On Reading

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
  • Stephen King


I think it’s fair to say that I love books. They are a passion, so much so that after years and years of reading them I was compelled to the insane notion of actually creating my own.

In 2017 I read roughly 30+ books. It’s not a hard and fast number because some of those were graphic novels and I don’t know quite how to organize those. I tend to classify a whole series or season as one book, but that could easily be up for debate.

I haven’t done a whole lot of non-fiction reading before this year, but after reading Stephen King’s On Writing (which I recommend for everyone and anyone) and the subsequent fire-it-lit-under-my-nethers to write and publish, I knew it was time to read more written works about writing, covering both anecdotal stories related to the profession and how to improve my technique. The only thing I can do is (hopefully) learn.

My fiction reading falls into four major categories:

  1. Graphic Novels – My love affair with comics has continued since I got my first issue of Transformers #39 at the tender age of nine. Thankfully, my parents realized the importance of reading, regardless of the medium, and fostered that relationship. This year, the big ones I read were Transmetropolitan and Buffy Season 8.
  2. Classics – For years I’ve felt a hole in my literature background, namely so much of the Western Canon. I’ve read pieces of it throughout school, from Shakespeare to Homer, to Remarque. Taking myself seriously as a writer, it was time to start working my way up from “the beginning” so I started a reading program loosely based on a few different lists, which try to lay out the great books of the Western Canon. I’m still in the realm of the Ancient Greeks but it has been wildly informing and entertaining so far. In 2017 I read works by Aeyschylus, Hesiod, The Poets (Archilosos, Sapphos, Akman), Sophocles, and Pindar
  3. Modern Fiction – Hunter S. Thompson has been my favorite writer for a very long time, and he still lives near the top, but in the past few years, he was displaced by Terry Pratchett. If you don’t know Pratchett, send me an email, and I’ll give you some recommendations. He writes humorous fantasy, but that doesn’t describe his work in any real way. It’s genuinely incredible writing that is not only vivid and hilarious but dense and quick at the same time. I’ve been slowly working my way through his catalog over the past couple years.
    • Last year I managed to read seven of his books: Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant, The Truth, Theif of Time, The Last Hero, Night Watch, and The Amazing Maurice(which made me cry like a baby).
    • I also dove into a bit of Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting, Porno), Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe), and Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind).
  4. Books for articles – I contributed to Random Nerds’ Book Reports For Adults series the following two books:
    1. Super Extra Grande
    2. The Handmaid’s Tale
    3. I also read two more books as potential Book Report articles, but they were both passed on. They are:
      1. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
      2. Universal Harvester (written by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats)

Honorable mention goes to the Lone Wolf Series

  • I read through this fantasy choose-your-own-adventure series when I was a teenager and recently found the books on Amazon and eBay. It has been a BLAST rereading them. They are single player Dungeon and Dragons style adventures, and they are GREAT!

As for my reading plans for this year, I have three primary goals

  1. Keep reading up through the classics
  2. Finish the Pratchett Catalogue. I’ve got 11 books to go. 
  3. Read more Graphic Novels. I’d like to reread both Fables and Sandman. I’m also hoping to purchase and read all of the Cerebus series, something I’ve wanted to do for about 15 years.

So, BOOKS. There you have it. 2017 was a big reading year, and I know 2018 will be even better.

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