I could recount blog activity for 2014, but that would be really brief and boring. I would promise to do better in 2015, but don’t know that I will…
As for the year in general: I certainly didn’t plan to spend much of it visiting some 16,000 journal and publisher websites some 23,000+ times in all–but Beall’s fast-growing list concerned me enough to try to want to add some, y’know, facts to the discussion. As a result of spending hundreds (I’m not even thinking about how many hundreds) of hours on the single project that turned into four projects, I really didn’t make much headway on watching old movies–instead of the usual one or two per week, I think I managed one a month, maybe less.
But I did do OK on book-reading, mostly library books. My annual goal continues to be 39: three books each time I go to the library–one genre fiction alternating between mystery and science fiction/fantasy, one “non-genre” fiction, one nonfiction–and going to the library at least once every four weeks (that’s the circulation period in Livermore). Anything more than that is gravy.
This year, it looks like I read 58 books, or, rather, I started 58 books and finished 55 of them. (I gave up on three books, two of them to my considerable surprise because they’re by authors I like in general: to wit, Connie Willis’ All Clear and Gene Wolfe’s The Urth of the New Sun. The third was John Barth’s Once Upon A Time–and, you know, I’ve liked Barth a lot as well.)
The pleasant surprise is just how many books I liked enough to give A or A- grades–although that includes starting to read Robert Parker again and reading some of the Discworld books (in mass-market editions) that have been sitting on my shelf before the pages yellow completely.
Here’s the list, including an astonishing 30 books in all, in no particular order:
|The Long War||Terry Pratchett & S. Baxter|
|Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby||Ace Atkins|
|James and the Giant Peach||Roald Dahl|
|Back Story: a Spenser novel||Robert B. Parker|
|Bad Business||Robert B. Parker|
|Chance||Robert B. Parker|
|Telegraph Avenue||Michael Chabon|
|The Christmas Train||David Baldacci|
|The Science of Discworld||Terry Pratchett & others|
|Fatal Voyage||Kathy Reichs|
|How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll||Elijah Wald|
|Mary Ann in Autumn||Armistead Maupin|
|Cross Bones||Kathy Reichs|
|Bones to Ashes||Kathy Reichs|
|The Know-It-All||A.J. Jacobs|
|The Last Continent||Terry Pratchett|
|I’m Feeling Lucky||Douglas Edwards|
|Hush Money||Robert B. Parker|
|Fire and Rain||David Browne|
|The History of a Hoax…Old Librarian’s Almanack||Wayne A. Wiegand|
|Raising Steam||Terry Pratchett|
|The Monuments Men||Robert M. Edsel|
|Double Deuce||Robert B. Parker|
|The Camel Club||David Baldacci|
|Sudden Mischief||Robert B. Parker|
|Inherent Vice||Thomas Pynchon|
|The Human Division||John Scalzi|
|Hundred Dollar Baby||Robert B. Parker|
|The Fifth Elephant||Terry Pratchett|
Of those 30, 27 came from the library; three of the Pratchett books were among the seven on my bookshelf as the year began; and some Beta Phi Mu members (I’m not one–I don’t have an MLS–but my wife is or was) may have spotted the odd book out, Wiegand’s charming little chapbook.
Also fair to note that I’m either an easy grader (probably true for books) or I’m good at selecting library books–normally by browsing–that I’ll like. Another 18 books got B or B+ and two more got a middling B-. Only seven books that I finished got C+ or lower, most of them badly-written or seriously ahistoric nonfiction, and only one book earned a D even though I read the whole thing.
Here’s to 2015 being at least as good in books. (Looking at this list, I’m surprised I gave The Last Continent an A-; at the time, I noted that it was the least satisfying Discworld novel I’ve ever read.)
Oh, and Inherent Vice was a pleasant surprise, given that I’d basically given up on Thomas Pynchon after having been an early fan.
One note there: “Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby” is a Spenser mystery written by the writer Parker’s estate chose to continue the series. It’s very good…and is what started me reading Parker again after an absence of 20 or 30 years. I’m sure I’ll wind up rereading some books I’ve previously read. That’s fine with me. I will surely read Atkins’ other Parker books.
Those of you who look at this list and say “Sheesh. He sure doesn’t read much Serious Literature or Truly Worthwhile Nonfiction” are entirely welcome to your own opinion. You may be right.