I kind of forgot to post this one. I think it’s because I spent the better part of the year slowly making my way through it. When I finally finished it, I just placed it back on my shelf, not really registering the fact that, yes, this does count…even if it did take me almost a year to finish it.
This by no means should be taken as indication that it’s not a good book. Quite the opposite, really. Written by Desliu honcho Herb Solow and producer Robert Justman, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story is quite literally the only book you will ever need to read if you want to know the story of how the greatest franchise in television history began. Solow and Justman were involved from Day One, observing and participating and, most importantly, documenting. This is the most thorough history of the original Star Trek series that you can hope to find. It’s also one of the most honest, divulging in healthy portions the truth of what went on when everyone stopped being nice and started being real.
Wait. That’s MTV’s Real World. Never mind.
Seriously, though, this is a wonderful book, even if it will more than likely tarnish the mythology surrounding some of Trek’s stars, Gene Roddenberry included. However, it doesn’t change the fact that this was Roddenberry’s brightest gift to all us Trekkies worldwide. It simply shines light on all the others who had a hand in helping Roddenberry’s dream take root and grow.
I would make one recommendation, however, in reading this book: read Yvonne Fern’s Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation first. These two books belong together, dove-tailing in high serendipitous style. Fern captures an essence of Roddenberry that is at turns tender, irascible, irreverent, honest, obfuscating, and ultimately a wonderful and touching final look into the life of the Great Bird of the Galaxy. From there, Solow and Justman’s book will take you right back to the beginning of it all, allowing a completely different view of Roddenberry that at times seems almost antithetical to the man revealed in Fern’s book.
Does this make either book any less true than the other? Not at all. No one person can ever truly be captured in print. And no one person has only one facet or one persona (hell, I’m clocking about five of those at this point). It simply means that these authors all knew Roddenberry at different points in his evolution. I think both these books together provide readers with perhaps the most holistically satisfying take on Roddenberry you can find.
Final score: 5/5. I’d also like to amend my final score for Fern’s book. I guess I was suffering from a case of “I can’t give any book a perfect score” early in this challenge, so I docked her half a point. I can’t think of why I would do that, though, so I’m going to give it back to her. Call it Loba’s Prerogative.
And there you go: 51 books in a year. I’m actually amazed that I pulled this off. I know that I typically read a lot throughout the year…I’ve always got a book or two (or four) on the nightstand with a bookmark in it somewhere, but I never imagined that I could actually read 50 in 52 weeks. Maybe back when I was still in college and reading was not only what I did for fun but what I did for school as well. But not now that I have to contend with big girl things like work.
Will I be doing this challenge again in 2010? I don’t think so. As much as I enjoyed meeting the challenge, as the year wore on I found I was so focused on reading the full 50 that I was choosing books based on their length rather than how interested I was in reading them. I will be keeping track again next year, but this time I think I’m going to be focused more on reading all the books that I own but have never read. So, fewer trips to the library, more trips to my bookshelves. And instead of a 5-point rating system, the final score will be whether I keep the book or donate it to the local thrift store. And there you go…a preview of one of the things to come here at the lair in 2010. You’re welcome 😀
And finally, here is the list of all the books that I read this year. There are quite a few craptacular reads on this list. Luckily, however, there’s far more WIN than FAIL.
- 10 Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson (3.5/5)
- The Dumbest Generation, by Mark Bauerlein (3/5)
- The Memory of Running, by Ron McLarty (4.5/5)
- Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation, by Yvonne Fern
- Stardust, by Neil Gaiman (4.5/5)
- The Eyes of the Beholders, by A.C. Crispin (3.5/5)
- Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (2.5/5)
- Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson (4.5/5)
- Comic Wars, by Dan Raviv (3/5)
- It Ain’t All About the Cookin’, by Paula Deen (3/5)
- Calculating God, by Robert J. Sawyer (4.5/5)
- Walking in Circles Before Lying Down, by Merrill Markoe (3.5/5)
- The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British, by Sarah Lyall (4/5)
- The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold (4/5 for prose; 3/5 for story)
- Captivity, by Debbie Lee Wesselmann (2.5/5)
- Resistance, by J.M. Dillard (1.5/5)
- The Island of Dr. Moreau, by H.G. Wells (4/5)
- The Last Lecture, by Dr. Randy Pausch (5/5)
- One on One, by Tabitha King (2/5)
- Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (4.5/5)
- Golf Monster, by Alice Cooper (4.5/5)
- The Stars Like Dust, by Isaac Asimov (2.5/5)
- Rapture for the Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ, by Richard Dooling (2.5/5)
- The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (5/5)
- The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink (4.5/5)
- Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (-5/5)
- Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster (5/5)
- Avatar, Book One of Two, by S.D. Perry (4.5/5)
- Avatar, Book Two of Two, by S.D. Perry (5/5)
- Yeah, I Said It, by Wanda Sykes (3.5/5)
- Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher (3.5/5)
- V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (3/5)
- Genesis, by Bernard Beckett (2.5/5)
- Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, by Philip K. Dick (4/5)
- Patient Zero, by Jonathan Maberry (4/5)
- Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein (1/5)
- A Good and Happy Child, by Justin Evans (3/5)
- WWW:Wake, by Robert J. Sawyer (3/5)
- The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (2.5/5)
- Shatnerquake, by Jeff Burk (2.5/5)
- Foundation, by Isaac Asimov (4/5)
- Before Dishonor, by Peter David (Off-The-Scale Horrible)
- Button, Button: Uncanny Stories, by Richard Matheson (4/5)
- Mosaic, by Jeri Taylor (3.5/5)
- Fup, by Jim Dodge (5/5)
- This Will All End In Tears, by Joe Ollmann (5/5)
- Memories of the Future: Volume One, by Wil Wheaton (5/5)
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (5/5)
- Coraline, by Neil Gaiman (5/5)
- 13: The Story of the World’s Most Popular Superstition, by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer (2.5/5)
- Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman (5/5)
And here is my 50BC09 Review Archive, in case you’d like to read (or re-read) my take on almost all the books on this list.