When I started college back in 2003, I was dropped off at the campus in the morning and took multiple buses to get home. I had a cell phone, but in those days, cell phones were primarily for calling; texting in a numpad was frustrating (even when you “got gud”) and made writing anything longer than brief messages just wasn’t a thing. For me, anyway.
So when I bought my first Moleskine notebook at the mall, the halfway point between school and home, I used that for my first serious journal; I still have that one tucked away in a box somewhere. And I loved the feel of that book, so much so that I’ve used Moleskine books for lots of different projects.
Six months ago, I started a new journal. And last night, I finished it. After six straight months of journaling, I can say… much as I’ve failed in the past at maintaining a journal, I’m all for it now.
Fictional stories are often told with the intent of pulling some kind of special meaning from them, even if (or especially if) the subversion of an existing trope is the catalyst for telling them. In stories like Watchmen we find just that: a retelling of the superhero genre to look inward at our expectation of a style of story. Often, such stories are dedicated to a specific point or moral, like many stories of our collective past (Aesop’s fables, Hans Christian Andersen tales, etc).
True stories don’t have that kind of specific baggage. There isn’t always a “deeper meaning” to find, or a moral to take to heart. The story is the reason for its telling. And these are the stories most needed in the world… because they lead to empathy.
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!