Sunday, January 1, 2017

216: My Year in Books

My name is John and I like to read.

A lot.

As in, I really like to read and I really read a lot. Last year, according to my tally, I read a surprising 132 books. That's up from 123 in 2015 and the highest number I have read in a given year, at least as an adult. And that doesn't even count the thousands of articles, comic books, comic strips, short stories and related ephemera that I consumed over the year.

How the hell do I read so much? Easy -- I have a tendency to pick very short books, like graphic novels, which comprised the bulk of my reading once again this year. I would love to take more deep dives into novels or whatever, but I don't always have time for that. That means that I have (no exaggeration) hundreds and hundreds of novels on my bookshelves and in my Kindle waiting to be read.

I'll get to them all one of these days.

(Cue me in another decade or two, looking like Burgess Meredith in "The Twilight Zone"...)

Anyway, here a a few recommendations (and one non-recommendation) from this year's list.

Best novels: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and JOYLAND by Joe Hill's dad, Stephen King. That's one talented family.

Best nonfiction book: THE MADHOUSE EFFECT by Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles. An essential examination of the science of climate change and the industry devoted to denying it.

Best graphic novel: MURDER BY REMOTE CONTROL by Janwillem van de Wetering & Paul Kirchner. Boy, that's a truly weird book, luckily rescued from obscurity and brought back into print this year.

Best art book: EYE TO EYE,  collection of photographs by the mysterious Vivian Maier (subject of the great documentary, "Finding Vivian Maier"). I think this is already out of print due to fights over Maier's copyrights and estate, but it's worth trying to track down a copy.

Worst book of the year: Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee, Peter David & Colleen Doran. I'll admit that I love Stan Lee, but this was biography by way of publicist. Sublimely awful.

It's January 1 as I post this blog, so if you'll excuse me, I think I'll stop writing and start making some headway on this year's list of books.

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