19 January 2016, late afternoon
I stopped listening to podcasts during my commute and started reading again. I used to read far more often, and had wanted to get back into the habit. My goal was to read 24 books before the year was done, which I almost managed to do. If you count graphic novels—and why shouldn’t you?—I did manage to cross 24, having read the trade paperbacks for: The Manhattan Projects volume 5, Prophet volume 4, Saga volumes 4 & 5, and Hawkeye volume 4. (All of these series are amazing, by the way. Hawkeye just finished it’s run and is the best super hero comic i’ve read in ages.)
- The Road – Cormac McCarthy
- Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
- The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss
- Dune – Frank Herbert
- The Stealer of Souls – Michael Moorcock
- Annihilation – Jeff VanderMeer
- Authority – Jeff VanderMeer
- Acceptance – Jeff VanderMeer
- The Dying Earth – Jack Vance
- The Eyes of the Overworld – Jack Vance
- Cugel’s Saga – Jack Vance
- Rhialto the Marvellous – Jack Vance
- The Martian – Andy Weir
- Flood of Fire – Amitav Ghosh
- The Burried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro
- Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
- The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- The Crystal Shard – R.A. Salvatore
- A Maze of Death – Philip K. Dick
- Valis – Philip K. Dick
- The Divine Invasion – Philip K. Dick
- False Readings – Patrick Stuart
The Little Prince was incredible. I have no idea why I waited 35 years to read it. Truly a superlative book. The writing is so great. The story is so lovely. If you also have managed to live your life without reading it you really should.
Both Cormac McCarthy books were hard reads, and felt like mirrors of each other. The Road is about a father and son travelling through a post-apocalyptic world. Blood Meridian takes place in the wild west, and seems to be a story about the sorts of people the protagonists in The Road are constantly fleeing from. They are dark books. The Road in particular is so bleak—especially if you have children.
I made an effort to read more fantasy this year. Jack Vance is really worth reading if you aren’t that big a fan of your typical fantasy novel. The world his Dying Earth novels take place is in bizarre and fantastic in a way that isn’t elves and dwarves and other trappings of Tolkien. The Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel’s Saga are also really funny. His command of the English language is also amazing. The books are so well written.
I enjoyed most everything I read. From the list above the only book I really regret reading was The Crystal Shard, which I clearly should have read when I was 12 years old. It’s cheesy D&D fantasy.
I just finished reading The Grace of Kings. So 2016 is off to a good start.