Here I go, writing another one of these year end round up articles that I’m shocked to be writing every year. 2017. CRAZY. What a ride 2016 was. Hopefully 2017 will give us a bit of a break.
This past year was an interesting year for my book/comics list. After so many years of logging my books and comics reading via Google Spreadsheet, I actually converted my logs over to an online data tool called Airtable. It’s similar to Access in that it is a relational database but the user entry interface is very simple to create and similar to Excel. Plus being able to link specific information between tables really helps in cross referencing and spelling. You have no idea how many times I misspelled author names throughout my logs.
Here’s what my book log looks like now on Airtable. I’ve converted all my logs back to when I first started in 2007.
The blue colored fields in the screenshot are actually linked to another table. I was able to also create the Rating field on the right with different color coded ratings to make it easy at a glance to see what is going to make my year end list and what isn’t. Plus, Airtable makes all of this data entry even easier with a nice app for my iPhone or iPad that makes it easy to log entries on the go. Google Sheets had one as well but Airtable’s works better.
So that’s all the behind the scenes stuff. I had a better year for novels. I was able to pick 5 this year. Again, comics were booming and I had a tough time paring down to 5. But I did it.
So, without further ado, here’s the list!
The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – Ernest Hemingway – I don’t read classics as often as I used to. I really need to remedy that. There are two reasons why I read this. #1, it was featured in the movie The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington as a book he’s reading. #2, Steph checked it out from the library with a bunch of other books and I, on a whim, picked it up to read. It’s actually really good. I quite enjoyed it. I’m probably not going to pick up any other Hemingway, but I’ll definitely try to read more classic lit this coming year. I’ve been wanting to re-read Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, so maybe I can get that done.
Steve Jobs (2011) – Walter Isaacson – I’ve now read two of Isaacson’s famous biographies and let me say that I’m hooked. Back in 2014 I read his biography of Benjamin Franklin and it nearly made my year end best of list. This one about Apple founder Steve Jobs actually cracks the list. It’s not only a great portrait of a complicated man, but it’s also a great look at the beginnings of our technological age we live in now. I would love for Isaacson to tackle Bill Gates in a full book, but I’m not sure that’ll happen. Isaacson did write a book called The Innovators that really digs into the people who created the computer and the Internet; going as far back as Alan Turing and jumping forward to people like Larry Page and Bill Gates. That will probably be next on my Isaacson reading list and the closest I’ll get to a full Gates biography by him.
Star Wars: Catalyst – A Rogue One Novel (2016) – James Luceno – The “New Canon” of Star Wars books since Disney has taken over has been very…hit or miss. Since those books started in Fall 2014, only one has made my year end list. And honestly, I think that one novel (Star Wars: Tarkin), also written by James Luceno, would work perfectly as a side-quel to this book. This is the written prequel to the movie Rogue One and it’s pretty great. It digs deep into the relationship between Galen Erso and Director Krennic. It also explores a bit more the rivalry between Krennic and Tarkin all while adding in backstory to how the Death Star was built and how it works and what they use to power the planet killing laser. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Magic Kingdom for Sale–Sold! (Landover series Book 1) (1986) – Terry Brooks – I talked about this book earlier in my High Fantasy Month article back in March. It’s a different setup for a fantasy series and I really enjoyed it. I had bought the collection of the first three books in the series, but I’ve not delved into the second book yet. However, it’s on the plan for this year.