Books Read in 2003

  • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
  • The Body Artist by Don Delillo
  • Stained in Crimson by Tanith Lee (from the Book of the Damned)
  • The Dying Animal by Philip Roth
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Last of the Amazons by Steven Pressfield
  • Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Body by Stephen King
  • Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno by Wayne Barlowe
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis
  • Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Dreamer by Steven Harper
  • Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice
  • Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
  • Kid Eternity by Ann Nocenti (16 issue comic series)
  • Khaled by F. Marion Crawford
  • The Black Company by Glen Cook
  • Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
  • Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler
  • Shadows Linger by Glen Cook
  • Steampunk: Drama Obscura by Chris Bachalo
  • The Voyage of the Argo by Appolonius
  • Written in Venom by Lois Tilton
  • Baudolino by Umberto Eco
  • Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
  • A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King
  • A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
  • The Sword of Shanara by Terry Brooks
  • Wysard by Carolyn Kephart
  • Lord Brother by Carolyn Kephart
  • The Authority: Earth Inferno and other stories by Mark Millar
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • Road Scholar by Andrei Codrescu
  • Spiderman: Spirits of the Earth by Charles Vess
Author Comments: 

Started running a D&D campaign and now I'm a 3rd edition junky so I haven't been reading that much fiction. I'm trying to stick to a 20 page a day schedule. It worked for _A Fire Upon the Deep_, we'll see if I can keep it up.

I'd be interested to read your comments on SOLARIS and THE BODY.

Hey Bertie,

It's been a while. We are all over on the Delphi message boards now, under a topic called "The Dispossessed (Nomads of the Net)" because we got moved around so much.

Anyway, I though _Solaris_ was really slow and I was kind of unsatisfied when I finished it. Then I have this book about Stanislaw Lem and it has essays about a bunch of his books. So everytime I read one of his books I read the section on that book. That helped explain things a bit. Overall I think it was a brilliant idea (but that's standard for Lem) but it didn't make that great of a story. I haven't seen the old or the new movie yet but I'm interested in both.

_The Body_ was fun and very nostalgic but it was really brutal and depressing. I couldn't relate to it because I had a great childhood that was nothing like the kids in the story. I didn't realize that the story was the basis for the movie _Stand By Me_ and I had never seen the movie so we rented it when I finished the book and I liked the movie better.

Good to hear from you, Rhaam.

I can understand you (or anyone) finding SOLARIS slow and unsatisfying. Lem is an uncompromising writer when he's serious (he also writes comic stuff). But if you can stick with him you almost always get something unique and worthwhile - even if it is unsatisfying. I would urge you to try some of his comic stuff too. For example, THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS made me laugh a lot.

That's King alright, fun and depressing. Well, he is a horror writer, mostly. I think his glory days are past. For me they ended with BAG OF BONES, which I hated and don't recommend. STAND BY ME is a pretty good movie, but I think the barfing scene is better in your imagination than on the screen.

Yes I agree with you completely about Lem. He is one of my favorite writers. So far I have read _The Investigation_, _Memoirs Found in a Bathtub_ and _The Cyberiad_. I loved them all. _Solaris_ did have interesting ideas, I just didn't understand them while I was reading the book.

I agree about the barfing scene too. I've never realy liked King's writing. I thought _The Stand_ was way too long, _The Gunslinger_ was just absolutely dreadful, _The Eyes of the Dragon_ was decent and so was _The Drawing of the Three_. Mostly I find myself saying "Hey that was pretty good, wait a second nothing really happened? Why did I like it?"

What'd you think of Baudolino? I loved Foucault's Pendulum, and The Name of the Rose, but have been unable to finish The Island of the Day Before so have hesitated on picking up a new one by him.

I haven't gotten around to _Island of the Day Before_ either because I heard some bad reviews. Loved _Foucault's Pendulum_ and thought _Name of the Rose_ was pretty good.

_Baudolino_ is funny (silly at times) and has a kind fo strange structure considering that he turns it into a murder mystery in the last chapter by going back to a murder that happened around the middle of the book. There are a couple philosophical/religious debates but nothing like _Name of the Rose_ and probably the greatest thing is that many times in the beginning of the story, Baudolino, or some other character, mentions that Baudolino is a great liar. And of course it's his story, so you can expect it to be false.

I loved Gates of Fire by Pressfield
Less so Last of The Amazons, but I'm interested in your comments on it nevertheless.

Obviously haven't been to the site in a while, haven't been reading much. It's been a while since I read _LotA_ but here's my notes: Very cool battle scenes and amazon traditions. A bit repetitive and not much character development.

Overall I remember it fondly and remember wanting to get to another Pressfield book sooner or later. It will probably be Gates of Fire.

Rhaam! Welcome back! The only Pressfield I've read was Gates of Fire, and it was very good. Hard to beat the source material, too.

Hey Jim, your site is depressing me. I can see that the number of books I'm reading every year is getting lower and lower. I'll have to start reading shorter books... lol

:-) You wouldn't be the only Listologist to adopt such a strategy.