Month: December 2017

What I Read in 2017 and Goals for 2018

What I Read in 2017 and Goals for 2018

At the beginning of the year I made a Goodreads pledge to read 25 books in 2017. I crushed my goal this year with the completion of Night by Elie Wiesel on November 10th. In total, the average book I read was 423.07 pages long, with a total page count of 12,269 pages in 2017!

Linked to their appropriate Goodreads pages, here are the 29 books I completed in 2017 in chronological order.

  1. Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
  2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  3. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  4. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  5. Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo
  6. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  7. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  8. Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
  9. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  10. Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows by Tom Delonge
  11. The Clocks by Agatha Christie
  12. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  13. Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
  14. Company Town by Madeline Ashby 
  15. Song of Susannah by Stephen King
  16. The Dark Tower by Stephen King
  17. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  18. It by Stephen King
  19. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  20. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  21. Hell House by Richard Matheson
  22. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  23. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  24. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  25. Night by Elie Wiesel
  26. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  27. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
  28. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  29. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Looking back on all the books I finished this year I’m going to call this The Year of Stephen King. On January 3rd I posted a few specific books I wanted to finish, and many of them were his. Six of them, in fact. I read the remainder of the Dark Tower series, and then I read It and Sleeping Beauties as well. So I guess you could say this wasn’t just the year of Stephen King, but the year of long Stephen King.

This year introduced me to new-to-me authors I’d wanted to read for a while, like Agatha Christie and Neil Gaiman, and authors I’d come across serendipitously like Josh Malerman, whose book Bird Box is actually the one I’m naming my favorite of the year.

Bird Box took me by surprise. Fast paced and incredibly unique, it has a sort of survival horror post-apocalyptic vibe that had the perfect balance for me. While most books rely on visual description to set the story, this one has characters who go through life blindfolded so the description comes from auditory and physical description. This lends itself to being perfect for staging the fear of the unknown, which is crucial for horror. I had so much fun with this book and look forward to more from Josh Malerman.

Goals For 2018

Since I beat my goal this year, I’m setting it a little higher for 2018. Not by much, mind you, but 30 books. As for what books I’ll be reading, I want to focus more on classics. I have a lot of beautiful leather bound books featuring Ernest Hemingway, Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, William Shakespeare, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others. I want to put a dent in them this year. I also want to focus some of my attention on longer books this year, like 700+ pages. House of Leaves is on my current TBR list, and Underworld by Don DeLillo has been on that list for a while. I love to read, and I look forward to all that 2018 has coming.

On Not Completing NaNoWriMo and Why I’m Okay With That

On Not Completing NaNoWriMo and Why I’m Okay With That

November started off strong for me. I was getting my words in most days or catching up easily on days I didn’t. As with most creative endeavors, life can get in the way. Unfortunately, that was the case for me this year. I did not win NaNoWriMo, but I gave it my all and I feel good about the progress I did make, which was just under 44,000 words out of the 50,000 goal. I was close.

During the latter half of the month, I got a new job. It’s a job I wanted for a while. The excitement of that sort of took over for a while and I lost focus of my word count goals in order to focus on getting things ready, giving notice to my current workplace, and overall trying not to freak out too badly over a large life change such as this. After the initial swell, I got back on track for my word count. I had a couple of really hardcore writing nights where I spent hours doing word sprints through the NaNoWriMo Sprints Twitter and I got mostly caught up. I thought nothing would stop me from hitting my goal.

But then I got sick the last week of November. Right during the time I should have been writing the most and passing the finish line, I was emptying boxes of tissue and staring out at the world dumbfounded through watery eyes. My head was in such a fog that I couldn’t focus on writing, at least not good writing, so by that point I had resigned myself to the loss.

And I’m okay with that! Sure, I was a little bit disappointed. Winning was certainly my goal. It’s hard to feel too badly about my story at this point though. I made a lot of progress with my characters and the story is one that I think is really unique and interesting. I should be able to have it finished and ready to edit it early next year.

I worked really hard in November, and now that it’s over I want December to be a month of focusing on my new job, and relaxing throughout the holiday season. I have some exciting posts planned for this month including an unboxing and review of The Nocturnal Reader’s Box which should ship out to me any day now.

A huge congratulations to everyone who finished NaNoWriMo this year. I know it was not an easy task, and you should be so proud.

See you next time!