Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: A Year of Not Reading

Another turn around the solar cycle, another year of reading.

It's been expressed previously, elsewhere, but 2017 (and 2016 previous) were both hard. As such, it was hard on my reading. Work took a lot out of me. Stress sucks.

2017: The Year in Books (53). The goal, for years and years, has been 60. I think I only missed that goal once since I started keeping track. I have to do better!

As such, even though such plans usually don't last, I've got a couple of reading plans in mind.

First, I thought I would replicate reading the venerable Ballantine Adult Fantasy series of the late 60's and early 70's. That series introduced us to a lot of what is considered classic fantasy, fantasy that still has an impact today (Lord of the Rings, anybody?). My thought is to try and read one book a month, in the order of release (the series eventually released multiple books a month, but if I can manage one, I'll be happy). If successful, I'll even extend it to those books that were considered for the series and didn't, those books by an author that were original to the series and continued (the Deryni novels of Katherine Kurtz) and even works by those authors that probably would have ended up in the series if it hadn't been cancelled (Stephen Donaldson, Terry Brooks).

Second, I want to tackle the so-called Harvard Five Foot Shelf. This was a collection of "great works" that were sold as a means of self-improvement (certainly one reason I continue to read so much is that goal!). Hypothetically one can get through the whole series in a relatively short period of time if you follow the program outlined in one volume. Bonus: you can get the whole thing as eBooks for free.

Third, I just need to read more. If I'm down and in a funk, I just need to read rather than mope. In one way, setting these goals causes stress if it seems like I'm not making them, on the other hand, goals are an impetus to making some progress.

2017: The Year in Shorts (170). The goal here has been 465 short works, or one short work a day. It didn't work out this year. Usually I exceed the goal. Time to buckle down.

The goal here is to work through some of the standalone short works (short stories, novellas) that I've been accumulating while continue to read the various "best of" anthologies. Once I get started on shorts, they tick up pretty fast.

2017: The Year in Graphics (171). Again, not as good as prior years, but still a decent showing. Highlights included Black Bolt, Providence (and the earlier parts of the overall arc), Black Monday Murders, Injection, Wayward and a surprising number of titles related to Star Wars.

The main trend here seemed to be a move (significant) away from "superhero" titles, especially by Marvel. Yet another reboot and endless crossovers killed it for me. Oddly enough, while superheroes at Marvel seem to be mired, the Star Wars line remains fresh, especially on those titles concentrating on secondary characters or even characters existing only on the pages of the comics. My favorite reads are completely divorced from any media property, especially is Warren Ellis is involved.


  1. The Ballantine Adult Fantasies - I think I owned at least 60 of them. Lost, alas, to mildew and mice. Many would be worth a reread.


  2. I have them all in paper (some, more than one printing). A majority of them are available as eBooks (easier to handle for me recently).