Books I’ve read in 2007

I didn’t do a very good job of keeping track of actual books I read in 2006, so I’m going to do a much better job this year (in fact, it will be the only list I make for 2007). My goal is at least 24 books for the year. Without further adieu:

01. ‘The End of Faith‘ by Sam Harris

I loved 3/4 of this book. I’m a big fan of open mockery of religion, especially when it’s so well articulated and researched. I wasn’t such a big fan of this guy’s logical arguement of why we should torture people in the name of the war on terror, but he also believes in the official 911 story.

02. ‘World War Z‘ by Max Brooks

Holy crap, this is a great book. Don’t read any reviews of this book, just read it. It will take over your life.

03. ‘Black Hole‘ by Charles Burns

I’ve decided that really big graphic novels would count in my book list. I had this one recommended to me by someone (I forget who), and it was pretty interesting. at first the reader might think that it’s about the crazy sexually transmitted disease that is plowing its way through a group of Seattle teenagers. This disease kind of turns people into these weird decomposing mutants. But it’s really just a pretty good story of teen angst and coming of age. I recommend it if you’re into that sort of thing, or if you’re interested in epic graphic novels. I mean, this whole book was made by one man, and it probably took years of his life….pretty intense.

04. ‘Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot‘ by Julian Dibbell

I heard a little piece about this book on NPR. It’s the whole reason I got this book. However, I wish I had not heard that piece. As much as I loved hearing about it, it really took a lot of the steam out of the book. I knew everything (or monstly everything) the book had to say. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book. It was amazing. I highly recommend it. Seriously, it’s amazing. I don’t even like MMORPGs, and I loved this book. I mean, I finished it off in two and a half days, which is pretty damn fast for me (I’m a slow reader).

05. ‘The Zombie Survival Guide‘ by Max Brooks

I have to admit that I only read parts of this book. I really wish that I’d read this one before I read World War Z. It was pretty good, but it’s not really a story, and it really doesn’t have too much info that isn’t in World War Z (which I HIGHLY recommend). The only part I really enjoyed reading was the end section about recorded attacks throughout history. Just skip to the end and read that part….but only after you read World War Z.

06. ‘After the Last Dog Died‘ by Carmen Bredeson

I’m pretty excited to go to Antarctica, so I decided to do a little reading on the subject. This one is about Douglas Mawson and his exploration of the seventh continent. In the early 1900s, he, two other guys, and something like 16 dogs went exploring. The two other men died, as well as the dogs. He was starving, frozen, and dying from eating dog livers. The book isn’t especially well written, but It was interesting to read anyway.

07. ‘The Pretty Good Jim’s Journal Treasury‘ by Jim

When I went off to college, my mom got me this odd comic collection called “I Went To College and It Was OK.” The odd thing about it was that non of the comics had any message, point, or jokes at all. Nothing happened. It was just about this guy doing his laundry and eating peanut butter sandwiches. I instantly fell in love with it. I actually found it pretty damn funny. At any rate, the other day I was at the big huge new downtown Minneapolis library, and I came across this collection of EVERY cartoon by this “Jim” guy. I was in hog heaven. It’s 300+ pages! Oh man, I loved it. I highly recommend it if you’re into things like Andy Kaufman, Stella, Borat, my music theory 3 final, and other things that only I find funny. When I was finding the link for this book I noticed that the price for used copies were $159 AND UP! I looked around on eBay and this book it super rare and expensive. The only copy I saw on eBay was for $175. I bought my copy for $2. I don’t think I can part with it though. Maybe I’ll sell “I Went To College and It Was OK.”

08. ‘The God Delusion‘ by Richard Dawkins

Much like the Sam Harris books I read recently, this one is another atheistic book. However, Dawkins uses a lot of Darwinian theory to prove his points. It makes for compelling arguments, but sometimes it can get a bit wordy. But I was also surprised at how funny it was. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it for EVERYONE.

09. ‘The Children of Men‘ by P.D. James

This book was horrible. I saw the movie, “Children of Men”, and it is one of my all time favorites so I figured I should read the book. I couldn’t have been more dissappointed. First off, the basic plot is the same, but the movie really changes things up…for the better. I don’t want to get into it, but most of the book is just long descriptions with very little plot. I also greatly disliked the structure of the book. We go back and forth between a narrator telling the story and Theo’s diary. What a terrible book. Grrr. See the movie.

10. ‘King Dork‘ by Frank Portman

I loved this book. I only wish that it had been around for me to read when I was 16 years old. It’s funny, it’s smart, and it’s written by the singer of the Mr. T. Experience. Read this book if you like punk rock, hate high school, and enjoy funny things. Highly recommended.

11. ‘Power Up‘ by Chris Kohler

This is a mediocre history about why Japanese video games are so popular with the rest of the world. It’s basically a paper I would have written in college. I didn’t really learn much from this book, but I did enjoy the chapter on music games. I’m a sucker for those.

12. ‘Fugitives And Refugees‘ by Chuck Palahniuk

This is a book about Portland. I’m moving there, so I figured, what the hell. I enjoyed reading it and I can’t wait to try out some of the craziness that is Portland. I’m actually pretty psyched to move there, and this book (written by one of my favorite authors) sure helped.

13. ‘Stranger Than Fiction‘ by Chuck Palahniuk

Well, I finally finished the last Chuck Palahniuk book on my list. There were parts that I really enjoyed and parts that were kinda boring. This book is kind of like Fugitives And Refugees in that it is non fiction. I really enjoyed the stories about Chuck himself, especially the stories about Fight Club. Also, the stories about the castle builders were pretty great. So, if you’re a C.P. fan, you should read this one.

14. ‘American Born Chinese‘ by Gene Yang

Beautiful art, great story, monkeys, and Transformers. What more could you possibly ask for? Highly recommended.

15. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ by J. K. Rowling

I loved it. I hesitate to say that it’s the best Harry Potter book, but it just might be. It was exciting, scary, beautiful, sad, funny, and fun to read. I hated the final “jokey” line of the actual book, and the epilogue was useless, but I still love it. I can’t wait to listen to the audio book version of this one.

16. ‘God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything‘ by Christopher Hitchens

I’m a huge fan of this kind of book. I’ve read a bunch of them, and this one is fantastic. The only problem I have with this book is the author himself. He is a brilliant man, but he believes in the official 911 story and is a supporter of the current war in Iraq. He actually believes that there are weapons of mass destruction there….to this day! That doesn’t make any sense coming from a man who questions everything about religion and makes great arguments about it. I just don’t get it. However, if you can look past that craziness, this is a great book and well worth your time.

17. ‘Eragon‘ by Christopher Paolini

I still can’t believe that this book was written by a 15 year old. It’s pretty freakin’ impressive, especially when I think about what I had done by the age of 15 (which was make several hour long ‘radio’ shows about farts and create about 100 Fredward comics which were about 4 pages each). At anyrate, the exciting parts of the books were exciting and grusome and the ‘talky’ parts were long and dull, and I didn’t like how the book ended, but I’m psyched to read the next one…I may even see the movie (even though I heard it was horrible).

18. ‘Antarctica‘ by Kim Stanley Robinson

This book was highly recommended to me. I think it had a lot of good information, and a few exciting parts, but all in all, I didn’t really like it. It was 650 pages and only about 200 pages of plot. The rest was background info and loads and loads of dialogue that didn’t really lead us anywhere. I am glad that I read it though, especially since I MAY be going to Antarctica. I just don’t think I’d reread it. I guess I would recommend it to a few people, but not highly.

19. ‘The Golden Compass‘ by Phillip Pullman

It was OK, I guess. I don’t think it’ll make a very good movie. I didn’t really like any of the characters. The only part of the book I truely enjoyed was the bit in the city of the bears. If only there could have been more of that and less of the dust nonsense. Maybe if I read the other two books in the trilogy it would make more sense. I don’t remember who it was the recommended this book to me, but I don’t think I’ll listen to them again.

20. ‘Soon I Will Be Invincible‘ by Austin Grossman

I really dug this book. I’d heard good things about it from my comic nerd magazines, video game nerd magazines, and music nerd magazines, so I figured it was going to be a winner. I loved the basic story, but more importantly, I loved the crazy detail. I was a bit bummed by the ending (it was kind of like X-Men 3 in that everything is pretty much back to normal at the end and nothing really mattered) but all in all, it was well worth it.

21. ‘I Am America (And So Can You)‘ by Stephen Colbert

 I really enjoyed this book.  It was pretty darn funny.  Not as funny as America: The Book, but still quite good.  I’m sure I’ll read this one again.

 22. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ by J. K. Rowling

 Speaking of reading books again, this was my second time reading this one.  I feel like I can full retell the story to anyone now.  I really enjoyed it the second time, because I felt like I could relax and I didn’t have to speed through it to find out how it would end.  And more importantly, the parts that I really disliked the first time through seemed less annoying.  Cool, huh?

23.  ‘Muzzlers, Guzzlers, and Good Yeggs‘ by Joe Coleman

Great short stories about criminals and hobos such as Boxcar Bertha, Paul John Knowles, and Carl Panzram.  And every other page is beautifully/disturbingly illustrated.  Thanks to Adam for giving this one to me. 

24.  ‘A Malady of Magicks‘ by Craig Shaw Gardner

I found this book down in Antarctica, and I figured I’d give it a go.  I looked it up online and every review I read said that it was a great fantasy book and REALLY funny.  It was not even remotely funny.  That book sucked. 

25.  ‘Conquistador’ by S.M.Stirling

Casey suggested I read this book, and I did really enjoy it, but did it need to be 600 pages?  I think not.  There sure was a lot of unnecessarily long descriptions of things that in the end didn’t matter.  I guess I don’t like ‘fluffy’ writing.  however, the story was great, and the ending was fun.  As my last book of the year, I’d recommend it to sci-fi nerds….all nerd, really. 

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