Sunday, January 1, 2017

My 2017 Reading List

This is the fourth year of doing this, keeping track of everything I read during the year. Don't ask me why. It makes me happy and gives me something to do with this blog, I guess. Anyway...

Although I'm probably going to keep doing this, I finally broke down and joined Goodreads. On my My Books page you can find all the books that I've read over the last three years and a few others.

1.  Blood's a Rover -- James Ellroy

Book Three of Ellroy's Underworld USA series. This book picks up after the events of The Cold Six Thousand (2016 list, #45), more of Ellroy's action-packed, hard-boiled, conspiracy-laden secret history of the United States.

2.  This Census-Taker -- China MiĆ©ville

An intriguing, compelling little novella. I'm interested in reading something a little more substantial from MiƩville in the near future.

3.  Acceptance -- Jeff VanderMeer

 Book Three of the Southern Reach Trilogy, a well-written, but bizarre sci-fi series. This are definitely not standalone novels, you must read the others, Annihilation and Authority, to get any sense out of this one (and maybe not even then.)

4.  The Nest -- Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

I was hesitant about this book, not sure if it was just chick-lit or something a little deeper. It turned out to be a pretty decent family drama that moved along at a brisk pace. 

5.  April 1865 -- Jay Winik

Non-fiction. Subtitled The Month that Saved America, this is an engrossing account of the final days of the Civil War and the remaking of America.

6.  A Man Called Ove -- Fredrik Backman

A comical/touching/affecting tale of a Swedish curmudgeon. It's hard for me to imagine anyone who wouldn't love this book.

7. The Widow -- Fiona Barton

A page-turner of a crime thriller involving a missing child and the widow of the man who was the main suspect telling her side of things.

8. The Wrong Side of Goodbye -- Michael Connelly

It's not very often that I read the same type of book back-to-back, but here's another crime thriller. A typical Connelly book; not as good as most, but still pretty damned good.

9. Just After Sunset -- Stephen King

I've been re-reading this collection of short stories over a long period of time, throwing a story or two in from time to time between books. Not King's best short story collection, but some good stories in the mix.

10.  Terror in the City of Champions -- Tom Stanton

Non-fiction. Subtitled Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit. This book explores the heyday of Detroit, the mid-1930s, when the city won championships in three sports, baseball, football and hockey, in the same season, and juxtaposes that with the activities of the Klan-like Black Legion terrorizing the region.

11.  A Feast for Crows -- George R. R. Martin

Book Four of  Martin's seven-part "A Song of Fire and Ice" series. This is my least favorite of the books so far and deviated the most from the HBO series, but still an exciting, action-packed ride.

12. The Moviegoer -- Walker Percy

Like most National Book Award winners, this book failed to impress for quite a while. It seemed like a pale imitation of A Confederacy of Dunces. Gradually, I got into the rhythm and spirit of the story and was sorry to see it come to an end.

13. Kindred -- Octavia Butler

When I'm reading a book or watching a movie about strange phenomena like time travel or the like, I like to have some kind of explanation to work with -- Doc Brown invented a time-traveling DeLorean or there's a portal in the back of a diner, something. This book doesn't have that. It's just a modern (1976, when the book was written) black woman repeatedly traveling back in time to the antebellum South to save the life of one of her ancestors. No explanations, no control over the process. Other than that, it was an exceptional book; part slave memoir, part fantasy.

14. The Scarecrow -- Michael Connelly

Not one of Connelly's best, but still a page-turner/

Now reading:  Last Night in Twisted River -- John Irving

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