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Q4 2017 – Books Read

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I am reading a book.

I know what you are thinking. I read lots of books. In fact, I read 102 books in 2017 – nearly two every week.

But I mean I am reading a book book. With paper and ink. With pages to turn. With a bookmark.

When e-books first came into the mainstream, I claimed I would never be able to read a book on an electronic device. I wanted the feel and weight of a book in my hand. I wanted to feel the crinkle of the paper as I turned the page. I wanted shelves full of books – spine after spine showing their titles.

Then I discovered the ease of purchasing a book online and downloading it instantly. I discovered the vast collection of e-books my library had access to, again allowing me to download the books instantly. And, best of all, I discovered the fun of “browsing” a book store while sitting in my pajamas in front of a fireplace with the dogs softly snoring at my feet.

So I became an e-book convert. I rarely hold an actual book in my hand (not counting the ridiculously thick 17th Edition of the Chicago Manual of Style that has a permanent place on my desk). I even use an electronic dictionary and thesaurus.

But I am also insanely obsessive about reading books in order. When I discovered my library did not have access to Nevada Barr’s Flashback as an e-book, I was stumped. I couldn’t skip to the next title – what if I missed something important? I needed that book. Notice not a single Nevada Barr book read in this quarter’s list below.

But I noticed the library had the actual book. I reserved it online and went to pick it up at the library.

The last time I had reserved a book at the library, I asked for it at the main desk. This time, the librarian kindly pointed to a row of nearby shelves and said that is where the reserved books were. I simply needed to scan down to the “W’s”, find my name, and my book would be right there.

Great system, I complimented, much better than you having to have all of the reserved books in a room which required a librarian to go fetch them.

Yes, he replied, it was a new system. They have only had it in place for about a year.

Guess it had been a while since I had checked out an actual book.

Books Read This Quarter

Overwhelmingly, my 29 books read this quarter continued to be catching up on series from my favorite authors. After years of corporate travel, it is so great to be home every night reading a good book.

Lisa Gardner – My favorite writer of creepy serial killers keeps up her game with Say Goodbye, The Neighbor, Live To Tell, and Love You More.

John Grisham – I am only one book away from being fully caught up on my courtroom king after reading The Whistler and Theodore Boone: The Fugitive.

Lee Child – My opinion on the character of Jack Reacher has been morphing as I read so many of these engrossing books this quarter – Persuader, The Enemy, One Shot, The Hard Way, Bad Luck Trouble, Nothing To Lose, Gone Tomorrow, 61 Hours, Worth Dying For, and The Affair. That last book, The Affair, is what really changed my opinion of Reacher from a cool drifter solving crimes and seeking vengeance to more of a lonely soul seeking redemption. Each book tends to feature a love interest that gets broken up for some reason, but The Affair has a character that is his every equal as a partner, but he walks away. I have begun to think of Reacher not so much as someone trying to find life as someone trying to avoid it. The books are still wildly entertaining, but I pity Reacher as a sad soul.

Michael Connelly – Harry Bosch is still the best crime solving detective in fiction and Connelly’s other characters are nearly as good. This quarter’s books were The Closers, The Lincoln Lawyer (I could not read it without picturing Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe), Echo Park, The Overlook, The Brass Verdict, The Scarecrow and 9 Dragons. The last book was by far the best as Bosch’s daughter comes back into the narrative. Like Reacher, Bosch has gone through much of life alone, but he seems to really want a less lonely life.

David Baldacci – The Whole Truth, Divine Justice, First Family, and True Blue.

Only one new author this quarter, something I really need to work on when I catch up on my favorite series – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The novel does something I really like – take a familiar piece of our current world and fast forward it into the future. In this case, Cline takes the world of online role-playing games (something I am not into) and the growing power of a handful of IT companies and plays an interesting game of what if. He creates a very interesting slum called the stacks – named because trailer homes have been stacked on top of each other to use less land. Overall, the book had a very interesting premise and was a fun read, though I could see where gamers would enjoy it more than I did.

And, from the technical side of things, I read Fool Proof Dictation by Christopher Downing. I find dictation to be a great way to write first drafts, though hardly “fool proof” (at least not this fool).

Reading Goals for 2018

For the coming year, I am less focused on number of books (I assume I will continue a pace of just over two books a week) as much as broadening the mix of authors. As I catch up on my favorite authors, I want to branch out and try new authors. I have several reader suggestions already but am certainly interested in any thoughts you have.

So what are your reading goals for 2018?

Today’s featured image includes a photo by Roman Kraft which has been used with permission from Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Q4 2017 – Books Read”

  1. Ready Player One is a Spielberg movie to be released in March 2018. The previews looks interesting and now I need to read the book.
    Like you, I enjoy holding a book, turning the pages and the smell of the paper and ink. eBooks came and I too, was drawn into it by the convenience. Wishing you a great year of adventures through books.

  2. Like you, I swore I would never read e-books. I LOVE books. I converted my formal living room into a library complete with wall to wall bookcases and an electric fireplace. All the shelves were filled with hardback books I had read or were on the waiting list. Then, my vision started to fade and I found it very difficult to read in bed at night. I finally got a Kindle Fire. The Kindle works for my vision inadequacies, but I still miss holding a book and turning the pages.

    I had to relocate, but moved all my books to the new house so I can still see and caress them when I need a fix.

    • Yes, one of the great benefits of an e-reader is the ability to easily adjust the font size. As a person who wakes up early in the morning, e-readers are great for being able to read with the lights out (since not all humans in this house are morning people).

  3. I like the convenience of my Nook for downloading books and audio books from the library but when I go to bed at night, I have to have an actual book. I discovered that using my Nook was causing me to have trouble falling asleep.
    My goal for this year is 52. I read 71 this past year (due to 2 months being off work after Achilles tendon surgery) but normally around 50 works best for me.

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