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2010 books read

Going back to 2006, I've had a tradition of posting the books I've read each year, as a way of keeping track of my reading habits and preferences, and will do so once again here. The list is provided sans commentary, although I will say that the books I've bothered both to pick up and to finish are ones that I consider worth reading. And I would ask that if mention of the titles below strikes your fancy, please consider picking them up through IndieBound and supporting your local independent bookstores.

(N.B. This list does not include the 60 or 70 children's/board books that we either bought or borrowed from the library to read to Anya this year.)

2010 Books Read:

01. *Widows & Orphans* by Lewis Shiner
02. *A Public Space* no. 8 (litmag)
03. *Bone Shop* by T.A. Pratt
04. *4 by Pelevin* by Victor Pelevin
05. *The Clay Machine-Gun* by Victor Pelevin
06. *How to Ditch Your Fairy* by Justine Larbalestier
07. *A Case of Exploding Mangoes* by Mohammed Hanif
08. *The Helmet of Horror* by Victor Pelevin
09. *The Yellow Arrow* by Victor Pelevin
10. *Match Fixer* by Neil Humphreys
11. *Chronic City* by Jonathan Lethem
12. *Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations* ed. by Monica Maristain
13. *What Babies Say Before They Can Talk* by Paul Holinger & Kalia Doner
14. *Point Omega* by Don DeLillo
15. *The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year* by Armin A. Brott
16. *Stitches: A Memoir* by David Small
17. *Makers* by Cory Doctorow
18. *The Village by the Sea* by Anita Desai
19. *The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves* by M.T. Anderson
20. *The Bookman* by Lavie Tidhar
21. *A Short History of Fantasy* by Farah Mendlesohn & Edward James
22. *Red Spikes* by Margo Lanagan
23. *A Public Space* no. 9 (litmag)
24. *Metrophilias* by Brendan Connell
25. *All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays* by George Orwell
26. *Half of a Yellow Sun* by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
27. *How Proust Can Change Your Life* by Alain de Botton
28. *Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays* by George Orwell
29. *In Other Rooms, Other Wonders* by Daniyal Mueenuddin
30. *Six Memos for the Next Millennium (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures 1985-86)* by Italo Calvino
31. *Lisey's Story* by Stephen King
32. *The Taker And Other Stories* by Rubem Fonseca (trans. Clifford E. Landers)
33. *Boneshaker* by Cherie Priest
34. *Clementine* by Cherie Priest
35. *The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake* by Aimee Bender
36. *Leviathan* by Scott Westerfeld
37. *Falling Man* by Don DeLillo
38. *When the Moon Forgot* by Jimmy Liao
39. *Who Fears Death* by Nnedi Okorafor
40. *Utopia* by Thomas More
41. *Inception: The Shooting Script* by Christopher Nolan
42. *Broken Mirrors* by T.A. Pratt
43. *Midnight's Diaspora: Encounters with Salman Rushdie* ed. by Daniel Alan Herwitz & Ashutosh Varshney
44. *The Hour of the Star* by Clarice Lispector
45. *The Art of Happiness at Work* by His Holiness The Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler
46. *For the Win* by Cory Doctorow
47. *Zahrah the Windseeker* by Nnedi Okorafor
48. *The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction* by Samuel R. Delany
49. *Finch* by Jeff VanderMeer
50. *The Social Network* by Aaron Sorkin
51. *Zero History* by William Gibson
52. *Luka and the Fire of Life* by Salman Rushdie
53. *By Night in Chile* by Roberto Bolaño
54. *Distant Star* by Roberto Bolaño
55. *Gone Case* by Dave Chua
56. *Amulet* by Roberto Bolaño
57. *Ceriph* no. 0 (litmag)
58. *Shark's Teeth* by T.A. Pratt (chapbook)
59. *Ceriph* no. 1 (litmag)
60. *Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Retreat (Season 8, Volume 6)* by Joss Whedon et al.
61. *Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Twilight (Season 8, Volume 7)* by Joss Whedon et al.
62. *Hellboy Volume 7: The Troll Witch and Others* by Mike Mignola et al.
63. *The Godfather of Kathmandu* by John Burdett
64. *Hellboy Volume 8: Darkness Calls* by Mike Mignola et al.
65. *Batman: R.I.P.* by Grant Morrison, Tony Daniel, et al.
66. *B.P.R.D. Volume 1: Hollow Earth and Other Stories* by Mike Mignola et al.
67. *B.P.R.D. Volume 2: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories* by Mike Mignola et al.
68. *The Windup Girl* by Paolo Bacigalupi
69. *Good-Bye Chunky Rice* by Craig Thompson
70. *Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life* by Bryan Lee O'Malley
71. *Scott Pilgrim vs. The World* by Bryan Lee O'Malley
72. *Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness* by Bryan Lee O'Malley
73. *Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together* by Bryan Lee O'Malley
74. *Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe* by Bryan Lee O'Malley
75. *Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour* by Bryan Lee O'Malley
76. *The Thing Around Your Neck* by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
77. *Animal Farm* by George Orwell
78. *Moxyland* by Lauren Beukes
79. *Astonishing X-Men Volume 1* by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday
80. *Ocean* by Warren Ellis, Chris Sprouse & Karl Story
81. *The Universe in Miniature in Miniature* by Patrick Somerville
82. *The Guild Volume 1* by Felicia Day & Jim Rugg
83. *Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays* by Zadie Smith
84. *Interworld* by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
85. *Gone Case: A Graphic Novel, Book 1* by Dave Chua & Koh Hong Teng

Previously: 2009 Books Read, 2008 Books Read, 2007 Books Read, 2006 Books Read



art's saving grace

Tomorrow is November 9th, what would have been Jamie Bishop's 39th birthday. I haven't talked about Jamie in a while, because his untimely death is still as raw for me as it was three and a half years ago, but also because I was accused of using his murder and my connection with him to somehow vaguely further my writing career. This is of course a ridiculous notion, but as I've mentioned before, I'm now very aware of how egotistical and attention-seeking my public mourning of Jamie could have appeared to some.

So I cooled it for a while, at least online. But I've been thinking a lot about Jamie today, and celebrating his life, in a small way, by reading his father's amazing collection Brighten to Incandescence, for which Jamie provided the cover art and design (and an appearance in the author photo). Art was a huge part of Jamie's life, and one of the ways through which he defined himself. His portfolio website, memory39, no longer exists except in a broken fashion accessible only through The Wayback Machine, and this seems a terrible tragedy to me, akin to losing Jamie all over again.

Brighten to Incandescence

A Google Image Search reveals some of the book covers that his art adorned (and a lot of completely unrelated images), but this is an incomplete picture of Jamie as an artist. He was highly influenced by mixed-media masters like Dave McKean, Cliff Nielsen, and Bill Sienkiewicz, coming across their work initially through comics. Jamie was a huge comic book geek; on my and Janet's visit to Blacksburg in 2007, I finally got to see his massive drawer filing system for his comics (I don't remember if Jamie built it himself, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had), with rolling racks that slid out on whisper-soft ball bearings. The Sandman was one of his all-time favorite series (he seemed inordinately proud to have the entire 75-issue run bagged up; it is my presumption that this is where he encountered McKean's art for the first time), as was Frank Miller's run on Daredevil. He loved comics, but I think he appreciated even more the fine art touch that these artists added to them.

The first time I visited my sister Kristin up in New York, sometime in the early 2000s in October 2001 (yes, just a month after 9/11), she took me to Forbidden Planet, which had about a thousand percent more comics, comics-related, and SF-related items than even the chain stores back in Raleigh. (This was, of course, before Graphic Novels got their own section in the bookstore.) As I was browsing around, mouth open, I spotted a paperback copy of Dustcovers, a collection of McKean's cover art for every issue of Sandman, printed on thick beautiful art paper, plus commentary by McKean and Neil Gaiman, and an eight-page meta-Sandman story. Though I'd seen (and bought) all of the collected volumes of Sandman in the science fiction section of my local Borders, I'd never seen this book before (I likely might have found it at my neighborhood comics shop, but I'd stopped going there years earlier).

I immediately bought the book, plus a set of McKean-illustrated postcards, and when I returned to North Carolina and next saw Jamie in Carrboro, presented the gifts to him. His face lit up as if I'd just given him precious treasure, and we spent much of the rest of that visit poring through the pages and talking about McKean's techniques, and what he might have done to get a particular effect. (I later bought a copy for myself, although I don't remember from where.) The postcards he ended up framing and displaying in his living room, which made me doubly happy each time I visited as I could see how much they meant to him.

His art style was influenced (in part) by Dave McKean, my writing style was influenced (in part) by Neil Gaiman, and so it felt only natural to collaborate the way those two great creators had. Jamie illustrated a number of my stories, some published professionally and others self-published, and the back-and-forth process as we discussed how to approach each piece felt natural and invigorating. He was not only a friend but an artistic soulmate.

As he worked on other projects, he'd sometimes email or call and complain about a part of a work that just wasn't coming together, or the lack of time to complete it, or a number of other things, but in the end, he would always finish the piece, on time, and to everyone's satisfaction. (I sometimes think that those missives were a way for him to work some things out verbally that he couldn't quite do in his head alone.)

Whatever his day job, he kept coming back to his art, the one place he truly felt at home, again and again, always refining, always improving. His later work (and I'm thinking specifically of "Passing for Human," "Thanatopsis," and "A Reverie for Mister Ray") was a quantum leap in style, subject matter, composition, and confidence from those earlier pieces I was exposed to at the Trinoc*con Art Show where we first met. He seemed to have finally found his "voice" as an artist, still wearing his influences on his sleeve, but also clearly producing a vision that was solely his.

As incredible as his late work is, he seemed to be on the cusp of true greatness. Steadily moving forward to something remarkable and awe-inspiring. To think that the world is now deprived of his future brilliance only adds to my depression. As does the fact that he had been accepted into the art school at Virginia Tech, ready to start classes in the summer of 2007; not content to rest on his talent, he saw the need for graduate study in VT's MFA program, and I imagine him looking so forward to the new exposure and knowledge to come, but which would be denied to him several months too soon.

And so I must be content (although a part of me knows I never can be completely) with the art that Jamie did leave behind. I page through the digital prints that he gave to me, fresh from his own printer. I pick up my copy of Brighten to Incandescence and remember all the little secrets he told me about the composition of the cover art. (I'll reveal just one: the besuited figure was taken from a photograph of Colin Powell; Jamie took a certain glee in giving the then-Secretary of State the head of a rat). My fingers touch his inscription on the book's blank frontispiece, and I still somehow feel connected to my friend and his talent.

Illustrations and Photography by Jamie Bishop under the cut...Collapse )

lunch with thubten chodron

Yesterday, I was extremely fortunate to be able to join Janet, Anya, Janet's parents, and an American Buddhist named Kevin for lunch with Venerable Thubten Chodron. Long-suffering readers of these missives may remember how much of an influence Ven. Chodron has been on my spirtual life; it was her books that Janet passed on to me which introduced me to Buddhism and were a strong factor in convincing me to become a Buddhist myself; I see her as my guru, and was honored to take Refuge under her guidance.

So it was really cool to be able to share a meal with her and talk about all kinds of things, including teaching, fatherhood, and living in Singapore. What a wonderful gift.

Ven. Chodron also gave Anya a blessing which had her attention rapt.

Big thanks go to Raymond, my father-in-law, for providing such a great opportunity.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

anya is one




the immersion book of sf

I've been meaning to post about this since last month, but just haven't gotten the chance before now. It's been about three months since my last blog entry, which should come as an indication of just how damn busy I've been, both as a teacher and a daddy.

Immersion SFAnyway, this is just to let you all know that an anthology that I'm lucky to be a contributor for is now available. The Immersion Book of SF [Publisher | Amazon], edited by Carmelo Rafala, also boasts stories from Tanith Lee, Lavie Tidhar, Aliette de Bodard, Gareth Owens, Chris Butler, Gord Sellar, and others.

My story in the antho, "The Time Traveler's Son," was originally published as a tiny extremely-limited-edition book from Papaveria Press in December 2008, which has since sold out. So I'm glad that the story will be getting a wider audience with the release of The Immersion Book of SF. It's attracting some nice early attention:

"What I’m really interested in are stories like 'The Time Traveler's Son' by Jason Erik Lundberg. Ironically, this is the least 'speculative' of the bunch as it could be interpreted as either 'realistic' or science fictional, giving it that extra layer of engagement. What made 'The Time Traveler’s Son' work for me is the emotional investment it gives the reader, even when the narrative is told in short chunks."
--Charles Tan, World SF blog

"'The Time Traveller's Son' from Jason Erik Lundberg is another shorter piece, and another very good story. It tells a story across a lifetime, of an absentee father and the lie (perhaps) he told to his son, to lessen the heartbreak of his absence. It does well creating an air of uncertainty about what the real truth is, and paints a rather moving piece of fiction."
--Matthew Dent, Amazon.co.uk reader

"The Immersion Book of SF contains stories by many whose names will be familiar to fans of speculative fiction, with Aliette de Bodard's 'Father's Last Ride' and Jason Erik Lundberg's 'The Time Traveller's Son' vying for position as my favourite in the volume. Maybe I have father issues. Anyway, the first offers a ride that is as emotional as it is exhilarating, with lightskimmers providing a way into a story that's as beautiful as the auroras a daughter travels through. It's a satisfying read with characters to care for, just like Lundberg's which provides more than you think you're getting, resonating in a way that puts me in mind of an Auden poem. To say more is to diminish the story."
--Ray Cluley, Amazon.co.uk reader

Which, naturally, puts a smile on my face.

It was Wade's seventh birthday. There were cake and ice cream and presents in the backyard, and a colorful piñata shaped like a donkey, and twenty of Wade's friends from school, and his mom had even hired a clown, a lazy clown, and Wade could smell alcohol when the clown bent down and breathed, "Happy birthday." Crap at balloon animals, he was winded after blowing one up, and upon failing to twist or turn or knot it into a dog or giraffe or something, he would present the sausage of air and latex with a weak flourish, "It's a snake!"

Upstairs, in the house, Wade's dad finished packing. The lame clown forgotten and left to wheeze on a lawn chair and nip from a cheap silver flask, Wade asked his dad where he was going, why he wasn't down at the party.

"Important business, kiddo," said his dad. "Time traveling business. My first mission." He closed the suitcase and pointed out the window to the ‘84 Chevy Celebrity, bandage brown, rusted through, the fabric inside the roof coming unglued, hanging down, a drapery of obscuration.

"That's our car," Wade said.

"Oh no, kiddo, it's my time machine. I can chat with Marie Curie, or punch Hitler in the face, or have tea with an archaeopteryx. I can go anywhere I want, and anywhen."

"All your stuff is packed inside."

"It's a long trip. I may be gone for a while."

Immersion SF full cover

there and back again

My latest contribution to The Daily Cabal went up Friday, called "There and Back Again", my none-too-subtle nod to Tolkien.

This installment concludes the series of YA flash pieces collectively called Looking Downward. If you would like to read the entire series, you can do so at the following links:

01: Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall
02: The World, Under
03: Androcles Again
04: Look Into My Eyes, You're Under
05: Shiftless, Hopeless
06: Cricetinae's Paroxysm
07: Wind and Harmony
08: Dragons at Dawn
09: Goodnight Nobody
10: There and Back Again

At some point, I will be gathering all these separate pieces into one story, filling in the blank spots, smoothing out the transitions, and then sending it off into the world. If you enjoyed Anya's adventures in the Land of the Grey Dusk, please do let me know.

My next project for The Daily Cabal is another series of short shorts, but less sequentially connected than Looking Downward. It will be a 23-part linked narrative called Fragile, which will take a liberal interpretation of the song titles (but not the lyrics) of the masterful Nine Inch Nails double album The Fragile (which still remains my favorite NIN album). This is a concept I've been thinking about for a long time, although I previously thought it would take the form of a mosaic novel or collection of linked stories; I still may expand the project into such a form, but for right now, I want to get the ideas down, even if in such terse form as flash fiction. I hope you'll tune in.

in raleigh tomorrow!

marrael and I will be in Raleigh tomorrow! We're planning to hit Quail Ridge and a few other places during the day, and we'll be having lunch at Dalat Oriental; peeps who would like to meet up for Vietnamese lunch, shoot me an email or a DM on Twitter.

Yay Raleigh!

pee tee em

OMG, two blog posts in two days! Is this a trend? Yeah, probably not.

Today is Day One of my school's two-day Parent-Teacher Meeting, a marathon of talking to one parent after another, over and over, until my brain falls out. Or at least until 5:00, when I can go home; other teachers have to stay until 8 p.m., but I begged off the last three hours so I could get home and help with Anya. It'll be exhausting, and my bronchitis is starting to act up again, so I'm not exactly looking forward to the experience.

The nice thing is that the face-to-face meetings don't start until noon, which meant the chance to sleep in (but only a little; Anya woke at 5:30, demanding a diaper change and early breakfast, and then again at 7:30, so I didn't get to sleep in that much), but even more importantly some time to spend with my ladies this morning. I entertained Anya from 7:30 on, feeding her at 8:45, and Janet got up around 9:15 to give her a bit of solid food (bananas mixed with rice cereal, which Anya hated; she didn't spit it out, but made the funniest face of disgust I've ever seen).

I came in to school a little early to get some last minute things done, and I now have about an hour before the shebang starts. Wish me luck.
Back in January (holy monkey, has it really been so long?), I blogged about Anya's cleft palette and the upcoming surgery to correct it. The palatoplasty was seven weeks ago, and those of you following me on Twitter got to read about the recovery both in the hospital and then later at home. It was a harrowing experience seeing my baby go for such major surgery, but she did extremely well. It took a long time to get a decent amount of fluids in her afterwards, which meant staying at KK Hospital two days longer than expected, but eventually she was cleared to come home.

The first few weeks were ... well, "nightmare" isn't really the right word, but they were exhausting and frustrating and stressful times. I had to go back to work, and Janet was having trouble coping by herself (Anya was still on a medicine regimen, and her diluted formula never seemed to be enough; Janet has more details at Paint Stains), and I was doing the best I could to help but had student marking pressing down on me, in addition to dozens of other work duties. Thankfully, Janet's father's sister flew down from Hong Kong and was able to help us tremendously to get over the worst of it (she's since gone back, but the next sister in line came to visit and help out too, and she's still here).

Anya was incredibly clingy for four weeks after the surgery, refusing to be put down in the crib, only falling asleep if someone was carrying her. It took her a long time to recover emotionally from the trauma of the surgery, longer than the physical recuperation. But at some point after Week 4, we were able to start putting her down, and it has gotten progressively better since. Janet was able to put her back on the sleep schedule Anya'd been on before the operation, and getting regular naps and sleeping longer at night did a world of good for her disposition, and all the rest of us as well.

She still has her cranky times, when she'll cry and cry and refuse to sleep and we have to go through a whole routine (which includes reading Goodnight Moon) to calm her down so she'll conk out. But for the most part, she's sleeping much better.

After the surgery, we had to feed her via syringe, squirting the food into her mouth, because she couldn't take a bottle (for fear of disturbing the stitches) and after one time of liking formula in a MagMag sippy-cup refused to take it from there anymore. But we've slowly been weaning her away from the syringes and relying on the MagMags more, and now she loves it. She's discovered how to create suction in her mouth now (something she couldn't do without a palette), and she hoovers down formula at an amazing rate.

The biggest development recently, however, is that we've started her on solid foods. We had to wait until the palette was pretty much healed, and decided last Thursday that she was ready. It's astonishing how well she's taken to it, trying lots of different combinations of both store-bought and homemade mush. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash seem to be the current favorites. She loves sitting in her high chair and eating at the dinner table along with the rest of us.

Anya's also been trying out lots of new sounds now that she can make them properly. Nothing terribly coherent at the moment, but you can tell she's trying to have a conversation. Janet's pretty sure that she said "MUM MUM" last week as Janet was bringing in her food (mum mum is slang here for food, and Janet's dad refers to it that way every time Anya has a feeding). She could have been referring to Janet (mum), but it's more likely she was excited about lunch. No real repetitions yet, so we can't confirm it as a first word/phrase, but it's still exciting.

But the best thing is her smile, which has returned big time. The first four or five weeks of recovery, she was very serious all the time; still in pain and discomfort, and dealing with this weird new feeling in her mouth, and possibly feeling a bit betrayed that we would put her through it. But she's smiling regularly again now, and it just melts me every time. I still have a helluva time getting her to laugh, but that'll come too.

This is the last week of classes for Term 2, and I have some work-related things through Wednesday next week, but after that, for the rest of June, I'm on holiday. And because Anya's doing so well, we're all three going to take a trip to South Carolina for a bit of a family reunion. My mom was able to fly to Singapore last December, but my dad and sister have never seen Anya outside of Skype calls, and the rest of my side of the family has only seen pictures. My grandmother and aunt will fly in from Illinois, my sister from NYC, another aunt will drive up from Columbia, and there's a possibility that my godmother might come up from Atlanta.

We'll be in the States from 8-22 June, and though there are lots of family things planned, I have a desperate desire to drive up to Raleigh for a day trip. I miss my hometown like you wouldn't believe, and it would sadden me to no end to be so close and not come back for a bit. A trip to Quail Ridge Books is quite likely, but other than that, I have no specific plans. Raleigh peeps who would like to meet up, let me know in the comments, and when we have a more definite date and time, we can work something out. My parents have agreed to take care of Anya for that day, so it'll be just me and Janet, but it would be lovely to see some of y'all again.


ARCs: digital vs dead tree

John Scalzi's latest blog entry, "eARCs: Big Fat PublicityFail," points to a new tactic Eos Books is attempting to save money on printing and shipping Advance Reader Copies of their books to reviewers: a full-color card with book cover on one side, and scratch-off download code on the other for an eARC of the book.

Now, unrelated to the complicated process just to download the book (which is a bit boneheaded) and to the other publisher he mentions that releases eARCs with a 30-day DRM expiry date, after which, it is assumed, one can no longer read the file anymore (which is even more boneheaded), what I want to talk about is another point that Scalzi brings up: eARCs themselves. I'm not one to criticize eBooks or eARCs in general; I think that they're fantastic ways to promote and disseminate books along a great distance. However, as a reviewer, I can't stand them.

I'm lucky in that I've been reviewing books for about eight years, and have done so for a few notable publications, which means I have a bit more clout than a n00b reviewer just starting out, which also means that very nice folks at publishers like Tor and Subterranean are actually inclined to send me physical dead tree books in the post, even all the way to Singapore. It's not cheap to do so, but they know that I can be counted on to review the book in a venue that will guarantee eyeballs, and there will be some level of enthusiasm about the book because I requested an ARC in the first place (my steadfast rule as a reviewer: I only review books that I feel have merit and will enjoy on some level).

Smaller presses have asked if they could send me eARCs rather than a physical copy of the book, for the reason above: posting expense. This is understandable. When Janet and I published A Field Guide to Surreal Botany in 2008, I sent PDF review copies to any blogger who expressed an interest, which, looking at my records, was about 35 people. However, I was also very fortunate to have Merrie Haskell in the US acting as my North American Distributor, and so I sent out almost 50 physical review copies (which were not ARCs, but the way; these were the final printed books) to newspapers, journals, and high-profile bloggers. I included the download code along with the physical review copies so that the reviewers could also take advantage of the digital version.

Looking back now at both lists -- reviewers and bloggers -- there is a much larger throughput on the reviewer side, meaning that a higher percentage of reviewers than bloggers actually reviewed the book. And the biggest reason for this has to be might possibly be that the reviewers could actually hold the book in their hands and enjoy its aesthetic qualities; this is of course an anecdotal conclusion, but it makes a lot of sense, especially for a book like Surreal Botany, which begs to be caressed. They reviewed the book because they had the physical copy.

Same goes for me as a reviewer. I much prefer to have an actual physical copy of the book in my hands. I do plenty of reading on the computer screen, but it takes enormous effort and concentration to read an entire novel on my computer. As Cory Doctorow states: "The cognitive style of the computer is different from the cognitive style of the novel." There are an infinite number of distractions that my computer loves to inundate me with, to the point where I just cannot sink into that cozy narrative space that lying on the couch with the book in my hands allows me to do.

So if a publisher insists on only sending me a PDF for one of their titles, I'm very up front about my likelihood of reviewing their book. I appreciate that they sent me the file for review, but amidst all of the other things on my computer clamoring for my attention, not to mention the dozens of actual paper books in my current To-Be-Read pile, I'm less likely to actually read the eBook. Sad, but true.

Here's the list of eARCs or otherwise free eBooks that I've accumulated in the last couple of years (in alphabetical order by author's surname), almost all of which I have not yet read [ETA: not all of these books I intended to review, but many of them I did]:

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
Seeds of Change ed. by John Joseph Adams
Grey by Jon Armstrong
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Windup Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
My Own Kind of Freedom by Steven Brust
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull*
Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods by Frank Darabont
Content by Cory Doctorow
Labyrinth Summer by Rudi Dornemann
"Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse" by Andy Duncan
Die! Vampire! Die! by Hal Duncan
Surveillance Self-Defense International by Peter Eckersley
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet no. 22 ed. by Gavin J. Grant et al.
Dubliners by James Joyce*
Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Realms of Fantasy vol. 16 no. 1 ed. by Shawna McCarthy
Why I Love Bees: A Case Study in Collective Intelligence Gaming by Jane McGonigal
The Magician of Lhasa by David Michie
In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea
The Potemkin Mosaic: First Dream by Mark Teppo
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest*
True Names by Benjamin Rosenbaum and Cory Doctorow
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
Orthodox Chinese Buddhism by Chan Master Sheng Yen
Dogland by Will Shetterly
Spaceman Blues by Brian Francis Slattery
Nefertiti Was Here by Jasmina Tesanovic
The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove
Secret Lives & The Situation by Jeff VanderMeer
Farthing by Jo Walton
Starfish by Peter Watts
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
Speaking Treason Fluently & White Like Me by Tim Wise
Shimmer no. 10 ed. by Beth Wodzinski
Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright
The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It by Jonathan L. Zittrain
The Last Book by Zoran Zivkovic

* I have read these books already in print form.

Lots of great books, yet they've been languishing on my hard drive for months, if not years, unread. The Last Book is the only book by Zoran Zivkovic that I have not yet read by him, for the simple reason that I don't have a physical copy, and I'm the webmaster for his website, fer crissakes!

And here are the physical ARCs that are currently waiting for me to review for SF Site or other venues:

Makers by Cory Doctorow
Clementine by Cherie Priest
A Short History of Fantasy by Farah Mendelsohn & Edward James
Technologized Desire by D. Harlan Wilson
Imagination/Space by Gwyneth Jones
The Well-Built City Trilogy (The Physiognomy, Memoranda and The Beyond) by Jeffrey Ford

Guess which ones I'll be getting to first.


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January 2012


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