TRL Archives – 2010

With the exception of number one, which I started in 2009, this is the archive of the books I read (or started) in 2010.  For the books I’ve read or am currently reading, check out The Reading List.
I’ll put an X behind those that I recommend and a XX behind those that I highly recommend. Books with one X will likely only be popular with those who are fans of the genre, while XXs are those I’d recommend regardless of genre preference.
35.  Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (23 Dec 2010) – XX (but read the first 12 first) —–This is the thirteenth volume in The Wheel of Time series — the whole series is fantastic.  I am eagerly awaiting the fourteenth and final book.
34.  Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (18 Dec 2010) – X
—–A great collection of four stories by the Master, who gets his Dark on.  As the title implies, there is not much happy happy, joy joy here.
33.  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (17 Dec 2010)
—–Kind of difficult to get into this as it was written in 1859 and that English and style of writing doesn’t flow as easily to my eyes.  Taking a break for my new Stephen King book at no. 34.  Will likely come back to this one at some point.
32.  Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (8 Dec 2010) – XX
—–Year Seven –but mostly not at Hogwarts.  A fantastic finish to a grand series of adventures.
31.  Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (30 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year Six –Another great book brings the death of a main character and a discovery of a way to potentially defeat Voldemort for good.
30.  Harry Potter & The Order of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (18 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year five –Have you seen the 101 Dalmations with Jeff Daniels where the little kid tells him that a good villain in a video game doesn’t just make you dislike him, he makes you want to utterly destroy him?  D. J. Umbridge fits that role of villain perfectly.
29.  Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (9 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year four –The introduction of other wizarding schools, The Tri-Wizard Cup, murder, and “He’s” back… in the flesh.
28.  Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (2 Nov 2010) – XX
—–Year three — things are getting a bit darker.  Still good stuff.
27.  Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (25 Oct 2010) – XX
—–Year two for Harry at Hogwarts.  Doesn’t matter how many times I read these, they are great stories.
26.  Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (22 Oct 2010) – X
—–Michael Crichton tells very good tales –this one based on real people.  Once the action gets started, it’s one thing after another for Captain Hunter and his crew.
25.  unclean:  The Haunted Lands Book 1 by Richard Lee Byers (17 Oct 2010) – X
—–The Haunted Lands trilogy is off to a good start.  Good fighting, multiple plot lines.  While I’m not crazy about his writing style at times, it’s worth reading if you’re into D&D-based fantasy.
24.  Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (12 Oct 2010) – XX
—–Fantastic book that launched the 7 book series and introduced “The Boy Who Lived” to the world.
23.  Kingdom of Fear:  The World of Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller (1 Oct 2010) – X
—–17 Essays on Stephen King’s writing through about 1985 with brief commentary between essays by Mr. King.  He also provides the foreward.  Interesting to read what these folks had to say over 20 years ago about Stephen King, his writing, and the movies made from those works.
22.  On Writing by Stephen King (22 Sep 2010) – X
—–I read this first about 10 years ago when it was newly published and I’d love to give this two Xs, but the casual reader probably isn’t going to find this exciting.  Honestly, it won’t have much appeal to fans of Stephen King’s work unless they are also writers/aspiring writers.  I liked it very much, though.
21.  Write Great Fiction:  Dialogue by Gloria Kempton (12 Sep 2010) – X
—–I almost didn’t give this book an X as a recommended read.  My problem is that there seemed to be a lot of repetition in this book.  There weren’t many times that struck me as “hadn’t thought of that” or “good point” moments.  There are lots of exercises at the end of every chapter, a Do and Don’t chapter, and a checklist with which to gauge your dialogue.  I don’t usually have a difficult time with dialogue.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t find a lot of “Aha!” moments.  I can see that it might be helpful to those looking for tips on how to use dialogue, though, which is why I went ahead and gave it an X.
20.  Duma Key by Stephen King (31 Aug 2010) – XX
—–A great read, or should I say, another great read by Stephen King.  The master of horror slowly builds the tension until it snaps and the horror is released.  It’s like you can see the train coming, but can’t get off the tracks fast enough.
19.  Ranger’s Apprentice – Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan (18 Aug 2010) – XX
—–I really like this series.  It is great for showing kids that they don’t have to be the big, strong, captain of the football team, type of guy to be a hero.  This may be my favorite of this series so far.
18.  The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the editors of Writer’s Digest (11 Aug 2010) – X
———-> Read: My review of The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing
17. Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein (31 July 2010) – XX
—–This is a very interesting read.  It is a series of articles grouped together by subject to discuss a number of philosophical issues and how they can be argued for/against based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling  Harry Potter series.  There were a couple articles that I found dry and rather pointless, but overall, the article selection was thought-provoking.
16. Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner (7 July 2010) – X
—–William Shatner’s autobiography is both frank and funny.
15. Emerson (3 July 2010)
—–This is a collection of his writings and essays and speeches and …it wasn’t doing much for me.  While some of it was thought provoking, the parts I read were rather dry.  Maybe I’ll come back to this some time, but for now, I’m done with it.
14. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (29 June 2010) – X
—–I’ve read less direct translations of Don Quixote’s exploits and I thoroughly enjoy the stories, but this particular book seems to be a very direct translation and I just couldn’t get into the style of writing.  Maybe it’s the translation.  Either way, I recommend Don Quixote, but not this version.
13. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (23 June 2010) – X
—–I re-read this book because the movie (when I read the book) was getting ready to be released.  I like to read the books again before I watch the movies so that I can better identify where the book and movie diverge.  Like the other books in the series, this one is well written and folks who like the first two will likely enjoy this one, as well.
12. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull (16 June 2010) – XX
—–This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series and I think I like it better than the first book.  The first book was great, too, but I like the pace, plot, and twists of this one better.
11. A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons (8 June 2010) – X
—–Another good horror story from Simmons. While not really a sequel, it follows up about 40 years after the events in Summer of Night.
10. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons (26 May 2010) – X
—–Good horror story. Kind of reminds me of Stephen King’s ‘It’ in the way it flows and builds suspense.
9. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (5 May 2010) – X
—–The final chapter that began with Hyperion does a good job of bringing things to a close. Like the third book, Endymion, this story flows much better than the somewhat disjointed tales of the Hyperion Cantos. I liked it.
8. Endymion by Dan Simmons (21 Apr 2010) – X
—–The writing in this book is consistently good throughout. The story was good, as well. While it is beneficial to have read the previous two stories to understand a number of references, it wouldn’t be critical.
7. Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times by Radu R Florescu and Raymond McNally (31 Mar 2010)
—–It’s an interesting book about Dracula, his real life, and how that life has influenced the fiction about him.
6. Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons (23 Feb 2010) – X
—–This is actually two books: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion
—–I’m not sure whether to recommend this book or not. It has some great moments, but it also has some very tedious, not-overly-original moments, as well. If you check out the reviews on Amazon they range from best Sci-Fi book ever to burn it. It was ok. I’ve now read it twice and will continue before long with the two others that follow it. All of this having been said, I do like Dan Simmons as a writer.
5. Under The Dome by Stephen King (8 Feb 2010) – XX
—–Very good and, although it is over 1,000 pages, it moves along well.
4. The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull (1 Feb 2010) – X
—–An entertaining read. Early teen is probably the target age, but I could probably let my (almost) 9 year old read it.
3. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (18 Jan 2010) – X
—–This is the third book in The Inheritance Cycle –don’t let the movie (Eragon) fool you, the story is great.
—–This is a good installment in the series. It moves the story along well and has some good action.
2. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (5 Jan 2010) – XX (but read the first 11 first)
—–This is the twelfth volume in The Wheel of Time series — the whole series is fantastic.
—–I would have to read the series again to be sure, but I think this may be my favorite, so far. I actually got a bit misty-eyed very near the end.
1. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (approx. 23 Dec 2009) – XX
—–if you’ve read the first two, and they’d both be XX, as well

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