The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

December 29, 2008

Author: Michael Chabon
Copyright: 1988
Publisher: Harper

Started: 12/29/08
Completed: 1/3/09

This is Michael Chabon’s first novel. He started writing it between college and grad school and eventually submitted it as his master’s thesis. His adviser sent it on to a literary agent and a career was born. I am glad for that. I started reading Chabon some years ago and I have never regretted starting one of his novels. This is a coming of age story about a young man leaving college and finding his place in the world. According to wikipedia, a film based on this novel is due to be released in 2009.

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Holidays on Ice

December 26, 2008

Author: David Sedaris
Copyright: 1997
Publisher: Little Brown

Started: 12/25/08
Completed: 12/29/08

Karen gave me this book for Christmas. It’s a collection of short stories, anchored by the famous tales of Sedaris’ work as a santa’s elf at Macy’s in New York City. I first heard these tales when Sedaris’ was a guest commentator on NPR and I’ve been a fan ever since. The story is a new classic and Sedaris is a very funny fellow.

Empire of Ivory

December 11, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 12/11/08
Completed: 12/16/08

This is the fourth in the Tremeraire series that I have been reading the last few months. Reading this will catch me up on the whole series; a long story about fighting dragoons in the service of the English during the Napoleanic wars. Very good book.

Good Omens

December 4, 2008

Author: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Copyright: 1990
Publisher: Harper

Started: 12/4/08
Completed: 12/11/08

Pratchett and Gaiman are two of my favorite authors. I have read this book before, but when I ran across a new paperback edition in the bookstore I decided to revisit. This is silly fantasy, with an English absurdism sensability. It is an “end of times” novel, but the angels and demons are not quite what you would expect.

Throne of Jade

November 28, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Harper

Started: 11/28/08
Completed: 12/4/08

My brother Matt loaned me this book. It is the second in the Tremeraire series, which he suggested to me in the first place. I’ve now read the third book, and the first (out of order) and the fourth is on my “to-read” shelf. This series assumes that there were dragons in the military arsenals of the combatant nations in the Napoleonic wars. Tremeraire is a dragon; a sentient creature who carries a captain and crew into battle. The series follows their story and examines the relationships among the crew and with the dragon.

Author: Christopher Moore
Copyright: 1997
Publisher: Harper

Started: 11/23/08
Completed: 11/28/08

I think this because it was the only book by Christopher Moore that I had not read. It is the fourth of his that I have read this year. Earlier this year I enjoyed Practical DemonkeepingCoyote Blue, and Bloodsucking Fiends. I’m a fan, no doubt.

Christopher Moore is a twisted dude. He is also a good writer. His novels are short and sharp and imaginative and I always enjoy them.

Stardust

October 28, 2008

Author: Neil Gaiman
Copyright: 1999
Publisher: Harper

Started: 10/27/08
Completed: 10/29/08

I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and I loved the movie that was made from this novel a few years ago. So when I spotted this edition on the shelf in the “Science Fiction” section of my bookstore while I was looking for the dragon series I just tried, I had to grab it. It’s fast read, but great fun.

Black Powder War

October 20, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 10/20/08
Completed: 10/27/08

This is part of a series of novels recommended to me by my brother Matt, who shares some of my tastes in reading. The series assumes that the British military had access to dragons (flying dragons) duirng the Napoleonic wars. Matt is not normally a fan of fantasy, but has a keen eye for a well crafted historical or military novel and enjoys a good series as much as I do. This is the third in the series. I couldn’t find books one and two. But I wanted to give it a try.

And it turns out to be worth it. I will look forward to finding, and reading, the rest of this series.

Making Money

October 13, 2008

Author: Terry Pratchett
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Harper

Started: 10/13/08
Completed: 10/20/08

I am a Terry Pratchett fan. When I saw this on the shelf at my local bookstore I snatched it up. Pratchett writes amusing science fiction about a world — Discworld — in which vampires and other “monsters” are just part of the populace. His Discworld novels are great fun and take a delightfully skewed view of life. And this one is a fine example of the genre. A very fun read.

Pontoon

September 27, 2008

Author: Garrison Keillor
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Viking

Started: 9/27/08
Completed: 10/1/08

This was a gift from the Lovely Karen. It is another Lake Woebegon novel. I’ve been a long-time Keillor fan, so I was looking forward to this one. And I was quiet satisfied. This is a great book.