Mark Terry

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

May I Recommend...

January 14, 2009
I'm looking at my reading list for 2008. I read 57 books last year. I thought I'd pick some books off that list to recommend and lean toward ones that I thought were good, but you may not have heard of. (After all, I re-read the first 5 Harry Potter novels, which need no recommendation here, I don't think). My recommendations, then, will be books that I thought were a little different (for me). So, without further ado...

1. The Last Colony by John Scalzi. This is SF and frankly, don't read it unless you've read the two earlier books, Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. But since those two books rock, you should go ahead and read them, too.

2. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. This won best first novel by International Thriller Awards. Hill is Stephen King's son, so I felt slightly snarky picking it up, figuring his success had something to do with name recognition. And then I devoured it. Seriously creepy, very well done, and although I haven't heard anyone else say it, he's a better writer than his old man, but they seem to have a lot of interests and thematic materials in common.

3. Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams. When a famous sculptor is diagnosed with an incurable cancer, he hires a hacker to sneek a peek at his New York Times obit. There's a mistake in there about his late wife and when he starts to poke into fixing it and where the wrong information came from he discovers that much of what he knew about his wife was a lie. On every level, a terrific novel.

4. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Middle grades and pretty damned hilarious. Where the main character (evil genius Artemis, who is only about 12 years old) is both hero and bad guy.

5. House of Rain: Tracking A Vanished Civilization Across The American Southwest by Craig Childs. He basically spent 4 or 5 years visiting--often walking to--Anasazi ruins in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and into Mexico, trying to find out what happened to them. Beautifully written if rather slow, but man, did I learn a lot about anthropology and archaeology. It opened up my world.

6. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan. The 4th book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Percy is a demigod, the son of Poseidon and he spends his summers at Camp Half-Blood with other demigods, but has to go out on a quest. Great fun.

7. Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes That Run Our Government by Dana Milbanks. A wonderful, disturbing and hilarious look at recent political scandals here in the U.S.

8. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. A travel narrative about Australia. Bryson's a genius and hilarious as well.

9. Antarktos Rising by Jeremy Robinson. A tech thriller/horror novel/post-apocalyptic/huh? novel. What a pleasant surprise. Earth undergoes a devastating shift in its mantle. Most of North America is now where the north pole used to be, billions are dead. Antarctica is suddenly a tropical paradise (of sorts) and the remaining countries and alliances agree to stage a contest to split the continent into 3. Each group sends a team to the center of the continent, which has grown into a rain forest in a matter of months. Unfortunately, deep beneath the ice there were also dinosaurs and, uh, well, let's just say there were some surprises in store in this book that blends science, fantasy, religion, mythology, adventure and damned near everything else into a fast-paced adventure. A lot of fun.

10. The Ghost Agent by Alex Berenson. Actually, I think that's the UK title. In the US I think it was called The Ghost War. Either way, it was pretty much everything I thought an espionage novel should be--engaging, intriguing characters, lots of action, inside information, intelligent geo-political thoughtfulness, etc.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

I haven't read many thrillers this year, but I did love Ghost Wars. My favorite thriller writers didn't have a release this year: Joseph Finder and Barry Eisler.

I've been suddenly seized by vampires, way late in the game.

8:41 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Forgot: I loved Lee Child's latest!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I've got Lee Child's latest, just haven't read it yet.

Barry's got a new non-Rain book coming out in February or March.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I am so happy to see THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH on your list. I think Rick Riordan's books are inspired, in an "I wish I'd thought of that" kind of way.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Richmond Writer said...

I tried to read a book a week and was unable. I'm impressed.

5:20 AM  
Blogger Variance Publishing said...

If you liked Robinson's Antarktos Rising, you'll definitely enjoy his newest coming out next Tues (Jan 20), KRONOS. Check it out at - not only is there a description of the book, but sample chapters! Enjoy!

11:07 AM  
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