2017 Reading List
I was able to get up to twenty books this year, although that's slightly misleading as a few of the works were short in nature (novellas or even single short stories). As usual, I only include books I completed in my total count. This time around I'm going to lump various categories together and hit the high points in each. At the end I'll link to the full list that you can peruse at your leisure.
First, the Bloodletting
It's not unusual for me to slowly plod through a book and then put it down for awhile (especially if I forget to renew a library book). That doesn't mean I don't it or that there's anything necessarily wrong with it, more that it's a bit of a grind for me personally. It's actually rare for me to throw away a book in disgust, but this year we have a winner! Or a massive loser, whichever you prefer.
“George Washington's Secret Six” by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger is one I would have predicted to enjoy; it's about the spy ring that helped win the Revolutionary War. The problem was the writing was atrocious and lacking any scholarship. It was laughable hero worship. So, yeah… avoid that one.
Fantastical Fictional Realities and Those Who Write Them
I finally read a Harry Potter book (the first one). It was good, I liked it. I might read the others. Now stop bothering me to read them.
I finally read Neil Gaiman, and then another, and plan to read a lot more of his work. A lovely blend of characters and story telling thrown into an altered reality juxtaposed with the mundane modern life. The nearest author I'd relate him to is Helprin, namely Winter's Tale. I can't wait to dig into more of his novels.
I finally read Daniel Abraham, and wasn't impressed. It wasn't a horrible book, but not enticing enough to bother going further into the series.
I had been following John Scalzi on twitter for awhile before ever reading his novels (I did occasionally read his blog posts). He had a one-day sale so I snatched a couple books and was soon annoyed I didn't buy them all. So it goes. I really enjoy his writing style; a nice mix of sarcastic humor without being grating and a plot that generally moves along without having to wind through a thousand pages to get to the point (not that I mind, GRRM).
I tried a Star Wars book and was unsurprisingly disappointed. It wasn't horrible, but too much of it felt like I was reading stage direction rather than actual, I don't know, descriptive writing. It had a fast moving plot and was an easy read, so at least it was over quickly and not too painful.
Totally not fiction
I read a speculative book by the comic artiste who does XKCD (the geeky web comic featuring stick figures). It featured bizarre thought experiments, so hard not to enjoy that.
The other non-fiction I read (arguably biography) covered Richard Feynman's life through personal anecdotes. Recommended.
I learned how we learned how to fly. While reading it I realized how little I previously knew on the subject.
A number of years ago I read a history book on Genghis, so reading historical fiction account of his life was a bit of a trip. Turns out some of the confusion was actually done on purpose by the author, duly noted in his postscript. Ha.
Always fun when you get to miscellaneous. No particular winners here. I wasn't thrilled with the very early work by Neal Stephenson, which was a bit of a bummer since I really like many of his books.
The others were classics that I've had on my list to read for awhile.
The Full List
As usual, I host the full itemized list on WetzNet. It also includes my ratings (and short reviews if you click through for a given book).