Reading List for 2016

I read a few books in 2015:

  1. Hawksmoor, by Peter Ackroyd. Review.
  2. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, by Michael Chabon. Review.
  3. Relentless Forward Progress, by Bryon Powell. Didn’t review.
  4. Dune, by Frank Herbert. Review.
  5. Gligamesh (John Harris version; audio book). Didn’t review.
  6. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer. Didn’t review.
  7. Blind Descent, by James M. Tabor. Review.
  8. Touching My Father’s Soul, by Jamling Tenzing Norgay and Broughton Coburn. Didn’t review.
  9. Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem. Review.
  10. The Martian, by Andy Weir. Review.
  11. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein. Review.
  12. The Confusion, by Neal Stephenson. Maybe when I finish the next one I’ll review the series.
  13. The Fellowship of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Reread, so didn’t review.
  14. Racing Weight, by Matt Fitzgerald. Didn’t review.
  15. World War Z, by Max Brooks (audiobook). Review.
  16. Blueshift, by Claire Wahmanholm. Not going to review, but I’ll say that if this doesn’t get picked up by a publisher, the world will be a sadder place.

That’s ten fiction books in various genres and five nonfiction. I also read
about 3,500 pages of books as an editor (one 300-ish page novel and twelve non-fiction books, several of which were highly academic). There may have been a few more that didn’t make it onto the list, plus let’s not even mention the various books that I picked up, read a chapter of, and put down again. (I am an annoyingly peripatetic reader; my tendency is to leave books here and there, never finishing more than a chapter at a go. Sometimes it can take me a long time to read things.)

I think my favorite of this group was Dune. That is a hard determination to make; many of these really spoke to me in deep ways, and as a writer I learned a lot from many of them. My love for The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is very profound, I should add. It was a close race.

This was also the year that my book came out in paperback. So far, of the initial one hundred copies I purchased, I have twenty left. I didn’t get a website up yet, but soon. I know I’ve been saying that for several months now.

This is my preliminary reading list for 2016. Some of these are carry-overs from last year, and I have to look at them again and determine whether or not they’re still something I’m interested in. In a few days when I have solidified it, I’ll move it to the navigation bar above. If you have any books to recommend for me, feel free to let me know and maybe I’ll add them to the list.

    • The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, by Jeff VanderMeer
    • Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
    • Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie
    • A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, by Eimer McBride
    • Viviane, by Julia Deck
    • The Way of Kings, by Branden Sanderson
    • Rock ‘n’ Roll, by Tom Stoppard
    • Being and Nothingness, by Jean-Paul Sartre
    • Dhalgren, by Samual R. Delaney (I did a little excited dance when this came in the mail)
    • Emma, by Jane Austen (How have I not read this before? I have read P&P, S&S, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey.)
    • The Parallax View, by Slavoj Zizek
    • The System of the World, by Neal Stephenson
    • The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • The History of Human Sexuality, by Michel Foucault
    • “The Library of Babel,” by Jorge Luis Borges (yes okay, it is a short story)

Em oi! #412: Foucault’s Elf

I was surprised, but also not surprised when B told me about this conversation. After all, about a month and a half after we met, I went on vacation to Philly and sent him a postcard from the Eastern State Penitentiary, a panopticon prison based on Bentham’s ideas. And he decided not to dump me. Yay. I should have guessed that after all these years, my madness has rubbed off on him.

To be fair, that employer was kind of surveiller et punir. Click to embiggen.

It still kind of shocks me that the “elf on a shelf” thing has become, well, a thing that people do. I find it kind of creepy. But then I’ve always found Santa creepy too, even when I was a kid and desperate to have Xmas so that I wouldn’t be different from all the other kids in my class. I look forward to having children so I can forbid them from celebrating Christmas.

We’ll file this week’s comic under GT4991 L86 2015, for Manners and customs (General)–Customs related to public and social life–Festivals. Holidays–Special days and periods of time–Christmas–Special customs–Elf on a shelf. This isn’t explicitly listed, but it fits into the categorization right between “Pistol shooting” [GT4990] and “Santa Claus” [GT4992]. If you are about to say, “Em, what the hell is up with pistol shooting being listed under special Christmas customs?,” well, I want to commend you for asking the right (tough) questions.

Here are a few other Foucault comics for your reading pleasure. I would guess there are others, but I can’t lay hands on all of them right now.

There is some sort of philosopher threesome joke to be made here, but I ain't doin' it.
This was drawn three days before we got married! My hair has changed a lot since then. Bryan’s hasn’t. He can bench press a lot more now though.
I think this one is B’s favorite. It’s based more on The Birth of the Clinic.
My favorite comic ever. Also more Birth of the Clinic.
I don’t remember what happened here. Also, I drew this on notebook paper and tried to turn up the contrast to get rid of the lines. Good job, Em of eight years past.
Philosophers love cake because they understand the true meaning of life.

Em oi! #411: Shopping


This is the danger of encouraging people to read Shakespeare.

I have an excellent comic for Christmas coming up next week. Hopefully this offering, which I drew mostly freehand at a restaurant, will tide you over until then.

I was going to add a few notes about the Berbee Derby 5K, because it was a fun race, but I’m a bit late, so I’ll give the TL;DR version:

Did a 5.5 mile warm up because I was going to run with some slower friends; when we got to the race, they encouraged me to run at my own pace and then double back and meet them. Bryan had guessed I could finish in under 24 minutes, and I wound up doing it in 24:23, so I was pretty close. I finished just ahead of a fellow from my running group who is a 3:20 marathoner, and was initially elated to have beat him. Then I found out he’d actually just finished a 39-minute 10K and I felt less stoked. Doubled back and did the last half mile or so with my friends. Then home for nap before Thanksgiving.

Was that really TL;DR? Maybe a bit long. Lemme try again:

Ran a 24:23 5K after an absurdly long warm up and also while wearing my heavy sneakers.

Ah, there is proper conciseness. Concision? Something.

Let’s file this under PR2819 A3A L86 2015, for English literature–English renaissance (1500-1640)–The drama–Individual authors–Shakespeare, William–Separate works–King Lear–Texts–Selections. By editor.

Amongst authors, Shakespeare is kind of weird in LCC in that he has all the numbers PR2750-3112 devoted to him, while most authors are subarranged under one number by last name. So for example, the poet Claire Wahmanholm‘s number would probably be PS3624.A3[plus some other digits to put it in order with other stuff in the collection]; the author E. H. Lupton’s work might be filed under PS3612.U8[etc.]. (In a while, you’ll be able to see the actual call number here.) And you can see how those two numbers are only a few digits apart, because ALL post-2001 authors (authors’ surnames) beginning with L are fiiled under PS3612.A-Z, and all those beginning with W are filed under PS3624.A-Z. So I may have inadvertently messed up the number above slightly, because I don’t know if I have access to the correct sub-tables. But close enough is probably okay in this situation.