Saturday, January 05, 2019

2018 Year-end Wrap-up and Berkeley book haul

Here is what is awaiting me for 2019

Here is what I wrote for my 2018 objectives in my 2017 wrap-up post:  "My fundamental goal is to read 50 books in 2018.  My secondary goal is to try and get past that to whittle away at my deficit.  We shall see!"

I am very glad to be able to write that I did indeed achieve both goals.  I read 57 books in 2018 and have reduced my deficit  down to 63 (that is how many books I am behind to achieve an annual average of 50 books a year).  Though I am crowing now, things did not look so rosy halfway through 2018.  My reading was way down.  I only read a single book in February (probably due to Assassin's Creed: Origins). Surprisingly, I also only read a single book in each June and July.  Once again, it was my August vacation to Vancouver that kicked off the reading.  And then I just started surging.  My new job is going great (I used to be in charge of everything now I am responsible for three things and sharing that responsibility).  My daughter is in school and logistically that is going really well.  Google+ is shutting down and I pulled myself away from that and Twitter big time in the second half of the year.  I basically fell in love with reading again this fall.  I just really got into going through the books on my on-deck shelf and seeing that size reduce to the point that I had to actually find some books to add to it near the end.  Extremely satisfying!  I used to have to hem and haw over whether I should get a book.  Now I go to a bookstore and need to find something. This allowed me to go hogwild in my book buying over the holidays and now my on-deck shelf is full of interesting books I really am excited to read.

Again, my reading went across a wide swath of genres and periods, though mainly anchored by my interest in crime fiction from the 20th century.  I read 15 books by female authors, up from 2018, but still showing a preponderance of white males. I learned a few things: Anthony Trollope is great but not as perfect as I first found him, my tepid opinion of Alistair Maclean did not change after reading two of his books, and my random old paperback purchases were often though not always more enjoyable than I think they will be in the actual reading.  15 of the books I read in 2018 were old paperbacks by authors completely unknown to me, that I found intriguing.  More than half of them were really quite good and only one mediocre (Takeover Bid, which had the coolest cover).

There were no major highlights for me this year, but I have to recognize Daniel Suarez for the contemporary techno-action fun he delivered for me in three books.  I also got deeply sucked in to God Is an Englishman, so much so that I almost wished I had ended the year on it. I would love to find another book by Rosemary Kutalik or even find out more about her.  I hate even to mention it here, but a major lowlight was the piece of shit State of Fear by Michael Crichton.  Fuck that guy.

I was going to say that it was a rocking year of music but that isn't totally accurate, as it was really more like a rocking half-year.  I hope in 2019 to be a bit more steady, consistently reading every month so that I don't have to rush at the end of the year if I really do pick up momentum.  My objectives in 2019 will continue to be to read at least 50 books, to cut into my overall deficit and a new addition, to read at least 3 books a month.

Fortunately, I have a refilled on-deck shelf, with only a couple books that weren't added this december in the very rich book haul I added over the holidays.  Check them out:

Top 3 are from Moe's, bottom 3 from Half-Price Books:

Bookmark Bookstore (run by Friends of the Oakland Public Library):  A Peter Rabe, a Mary Stewart and two Parker paperbacks!  I am joining up as a FOPL.

 And finally the inestimable Dark Carnival:

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