2008 Reading Record Comments
  The main Fargo Library has been knocked down and they've run out of money to finish the new library. I rely on Suzanne to supply me with books, but at some point I tire of 'Oprah' books. The O'Brian books come highly recommended and the entire series is on the shelf at the satellite branch library. I've always wanted to read at least one. I found they grow on you. I finished all 21 volumes plus a couple O'Brian side novels before the year was up. Throw in some John Grisham, some science fiction and a couple computer manuals, and you have my year in books.
The links below go to Amazon.com (click the title or the book image)
Page Count Grade 0-9 Date I finished Source (FPL: Fargo Public Library)
Playing For Pizza Playing For Pizza
A Novel
by: Grisham, John Rick Dockery a washed up NFL quarterback finds redemption playing football in Parma Italy. He also finds: wine, women, and pasta. The story is well written. Not very deep but a fun read. 258 pages 6.5 1/1/08 Victor
Mac OS X Hacks Mac OS X Hacks
100 Industrial Strength Tips & Tools
by: Dornfest, Rael and Hemenway, Kevin I was a little disappointed but due to the age of the book- it deals with 10.1, which is three generations older than the current Mac OS. I don't feel I learned much, although I did make some notes. It also deals with a lot of weird Unix hacks. This would be a good book to use if setting up a Mac Web Server. 380 pages 3.0 1/9/08 MSU
Heroes Heroes
From Alexander The Great And Julius Caesar To Churchill And De Gaulle
by: Johnson, Paul Suzanne gave me this for Christmas. Johnson writes some short biographies of his various heroes: men and women, famous and not, politician and religious, military and civilian, but always interesting. Heroes includes: Samson, Judith and Deborah; Alexander and Julius Caesar; Henry V and Joan of Arc; Thomas More, Lady Jane Grey, Mary Queen of Scots; Elizabeth I and Walter Ralegh; George Washington, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson; Emily Dickinson; Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee; Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle; Mae West and Marilyn Monroe; Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. I made some further notes. 284 pages 7.0 1/10/08 Craig
Street Lawyer, The Street Lawyer, The
by: Grisham, John I like the way Grisham writes, the story sucks you right in. The characters seem real and interesting. My only complaint was the story wasn't very interesting- at least compared to some of his earlier 'Lawyer' books. His troubles with his wife and then future girlfriend seemed bolted on. More could have been done with the back and forth between Michael and his old law firm of "Drake & Sweeney". 312 pages 4.7 2/14/08 Victor
Walt Disney World 2008 Walt Disney World 2008
Expert Advice From The Inside Source
by: Birnbaum Guides This guide was easy to go through and was helpful when I was planning my day with Sean at Hollywood Studios, but I read the entire book when I got home. My only complaint is the information is too factual and not enough editorial. Because it's an insiders look at Disney World they have nothing bad to say about anything. 263 pages 4.0 2/20/08 Suzanne
Linux For Non-Geeks Linux For Non-Geeks
A Hands-on, Project-Based, Take-It-Slow Guidebook
by: Grant, Rickford I just wanted something to look at while I was installing and playing around with Ubuntu Linux. This book was from 2004, but it already seemed out of date. It dealt with Red Hat Linux, not Ubuntu but it still covered all the topics I needed, especially using the terminal and using Linux commands. 286 pages 3.0 3/1/08 FPL
Cell Cell
A Novel
by: King, Stephen An interesting story about a group of people who fight off an invasion of 'zombies' after some 'terrorist' put a weird signal in all cell phones calls, which erases their brains and turns them into a hive. King made an odd choice by ignoring the attackers in the plot. The main characters speculate, but really they don't seem to care. The ending is abrupt and seems custom made for a sequel. The book reminded me of King's "The Stand". 351 pages 6.5 3/3/08 FPL
Master And Commander Master And Commander
The Aubrey / Maturin series #1
by: O'Brian, Patrick First in a long series about Jack Aubrey and his ship's surgeon Stephen Maturin set against the Napoleonic wars. It started slow and I thought I wouldn't read anymore, but by the end of the book I definitely want to read the next one. I still struggle with the terminology. The book was written in 1970 but the vocabulary is full 1800s nautical terms, with little or no explanation. Even Wikipedia wasn't much help. 412 pages 6.7 4/1/08 FPL
Post Commander Post Commander
The Aubrey / Maturin series #2
by: O'Brian, Patrick This is the 'Jane Austin' book of the series where Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin deal with the ladies on dry land while waiting for a commission and waiting for war to break out. 527 pages 6.9 4/18/08 FPL
Smoke And Mirrors Smoke And Mirrors
Short Fictions And Illusions
by: Gaiman, Neil I like his writing style. The short stories were interesting and each one made me want to read the next. The stories were more fantasy than Science Fiction, but they weren't too silly. There was a long introduction at the beginning of the book, where he talked about each story. It would have been better to split this up with each to follow its short story. Putting them all together in the front felt long and drawn out. I hadn't read the stories so the explanations were meaningless at that point. I ended up going back and reading them again. 339 pages 6.0 4/20/08 FPL
Memoir From Antproof Case Memoir From Antproof Case
A Novel
by: Helprin, Mark Oscar Progresso, an alias, tells a rambling story of his life, which sounds like Forest Gump. A lot of bad things happen to him, which he tries to make light of giving the novel some humor. The comedy is black but wasn't as funny as Suzanne made out. It was a fine story even if the chronology jumped around. 514 pages 7.0 4/25/08 Suzanne
Childhoods End Childhoods End
by: Clarke, Arthur C. I see it's been almost 32 years since I read this book. I picked it in homage to Clarke's recent passing. It is being reviewed on the "Laser and Sword" pod cast, so I picked this story over some others. The story was good and I can see it would have been ground breaking at the time 1953, but time hasn't been kind to it. The writing seems a little stiff and certain story elements seem odd- the way people behave. 212 pages 4.8 4/28/08 FPL
Endurance, The Endurance, The
Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by: Alexander, Caroline Men where tougher back in 1914. The closest I came to recreating ordeal of twenty months trap on an Antarctic ice flow was to turn my electric blanket down to four. But seriously the story is amazing. I still can't figure out how they stayed warm. It wasn't the cold so much as being constantly wet, the wind, lack of food, force marches, killer whales, and yes very cold temperatures. The original expedition photographs taken by Frank Hurley (the ship's photographer) are a highlight of this book. 204 pages 6.0 5/6/08 FPL
H.M.S. Surprise H.M.S. Surprise
The Aubrey / Maturin series #3
by: O'Brian, Patrick Aubrey and Maturin head east to Indian and Malaysia. They find trouble. Stephen is after Diana, which is a mistake, but he's in love. Captain Jack runs into the French Admiral and has to fight off an attack using some British company ships. It all turns out well. 379 pages 7.0 5/16/08 FPL
Mauritius Command, The Mauritius Command, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #4
by: O'Brian, Patrick My favorite so far. I like the way it starts: Captain Aubrey is married, but married life isn't working out. Dr. Maturin comes over and saves Jack by setting him off on an expedition to Mauritius off the coast of Madagascar. 348 pages 7.4 5/31/08 FPL
Light Of Other Days, The Light Of Other Days, The
A Novel
by: Clarke, Arthur C. and Baxter, Stephen The characters are weak and there isn't much of a plot. The book revolves around a technology and its affect on society and civilization. The technology is a wormhole you can see through- both back in time and anywhere in the universe. I noted some plot and character elements from "Childhood's End", which sort of bookend Clarke's life. 316 pages 4.0 6/1/08 FPL
Desolation Island Desolation Island
The Aubrey / Maturin series #5
by: O'Brian, Patrick This book features a great fight scene in the fridge stormy waters of 40 degrees south. Lucky Jack Aubrey barely escapes with a leaking ship (about to sink any minute) no rudder and over half the crew deserting. Meanwhile Dr. Maturin is playing counterintelligence to an American female spy. 325 pages 7.0 6/10/08 FPL
Titan Titan
by: Baxter, Stephen It all falls apart on Earth with an escalating war between the US and an old school Communist China. NASA disappears- attacked by the USAF. Just before it goes under they launch a one way mission to Titan using left over equipment. This wouldn't be too bad but the plot starts to disappoint. The writing was so-so. But I had no trouble staying motivated to read this long book. 676 pages 5.5 6/29/08 FPL
Suite Francaise Suite Francaise
A Novel
by: Nemirovsky, Irene A good novel but not great. The first 'Book' "Storm In June" was a good look at the effect the collapse of the French Army had on the civilian population. The second book "Dolce" was about German Occupation in a small French town. The second book was written better but less interesting. This book is no "Diary Of Anne Frank" although the result was the same for the authors. I read 2/3 of the book in January (including in Disney World) then the book ended up in my closet for six months. 338 pages 4.7 7/1/08 Suzanne
Golden Ocean, The Golden Ocean, The
by: O'Brian, Patrick This predates the Aubrey/Maturin series by over tens years. Although the book is written for a younger audience I liked it because it was fun, exciting, and did a better job of explaining nautical terms. 285 pages 5.0 7/8/08 FPL
Unknown Shore, The Unknown Shore, The
by: O'Brian, Patrick A fun story and the best book to start with if you're interested in O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, because this book explains many of the nautical terms used in the A-M series that O'Brian doesn't explain. Although the characters are different and the story takes place much earlier Jack Bryon and Tobias Barrow are obvious models for Aubrey and Maturin. 313 pages 6.8 7/23/08 FPL
The Fortune Of War The Fortune Of War
The Aubrey / Maturin series #6
by: O'Brian, Patrick Captain Aubrey and Dr Maturin get caught as POWs in American. They escape with Diana Villiers and then pick a fight with the only American Frigate on the way out. 329 pages 5.0 8/9/08 FPL
Widow Of The South, The Widow Of The South, The
A Novel
by: Hicks, Robert A good book but not a great book. The story is good and there is enough back story about the Battle of Franklin (of the Civil War) and it's immediate aftermath to make it interesting. The characters are interesting. They come alive and make the plot flow. The book jumps around with its Point of View, but it seems to work. 418 pages 6.3 8/15/08 Suzanne
Surgeon's Mate Surgeon's Mate
The Aubrey / Maturin series #7
by: O'Brian, Patrick No sooner do Jack and Stephen escape from the Americans (book 6) then they get caught by the French. More spying and less Naval action. Although some elements of this book are slow (Stephen Maturin's romance with Diana) there is enough action to keep the book moving along. It seems like the O'Brian books keep getting better. 407 pages 7.0 8/29/08 FPL
Arthur & George Arthur & George
A Novel
by: Barnes, Julian The book is Historical Fiction telling the parallel story of Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji and how their paths intersected. I wish an editor had removed the last chapter "Endings" and had tightened up the chapter where Arthur starts his relationship with Jean. It really slows the book down. 388 pages 5.0 8/30/08 Suzanne
Ionian Mission Ionian Mission
The Aubrey / Maturin series #8
by: O'Brian, Patrick Good start to a story that doesn't quite play out in this volume. 367 pages 5.0 9/25/08 FPL
Treason's Harbour Treason's Harbour
The Aubrey / Maturin series #9
by: O'Brian, Patrick Malta is full of Napoleonic agents. Aubrey and Maturin must deal with intrigue to save the lady and get out for their next adventure. 366 pages 7.0 10/9/08 FPL
Far Side Of The World, The Far Side Of The World, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #10
by: O'Brian, Patrick A cracking good story. Although elements of this book found themselves into "Master and Commander" the movie, the story is not the same. Instead Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin chase the American "Norfolk" into the southern Pacific Ocean. 366 pages 7.5 10/15/08 FPL
Reverse Of The Medal, The Reverse Of The Medal, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #11
by: O'Brian, Patrick A fun read. It starts thousands of miles and months later after the cliff hanger of "Far Side Of The World." O'Brian has this habit of ignoring his own cliff hangers. Sure he tells you want happened but only second hand and usually some chapters later. Captain Jack Aubrey gets tricked into yet another investment scheme. Then he gets arrested and thrown in jail. Maturin tries to help him but makes matters worse. Aubrey is found guilty, fined, kicked out of the Navy and sentenced to the pillory block. This last scene at the pillory is very emotional and ends with another cliff hanger. 287 pages 7.8 10/21/08 FPL
InDesign CS3 For Dummies InDesign CS3 For Dummies
Get Up To Speed Fast And Lay Out Your Projects Like A Pro!
by: Gruman, Galen I needed to layout a book and Adobe InDesign seemed like the best program to use. Freehand has been orphaned by Adobe, so I decided to learn InDesign. It has a huge learning curve. I didn't have too much trouble having used Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop and even Pagemaker before. This book did a fair job of filling in the holes. It was the only book I could find on InDesign at the library. 400 pages 3.6 10/24/08 FPL
Letter Of Marque, The Letter Of Marque, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #12
by: O'Brian, Patrick Librarian commented, "You really like those O'Brian stories." "Yes. They keep ending in cliff hangers." But this books ties up all the lose ends and makes for a nice spot to take a short break. The story is very good and is lighter with more humor than in past books in the series. 284 pages 7.4 10/28/08 FPL
Thirteenth Tale, The Thirteenth Tale, The
A Novel
by: Setterfield, Diane A Gothic Ghost Story but without the horror. It could also be read as a mystery, but the atmosphere in the books was its strong suit. The writing was crisp and there were times I did not want to put it down. p344 "But perhaps the answer is to stop writing altogether, for when I do write, even now as I write this very sentence, this very word, I am aware of a ghost reader who leans over my shoulder watching my pen, who twists my words and perverts my meaning, and makes me uncomfortable in the privacy of my own thoughts. It is very aggravating to be presented to oneself in a light so different from the familiar one, even when it is clearly a false light. I will not write any more." 406 pages 6.9 11/5/08 Suzanne
Thirteen Gun Salute, The Thirteen Gun Salute, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #13
by: O'Brian, Patrick A good read- this book sets up another story arc- as it ends with a cliffhanger. The focus of this story is on Stephen Maturin and his mission. 319 pages 6.0 11/14/08 FPL
Nutmeg Of Consolation, The Nutmeg Of Consolation, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #14
by: O'Brian, Patrick Shipwrecked in the South China sea, fighting off Malaysian pirates and making their way to the brutal penal colony at Botany Bay. 315 pages 6.0 11/24/08 FPL
Truelove, The Truelove, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #15
by: O'Brian, Patrick A lot of time is spent on board ship, with Mrs Oates, which disrupts the crew, followed by abattle on a Hawaiian Island with a Hawaiian Queen as an ally. 256 pages 6.5 11/30/08 FPL
Wine Dark Sea, The Wine Dark Sea, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #16
by: O'Brian, Patrick Captain Aubrey and the crew of the Surprise are pursuing an American privateer through the South Pacific. They run into trouble and almost don't make it out alive. 260 pages 6.5 12/5/08 FPL
Commodore, The Commodore, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #17
by: O'Brian, Patrick The boys (Captain Aubrey and Doctor Maturin) spend some time at home, where things are far from settled. But before they can get too settled, they are off to sea and down the coast of Africa to stop the slave trade. 282 pages 6.5 12/10/08 FPL
Paul Of Dune Paul Of Dune
by: Herbert, Brian and Anderson, Kevin J. I wasn't in the mood to read it but I thought "I better pick it up while it is still sitting out, at the library." Good thing I did, as I finished the book I was reading, Fargo got hit by a blizzard and I had nothing else to read. The more I read the better it got. By the end I was in the Dune groove and can't wait for the next book. This book falls between "Dune" and "Children Of Dune". Although it deals with all the characters, it sort of seems written from the view point of Princess Irulan. 512 pages 5.5 12/14/08 FPL
Yellow Admiral, The Yellow Admiral, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #18
by: O'Brian, Patrick Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin have problems on land. Jack's wife finds out about his affair in America. Even worse peace breaks out. Captain Aubrey's prospects of an admiralty aren't good and become dimmer at sea. Doctor Maturin convinces Jack to resign his commission to work for the independence of Chile, but before they get very far Napoleon has escapes from Elba; so it's back to the Royal Navy. 262 pages 6.0 12/20/08 FPL
Art & Science Of CSS, The Art & Science Of CSS, The
Create Inspirational, Standards-Based Web Designs
by: Adams, Cameron and Bolton, Jina; Johnson, David; Smith, Steve' Snook, Jonathan I got this book as a free download from sitepoint.com, which is a very good source for web coders. This books had some good ideas and was easy to follow how the code works. Some chapters were better than other. But for a couple years, it should be a good place to check for ideas and references. 208 pages 4.9 12/25/08 FPL
Hundred Days, The Hundred Days, The
The Aubrey / Maturin series #19
by: O'Brian, Patrick Napoleon escapes from Elba and returns to power. Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Maturin postpone their trip to Chile and intercept gold. O'Brian almost causally lets us know Stephen Maturin's wife, Diana, died in a carriage accident. 281 pages 6.5 12/26/08 FPL
Blue At The Mizzen Blue At The Mizzen
The Aubrey / Maturin series #20
by: O'Brian, Patrick Captain Jack Aubrey and Doctor Stephen Maturin head to Chile to help a new independent government fight off the new Peruvian government, and stir up trouble. All the while working for the British Admiralty on the side. Jack almost loses the 'Surprise' in a mid-sea collision. Stephen almost gets married to the widow Christine Woods. This is the last 'completed' novel in the Aubrey/Maturin series. 262 pages 6.7 12/29/08 FPL
  42 Books / 14,297 Total Pages