This year, I made a vow to read more as a step to writing more. It’s a weird thing to say I’m taking December off from reading, but I’m taking December off from a lot of things. That lets this be as good a time as any to sum up what I read this year.
March through November, I read twelve novels, including two trilogies, and one book I didn’t write a post about. I also read three non-fiction books. Since, at least as far as fiction goes, that’s probably higher than my total for the five years before hand, I’d call it a successful venture.
Two of the novels were classics (Treasure Island, The Island of Doctor Moreau), four were self published (The Lodestone Trilogy, Alice in Deadland), and six were put out through professional houses (The Hunger Games Trilogy, Wicked, Old Man’s War, Pirate Cinema).
I wrote about them all except Island of Doctor Moreau. I’m sure I meant to write about it but probably wasn’t able to get to it in timely manner and then forgot about it. I know I was going to talk about how it was good when it was good but that it had a tendency to get caught up in itself and drag as much as not. Otherwise I don’t remember enough about it to make a worthwhile post now. Sorry.
How did they do?
Interestingly, the books I liked the most and the least all came from the professional houses. The self published ones sit in the lower-middle of the pack.
Not surprisingly, all the best written books came from professional houses. Many people can tell a story, not everybody can write well on top of that. And having a professional editor is never to be underestimated.
Front of the Pack
Old Man’s War was hands down my favourite of the lot. It was a great piece of science fiction with a lot of heart. Following that, which may surprise, is the Hunger Games Trilogy. I loathed Katniss Everdeen, but I otherwise really enjoyed the series (the wtf-inducing ending notwithstanding). It was the biggest page-turner of the bunch, which is an even bigger accomplishment given how little I cared for the main character.
Treasure Island, for its strong characterization comes in in the third spot.
Out in the Back
On the opposite side, Pirate Cinema was my least favourite read. I had a hard time getting through it. Wicked, for it’s weak characterization and skipping over the best parts of the story, is second least. Then Alice in Deadland, which would have benefitted most from a professional editor’s touch.
That leaves the Lodestone Trilogy and the Island of Doctor Moreau in the middle of the pack.
Of course, in all cases, your mileage may vary. We all look for different things when we read. Some things that sold me, won’t sell others. Some things that bothered me, just won’t matter to others. I know people who love The Hunger Games.
As for the My Thoughts On… posts, I think on occasion I may have come across more snarky and critical than I intended but I tend to be passionate about story and I did try to be even-handed. Most everything was written from the perspective of what I took away or learned about writing and story-craft and what I hope others might be able to as well – all while keeping within a reasonable word count.
Next year’s goal will be to try and top this year’s twelve. I’ll try and keep a mix of professionally published and self-published. I will also be including scripts (movies/plays) into the rotation. I don’t think I’ll be reviewing them like the books.
Next year (since I’ve been asked more than once), I will be reading the Harry Potter books.
Final note: I <3 my Kindle. E-readers do have a couple of minor drawbacks but overall, I thoroughly adore the reading experience and would not want to read a physical book unless I had no other choice.
What have you been reading? What should I be sure to read when I get the chance?