I really racked up some numbers on my booklist and I ended the year with a total of 97 books. Like the sales during the Christmas holiday period I added almost a quarter of the total in that last month. Twenty four different books, some graphic novels, were wolfed down in December of last year.
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by JK Rowling still continues to entertain me. What more could you want?
Lassie - The Wild Mountain Trail by IG Edmonds has Paul return home from school. He finds out his old friend Hank has suffered a head injury. Hank's gone home from the hospital but he's still a bit loopy. When he runs off into the mountains Paul and Lassie have to save him from himself and anyone else he might hurt. There's some crooks and a firebug on the mountain to complicate things. This is another Whitman book rom the fairly large series of Lassie books. You can read more about the series here. I only have two of them but I didn't look that hard for them. It was ok and while I'll keep it I don't know that I might want to read it again.
Kidnapped by Cole Fanning is a Walt Disney book from Whitman. Disney adapted the Robert Louis Stevenson novel into a movie and then wrote the book based on the movie's script. David Balfour comes to visit his uncle Ebenezer. The old man is a creep and a criminal. He gets a ship's captain to shanghai David and sell him into indentured servitude. The ship hits a large boat and Alan Breck Stewart is the only survivor. Once aboard it becomes clear the Captain will kill Alan for his money belt. Before that happens Alan escapes and takes David with him. David eventually gets back to his uncle for a spot of vengence. Not a bad story but not that well written. I might have read the Stevenson novel when I was a kid, it would have appealed more, but I'm not that interested in it today. I see those Whitman's and any with Disney, or 60's TV, connection seem to come home with me. They're nice quick reads and they do add a bit of variety to the fictional diet. It's another I'll keep but not re-read.
Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling is the 6th book but you should know that. Harry gets a potions book that used to belong to the Half Blood Prince and finally gets good grades in potions. Of course Snape isn't his teacher, Horace Slughorn is. Too bad all that great knowledge was destroyed in the fire that comes later. Way of the world, huh.
Mr Stink by David Walliams is about a girl who befriends a stinky man who sits on the bench near a store. It's set in the same world as his previous novel but only a couple of characters make the cross over. I found it charming, funny and at the library. The girl's mom is a go-getter who is running for local office and the dad has sadly been forced to give up his youthful pleasures for a family and such. Things work out nicely in the end. A delightful book that once again reminds us not to judge people by what you see. Valuable knowledge often comes from the oddest places. It's been adapted to BBC TV. I'm interested in seeing it.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling rounds out the series and I poured through it mighty fast. I think that was the 8th read through so I'll be taking a break for a couple of years. The page count is high enough in the series I could probably read twice that number of smaller books. I like books that are 150-250 pages, especially if I have to hold it for long. I'm reading an omnibus of Oz stories that has 1400 pages and I have to lay it on my desk at work to read it.
The Art Of Ray Harryhausen by Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton is Ray talking about his movies and the work that went into them. It's heavily illustrated with his art and there are plenty of interesting stories about his experiences making the stop motion animation for the films he worked on. I have a fondness for those films and have seen some of them several times. I fear the book would appeal more to the movie fan, but you never know, often getting into the mind of a highly creative person is well worth the visit.
Walt Disneys Uncle Remis Stories as retold by Marion Palmer takes the Joel Chandler Harris stories and sanitises them a bit for the Disney audience of hte 1950's and '60's. It's a large hardcover that's got a good number of illustrations. I wasn't that fond of them as I am of the Carl Buettner, or Paul Murray, illustrated stories that appeared in the Disney comic books. The stories are ok but it would be more interesting to read the originals.
Sword Woman And Other Historical Adventures by Robert E Howard was so dull and boring that I could hardly finish it. You would have thought I was water skiing across those pages.
Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets by Herge is the first of the Tintin stories. I read a modern English language reprint of the original 1930 black and white version of the story. It's the only Tintin story that was never redrawn for color publication. The story ran in installments in Le Petit Vingtième and then was packaged in book format. The art is much simpler and the story is twice as long as the more familiar color editions which run a uniform 62 pages. The story telling techniques aren't as refined as they would become. The humor in the story is cruder. I had bought an imported French language edition of the first three Tintin stories in the early 1970's but did not read French. I even tried translating the story with a French to English dictionary but it was difficult and I got bored with it soon enough. Due to my circumstances I was one of those Canadian kids that didn't take French in school. I learned German instead. In the story Tintin takes a trip to the Soviet Union. Tintin discovers what a shitty place Russia is and nearly gets shot by a firing squad.
A Tale Of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine has a young woman from a tiny village travel to the big city. She wants to apprentice as an actor but instead winds up apprenticing to a dragon. I really like Levine's books, she has a good style, interesting goings on and plenty of good plot stuff. There's a bit of mystery, some danger and a good bunch of characters. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes a bit of adventure and fantasy.
The Battle Of The Red Hot Pepper Weenies And Other Warped And Creepy Tales by David Lubar is another collection of his short, 2-4 page, stories that have weird things going on. Some are funny, some are dumb, some are entertaining and some are not. It's another thing I got on clearance at the Half Price Books. They must get too many Lubar books in so I find the occasional one in the clearance section. You can pop through them in a couple of hours and then forget about them.
Tintin In The Congo by Herge is the second story and I read the English language replica edition. The original story was packaged as a book in 1931 and the color edition was redrawn in 1946. There were more changes made to the story in 1975. It was the last of the Tintin color editions to get an English translation. For some reason I don't have a copy of the color edition. The story puts our boy reporter in the Belgian Congo where he blows up a Rhino. As I said the jokes were cruder. It's one of the many things that got changed when the story was redrawn. Tintin goes up against gangster Al Capone who has his fingers in a diamond smuggling operation.
Tintin In America by Herge is the third in the series of TinTin stories. The black and white edition came out in 1932 and the color in 1945. I read the latter though I have a copy of the former. Tintin makes a trip to Chicago and gets mixed up with gangsters. Al Capone makes an appearance. The gangsters try to kill Tintin and eventually they chase him into the west where he meets some Native Americans. It's all pretty silly for the most part but I enjoyed it.
Star Trek - The Prometheus Design by Sondra Marshak and Myana Culbreath was one of several Star trek paperbacks for half a buck each a while back and every now and again I read one. While investigating the violence on Helvan the crew get infected. It's not a very good story and dull on top of that. Best I toss this one out.
The Case Of The Shapely Shadow by Earl Stanley Gardner has Perry Mason help the secretary of a real estate broker figure out a blackmail lot. About average for the series. I still don't find them as interesting as some of the other series that ESG wrote.
Hellboy 11 - The Bride Of Hell And Others by Mike Mignola collects more stories written by Mignola and drawn by other artists. I wish he would illustrate his own stories but there you go.
Hellboy - The Storm And The Fury by Mike Mignola is the 12th of hte Hellboy collections. It collects the two stories that Mignola wrote. Mostly I enjoy the character and his troubles.
Abe Sapien - The Devil Does Not Jest And Other Stories by Mike Mignola collects a bunch of Abe Sapien stories. I liked most of these too.
Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville is a silly short novel about a kid and some tiny aliens. He takes them to school where they have a fun time. There are plenty of gags and silly situations. Coville writes well enough and the story moves along quickly. It's not a keeper and I'll pass it along to the bookstore for some credit.
Tintin - The Cigars Of The Pharoah by Herge is the 4th of the series. The original black and white story was serialized in 1934 and the color edition was done in 1955. Tintin is on a cruise in the Mediterranean when Interpol detectives Thompson and Thomson accuse him of smuggling. That leads to a chase to Arabia and eventually India. There's a pretty good mystery and we meet some of the longer running characters like the stupid Interpol detectives and master villain Rastapopoulos.
Tintin - The Blue Lotus by Herge continues the previous story with Tintin in China during the Japanese invasion. The black and white art was collected and published as book in 1936. The color edition came out ten years later. It's one of my favorite covers.
Tintin - The Broken Ear by Herge has Tintin in south America chasing after the mystery of the stolen fetish. The 6th story first was collected in 1937. The color edition came out in 1943. We meet General Alcazar for the first time.
Tintin - The Black Island by Herge has another of my favorite covers. It's got a good story and Tintin rockin' a kilt. The 7th story came out originally in 1938, it was redawn in 1943 for color publication and again in 1966. Once again Thompson and Thomson think Tintin is involved with a crime but of course they are wrong. Tintin is investigating some counterfeiters and the story leads them to England and eventually the black island off the coast of Scotland.
All in all a nice bunch of stories to read. Most of the books are keepers.