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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.
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.
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?