My year in books (2017)

Reading is this thing that I’ve grown to love more over the years, after a decade of reading draught. Each year, I set my goal to read at least twelve books (one per month). This is the absolute least I want to read during a year, because I think it’s important to read as a writer. This year, I read twenty books, which is well over my target, and nearly double that! I’m quite happy about it, seeing as I was a little pressed on time and energy this year. So, what have I been reading, then?

 

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that

Looking back at the twenty books I’ve read, it’s been something of everything. A nice mix of fiction and non-fiction, although if I’m entirely fair, I’d like to read more non-fiction the coming year. I’ve also read a lot of Star Wars novels, which I blame entirely on the face that I’ve gotten into the whole hype leading up towards Episode VIII, and the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2. More on that later!

 

Fiction

Looking at my list, I’ve read ten works of fiction. The highest rated among those is the third instalment of Frank Herbert’s Dune series: Children of Dune, which I gave a whopping 5-star review. Also my only 5-star review of this year. I was genuinely impressed with the book, and I vow to read the fourth book in the series at the start of next year.

One thing that is quite obvious, looking back, is that most of the fiction books I read are labelled as science-fiction, or have some sort of science-fiction sauce poured over them. The best example of this would be Anthonie Holslag’s “Toevluchtsoord”, which I have a 4-star review. I was also very honoured to be invited to the book presentation, and tell a little about my own trilogy; The Shaedon Resurgence.

L.O.O.P   Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3)    Toevluchtsoord   Lege steden (De Onzichtbare Maalstroom, #1)   Spawn Origins, Book 4  The Lost Planet

Non-fiction

I love learning new stuff, and what better way than to read a good non-fiction book? My year started off horribly in that aspect though. I started reading “Antifragile” by Nicholas Taleb in November of 2016, and it was sucking all of my love for reading away, just like the books at school did I back when I was sixteen. I vowed to finish it regardless, in hopes of learning a few things. One of the things I learned was that I can’t stand the writer, because he’s so full of himself, and loves discrediting others he doesn’t agree with. Not very gentleman like, if you ask me. You can read it in my 2-star review. This must have been the most horrible read of this year, possibly of the last five years.

One thing I really love reading when it comes to non-fiction is biographies! That’s something I found out this year. I’ve read three (auto)biographies, with the last one being “De Juffrouw op het Rozenblad”, by my aunt Annet Mol. I’m nearly done with that book, and I’m really enjoying it. Other biographies I read were the ones from Phil Collins’ “Not Dead Yet”, and Bryan Cranston’s “A Life in Parts”both of them are recommended and pleasant reads. It makes these people that we always put on a pedestal look way more human. Their lives aren’t easier as ours, even though we like to think so, because they’re successful. Success has a price.

The best biography I’ve read, however was also part self-help book. Stephen King’s “On Writing” was a wonderful read, full of good tips for aspiring writers, and I’ve really picked up a few pointers from reading it. I’m hoping to put a lot of what I’ve learned into practice. Definitely a huge recommendation for everyone who’s writing, as I said in my 4-star review!

Bob de Straatkat  A Life in Parts  Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder  On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft  The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I Am  Thinking, Fast and Slow Not Dead Yet: The Memoir The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements

 

Star Wars craze

Yep. This year I got totally sucked into the Star Wars universe once again. Not only did I read three Star Wars novels, I also spent countless hours playing Star Wars Battlefront 1 and 2 on the PS4, and started a Lego Star Wars collection. More on that in an upcoming blog! 😉

Although I love reading Star Wars novels, or at least, the ones from Timothy Zahn, and several other excellent writers, I didn’t enjoy the books I read this year as much. Tarkin was a fun read, because it was centred around one of my favourite villains of the series, but the pacing was quite off, I thought, in my 3-star review. The other two novels were enjoyable, but “The Bounty Hunter Code” failed to deliver what I was hoping for. I was expecting more philosophy and less dry textbook stuff. I’m glad I read “The Legends of Luke Skywalker” before the release of Episode VIII though. Although it wasn’t necessarily an addition to the movie, it was a fun mix of different legends, each one enjoyable in their own way, as I said in my 4-star review.

Star Wars: The Bounty Hunter Code  The Legends of Luke Skywalker (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi)  Tarkin: Star Wars

 

The ever growing To-read pile

Overall it’s been a good year in reading. I was critical of what I read, but I think everyone should be. Reading a book can be quite an investment in time, and the books better be enjoyable. I’m glad I’ve only given two bad reviews this year. I’m not sure if I’ll be wasting my time on a book I can’t trudge through next year. “Antifragile” felt like a drain on my will to live, almost. Life is too short to waste time on reading something you think is garbage. Remember that, kids! 😉

You can view my entire year of reading on Goodreads! I think it was a good year in reading for me!

When I look at my current To-read pile it’s painfully obvious that I need to stop buying new books for a while now. I’ve got plenty to read, and I’m eager to start on most of them. The first three of 2018 will probably be “God Emperor of Dune”, the fourth instalment of Frank Herbert’s Dune series, “Between Good and Evil” by Friedrich Nietzsche, and “The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman!

Did you have a good year in reading too? What are you planning to read this year? Hopefully it’ll include my trilogy as well, which I’m set to finish in 2018!

Happy reading!

-Jeffrey