Thursday, January 02, 2014

134 Books

I read 134 books this year, 23 more than last year’s total of 112, which was the first time I kept a record.

First book of 2013: INADMISSABLE EVIDENCE by Phillip Friedman
Last book of 2013: THE BLOOD OF STRANGERS, a Dirty Harry novel by “Dane Hartman”

Of the 134, 52 of them were re-reads

Hardcover: 34
Paperback: 92
Trade paperback: 8
I read no book electronically in 2013.

Counting by genre:

Fiction: 115
Action/Adventure: 16
Crime Drama: 56
Mystery/Thriller: 35
Science Fiction: 1
Western: 5
Drama: 1
Horror: 1 (Jeff Rice’s THE NIGHT STALKER)

Non-Fiction: 19
Biography: 1 (J.J. Armes)
Comic Books: 3
Film: 4
Sports: 3
Television: 6
Entertainment: 1
History: 1

From the 1930s: 5
1940s: 5
1950s: 21
1960s: 24
1970s: 32
1980s: 13
1990s: 14
2000–2012: 18
2013: 2

My big project last year was reading or re-reading the complete collection of 87th Precinct police procedurals written by the late Ed McBain. And I did, except for two books that I didn’t have in my collection and couldn’t find at both of my local libraries. I read 51 of McBain’s 54 (I also didn’t re-read one that I had read just a couple of years ago) 87th Precinct books and a short story in an issue of ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE.

Ace Double paperbacks: 9
Doc Savage novels by Kenneth Robeson: 3
Shell Scott novels by Richard S. Prather: 2
Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout: 2
Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardner: 2
Penetrator novels by Lionel Derrick: 2

Other authors read more than once:
Jerrold Freedman: 3
Alistair MacLean: 2
Edward S. Aarons: 2
Elisabeth Sanxay Holding: 2
L.A. Morse: 2
Philip Friedman: 2
Rob Neyer: 2
Tom Weaver: 2
Tom West: 2

Five recommendations:
THE BLACK SHRIKE (1961) by Alistair MacLean
MARY AND LOU AND RHODA AND TED (2013) by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING (1969) by The Gordons
THE PHANTOM CITY (1933) by Kenneth Robeson (Lester Dent)
Plus any Ed McBain novel of the 1950s or 1960s is a good way to jump on the 87th Precinct bandwagon.

How many books did you read this year?


Johny Malone said...

Of all the 87th Precinct novels, especially what you recommend?

Marty McKee said...

Well, that's a tough question in that they're fairly consistent. The big change in the books over the years was when publishers forced McBain to write longer stories beginning in the mid-1970s. Some of the earlier longer novels feel padded, but he quickly got the hang of it. I would say start with the early novels of the 1950s--they're short, punchy, exciting, succinct, lean, and tough. Black humor began to creep into the series, especially the books featuring the 87th's arch-nemesis The Deaf Man. Much later, while not exactly soap operas, McBain began filling pages with the cops' home lives, particularly unlucky-at-love Bert Kling. While always well-written (and these characters become so real, you'll start to believe the books are true-crime stories), I prefer the tighter plot-oriented stories to the character-based.

But really, you could pull almost any random McBain off the shelf and get a great experience.