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Catching up on reading

Usually I tend to read non-fiction. This year has been mostly about catching up on the fiction so here’s what I’ve had going on since September.


The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery – Based against the background of one family with a very rare prion disease the book goes over the history of prion diseases in animals and people. It also covers the people who have been and are the big name workers in the field. There is a lot of good information here and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know about prions or mad cow.

American Sphinx – The Character of Thomas Jefferson – I started reading this after the primaries but before the election and it ended up being frustrating so I had to put it down. After the election I was able to pick it up again and enjoy it. The book shows clearly that our two party system and the style of politics in this country come from Thomas Jefferson. All the divisive attacks and casting everything as good vs evil or right vs wrong come from how he saw and presented his arguments. Good book, but not during elections.

Pathwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Colombus – Published in 1996, this is the first and only Orson Scott Card book I’ve read so far. His research into all the elements Columbus and the period are evident in the story telling and it makes for a good story.  I recommend this one too.

Misquoting Jesus – I always wondered if there were deleted scenes in the New Testament or who got to write it. This isn’t really the material that answers those questions but it’s close. It discusses why changes happened over the years and which people may have been responsible for which types of changes. The author shares his relationship to the bible in the introduction and it’s an interesting story of growth as well. I recommend this to anyone with any curiosity about religious history. The paperback version has some further Q&A with the author and a summary of responses to the book which are also interesting.

Star Wars

I fell behind on my Star Wars reading a bit last year so here is me catching up. Of course I’m starting to fall behind again now.

Star Wars Republic Commando: True Colors – Like the other Republic Commando novels this one is very good, probably even better than the second one. These books would not be a bad place to start reading republic era Star Wars.

Star Wars: Death Star – This book takes every story fragment relating to the death star in all the movies and novels and consolidates them all into one story. The author pair previously wrote the MedStar Star Wars books,  version of MASH set in the Star Wars universe and not done very well. None of those problems are present here and the stitching of the various stories works fairly well. Of course the ending is known in advance so you don’ thave to get too worked up over any characters.

Star Wars: Order 66 – A Republic Commando Novel – The final Republic Commando novel and it’s another good one. The result is a little predictable since it wraps up things you know are coming from the previous novels but it’s still a a good read.

Star Wars: Lecacy of the Force – Inferno – Inferno through Invincible continue the New Jedi Order books and there is familiar conflict in the galaxy but with a next generation Jedi thinking he has to bring peace.

Star Wars: Lecacy of the Force – Fury – This series also seems like a good time to kill off a lot of characters that have become familiar in the novels. The level of destruction is impressive.

Star Wars: Lecacy of the Force – Betrayal – The story told of Boba Fett and Mandalore in this series is a good one and it also ties in with the Republic Commando series. Karen Traviss writes the books that have a lot of Boba Fett in them.

Star Wars: Lecacy of the Force – Invincible – The climax is intense and the very end points the direction that will be taking place in the next story arc which looks to be heading towards the dark future portrayed in the Star Wars: Legacy comics.

The Clone Wars – This is a novelization of the pilot movie for the tv series. I haven’t seen the movie or the series but I have read some of the comics and it seems to stay in line with that. It’s pretty clearly aimed at a younger audience which at time is annoying. The best parts are those involving clone troopers because Karen Traviss, author of the Republic Command novels and Mandalorian authority wrote this.


I fell behind on the Shannarah reading in the last couple of years so I decided it was time to catch up on that too which I think clears me until 2014 when the next trilogy is scheduled to be completed.

Running With the Demon – Set if our time, this takes place a couple thousand years before the first Shannarah books written. It’s a different feeling book than the other Shannarah books and it took a little longer to grab me. I liked the portrayal of demons working among the humans.

A Knight of the Word – Ten years after Running With the Demon and this story is both interesting and frustrating. Frustrating because you know all along what one of the characters is going to need to do but they don’t see it until the end.

Armageddon’s Children – About 80 years after A Knight of the Word is how this “Genesis of Shannarah” series starts. The world is collapsing and it looks like a lot of movies told you it would look. It better highlights the troubles of survival in these times though. I think this is probably the best book of this trilogy. Good cliff-hanger too!

The Elves of Cintra – This book gets everyone where they need to be for the finale and it’s a fun book. You also get to see what the elves have been up to living in our world all this time.

The Gypsy Morph – The opening of this book also tells you part of the end. That’s not a bad thing since I found myself looking forward to it. The on-going allusion to the story of exodus in the series is even stronger in this book and works well. The series as a whole tells the history I’ve been curious about since the few lines of reference to our time in the first Shannarah novel. How did we get from here to there?

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