Books I've read this year

Tue Dec 30, 2014

According to Goodreads, I managed to read 14 books in 2014. These are the titles (in order of date read):

  • Shift (Silo, #2) - Howey, Hugh

  • The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3) - King, Stephen

  • Dust (Silo, #3) - Howey, Hugh

  • Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) - King, Stephen

  • The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) - Zafón, Carlos Ruiz

  • Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5) - King, Stephen

  • Feedback - Cawdron, Peter

  • Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6) - King, Stephen

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) - Lynch, Scott

  • The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7) - King, Stephen

  • Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2) - Lynch, Scott

  • The Martian - Weir, Andy

  • The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3) - Lynch, Scott

  • The Passage (The Passage, #1) - Cronin, Justin

You may have noticed that I don’t like to read a series straight through. I interspersed The Dark Tower series of seven books, for example, with other books in-between each novel. Although it took me a long time to get through it, I never got bored of the characters. I find this a good way to approach a long-running series instead of “binge reading”.

A standout book this year was The Martian, which was published this year and has already been optioned for a movie next year starring Matt Damon. There’s lots to look forward to in the next year or two. The next books in The Gentleman Bastard and The Passage series should be coming out, as well as the next Fire and Ice book, The Winds of Winter. I’m also planning on getting into Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series, which has gotten enthusiastic reviews from fantasy lovers.

There’s a great feature in the Kindle Paperwhite called “Vocabulary Builder”. Basically, any word you look up appears in the Builder and you can even review them with flashcards to beef up your vocabulary. I find that words don’t stick as well as they used to when I was younger, so any augmentation to my brain is most welcome. Just for laughs, here are some of the words in my personal Vocal Builder:

suppurate, apiary, hypoxemia, gestalt, pronghorn, crocuses, cuirass, culvert, caparisoned, reliquary, tines, trivet, cloisonne, spironolactone, peons, mendacity, sinecures, xebec, possets, sprat, dreideling, knavish, ingress, regia, hauck, eldritch, spavined, widdershins, diaphanous, petechiae, travois, catafalque, numismatic, acromegaly, opalescent, hauteur, bunting, oshkosh, gabardine, excrescence, akron, hydrocephalus, freshet, tintinnabulation, fistula, usury, nacelle, hinky, interregnum, ague, pedipalps, tourmaline, pomanders, ducal, contrapuntal, megrims, pellucid, huaraches, avgas, quonset

One more thing - one of the supposed characteristics of the extremely wealthy, the one percent if you will, is that they read far more non-fiction books than fiction books. Well, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not particularly wealthy (by Western standards - in Ethiopa, I’d be doing alright) and probably am not going to be a millionaire anytime soon. But I think it is a terrible mistake to forsake your soul in pursuit of material gain  - and what better way to forsake your soul than to give over the intimate act of reading to scheming and conniving. Franz Kafka once said that:

We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.

You won’t confront your humanity be reading get-rich-quick books. If you cannot agree with me on this then it’s already too late for you and you do not have my sympathies.

On a lighter note, let me wish everybody a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. I hope you all get to indulge in some reading over the holidays. See you next year!

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