Posts Tagged ‘new years resolutions’

Every year I put out a list of all the books I’m going to try to read, but I tend to forget about it fairly quickly. The list is usually thematic and always ambitious. I’ve never actually read the entire list for the year. There may be some rule that I keep to, but diverging from and not getting through the whole thing is inevitable. This doesn’t bother me, but I was curious as to what is realistic; so last year I started tracking the books I read as I went along to see how it matched up with my list from the start of the year.

Here it is. I’ll post my To Reads for 2018 later.

Books for 2017

  1. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
    1. Atwood fucking rocks. Not nearly as good as Handmaids Tale, but not nearly as bad as I have heard from some of it’s detractors. It’s the first of a trilogy, but I felt it was conclusive.
  2. Haunted – Chuck Palahniuk
    1. Way over hyped. I was wavering on CP as an author so asked my mates to suggest something to help make up my mind and I think they made a grave mistake. Basically, glorified torture porn wrapped up in poetic philosophy and if you try to start with me on the “yeah, that’s the point…” line, stuff it. It’s still a pile of wankish “look how upsetting I can be”, even if he can write real good.
  3. Human Being and of Citizen: Essays on Virtue, Freedom, and the Common Good – George Anastopalo
    1. Lent to me by Mister, who directed me to begin with a section on the role of “obscenity” in the social order (to grossly oversimplify: how should we address things which are obscene with regard to the rights of an individual’s expression versus the state’s obligation to the wellbeing of the citizenry.) and many more fun filled queries.
  4. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfus
    1. One of those, enough people (most all my friend group and everyone one in my house) started hounding me about this I finally read it. It has restored my faith in the fantasy genre. Fuckin hell, it was good. For serial, go read.
  5. Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfus
    1. When I started Name of the Wind, I didn’t know the 250,000-word piece was the first of a series. I read it and subsequently it’s 400,000-word sequel inside a week, then went back to the bookstore for the third and final instalment, where I was told. “dude, I’m really sorry, but I’ve got some bad news for you.” To all my friends who got me started FUCK YOU! Why the fuck would you leave this pertinent piece of information out of your praise for the thing!? So I could join you in your anguished waiting??? So yeah, you should totally read it ASAP and let’s all sit outside Rothfuss’s house until 2021 which is when he says it will be out.
  6. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
    1. Another book I read due to popular consensus. Again, proving that there is new worthwhile scifi being written.
  7. A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K LeGuine
    1. One of the seminal works of modern fantasy, I finally made myself read it. I can see how it influenced many younger writers, but… and I know this is going to be very unpopular, I wasn’t terribly enthused by it. Rothfuss took the same plot and did a better job with it. I know, I’m a monster.
  8. Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    1. Me and Delphi have a book at a time we read to each other (it takes a while). This was last year’s. not my favourite GGM (perhaps I’ve grown old and cynical, cause I felt the absolute devotion of certain parties to be dumb), but he’s still a brilliant fucking writer.
  9. Game of Thrones – George RR martin (audio book)
    1. Along with book 2 of the series, I listened to most of them on audio with Delphi. She went through all 5, but I heard less and less of them as she listed on her way to and from work more and more, which I was totally fine with. The show is better. Sorry, but it’s true.
  10. Clash of Kings – George RR martin
  11. Norse Gods – Neil Gaiman
    1. My Gaiman for the year. It’s good. Worth it if you like Norse Myths or Gaimen.
  12. Sex Criminals Volume 2 – Matt Fraction
    1. This is a fucking hilarious and fun series. Not sure if it will keep up, but will see
  13. Love, Dishonor, Mary, Die; Cherish, Perish, A Novel by – David Rakoff
    1. Also one Delphi and I read to each other. A novel written in verse (specifically, mimicking Dr Seuss) tying the lives of a number of individuals together across generations. Very Funny, amazingly executed.
  14. The Gunslinger – Stephen King (audio book)
    1. Rereading after much discussions of the DT series and how it connects to King’s work as a whole. I never got past book three in HS. I got bored, but I’m giving it a second chance in light of a number of conversations I had following the cluster fuck that was the recent film adaptation.
  15. Homestuck Act 1-2 – Andrew Hussie
    1. Let me tell you about Homestuck, begins the meme. “The Ulysses of the internet” (see PBS’s Idea Channel episode on the matter to get excited about it). I started it as part of a project I was working on and one day I’ll finish it. If you think it’s weird for me to include a web comic here, it’s over ten thousand pages and 875,500 words long (about the combined length of Song of Ice and Fire, Infinite Jest, and Ulysses). And that doesn’t include many of the tangential ‘spinoff’ stories that come with it or the 4.5 hours of video.
  16. Shop Class as Soul Craft – Mathew Crawford
    1. Another gift from Mister. Seriously good meditation on the value of labour and learning. Every time I start to explain it people say “oh, like Zen and the Art of Mo…” not at all.
  17. The Incest Diary – Anonymous
    1. Honest and fucked up. Worth absolutely not reading if you have any sense of decency, which I don’t.
  18. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfus (reread, Audio book)
    1. Reread these as audio books with Delphi on a road trip
  19. Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfus (reread, Audio book)
    1. See above
  20. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (reread, Audio book, Nar. Wil Wheton)
    1. See above
  21. Molly’s Game – Molly Bloom (audio book)
    1. It passes the time. If yr enough into that sort of thing. Looking forward to seeing the Sorkin movie.
  22. Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl
    1. A gift from a new friend. It’s a good book.
  23. The Master and the Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
    1. Long overdue read from the bookshelf of shame
  24. Libraries – Jorge Louis Borges
    1. See above. Finally reading some ground-breaking magical realism after having my own work described as such for years.
  25. Chew 1-3 – Don Layman
    1. Been told about it for years. Finally read a bunch off the shelf at Barnes and Nobel. Good stuff. Can’t wait to read more
  26. Lazerus 4-7 – Greg Rukka
    1. The brilliant fucking bastard behind Queen and Country (one of my all time favourites) does it again.
  27. Saga 4-6 – Brian K Vaughan
    1. It’s BKV and it’s super popular, what else is there to say?

That makes 27 entries. There’s peoples a plenty who get really hung up on how many books they read in a year, it’s difficult to quantify reading as some books are longer, some are very short, some are easy, some are super dense, etc. I would like to have gotten more, but that’s because I would like to/should spend more of my time reading. In all, I find it to have been a perfectly adequate amount of written word to consume for an average person.


Some of you older followers may know that my first post of the year is sometimes a list of books I plan on reading. We’re a little over a month into 2015 so I thought I’d put up this year’s version which puts me four months ahead of last year and I’m only about three weeks behind on doing the actual reading.

For the selection process this year I did something a little different. In the past I’ve just sat down and scrawled out a list of books that came to me off the top of my head. I have a tendency to forget what they were and instead read a bunch of other random shit and by then end of the year I’m writing a nearly identical list as the one previous (I’m not going to post the link, but if you want to dig through the archives you can compare the last few years of them, please don’t).

The first year I put 52 of them on the list thinking one book per week made sense. Since then I’ve culled that number and tried different ways of figuring out what is a reasonable reading goal for a year. This go round I have something a little less abstract in mind.
One shelf

[Trigger warning: I’m about to talk about the arranging of books for a few paragraphs, you may want to skip ahead]

I thought of it after I got a crate of books out of storage in Texas and had to rearrange my bookshelves (also a new addition to my office).  When you move an average of three times a year, throwing stuff out or giving it away or just leaving it behind becomes more and more appealing. Bookshelves are out of the question and heavy as fuck boxes of books are not the easiest thing to schlep about. For an avid reader like myself, this separation brings about a special Sophie’s Choice style of agony. I limited myself to one box of books. the ones that made the cut fell into the following categories: Reference (things I read bits of often for whatever reason, like Grimm’s Fairy Tales or The Bible), A-list Favorites (those things you can reread at anytime in any mood; you can quote them extensively; start them at any point, and they’ll make you happy. For me these are things like, All the Pretty Horses, Ender’s Game, American Gods, and Cat’s Cradle), and Aspirations (things you own and absolutely, positively, will read very soon, even if you don’t. Those for me were, The Master and the Margarita, A Farewell to Arms, and Grapes of Wrath).
When I moved into The Blanket Fort (my new place), I cleared out a family members attic for furniture and ended up with three bookshelves, shelves that were mostly empty when after my first few weeks. I went to Texas for Christmas and pulled a bunch of the books out of storage and asked my mother to send what she could to me later. Since then every month or so I get a small box full of books to fill my shelves.
The problem with the shelves though is that the heights are irregular. They’re fixed and I don’t feel too much like boring out new settings to readjust the height (not now at least, though every time I rearrange them I think I might have to do that sometime this summer)they’re three levels apiece and the top of each is arched so larger books will fit dead center but not much farther off. So setting them up by category didn’t really work (this shelf is all plays except for the five volumes that are collections of plays those are across the room). Then a friend of mine who was over drinking and watching me spend 4 hours arranging and rearranging, told me her books were divided into books she’s read and books she en’t.

which got me thinking.

I look back on books I’ve read like a journal. what I’ve underlined or notes scrawled in the margins. Not just the stories but the objects themselves tell a story, one only I understand because it’s one written in the black spaces between lines and at heading of each chapter.
I remember exactly when I read  House of Leaves because I had a tiny room with a desk and sat on the twin bed built into the wall and shut off all the lights except the clip on lamp that shone directly on the pages and the whole world outside those twisted coloured words disappeared. I read On The Road while on a train from Amsterdam to Antwerp then finished it on the way to Florence and was out of reading material and had to ask my friend whom I was visiting to borrow something for the trip back to Cork. He gave me Soul Music my first Discworld novel.
My copy of Ender’s Game has an inscription in the front cover, it was from someone who felt I needed it at the time and I was getting my ass kicked in the locker rooms at school on a weekly basis. It was the first book that made me reread it immediately after  I finished it and I don’t know how I would have survived middle school without it.
Sophie, my girlfriend at the time, gave away part of The Sun Also Rises which very much tinted my reading of it. Spring, senior year, and we broke up by prom so that narrows it down.
I read Grendel with a south African accent in my head because it was given to me by a teacher after I turned in a story that reminded him of it. I went straight outside and lay down on the grass and started in on it until dinner.

After sorting them this way, I found the stack of ‘books I haven’t but have strong desire to read’ filled just about one shelf.
One shelf of books, I like the sound of that. It’s a solid amount. now my books will be sorted with a system called my life. The card catalog will be my memory


Anyhoo, here’s this year’s list:

[note: I didn’t feel like typing anymore, so I’m in my office, dictating the contents of the shelf to the computer, I trust you’ll enjoy the interpretations]

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail of 72 – Hunter S Thompson
The Ginger Man – JP Donlevy
Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman*
The grapes of wrath – John Steinbeck
Dracula – Brahms Stoker
Grendel – John Gardner
As ever – Allen Ginsberg and Neil Cassidy
Rum diary – Hunter S Thompson
Peter Pan – J and Barry
Stranger in a strange land – Robert a Heinlein
Pulp – Charles B Caskey
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Iron weed – Will yam Kennedy
The stranger – come out
Sudden fiction – various
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Jailbird – Kurt Vonnegut
Bell cantor – and Pratchett
Wizard of yurt see – Ursula K Le Guin
Blind Willow sleeping woman – Harkey Murakami
God bless you Mr. Rosewater-  Kurt Vonnegut
The handmaidens tell – Margaret Atwood
Joan of arc – mark Twain
Sometimes a great notion – 10 Cassie
The Master and Margarita – Macayo Boga cough
A clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Strange wine – Harlan Ellison
The Dharma bums – Jack Karabakh
Travels with Charlie – John Stein back
White noise – Don Julio
A farewell to arms – Ernest Hemingway
Such a – Cormac McCarthy
Trainspotting – Irvine welsh
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest – can Cassey
seize the day – Saul Bello


*Trigger Warning is not actually on the shelf. apparently I preordered last year. I got particularly drunk with my flatmate who brought home a growler full of Manhattans. I don’t remember much, I’m told I spent most of the night singing “Black Velvet Band” over and over. But in the morning it was morning, there were two hundred dollar Amazon gift cards in the trash and for the next few months I received irregular surprises from the fairies of the interwebs the latest of which was Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman & the latest edition of Saga.

** I want to throw American Splendor on the list as well for reasons I’ll mention next post, but it doesn’t fit on the shelf due to it’s size & as a result doesn’t have a place in the order, but it will be in the first third I think due to temporal issues.


Post Script, If I end up in Grad school, this list gets shot to hell

It’s that time of year again. And it’s come about six months ahead of last year. I’ve gone ahead and updated my bookshelf list as well. which I haven’t done in an age and as a result we’ve just skipped a few, but I’m sure you didn’t mind.

Middlesex – Jeffery Eugenedes – This book has officially reached quorum, that is, the threshold of (N*R-[r+T])/([B/S]D) where N=PxA. In the form of a word problem that is the number of recommendations where each recommendation is multiplied by the factor of how much I admire their taste in literature. Minus r which is my reservations and/or the reputation that precedes the book. This Novel had to overcome a -iO that is a negative i(rrational) factor times an Oprah book club sticker. Plus time equal to how recent the book had been published. All over books on my shelf that is to say what else I have in my queue times how much I want to read those books.
In short, Delphi really wanted me to read it so I took a chance. If it sucks, I will never listen to her again.

Ham on Rye – Charles Bukowski, Never read Bukowski. Oops. And I got it as a Christmas Gift from Delphi.

Women – Charles Bukowski, if HoR is as good as it’s supposed to be.

Bluebeard – Kurt Vonnegut, My Vonnegut for the year. I feel I need explain this later.

Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut, I’m going crazy, reading TWO of these in one year, mostly because I realize just how much I haven’t read.

Lullaby – Chuck Palahniuk, Due to Rant being so fucking awesome, I’m giving ol chuck another try.

Little Birds – Anais Nin, It seems like everyone is talking about Anais in my little circle of peoples. We’ll see. Also she’s a woman so there.

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov, Nope, didn’t get to it last year.

Master and the Margarita – Michael Bulgakov, same

The Awakening – Kate Chopin, Because New Orleans and to up the woman count on this list (Yeah, I sound like an asshole. This comes from a discussion with a friend who said I don’t read enough women so.)

Bel Canto – Ann Pratchett, S’posed to be good, Also woman.

Anarchy and other Essays – Emma Goldman, Actually a big hero of mine, but I’ve only read bits and pieces. I want to read more from her.

Chomsky on Anarchism – Noam Chomsky, I feel like reading more political nonsense. See my resolutions for the year.

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail – Hunter S Thompson, My Thompson for the year.

Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlin, I loved Starship Troopers as a kid, but never read anything else by him. Also to balance out all the women I need some good old-fashioned white misogynist.

Watership Down – Richard Addams, Carry over from last year I think.

Peter Pan – JM Barry, Because reasons

Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller, been reading a lot of letters and non-fiction that mention this guy a lot and he has never been on my radar.

The Keep – Jennifer Egan, a gift from my sister for Christmas. Why the hell not. Woman.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover – DH Lawrence, Bookshelf of Shame

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman. My third time round with this one, but this time it’s with a full cast recording with BBC Radio 4 including, James McAvoy, Anthony Head, Benedict Cumberbatch, Neil Gaiman, and Christopher Lee.

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad, Bookshelf of Shame

Upton Sinclair – Either, The Brass Check or Sylvia or the Jungle (and Sylvia counts as a woman, cause his wife wrote most of it)

Darhma Bums – Jack Kerouac, Started last year, but got distracted.

Rum Diary – Hunter S Thompson, I want to see Thompson do fiction

Handmaid’s Tale – Margret Atwood, I’ve seen her interview a couple times recently and I found her interesting. Supposedly also a woman.

Something by Murakami not sure what.

City of Saints and Madmen -Jeff Van Dermeer, I tried finding this after I read Finch, but still have not been able to locate a copy. Supposedly this is even better.

I count 27, but I suck at math, so that’s most of them. I’ll leave from for improvisation this year. (also six women)*

*Child of God – Cormac McCarthy, got to read it before the movie comes out

The Closing of the American Mind – Allan Bloom, I owe a read to my friend, Flamingo

In Our Times – Ernest Hemmingway, y’all know the rule: you steal it, you read it

Camus – The Stranger, It’s been referenced in a lot of the stuff I’ve read lately

Death Comes for the Archbishop – Willa Cather, and one more up on the woman count.


Listening to Country music; the music of pain. “Tear Stained Letter” Johnny Cash, American IV

So a lot of shit has been happening in my life lately. I’ll get around to it in a not so personal, very vague sense soon enough. In the mean time I thought I’d post some resolutions. Not mine, though. I don’t really believe in New Years resolutions. I’m going to put up my book list for the year tomorrow, but my only real resolution for the year is to get my shit together.  I tend to make resolutions on a weekly basis anyhow. However, a few lists have been posted around that I did a bit of a nod to.

first While cheesey and sappy, it struck a mark close to me regarding the past two months.

and this one I liked just cause it was Stops and has something to do with getting my shit together.