Posts for January 2017

2017-01-01: 2016 Book Reading in Review

So, I did not accomplish my reading goal for 2016 (reading and reviewing more books in 2016 than I did in 2015). Many things contributed to that, but the root cause was that I didn't make enough time for reading. Much of the time that could have gone to reading went to playing Hearthstone (a good thing) and obsessing over the 2016 US election (mostly a waste of time and particularly energy, although I'm not sure I could have stopped). That said, I did get quite a lot of reading done at the end of the year, and I'm hoping to keep up that momentum for next year.

In 2016, I did a lot of re-reading and comfort reading. I'm probably going to continue with some of the re-reading in 2017, since I'm enjoying it, but my reading goal for the year is to get back to reading award nominees and previous award winners. There's so much great new stuff being published that I want to discover. I'm not going to set an explicit goal around number of books, but I am going to make an effort to carve out more time in my schedule for reading books (and less for reading on-line news).

This was another year with two 10 out of 10 books. One of them was a re-read: Lord of Emperors, the second book of Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic. (I also re-read the first book this year, Sailing to Sarantium, and gave it a 9.) I like nearly all of Kay's historical fantasies, but this duology is one of my personal favorites.

The second 10 out of 10 book was a complete surprise: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (translated by Henning Koch). My mother found this book and suggested it to me, and I loved every moment of it. I will definitely be reading more of Backman's work.

There were two more fiction standouts this year: Digger by Ursula Vernon, and The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton. The first is a graphic novel about a wombat who is trying to make her way home from an unexpected detour into a mess of magic and gods. The second is the middle book in a trilogy about an attempt to construct Plato's Just City and all of the philosophical and social problems that ensue (with some bonus science fiction and fantasy elements). Both of them are excellent. Walton is consistently one of my favorite authors, and Ursula Vernon was my great discovery of a new author to read this year. (Not that I've followed through on that much, the year in reading being what it was, but I will be doing so.)

My favorite non-fiction book of the year continues my interest in time management in general and Mark Forster's approaches in particular. Secrets of Productive People was the last book I reviewed this year (just a coincidence, not any intentional attempt to set things up for next year) and the best version of his overall approach to date. If you've not read any of Forster based on my previous recommendations, this is a good place to start.

Also worth mentions were Jeffrey Toobin's The Run of His Life, on the O.J. Simpson case, and Andrew Groen's The Empires of EVE, on the history of player empires in the EVE Online MMORPG. I Kickstarted the latter and didn't regret it.

The full analysis includes some additional personal reading statistics, probably only of interest to me.

2017-01-02: End of 2016 haul

May as well start 2017 with a burst of recorded optimism: the last books I bought in 2016 that I'm queuing up to read. The hopoe is that this year I'll actually read more of them!

Becky Chambers — A Closed and Common Orbit (sff)
T. Kingfisher — The Raven and the Reindeer (sff)
Joseph R. Lallo — The Book of Deacon Anthology (sff)
M. Louisa Locke — Maids of Misfortune (historical)
Rebecca Solnit — Hope in the Dark (nonfiction)
K.B. Spangler — Maker Space (sff)
K.B. Spangler — State Machine (sff)
Steven W. White — New World (sff)

Most of these are various StoryBundle add-ons that I'd somehow missed downloading the first time (and hence are fairly low priority on the reading list). The rest is a mixed bag of Kindle purchases.

I started A Closed and Common Orbit today and could barely put it down. An auspicious start to the new year.

Last modified and spun 2017-03-25