Monday, January 1, 2018

Books of 2017

I don't do resolutions, but my minor plan for this year is to restart a written list of the books I read.

I kept a list starting some time in my early teens through some time in college, and I imagine I stopped because my course reading took up most of my time, and those books didn't seem like quite the same thing as the books I had been listing before. And then I never got back to it.

I do generally know what books I read this year, but not what order I read them, and I may be missing a few.


  • Ada Palmer's utopian Terra Ignota series: Too Like the Lightning, Seven Surrenders, and The Will to Battle. All excellent and challenging. Wow.
  • Artemis by Andy Weir. Fun on the moon!
  • Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown. Depressing and okay... but not that great.
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead. My first and probably only zombie novel, but worth it. He's an excellent writer.
  • Mystery of the Witch's Bridge by Barbee Oliver Carlton. An old childhood favorite, reread for comfort.
  • All 14 of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache mysteries. I enjoyed them generally, especially the one set in Quebec City. I have things to say about the last couple of books if any of you have read them all (I don't want to be a spoiler).
  • The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.
  • New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. The third and final book in her amazing Broken Earth series; probably best if read straight through after the first two books, which I had read a year or two ago.
  • Akata Witch and Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor. Fun!
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. A well-done "serious fiction" post-epidemic collapse story.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I enjoyed it generally. Midway through I thought it was great, but I found the ending to be a manipulative copout.
  • The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin. The 1983 story that drove him out of writing long fiction (until he returned with Game of Thrones). I can see why. What a weird-fest.
  • Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin. The most recent Inspector Rebus novel, all of which are worth reading except the very first one where he hadn't figured out how to write yet.
  • Inhabited by Charlie Quimby. I probably didn't enjoy this as much his first novel, Monument Road, but it was definitely worth reading.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Very good, and I'm sure very appealing to the intended YA audience. 
  • Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Listened to every excruciating minute of it as an audio book while on a road trip. Wow, about 1/3 of this book is godawful. 
  • All six books in John Scalzi's Old Man's War universe. I reread these as an antidote to Heinlein. Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigade, The Last Colony, Zoe's Tale, The Human Division, and The End of All Things.
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Highly recommended. I hope to write a post about it soon.
  • Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy by David Fleming (edited and selected by Shaun Chamberlain from Fleming's longer work, from Lean Logic). Lots to think about for anyone who thinks our current growth economy can't continue.
  • Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson
  • Four Futures by Peter Frase. A shortish, accessible essay using science fiction to look at where our society could end up in the short- to medium-term.
  • Evicted by Matt Desmond. An overwhelmingly great book. I haven't managed to write a post about this, and now it's probably gone out of my head too much. Highly recommended.
  • A Colony in a Nation by Chris Hayes.
  • All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister. I expected more from this one.
  • The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter. Essential reading if you want to understand the foundations of white supremacy in our culture. I hope to still write a post about this one.
  • Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of for-Profit Colleges in the New Economy by Tressie McMillan Cottom. A thorough look at what it sounds like from the title.
Graphic novels or nonfiction
  • Kindred, the graphic novelization of Octavia Butler's book, by Damian Duffy and John Jennings. Well done and excruciating, therefore.
  • Heretics: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy by Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler. Father (philosophy professor) and son (illustrator) team up to explain Descarte, Spinoza, Locke, and Leibniz, among others.
  • Saga, volume 7, by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Keep ’em coming! (I just heard volume 8 is out now.)
  • Fire! The Zora Neale Hurston Story by Peter Bagge. I'm not the biggest fan of Bagge's drawing style, but he tells Hurston's story well.
  • The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia by Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot. An interesting bit of history I had never heard of.
That's all I can reconstruct of my 2017 reading. It doesn't seem like enough: just 54 books. Though I know it took a while for me to tackle some of the nonfiction titles. If I remember any I've forgotten to include, I'll add them later.

No comments: