Monday, January 01, 2018

Disjointed Thoughts, and the Reads of 2017

Disjointed thoughts on the closing of the year, including what I've read.

2017 finished itself up last night.  We rounded it out playing Cards Against Humanity with friends, and wandering home to watch the ball drop (a statement possibly true on multiple levels, considering it's been wandering down toward single digits at night).  It was actually the first New Year I stayed up to watch in a few years--it's also the first New Years Day I haven't had to open the store in many years. 

2017 was a tough one, and it impacted reading in odd ways.  Dad passing in the Spring, multiple illnesses among co-workers at work, and a handful of other deaths in families led to perhaps the least amount of continuous spare time I've had in a year.  Still, it led to a lot of escape reading.  

Dad's passing also led to a project that'll take a few years, as I started reading through Stephen King's work.  He was a writer we both enjoyed, and talked about.  We didn't talk about books often, but King often came up.  I'm a few books in on that project.

2017 was a lot of work.  In short, I've been working like a Botard for years, but the Botardism was rampant in 2017.  The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons were rough.  Most of my reading was left to the audiobooks I listen to on the way to and from work in the last quarter of the year....

Still, there was a lot of reading overall in 2017. More than any of the past few years.  I finished a move in with Shyam during the late spring and summer, and we spent a decent amount of time without decent internet or TeeVee.  So, I spent a lot more of that spare time reading.  

This list doesn't include a crazy amount of comics I've been reading.  I think there will be a separate post on that....

Anyway, here's a listing of the books and audiobooks I wandered through in 2017:


Shardik          Richard Adams
Post Office           Charles Bukowski
TV: the Book        Alan Sepinwall & Matt Zoller Seitz


TheYard            Alex Grecian
The Lost Sun          Tessa Gratton
The Immortal Irishman       Timothy Egan
Norse Mythology            Neil Gaiman
Gather Her Round          Alex Bledsoe


The Yiddish Policemen's Union            Michael Chabon
Fever Dream              Samanta Schweblin
The Dragon Factory           Jonathan Maberry
Carrie                   Stephen King
Masters of Atlantis             Charles Portis


Rusty Puppy              Joe R. Lansdale
The Cubs Way             Tom Verducci
The BFG                      Roald Dahl
Moby Dick                 Herman Melville


The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini             Reggie Oliver
Station Eleven                 Emily St. John Mandel
Stay Crazy                    Erika Satifka
Anansi Boys                Neil Gaiman


Bird Box            Josh Malerman
Ghost Road Blues                Jonathan Maberry
Brimstone                Cherie Priest
All Quiet on the Western Front              Erich Maria Remarque
Hillbilly Elegy                  J.D. Vance
Gwendy's Button Box            Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
Double Wonderful             John Swartzwelder
Bunker Hill                Nathaniel Philbrick


Salem's Lot               Stephen King
Dark Cities                 Christopher Golden, editor
The Great Terror: a Reassessment        Robert Conquest
Touch                         Courtney Mamm
Inherent Vice               Thomas Pynchon
Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near Year: The Shadow Cinema of the American
'70's                                 Charles Taylor


The Time Machine Did It             John Swartzwelder
Silence                              Shusaku Endo
Redshirts                          John Scalzi
Meddling Kids                  Edgar Cantero
The Shining                       Stephen King
Rage                                 Stephen King  (writing as Richard Bachman)


Ty Cobb:  A Terrible Beauty              Charles Leerhsen
An Unattractive Vampire                   Jim McDoniel
The Vine that Ate the South                J.D. Wilkes
King's Mountain                                 Hank Messick
The Fifty Foot Detective                     John Swartzwelder
The 13 1/2 Lives of Capt. Bluebear          Walter Moers


Busting 'em                                  Ty Cobb
Sleeping Beauties                     Stephen King & Owen King
Jurassic Park                                Michael Crichton
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid              Bill Bryson


The End of the World Running Club                Adrian J. Walker
Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling              Jim Ross, with Paul O'Brien
The Trespasser                                                 Tana French
The Forensic Records Society                          Magnus Mills


The Stand                                         Stephen King
Absurdistan                                     Gery Shteyngart
Star Wars: the Last Command                 Timothy Zahn

A few notes:

  • John Swartzwelder's little self-published novellas were my favorite find of the year.  I've ended up buying a whole set, and sent a few around to a few folks I figured could use a laugh.  They're just silly, and just the right length to read in a sitting or two.
  • I reread the Stand in the late part of the year, on my Kindle.  I've probably re-read it more than any other book. 
  • Meddling Kids was a pleasant surprise.  I didn't want to like it as much as I did.  It's goofy, but has an odd heart.
  • Forensic Records Society was interesting fun.  I'll be looking for more Mills.
  • Leerhsen's biography of Ty Cobb was amazingly good.  Also, Cobb didn't get to go spray fire on the Germans, and it was probably the most laugh-out-loud line from anything I read this year.
  • Other Favorites:  Alex Bledsoe's Gather Her Round, Joe Lansdale's Rusty Puppy, Cherie Priest's Brimstone, Timothy Egan's The Immortal Irishman, Jim McDoniel's the Unattractive Vampire.
  • The two that provoked the most thought:  Endo's Silence, which I end up thinking about once a day or so.  And The Vine that Ate the South, by J.D. Wilkes, is this beautifully grotesque oddity.  It's probably my favorite single thing I read this year....


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