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 don’t like making “resolutions” for the beginning of a new year. Not simply because the vast majority of resolutions made tend to be very vague and mostly lip service – “I’m going to read more” and “I’m going to try to not eat as many cookies” are not particularly precise, exigent and driven as they may be – but because the idea of trying to better myself isn’t a yearly dedication. As I’ve grown up I’ve experienced time seemingly go by increasingly fast, and I’ve learned that “I want to” statements are the type that get into your head, stay there for a month at best (the more intense ones will niggle at the back of your brain for longer, but rarely resurface except in half-chewed idealism), and lead to temporary results, followed by the disappointing memory of their dedication eleven months later.
So, I don’t make resolutions. I do, however, see some good in having a marker for progress, fleeting as it might seem more often than not. Instead of resolutions then, I try to put plans into place for the upcoming year, and line them out with just enough detail that there’s method to the madness, while leaving them lax enough to maneuver and take them seriously. It’s the same concept as dedicating oneself to writing for five minutes or so a day: it’s a short period of time, sometimes all one can afford, but if a rhythm is found that five minutes can stretch into an hour, or two, and produce some grand results in the end.
I’ve written a few things down for this year, specifically one list and one worksheet. And I thought I might share them with you, because if nothing else, this will make them feel more… “