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Welcome to the Reading Fete - the best place to keep track of the books you read in 2016. Set a goal, start a list, and get reading! To get things started, here is my list: Read 1. The Aeronaut's Win

That is one of my very favorite apps. So easy to use and so helpful!

5. Scalped volume 8: You Gotta Sin to Get Saved, by Jason Aaron 6. Thor: The Goddess of Thunder, by Jason Aaron 7. Scalped volume 9: Knuckle Up, by Jason Aaron 8. Scalped volume 10: Train's End, by Ja

All right, then.

 

126. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
127. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
128. The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagencrantz
129. Demigods and Magicians by Rick Riordan
130. X-factor by Peter David Complete Collection vol 1
131. Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
132. Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
133. Unchanged by Jessica Brody
134. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
135. Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
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14. Charles Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, 1999-2000. The penultimate volume collects the long-running strip's final fourteenth months, which concluded the same weekend he passed away. He was no less sharp in his final years than he was back in the 1950s, and it shows in a pair of arcs in which Linus and Lucy's brother Rerun is suspended from kindergarten for "sexual harassment" when he makes the mistake of saying nice kiddie things to girls. Filling out the collection is a complete reprinting of Schulz Li'l Folks, the single-panel gag strip that ran in a local St. Paul paper from 1947 to 1950, till Schulz got tired of being underpaid and unappreciated and moved on to bigger, better-paying things. Mostly disposable except from a historical standpoint, though I laughed a few times at what served as his training ground.

 

15. Ande Parks and Chris Samnee, Capote in Kansas. A nonfiction graphic novel about the making of Truman Capote's famous nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. Whereas the movie Capote focused on his talks with the two killers, this book focuses on his interactions with the townspeople -- some grieving, some skeptical, some starstruck, a few willing to hook up with him. From that standpoint it's not so redundant, but anyone who's liked Samnee's work on Daredevil or Black Widow needs to add this forgotten gem to their collection.

 

16. Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus. Another in a series by the former Chicago Tribune editor who became a famous author of Christian apologetics. It covers some of the same ground as his previous books, but for some reason feels a bit more one-sided this time around in reaching the same conclusions.

 

17. Kel McDonald, Misfits of Avalon vol. 1: The Queen of Air and Delinquency. In which four girls of varying dysfunctional temperaments are united to become heroes in our world with powers granted to them by forces from another fantasy world. Our Heroes loathe each other immensely and spend most pages snarling at each other and hating every second of being in this book. Call it "Four Characters and One Reader in Search of an Exit".

 

18. Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle, The Kitchen. Gritty '70s drama about four Irish-American Mob wives trying to make the most of a life of crime while their men are indisposed. Kind of like First Wives Club with more drugs and bloodshed. Recently optioned for film adaptation, which makes sense because most of this, while well dialogued, feels hurried along and sketched-in like a pitch document. Looks great, but no time for the four friendships to develop before they're mutually torn apart.

 

19. Lee Cherolis and Ed Cho, Little Guardians, vol. 1: The Zucchini Festival. Collection of an ongoing webcomic by local talents that's like Switched at Birth set in an old Final Fantasy world. Some nicely paced character building lifts this above the superficial webcomic level that normally turns me away at the main page.

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Life has been getting in the way of all my reading time, and just when things settled down, Pokemon Go came on the scene, so I've not read anything in a long time. Been listening to a heck of a lot of podcasts while doing yard work, pool care, and house projects. They are neverending!

 

Still, I have updates since my last one was in January. Didn't have internet other than on my phone for quite some time, so I deemed it too difficult to update.

 

4. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Listened to this one read by NPH himself and I love him even more after listening. It's kind of a weird format for audio, but I think they did an awesome job of adapting it.

 

5. Fool by Christopher Moore

Not one of my favorites by Christopher Moore (Lamb takes that tile by a mile, maybe 2) but it was a fun listen while I worked on a puzzle. :-)

 

6. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

A new work friend lent this to me, and I really enjoyed it. An engaging story with interesting characters. I'm already partway through another by Kate Morton.

 

7. Raylan by Elmore Leonard

I'm not sure if it's because I'm listening on audio rather than reading it, but I just can't get into Leonard's books. They are too snappy and disjointed. I end up not caring about any of the characters or their motivations and find myself getting distracted by menial tasks (like scrubbing about a million cupboards) and losing track of the story.

 

8. Off Course by Michelle Huneven

This one was fascinating, as the protagonist ends up the "other woman" in an affair with a married man. I've seen a number of friends going through divorces and/or being the "other woman" recently, and I find that this book gave a lot of insight into the situation, even though it's fiction.

 

9. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

When my book club selected this as their next read, I immediately spent a Christmas gift card to buy the whole series on Kindle. I still have the box set from when I was a kid, but I love them so much that I wanted to have them in Kindle format too.

 

10. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

Another excellent read by Mary Roach. I may just read all of hers at some point.

 

11. Djibouti by Elmore Leonard

I tried again to get into Leonard's books, but his writing style just doesn't click.

 

12. The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere

I loved this story even though it was a bit depressing at times.

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136. Star Wars Hard Contact by Karen Traviss

137. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

138. Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey

139. Grey by E.L. James

140. A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett

141. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

142. Cleo: the Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown

143. Huono Karma by David Safier

144. Four by Veronica Roth

145. Sammon Ryöstö by Ilkka Auer

146. Firelight by Sophie Jordan

147. Science of Discworld IV by Terry Pratchett

148. Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

149. Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

150. The Joker: Endgame by Scoot Snyder

151. Injustice Gods Among Us: Complete Yaer One by Tom Taylor

152. Star Wars Legends Epic Collections: the New Republic vol 1 by Timothy Zahn and various

153. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

154. Reached by Ally Condie

155. Crossed Ally Condie

156. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

157. The Abused Wrewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks

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20. John Jackson Miller, Star Trek: the Next Generation: Takedown. Admiral Riker attends a peace conference with representatives from other warring factions in the Trek universe, becomes nigh-omnipotent, begins disabling communication arrays around the quadrant, and only the combined efforts of Captain Picard and Captain Ezri Dax can stop him. Above-average for a Trek novel, though the ultimate villains are from a TNG episode I can't recall watching. The book's true breakout star is the Romulan equivalent of a military middle-management schlub, ignored and mocked by his peers and superiors alike, desperately scrounging for recognition and power, overdosing when he finally gets some. I wanted more of him and 60% less of all the other original non-TV characters that filled out this above-average Trek novel.

 

21. Owen Gleiberman, Movie Freak: My Life Watching Movies. Deeply introspective memoir by Entertainment Weekly's original film critic, who stuck with the magazine for 24 years until changing times, reduced print space, and anti-intellectual new management paved the road for his exit. Along with Roger Ebert, Gleiberman is one of the critics I've followed the longest, though the book delves into waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more of his sexual history than I ever needed or wanted. But if you've ever subscribed to EW for any length of time and charted its gradual downgrade from glossy proto-hipster zine to disposable corporate puff-piece pamphlet, the behind-the-scenes tell-all aspects are informative and riveting in spots, especially whenever his reviews made EW's Time-Warner overlords cry.

 

22. Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks, El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman. Before the Suicide Squad movie, there was a poorly selling miniseries that upended the original cowboy-hero concept and bestowed it upon a hot-headed Latino gang-banger whose trip from villain to antihero is nowhere near as poignant as the movie version's. He's a grating idiot who spouts tough-punk anti-establishment clichés when he's not simply 24-7 REEEVEEEEEEENGE guy. When he gets to fight Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, his spouting gets stupider and more offensive and I wanted Uncle Sam or even Doll-Man to feed him his own teeth. Making matters worse, the six-issue miniseries tried to stuff in 24 issues' worth of characters and plot points, skipping scenes between scenes to create a severely disjointed read that feels more like the Twitter Moments version of a book instead of an actual narrative book.

 

23. Joe R. Lansdale, Hap & Leonard. When I was a teen, the Texas author was all about horror with whacked-out fare like The Drive-In and the story that would become the Bruce Campbell movie Bubba Ho-Tep. Sometime when I wasn't paying attention he shifted gears and now he has a long-running southern-fried crime drama series on his hands that was recently adapted into a Sundance Channel series costarring Omar from The Wire. Hap is a rough-'n'-tumble white guy who can punch well, shoot better, and take violent odd jobs from the local private detective. Leonard is his best friend, a gay black Republican Vietnam vet. They fight crime with self-defense and sometimes also crime! This particular book is a collection of H&L short stories, all limber and funny, bloody R-rated medium-boiled rural gunslinging and fist-fighting shenanigans, with snarky brotherly camaraderie and whatnot.

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Captain Ezri Dax

 

Well someone was a big fanboy. Because that character was headed nowhere near command.

 

This was the first Trek novel I've read in years (bought it from Miller himself at a convention), but yeah, that was one of several head-turning moments that gave me the impression that the preceding authors were given carte blanche and never told "no" to any suggestion -- e.g., Riker and Troi having a young daughter, a Cardassian crewman aboard the Enterprise...

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24. Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda, The Omega Men: The End Is Here. Back in the '80s, the Omega Men were an alien rebel alliance super-team from various planets united to fight their nefarious overlords. In this reboot, Our Heroes are now terrorists aiming to win (and possibly take over) by any means necessary, even if it means manipulating an actual hero like Kyle Rayner into betraying his own beliefs. Writer Tom King, a CIA operative with an extensive literature background who's now one of the best new writers on the comics scene, turns a bunch of C-listers into the antiheroic stars of a jarring cautionary tale about the nature of rebellion and the moral compromises that win or lose it. This was the absolute best result to come out of DC's New 52.

 

25. Greg Weisman, Rain of the Ghosts. YA novel from the celebrated mind behind Disney's Gargoyles, about a girl who lives on a tropical island outside the Bermuda Triangle, inherits a bracelet from her grandpa that lets her sees ghosts, and finds herself embroiled in a strange mission involving a WWII plane that disappeared with Grandpa's team on board. Intended as the first in a series (of course), it's light and occasionally spooky, has hardly any white characters in it, but made me roll my eyes when it literally ended with a happy dance party.

 

26. Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Boy meets girl, girl belongs to the same maiden-mother-crone triumvirate that pops up in every other Gaiman story, evil creature wiggles its way into our universe and threatens to ruin everything, and the eventual solution promises to do even worse. When the creature turns itself into a conniving harlot of a nanny that takes over our li'l hero's everyday life, Gaiman strikes hard into one of the rawest possible nerves in a kid today -- the fear of watching their family torn apart from within. Poetic and unsettling at the same time, Gaiman's favorite double-major.

 

27. Nick Hornby, High Fidelity. Americans may be more familiar with the movie version starring John Cusack and Jack Black (one of my Top 5 Films From The Last 10 Years), but the original British novel delves more deeply into its unreliable narrator, a protagonist who doesn't realize he's a horrible, selfish, sexist loser for the first couple hundred pages. The book has some notable structural differences (Cusack's epiphany near the end of the film appears within the first 100 pages), and our pig Rob is so boorish and British at the same time that the book really clicked once I decided he should have the voice of Anthony LaPaglia as Daphne's brother Simon from Frasier. Hornby's prose contains more nuance than was translated into the film, and was more than strong enough to support my imaginary voice casting.

 

28. David F. Walker, The Adventures of Darius Logan, Book One: Super Justice Force. Before he became one of the few nonwhite writers current working for Marvel or DC, Walker cut his teeth on the first book in a proposed YA series about a former honor student who turns hoodlum after his entire family dies in a calamitous skirmish between super-heroes and a rogue robot army. When he punches the wrong cop at the wrong time for the worst reason, a super-hero he once met gets him out of a trial and into an experimental work-release program that, instead of sending him to jail and lifelong failure, sets him up with a home and menial job at the nearest super-team HQ. Either he plays at Suicide Squad: Cleanup Crew or he goes back to the slammer. It's occasionally predictable (by page 60 one character might as well wear a cowboy hat labeled EVIL BACKSTABBER) and there's one chapter that seems more poorly proofread than all the rest, but thoughtful in its takes on criminal reform, recidivism, and the hard-hearted cops who don't believe people can grow or change, who think anyone charged with a felony might as well be tossed in a woodchipper. Bonus points for fascinating portrayals of repentant villains and the heroes who accept their change of heart.

 

29. Stan Lee with Peter David and Colleen Doran, Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir. Naturally the long-awaited autobiography of Stan "The Man" Lee is a graphic novel. Lee recounts highlights of his life from growing up poor in Washington Heights to finding random jobs as a young adult, from his entry into the nascent comics medium to that momentous occasion when Marvel became a thing. We know up front his memories may have differed over the decades, and I'm sure a lot of his collaborators would have second opinions on some of their stories here. Lee also glosses over some of his later failures (about one publishing disaster in particular, he candidly admits he'd rather not talk about it), but even when you know some things have been left out, downplayed, or gotten 100% wrong, the bits that ring true, combined with Lee's famous huckster enthusiasm, make for anecdotes both hyperbolic and affecting, and not always the shameless puff piece you'd expect.

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