All the books I finished this year:
-A Wrinkle in Time
Shorter than I remembered, and less confusing. Still beautiful and strange and heartwarming.
–The Journals of Lewis and Clark
For class. This was actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.
For class. This one’s italicized because I hardcore skimmed it. (Sorry, Amaris.)
–Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher
A biography of a man who photographed and conducted enthnographic research of Native Americans. I didn’t skim this one, but a few chapters were cut out of our assigned reading so I don’t think it technically counts.
–In the Land of Invented Languages
A book about Esperanto, Klingon, Interlingua, and dozens of other languages that humans have conjured out of the air.
–Works by Richard Hugo
Yes, yes, he’s a great poet apparently. Okay. But when you understand English free verse about as much as Italian (read: hardly at all), reading Hugo is a stressful and unenjoyable experience that leaves you squinting because you don’t know what the heck “friable clouds” is supposed to mean.
–Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans
A lovely book about Evans’ journey to the Anglican church and meditations on what the universal church is.
Everything I wanted out of a Pratchett/Gaiman collaboration. Totally hilarious, and an instant fav.
Loved this Sandman companion, with a story for each of the Endless. Some were a bit incoherent, which makes perfect sense given the character (Delirium, Despair). Some I need to read again (Death). Some were stunning (Dream, whose kingdom will always be my favorite). I now own a Gaiman-signed copy, which I managed to get for no mark-up at a teeny local SF con. It is now my prized posession.
–Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott
A funny, encouraging book about writing and the writing process.
-The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Legends and their Meanings by Jan Harold Brunvand
Apparently this book and author are legendary (heh) for introducing the concept of urban legends to the public. I had no idea about any of that when I walked into a used bookstore to kill time, found this book, and after flipping through it, bought it on a whim. Boy, what a read. It’s an easy read but well researched and documented. It’s surely outdated by now, but I’d still recommend it.
-Assorted Short Stories by Assorted Authors
I don’t usually read that many short stories, but for some reason, I’ve read a lot this year. Highlights include lots of stuff by Neil Gaiman, many stories from Peter Beagle-edited anthology The Secret History of Fantasy, and stories by Kelly Link and Connie Willis. On top of that, I’ve read some pretty cool independent internet fiction. Abundance (content warning for hella body horror), Instructions for a Help, How Grandmother Triode Stole Binary from the Sun, and the connected stories i’ve heard you’re a crack shot and Further Up and Further In were personal favorites.
–Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion
Ohh, boy, this one was a doozy. Somehow I got it into my head that L. Ron Hubbard was a sci-fi writer who created a religion on the side. For funzies, or something. It’s far more accurate to say that he created a new religious movement and happened to be a science fiction writer. This book covers negligent homicide, the biggest domestic espionage event on US soil, forced abortions, forced divorce, physical abuse, stalking, intimidation by lawsuit, and so much more. It’s turned me into an anti-Scientology apologist, the sort of person who thinks “Have you ever heard of Operation Snow White?” is a good conversation starter. It’s dark stuff. A lot of it reads like a thriller, horror story, or straight-up sci-fi.
–Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by James Tiptree, Jr.
Wowza. I’m still not sure to make of this one. Tiptree, AKA Alice Sheldon, tackles gender issues from a distinctly male perspective, yet with the brutally cynical insights that tend to come more from women writers. I’m still not sure what to make of this.
-You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
“Memoirs by funny Hollywood women” is one of my favorite subgenres. It’s like eating cotton candy, if the cotton candy was actually filling and didn’t make you feel sick afterward. This book had some minor issues, but they didn’t take away from its enjoyability. Plus, fellow grown-up homeschooler!
–How to Lie With Maps by Mark Monmonier
A bit outdated, but the gist of it was still good. I have a new-found love of maps, thanks to my GIS class, and this was recommended by the professor.
Currently in the process of reading:
For All the Tea in China, Midnight in Siberia, Radiance (Catherynne Valente), Neverwhere, The Princess Bride
Reading goals for next year:
More books with difficult texts. I’ll read books with difficult plots or dense writing, but I’m kinda scared of fiction in non-standard formats. Right now I’m reading Radiance, which is a start. I’m hoping to read some stuff similar to Ridley Walker, House of Leaves, and A Clockwork Orange.
More graphic novels! Finishing Sandman, Saga, and reading up more on the format are goals for 2017.
More Asian classics.