
The Craft Sequence Book 2 – ebook;

Full Fathom Five Max Gladstone (2014)
The Craft Sequence Book 3 – ebook;

Last First Snow Max Gladstone (2015)
The Craft Sequence Book 4 – ebook;

June

Four Roads Cross Max Gladstone (2016)
The Craft Sequence Book 5 – ebook;

All Systems Red Martha Wells (2017)
Murderbot Diaries Book 1 – ebook;

Void Black Shadow James Corey (2018)
Void Witch Book 2 – ebook;

Ruin of Angels Max Gladstone (2017)
The Craft Sequence Book 6 – ebook;

On Basilisk Station David Weber (1992)
Honor Harrington Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Honor of the Queen David Weber (1993)
Honor Harrington Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Short Victorious War David Weber (1994)
Honor Harrington Book 3 – ebook; reread

Field of Dishonor David Weber (1994)
Honor Harrington Book 4 – ebook; reread

Flag in Exile David Weber (1995)
Honor Harrington Book 5 – ebook; reread

Honor Among Enemies David Weber (1996)
Honor Harrington Book 6 – ebook; reread

In Enemy Hands David Weber (1997)
Honor Harrington Book 7 – ebook; reread

July

Echoes of Honor David Weber (1998)
Honor Harrington Book 8 – ebook; reread

Ashes of Victory David Weber (2000)
Honor Harrington Book 9 – ebook; reread

The Prisoner of Limnos Lois McMaster Bujold (2017)
Penric & Desedmona Book 6 – ebook;

The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame (1908)
– audiobook;

Points of Impact Markos Kloos (2018)
Frontlines Book 6 – ebook;

Kidnapped Robert Louis Stephenson (1886)
– audiobook;

Too Like the Lightning Ada Palmer (2016)
Terra Ignota Book 1 – ebook;

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carrol (1865)
– audiobook;

Kushiel’s Dart Jacqueline Carey (2001)
Kushiel’s Legacy Book 1 – ebook; reread

Northanger Abbey Jane Austen (1817)
– audiobook;

Major Barbara George Bernard Shaw (1907)
– audiobook; reread

August

The Quantum Thief Hannu Rajaniemi (2011)
Jean le Flambeur Book 1 – ebook;

The Shadow of a Torturer Gene Wolfe (1980)
The Book of the New Sun Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Claw of the Conciliator Gene Wolfe (1981)
The Book of the New Sun Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Black Company Glen Cook (1984)
The Black Company Book 1 – ebook; reread

Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas (1844)
– audiobook;

**Shadows Linger Glen Cook (1984)
The Black Company Book 2 – ebook; reread

Howard’s End E.M. Forester (1910)
– audiobook;

**The White Rose Glen Cook (1985)
The Black Company Book 3 – ebook; reread

Lady Windermere’s Fan Oscar Wilde (1892)
– audiobook;

The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton (1920)
– audiobook;

September

Drifter William C. Dietz (1991)
Drifter Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Colors of Space Marion Zimmer Bradley (1963)
– ebook;

Arrows of the Queen Mercedes Lackey (1987)
Heralds of Valedemar Book 1 – ebook; reread

Arrow’s Flight Mercedes Lackey (1987)
Heralds of Valedemar Book 2 – ebook; reread

Arrow’s Fall Mercedes Lackey (1988)
Heralds of Valedemar Book 3 – ebook; reread

Freedom’s Landing Anne McCaffery (1995)
Catteni Book 1 – ebook; reread

Freedom’s Choice Anne McCaffery (1996)
Catteni Book 2 – ebook;

Terminal Alliance Jim C. Hines (2017)
Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse Book 1 – ebook;

Freedom’s Challenge Anne McCaffery (1998)
Catteni Book 3 – ebook;

Love of Mother-Not Alan Dean Foster (1983)
Pip & Flinx Book 1 – ebook; reread

Taar-Aiym Krang Alan Dean Foster (1972)
Pip & Flinx Book 2 – ebook; reread

Freedom’s Ransom Anne McCaffery (2002)
Catteni Book 4 – ebook;

October

Orphan Star Alan Dean Foster (1977)
Pip & Flinx Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Flowers of Vashnoi Lois McMaster Bujold (2018)
Miles Vorkosigan Book 14.5 – ebook;

Foundation Mercedes Lackey (2008)
Collegium Chronicles Book 1 – ebook;

Intrigue Mercedes Lackey (2010)
Collegium Chronicles Book 2 – ebook;

Changes Mercedes Lackey (2011)
Collegium Chronicles Book 3 – ebook;

Redoubt Mercedes Lackey (2012)
Collegium Chronicles Book 4 – ebook;

Bastion Mercedes Lackey (2013)
Collegium Chronicles Book 5 – ebook;

The Privilege of Peace Tanya Huff (2018)
Peacekeeper Book 3 – ebook;

Artificial Conditions Martha Wells (2018)
Murderbot Diaries Book 2 – ebook;

Refugee Piers Anthony (1983)
Bio of a Space Tyrant Book 1 – ebook; reread

Mercenary Piers Anthony (1984)
Bio of a Space Tyrant Book 2 – ebook; reread

Mansfield Park Jane Austen (1814)
– audiobook;

Politician Piers Anthony (1985)
Bio of a Space Tyrant Book 3 – ebook; reread

Executive Piers Anthony (1985)
Bio of a Space Tyrant Book 4 – ebook; reread

Statesman Piers Anthony (1986)
Bio of a Space Tyrant Book 5 – ebook; reread

Closer to Home Mercedes Lackey (2014)
The Herald Spy Book 1 – ebook;

Closer to the Heart Mercedes Lackey (2015)
The Herald Spy Book 2 – ebook;

November

Closer to the Chest Mercedes Lackey (2016)
The Herald Spy Book 3 – ebook;

Rogue Protocol Martha Wells (2018)
Murderbot Diaries Book 3 – ebook;

Trading in Danger Elizabeth Moon (2003)
Vatta’s War Book 1 – ebook; reread

Marque and Reprisal Elizabeth Moon (2004)
Vatta’s War Book 2 – ebook; reread

Engaging the Enemy Elizabeth Moon (2006)
Vatta’s War Book 3 – ebook; reread

Command Decision Elizabeth Moon (2007)
Vatta’s War Book 4 – ebook; reread

Victory Conditions Elizabeth Moon (2008)
Vatta’s War Book 5 – ebook; reread

The Engines of God Jack McDevitt (1994)
Academy Series (Priscilla Hutchins) Book 1 – ebook;

Exit Strategy Martha Wells (2018)
Murderbot Book 4 – ebook;

Head On John Scalzi (2018)
Lock In Book 2 – ebook;

The Forever War Joe Haldeman (1974)
The Forever War Book 1 – ebook; reread

A Separate War Joe Haldeman (1999)
The Forever War Short Story – ebook;

Forever Free Joe Haldeman (1999)
The Forever War Book 2 – ebook;

The Airlords of Han Francis Philip Nolan (1929)
Buck Rogers Book 2 – ebook; reread

Echo Jack McDevitt (2010)
Alex Benedict Book 5 – ebook;

Lustlocked Matt Wallace (2016)
Sin du Jour Book 2 – ebook;

December

Lustlocked Matt Wallace (2016)
Sin du Jour Book 2 – ebook;

The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope (1894)
– ebook;

Pride’s Spell Matt Wallace (2016)
Sin du Jour Book 3 – ebook;

Greedy Pigs Matt Wallace (2017)
Sin du Jour Book 5 – ebook;

Gluttony Bay Matt Wallace (2017)
Sin du Jour Book 6 – ebook;

Taste of Wrath Matt Wallace (2018)
Sin du Jour Book 7 – ebook;

The Runelords (The Sum of All Men) David Farland (1998)
Rune Lords Book 1 – ebook;

Space Opera Catherynne M. Valente (2018)
– ebook;

The Cosmic Computer H Beam Piper (1960)
– ebook;

Alice Payne Arrives Kate Heartfield (2018)
Alice Payne Book 1 – ebook;

20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne (1870)
– audiobook;

The Devil’s Eye Jack McDevitt (2008)
Alex Benedict Book 4 – ebook;

Static Ruin Corey J. White (2018)
Voidwitch Saga Book 3 – ebook;

The Lost Gate Orson Scott Card (2011)
Mithermages Book 1 – ebook;

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Some numbers

142 books in total! That’s .389 books/day; 2.73 books/month; 11.8 books/month. A RECORD!

This unbelievable total includes 70 rereads and 17 audiobooks, which means I read 55 new books.

By month

January (13)
February (11)
March (9)
April (8)
May (10)
June (11)
July (11)
August (10)
September (12)
October (17)
November (16)
 December (14)

My ebook library now contains 628 ebooks and—despite previous maunderings—I still have 862 paper books (sci-fi and fantasy only — the others have long since been absorbed into L’s library which makes mine look puny). A far cry from the 234 I started with 2012. Oh, and for those of you who care, that’s an average of 65 books added per year…call it $520/year which I think is quite reasonable in bibliophile circles.

Audio books

I listened to 17 mostly-new titles (only 2 rereads…relistens?). If you look closely you can discern my most productive periods in the glass studio as that’s when I listen to most of them. Also of note is that the audio books comprise all of my non-sci-fi and fantasy content. I was pleasantly surprised by most of them—although being an English major it is a) astonishing that I haven’t read these classics before and b) a bit of a duh moment that I should find them of sufficient quality to praise. I particularly liked Northanger Abbey and The Age of Innocence. 

An audiobook recap:

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Mark Twain
The Time Machine H.G Wells
Just So Stories Rudyard Kipling
The Hounds of Baskerville Arthur Conan Doyle
The Happy Prince and Other Tales Oscar Wilde
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
Kidnapped Robert Louis Stephenson
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carrol
Northanger Abbey Jane Austen
Major Barbara George Bernard Shaw
Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas
Howard’s End E.M. Forester
Lady Windermere’s Fan Oscar Wilde
The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
Mansfield Park Jane Austen
20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne

Habits

A lot of the reason for the increase in the books-read count was rereading series which tends to go quickly. I re-chewed my way through the rest of Brust’s Vlad books, Anthony’s Bio of a Space Tyrant, Moon’s Vatta’s War, Mercedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar, Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun, Rick Cook Wiz Biz, the first 4 books of Foster’s iconic Pip & Flinx books, Rachel Bach Paradox, both Huff’s Confederation and Peacekeepers series, David Drake & Eric Flint Belasarius and a lot of Weber: Honor Harrington books up to Book 9 (I just couldn’t justify buying new copies of the rest of them as I feel the series started to go downhill), the Manticore Ascendant series, and the War God books. A few of these I hadn’t read since I was in my 20s. Wolfe aged well but Piers Anthony did not (although it was interesting to see how much societal mores have changed over the past few decades). And I still love Pip.

I also added in some new series. Max Gladstone Craft Sequence, Lackey’s Collegium Chronicles and The Herald Spy (which are really just one long series) and, to my delight, discovered that Joe Haldeman had written sequels to his classic The Forever War.

2018 saw the resurgence of the short form sci-fi/fantasy novel. While technically novellas these shorter — ~100 page books — are closer in size to the standard pulp fare I grew with. Anyway, Tor seems to be at the forefront of this movement selling the books for around $6 and usually being a series of 3 or 4 titles. I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour series, Corey White Voidwitch, and of course Martha Well’s excellent Murderbot.

Housekeeping

I got involved in an ebook project, Standard Ebooks, which aims to take copyright free books (mostly sourced from the industrious Gutenberg Project) and apply high standards to both editorial and typography—something quite missing from the standard Gutenberg ebook fare. To date I have “produced” two ebooks: The Airlords of Han and A Prisoner of Zenda and am working on a third title. Check them out if you are looking for free ebooks—I guarantee a satisfactory experience

The big news of 2018 is that I have dumped Apple’s iBooks from my  life entirely. I used to organize and catalog my ebooks in Calibre and then copy the books over to the Apple ecosystem to update my various i-devices. But Apple moved all the books out of iTunes and into their new iBooks app, crippling most of the features along the way. I have put up with it for two years hoping for a version 2 but there has been zero improvement and I just couldn’t take it anymore. So now I use Calibre Companion to move books to my Nexus and iPhone and (since my iPad is ancient) Stanza to copy books to the iPad. It means a few extra steps but it is worth it not to have to put up with Apple’s bllsht…and this from an Apple fanboy. 

I have ranted before about “distributors” getting too involved and too powerful in the process of ebook dissemination so I won’t go into it other than to say I won’t ever be buying an ebook from Apple again.


So that’s it. I am writing this a bit early but I assume you will, as always, be able to see Leslie’s 2018 book list here and the-man-originally-responsible-for-this-bloated-monstrosity-of-a-post Earl’s list here.

Links to previous years book posts:

 

 

 

 

Books in my Life — the 2017 edition

Year 6. It was a good year…for reading anyway. I also added audio books to the repertoire although at this point I have no idea how to classify them. I continued to keep track by month and you will see them broken down thus after the list. So without further ado…

January

The Final Battle William C. Dietz (1993)
Legion of the Damned Book 2 – ebook; reread

Mercenary Mack Reynolds (1962)
– ebook; reread

Frigid Fracas Mack Reynolds (1963)
– ebook; reread

Imager L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2009)
The Imager Portfolio Book 1 – ebook; reread

Imager’s Challenge L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2009)
The Imager Portfolio Book 2 – ebook; reread

Imager’s Intrigue L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2010)
The Imager Portfolio Book 3 – ebook;

Penric’s Demon Lois McMaster Bujold (2015)
Penric and Desdemona Book 1 – ebook; reread

Penric and the Shaman Lois McMaster Bujold (2016)
Penric and Desdemona Book 2 – ebook;

Penric’s Mission Lois McMaster Bujold (2016)
Penric and Desdemona Book 4 – ebook;

Psion Joan D. Vinge (1981)
Cat Book 1 – ebook; reread

Psiren Joan D. Vinge (1982)
Cat Book 1.5 – ebook; reread

Catspaw Joan D. Vinge (1988)
Cat Book 2 – ebook; reread

February

Dreamfall Joan D. Vinge (1996)
Cat Book 3 – ebook; reread

At the Sign of Triumph David Weber (2016)
Safehold Book 9 – ebook;

Young Rissa F.M. Busby (1976)
Rissa Kerguelen Book 1 – ebook; reread

Red Shirts John Scalzi (2012)
– ebook; reread

March Upcountry David Weber & John Ringo (2001)
Empire of Man Book 1 – ebook; reread

March to the Sea David Weber & John Ringo (2001)
Empire of Man Book 2 – ebook; reread

March to the Stars David Weber & John Ringo (2003)
Empire of Man Book 3 – ebook; reread

We Few David Weber & John Ringo (2005)
Empire of Man Book 4 – ebook; reread

March

The Fifth Season N.K. Jemesin (2015)
The Broken Earth Book 1 – ebook;

The Obelisk Gate N.K. Jemesin (2016)
The Broken Earth Book 2 – ebook;

Bloodstar Ian Douglass (2012)
Star Corpsman Book 1 – ebook;

Fields of Fire Marcos Kloos (2017)
Frontlines Book 5 – ebook;

Last Train to Rigel Timothy Zahn (2005)
Quadrail Book 1 – ebook; reread

Third Lynx Timothy Zahn (2007)
Quadrail Book 2 – ebook; reread

Odd Girl Out Timothy Zahn (2008)
Quadrail Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Domino Pattern Timothy Zahn (2009)
Quadrail Book 4 – ebook; reread

April

Judgment at Proteus Timothy Zahn (2012)
Quadrail Book 5 – ebook; reread

Magi’i of Cyador L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2001)
Recluce Book 10 – ebook;

Scion of Cyador L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2001)
Recluce Book 11 – ebook;

Fall of Angels L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1996)
Recluce Book 6 – ebook;

The Chaos Balance L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1997)
Recluce Book 7 – ebook;

Arms-Commander L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2010)
Recluce Book 16 – ebook;

Hour of Judgement Susan R. Matthews (1999)
Under Jurisdiction Book 4 – ebook;

The Devil and Deep Space Susan R. Matthews (2002)
Under Jurisdiction Book 5 – ebook;

Warring States Susan R. Matthews (2006)
Under Jurisdiction Book 6 – ebook;

May

A Plague of All Cowards William Barton (1976)
– ebook; reread

The Space Pioneers Carey Rockwell (1953)
Tom Corbett Book 4 – ebook;

Friday Robert Heinlein (1982)
– ebook; reread

Stone Hunger N.K. Jemesin (2016)
The Broken Earth Book 0 – ebook;

Lock In John Scalzi (2014)
– ebook; reread

The Regiment John Dalmas (1987)
The Regiment Book 1 – ebook; reread

The White Regiment John Dalmas (1990)
The Regiment Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Regiment’s War John Dalmas (1993)
The Regiment Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Curse of Chalion Lois McMaster Bujold (2001)
Chalion Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Paladin of Souls Lois McMaster Bujold (2003)
Chalion Book 2 – ebook; reread

The White Order L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1998)
Recluce Book 8 – ebook;

The Magic Engineer L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1994)
Recluce Book 3 – ebook;

June

Colors of Chaos L.E. Modesitt Jr. (1999)
Recluce Book 9 – ebook;

Golden Fleece Robert J Sawyer (1990)
– ebook;

Ancillary Sword Ann Leckie (2013)
Imperial Radch Book 1 – ebook; reread

Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie (2014)
Imperial Radch Book 2 – ebook; reread

Ancillary Mercy Ann Leckie (2015)
Imperial Radch Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Lost Colony John Scalzi (2007)
Old Man’s War Book 3 – ebook; reread

Zoe’s Tale John Scalzi (2008)
Old Man’s War Book 4 – ebook; reread

Soulminder Timothy Zahn (2014)
– ebook;

Human Division John Scalzi (2013)
Old Man’s War Book 5 – ebook; reread

The End of All Things John Scalzi (2015)
Old Man’s War Book 6 – ebook; reread

July

The Paladin C.J. Cherryh (1988)
– ebook; reread

A Desert Called Peace Tom Kratman (2007)
A Desert Called Peace Book 1 – ebook; reread

Carnifex Tom Kratman (2007)
A Desert Called Peace Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Lotus Eaters Tom Kratman (2010)
A Desert Called Peace Book 3 – ebook; reread

The Amazon Legion Tom Kratman (2011)
A Desert Called Peace Book 4 – ebook; reread

Come and Take Them Tom Kratman (2013)
A Desert Called Peace Book 5 – ebook; reread

The Rods and the Axe Tom Kratman (2014)
A Desert Called Peace Book 6 – ebook;

August

Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2001)
Liaden Universe Book 1 – ebook; reread

Scouts Progress Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2001)
Liaden Universe Book 2 – ebook; reread

Mouse & Dragon Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2010)
Liaden Universe Book 3 – ebook; reread

Conflict of Honors Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (1988)
Liaden Universe Book 4 – ebook; reread

Agent of Change Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (1988)
Liaden Universe Book 5 – ebook; reread

Carpe Diem Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (1989)
Liaden Universe Book 6 – ebook; reread

Plan B Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (1999)
Liaden Universe Book 7 – ebook; reread

I Dare Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2002)
Liaden Universe Book 8 – ebook; reread

Fledgling Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2009)
Liaden Universe Book 9 – ebook; reread

Saltation Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2010)
Liaden Universe Book 10 – ebook; reread

Ghost Ship Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2011)
Liaden Universe Book 11 – ebook; reread

Dragon Ship Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2012)
Liaden Universe Book 12 – ebook; reread

The Gathering Edge Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2017)
Liaden Universe Book 16 – ebook;

Dragon in Exile Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2016)
Liaden Universe Book 14 – ebook; reread

Alliance of Equals Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2016)
Liaden Universe Book 15 – ebook; reread

Mira’s Last Dance Lois McMaster Bujold (2017)
Penric and Desdemona Book 5 – ebook;

The Collapsing Empire John Scalzi (2017)
Interdependency Book 1 – ebook;

September

Penric’s Fox Lois McMaster Bujold (2017)
Penric and Desdemona Book 3 – ebook;

Unbreakable W.C. Bauers (2015)
The Chronicles of Promise Paen Book 1 – ebook; reread

Indomitable W.C. Bauers (2016)
The Chronicles of Promise Paen Book 2 – ebook;

A Peace Divided Tanya Huff (2017)
Peacekeeper Book 2 – ebook;

Assassin’s Price L.E. Modesitt Jr. (2017)
The Imager Portfolio Book 11 – ebook;

The Incrementalists Steven Brust & Skyler White (2013)
Incrementalists Book 1 – ebook; reread

October

*The Skill of Our Hands *** Steven Brust & Skyler White (2017)
**Incrementalists
Book 2 – ebook;

Provenance Ann Leckie (2017)
– ebook;

Balance of Trade Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2004)
Jethri Goblyn Book 1 – ebook; reread

Trade Secret Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (2013)
Jethri Goblyn Book 2 – ebook; reread

Starplex Robert Sawyer (1996)
– ebook;

Envy of Angels Matt Wallace (2016)
Sin du Jour Book 1 – ebook;

Pride of Chanur C.J. Cherryh (1981)
Chanur Book 1 – ebook; reread

Nevernight Jay Kristoff (2016)
The Nevernight Chronicle Book 1 – ebook;

November

Godsgrave Jay Kristoff (2017)
The Nevernight Chronicle Book 2 – ebook;

The Stone Sky N.K.Jemesin (2017)
The Broken Earth Book 3 – ebook;

Strong-Arm Tactics Jody Lyne Nye (2005)
– ebook; reread

Poor Man’s Fight Elliot Kay (2013)
Poor Man’s Fight Book 1 – ebook; reread

Rich Man’s War Elliot Kay (2015)
Poor Man’s Fight Book 2 – ebook;

Dead Man’s Debt Elliot Kay (2016)
Poor Man’s Fight Book 3 – ebook;

December

No Medals for Secrets Elliot Kay (2017)
Poor Man’s Fight Book 4 – ebook;

Vallista Steven Brust (2017)
Vlad Taltos Book 15 – ebook;

Barbary Station R.E. Stearns (2017)
Shieldrunner Pirates Book 1 – ebook;

Jhereg Steven Brust (1983)
Vlad Taltos Book 1 – ebook; reread

Yendi Steven Brust (1984)
Vlad Taltos Book 2 – ebook; reread

Teckla Steven Brust (1987)
Vlad Taltos Book 3 – ebook; reread

Taltos Steven Brust (1988)
Vlad Taltos Book 4 – ebook; reread

Phoenix Steven Brust (1990)
Vlad Taltos Book 5 – ebook; reread

Athyra Steven Brust (1993)
Vlad Taltos Book 6 – ebook; reread

Orca Steven Brust (1996)
Vlad Taltos Book 7 – ebook; reread

Dragon Steven Brust (1998)
Vlad Taltos Book 8 – ebook; reread

Audio Books

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen (1813)
– audiobook; reread (relisten?)

Emma Jane Austen (1815)
– audiobook;

Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte (1847)
– audiobook;

Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen (1811)
– audiobook;

Persuasion Jane Austen (1817)
– audiobook;

The Return of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle (1903)
– audiobook;

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Comments & Remarks

First off, let’s deal with the bunny. I had this bit of ascii art on my list all year and felt he needed to be let free into the internet universe. Enjoy and be free little bunny… 🙂

The numbers

114 books total (120 if you count the audiobooks): 9.5 (10) books per month; 2.19 (2.3) books per week; .312 (.329) books per day.

43 (48) new books
71 (72) re-reads

So that totals 114 ebooks, 5 audio books, 0 traditional books (although I did skim some kids books…). I guess I really am committed to ebook technology 🙂 I also did a month to month comparison to last year…you can see I tend to read heavily during the same months on a year to year basis.

  2017 2016
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
12
8
8
9
12
10
7
17
6
8
6
11
11
5
5
2
12
18
6
8
6
12
6
10

Reading and Rereading

If you look at the above numbers you will see why I am considering quitting counting books. In April last year I read two very long, very complex books. One of them was Book 2 of Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool Trilogy. I’ve owned Book 3 for almost a year now and haven’t read it (and one or two others like it) because it would take too long and screw with my annual totals… gasp! And ok, I admit it: that’s just weird. Of course I did make a habit of rereading whole series this year in order to read the new book and that might have meant me reading at least 8 Fitz books which would have really, really slowed me down. Still a weird reason to not read a book though.

Speaking of complete series, I reread:

  • all of L.E. Modesitt’s Imager series (a great read)
  • all three of Joan D.Vinge’s Cat books (classic Bruce stuff)
  • all 4 of David Weber’s Empire of Man books (a fun read but nothing outstanding)
  • all 3 of N.K Jemesin’s The Broken Earth (so good it’s almost literature)
  • all 5 of Timothy Zahn’s Quadrail books (Inspector Poirot meets an alien Orient Express)
  • all of John Dalmas Regiment series (solid, old school military SF)
  • all Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion books and all her Penric novellas (Love, love, love, love…)
  • all Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch series (worth reading just for the use of non-gendered pronouns alone)
  • all John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe books (a mixed bag, but always well written)
  • all Tom Kratman’s A Desert Called Peace series (I hate Tom’s perspective on so much, but that in itself makes them worth reading)
  • all Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden books (classic space opera: I loved the first one when it came out and have stuck with them though all their trials and tribulations)
  • both of W.C. Bauer’s The Chronicles of Promise Paen books (and look forward to more)
  • all  Elliot Kay’s Poor Man’s Fight series (along with Markos Kloos Frontline books, these are some of the best self-published military SF I have come across)
  • and most of Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos books (I still have a few to go which will take up January 2018. I discovered these books  back in the early 80s when he started them and would recommend them to everyone and anyone.)

I also read much of L.E. Modesitt’s Recluce series (I bought two omnibuses). I have to admit they were a bit too much for me (he tends to repeat plots/viewpoints) and I wouldn’t recommend anyone slogging through them unless they really love the universe.

As a part of the above I also found myself re-buying books in ebook format. I am completely converted to ebooks now and with fading, old-guy eyes, I find reading print too much bother (I have to go find reading glasses and good light). So now I just re-buy the books in ebook format which can’t be bad for anyone in the industry, right?

Audio…

I have been working in my studio doing glass a lot and decided to give audio books a try rather than just listening to tunes. I went digging around in Librivox —which is the audio book version of Project Gutenberg— and found some classics i had always meant to read. All the books are free and read by volunteers so I found some good readers and started with Pride and Prejudice — which I had already read a few times. It went so well I downloaded a few more. The reader, Elizabeth Klett did a great job. I’d give it (and her) a try if you need something to think on while doing tasks with your hands.

It does bring up the question of whether or not I “read” these books. This year I kept the totals separate but I think if I continue I will just add them in and call them a read book.

Bad Book, Good Book

I mentioned above I have read some great self-published books. I also have read some dreck. And I have a strange quirk of finishing a book once I have started no matter how bad. I can count on one had the number of books I have not finished and I am never eager to add more to that count. But man, sometimes it is hard to slog through a badly written book, or worse, a badly edited one. I have a number of ebooks in my collection that I will never, ever read again and I often wonder if I should just delete them. But not getting rid of books, paper or digital, is another one of those strange quirks I have. 

Be that as it may (more below), Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns was this year’s winner of the OMG Will This Never END? prize and, much to my surprise, it was not a badly, or more usually, un-edited self pub, but in fact published by Saga Press which is a very minor subsidiary of Simon and Schuster. I do not know what they were thinking. I think the idea of Lesbian Space Pirates just overwhelmed their better judgement.

So I apologize to self-publishers everywhere. It seems that the flaw of publisher arrogance is more insidious than previously assumed.

Paperback Decisions…

So last year I downloaded an app called Shelfie (See the end of 2016’s post). The theory was I could scan the barcodes of my books (or just take a picture of them on my shelf, hence the name) and submit it to Shelfie and possibly get a deeply discounted ebook version. I eventually unpacked and scanned all my paperbacks and ended up buying a dozen or so ebooks for around a dollar a piece. I also cataloged all of my books.

It turns out I have 863 science fiction and fantasy paperbacks (as well as 534 ebooks for those of you who are counting). Given I struggle to reread 70 books a year that means I likely have a dozen or so years of reading to reread them even once. And on top of that, I am just not going to—I think my paperback book days are done.

So what do I do? I have determined at least 5 times to just sell them (although many are in rough shape…ironically the best ones, although I guess that’s predictable) and so far have done nothing. It is so hard to contemplate parting with objects I have cherished since Junior High (my Burroughs’ Mars books). And I am guessing Wee Book Inn or their ilk wouldn’t take the 10 or so  boxes of books at once. I could give them away, but at even $1/ book that’s a lot of money. And at ~$8/book replacement cost that’s almost $7000… which ain’t pocket change. I am considering flagging the ones I really want as ebooks and going on a spending spree but Even if it was only a 10th of them that would still add up to over $700.

So should I sell them?

It’s a conundrum. But I have a spreadsheet, so that’s a consolation. I think.

The Final Rant

I’ll end this with a final rant about and against DRM. I had an incident this year that had me trying to unravel Adobe’s drm system and it made me crazy. It took me weeks to regain access to things I had bought and payed for—I will make a separate post about it later but suffice it to say if I ever had anything good to say about drm (which I didn’t), it’s all gone now. Crack your books people…it is the only way to protect your investment.


If you wish to go back and look at previous year’s counts and rants you can find them here: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

Leslie and Earl’s book counts and summaries can be found by following the links.

Book 2016…

Happy 2017! This is my fifth year of recording (and counting) my books read. Previous lists (and associated totals) can be found here: 2012 (85), 2013 (95), 2014 (106), 2015 (92). In 2016, I also tracked them by month although occasionally books would bleed from one month to another. The results were distinctly lopsided. So how many did I manage to read this year? Let’s find out…

January

The Happy Return C.S. Forester (1937)
Horatio Hornblower Book 5 – ebook;

A Ship of the Line C.S. Forester (1938)
Horatio Hornblower Book 6 – ebook;

Hornblower’s Charitable Offering C.S. Forester (1941)
Horatio Hornblower Book 6.5 – ebook;

Flying Colours C.S. Forester (1938)
Horatio Hornblower Book 7 – ebook;

The Commodore C.S. Forester (1938)
Horatio Hornblower Book 8 – ebook;

Today I Will Fly Mo Willems (2007)
An Elephant & Piggie Book – HC;

Lord Hornblower C.S. Forester (1946)
Horatio Hornblower Book 9 – ebook;

Bears Don’t Read Emma Chichester Clark (2014)
– HC;

Hornblower in the West Indies C.S. Forester (1958)
Horatio Hornblower Book 9 – ebook;

The Last Encounter C.S. Forester (1967)
Horatio Hornblower Book 10 – ebook;

Virtues of War Bennett R. Coles (2015)
Astral Force Book 1 – ebook;

February

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance Lois McMaster Bujold (2012)
Vokosigan Saga Book 13 – ebook; reread

A Book Editor’s Primer (What a Book Editor Does) Dr. Leslie Vermeer (2016)
-manuscript

Oath of Swords David Weber (1995)
War God Book 1 – ebook; reread

The War God’s Own David Weber (1998)
War God Book 2 – ebook; reread

Wind Rider’s Oath David Weber (2004)
War God Book 3 – ebook; reread

March

War Maid’s Choice David Weber (2012)
War God Book 4 – ebook; reread

Sword of the South David Weber (2016)
Nofressa Book 1 – ebook;

War Maid’s Choice David Weber (2012)
War God Book 4 – ebook; reread

Balance Point Robert Buettner (2015)
Janzen Parker Book 3 – ebook;

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

April

Fool’s Quest Robin Hobb (2015)
Fitz and the Fool Trilogy Book 2 – ebook;

Hell’s Foundations Quiver David Weber (2016)
Safehold Book 8 – ebook;

May

Unbreakable W.C. Bauer (2014)
Chronicles of Promise Paen Book 1 – ebook;

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet Becky Chambers (2014)
Wayfarers Book 1 – ebook;

A Talent for War Jack McDevitt (1989)
Alex Benedict Book 1 – ebook; reread

Polaris Jack McDevitt (2004)
Alex Benedict Book 2 – ebook;

Seeker Jack McDevitt (2005)
Alex Benedict Book 3 – ebook;

Dauntless Jack Campbell (2006)
The Lost Fleet Book 1 – ebook; reread

Fearless Jack Campbell (2007)
The Lost Fleet Book 2 – ebook; reread

Courageous Jack Campbell (2007)
The Lost Fleet Book 3 – ebook; reread

Valiant Jack Campbell (2008)
The Lost Fleet Book 4 – ebook; reread

Relentless Jack Campbell (2009)
The Lost Fleet Book 5 – ebook; reread

Victorious Jack Campbell (2010)
The Lost Fleet Book 6 – ebook; reread

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

June

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

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

Madness in Solidar L.E. Modesitt Jr (2015)
Imager’s Portfolio Book 9 – ebook;

Alliance of Equals Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (2016)
Liaden Universe Book 19 – ebook; eARC

Cauldron of Ghosts David Weber and Eric Flint (2014)
Crown of Slaves Book 3 – ebook;

A Princess of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs (1917)
John Carter of Mars Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Gods of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs (1918)
John Carter of Mars Book 2 – ebook; reread

Warlord of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs (1919)
John Carter of Mars Book 2 – ebook; reread

Dragon and Thief Timothy Zahn (2003)
Dragonback Book 1 – ebook; reread

Dragon and Soldier Timothy Zahn (2004)
Dragonback Book 2 – ebook; reread

Dragon and Slave Timothy Zahn (2005)
Dragonback Book 3 – ebook; reread

Dragon and Herdsman Timothy Zahn (2006)
Dragonback Book 4 – ebook; reread

Dragon and Judge Timothy Zahn (2007)
Dragonback Book 5 – ebook; reread

Dragon and Liberator Timothy Zahn (2008)
Dragonback Book 6 – ebook; reread

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

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

Angles of Attack Marko Kloos (2015)
Frontline Book 3 – ebook;

Chains of Command Marko Kloos (2016)
Frontline Book 4 – ebook;

July

Ring of Fire Eric Flint ed. (2004)
Ring of Fire Book 2 – ebook;

1633 Eric Flint (2002)
Ring of Fire Book 3 – ebook; reread

1634: The Baltic War David Weber (2007)
Ring of Fire Book 3 – ebook;

Cobra Slave Timothy Zahn (2013)
Cobra Rebellion Book 1 – ebook; reread

Cobra Outlaw Timothy Zahn (2015)
Cobra Rebellion Book 2 – ebook;

The Lies of Locke Lamorra Scott Lynch (2006)
The Gentleman Bastard Book 1 – ebook; reread

August

Red Seas Under Red Skies Scott Lynch (2007)
The Gentleman Bastard Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Republic of Thieves Scott Lynch (2013)
The Gentleman Bastard Book 3 – ebook; reread

Drifter William C. Deitz (1991)
Pik Lando Book 1 – ebook; reread

Drifter’s Run William C. Deitz (1992)
Pik Lando Book 2 – ebook;

Drifter’s War William C. Deitz (1992)
Pik Lando Book 3 – ebook;

Scholar L.E. Modesitt Jr (2011)
The Imager Portfolio Book 4 – ebook; reread

On the Trail of Space Pilots Carey Rockwell (1953)
Tom Corbett Space Cadet Book 3 – ebook;

Princeps L.E. Modesitt Jr (2012)
The Imager Portfolio Book 5 – ebook; reread

September

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

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

Rex Regis L.E. Modesitt Jr (2014)
The Imager Portfolio Book 8 – ebook; reread

Revisionary Jim C. Hines (2016)
Ex Libris Book 4 – ebook;

Foreigner CJ Cherryh (1994)
Foreigner 1 Book 1 – ebook; reread

Invader CJ Cherryh (1995)
Foreigner 1 Book 2 – ebook;

October

Inheritor CJ Cherryh (1996)
Foreigner 1 Book 3 – ebook;

League of Dragons Naomi Novik (2016)
Temeraire Book 9 – ebook;

All my Sins Remembered Joe Haldeman (1977)
– ebook;

Old Man’s War John Scalzi (2005)
Old Man’s War Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Ghost Brigades John Scalzi (2006)
Old Man’s War Book 2 – ebook; reread

An Exchange of Hostage Susan R. Matthews (1997)
Jurisdiction Book 1 – ebook;

Prisoner of Conscience Susan R. Matthews (1998)
Jurisdiction Book 2 – ebook;

Angel of Destruction Susan R. Matthews (2001)
Jurisdiction Book 3 – ebook;

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

Citizen of the Galaxy Robert Heinlein (1957)
– ebook; reread

November

Oath of Fealty Elizabeth Moon (2010)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 4 – ebook; reread

Kings of the North Elizabeth Moon (2011)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 5 – ebook; reread

Echoes of Betrayal Elizabeth Moon (2012)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 6 – ebook; reread

Limits of Power Elizabeth Moon (2013)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 7 – ebook; reread

Crown of Renewal Elizabeth Moon (2014)
The Deed of Paksenarrion Book 8 – ebook; reread

Madness in Solidar L.E. Modesitt Jr (2015)
Imager’s Portfolio Book 9 – ebook; reread

December

Treachery’s Tools L.E. Modesitt Jr (2016)
Imager’s Portfolio Book 10 – ebook;

Far-Seer Robert J. Sawyer (1992)
The Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy Book 1 – ebook;

Fossil Hunter Robert J. Sawyer (1993)
The Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy Book 2 – ebook;

Foreigner Robert J. Sawyer (1994)
The Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy Book 3 – ebook;

The Magic of Recluce L.E. Modesitt Jr (1991)
The Saga of Recluce Book 1 – ebook;

The Towers of Sunset L.E. Modesitt Jr (1992)
The Saga of Recluce Book 2 – ebook;

Spellwright Blake Charlton (2010)
Spellwright Book 1 – ebook; reread

Spellbound Blake Charlton (2011)
Spellwright Book 2 – ebook; reread

Spellbreaker Blake Charlton (2016)
Spellwright Book 3 – ebook;

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

The Totals

101 books read —8.4 books a month, 1.94 books a week, .28 books a day
46 new
55 rereads

January — 11
February — 5
March — 5
April — 2
May — 12
June — 18
July — 6
August — 8
September — 6
October — 12
November — 6
December — 10

Some Conclusions

Surprisingly my new books/reread ratio favours rereads for the first time —not the first time ever, but the first time since 2013 (2013 62/33, 2014 67/39, 2015 58/34). I attribute that partially to being on the boat half a year and also to the release of a lot of books at the end of a series—I often go back and reread the entire series if it’s been a while in order to get the full effect. Nonetheless it seems I did put off reading new titles since I have at least five or six in my library that have been there most of the year. I wonder what that means?

As you can see I have stuck mostly to fantasy and SF as usual. I did finish off the Hornblower books (very enjoyable) and read L’s manuscript for the Complete Canadian Book Editor (Woo-hoo! There is an author in the family!). Despite my reluctance to read any new fantasy (I am not a fan of the mega-series which seems to dominate the marketplace these days) I seem to be reading a lot more than I would have suspected. But new books are almost always from authors I already respect or as a result of recommendations by those selfsame authors. So I guess they have been more prolific than usual.

April was brutal. The month itself was fine but I chose to read two 1000 page+ books and Fool’s Assassin (another monster title) bled from March into April by a lot. As a result I technically only read 2 books. We did spend that month prepping the boat for departure from Victoria so that accounts for some of it, but I admit to a bit of shame when I look at the sparsity of titles. Ah well, c’est la vie… Other months made up for it though. We were in full cruising mode in June and the count soared, although I will admit that the Dragonback series is Juvenile SF and thus a bit shorter and of course Burroughs’ John Carter books are smaller than a modern book.

Speaking of Burroughs, I was astonished at how much my perspective has changed since Grade 8 when I first discovered and consumed these classics. It is so obvious to me now that they are such a product of their period, but none of that registered on me then. Like many others, Heinlein and Burroughs were my entry into the SF/Fantasy world and it’s a bit weird reading them now and reacting in such a luke-warm manner.

I had sampled a bunch of William C. Deitz a few years ago and am now making my way through a bunch more of his canon. Nothing spectacular but good solid stuff. And I’ve always liked L.E. Modesitt Jr, but for some reason had avoided the Recluse series (although I suspect I may have read the first book when it came out but it just didn’t ring any bells). So I made some headway there and will continue to work my way through the 19 titles that make up the (thankfully) non- linear series. It’s funny that he doesn’t really register as one of my “favourite” authors yet I consistently enjoy anything he’s written.

I also picked up a bunch of Robert J. Sawyer titles for free using my Kobo points, so I started my Sawyer introduction with this Canadian SF author’s Quintaglio Ascension trilogy. These were some of his first major works and the while enjoyable, the inexperience shows. I’m a bit ashamed that I have never before read any Sawyer, he being Canadian, a multi-award winning author and in fact the only SF author I have ever met in person. Funny story, I actually said something like “Wow, I am so excited to meet you—I’ve never read one of your books — but I am so excited to meet you!” Ask my brother, I have always suffered a bit from foot-in-mouth disease. I blame my not reading his stuff on his seeming focus on hard SF (not my favourite), a series of spectacularly bad (in my opinion) covers and that uniquely Canadian prejudice/insecurity that “Canadian”=The Beachcombers. Sad, I know. I will move on to some more of his recent stuff in 2017. I promise.

The Library

As for the state of the library, I am now up to 464 ebooks. Acquisitions have been slow but again, I have been sailing and not working, so expenses were definitely a consideration. 

I did give Shelfie a try. This is an app that allows you to scan your paper books and potentially download electronic or audio version for a much reduced price (or even, so they say, but I have not encountered, free). The software is pretty cool. You snap a picture of the spines of your books and it processes them — almost always accurately deriving the title and author — and then adds them to you library. You can also just go ahead and scan the individual barcodes, but that’s not as cool. Then it goes through the lists of publishers/titles it has deals with and tells you which books you can gain access to digital versions of. In order to use it you have to sign up for Goodreads (which was annoying since I was [sort of] already using Librarything as L is a big fan).

I have entered 70 books so far and it has let me know that 22 are available as ebooks and one as an audio book. The ebooks are almost all $1.99 (USD) and the audiobook is $8.99 (regularly $24.95). There are some old titles (the Rissa and Tregare books by F.M. Busby written in the late 70s) and some new ones (David Weber’s Safehold series) but it seems to be rather random. As an experiment I picked up Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades since I had some later books in that series as ebooks already. You have to sign the copyright page and submit a picture of it and a picture of the cover, then it charges your Apple account and sends you a link. The interface is a bit clunky and it can be hard to find the available purchases but all-in-all it works pretty smooth. I will start unpacking some books and seeing what’s available in the new year.

So there you have it. 2016. I guess it’s time to start reading….


Earl ( the cause of all this statistical nonsense) has his list up already here. Leslie’s can be found here.

 

 

DRM: Redefining Ownership

Why we should know what we are buying

Bruce Timothy Keith

(A shorter (and better edited) version of this article was published in the March issue of T8N magazine)

Everywhere you turn these days, you are surrounded by a lot of digital content. From movies to music, computer games to ebooks, even the software in our appliances and machinery, you will find you have bought and paid for many things that don’t really exist. Netflix, Amazon and iTunes are quickly becoming as big a part of our family expenses as Walmart, Home Depot or The Bay. And computers and software are everywhere, even your car can have up to 100 or more tiny computers. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself just what you’re actually buying; what you really own? And who decided what that is? The answer is not as straightforward as you think.

In the good old days, we had stacks of bulky vinyl albums, shelves of dusty books and boxes of video tapes that we bought from physical stores and counted as prized possessions. But today, in an age of faster and easier, many of us are more and more likely to just download the latest game from Steam or buy the latest Adele single from iTunes. But somewhere along the way we have all come to accept that when we want to lend Uncle James our copy of the Star Wars trilogy or sell our unread copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, well … we can’t. Product creators are business people and they expect, reasonably, to receive fair value for the things they produce. But in a digital world where simply saving a file to the cloud can produce an unlimited number of copies, they are justifiably afraid of not being able to stay in business anymore.

Copy Protection, DRM (Digital Rights Management) and other assorted Technical Protection Measures is their solution. The logic is that without protecting their digital files, the creators and rights holders of digital products won’t make any money and leave no incentive for them to create any more. While this may sound a little crass, artists, writers and creators of every stripe have always had a reasonable expectation of some remuneration and, as Glenn Rollans, President of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta and Vice President of the Association of Canadian Publishers and a Publisher in his own right at Brush Education Inc., explains “DRM is … more about facilitating use within the bounds of the sales agreement. It creates a kind of moral handshake on the transaction.” What that means is that we share an understanding that if I sell you a digital copy of my song, you agree not to redistribute it freely. DRM simply ensures that everyone complies.

Where Did This Agreement Come From?

All this originates with the idea of copyright itself. Copyright in English law goes back to the British Statute of Anne enacted in 1710, when London booksellers were increasing agitated at their Scottish counterparts for printing and selling books they felt they owned exclusive rights to. To resolve the issue, the law granted publishers of a book legal protection from illicit copying for 14 years and 21 years of protection for any book already in print. Since then the idea of copyright (the right to copy) has become entrenched in our societies as a way to protect rights holders. Copyright law has evolved over the years to cover almost all intellectual property (IP), and while the terms of copyright vary across the world, there are increasing global pressures to unify the laws.

But with the advent of digital IP it quickly became obvious that the law was not enough. IP was proving too easy to copy in a computerized world. It was still fairly impractical to copy a vinyl album or a paperback book, but the first mainstream digital product, computer software, was infinitely easier to duplicate. In fact, in 1975 when the embryonic Micro-Soft wrote a computer interpreter called Altair Basic, an enterprising member of the Homebrew Computer Club figured out a way of copying the paper tape software and distributed it for free to his club mates so they wouldn’t have to purchase the $200 software. This prompted a young Bill Gates to write the now historic Open Letter to Hobbyists calling those members thieves. ”As the majority of hobbyists must be aware,” he wrote, “most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid? … Most directly the thing you do is theft.” Mr. Gates wanted to be paid for the difficult work they had done writing the software that allowed the hobbyists to enjoy their hobby. Fair enough.

Unfortunately for Gates, at the time there was no way to prevent the copying. But with the advent of floppy disks that changed. Software companies were able to program in hidden files or deliberate errors that initially prevented copying. Of course someone eventually figured out a solution and thus began an endless and ongoing war between the software companies and would-be copiers. From secret codes to complex anti-theft software the only thing constant in the struggle was that no matter what copy protection was put in place, sooner or later someone would find a way to circumvent it. The result was increasingly product creators, distributors and even hardware manufacturers all joined together to create ways of blocking illegal copying.

As each form of intellectual property became digitized, it took on some new form of digital rights management to attempt to protect the rights holders. It can be as simple as the enforced Interpol message on a DVD. You can’t avoid seeing it; cooperation between the software and hardware manufacturers has made that impossible. But DRM has become increasingly more and more complex; it currently exists in so many forms and in so many products it is often impossible to recognize. DVDs have regional locks on them so they won’t play on DVD players manufactured in different regions. Music can be locked to a maximum number of playback devices. Computer software can be required to “check-in” online before it will run. The computer chip in your car has propriety code or a physical “key” so only authorized people can service them. The current issue surrounding Netflix and geo-blocking is another form of DRM; one that allows the rights holders to control who and where people can use content. And 300 years after the invention of copyright to protect book publishers, ebooks are a reality and publishers are no longer content to rely on the law for copyright protection. Ebook DRM does things like preventing us from moving or copying our books from one device to another and forcing library ebooks to “expire” after a certain amount of days and locking the book files to specific reading software.

In most mediums, DRM is become increasingly unobtrusive. Movies are moving more and more to a streaming model (Netflix), computer games are controlled by online distributors like Steam and lots of business class software like Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office has moved to a cloud-based subscription model. We no longer have to add in our 30 digit code-key, but the copy protection is there nonetheless.

DRM Down on the Farm

These days modern farmers are essentially driving around a giant computer outfitted with harvesting blades. And only the manufacturers like John Deere have the keys to those boxes. Modifications or troubleshooting require proprietary software that farmers aren’t allowed access to. And even if they managed to get the right software, even calibrating the ECU (engine control unit) often requires a factory password. No password, no changes—not without the permission of the manufacturer. Gone are the days of farmers fixing and rebuilding their own equipment; the dealer-repair business is just too lucrative for manufacturers to cede any control back to farmers.

But once again, there’s a growing grey-market for diagnostic equipment, and some farmers have even managed to get their hands on the software they need to re-calibrate and repair equipment on their own.

Why Is DRM Controversial?

It’s complicated. Initially artists and publishers were reluctant to move into the digital market because of concerns of theft. And so the retailers and distributors became the motivating force behind the creation and maintenance of DRM to control how the digital products could be. The classic example is the digital music revolution that occurred when Apple convinced the music companies to allow them to open the iTunes store and sell DRM-locked downloads. By pointing to the history of copy protection in the software industry and promising that consumers would only be able to play the music on iPods and that the music would be locked by Apple so it couldn’t be played by unauthorized people, Apple was allowed to proceed with their experiment, which as we all know, has become a market-changing success.

But it is important to note, it is not the artists or the publishing company (who both have some claim to be the rights holders) who control the DRM. It is the retailer who dictates how the product can be used and shared. The infamous and ironic 2009 deletion of George Orwell’s 1984 by Amazon from customers’ Kindles without their knowledge or permission is the classic example of how DRM has skewed the concept of ownership. Amazon made a mistake and sold a product they had no rights to sell, so they corrected that error by removing the book from everyone’s devices with no notice. A now classic example of how DRM is changing the concept of ownership in the digital world.

Whose Interests Does it Protect?

It is important to ask who really benefits from DRM and what those benefits are. To find the answer you have to look to see who the players are. In book publishing, for example, authors, and their publishers, are generally the rights holders. They produce the product and move it through a distribution chain that places it in the hands of retailers. Retailers in turn sell to the consumer who ultimately pays for the entire process. To be able to produce more books, or music, or games, publishers and creators need to make money. To them, since DRM ensures profit, it’s a benefit to creators and consumers alike. Rollans believes this digital rights fence “around a digital product that was expensive to create and has to generate revenue in order for me to stay in the business of creating new products, ‘creates the stop and think’ moment for people.”

But John Maxwell, a professor at the Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University believes DRM, in the book world at least, isn’t that simple. “What seems to motivate the use of DRM in the book world is at least two different agendas. Publishers – those whose interests are in developing content for a market – seem to be motivated primarily by a fear of piracy, or that unprotected content will be shared on a massive enough scale online that it will damage the market for these works. The other agenda is on the retail side: big retailers (like Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and others) seem to be using DRM as part of a larger technical architecture aimed at enforcing customer loyalty; to prevent book purchasers from being able to take purchases outside of the original reading system.”

So Why Does This All Matter?

For those who are savvy enough, hacking DRM has become fairly widespread. While copying was prohibited, breaking DRM used to be legal in Canada. But in response to international treaties, the 2012 passage of the controversial Bill 11, the Copyright Modernization Act, it is now illegal to crack or alter digital rights management systems in Canada. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) had already made it illegal in the U.S. when it was signed into law by Bill Clinton. These pieces of legislation were part of an attempt to unify the world’s copyright laws in accordance with WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) an international treaty signed by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. So now it not only illegal to copy IP outside of specific Fair Use clauses like book quotations, it is also illegal to remove or alter the digital locks that are applied to prevent such copying.

In his book Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, digital media guru Cory Doctorow argues that the problem with DRM is that it now makes criminal out of consumers. Without a satisfactory way to acquire or move or even — in the case of vehicle electronics — repair their content, people believe they are forced to break the law. So as a result, there remains a healthy, albeit somewhat grey, community who continue to work on methods for managing digital properties and the now illegal practice of removing DRM.

So why does it matter? On the one hand, it doesn’t. At least if you are content to buy and read books and other digital content and then move on to the next big thing. Maxwell posits “I think most ‘serious’ ebook customers – the demographic that is dominant is baby-boomer women who read lots and lots of series-oriented genre fiction – don’t think about it very much. They just read the books; the user experience is good enough to satisfy what they want, which is convenient access to the next book in the series.” But this turns books from a treasured or collected possession into a disposable product. And whether or not that’s good for the book industry is open to debate. And if you are content to give over your personal or demographic data to retailers whose interest isn’t really selling you a book, then this might seem a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

Did You Know?

J.K Rowling retained her e-book rights to the Harry Potter series but chose, initially, not to release any of the books in a digital format. But in 2007, when the last volume of the series was released, ardent fans lined up to purchase a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and within 24 hours, made it available as an e-book by either retyping or scanning all 784 pages. In Germany, where the German edition had yet to be released, other fans translated the entire book into German and released their unauthorized version within only a few days.

Adversaries of DRM don’t accept the premise that DRM is necessary for the survival of artists and note that neither of these actions had any major impact on the profitability or success of the Deathly Hallows.

Sign on the Dotted Line

When you make a digital purchase chances are you were required to “agree” to a set of Terms and Conditions or an EULA (End User License Agreement). And chances are you didn’t read them. That’s not surprising. No one I asked while researching this article has. In fact when I asked scholar John Maxwell if has read them he replied “No, I haven’t. People don’t read pages and pages of legalese in tiny fonts. We have been essentially trained, over a couple of decades of computer use, to just click through the (EULA) in order to get to the content.“ So I decided to take a look at the big three ebook retailers (although remember 2 of the three sell a lot more than ebooks), Amazon, Kobo and the iTunes store.

All three big ebook retailers reserve the right to terminate the contract if you breach any of their conditions, which may be as simple as not keeping your customer data up to date (KOBO). That means you no longer have access to any products from their systems even though you have paid for them. Amazon goes even further and states while they grant you a non-exclusive right to display Kindle Content an unlimited number of times, it must be “solely on the Kindle or a Reading Application or as otherwise permitted as part of the Service, solely on the number of Kindles or Supported Devices specified in the Kindle Store, and solely for your personal, non-commercial use.” The last sentence is the kicker: “Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider.” The result is that if they terminate your contract you are no longer legally allowed to read any of the books you have acquired and Amazon has both the right and the ability (through DRM) to remove them from any devices you have stored them on. And the choice for them to terminate the agreement resides solely with Amazon and has been known to occur for such simple infractions like returning too many items. A lower court in Germany recently ruled the practice of removing digital content by Amazon was unacceptable, but we will have to wait and see how that plays out.

While the Terms and Conditions create an appearance of simply being a way for the retailers to protect themselves from hackers and black hats out to damage or corrupt their systems, they also all similarly insist that by agreeing to the terms “Customers may not modify, transmit, publish, participate in the transfer or sale of, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display, or in any way exploit, any of the content of any Digital Content, in whole or in part.“(Kobo) You can’t sell it, give it away or share it in any way.

They also lay claim to any information or data they collect along the way, even going so far as to claiming the rights to anything you may post on their sites.

And that’s where the other hand comes in. It’s not just ability to copy that DRM manages; it also creates a data collection access point for the retailer. Because not only are you paying for a product you don’t ultimately control; all the data you generate using a DRMed product such as whether you finished reading the book or not or what your buying patterns are, becomes a potential source of revenue for whoever controls the digital rights management system. Control of DRM can ensure that your car is serviced only by authorized, and licensed, mechanics and track all your usage patterns, it can create compete pictures of how and when you use the product, eliminating competition from resellers, enforcing brand loyalty and guaranteeing retailers a future market.

And this power may be fundamentally shifting how and why products are created. Rollans believes, in the book world, the new models for business will drivers behind DRM. Instead of selling large numbers of products for a small margins, the new model will be a race to come up with the next big thing and to make big money on a kind of a techno-lottery win. He concludes, “if you are going to have something to sell in those scenarios probably it is audience rather than product. And digital rights management is as essential for tracking your audience as it is for restricting the proliferation of the product.”

Music mostly removed its DRM a few years ago. Cory Doctorow believes that the removal of digital locks on music came as a result of Amazon promising music companies they could break Apple’s stronghold on digital music sales. Maxwell doesn’t believe this likely in the book industry, “I don’t think the same is likely with books. … The publishing situation is different; despite a level of paranoia, we haven’t seen widespread file sharing with books (except possibly in the already dysfunctional textbook sector); print sales are still really strong; and ebook uptake seems to break along genre lines. … but as long as we have a book market which Amazon controls (in both print and ebooks), I don’t think much will change anytime soon.”

Rollans agrees and thinks DRM is going to stick around but for wildly different reasons. “The drivers [for DRM] will be the new models for information businesses where instead of creating products and selling them for small margins and making a reliable income that sustains you over a course of years, its going to be an continuing struggle for people to originate new models to be the next big thing, to attract investors in buyout and the goal is making money on a kind of a techno-lottery win rather than the tweedy old business of creating one book at a time selling it to one reader at a time. So if you are going to have something to sell in those scenarios probably its audience rather than product. And digital rights management is as essential for tracking your audience as it is for restricting the proliferation of the product“

So Why Does This All Matter?

So here we are, in possession of a wide range of products that, by law, we are restricted from using outside the terms set by the people who sold them to us. Is that really an issue? In most cases, other than the frustration of trying to move files from one device to another, a limitation we are all coming to terms with, it really isn’t. But the true implications are vast and many people find the increasing degree of control held by companies determined to make more and more profit problematic.

In the end Maxwell agree with Rollans that in the world of books at least, the future isn’t yet here. “The other future of reading (aside from the survival of print, which everyone still actually likes), is a yet-unimagined innovation (or probably many innovations) in digital literature that will actually capture people’s imaginations and hearts. We haven’t seen that yet. The ebook we know so far is still a tightly constrained compromise between digital convenience and established business interests; it sets nobody’s imagination on fire. When the next innovation – a truly imaginative and transformative one – emerges, we’ll quickly stop thinking about these issues, because we’ll have moved on. “

It behooves us then to remember, as Rollans put it, “If I’m a system that applies DRM, I want to be in a relationship with you where I can find you and where I know what you’re doing.” Because the real value in a DRM-filled world is not control over the product. It’s control over the consumer. Rollans reminds us that “the rule of thumb in digital environments if you can’t tell what’s being sold then its you.” And now all we can do is simply be aware. We need to establish our personal comfort zones about how much control we are willing to exchange for our personal pleasures. And that takes a well-informed populace.

Books: 2015

This year’s reading. Hmmm….

Four years running I have kept track of my reading. For the previous three years (2012 (85 books), 2013 (95 books), 2014 (106 books)) I have been posting all the books I read. So as again not to break with tradition, my first post of 2016 will once again share with the world the bizarre list of literary crapola I fill my mind with. How many this year? Well you’ll have to scroll down to find out.

So here they are, appearing in the order in which they were read, with a few months as subtitles:

January

Strong Arm Tactics Jody Lynn Nye (2013 [2005])
— ebook;

The Sleeper and the Spindle Neil Gaiman (2013)
– HC;

Oath of Swords David Weber (1995)
War God Book 1 – ebook; reread

The War God’s Own David Weber (1998)
War God Book 2 – ebook; reread

Humans of New York Brandon Stanton (2013)
-HC;

Wind Rider’s Oath David Weber (2004)
War God Book 3 – ebook; reread

War Maid’s Choice David Weber (2012)
War God Book 4 – ebook; reread

Caliphate Tom Kratman (2008)
– ebook

War Dogs Greg Bear (2014)
– ebook

Fortune’s Pawn Rachel Bach (2013)
Paradox Book 1 — ebook;

Honor’s Knight Rachel Bach (2014)
Paradox Book 2 — ebook;

Heaven’s Queen Rachel Bach (2014)
Paradox Book 3 — ebook;

Fireworks in the Rain Stephen Brust (2014)
Incrementalist Novella – ebook;

The Curse of Chalion Lois McMaster Bujold (2001)
Chalion Book 1- ebook; reread

Paladin of Souls Lois McMaster Bujold (2003)
Chalion Book 2 – ebook; reread

Stormdancer Jay Kristoff (2012)
The Lotus War Book 1 – ebook; reread

Kinslayer Jay Kristoff (2013)
The Lotus War Book 2 – ebook; reread

Endsinger Jay Kristoff (2014)
The Lotus War Book 3 – ebook;

Damnation Jean Johnson (2014)
Theirs Not To Reason Why Book 4 – ebook;

Dragon in Exile – eARC Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (2015)
Liaden Book 18 – ebook;

Strands of Sorrow John Ringo (2015)
Black Tide Rising Book 4 – ebook;

Karen Memory Elizabeth Bear (2015)
– ebook;

The Armor of Light Melissa Scott & Lisa Barnett (1988)
– ebook;

Ender in Exile Orson Scott Card (2008)
Ender’s Game Book 4 – ebook

Dauntless Jack Campbell (2006)
The Lost Fleet Book 1 – ebook

Fearless Jack Campbell (2007)
The Lost Fleet Book 2 – ebook

Courageous Jack Campbell (2007)
The Lost Fleet Book 3 – ebook

Valiant Jack Campbell (2008)
The Lost Fleet Book 4 – ebook

April

Relentless Jack Campbell (2009)
The Lost Fleet Book 5 – ebook

Victorious Jack Campbell (2010)
The Lost Fleet Book 6 – ebook

Unbound Jim Hines (2014)
Magic ex Libris Book 3 – ebook;

Stark’s War Jack Campbell (2000)
Starks’ War Book 1 – ebook;

Stark’s Command Jack Campbell (2001)
Starks’ War Book 2 – ebook;

Stark’s Crusade Jack Campbell (2002)
Starks’ War Book 3 – ebook;

The Future Falls Tanya Huff (2014)
Enchantment Emporium Book 3 – ebook;

Mutineers’ Moon David Weber (1991)
Dahak Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Armageddon Inheritance David Weber (1994)
Dahak Book 1 – ebook; reread

Heirs of Empire David Weber (1996)
Dahak Book 1 – ebook; reread

Warning Do Not Open this Book! Adam Lehrhaupt & Matthew Forsythe (2013)
-HC

A Fire upon the Deep Vernor Vinge (1992)
-ebook;

The Hub: Dangerous Territory James H. Schmitz (2001)
The Hub Book 4 – ebook;

June

Old Man’s War John Scalzi (2005)
Old Man’s War Book 1 – ebook; reread

The Ghost Brigade John Scalzi (2006)
Old Man’s War Book 2 – paperback; reread

Monster Hunters International Larry Correia (2007)
Monster Hunters Book 1 – ebook; reread

Monster Hunters Vendetta Larry Correia (2010)
Monster Hunters Book 2 – ebook; reread

Monster Hunters Alpha Larry Correia (2011)
Monster Hunters Book 3 – ebook;

Monster Hunters Legion Larry Correia (2012)
Monster Hunters Book 4 – ebook;

Monster Hunters Nemesis Larry Correia (2014)
Monster Hunters Book 5 – ebook;

Ancillary Justice Anne Leckie (2013)
Imperial Radch Book 1 – ebook;

Ancillary Sword Anne Leckie (2014)
Imperial Radch Book 2 – ebook;

Green Jay Lake (2009)
Green Book 1 – ebook; reread

July

Endurance Jay Lake (2011)
Green Book 2 – ebook; reread

Kalimpura Jay Lake (2013)
Green Book 3 – ebook; reread

Lord Penric’s Demon Lois McMaster Bujold (2015)
Chalion Book 3.5 – ebook;

Space Viking H. Beam Piper (1963)
– ebook; reread

The Cloud Roads Martha Wells (2011)
Books of the Raksura Book 1 – ebook

The Serpent Sea Martha Wells (2012)
Books of the Raksura Book 2 – ebook

The Siren Depths Martha Wells (2012)
Books of the Raksura Book 3 – ebook

A Call to Duty David Weber & Timothy Zahn (2013)
Manticore Ascendant Book 1 – ebook; reread

A Call to Arms -eArc David Weber & Timothy Zahn (2015)
Manticore Ascendant Book 2 – ebook;

Fire with Fire Charles Gannon (2013)
Caine Riordan Book 1 – ebook

Earth Unaware Orson Scott Card & Aardon Johnstone (2012)
The First Formic War Book 1 – ebook

Live Free or Die John Ringo (2010)
Troy Rising Book 1 – ebook; reread

Citadel John Ringo (2011)
Troy Rising Book 2 – ebook; reread

The Hot Gate John Ringo (2011)
Troy Rising Book 1 – ebook; reread

Earth Afire Orson Scott Card & Aardon Johnstone (2013)
The First Formic War Book 2 – ebook

Earth Awakens Orson Scott Card & Aardon Johnstone (2014)
The First Formic War Book 3 – ebook

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

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

Black Powder War Naomi Novik (2006)
Temeraire Book 3 – ebook; reread

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

Victory of Eagles Naomi Novik (2008)
Temeraire Book 5 – ebook; reread

Tongues of Serpents Naomi Novik(2010)
Temeraire Book 6 – ebook; reread

Crucible of Gold Naomi Novik (2012)
Temeraire Book 7 – ebook; reread

Blood of Tyrants Naomi Novik (2013)
Temeraire Book 8 – ebook; reread

1632 John Ringo (2000)
Ring of Fire Book 1 – ebook; reread

Between Planets Robert Heinlein (1951)
– ebook; reread

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen – eARC Lois McMaster Bujold (2015)
The Vorkosigan Saga Book 15 – ebook;

November

Arrows of the Queen Mercedes Lackey (1987)
The Heralds of Valdemar Book 1 – ebook;

Arrow’s Flight Mercedes Lackey (1987)
The Heralds of Valdemar Book 2 – ebook;

Arrow’s Fall Mercedes Lackey (1988)
The Heralds of Valdemar Book 3 – ebook;

An Ancient Peace Tanya Huff (2015)
Peacekeepers Book 1 – ebook;

Ancillary Mercy Anne Leckie (2015)
Imperial Radch Book 3 – ebook;

Uprooted Naomi Novik (2015)
– ebook;

The Human Division John Scalzi (2013)
Old Man’s War Book 5 – ebook; reread

The End of All Things John Scalzi (2015)
Old Man’s War Book 6 – ebook;

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower C.S. Forester (1950)
Horatio Hornblower Book 1 – ebook;

Hornblower and the Big Decision C.S. Forester (1951)
Horatio Hornblower Book 1.1 Short Story – ebook;

Lieutenant Hornblower C.S. Forester (1952)
Horatio Hornblower Book 2 – ebook;

Hornblower and the Hotspur C.S. Forester (1962)
Horatio Hornblower Book 3 – ebook;

Hornblower and the Crisis C.S. Forester (1967 – unfinished)
Horatio Hornblower Book 3.5 – ebook;

Hornblower and the Atropos C.S. Forester (1953)
Horatio Hornblower Book 4 – ebook;

Total: 92 books,  7.66 books a month, 1.77 books a week, .25 books a day
58 new books
34 rereads

92 is down from the last two years, but considering we spent half the year sailing, I think its not too shabby. There is much less leisure time available on the boat and generally what leisure time you have you dedicate to experiencing new things. And, since you are generally a bit more tired, the evening reading is much shorter than usual. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

All but four were ebooks. On the other hand, that means my ebook collection is up to 429 ebooks. W00t! And with the Hornblower collection I moved away from my Sci-Fi/Fantasy fetish a bit more than I have in previous years. Good for me.

Interestingly, all but 11 books were part of series of some sort. I guess I am a lazy reader and once I find something I like I don’t want to explore further afield. And it gives me an excuse to go back and reread the first few books in a series to get caught back up.

Books that are part of a series: 81
Total different series: 30
Series read/reread in their entirety: 16
Total authors: 35
New authors: 6

Books published in 2015: 10
Oldest book read: 1950

I pretty much stuck with my Kobo Aura. It is a pretty damn good little reader if you can get over the proprietary nature of the hardware—and obviously I still haven’t. I really can’t understand why the publishing industry is letting booksellers control distribution like that; it marginalizes one of the more significant aspects of publishing and leaves them increasingly more prey to the booksellers’ predatory instincts. Yup, still not over it.

Speaking of the Aura, one of the boons of the ebook is that I can remain in denial about my need for glasses. With adjustable text size and backlights I can comfortably read in bed in the bad light and pretend  its all like it used to be.  A print book however necessitates the use of reading glasses in anything other than perfect lighting. Sigh. I do have a few print books on my pile—I just keep putting them off.

And that was 2015.


As for the people who started this nonsense, here is Earl’s list for 2015 and Leslie’s limited contribution as well.

 

House of Books

I came across a link for a photographer’s website who has an ongoing project that involves shooting beautiful libraries: “Houses of Books” as he phrases it. franckbohbot.com/house-of-books

I’ve always had books and I’ve lugged them from home to home and whined when they have been packed away in boxes. Of course Leslie is even worse than I am — at both the collecting and the whining — so we’ve always shared that special feeling when gazing upon row upon row of loaded bookshelves. Even visiting the Rutherford at eh U of A was a great thrill. Now that I’ve been reading ebooks for the last few years, I’m not adding to my collection, but L has soldiered on. The dream of a library of our own is not yet realized (mostly because of me I admit) but someday the collection might hope to have a home as beautiful as these. Or at least a home. Be sure to visit the website for even more stunning images.

112700-6686059-Biblioth_que_Sainte-Genevi_ve
Bibliothèque Sainte Genevieve, Paris, France, 2012

Rome
Biblioteca Angelica, Roma, Italy, 2013

 I’ve not yet visited any of the great libraries of Europe but I’ve seen both the main branches of the New York Public Library and the Boston Public Library. We here in Canada really can’t grasp the enormous wealth and philanthropy of the early 20th century that resulted in these magnificent edifices until you stand there gazing in awe.

P1000644.
The Reading Room of the New York Public Library

IMG_4103
Boston Public Library’s Reading Room