Archive for January, 2012

Books read in 2011

January 10, 2012 Leave a comment

This is my annual summary of books that I have read during the year.  First some statistics:

I read 77 books this year, up from 64 last year.

Breakdown by genre (my definitions only)

Genre Count
Science Fiction 55
Fantasy 16
History 2
Biography 1
Historical Fiction 1
Children’s 1
Trivia 1

Unlike last year, where fantasy was the primary genre, science fiction made up the vast bulk of my reading list.  This was largely due to a number of series which I read or re-read during the year.  In particular, I reread the Starship books by Mike Resnick, 15 of the Dragonriders of Pern series (some of which could arguably be called fantasy vs. science fiction), the Galaxy Unknown books by Thomas Deprima (I reviewed the first one somewhat negatively but the later ones got a bit better), and the first 11 books of the Honor Harrington series by David Weber.  I read the first three classic Dune books twice, partially to prepare for some chapter summaries which I am eventually going to do and partially because the audiobooks were loaded on my iPhone when I was out and about.

At long last, A Dance With Dragons was released which I devoured quickly.  The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt was particularly interesting and inspiring.


By media type

Media Count
Audio 34
Kindle 27
Physical book 16

Although I listened to the same number of audio books as last year, the largest change was in Kindle/electronic versions of books (last year there was a tie between the two).    For audio, I listened just over 395 hours during the year — almost 16 1/2 days!


  • The Infinite Day by Chris Walley (Christian science fiction)
  • Lord Sunday by Garth Nix (fantasy)
  • Dissolution by C.J. Sansom (historical mystery)
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (biography)


  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (biography)
  • So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane (young adult fantasy)
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini (fantasy)
  • Starship: Mutiny by Mike Resnick (science fiction)
  • Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick (science fiction)
  • Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr (fantasy)


  • Starship: Mercenary by Mike Resnick (science fiction)
  • Starship: Rebel by Mike Resnick (science fiction)
  • Starship: Flagship by Mike Resnick (science fiction)
  • Darkspell by Katharine Kerr (fantasy)
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (fantasy)
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (fantasy)
  • A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (fantasy)
  • A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (fantasy)
  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (fantasy)
  • Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Eldest by Christopher Paolini (fantasy, young-adult)
  • The Renegades of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Nerilka’s Story by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction/fantasy)
  • Live Free or Die by John Ringo (science fiction)
  • Citadel by John Ringo (science fiction)
  • Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction)
  • The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper (young adult fantasy)
  • Children of Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction)
  • The Hot Gate by John Ringo (science fiction)
  • God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction) re-read for project
  • A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (fantasy)
  • The Dolphins of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction)
  • A Galaxy Unknown by Thomas DePrima (science fiction)
  • Valor At Vauzlee by Thomas DePrima (science fiction)
  • The Skies of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction)
  • The Clones of Mawcett by Thomas DePrima (science fiction)
  • Dragon’s Kin by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction)
  • Milor! by Thomas DePrima (science fiction)
  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn (history/biography)
  • Castle Vroman by Thomas DePrima (science fiction)
  • Against All Odds by Thomas DePrima (science fiction)
  • The Birth of the Dread Remora by Aaron Rosenberg (science fiction)
  • The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace (science fiction)
  • Way Station by Clifford D. Simak (science fiction)
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (young adult fantasy)
  • Grandpa Hates the Bird by Eve Yohalem (childrens fiction)
  • Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (young adult fantasy)
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman (fantasy)
  • On Basilisk Station by David Weber (science fiction)
  • The Honor of the Queen by David Weber (science fiction)
  • The Short Victorious War by David Weber (science fiction)
  • Field of Dishonor by David Weber (science fiction)
  • Flag in Exile by David Weber (science fiction)
  • Honor Among Enemies by David Weber (science fiction)
  • In Enemy Hands  by David Weber (science fiction)
  • Echoes of Honor by David Weber (science fiction)
  • Ashes of Victory by David Weber (science fiction)
  • War of Honor by David Weber (science fiction)
  • At All Costs by David Weber (science fiction)


  • Children of Dune by Frank Herbert (science fiction)
  • Seinfeld: The Totally Unauthorized Tribute by David Wild (trivia, entertainment)
  • Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (science fiction)
  • The Winds of Dune  by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (science fiction)
  • Birthright: The Book of Man by Mike Resnick (science fiction)

Categories: annual summary

Review: The Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R. Delaney

January 3, 2012 2 comments

I have started to develop a fondness for some of the science fiction novels/novellas of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I find that many of the ideas are clever and the writing is very tight.  I had read two of Delany’s novellas, Empire Star (highly recommended) and Babel-17 which you can find together in an omnibus edition. I ran across The Ballad of Beta-2 at a local used bookstore recently.

The conceit of this story is an anthropological study of a ballad composed by the people of a multi-generational colony ship. A student is assigned the task to decipher the history and meaning of the song. The words of the song are intelligible, but have either highly stylized meanings or the original terms have evolved over time, making the real message obscure.

The protagonist travels to the site of the surviving ships in a small research vessel which has the technology to create temporal bubbles. Once there, he attempts to locate records, both written and sound recording, to explain what happened to the ships and their inhabitants.

I found the novella very original in its themes of language shifts, idioms, and imagery, which rendered the original song mysterious to other civilizations.  Like Empire Star, it’s a story that almost has to be read again immediately after finishing to fully enjoy the book.

4 out of 5 stars (finished January 2, 2012)

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