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TBR September 2009

Ok, so the dog days of August are over- and with it comes the start of September- a time from my youth when it meant a return to School and the opportunity to fulfill my thirst for knowledge and learning. Seriously- I loved learning. (I hated the return to waking up early- as most of you already can tell). And with this learning also came the semi-dread “Ross, stop reading your pleasure books and read what is assigned to you…” (I still love the irony of it all- being told to stop reading to read…. ). Alas, I am no long youth and thus, miss out on the fun of a start of a school year….


Anyway, this past month had a potential for me getting a lot of books read- I had hoped with 31 days and a slowing down of work stuff, I could spent my time partaking of the e-books. But, instead, the Powers that Be (And Pay Me) decided that I was to go for two weeks of training and nesting for our upcoming department change, and thus, I was to busy to read. But, I did managed to finish a few books- two novelizations of movies (including the Star Trek novelization- the first time since 1985 that I have seen a Trek movie BEFORE I read the book… yes, I am all about the duration and longevity… VBEG), a manga collection (which I only read when it is on a subject or series I enjoy) and a Teen novel about a very adult character that I have enjoyed over the past 15 years. At the same time, I am thinking that September might be a month of short lists as well- new TV season, so new shows to watch. (Not to mention the stuff at work that is going on…. ). But before I get to the September list, I give you what I read in August:



· G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra- Max Allen Collins; this is the novelization of the upcoming G.I. Joe film. As a novel, it is pretty quick paced and easy to read. (Took me around 2 days to read it… not a record for me, but one that is shorter than most books).   Gives the details of the events, and some background information on some of the characters in movie (including, IMO, the WORSE background story for Snake Eyes- sorry, but don’t go messing with Snake Eyes…. Don’t try to go and rewrite his background story- it is NOT going to work). One thing that was a bit of a disappointment to me was how the author took complete passages from the prequel novel G.I. Joe: Above and Beyond, and used it in the book as background filler. (This is like one author using his other nom de plume to write a review of his own book….). I am not sure how the book stacks up against the movie- you will need to see me at 2:30 am on Friday, August 7 to tell you this. I would recommend the book for anyone who is a G.I. Joe fan and wants to get more information about the movie…


· Star Trek- Alan Dean Foster; As I have said before, I tend to want to read a novel (or novelization) of a movie before I go and see the movie. This year, though, I did the opposite. I went to see Star Trek cold. Without ANY knowledge of what was to come. Which made the movie experience that much more enjoyable. Well, is has been 2 ½ months since the movie came out, and I decided to sit down and read the novelization. For me, it was a different experience- I could, once again, SEE the movie in my head, but at the same time, could also know what was going on with the characters- to see the emotional struggles and fears; to witness the ego and courage; to marvel at the re-launching of a new line of Trekdom. The book was good- not amazing or spectacular- but good. The problem is- I saw the movie. The movie was AMAZING. Which meant that the book had to be equally amazing, if not BETTER than the movie. So, the bar was set a bit high. (Further mudding the waters, I am sure, is that the past few months, I have been Trek heavy in the reading, with books written by authors who put their heart, sweat, and soul into the books- and it shows. They are having to write an ORIGINAL story- in some cases, a follow up/ aftermath story- without the benefit of a set media to follow. Which meant what they wrote was original, dynamic, and exciting…). I would say the book is good for those who are die hard Trek fans, who want to learn more; the book is good for those who want to read something light and quick and easy to read; the book is perfect for those not to familiar with the stories and adventures of Shatner’s Kirk but are looking to be entertained by a story of heroics and the first steps into a new epic series.


· Star Trek: The Next Generation- The Manga- Boukenshin; I am not much of a fan of Manga art styles; call me a traditionalists, but I like my character drawings to be realistic looking. But, being a die hard Trek fan, I have to give the Manga series a go. This one is no exception- it is the first TNG theme manga book, which contains 4 original stories. Changeling sees a young Wesley Crusher going through a Wizard of Oz progression of changes. (NOT a big fan of “Wizard of Oz” btw- some of you reading this can relate. And one of you is laughing your butt-off, I am sure. “LPK in da house..” ::rolls eyes::) Sensation has Dr. Crusher and Deanna Troi working together to discover the source of a raging contagion that threatens both a planet and the crew. The Picardian Knot looks at the aftermath of Picards’s mind-meld with Sarek. (This one has like the STUPIDEST ending I have seen in a while), and Loyalty has Riker having to defend Picard’s ability to command following the events of Wolf 359. (This last one, I say, had the potential, if filmed, to have been the LOUDEST EPISODE OF TNG EVER; EVERYONE SEEMED TO WANT TO SHOUT AND YELL AT EACH OTHER!!!). 


· Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Story- Robert B. Parker; I have been a fan of Parker’s Spenser series since I picked up the first book back in 1993. The series is one that appealed to me on many different levels- Spenser was a guy who was assured of himself; he was a modern day Knight errand, trying to save the world one person at a time. He knew what was right and what was wrong, and if what was right was outside the law, so be it. And he was one with a snappy comeback. For me, this seemed to be how I sort of felt. And with the passage of time, I really did come to look forward to the latest Spenser novel. (Well, except when there was the whole Spenser without Susan period of books- some might disagree with me, but I find the love and romance between Susan and Spenser to be realistic and favored  more then any other in fiction….). So, when I learned there was going to be a Young Spenser novel, I was ….. well, concern. Yes, Spenser is a series that seems to be about death, violence, and the search for right and wrong. How can this be translated into a book that is aimed for Teens and Younger readers. But, I was willing to give it a try- at least to see how it was done. (I read a Young James Bond book a few years ago- was less then thrilled how they took the superspy and made him a Harry Potter like character. But I was impressed by using this same formula, it would get younger readers into the superspy. Trust me, when you are 11 years old, reading the original Ian Fleming stuff is ROUGH- especially the torture scene in Casino Royale…..:winces:). However, when I read the book, I was not disappointed- it paints a brilliant, easy to understand glimpse into the early life of young Spenser. Instead of being the man he is today, we see the boy he was and the life lessons he was to learn during his teen years that would, eventually, be his moral code of life. It looks at three or four events from Spenser’s life, and how the advice he received from his father and uncles helped to mold him and guide him in life. I would recommend this book to young boys who are seeking a positive role model in life, who is not a superhero with impossible power, a sports star who is currently under investigation for animal cruelty, or for pretty boy teen actors and singers, who are leading Madison Avenue driven lives. 


Well, there it is… not much reading, but a lot of reviewing. ( I honestly think that my review of the TNG manga had more words then the whole book did…). I am going to make a few changes for September- I currently am in the middle of two books and have a 3rd on reserve with the library, as well as adding the upcoming Dan Brown thriller…




Trek Related

· ST: Day of Honor Saga- Various Authors

· ST:Enterprise- Rosetta- Dave Stern

· ST:TNG Genesis Wave Book 3 – John Vornholt

· ST: DSN Left Hand of Destiny Book 1-

· ST:Voyager #17 Death of a Neutron Star- Eric Kotani

· ST: Mirror Universe Shards and Shadows- Various Authors

· Star Trek- Alan Dean Foster


Star Wars Related

· Star Wars: Clone Wars- Shatterpoint – Matthew Stover

· Star Wars: New Jedi Order- Agents of Chaos- Jedi Eclipse- James Luceno


Doctor Who/ Torchwood

· Monsters Inside- Stephen Cole

· Winner Takes All- Jacqueline Rayner

· Made of Steel- Terrence Dicks


· Torchwood: Another Life- Peter Anghelides

· Torchwood: Border Princess- Dan Abnett



Media Tie In Novels

· Quantum Leap: Pulitzer- L. Elizabeth Storm

· 4400: Vesuvius Prophecy- Greg Cox

· 24 Declassified: Veto Power- John Whitman

· Red Dwarf Omnibus- Grant Naylor

· Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: Child of the Hunt

· G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra- Max Allen Collins



Sci Fi

· Earth- David Brin

· Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat- Harry Harrison

· Twilight- Stephanie Meyes

· Flashforward- Robert J. Sawyer


Military/ Adventure

· Op Center: Line of Control

· Net Force: Spring Board - Steve Perry & Larry Segriff

· Splinter Cell - David Michaels

· Special Forces - Tom Clancy

· Last World War- Dayton ward


Comic Book Related books

· Batman: Dead White - John White

· Captain America: Liberty's Torch

· Wolverine: Weapon X- Marc Cerasini

· DC Universe: Helltown

· Spiderman: The Darkness Hours- Jim Butcher

· Spiderman: Down These Mean Streets- Keith R.A. Decandido

· Lois and Clark- C.J. Cherryh

Fiction /Mystery/ Legal Thriller

· The Lost Symbol- Dan Brown

· The Testament- John Grisham

· Camel Club- David Baldacci

· Up Country - Nelson DeMille

· Department Thirty- David Kent

· The Company- Robert Littell

· Assassini- Thomas Gifford

· Conspiracy- Allan Topol

· Avenger-Frederick Forsyth

· Inside Ring- Mike Lawson 

· Then We Came to the End- Joshua Ferris

· Monkey's Raincoat- Robert Crais

· K is for Killer- Sue Grafton

· Four to Score- Janet Evanovich

· Blowfly - Patricia Cornwell

· Violets are Blue- James Patterson

· State of Fear- Michael Crighton

· Hard Rain- Barry Eisler

· Cruel Justice- William Berhardt

· The Red Box- Rex Stout

· The Gun Seller- Hugh Laurie

· Tunnel Vision- Sara Paretsky

· Two for Tanner- Lawrence Block

· Rising Phoenix- Kyle Mills


Sherlock Holmes Novel

· A Slight Trick of the Mind- Mitch Cullin

· Sherlock Holmes: the Missing Years- Jamyang Norbu

· Sherlock Holmes: An Unauthorized Biography- Nick Rennison

· Shadows over Baker Street- Various


Nonfiction/ Humor

· Pride & Prejudice & Zombies- Seth Grahame-Smith

· Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters- Jane Austin

· Dragons of Eden- Carl Sagan

· Nerds 2.0.1

· Dilbert Future - Scott Adams

· Why Do Men Have Nipples- Billy Goldber & Mark Leyner

· Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex- Billy Goldber & Mark Leyner

· Just Checking: Scenes from the Life of an Obsessive Compulsive- Emily Colas




( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
Does the Young Spenser novel happen at any specifically described point in time? If you go by the early Spenser novels, Young Spenser would have had to happen in the 1940s or so, because Spenser was a Korean War veteran. Parker stopped mentioning that a long time ago because it'd mean Spenser's in his late 70s now.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
Timeframe of Spenser
While Parker never gives any particular dates, the novel has the background story set during Spenser's youth- ages maybe 10 or 11 through 14-15, and even touches upon his departure from his family to go to college. The framing story behind the background story is modern times- Spenser and Susan are in the park, talking about his youth.

Funny part is, while I was reading the book, I was picturing a young spenser in the 1940s or 1930's... I remember, while reading the early Spenser novels, him talking about the Korean war, and thinking "Ummm.. that was 40 years ago..this guy is OLD" even of the book was written in the 70's.

I believe that the Spenser series is following into the Nero Wolfe trap- a ongoing series that is spanning decades, but the hero(s) are ageless.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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