That's a-lot-a Books!
Wow! Sixty (60) books! 2017 was another good year with regards to reading for me. I was able to once again power through a ton a of books. It was a year of series; only roughly 18 books out of the 60 were stand alone books. Many of what I read were serial in nature and, towards the end of the year, I was beginning to get a little burned out on these stories. Hopefully 2018 brings a refreshed view, or better feelings at least. As always, Goodreads does a better job of presenting all the books, so check it out there.
The Girl with All the Gifts is an amazing read. It’s is at its heart a zombie tale, but Carey was able to infuse it with so much heart that it feels different than anything else I’ve read from the genre. Yes, there are mindless zombies, but The Girl is capable of generating empathy towards some of these that I have never experienced in book of the type. It was not just the specific characters I liked that kept me coming back for more, but even with the characters I severely disliked, I was enthralled by their story and experiences. It was a book that Carey was able to pull me into and one that, as I read it, I felt like I lived through. Great read.
“And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.” - The Girl with All the Gifts
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- Paradox Bound by Peter Clines
- Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
The Kingfountain Series was one I picked up on a whim. I think Audible had The Queen’s Poisoner as the Daily Deal at one point. At one point I was looking for great fantasy that didn’t include heavy violence or other gratuitous situations…kind of an anti-Song of Ice and Fire read. The series follows a story about a boy from childhood to adulthood, highlighting his ability to understand and work himself through run after run of bad situations. Regardless of his age, it kept me interested and deeply hooked. There are more books in this series now, and they should be queued up to read at some point in 2018.
“Never trust another person to do your thinking for you.” - The Queen’s Poisoner (The Kingfountain Series)
The Lost World of Genesis One was a fantastic read. I have been exploring more into why science and scripture have this so-called friction with each other. Why we have to live with irreconcilable differences between science and faith has never quite sat well with me. The biggest sticking point has to do with creation and Genesis. In justifying certain passages of scripture, we always look at the context in which it was written. This is always true for those verses that non-believers bring up about slaves and adulterers. But with Genesis 1, exploring context is often abandoned with expectations of literal interpretation. Does the Bible explicitly say six 24-hour periods? If light and dark were separated on Day 1, why were the sun and moon selected on Day 4? Why does Genesis 2 imply something completely different from Genesis 1:11? This was a great read, going to grab the books on Adam and Eve, as well as, the Flood.
“It seems to many that they have to make a choice: either believe the Bible and hold to a young earth, or abandon the Bible because of the persuasiveness of the case for an old earth. The good news is that we do not have to make such a choice. The Bible does not call for a young earth. Biblical faith need not be abandoned if one concludes from the scientific evidence that the earth is old.” - The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate
- Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time caught me by surprise. It was a random suggestion from a video podcast I was watching, and I felt I should give it a go. I read it almost completely through in one sitting while driving through Connecticut and Vermont. The main character has a social disorder that most people would stereotypically assign to autism. So he has social issues but is very smart in math. It has some fun things like Chapter numbers that are only prime numbers, thoughts on the number of red cars on the road, and literal interpretations of anything that is said. The story is–in essence–one of how Christopher reacts and grows in learning that the world is a much broader and darker place than he’s been led to believe.
“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.” - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Nothing just jumped out at me as totally awful. Most books that I found disappointing were mainly because one major reason threw off anything that was good about the book as a whole. Liu Cixin’s Death’s End was probably the worst read of the year. It was full information and garbage that lead you nowhere and just ultimately fell flat. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders was filled with bad humor and plodding development. Not Alone by Craig A Falconer was an enormous read that was a really good story but, man, did it need massive editing…entire sections could have been removed and the length cut by a third and it would have been wonderful.