I started keeping a spreadsheet of books I’d read three or four years ago (OK: January 6, 2011–make that “five years ago”) because I was starting to use the excellent local public library a lot more and, being old, didn’t want to accidentally pick up the same book twice.
As a side-effect, the spreadsheet lets me know how many books I’ve actually read each year.
My target is 39. To wit: The library’s check-out period is four weeks; I always take out three books (one “general” fiction, one nonfiction, one alternating between mystery and fantasy/science fiction). So: 13 four-week periods times three books.
This year, as last year, I managed to pass the target by a comfortable margin: 62(!) books read, assuming I don’t finish the current book before January 1. Or, rather, looking at the spreadsheet more carefully, I started 62 books and finished 59. Three (The Book of Lost Books, The Bite in the Apple, and William Safire’s Take My Word for It) I abandoned partway through.
So: Here are the books I thoroughly enjoyed, giving them full honors:
|Thief of Time||Terry Pratchett|
|Pale Kings and Princes||Robert B. Parker|
|Night Watch||Terry Pratchett|
|Monstrous Regiment||Terry Pratchett|
|The Lake, The River & The Other Lake||Steve Amick|
|This Case Is Gonna Kill Me||Phillipa Bornikova|
|Hugger Mugger||Robert B. Parker|
|The Pleasure of My Company||Steve Martin|
|An Object of Beauty||Steve Martin|
|The Professional||Robert B. Parker|
|Rough Weather||Robert B. Parker|
|1634: The Ram Rebellion||Eric Flint|
|Night Passage||Robert B. Parker|
|Paper Doll||Robert B. Parker|
|A Blink of the Screen||Terry Pratchett|
|The Bromeliad Trilogy||Terry Pratchett|
and a few others that I enjoyed, but didn’t rate quite as high (A- rather than the A for those above)
|Waiter Rant||The Waiter|
|The Truth||Terry Pratchett|
|Turtle Recall: the Discworld Companion||Terry Pratchett & S. Briggs|
|Crimson Joy||Robert Parker|
|Box Office Poison||Phillipa Bornikova|
|1633||Eric Flint & David Weber|
|1634: The Bavarian Crisis||Eric Flint & Virginia DeMarce|
|Now & Then||Robert B. Parker|
|1634: The Baltic War||Eric Flint & David Weber|
|Ring of Fire||Eric Flint|
|Big Trouble||Dave Barry|
|1635: The Eastern Front||Eric Flint|
|True History of the Kelly Gang||Peter Carey|
|Widow’s Walk||Robert B. Parker|
For those of you saying “Crawford’s got no Serious Literary Taste, he’s in there reading them Robert B. Parker and Terry Pratchett and Eric Flint genre pieces of crap,” I can only say phbttb. I’ve been a sucker for Pratchett since I first encountered Discworld (on a cruise ship, as it happens), and I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the adult Discworld novels and a couple of the nonfiction works (I’ll seek out the rest of the juveniles, and while I’m too damn old to start rereading stuff, it’s hard to let go of the Discworld folks). I’ve always been a fan of Robert B. Parker’s books, except for the fact that they’re so fluid and fast-moving that I finish one in at most three brief evening reading sessions. I’ve been captured by the 1632 alternate history told from the ground up, and that’s the way it is. I’m sure there are a few “serious” books in there. Somewhere.