Monday, July 18, 2011

Edi's Lighthouse Ledger: 2011 Halftime Report

Dear Readers,
half of 2011 is history which means it is high time for the 2011 halftime report. In July 2010 I presented you my top six reads based on 36 books read.

End of June 2010 Books read: 36; Books reviewed: 10
End of June 2011 Books read: 33; Books reviewed: 13
That means in 2011 I read less and reviewed more which is not bad for the blog.
I'm not unhappy with the number of books because this year my reading goal is different.

As I posted in January I want to read 25550 pages in 2011 based on following calculation:

Two hours per day for reading
One year = 365 days
Two hours reading per day multiplied by 365 days equals 730 hours
I'm not the fastest reader. My limit is around 35 pages per hour.
730 hours multiplied by 35 pages equals 25550 pages

That means by end of June 2011 (181 days) I should have read 12670 pages. In fact I read 12908 pages which means I'm 238 pages ahead. That is not bad when I look at my roller coaster like reading progress.

Let's have a look at the 33 books I read:
Century of the SoldierThe GreyfriarPax Britannia #8: Dark SideVEINSThrallDoomsday BookThe Lost GateDay Of The PredatorThe Curious Case of the Clockwork ManThe Buntline SpecialThe Doomsday CodePax Britannia #6: Gods of ManhattanHellholeDissolutionDream of LegendsDreams of SteamThe Falling MachineThe Horns of RuinFirst Rider's CallDark JennyThirteen Years Later: Russia, 1825.Among Thieves: A Tale of the KinOut of the DarkThe White Shadow Saga: Shameless WondersPrinz der DunkelheitInfernal DevicesMartian AmbassadorPax Britannia: Anno FrankensteinHeresyThe Dragon's PathThe Quantum ThiefCelebrity SpaceRedheart

When you look at the titles you will agree with me that it is a smorgasbord. Epic fantasy and steampunk are in the lead. I have been surprised that I read four sci-fi books!

And what are my top five books so far? To be honest the answer is difficult.
Before I start the countdown I feel the need to mention five books which did not make it to my top five but are worth to mention due to different reasons.

I read ten steampunk books so far and I liked them all. But there are two books which deserve to be mentioned.

Nowadays we get more and more steampunk novels. But what about the books in the early days of steampunk like Morlock Night (1979) and Infernal Devices (1987) ? Fortunately they have been reissued by Angry Robots.

I read Infernal Devices (1987) and it was incredible to discover that the novel contains all the basic ingredients which we find and like in nowadays steampunk novels. I highly recommend to read it.

"It all began when the Brown Leather Man, a mysterious being with a secret older than humankind, asked proper Victorian London gentleman George Dower to repair a weird device. How could George have known that this was but one of the many infernal devices his genius father had built, and that he himself would soon be pursued by former clients of his father? For George had always been the unsuspecting key to his father's incredible plans, a key that others would like to possess - from the automaton who wore George's own face to the mad Lord Bendray, bent on using George to destroy the entire Earth." [Source]
The second steampunk surprised with several surprising elements which I absolutely did not expect. I seems the book got lost within all the other steampunk novels which is sad. If you really want to read something unexpected and gorgeous then I recommend The Martian Ambassador (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-1907777-080] by Alan Baker which is the first in the brand-new Blackwood & Harrington Mystery series.
"WELCOME TO LONDON, 1899 It has been six years since the discovery of intelligent life on Mars, and relations between the two worlds are rapidly developing. Three-legged Martian omnibuses stride through the streets and across the landscape, while Queen Victoria has been returned to the vigour of youth by Martian rejuvenation drugs. Victorian computer technology is proceeding apace, thanks to the faeries who power the 'cogitators'; while the first 'ther zeppelins are nearing completion, with a British expedition to the Moon being planned for the following year. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until Lunan R'ondd, Martian Ambassador to the Court of Saint James's, dies while attending a banquet at Buckingham Palace. The discovery of strange, microscopic larvae in his breathing apparatus leads Queen Victoria to suspect that he may have been the victim of a bizarre assassination. The Martian Parliament agrees, and they are not pleased. No Martian has ever died in such suspicious circumstances while on Earth. An ultimatum is given: if Her Majesty's Government cannot solve the crime and bring the perpetrator to justice, the Martians will! Enter Thomas Blackwood, Special Investigator for Her Majesty's Bureau of Clandestine Affairs. Along with Lady Sophia Harrington, Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research, Blackwood is charged with the task of solving the mystery of Ambassador R'ondd's death, before the Martians take matters into their own hands, possibly igniting an interplanetary war in the process!" [Source]
I like to read about time travel. There are so many different books. As you can see I read three time travel novels. I'm glad that I read this timeless gem of time travel: The highly acclaimed Doomsday Book (1992) [ISBN-13: 978-0553562736] by Connie Willis. I must say I have been impressed and touched by the Doomsday Book.

Beside epic fantasy, steampunk and science fiction I like to read historical thrillers and mysteries.
There are some great series around. And this year I discovered one series which led my heart blossom.

I think the The Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom is a must read for fans of historical thrillers. I wrote about Dissolution ( first printed in 2003, paperback 2007) [ISBN-13: 978-0330450799] which is the first book in the series on Goodreads: "I'm impressed! I must read more Shardlake books.
An extraordinary good description of England in 1537. The perfect playground for the historical thriller with the unusual main character Matthew Shardlake."
"It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers it has ever seen. Under the orders of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent throughout the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: dissolution.
But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's commissioner, Robert Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege.
Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell to uncover the truth behind the dark happenings at Scarnsea. But investigation soon forces Shardlake to question everything that he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes ..." [Back of the book]

Now the time has come for (drumroll):

Edi's Book Lighthouse
2011 Halftime

Countdown .......


When you look at fantasy books one could think 2011 is the year of thieves. So far I read one of these thief books and this one convinced my. Author Douglas Hulick delivered a most entertaining debut novel. For my it was that good to put it on my top five list.

Among Thieves
by Douglas Hulick
(review in progress)


After a long time I read the German edition of a book. And I must say I have been impressed. It is an extraordinary good debut novel. As far as I can see the translation has been done very well. The title of the English edition is Prince of Thorns and the German one is Der Prinz der Dunkelheit. I will definitely read and review the English edition too.
I titled my review as followed: Die Schönheit von Bosheit und Gewalt in Wort und Tat which means in English The beauty of malice and violence in thought and deed

Prinz der Dunkelheit
by Mark Lawrence


The author of my number three is from my point of view still underrated. But I'm sure that will change with the two new series he is working on. I read the fantasy one and the science fiction one is waiting for me. I like it when a fantasy series includes economics. There is much more to say about my choice. But that will be done in my review.

Dragon's Path
by Daniel Abraham
(review in progress)


Is it a coincidence or did I get a bonus?
In my 2010 halftime report The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder made it to the second place in my top six reads. And one year later it is the same author with the latest book in the Burton & Swinburne series who took this years second place by storm. And again there are two different covers for US (left) and UK (right).
I wrote in my review:
I confess:
I'm addicted to Burton & Swinburne

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
by Mark Hodder
(my review)


My number one is the second book in a series.
I wrote on Goodreads:
"What a great, great read! This is definitely a more than worth sequel of Twelve. The mix of historical facts of Russian history, supernatural horror and personal fate is simply brilliant. I have been emotionally touched by Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov's fate. I needed to know how it would end."
After these words most of you will know my number one in the first half of 2011:

Thirteen Years Later
by Jasper Kent

That's it for today. Maybe one of the books aroused your interest ....


Seak (Bryce L.) said...

The only book I've read from all those you've listed (top 10 or just pictures) is Thrall. Wow, I need to do more reading, especially your top choices. Thanks.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I agree - I need to read more! Although I probably read slower than you do...

RaveAir said...

The result wasn't suprising to me, because the Twelve was a great book of Jasper Kent. I think he have the talent to write books at the same quality. I hope I have oportunity to read the Thirteen years later in the near future.

And I think it it's time to taste some steampunk novell as well.

Nic said...

Edi I am really surprised. From the 33 books you read until now, 16 are on my "to-buy-and-read-list", 1 did come today (Connie Willis' Doomsday book).
And what is really surprising is that all 5 of your top 5 list are also on the list.
Either way my last email to you is answered with your post: I surely have to start the Burton & Swineburne series.

I would be happy if I would have 2 hours each day for reading, but I am a faster reader then you ;-)

Keep up the good work

ediFanoB said...

we both read different books. For example you read Songs of the Dying Earth which rests on my shelf unrest.
I must say it helped a lot to read in sum two hours per day. Try...

ediFanoB said...

you may read less but you post a lot more. I always have to decide whether I spend time for reading or for blogging.

Most important thing for me is to enjoy reading.

ediFanoB said...


Jasper Kent is indeed an excellent writer.
I hope you will get the opportunity to read Thirteen Years later.

In the meantime a lot of different steampunk novels are available. It depends on your taste. If you like give me some hints and I try to recommend some books.

ediFanoB said...


it is tricky to spend two hours per day for reading. I do not spend them in a row. It is more like this: half an hour in the morning, half an hour at lunch time and one hour in the evening.

English is not my first language. There it takes me a bit longer to read a book in English. I read German books at doubled speed :-)

Nice to read that we have a similar taste. Now I'm interested in the 17 books which you did not match. Would you be so kind to tellme the authors and titles.

You should mark January 24th 2012 in your calendar. It will be the publishing date of the third Burton & Swinburne book

The Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder, 400pages,
ISBN-10: 1616145358, ISBN-13: 978-1616145354

You mentioned a mail you sent to me and that you did not get an answer. That is not my style. I will check my mail account.

Nic said...

That with the mail is no problem. We had contact before and you mentioned that you were knee deep in work.

I will post a list with the books later that night.

Btw I saw that that you read 2 books of Alex Scarrows Time Riders series.
I read "a thousand suns" which he wrote also, last year. You should try it. I liked it much.

Nic said...

So here is my list. Not that they are bad, atm they aren't on my "wish-list".

* The Greyfriar / Clay Griffith

* VEINS / Lawrence C. Connolly

* The Lost Gate / Orson Scott Cards

* Day Of The Predator /Alex Scarrow
* The Doomsday Code / Alex Scarrow
(Scarrow is good, but this series will have to wait'till I read his brothers series)

* The Buntline Special /Mike Resnick

* Dissolution / C.J. Sansom
interestingly this was on my list till March and then I slided it for next year)

* Dream of Legends / Stephen Zimmer

* Dreams of Steam

* The Falling Machine / Andrew Mayer

* The Horns of Ruin / Tim Akers

* The White Shadow Saga: Shameless Wonders / A.P. Stephens

* Martian Ambassador / Alan Baker

* Heresy / S. J. Parris

* The Quantum Thief / Hannu Rajaniemi

* Celebrity Space / Alain Gomez

* Redheart / Jackie Gamber

All of them sound good, if you take a look a the descriptions, but there is so few time to read them all, and so I have to make choices.

Alan Baker said...

Hi Edi. Thanks so much for your kind words about The Martian Ambassador. I'm very glad you enjoyed the book. All the best, Alan

ediFanoB said...


now I know who you are :-) I have several mail accounts and sometimes it is not that easy to see the connection between name/abbreviation and mail address.
And it is true that I'm still busy at work like today when I left company two hours later than expected. Today it will be difficult for me to find two hours for reading.

Thank you for posting you book list.

Nic said...


now I am happy ;-). I will send you an email today. Topic as the last time: ReuCon... ;-)

Just one book recommendation: On Monday Teresa Frohocks Miserere arrived here.
It's really good. Check out her trailer on youtube:

ediFanoB said...

Hello Alan,

it is always a pleasure when an author leaves a comment. I think that THE MARTIAN AMBASSADOR needs more attention. I hope to review it soon. In the meantime I ordered FEASTER FROM THE STARS in advance.

ediFanoB said...


thank you for recommendation. Will have a look at the trailer.

ediFanoB said...

I watched the MISERE trailer. To be honest that is not my kind of stuff.

Nic said...

Hoi Edi,

I started the Doomsday book from Connie Willies this week.

It's great, a real pageturner!!!

Have a nice weekend!


ediFanoB said...

Hi Nic,

glad you like the Doomsday book.

Have a nice weekend too.

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