January 2017 Report

So, here’s what happened here in January — on the one hand, it seems like barely any time has gone by, and I know I have a low book count for the month (I’ve been very busy, apparently) — yet, I can’t believe I’ve read some of these great books already this year.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee Mostly Human Night School
3 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars
Hunger Makes the Wolf Cry Wolf (Audiobook) God's Word Alone
4 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Shadowed Souls Martians Abroad Once Broken Faith
3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 5 Stars
Souls to the Polls Hunting Ground (Audiobook) Say Nothing
3 Stars 4 Stars (still deciding)
The Day My Fart Followed Me To Hockey Rivers of London: Night Witch The Innocent (Audiobook)
3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Reacher Said Nothing Chameleon Storm Clouds Gathering
5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars

Still Reading:

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament            

Reviews Posted:

How was your month?

Looking back at 2016 for Books and the Blog

As we kick off 2017, I wanted to take a glance back at 2016. 241 books read — I exceeded my goal (I don’t remember what it was at the beginning, but I revised it a couple of times and still beat it by 6), 444 posts (short of my goal by a couple hundred), I had some good gains in traffic — views and visitors (not as much as the previous couple of years, but that’s better than a loss). I’m also seeing good growth in followers here and on various social media fronts, which is encouraging as all get out.

So here’s my breakdown of books by genre, like the one I did last year. Mystery/Suspense took a hit this year percentage-wise, but not as much as I thought it did. SF and Fantasy jumped up to make up for that. it’s been forever since I’ve read a Western, I guess (at least one that wasn’t a hybrid with Urban Fantasy or SF or something). Theological books went down in actual numbers, not just percent — but I read some big, technical stuff this year that took a lot more time/energy to read, so I’m not too bothered by that. Still, for someone who doesn’t plan too thoroughly, the percentages stay remarkably the same from year to year — tastes (and series I follow) apparently stay the same.

Genre 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2012-16
Children’s 5 (2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)

5 (0%)
Fantasy 31 (13%) 17 (9%) 11 (7%) 15 (8%) 12 (6%) 86 (9%)
General Fiction/Literature 27 (11%) 17 (9%) 7 (4%) 30 (16%) 30 (14%) 111 (11%)
Horror 1 (.4%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%0 0 (0%) 1 (0%)
Humor 0 (0%) 1 (1%) 3 (2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 4 (0%)
Mystery/Suspense 61 (25%) 64 (34%) 62 (37%) 63 (33%) 73 (35%) 323 (32%)
Non-Fiction 11 (5%) 8 (4%) 4 (2%) 2 (1%) 11 (5%) 36 (4%)
Science Fiction 37 (15%) 16 (8%) 17 (10%) 14 (7%) 11 (5%) 95 (9%)
Steampunk 2 (1%) 7 (4%) 3 (2%) 3 (2%) 11 (5%) 26 (3%)
Theology/Christian Living 33 (14%) 42 (22%) 42 (25%) 37 (19%) 10 (5%) 164 (16%)
Urban Fantasy 36 (15%) 19 (10%) 20 (12%) 26 (14%) 48 (23%) 149 (15%)
Western 0 (0%)

0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (0%) 1 (0%)

December 2016 Report

So, here’s what happened here in December (more about 2016 to come this week).

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Today Will Be Different What You Break The Pursuit
3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars
Avalon Dreams Dead Down East Sons in the Son
3 Stars 3 Stars 5 Stars
The Informationist Talking as Fast as I Can October 32
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars
A Strange Chemistry Practice Makes Perfect Follow the Dotted Line
3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
War Psalms of the Prince of Peace Staked (Audiobook) Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4
4 Stars 5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
Plushinomicon To Kill a Shadow Scrappy Little Nobody
3 Stars 2 Stars 4 Stars
Sovereign’s Wake Moon Called Oasis in the Clouds
2 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
The Gift-Knight’s Quest Blood Bound Tricky Twenty-Two
2 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars

Still Reading:

Openness Unhindered The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee

Reviews Posted:

How was your month?

November 2016 Report

So, here’s what happened here in November, 2016.

Wait, what? It’s December?!?!

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Audiobook) The Lost Child of Lychford The Last Star
4 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Washed Hands Trapped Audiobook The Chemist
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 Stars
The Hanging Tree The Patriots of Mars Every Heart a Doorway (Audiobook)
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Chapel of Ease All Our Wrong Todays Hunted Audiobook
4 1/2 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars
INVIVO Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord Titanborn
1 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Korian and Lucy, Part II Shattered (Audiobook) Lost in Wonderland
3 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Bear with Bear            
3 Stars            

Still Reading:

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4 Sons in the Son      

Fewer books than I would’ve thought — and a greater variety in ratings than I’ve used (needed) lately.

Reviews Posted:

How was your month?

Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day/Thursday

(depending on your location/preference)

When I think about all the great things that have happened around the blog and behind the scenes this year leaves me at a loss for words, let me list a few things I’m thankful for — a very incomplete list, I assure you:

  • The readers of this blog, the authors who’ve corresponded with me/provided books for me to read/encouraged me — even promoted this here project (seriously, Jo Perry and Darrell Drake have done almost as much to advertise my work as I have).
  • Books
  • Authors!
  • Books
  • Coffee (and other beverages both caffeinated and adult)
  • Books
  • Time to read
  • Books
  • Goodreads, WordPress, BookLikes
  • Books
  • Evernote
  • Books
  • Authors!
  • Again, all of you who read, follow, like, tweet, comment, email, etc. this page — you have no idea how much every little bit is appreciated.

October 2016 Report

So, here’s what happened here in October.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God The Purloined Poodle (Audiobook)
4 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
I Was a Bitch The Dispatcher Raining Embers
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Blackbeard's Daughter NYPD Red 2 Venators: Through the Arch
2 1/2 Stars 2 Stars 3.5 Stars
Operation Cure Boredom This Damned Band Midnight Riot (Audiobook)
3 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Elphie Goes Trick or Treating Curse on the Land Blind Spot (Audiobook)
3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 5 Stars
The Operator Tricked Audiobook The Farthest City
4 1/2 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 Stars
The Breedling and The City in the Garden Good Behavior Scattered Screams
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 Stars
The Golden Spider Mutation Max Hamby and the Blood Diamond
4 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Cyber World            
4 Stars            

Still Reading:

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4 Sons in the Son Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord
Reservations The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Audiobook)      

Reviews Posted:

How was your month?

Happy Birthday, Archie!

My annual tribute to one of my favorite fictional characters (if not my all-time favorite). Revised and expanded this year! Watching Luke Cage with my sons has served to remind me of a problem I had in the 80’s reading Marvel comics — most references to Archie Goodwin aren’t to this one. Nothing against Marvel’s Archie Goodwin, but it’s a shame that he’s the one I see the most.

On Oct 23 in Chillicothe, Ohio, Archie Goodwin entered this world–no doubt with a smile for the pretty nurses–and American detective literature was never the same.

I’m toasting him in one of the ways I think he’d appreciate most–by raising a glass of milk in his honor.

Who was Archie? Archie summed up his life thusly:

Born in Ohio. Public high school, pretty good at geometry and football, graduated with honor but no honors. Went to college two weeks, decided it was childish, came to New York and got a job guarding a pier, shot and killed two men and was fired, was recommended to Nero Wolfe for a chore he wanted done, did it, was offered a full-time job by Mr. Wolfe, took it, still have it.” (Fourth of July Picnic)

Long may he keep it. Just what was he employed by Wolfe to do? In The Black Mountain he answers the statement, “I thought you was a private eye” with:

I don’t like the way you say it, but I am. Also I am an accountant, an amanuensis, and a cocklebur. Eight to five you never heard the word amanuensis and you never saw a cocklebur.

In The Red Box, he says

I know pretty well what my field is. Aside from my primary function as the thorn in the seat of Wolfe’s chair to keep him from going to sleep and waking up only for meals, I’m chiefly cut out for two things: to jump and grab something before the other guy can get his paws on it, and to collect pieces of the puzzle for Wolfe to work on.

In Black Orchids, he reacts to an insult:

…her cheap crack about me being a ten-cent Clark Gable, which was ridiculous. He simpers, to begin with, and to end with no one can say I resemble a movie actor, and if they did it would be more apt to be Gary Cooper than Clark Gable.

I’m not the only Archie fan out there:

  • A few months back, someone pointed me at this post, The Wit and Wisdom of Archie Goodwin. There’s some really good stuff here that I was tempted to steal, instead, I’ll just point you at it.
  • Robert Crais himself when writing an introduction to a Before Midnight reprint, devoted it to paying tribute to Archie. — one of the few pieces of anything written that I can say I agree with jot and tittle.

In case you’re wondering if this post was simply an excuse to go through some collections of Archie Goodwin quotations, you wouldn’t be totally wrong…he’s one of the fictional characters I like spending time with most in this world–he’s the literary equivalent of comfort food. So just a couple more great lines I’ve quoted here before:

I would appreciate it if they would call a halt on all their devoted efforts to find a way to abolish war or eliminate disease or run trains with atoms or extend the span of human life to a couple of centuries, and everybody concentrate for a while on how to wake me up in the morning without my resenting it. It may be that a bevy of beautiful maidens in pure silk yellow very sheer gowns, barefooted, singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and scattering rose petals over me would do the trick, but I’d have to try it.

I looked at the wall clock. It said two minutes to four. I looked at my wrist watch. It said one minute to four. In spite of the discrepancy it seemed safe to conclude that it would soon be four o’clock.

She turned back to me, graceful as a big cat, and stood there straight and proud, not quite smiling, her warm dark eyes as curious as if she had never seen a man before. I knew damn well I ought to say something, but what? The only thing to say was ‘Will you marry me?’ but that wouldn’t do because the idea of her washing dishes or darning socks was preposterous.)

“Indeed,” I said. That was Nero Wolfe’s word, and I never used it except in moments of stress, and it severely annoyed me when I caught myself using it, because when I look in a mirror I prefer to see me as is, with no skin grafted from anybody else’s hide, even Nero Wolfe’s.

If you like Anglo-Saxon, I belched. If you fancy Latin, I eructed. No matter which, I had known that Wolfe and Inspector Cramer would have to put up with it that evening, because that is always a part of my reaction to sauerkraut. I don’t glory in it or go for a record, but neither do I fight it back. I want to be liked just for myself.

When a hippopotamus is peevish it’s a lot of peeve.

It helps a lot, with two people as much together as he and I were, if they understand each other. He understood that I was too strong-minded to add another word unless he told me to, and I understood that he was too pigheaded to tell me to.

I always belong wherever I am.