After the year that was 2016, with a ton of celebrity deaths (of celebrities people actually liked, like David Bowie and Carrie Fisher) and the election of a xenophobic candy corn here in the US, I could always find some kind of solace in a good book. And I got through 23 of them this year, which is a happy number, since my goal is at least 20 every year.
2016 has been an interesting year, and not one I would like to forget any time soon from its upsides (instead of as a cautionary political tale). I started dating a sweetheart of a human being, two of my best friends got married, I attended some awesome press events even if I subsequently took a break from being a professional video game critic late in the year. I interviewed a sitting world champion of pro wrestling (AJ Styles, the best wrestler on the planet with or without the belt) and attended my sixth E3. I moved into a new room. Got my first two tattoos.
It’s been a productive year, when I really sit down and think about it. And 2017 is going to be better, because I’m going to MAKE it better.
Like I did with the 2015 list, here is the list of what I read, along with a two-sentence review and a final score. Hope this might help tune you into some good books for your 2017!
So over the course of 2015, I found my way through 24 books, and I thought a nice way to wrap up the year would be a brief review of each, say a sentence or two and a basic overall score. If you want to know more options about any of these, do let me know and I’ll be happy to elaborate in comments.
But first, a little housecleaning: I didn’t finish the second draft of my manuscript this year. Maybe it was the reading, maybe it was the articles I was tasked to write, but for whatever reason I just didn’t get it done. I got a lot of work done on it – I’ve elaborated on characters, extended scenes, added depth to the story – but it wasn’t done. I’ll have more done over 2016, and hopefully finish this draft (and maybe even work on something new). I’ll keep anyone interested apprised over the next 12 months about progress there.
For now, let’s get to the books! This year was pretty good for my bookshelf, and I caught up on what was already on my shelf (they looked good in the store but I got distracted after purchasing, that sort of thing). Many were read on my Kindle, but exactly half were physical copies. There’s nothing quite like kicking back on the couch and flipping pages in the quiet… but there’s also nothing quite like never worrying about lighting up the page and hurting my eyes.
(Side-note: After all these books I got my yearly eye exam, and I have a new pair of reading glasses coming through the mail. Because reading significantly points out the flaws my eyeballs have, and made a few things worse.)
I have a personal affection for cards. Not only for the games that can be played with a deck (though I do enjoy my occasional trip to the $3/6 limit hold’em table), but because they make excellent bookmarks. They fit in every size of book, hardcover and paperback, they can poke out a little to gauge how far you’ve read through or hide and still find your spot easily. They’re wonderful.
I have this habit of trying to not only pick the right book to read – even if I’ve read it before, in some cases – but in picking the right bookmark. If I’m drawing from a 52-card collection (54 if you count the jokers, which you should never, ever do), that means I’ll take time looking over the front cover, reading the back cover’s story basics, I may even look up reviews on what I’m about to read to figure out how likely it is that I’m going to like it. And from that collection of factors, I select the appropriate card for that book. Is that weird?
That’s a pretty provocative title, yeah? As somebody who loves book paper-printed and digital publishing, and is currently working on their OWN novel, I have to say I really have enjoyed reading books on my Kindle Fire and Galaxy tablets, and even on my smartphone. I have friends who will swear by their paper books, and I can agree with some of that mentality – I still have plenty of paper on my shelves – but by and large, digital text is not just the proverbial “wave of the future” (as douchey as that might sound), but it’s just… better.
On paper, it’s simply a better format than… paper.
In order to keep me able to determine just which books I’ve gone through over the course of the year – slow a reader as I can be – I’ll be updating at the end of each month with the books I’ve read over that month, along with a brief summary and impression of each. That was I not only have a list I can more easily look back on, but I have a record of my thoughts on them at the time (or close to the time). In case anybody might wonder about the books I like, or what I’m doing when I’m not working on my own writing projects.
Enough of that, to the books!