Reto Meier's Reading List

In 2010 I started keeping track of the books I've read. I figured if I was keeping track I might as well share it. Books are listed in reverse order of reading, those marked [K] were read on my Kindle, [HC] indicates a hard cover.

I also maintain this Google Books library of the books I've read this year.

Die a Little [K]
Megan Abbot
    Liked it. A pretty good modern noir centered around a couple of female leads. I like the way the author has flipped the gender roles without straying from the classic noir style and structure. That said, I felt like the story meandered for a long stretch in the middle without the simmer and build that the best Chandler and Hammet stories do so well.
The True Story of Butterfish
Nick Earls
    Liked it. If you're not in / from Australia there's a very good chance you've never heard of Nick Earls, which is a shame. I'm a big fan of his early work -- 48 Shades of Brown in particular is a personal favourite -- but his newest stuff has left me cold. Butterfish is a return to form, though it never quite crosses over to "great", and the ending is a little flat.
Hell House [K]
Richard Matheson
    Liked it. I'm a huge Matheson fan, but this book was just ok. There's the trademark slow build and some genuinely terrifying scenes -- his talent is in building horror from an almost entirely psychological perspective and that talent is once again on show here. That said, this story never quite builds to the level of tension and terror as my favorite (I am Legend -- one of my very favorite books). Good, but not great.
Among the Missing [HC]
Richard Laymon
    Liked it. There's guilty pleasures, then there's Laymon. At this point I think I must have read nearly his entire back catalog. That makes me sad on a number of levels. Doesn't make the books any less entertaining though.
A Dance with Dragons [HC]
George R. R. Martin
    Loved it. I was so looking forward to this release that I went to a midnight release party at my local bookstore. Having waited 6 years for this installment it's fair to say my expectations where high. That they were surpassed says a lot. Running in parallel time to A Feast for Crows, aDwD continues to build the tension and excitement that defined the first 4 books of the series. Some questions are answered, others posed, and the stage is set for the Winds of Winter.
Memories of the Future - Volume 1 [K]
Wil Wheaton
    Loved it. Having been completely obsessed a fan of Star Trek in my youth, Wil "Wesley Crusher" Wheaton's retrospective review of each season one episode were a must read when they first appeared on TV Squad. Wil is a talented author and his insider accounts of each episode make these a must read. The volume collects each of these witty, funny, and intelligent reviews in one place. All I can say is "bring on Volume 2!".
Model Behavior
Jay McInerney
    Liked it. This was my first McInerney book, but won't be my last. The plot is somewhat lightweight and it's a little slow to get started, but the prose is poetic and the insights razor sharp.
The Contortionist's Handbook
Craig Clevenger
    Liked it. Very reminiscent in style of early Chuck Palahniuk, it's an intense and engrossing novel that's hard to put down. For me, it didn't quite live up to the billing, and the ending was somewhat anti-climactic, but a good read nonetheless.
Some Girls Are
Courtney Summers
    Loved it. Dark, intense, and incredibly engaging. It starts with the worst day of the protagonist's life and goes down-hill from there. A thoroughly entertaining YA novel that shows just how grim high school can be, and you survive it.
A Kingdom Besieged [HC]
Raymond E. Feist
    Loved it. Hell yes baby! Fiest is back to his best in this first book of the Chaos War series that represents the ultimate conclusion of the Riftwar Cycle. As the first book in a trilogy this is all about building. Tension, characters, and narrative are all impeccably constructed, providing enough pay-off to make it a great stand-alone book, but definitely leaving you anxiously awaiting the next book.
Looking for Alaska
John Green
    Loved it. A captivating young-adult novel that tells a coming of age story about a young man who heads for boarding school in search of "the Great Perhaps". What he finds there is at times more than he bargained for. Great story featuring intriguing characters.
Woman in the Dark
Dashiell Hammett
    Loved it. It's more of a short novella than a novel, and it's not his best work, but second rate Hammett is better than the best of pretty much everything else.
American Pastoral [K]
Philip Roth
    Liked it. The protagonists of the first novel of Roth's second Zuckerman trilogy are markedly different from those in the Roth books I've read so far, but the insights and social commentary remains as sharp as always. A little too ponderous and contemplative too rank amongst my favorite of Roth's novels, but an excellent read nonetheless.
Hull Zero Three [HC]
Greg Bear
    Loved it. I dreamt I was trapped in the titular starship after a late night spent reading this. Some of that may have been caused by eating too much cheese, but I think Bear's storytelling deserves much of the credit.
    I love Bear when he's writing hard sci-fi in deep space in the distant future. This book adds a fair helping of horror to the mix, in the thoughtful manner of Moon. Thrilling, frightening, captivating.
No Sanctuary [K]
Richard Layman
    Liked it. There's really no excuse for reading a Richard Layman novel. The good news is you don't need one. This one was published after Layman's death based on unfinished manuscripts. It's not his best novel, but has all the violence, sex, and BBQs any Layman fan should expect.
Zendegi [K]
Greg Egan
    Bored. Interesting premise based around virtual reality and the morality around what constitutes sentient artificial intelligence, but ultimately a let down. I give Egan more chances than most as he's an Australian SciFi Author, but in truth he's pretty hit and miss. Too much moralizing, not enough story telling.
The Graveyard Book [K]
Neil Gaiman
    Loved it. Unlike most people (or so it seems), I prefer Gaiman's novels to his graphic novels. This one is aimed at younger readers, but his prose is no less thrilling and enchanting for it. Great book.
A Maze of Death [K]
Philip K. Dick
    Like it. One of the things I love about Dick is that you never know quite what you're going to get. This is one of his more narrative novels - it's laid out like a sci-fi suspense thriller. Shit gets pretty real, pretty quickly, and the ending is as depressing as you'd expect from anything penned by PKD. Worth a read, but not up to the standard of A Scanner Darkly or Martian Time-Slip.
Portnoy's Complaint [K]
Philip Roth
    Liked it. Vintage Roth at the top of his game - though I'm probably a decade or so too old to fully appreciate much of the humour. Of what I've read of Roth so far, I preferred both Sabbath's Theater and The Plot Against America - that said I've been saving the Zuckerman novels for some kind of literary rainy day, so there's a good chance the best is still to come.
The Sirens of Titan [K]
Kurt Vonnegut
    Liked it. I've put of reading tSoT for years, "why, in God's name WHY!?" you might well ask. Well it's mainly because completing it means I've now read every novel, play, and short story Mr Vonnegut released in his long and illustrious life. 
    It doesn't hit the heights of my favourite Vonnegut books (namely the incredibly underrated Mother Night (one of my favourite novels - and films - of all time) or the incomparable Slaughterhouse-Five), but that's no reason to put it off as long as I had.
I Shall Wear Midnight [HC]
Terry Pratchett
    Liked it. The Tiffany Aching books aren't my favourite arc in the Discworld universe, but that's probably because they're targeted at younger readers. Entertaining as always, but not as dark or funny as my favourite Discworld books.
The Cobra [HC]
Frederick Forsythe
    Liked it. Forsythe knows how to write a compelling thriller, but his newer novels feel like they're a little too contrived - particularly the endings which **SPOILERS** leave me feeling like the bad guy has been cheated from a deserved victory. The chance gust of wind that saves the day in The Day of the Jackal seemed legit, the twists in his newer novels - not so much.  ** END SPOILERS **
The Minority Report and Other Classic Stories
Philip K. Dick
    Liked it. A collection of shorts that includes several that were either the basis or inspiration (intentional or otherwise) for sci-fi including Minority Report, Total Recall, Screamers, and Battlestar Galactica. In all cases I found the stories vastly superior to the films, all of which feature typically Dickian endings - the happiest of which can be described as "grim".
The Penultimate Truth
Philip K. Dick
    Loved it. Imagine a plot reminiscent of Wag The Dog, set in a dystopia similar to Nineteen Eighty-Four, but more depressing. What's not to love?
The Big Sleep [HC]
Raymond Chandler
    Loved it. This isn't the first time I've read this, the first of Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels, and it won't be the last. The only thing wrong with these books is that there aren't more of them. 
The Abstinence Teacher
Tom Perrotta
    Bored. Just wasn't feeling this one. Perrotta is known for creating rich and complex characters, but this novel felt like all build-up and no pay-off.
Shadow on the Sun
Richard Matheson
    Liked it. I grabbed this having been on the lookout for more Matheson since reading I Am Legend (which is f**king awesome, unlike the movie which was delivered by fail boat from fail island and makes me want to punch someone - probably Will Smith, but possibly also Mark Protosevich and Francis Lawrence - in the face.) 
    SotS doesn't live up to that standard, but it's still a good, if short, horror novel set in the old west.
Glamorama [HC]
Brett Easton Ellis
    Liked it. I loved American Psycho and enjoyed The Rules of Attraction (the latter of which is a pretty good film too), but Glamorama didn't quite work for me. Like Lunar Park it had plenty of good ideas, but for me they never coalesced into a truly cohesive or engaging story.
Raymond Chandler
    Loved it. The last of Chandler's Marlowe books, the weary cynicism of it's author is reflected in the story. Hard boiled awesomeness.
Coalescent (Destiny's Children, Book 1)
Stephen Baxter
    Bored. Long, drawn out, and played out. The portions of the story set in ancient Britain were interesting, but the modern sci-fi angle left me cold. No temptation to read the remaining books in the series.
Voices From the Street [HC]
Philip K. Dick
    Bored. All the decent into depression and madness you'd expect from Dick, but without the dystopic sci-fi to soften the blow. This is one of his few "mainstream" novels, set in the US in the 1950s. This remained unpublished for a long time for a reason, his later work is tighter, more interesting, and ultimately more satisfying.
Unseen Academicals [HC]
Terry Pratchett
    Loved it. Pratchett introduces football (of the soccer variety) to the Discworld by way of the Unseen University Academicals. Funny, flippant, awesome.
At the Gates of Darkness (Demonwar Saga, Book 2) [HC]
Raymond E. Feist
    Loved it. Certainly not his best book, but still a satisfying conclusion to the Demon War Saga. The whole Demon War was pretty pretty obviously an extended set up for The Chaos War -- the final battle for Midkemia and effectively the conclusion of the entire Riftwar Cycle. 
    I'm looking forward to that even more than A Dance With Dragons. Between A Kingdom Besieged to read and A Game of Thrones to watch, 2011 promises some epic fantasy indeed.
Music for Torching [HC]
A. M. Holmes
    Epic Win. Easily my favourite book this year. I love a book that explores the darkness at our core - and when the lives of your protagonists comes up second best when compared to Bubbles (at least he knows he's got a problem), you know they're in a pretty dark place.
    It's hard to describe A. M. Holmes books, particularly if you're avoiding spoilers so I won't. Suffice to say MfT is more narratively cohesive than the wonderful - though decidedly surreal - This Book Will Save Your Life. Highly recommended. 
Mariposa [HC]
Greg Bear
    Liked it. I prefer Bear's hard space sci-fi to his bio / techno thrillers. He's a good storyteller though, and this conclusion to Quantico is entertaining as always, though not as epic in scale as some of his earlier works.
Juliet, Naked [HC]
Nick Hornby
    Loved it. I see this as something of a return to form for Nick Hornby (his last two books left me luke warm). Great characters, captivating story - nicely done.