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Book/Movie List for 2006

Books
1. 01/02Thud , Terry Pratchett
Wonderful Discworld book starring Sam Vimes, a study of racial violence and hatreds, inner policing, and city/political life with a charming romance sidebar. Borrowed from oneleggedman.

2. 01/13 The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
Yuck, cloying, nasty stuff. Not really fantasy it reminded me a lot of fuckin' Jonathan Livingston Seagull 70's crap.

3. 03/12 The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
It was really good, next book I read I'm taking notes since otherwise 'it was good' or 'I hated it' is about all I'm left with.

4. 03/22 The Atrocity Archive, by Charles Stross. It was Hawesome! Love Bob, love the Laundry, can't wait for more.

5. 04/13 Toast, by Charles Stross. Collection of previously published short stories, some of which (he admits in the updated intro) are already outdated, by passed by events. They were ok but not as gripping as the Laundry stuff.

6. 05/08 Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Very good fantasy novel, start of a series. Liked the world and it's religion which is the source of all magic that's in the book. Read for Phandemonium book group but picked up book two in the series before I was done with the first. Now back to _Catch-22_, bah.

6.5 05/12 Catch-22 Bagged it. Forced myself to get halfway through and felt it had nothing more to teach me. War is absurd and horrible, people are crazy. That's it.

7. 05/15 Proven Guilty, by Jim Butcher. The eighth Harry Dresden book it was just as much fun as the others but he continues to improve his writing as he goes. I thought it was his best book yet, but he managed to indulge himself (rather childishly)by having Harry mouth iconic lines from movies ('Get away from her you Bitch!' and "How about a little fire, Scarecrow?")which pulled me out of that world. Also there were the usual number and type of Chicago mistakes. But things are moving along, Harry's growing in power and will, but the stakes are getting larger as well. He and Ebenezar think they've detected a far-reaching conspiracy they dub the Black Council. Also, at the end there was an ad, written by Butcher, for his Codex Alera series. I didn't care for an ad at the back of a hardcover. I do like that series though.

8. 05/30 Worldwired, by Elizabeth Bear. Third and what looks like final book in the Jenny Casey series. I enjoyed all three books and look forward to having the time to re-read them. Bear has a few new titles coming out and I'm anxiously awaiting those as well. She writes decent characters with pathos and humor. And lots of plot.

9. 05/31 The Hidden Family by Charles Stross. Wonderful sequel to the first book, Charlie recently said on his LJ that there should eventually be seven books in the series and that it will be changing shortly from a fantasy series to a science fiction one. Some suprises and some stuff that shouldn't have been a surprise. Miriam and Paulie were still themselves though so I liked it.

10. 06/04 The Life of the World to Come, by Kage Baker. The sixth book in her "Company" series was a great read, right up until the end, when it just stopped. She didn't even pretend to have an ending. This is not the first time that I've been surprised by the text running out when the story hadn't even been slightly resolved, and once again this was achieved by means of a 'bonus' chapter (from a book I read years ago, but that's being reissued by Tor)so there seemed to be much more book left than there actually was. Still most of the book was about Alec so that was good and we saw some of the 'great minds' in charge of Dr. Zeus. Yowza. That was the scariest bit.

11. 06/07 Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. Grace lent me this one after I had mentioned someone recommended it to me. She was very enthusiastic about it, and rightly so. It is definitely the start of a series with a a few revelations but many mysteries left unsolved. McKinley doesn't seem to even have book two in the works. It's a 'vampire shagger' but a cut above the usual and I like the world that she built and the main character as well.

I would swear that I read one book in between 11 & 12, but I can't for the life of me remember what it would be. Nor can I find a likely suspect on my shelves

12. 07/04(?) Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler. Fabulous book, I wished there was more and am hoping that Parable of the Talents is a sequel. Set in the near future (the scarily near future) its a coming of age story that becomes a road story. I would like to read a story set a few hundred years (at least) after Earthseed's founding.

13. 07/14 Yes Man, Danny Wallace. Very entertaining book, at least as good as Join Me. It's the story of what happens when because of a random comment by a stranger Danny decides to say "Yes" to everything for six months. He tells a good story and it's littered with great anecdotes and laugh-out loud one liners. Glad I never read the back of the book though as it spoils the whole thing (or would have for me), but even knowing how his story comes out (for now, he's always up to something new though) it would have been worth reading.

14. 07/31 Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear. Start of Bear's triology set in Faery and NYC. I liked it a lot, very different from the Jenny Casey books and I'll definitely have to read it again to get everything out of it that she put in there.

15. 08/22 The World Before, KAren Traviss. "The world before" turns out to not only be the wess'har home world but a rather clumsy analogy for 'The Past'. I forced myself to finish it to complete the triology and by the end the "Shan-worship" was getting to be a bit much. It's discouraging to read a book you can't reccommend.

16. 08/26 The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell. Incredible, best book I've read all year, dense with ideas and very thought provoking about many issues, not just faith. It was intended as an inditement of the Columbian revisionists. I'll definitely read the sequel.

17. 09/19 Fistfull of Charms, Kim Harrison. Another Rachel Morgan book, barely self-contained, not recommended for anyone who hasn't read them all. It was ok but had too much description (as filler) in some places and not enough in others. Upon finishing it, it felt like a giant "As you know Bob" that she needed to write to get where she wants to be for the next book. Not sure whether I'll pick the next one up though.

18. 10/22 Lady of Mazes, Karl Schroeder. For the Close Reading Group. It was quite good but for various reasons I didn't finish it until a half hour into our meeting. Very good consideration of what it means to be free and what the impact technology has on our realities. It's loosely part of a series that I'm now interested in reading, Good choice Jason.

19. 10/28 Freakonomics, Steven D. Leavitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I think Malcom Gladwell does the same thing better. His conclusions are more wide ranging and thought provoking than these two as well. Yes they come to some surprising conclusions but they use statistics for all of it and never really address the fact that statistics can say whatever you want them too. Plus their logic trails are a little convoluted at times. It was ok but I'm not sure who to give it to and I won't be reading it again.

20. 11/08 To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Phillip Jose Farmer. The first book of the Riverworld series and probably the last one I'll read. I picked it up as I thought, 'it's a classic, a book I _should_ read'. Well, now I have. I didn't care for the very dated portrayal of women (mainly providers of sex, if they did anything else at all it was noteworthy) and the main character wasn't really developed, so much as stolen, from history. Meh.

21. 11/22 Midnight at the Well of Souls, Jack Chalker. This was for November's Close Reading group. It was somewhat similar to book #20 but one of the main characters? Is God. Dumb. Dumb dumb book. Only finished it 'cause I wanted to see how it ended. Barry told me but....anyway, I don't feel the need to keep it or read any other Well World books. It's a Baen book, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

22. 12/07 Something from the Nightside, Simon R. Green. 'Set-up' book for a Dresden-esque series about a PI who's 'gift' is finding things (including the death of specific people). He's not as engaging or funny a narrator as Harry though and the plot (for this book) was a little thin. It's main job was to introduce the Nightside and characters, but...I may pick up subsequent books but not before reading others higher on my list.

Movies
1. 01/06 "Profit" dvd box set. Watched the show when it was on, the dvds have commentary by Himself and David Greenwalt. Good fun.

2. 01/08 "King Kong" Second viewing actually, drifted off in the same spots as before (quiet bits near the end). It was ok, but I still think it's a very silly story indeed. Peter Jackson made the best movie of it he could have but still....

3. 01/14 "Casanova" with Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller The best way I can describe this movie is that it takes itself more seriously than "A Knight's Tale" but I was still deeply shocked that Jeremy Irons' character wasn't allowed to say "You have _no_ idea". That's the kind of movie it was. Very pretty city, people and clothes though. Definite costume Oscar.

4. 01/22 "Underworld: Evolution" It was every bit as silly and unnecessarily complicated as the first "Underworld", I only rolled my eyes about five times. Also what was Derek (Sir Derek) Jacobi doing in this movie? Seriously, unless he thought he had a chance with Scott Speedman?

5. 01/27 "Derailed" at the LaGrange. Liked it, CO did a decent American accent and it also had Vincent Cassel playing a Very Bad Man. Also RZA was very good. A decent thriller.

6. 03/04 "Fun with Dick and Jane" at the LaGrange again. It was worth about $2. Jim Carrey was amusing and the story was updated to within a hair of it's life but it was good fun.

7. 03/12 "Tsotsi" at the CineArts in Evanston. Loved it, even with the not-happy ending it wasn't actually a downer. Not sure how that happened. Loved the music as well, not really township jive, don't know it's official name but I will be looking for stuff from ZOLA until I find it.

8. 03/22 "Brokeback Mountain" (Finally) at AMC30 (with inept wandering afterwards). It wasn't as slashy as I thought, it was actually a relationship movie with the defining part of the relationship being that they had to keep it secret. It was good but possibly "Crash" should have won, I don't know, I haven't seen it yet. Both guys did a great job but Heath Ledger had a trickier part and more screen time so I can see why he got the nod.

9. 03/24 "The Libertine" Movie of the play about John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester and Rysmiel says it better than I... "And by goodness, are we dropped in it; murkiness, cynicism, bad behaviour and seventeenth-century vulgarity abound."
The Libertine is a convincing and pretty much flawless recreation of a dirty and generally vile setting, full of unpleasant people, mud, and poorly-lit locations; it opens with a brief prologue of Rochester speaking directly to camera, advising us that we will not like him, which is absolutely true. I found it interesting and worth watching, but I can see it not being to many tastes."

10. 03/25 "Inside Man" was better (I thought) than the reviews would indicate. One of the things I enjoyed was Spike Lee giving Chewitel Ejifor the traditional 'black sidekick' role and ONLY that. He didn't get to do anything besides 'as you know Bob' stuff and crack jokes. Everyone was good, very subtle, I'll definitely see it again ('cause, you know, Chewitel and Clive). The music was good as well, may get the soundtrack.

11. 03/25 (Yes, two movies in one day, also a tiny bit of bad squirrlieness) "Crash" (finally!) This one was really good, thought about buying it and watching it again, for two reasons, 1) I'm a sucker for those intertwined story plots, 2) I'm sure the more I watched it the more I would get out of it. It was full of good performances about people who all thought they were doing the right thing, or if not the right thing then the best thing. Still not getting the movie of the year, although it was..quite the achievement....ok, got it. It didn't contain earthshattering ideas but something that needed to be said, and this complex story was the best way to say it.

12. 03/27 "Stone Reader" on DVD (from Dave Eckhardt). This was good but just that, good, not great, not life-changing. But it was a movie about books made by a guy who obviously loves to read. Liked it enough to watch the commentary version and extras.

13. 03/28 "Transamerica" at (where else) AMC Cantera. Only person in the theater until a few minutes into the actual movie when someone came in and sat in the middle of the theater. Weird, but cool. Movie was very good, Felicity Huffman was great as was the kid. The small cast really was awesome.

14. 04/06 "Big Trouble in Little China" on DVD. I really hated this at first but after watching it with the commentary and understanding what they were trying to do, I liked it better. Not enough to watch it again, 'cause after watching it once cold, and once with commentary, I'm done.

15. 04/30 "Brick" at the Esquire with Jason. It really was like a feature length 'Veronica Mars' on crack, or rather heroin. Thomas Gordon-Levitt was great as the protagonist and the mystery was typical noire but with a modern day high school as it's backdrop. Good stuff, glad I made the effort.

16. 05/07 "Mission Impossible:III" at the Marcus with Carol, Paul and DJ. It was what it was supposed to be, very like the first two only with fewer supporting cast members.

17. 05/27 "X-Men III-The Last Stand", at Showplace Cinemas in Davenport with Becky. It was an X-Men movie pretty much. I thought it was to be the last one but after the credits there was a bit of set-up so the series could be continued.

18. 06/04 "An Inconvenient Truth", at the Century on Clark. This was Jason's idea and it looked like we'd be the only two showing up, but we wound up with Tom, Pam, Mike (a cow-orker of Jason's), Nina, Rich, Karen and me. The movie was worthwhile and made the connection between global warming and carbon dioxide levels very plain. The most jarring statistic though was that out of a sample of 900 and some scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, NONE of them questioned that global warming was real and a serious issue. Out of the same size sample from the popular press 53%!!! said global warming doesn't exist and/or questioned the connection between higher carbon dioxide levels and rising temperatures. Everyone else went out for food after but I had laundry and grocery shopping to do yet.

19. 07/01 "Nacho Libre", at the Marcus, Carol and DJ laughed the whole way through, I chuckled a couple times. It wasn't nearly as good at "Napoleon Dynamite". It was pretty much an hour and half of Jack Black being Jack Black. Whoopee.

20. 07/02 "The Devil Wears Prada" at the Yorktown. It was good, but not quite what I was expecting. Meryl Streep was good but no better than anyone else would have been. Loved the Hunky Writer and Nigel (Stanely Tucci) though, they rocked!

21. 07/20 "Krrish" at AMC Cantera. Seen mostly due to rysmiel's reccommendation, it was exactly as promised. I enjoyed it very much. The action was decent, the songs were ok, but the dancing and the leading man were really great.

22. 07/22 "Clerks II" at the Kerasotes at Webster Place (featuring monitoring by Big Brother) It was great! Too funny. Loved the big dance number (no I'm not kidding). I liked the whole thing, especially Elias. He was hilarious.

23. 07/25 "A Prairie Home Companion" at the Glen. Utterly delightful and charming, if one is a fan of or even likes the show, and butt-boring and treacly if not. I loved it to death. It was Altman's love letter to the show, just wonderful, especially Virginia Madsen and Kevin Kline.

24. 08/05 "Talledaga Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby" at the Marcus. Saw it with Kevin, DJ, Carol, and Grace. It was funny, not hilarious or even as funny as "Anchor Man" but it had it's moments, most of them were Jane Lynch's actually. Also it was a movie that made fun of NASCAR but expected its audience to find men kissing inherently funny.

25. 08/11 "The Descent" at Webster Place. With Rich, Jason, Kevin and Elliot. Jason's idea, an interesting and not _too_ gory horror movie, fun to see in a theater but I wouldn't have bothered with it at home. The jump out of your seat moments wouldn't be the same and people's reactions were funny. At one point an audience memeber called out "Al_right_ Sarah" when the main character was over killing a crawler. The original ending would have been kind of cool but I can see how it wouldn't sell well.

26. 08/13 "Scoop" at the Marcus with Kevin. Woody Allen's latest romantic comedy? Hard to describe, I'm still figuring out what to say about it.

27. 08/19 "Snakes on a Plane" at City North with Jason, Karen, Rich, Carneggy, Sarah, Justin and Rebecca. It wasn't as bad as we were hoping, I don't think I'd call it good either, just not as bad. There was actually a reason for the snakes to be on the plane and in attack mode. Julianna Marguillis was in it as well as SLJ and she helped.

28. 08/26 "A Scanner Darkly" at Piper's Alley with Kevin. It was odd, not sure what to make of it, not even sure what to call the technique they used to make it. Just weird. We ate at Tsunami beforehand though and that was very nice, the sushi was very good.

29. 10/16 "Little Miss Sunshine" at The Glen with Kevin. It was very sweet and much more of a comedy than I was expecting. They marketed it as a comedy but after "Spanglish" I really wasn't expecting it to be one. Very sweet and mostly realistic movie about a messed-up family. I'd see it again but don't need to own it. Went to dinner beforehand at Thipi Thai with Kevin. Dinner was good but more expensive than I remembered. Also I find it hard to believe I went for a month and a half without seeing a movie.

21. 11/18 "Stranger Than Fiction" at the Marcus. It was (as all the reviews said) a mess, but a cute engaging one and I see several of the directions they may have been going. Never saw Meister or his Camry but it was sweet and it's always nice to see Emma Thompson, Queen Latifah, and Maggie Gyllenhall.






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