mamculuna: (Default)
( Aug. 16th, 2011 10:39 am)
Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you intend to read, underline the ones you’ve read part of, and strike through the ones you never intend to read.
List taken from NPRs theTop 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin - All but the last one.
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov -
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
-54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57.Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn.
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov -
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jul. 31st, 2011 04:35 pm)
54. China Miéville, Embassytown: Miéville returns to the double city, this time with a brilliant concept of aliens whose language binds them to truth, and the terrible events that rise from that. A fascinating exploration of how language works to bind us and free us, propelled by the horrifying events of the plot. Can he get any better? I don't know if I could stand to read it, if so.

55. Ellen Airgood, South of Superior: Set in Grand Marais, where I was headed, so had to read, no matter the quality. Very evocative of the small town coming under siege from modern life. I have to admit to skimming because I couldn’t take it along, but seemed to have appealing characters and plot. Didn’t do as much with the physical beauty of the place as I’d have wished.

56. George RR Martin, A Dance with Dragons: And all the plots move along. Better than Feast for Crows, but not nearly as good as the first two books (Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings). At least there was something about all the plots that seemed headed toward an eventually resolution, instead of infinite expansion of characters and events . And Daenerys, Tyrion, and Jon, as well as Arya, feature largely as POV characters. Did not like what happened to Cersei and Theon!

57. C.J. Sansom, Dark Fire: The second book in the Matthew Shardlake series, and a fine one. Back working for Cromwell against his will, Shardlake tries to deal with the possible rediscovery of Greek Fire (just what the Tudors needed!), while trying to clear a young girl imprisoned for murder and staying clear of the intricacies of Tudor court intrigue. Definitely well-paced, and well-written.

58. C. J. Cherryh, The Paladin: The first part of this book, set in something very similar to Tang Dynasty China, is so appealing: the young girl bent on revenge finds the master swordsman who’s withdrawn to the mountains , and persuades him to train her. The interaction between the two is so realistic, as is his own growth in spire of himself. But the second part degenerates into one battle after another, lots of blow-by-blow that I don’t find fun to read.

59. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens (re-read): Liked this so much the first time that I can’t believe I’ve pretty much forgotten what happens, so it’s just as much fun this time. Love the angel and devil who want to forestall Armageddon, and the anti-Anti-Christ who seems most unlikely to bring it on. Hope I forget it again and have the fun of reading it several times.

mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 1st, 2011 09:48 pm)
Here are my books for this month:

8. Jo Walton ([ profile] papersky), Among Others: I suspect almost everyone on LJ will see something of themselves in the protagonist, who finds her salvation in the SF sections of libraries and used books shops, although the magic that threatens her is a little worse than what the rest of us encounter.

9. Fleet Maull, Dharma In Hell: A collection of Maull's essays about being a Buddhist in prison, and the opportunities for inmates to devote themselves to service and compassion, as well as meditation and mindfulness.

10. Sherwood Smith ([ profile] sartorias), King's Shield: The Inda series gets even better as it goes on (thank goodness--not all do. I could mention Dune and ASOIAF). The characters come into adult responsibilities, some a further extension of their younger selves and others branching out into new abilities. The book is focused on a war, and a more terrifying enemy who want to use magic in warfare, but most of all we see an amazing kind of heroism, especially from women and even young girls: not superpower heroism, but grit, courage, intelligence, skill, and endurance. Believable, but awe-inspiring.

11. Anton Lavey, The Devil's Notebook, and Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law: I read parts of both of these to be able to talk with a friend about them. I think I should actually read more or not at all. A very hurried first glance makes them both seem mostly concerned with breaking out of the cage of social restrictions that have distorted personality, but I haven't lived that experience, so they don't really speak to me. But as I say, I'm sure there's more that I missed, especially in Crowley.

12. Rick Simmons, Defending South Carolina's Coast: The Civil War from Georgetown to Little River (Sesquicentennial Civil War Series): I thought I would be able to ignore the insanity of celebrating the centennial of the Civil War, but this book is about the area where I spend a lot of time, so I succumbed. The title sounds more pro-South than the writing--it's actually just an objective account of where the forts where and what events transpired in each battle. Hadn't realized that the South had started building forts long before Secession.

13. Sherwood Smith ([ profile] sartorias) , Treason's Shore: The conclusion of the Inda series, and wonderful as the rest. Not finished yet, but brings it all together--plus this seems to be the book of magic (Inda=school, The Fox=pirates, King' s Shield=War), though I may see it differently when done. But what I want to know is why this series is famous and celebrated. Complex, brilliant world building, characters to die for, beautiful writing. What are you waiting for?

14. David Bodanis, The Secret House: : The Extraordinary Science of an Ordinary Day: All the stuff that goes on in your house, physical, chemical, biological. You almost don't want to know--but really, you do.

15. Lynda Barry, What It Is: Graphic/cartoon book on creativity, becoming a person, the mind, and everything. And it's Lynda Barry!!

16. Vogue Magazine Knitting Editors, The Ultimate Knitting Book: I assume all knitters know about this, and I'm not just sitting here reading it cover to cover this month, but using it all the time. Just saying that it's the best, the clearest, the most comprehensive. Stitches, abbreviations, patterns, whatever you want, it's here and it’s good.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jan. 9th, 2011 01:33 pm)
Somehow I never got around to posting my books for November 2010, so here's the round-up of the whole year, with Nov. and Dec. at the end:

Books Read in 2010 )Books Read in 2010 )
Forgot to post my books at the end of April, so here's two month's worth. Mysteries, spec-fic, a few oddities, and some really good reads:

April and May Books )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Jan. 29th, 2010 01:39 pm)
I don't know if I'll remember to post my books-read list all year, but here are the ones from January 2010 )
Well, back at last in the land of adequate computer access--aside from Southwest's delay in sending my suitcase with pj's and contact solution, leading to a less than comfortable night, I'm happy to be here. My son's kitties have grown and are following me from room to room--still very playful and jolly, small and sleek. Very different from the floofy and placid Mop, although she follows me around too. She's happy at home with her very own housesitter. No guilt! I believe in open relationships when it comes to cats.

Chicago was great (except that I was too overscheduled to be able to catch up with [ profile] oursin (sob!)--there's now a fine farmer's market in Lincoln Park on Wednesdays, with live bluegrass and many moms and babies, to say nothing of much fresh asparagus, as well as morel-flavored cheese! We saw Fiorello!, cleverly staged at a very small theater, and ate deliciously sinful things (coriander flavored vodka and asparagus dumplings, followed by an incredible layered chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce, accompanied by a pot of Yunnan tea) at Russian Tea Time.

I've had a few other entertainments I'll recommend:

12 and Holding )

The Book of Alix Wolfe )

Amazon is certainly convenient, but nothing takes the place of wandering through musty shelves of tattered old paperbacks and spying some intriguing title, trying to read the crumbling yellowed pages in the dim light while an old cat twines its tail around your ankles. Clicking "search" always finds you what you want, but what about the thing you don't know you want until you find it?

ETA: One nice piece of family news--my nephew (JP of The Story Game) has sold a story! Not for much $$ but it sold, to Shimmer Maybe there can be some kind of reverse lateral genetic transfer and I can get some of his talent. But I'm so delighted b/c he really does write well, and works at his writing. And this was his very first sale, so it really encourages him to work even harder. Greatly enjoy days athe beach with him and his lovely C, who writes romances (at 1200 words in a couple of hours!). We get to combine good family/beach time with a little mini writer's retreat, inspiring each other by getting out the old computers for a few hours even when the sun is lovely and the kayaks call, and then nice evening chats about writing.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Oct. 20th, 2005 11:04 am)
Did I recall seeing in someone's post a while back a discussion or review of The Historian? Because I liked it very much.

spoilers )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Apr. 2nd, 2005 03:49 pm)
It is wildly windy here, with bright sun and fast clouds. I went out for a bit and it is cold! No walk today.

We're headed to Chicago next week to see the Ring Cycle with Placido Domingo, Jane Eaglen, and others. I've watched most of it on NPR, but not quite sure I'm up to sitting through it. I like the myth and drama of it and the story--and some of the music--but it's four long nights, and I do mean long--some are five hours. Bill is much more in love with 19th century music than I am, and this is partly a treat to him. We'll also see John Malkovich at Steppenwolf and I hope a performance of the Kabuki Lady Macbeth--and maybe the opening game or one of the early games of the Cubs. Plus cheese (and many other edibles) but there's a new cheese boutique now in the next block where I plan to spend many, many calories. Cheese reviews will follow.

I don't much like the word "cheese." It's too close to "grease," maybe, or something. "Fromage" and "queso" are so much nicer, but even better are the lovely proper names--cambozola, manchego, peccorino romano, bruder basil. At Thanksgiving, my son, his partner, and I were walking at Pt Reyes and found ourselves in a cattle pasture. The cows were very kindly and welcoming, and I was delighted later in the week to discover that they were the Cowgirl Creamery cows--got some of their Mt. Tam cheese at the wonderful market in the Ferry Building.

But I sat down to write about the movie we saw last night and the book I just read.

We finally got to see The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino. I liked it very much. Pacino and the director, Radford, managed to handle the potential anti-semitism fairly well with scenes at the beginning establishing the accepted attitudes towards Jews--and echoed them later, undercutting some of the sympathy for Antonio and Nerissa--and Jeremy Irons assisted in that with his version of Antonio as one of those bigots who likes to look polite, but occasionally lets it out. Portia's long delay in resolving the case in the trial seems not quite so manipulative--the watcher's just a bit glad that Antonio has to pay something, since we have so much sympathy for Pacino's Shylock. The actor playing Portia--Lynn Collins--is someone I don't know, but liked her as well. Fiennes was OK, but then Bassanio is overshadowed by the other three characters until he seems almost as gratuitous as Nerissa and Gratiano (I know he's a central plot device, but still a less interesting character).

And I read Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart. Stewart is one of my favorites, partly because I love the magic worlds he creates (where magic is not a very nice thing) and partly because his books are so varied. This one is much more realistic--great parts of it could be a realism novel, almost. But the main character sees dead people. It kind of fits into the working-class Houston locale, with multiple family complications laced through it. The narrator's gift leaves him broke and unemployed, but still loving his daughter and ex-wife. The ghosts are so depressingly believable. I like Stewart because his books show him growing as a writer, I think. But I have liked them all.

And I really sat down to see what everybody's saying about Stardust. Onwards--I'll get where I'm going, sometime.
mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 17th, 2005 10:24 am)
Here's a great meme from [ profile] redredshoes the non-memer:

Tell me three things I ought to do before I die.

ETA: Thanks to [ profile] angeya I've just finished Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams--nice to find a fairly hard-science fiction book with such complex characters. I also liked the good balance between the arguments of the villains and those of the heroes--in fact, kept wondering if perhaps the wrong side won. )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Feb. 27th, 2005 10:54 am)
I've been reading Neal Stephenson lately--now half-way into The Baroque Cycle. I really loved Snow Crash and Diamond Age, but couldn't get into Cryptonomicon--it seemed too much like Pynchon, whom I love, but one is enough.

But when I finally did get started on Quicksilver, I loved it. It's not fantasy, at least not like his earlier books, but historical fiction with many a real character tossed in--Newton, William of Orange, etc. Like Eco and others (yes, still Pynchon), Stephenson mixes in lots of intriguing information from science, history, etc., along with wildly bizarre characters and events. I'm getting started now on The Confusion and liking it too--expect to finish the trilogy.

Reading fantasy )
I'm trying to locate a story for a student. I thought it was by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I thought the name of it was "The Gospel According to St. Mark" or something close to that. Google does not reveal such a story in his works currently in print, so either author or title is not what I think, or maybe both.

In the story, an educated man, perhaps a teacher, is visiting some very isolated folks up in the mountains or perhaps in the rain forest, and tells them stories from the Bible. A big rain comes and all roads, etc., are cut off and he's trapped with them. First he notices that they're building something and knowing that they take the Bible stories very literally he thinks it's an ark. Only things are getting very tough and they've keyed into the idea of the sacrificial lamb; it turns out they're building a cross--to sacrifice him.

I may even have the plot wrong in places, but that's the general idea. Ring any bells for anyone?
mamculuna: (Default)
( Oct. 21st, 2004 09:08 pm)
Good friends out there, this is a request for advice. I know some on my flist are professional writers and teachers of writing, and I don't expect you to give out advice for free online--I know that's your profession! This is directly to others who are more closely in my own situation, but maybe know more than I.

I've written my first novel and had some readers who've encouraged me to try publishing. I'm feeling hestitant about the best way to do that. I've gone to the online sites (Mystery Writers of America, etc.) and I've bought and read Writer's Market and Guide to Publishers and Agents, but still feeling a bit unclear.

I read and hear that you should look for agents, but then others say, nah, go straight to the publisher. I read and hear not to send any chapters, etc., with the query letter unless the agent/publisher says that's the way to start, but others say send a few chapters, it won't hurt. I've started my second novel (these would be a series)--is it better to market one or two?

Anybody know anything about this? (and if anyone out there is in a reading mood... but be warn, this is cozy mystery with regional setting, not fantasy...I'd be most grateful)

ETA: Been forgetting to post my version of this: the reading meme )
mamculuna: (Default)
( May. 16th, 2004 08:14 pm)
Just finished reading The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyami. Probably [ profile] oyeceter has already covered this in a better way, but if you missed her comments, let me say that this is a lovely book. Not about traditional samurai, it's the story of a young Chinese man sent to recover from TB in a Japanese village in 1938, as the Japanese conquest of China, including the rape of Nanking, rumbles in the background. The characters are true and clearly pictured and the style is simple and direct. It is so different from our own time and yet so much the same. The foreground of the courage and failure of human relationships is always shadowed by the unseen war.
Spoilers in what follows, if there's anyone else in the world who hasn't already read this.

Some thoughts about writing about other cultures )
mamculuna: (Default)
( Mar. 1st, 2004 10:22 pm)
I've been completely overwhelmed by Reading Lolita in Tehran. It's the kind of book that makes me have to get up and pace around every fifteen minutes or so while I'm reading. I keep thinking of my students in Beijing, which by 1994 certainly was nowhere near as difficult as her experience, but so much is similar--the idea that these old boys (Fitzgerald, etc.) could really be subversive, the semi-clandestine meetings in someone's home, the joy of meeting minds. But above all, the seriousness of the class. I saw this also in Africa. We don't realize here how every flip comment betrays our privileged status.

That ideas can have meaning, that a book is worth a life.


mamculuna: (Default)


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