For the past six years I’ve kept a comprehensive record of everything I read. It includes full-length novels, short stories, and novellas. I track how many pages each one consisted of, which month I finished reading it, and the average length of the novels over the course of the year. There isn’t a specific reason for keeping all of this information beyond my own occasional curiosity. Although, sometimes I find the lists helpful when friends, family, or co-workers ask for recommendations.
This time around I thought that instead of just listing out all 65 books I would break them into three categories. That should break up the list a little bit and give me a chance to provide a little commentary. But first, let’s look at a couple of general statistics from my reading in 2017:
Total Books: 65
Total Novellas: 4
Total Short Stories: 2
Average Book Length: 440 pages
Total Pages: 29,047
All of those numbers are well below my personal bests set in 2014, but I’m much happier with them than the numbers I had in 2015 and 2016 respectively. I like things best when I’m reading more than 50 books a year, but less than the 85-100 I read for several years. 65 books in a year is a pretty nice place to be all things considered.
Books I’d Recommend to Everyone
The books listed in this section are ones I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who loves science fiction or fantasy novels. I’d also recommend them to anyone who simply loves to read because if you haven’t read genre fiction before you should do yourself the favor of giving it a try, and some of these books would be a great place to start.
- Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
- The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
- The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
- The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
- Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan
- Black Wolves by Kate Elliott
- The Stormlight Archive: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
- Artemis by Andy Weir
- Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
- The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
- The God Engines by John Scalzi
Books I Enjoyed Overall
These books are the ones I read because I like the authors, was continuing a series I had already started, or just enjoyed in general but feel that they might not be quite at the level where I’d recommend them to someone going in blind. They were all well-written, exciting in their own ways, and worthy of a read if you read science fiction and fantasy books all the time anyways. This is where the bulk of the books I read tend to fall.
- Fallen Empire: End Game by Lindsay Buroker
- Alcatraz Versus the Librarians: The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson
- The Expanse: Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
- Earthbound by Mark. R. Healy
- Landfall by Mark. R. Healy
- Skybreach by Mark. R. Healy
- Sunspire by Mark. R. Healy
- Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
- Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
- One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron
- Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
- The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
- Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
- Promise of Wrath by Steve McHugh
- The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough
- Fields of Fire by Marko Kloos
- BattleTech Legends: Decision at Thunder Rift by William H. Keith, Jr.
- Apocalypse Triptych: The End is Nigh by John Joseph Adams
- BattleTech Legends: Mercenary’s War by William H. Keith, Jr.
- BattleTech Legends: The Price of Glory by William H. Keith, Jr.
- The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
- BattleTech Legends: En Garde by Michael A. Stackpole
- BattleTech Legends: Riposte by Michael A. Stackpole
- BattleTech Legends: Coupe by Michael A. Stackpole
- The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
- The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
- BattleTech Legends: Wolves on the Border by Robert N. Charrette
- BattleTech Legends: Heir to the Dragon by Robert N. Charrette
- The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett
- The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
- BattleTech Legends: Lethal Heritage by Michael A. Stackpole
- BattleTech Legends: Blood Legacy by Michael A. Stackpole
- BattleTech Legends: Lost Destiny by Michael A. Stackpole
- The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
- The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
- BattleTech Legends: Way of the Clans by Robert Thurston
- BattleTech Legends: Bloodname by Robert Thurston
- BattleTech Legends: Falcon Guard by Robert Thurston
- BattleTech Legends: Wolf Pack by Robert N. Charrette
- BattleTech Legends: Main Event by James D. Long
- X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill by Michael A. Stackpole
- Switchback: A Nightshades Novel by Melissa F. Olson
- Scorched Shadows by Steve McHugh
- Terradox by Craig A. Falconer
- The Penitent Damned by Django Wexler
- The Shadow of Elysium by Django Wexler
- The Mad Lancers by Brian McClellan
Here I have listed the books that were decent enough, but really didn’t inspire me to continue with the series they were a part of, didn’t “wow” me in any particular fashion, or that felt kind of mediocre overall. None of them were bad books by any stretch, but every year I end up reading a few where at the end I think to myself, “Huh, that’s not quite what I was expecting to get out of that,” or “Meh, that didn’t quite live up to the hype I had going in at the beginning.”
- The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
- SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland
- The Undead Road by David Powers King
- Warship by Joshua Dalzelle
- Archangel Down by C. Gockel
- The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
- Sol Shall Rise by G.P. Hudson
- The Nova Chronicles: Survivor by S.J. Bryant
- The Nova Chronicles: Pilgrim by S.J. Bryant
- The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
- Radical Candor by Kim Scott
- Pilot X by Tom Merritt
At the start of the year I made a promise to myself that I would not buy any new books until I had read everything already sitting on my Kindle. Over time I had built up a pretty big stockpile of books and I wanted to clear it out. I’m proud to say that I achieved that goal just before the new Stormlight Archive book was released in November. That left me able to buy a few specific books I was eagerly looking forward to as I finished off the year. I’m pretty happy having only a few books on my Kindle at a time now.
Another big change I made towards the end of the year is to slow down my reading a little bit. For a long time I’ve read more for “speed” than to really absorb a book and be able to remember what happened six months later. Starting with Oathbringer in November I’ve been taking my time as I read and I’ve found it much more enjoyable. It took me a full 10 days to read Oathbringer. The last two books in that series I read in less than 48 hours and realized I couldn’t remember anything three weeks later.
Maybe this new approach means I won’t read as many books next year. I used to think that would be a problem. There are just so many books I want to read. But, a friend of mine, Brody, has told me many times this year, “Dude, you’ll never read everything you want to read, so why not enjoy what you do have the time to read?” That has opened up my outlook a fair bit, and he’s right. I won’t get to read everything, and that’s okay.
In 2018 I’d like to do a couple of things with my reading: I’d like to tie off the ending of a few series where I only have one or two books left to read, and I’d like to re-read some of my favorites from years past. Stuff like the original Mistborn trilogy, maybe a bit of the Wheel of Time, or possibly some of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe just for the feeling of nostalgia even though it isn’t canon anymore. As always, I’ll try to find a new author or two I can add to my list of favorites.
Here’s to 2017 and a ton of great reading! Let’s see if 2018 can keep up.