Another fulfilling year of reading. As usual I have scattered my favorite genres in the midst of all the books. I will always be curious about the supernatural and include stories of both "fact" and "fiction"about it in my reading choices. Science fiction, Fantasy, and History are usually favorite categories, too. I had a goal of 70 books total for the year and I have made it to 68 with a few more hours left in the year, and I am currently about half way through the next book that I am currently reading.
Only a few things on this years list would be considered busts- those being Tales from the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkein, which I just could not get into, even though I love The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books by this author. Maybe it was my mindset, I'm not sure, it was not that fulfilling to delve into. The other bust was one which seemed to have so much potential but made me want to skip all future zombie stories ever, it was the compilation Zombies vs. Unicorns, it had such a fun premise but really, only the unicorn stories were good! I'm just not a zombie type of gal even though I liked I am Legend in both book and movie forms, but not having liked the zombie book The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and never getting into The Walking Dead in any way, shape, or form.
The other disappointment was Cassandra Claire's City of Bones series. The first one or two books were good but the series devolved after that. It became full of angst that was never resolved, made me dislike the characters for their spineless personalities, and became an uninteresting story of Alex, an older teen who did not have a starring role (but was always a support character) trying to have a relationship with an ageless warlock. One of the main characters, Jase, also turned into an abusive twit and I could go on no longer. There are so many other better things to be read and I felt a bit cheated after investing time into four of the author's novels. (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, then I stopped.) Generally I enjoy reading YA but it is hard to stomach characters doing these earth shattering feats and then being immature boo boos while they make a bunch of stupid decisions that just increase their trouble, making the reader feel like the carrot that is out of reach is not worth the effort to catch by reading further.
I always enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's series about Precious and the Ladies Detective Agency and am slowly working my way through it. (I have not seen any of the TV adaptations so cannot offer any comparison there.) In fact, I can reliably turn to that series when I am looking for something interesting to read and want some consistency I can count on from an author.
I explored more of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty series and like the character of Kitty (she is a werewolf with a late night radio show), better now that she has learned to stick up for herself. Kitty predictably gets herself into unusual circumstances and always entertains as she works her way out of them. Carrie Vaughn wins the jackpot for the author I read the most books from (8) this year.
Now that I have read all the Gideon and Agent Pendergast books by Preston and Child, I explored some of their other writings together as a winning author pair and as separate authors, they never dissapoint. I purchased Child's newest Full Wolf Moon (Jeremy Logan series) and I am impatiently awaiting the January release of their newest Agent Pendergast book, City of Endless Night. Preston does a good job writing non-fiction as well (Dinosaurs in the Attic, Lost City of the Monkey God, etc.)
Hot off the press was Pullman's Book of Dust. Having enjoyed the golden compass books I was looking forward to this new one. It is set in the time when Lyra, of the golden compass series, is a baby. It is a good mix of real and fantasy, but the author belabored some of his anti-religious dogma a little too much in it. I don't remember this really being a problem in the previous books but some people find this aspect of his writing a good reason to like his books. He tells a good fantasy with engaging characters and that is why I read his books. It does not really matter to me what his political or religious views are if he is telling a good story and can deliver that to the reader without being too preachy about it.
Titles I read for exploring more gothic literature were Ghost Stories of California, Ghost Stories of Virginia, She is not Invisible, The Foreshadowing, Oxford Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Kwaidan Stories of the Strange, Porcelain, Among the Shadows, Dark Shadows Angelique's Descent, April's Grave, Call in the Night, Ghostlight, In Ghostly Japan, and The Haunted House Handbook (15).
I discovered a new author of classic science fiction, Clifford Simak, and read two titles by him, The Trouble with Tycho, and Way Station. I might have to visit Way Station again, it is that kind of story. He is an oldie but somehow I had never read anything by him before. I hope to read some more of his work in the coming year.
When I moved my residence back in 2000, packing was made easier by donating many of the books I had to the local second-hand charity store. I regretted that decision later and have tried to rebuild some of the series I had then but had not been able to read yet. I can say I have remade a healthy library here in this house, now book shelves seem to be taking over! That is perfectly fine with me, but then again I am not the only one that lives here. My challenge now is finding a place for everything. I alphabetized my books by author recently instead of by genre which is how I had it before and it is a bit easier to keep track of what I have now. One of the ways I'd like to work through reading in 2018 is by taking one book from each successive shelf and going through my library that way to get a nice variety of subjects and different authors to read. I have to limit trips to the library or else I will always be reading books I don't own and would never work my way through the "to be read" shelves here in the house.
Definitely on my list of author's next year are: Brandon Sanderson, Preston and Child (together and separate, and Carrie Vaughn. I'd also like to catch up with the full books of some titles I have read previews of on kindle, and I'd like to delve into more History and science/medical stuff this year.
2017 Reading List
- Ghost Stories of California by Barbara Smith (True tales of ghostly encounters in California)
- Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith (Book 10 of the Ladies' Detective Agency series)
- The Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (oldie but goodie Children's literature)
- The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith (#9 in series)
- Ghost Stories of Virginia by Dan Asfar (True tales of ghostly encounters in Virginia)
- There Were Jaredites by Hugh Nibley (Ancient History and religion)
- Atlantis Rising Issues (New age book-magazine publication)
- She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (YA and fits in gothic category)
- The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allen Poe (Poe!)
- Porcelain by Benjamin Read (Gothic graphic novel, independent press in the UK)
- Science Set Free by Rupert Sheldrake (Science and a bit of new ageness)
- Among the Shadows by L.M. Montgomery (author of Little House on the Prairie books, but this is a compilation of gothic tales)
- Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston (Non-fiction, archeology discovery in Central America)
- Oxford Book of 20th Century Ghost Stories Ed. By Michael Cox (A meaty offering of tales)
- The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick (YA and a bit gothic)
- Tales From the Perilous Realm by J.R.R Tolkein (Fantasy/Folk Tales)
- The Ice Limit by Preston and Child (Action and Adventure)
- Beyond the Ice Limit by Preston and Child (Action and Adventure)
- Kwaidan Stories of the Strange by Leftcadio Hearn (Ghost and strange stories/asian)
- The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child (Action and Adventure, mystery)
- Deep Storm by Lincoln Child (Action and Adventure)
- Dark Shadows Angelique's Descent by Lara Parker (Old soap opera popular in the 70's, continuing drama with Barnabus Collins the Vampire)
- The Abraham Enigma by Jack Lyons (LDS author, Adventure)
- Readings in Social Studies: Ancient Times Prentice Hall Library (compilation)
- The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith (#11 in the series)
- The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith (#12 in the series)
- April's Grave by Susan Howatch (70's gothic)
- Call in the Night bySusan Howatch (70's gothic)
- The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith (#13 in series)
- The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis (YA Fantasy)
- The Companions by R.A. Salvatore (Fantasy)
- Ghostlight by Marion Zimmer Bradley (70's gothic)
- City of Bones by Cassandra Claire (YA Urban fantasy)
- Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn (Paranormal/fantasy)
- City of Ashes by Cassandra Claire (YA Urban Fantasy)
- Billy Blacksmith Demon Slayer by Ben Ireland (YA Urban Fantasy)
- Unfettered: compiled by Patrick Rothfuss (Sci Fi collection of stories)
- Underground Bases by James and Lance Morcan (NF)
- Beyond the Fur by Tammy Billups (NF for animal lovers)
- Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn (Paranormal/fantasy)
- Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn (Para/fantasy)
- Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn (Para/fantasy)
- Classic Mystery Stories by Dover (Mystery)
- Low Midnight by Carrie Vaughn (Para/fantasy)
- City of Glass by Cassandra Claire (Urban fantasy)
- In Ghostly Japan by Leftcadio Hearne (Paranormal tales with a Japanese twist)
- City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire (Urban fantasy)
- Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn (Fantasy)
- Refuge of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn (Fantasy)
- The Trouble with Tycho by Clifford Simak (Science Fiction)
- The Haunted House Handbook by D. Scott Rogo (NF)
- Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn (Fantasy)
- Stuff Matters by Mark Midownik (NF)
- A Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley (Fantasy)
- The BFG by Roald Dahl (Children's Lit Fantasy)
- Old Venus by G R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Sci Fi compilation of stories)
- Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black (Fantasy compilation of stories)
- Dr. Mutter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (NF, medical/science)
- The Dragon of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp (Children's Lit/fantasy)
- The Return of the Dragon by Rebecca Rupp (Children's Lit/fantasy)
- Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn (Paranormal/fantasy)
- The Cabinet of Curiosities by Preston and Child (Action and Adventure/mystery)
- The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman (Fantasy)
- Justinian's Flea by William Rosen (NF, History, Roman Empire, Science, Biology of plague)
- The Golden Age of Science Fiction Volume 1. (compilation)
- Proofread of a new book, not yet published (Sci Fi)
- Way Station by Clifford Simak (Sci Fi)
- The Reaper by Eric Niven (Western)