Books for December

Books I read in December.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. A bad man becomes an invisible man. At the time it was published it was probably an exciting read but now not so much. Besides the great cover design for this edition, it’s really nothing special. It’s more funny than it is frightful or disturbing. The dialogue is quite drole in parts. A longer story which explored further the benefits, difficulties and temptations of being invisible would have been a stronger book.

Stories, a collection of short-stories edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. Like most collections, I suppose, this one also contains some good, some bad and some mediocre. Most of the stories are rather dark, but there are few lighter ones to keep things from being too depressing. A few decent ones are those by Joe R. Lansdale, Walter Mosley, Gaiman himself, and some others. As it says on the back, there’s something for everyone here.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. Because this book has many a reference to Irish history, British writers of old and theology, I found it hard to get into the narrative. Joyce writes elegantly, but a little too elegantly and poetically for my liking. The thing I found most interesting about the book is that as time goes by in the story and Stephen (the Young Man) grows from a young boy into a young man, the writing style, despite being written in the third-person, evolves and becomes more and more complex and mature. Overall, despite my ignorance, it was a good read.

Blood Count by Robert Goddard. I received this book for Christmas and had never heard of Goddard before, but according to Amazon he has written a couple dozen books and people seem to have high praise for him. This praise, though, is undeserved. This book in any case was very predictable, the main character was not interesting, and the writing was unintelligent. I could actually pinpoint a few sentences were I’m sure Goddard stopped and then re-wrote the sentence using a more interesting adjective than the one he had originally written. Changing adjectives, however, can’t change the pulpiness of this book.

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