Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 wrap-up

Self-Criticism look back at '07
Well, a really pathetic finish to what started out as a torrid year of reading. I do have some very good excuses, but ultimately, despite them, I think had I just focused a little more and spent less time noodling around on the internet I could have easily gotten the 50. My excuses were that I was in school full time and the final semester was really busy, with a group project to graduate. Everybody seems to agree that group projects are always a nightmare and this was no exception. On top of that, there was a last-minute real estate Step to Maturity in December. So reasonable excuses, but still, if I had spent those 10-20 minutes just reading instead of arguing on some obscure forum the role of narrative in roleplaying games, I probably would easily have reached my goal.

This year, though, I really did get some great reading done. I finished the awesome (though sadly not truly completed) Amtrak series. I got into George Pelecanos, a great find and got a taste of Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, also very promising. I read some must-read sci-fi authors, like Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Charles Wilson, Tim Powers and Arthur C. Clarke. And I found a few gens here and there, like the Wreck of the Dumaru, Among Madmen and Conquest in California. Finally, it was a big year for me for Christopher Priest and Chuck Palahniuk, both of whose writing has given me a lot of enjoyment. The truth is that, despite the crumbling of civil society and the general idiocy level of most of the population of the developed world, there are still tons of great books out there and great authors still producing excellent writing and story. I am thankful for their hard and creative work.

Congrats to Others
Kudos to Print is Dead, who just kicked some serious ass this year. Not only did he read 62 books, but he also brought in a wide range of titles, introducing me to some sci-fi authors I hadn't heard of, as well as keeping me up to date on some interesting graphic novels. Honorable mention to June 23rd, with a solid 27 and to the steady MtBensonReport, who pulled through a tough and distracting year with some interesting titles (though with his all-time low of 15 books read, he's definitely going to get some good draft picks this year). Another Honorable Mention to LeBraconnier, a newcomer who started off strong, but had a quiet 4th quarter as he worked towards bringing a new reader into the world. And finally, I can't end this year without recognizing Meezly's strong showing. She's becoming a pretty impressive used bookstore patron herself these days, coming out with an armload of titles I've never heard of.

Looking Ahead
As for next year, I am shooting again for 50. I'll be working fulltime, but no more school (assuming I pass all my classes in the final semester). So it should be doable. We have a strong new addition to the meme, Doc Holaday, who has already posted a bunch of interesting books to read from his own past and looks, based on past productivity I have seen from him in other cultural contexts, to be quite strong. Finally, I hope we can see more from Buzby this year, who brought a lot of excellent non-fiction to the table in 2006. He has a good excuse for his no-show in 07 (another new reader on its way), but I think he will be able to step it up this year.

Good luck on '08 everybody! Let's do this!


Buzby said...

Fair crit. I will do better in 08!


dsgran said...

Thanks again for the shout out here as well. 45 is not a pathetic finish though! Remember that the 50 is somewhat of an abstract goal- we could just as well tally page totals or exposure to new ideas! ;) That would be an interesting way of approaching the blog.

Great recap, looking forward to 2008. I'm glad you shamed me into this two long years ago! :)

Doc said...

Yeah baby! I'm already kicking ass, though a couple of books are ones I started in 07 and finished in 08. I'll have to try and get to 52 or 53 to compensate. I took up this challenge because my reading muscle had seriously atrophied. I am enjoying the hell out of pumping it back up already. Thanks for the 50 book idea. Good luck to everybody!

Sorry about my trucker language. You would think an avid reader would have a better vocabulary!