Lektüre 2017

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Christoph Weißenfels: Ischen Impossible II
  • Hagen Liebing: Meine Jahre mit “Die Ärzte”
  • Ernest Clive: Ready Player One
  • DJ BoBo & Judith Langhans: Popstar – Der ganz normale Wahnsinn
  • Jessica Winter: Break in Case of Emergency
  • Mischa Kaléko: Das lyrische Stenogrammheft
  • Benedict Wells: Vom Ende der Einsamkeit
  • Markus Zusak: Die Bücherdiebin
  • Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl
  • Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident
  • Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code
  • Wolfgang Hohlbein & Heike Hohlbein: Der Greif
  • Tommy Jaud: Vollidiot
  • Robert Jordan: The Great Hunt
  • Trudi Canavan: The Magician’s Guild
  • Andreas Eschbach: Exponentialdrift
  • John Fogerty: Mein Leben – meine Musik
  • Robert Jordan: The Dragon Reborn
  • Lois Tilton: Babylon 5: Im Kreuzfeuer
  • Trudi Canavan: The Novice
  • Trudi Canavan: The High Lord
  • Isolde Heyne: Lösegeld
  • John Vornholt: Babylon 5: Tödliche Gedanken
  • John Vornholt: Babylon 5: Blutschwur
  • Mape Ollila: Once Upon a Nightwish – Die offizielle Biografie 1996-2006
  • Ingo Siegner: Der kleine Drache Kokosnuss auf der Suche nach Atlantis
  • Felix Huby: Bienzle und die schöne Lau
  • Felix Huby: Paul Pepper und die tickende Bombe
  • Felix Huby: Bienzle stochert im Nebel
  • Janusz A. Zajdel: In Sonnennähe
  • Robert Jordan: The Shadow Rising
  • Andy Weir: Artemis
  • Robert Jordan: Die Feuer des Himmels
  • Bruce Dickinson: What Does This Button Do?

Lektüre 2015

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Philipp Oehmke: Am Anfang war der Lärm
  • Frank Portman: King Dork Approximately
  • Poul Anderson: Dominic Flandry: Im Dienst der Erde
  • Andy Weir: The Martian
  • Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
  • Jean Philippe Blondel: 6 Uhr 41
  • Charles Murray: The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead
  • Poul Anderson: Höllenzirkus
  • Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven
  • Marc Elsberg: Blackout
  • Florian Illies: 1913
  • James Rollins: The 6th Extinction
  • John Scalzi: Lock In
  • Matthew Brzezinski: Red Moon Rising – Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age
  • Sina Trinkwalder: Wunder muss man selber machen
  • Donald A. Wollheim: The Secret of the Ninth Planet
  • Ben Mezrich: Sex on the Moon
  • Dave Eggers: Eure Väter, wo sind sie? Und die Propheten, leben sie ewig?
  • David Baldacci: The Escape
  • David Baldacci: Total Control
  • Susanne Schäpler: Das Geheimnis der Naga

Lektüre 2014

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Elizabeth Wein: Code Name Verity
  • Matt Forbeck: The Con Job
  • Jürgen Becker: Geld allein macht nicht unglücklich: Mit dem Mysterium des rheinischen Kapitalismus aus der Krise
  • Andrew F. Gulli, Lamia J. Gulli (Hg.): Letzte Ruhe
  • Ian J. Deary: Intelligenz – eine sehr kurze Einführung
  • Rich Wilson: Lifting Shadows
  • Keith DeCandido: The Zoo Job
  • Detlev H. Rost: Handbuch Intelligenz
  • Dieter E. Zimmer: Ist Intelligenz erblich? Eine Klarstellung
  • Dar Williams: Lights, Camera, Amalee
  • Christoph Weißenfels: Ischen Impossible
  • Timothy Zahn: Erben des Imperiums
  • Jack Ritchie: Für alle ungezogenen Leute
  • Frederick Forsyth: Die Todesliste
  • Paul McAuley: The Quiet War
  • Michael Marten: Drei Klausuren und ein Todesfall
  • Isaac Asimov: Ich, der Robot
  • Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Chris Hadfield: Anleitung zur Schwerelosigkeit: Was wir im All fürs Leben lernen können
  • Simon Garfield: On the Map
  • Timothy Gowers: Mathematik
  • Marc Lindemann: Unter Beschuss
  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Romulus der Grosse
  • Neil LaBute: The Mercy Seat

Lektüre 2013

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Patricia Highsmith: Zwei Fremde im Zug
  • Theresa Couchman: The Unmapped Lands
  • Elizabeth George: A Suitable Vengeance
  • Khaled Hosseini: Drachenläufer
  • Ian McEwan: On Chesil Beach
  • Marc-Uwe Kling: Die Känguru-Chroniken
  • Greg Cox: The Bestseller Job
  • Elizabeth George: For the Sake of Elena
  • Bertram Job: Bis zum bitteren Ende – Die Toten Hosen erzählen IHRE Geschichte
  • Allan Pease, Barbara Pease: Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps
  • Johan Harstad: 172 Hours on the Moon
  • Robin Sloan: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookshop
  • Robert Galbraith: The Cuckoo’s Calling
  • José Carlos Somoza: Das Einstein-Projekt
  • Winston Graham: Marnie

Measuring the Popularity of Novels?

Apparently, the amount of ratings on GoodReads.com is highly correlated with the ratings, at least for John Green’s four novels (r = .96). But is it really ‘the more, the merrier’? I picked four more authors (in a non-random fashion), had a look at the respective correlations for their novels, and made a couple of graphs to illustrate the results.

Scatter plot of amount of ratings and ratings

Novels by John Green, Maureen Johnson, J.K. Rowling, and Stephanie Meyer

The relationship is a negative one for Stephanie Meyer’s books. Two books of J.K. Rowling are outliers – her first one in terms of ratings on GoodReads, her most recent one in terms of rating. I therefore took the liberty to plot a quadratic fit (instead of a linear fit). It appears that John Green might be an exception (like the Mongols?) Also, Amazon.com ratings tend to be higher; and again, there is no clear relationship between the amount of reviews and the average rating.

And since I recently finished reading “On Chesil Beach”, here’s the data for Ian McEwan’s novels, along with a more appropriately scaled plot for Maureen Johnson’s books:

Scatter plot of amount of ratings and ratings

Novels by Maureen Johnson and Ian McEwan

By the way, the correlation between Amazon.com ratings and GoodReads.com ratings for the 40 books I used above is r = .89. The correlation between number of Amazon.com reviews and Goodreads.com ratings is r = .75.

PS: If anyone is interested in the Stata code for the graphs, let me know. I guess, I’ll add it here this weekend, anyway, but right now I should go to bed.

Thoughts on “The Bestseller Job”

Today’s mail contained a copy of “The Bestseller Job” (by Greg Cox), a novel based on the televion series “Leverage“. I really like “Leverage” and I was sad to learn that its 5th season was going to be the last one. I’m not usually into novels that expand existing series, but on a whim I bought this one. I’m 76 pages in right now. (The book has 291 pages.) It is certainly too early for a final verdict. I just thought I’d put down my first impression, which, by the way, is positive. The writing style matches the editing of the television series; the plot fits the Leverage universe perfectly, and I’m thrilled that 3/4 of the story are still ahead of me. I like it when the summary on the back doesn’t spoil the whole first half of a book, so I was pleasantly surprised how fast “The Bestseller Job” took off. I was even more enthralled to find the crew en route to Germany. Heck, we learn that Parker once had an alias from Stuttgart. And it’s not just these nods to the country I live in, it’s the acurate transition from one medium to another that makes me really happy. Okay, back to reading!

Lektüre 2012

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Joseph M. Siracusa: Nuclear Weapons – A Very Short Introduction
  • Elisabeth Rank: Und im Zweifel für dich selbst
  • Jennifer E. Smith: Die statistische Wahrscheinlichkeit von Liebe auf den ersten Blick
  • Dan Brown: Das verlorene Symbol
  • Nicholas James: Cancer – A Very Short Introduction
  • Andy McNab: Signal Bravo Two Zero
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
  • Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire
  • J. Meade Falkner: Moonfleet
  • J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Elisabeth Streit: Renates erster Flug
  • Elisabeth Streit: Renate als Luft-Stewardeß
  • J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin: O’Brien Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music
  • Lloyd Alexander: Der Setzerjunge
  • Justin Cronin: The Passage
  • Kai Bird & Martin J. Sherwin: J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Kevin Brockmeier: The Short History of the Dead
  • John Green: Das Schicksal ist ein mieser Verräter
  • Ian McEwan: Solar
  • Flavia Company: Die Insel der letzten Wahrheit
  • Susanne Schäpler: Schwarzes Blut
  • Shania Twain: From This Moment on
  • John Green: Paper Towns
  • Frank Portman: King Dork
  • Arthur C. Doyle: A Study in Scarlet
  • Ildiko von Kürthy: Unter dem Herzen
  • Arthur C. Doyle: The Sign of Four
  • Laurie R. King: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Lektüre 2010

Nicht vergessen: Morgen bin ich von 19.15-19.30 Uhr live im Internet!

Im vergangenen Jahr las ich folgende Bücher:

  • Jonathan Sarfran Froer: Eating Animals
  • Heather Cochran: The Return of Jonah Gray
  • Henryk M. Broder: Kritik der reinen Toleranz
  • Lucy Hawking: Jaded
  • Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Jeanette Winterson: The Stone Gods
  • Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island
  • David J. Hand: Statistics – A Very Short Introduction
  • Steve Martin: Born Standing Up
  • Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World
  • Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma
  • Suzanne Collins: Mockingjay
  • Maike Luhmann: Einführung in R
  • Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
  • J. Scott Long: The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata
  • Stephanie Perkins: Anna and the French Kiss

Lektüre 2009

  • Kurt Vonnegut: Cat’s Cradle
  • John Green: An Abundance of Katherines
  • John Green: Looking for Alaska
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
  • Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle
  • Roger Williams: The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect
  • Trevor G. Bond & Christine M. Fox: Applying the Rasch Model: Fundamental Measurement in the Human Sciences
  • Scott Westerfeld: Uglies
  • Sven Plöger: Gute Aussichten für morgen
  • Henry David Thoreau: Walden
  • Mike Oldfield: Changeling
  • Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake
  • Scott Westerfeld: Pretties
  • Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire
  • Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Scott Westerfeld: Specials
  • Eckart von Hirschhausen: Die Leber wächst mit ihren Aufgaben
  • Edward R. Tufte: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching out Corrupts within
  • Ayn Rand: Three Plays
  • Oscar Wilde: Lady Windermere’s Fan
  • Henryk M. Broder: Hurra, wir kapitulieren!
  • John Green: Paper Towns
  • Vince Ebert: Denken Sie selbst! Sonst tun es andere für Sie
  • Dave Eggers: Weit gegangen
  • Elisabeth Kabatek: Laugenweckle zum Frühstück

Habe ich dieses Jahr wirklich nichts von Terry Pratchett gelesen? Das schreit nach einem Vorsatz für 2010! Erst einmal werde ich aber wohl die fünf, sechs Bücher fertiglesen, die sich hier angefangen türmen (Gibt es intelligentes Leben?, The Greatest Show on Earth, Kritik der reinen Toleranz, Nothing for Ungood, Eine Geschichte von Liebe und Finsternis, American Gods usw.). Literarische Höhepunkte für mich waren 2009 eindeutig die beiden Hunger Games-Bücher sowie Paper Towns. Meine Lieblingsalben kamen von Richard Shindell und den Ninja Dolls.

On the Ending of John Green’s young adult novel “Paper Towns”

Some time ago I made a song/video about me not having the novel “Paper Towns”. It actually won me a copy of the book signed by its author John Green. That made me very happy! I started reading it last week. That was a mistake, because only a few pages into the story I was hooked. But I had to work. And to eat. And to sleep. Still, I finished it before the weekend and wanted to write couple of things about it ever since.

  1. The book is good! John Green writes for young adults, so technically I’m not a member of the target group. And I must say that his first two books (“Looking for Alaska” and “An Abundance of Katherines”) were very enjoyable, but not, like, a must-buy for each and everyone. But this time around, well, “Paper Towns” is still not a must-buy; but I totally recommend it to anyone looking for, well, a young adult novel that is original in its conception, excellent in its execution, and very enjoyable in its language. Here’s just a couple of (not necessarily representative) quotes to give you an idea:
    • Nothing is as boring as other people’s dreams. (p. 86)
    • Peeing is like a good book in that it is very, very hard to stop once you start. (p. 183)
    • As much as life can suck, it always beats the alternative. (p. 287)

    Anyway, let me reiterate: it’s a good book. Buy it. Read it.

  2. This part contains major spoilers, so read on at our own risk. I enjoyed reading the book and was sad to see it end. The last few pages managed to give the plot a satisfying conclusion. Almost. I was left wondering, how it actually ended. Do they get together? Or is the last scene more of an afterthought that’s to vanish as soon as the sun comes up again? Ultimately, I can live with this ambiguity. I can live with it, because I figured that I can’t relate to Q. I mean, he’s the narrator and I like him more than some other of the other characters. Still, when he finally finds Margo, he comes up with his idea about the vessel and about the future. And I find it not very convincing. Sure, a big lesson at the end wouldn’t have the suited the story. Neither would have an overly romantic happy ending. I just wanted to remark that I preferred the little chunks of wisdom throughout the book. The ending was quite charming, but it didn’t add anything to what I got out of the story. But then again, I’m not the target audience and I still recommend you read “Paper Towns”.

Today’s music recommendation goes out to everybody who enjoys the mainstream kind of melodic punk rock. “The Days that Follow…” by Multiball (Vampster-Review) is a strong album that could totally be in the charts. The vocals are rather clean and melodic, the music itself rather powerful than catchy. It’s not the most original album; yet it sound rather fresh compared to many successful pop punk albums out there.