Year in Review: Reading
I love having Goodreads’ Reading Challenge to help measure the kind of reading year I’ve had. I upped my challenge from 2016 to 75 and then midway through the year made a fundamental change in my comics reading.
It became increasingly obvious that my comic book writing work has not been about contemporary matters so didn’t need the monthlies. Instead, I could save some money switching to trades (as well as some brain cells reading several issues of a title in one shot so I can keep things straight). This way I can enjoy the work of current creators and favorite characters but it also meant each GN counted as a book.
As a result, I soared past the goal and finished the year with 108 books read.
My reading is divided between print, digital, audio, and podcast, so I have several going at a time. There’s the book on my desk, read as the computer boots up; the graphic novel on the night table before I go to sleep, and the audio/podcast for walking Ginger and driving.
I continue to divide my reading further by mixing genres, fiction and nonfiction, new authors and old favorites. New authors included Bob Proehl, whose A Hundred Thousand Worlds was certainly interesting; Barry Unsworth (Sacred Hunger), Graham Moore (The Last Days of Night), Caitlin Moran (How to Build a Girl), P.G, Wodehouse (Jeeves), and perhaps most satisfyingly, Amor Towles, whose A Gentlemen in Moscow I started reading reluctantly but became such a fan that Deb read and enjoyed it too.
Old favorites that satisfied me anew included Laura Anne Gilman (Cold Eye), Steve Savile, my Sherlock Holmes collaborator (Parallel Lines, a criminally overlooked work and his wonderful Glass Town), Greg Rucka (Walking Dead), and Mark Kurlanksy, who taught me all about Paper.
The amazing, wonderful, and highly recommended CraftLit podcast spent most of 2017 completing the unabridged Count of Monte Cristo, a work I never would have read on my own. Thanks to a chapter or two a week plus annotated commentary, I got wrapped up in this classic.
My favorite book of the year is probably David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon, the nonfiction account of the systematic murder of Osage Indians for their oil rights. Disturbing and stunning, it left me angry with greedy, arrogant white folk. Read this.
Other non-fiction of recommended note would include Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, the source for the Broadway smash musical, Elvis Costello’s autobiography Unfaithful Music; and John Lewis’ amazing March graphic novel trilogy.
Looking back, it certainly was a strong year of reading. There just didn’t feel like there was enough sustained time for losing myself in a book for an afternoon or two. That finally happened during the holiday break.
And now on to 2018’s reading, starting off with Stephen King’s 11-23-63 on audio and on the Kindle, From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon.