My Year In Books (So Far)

2015 was the first year I ever made a resolution.  The resolution was simple: read a book a month.   To some people this doesn’t sound hard but, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I was a terrible English student.  I also resolved to write more and that’s how Tuesdays With Jan was born.  As of around midnight, September 15, I doubled my expectations and finished reading my 24th book on the year; a personal milestone.  I always have a book waiting to be read and I get antsy if I don’t have time to read during the day.  I keep a Goodreads account (linked at the bottom of my site) and decided today to give a rundown of what I like, what I’ve enjoyed, what I enjoyed less, and what is to come.

My Rundown

I have read hardly anything before the year 1950.  I have been focusing mainly on books from the past fifty years besides Kerouac’s On The Road and Arthur Rimbaud’s poetic resignation A Season In Hell.  I’m learning that I really enjoy Postmodern Literature as well as True-Crime.  I set out to read a blend of fiction and non-fiction and I believe I am succeeding.

The Great

I think my favorite book of the year so far has to be John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.  Ignatius Reilly is an unbearable character yet you can’t help but feel bad for the guy.  It’s funny, it’s tragic, and every supporting character is inherently flawed in their own ways.

IT- Stephen King.  I never really read anything by King but decided to dive in with one of his longest works.  King put so much into the characterization of the children that, when I put the book down, I felt as though I had lost childhood friends.  IT is the one of the most radical coming-of-age tales I have read.  I felt that IT wasn’t particularly creepy, but wholly unsettling and ominous.

I also enjoyed just about every non-fiction book I read this year.

The Good

I read White Noise by Don Delillo.  This was a book I didn’t realize I was enjoying at first.  I knew I liked it when I would put it down and find myself analyzing bits and pieces until I fell asleep.  White Noise is probably one of the better portrayals of American life, hysterically over-the-top notwithstanding.

Inherent Vice- Thomas Pynchon.  This book plays on various detective noir tropes and, coupled with the end of the hippie age, makes for an entertaining read.  I’ve made it a point to read all the ‘Pynchon-lite’ novels before reading the tomes (Gravity’s Rainbow, Against The Day, Mason & Dixon.)

I would rate a good majority of what I read this year a 4/5.

The Not-So-Good

The Lost World by Michael Crichton was essentially commissioned by Universal Studios and Steven Spielberg as a follow up to the success of Jurassic Park.  It shows.  The sequel, while having its moments, is wholly unexciting.

Jaws is a great example of a book that ended up being better than the movie.  The book is more about the town than it is the shark.  The movie took the main plot and, to me, made it more believable than the mafia influence on Amity Island that is indirectly mentioned in the book.

You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney is a perfect bathroom book.  Not that this is a bad thing.  He goes over a lot of the common logical fallacies in a very easily understood manner.  I just tore through the book and don’t really remember a lot of it.

What Is To Come

I actually have the rest of my year planned out.  I’m currently reading Hell’s Angels by Hunter Thompson.  From there I plan on reading:

Catch-22-Joseph Heller

The Shining-Stephen King

Helter Skelter-Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry

Pet Semetary- Stephen King

Outliers-Malcolm Gladwell

Columbine-Dave Cullen

Before finishing out the year with Infinite Jest-David Foster Wallace.  Next year I want to read more non-American literature and maybe finally start Game of Thrones.  If anyone has any suggestions for me, feel free to comment below or comment on the Facebook link I inevitably post.  Thanks for reading!

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