Best Short Fiction: The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata
Best Tome: Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright
Best Tolkien* Book: The Fall of Gondolin
I read one hundred and four (104) books of varying length in 2018. The longest book award goes to Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer (1,248 pages) but at least it was an ebook. The second longest book was only available in print and, at 1,013 pages, Islandia by Wright was heavy reading.
The most surprising read came late in the year, when I decided to spend December taking a break from Tolkien and catching up on all the short fiction, novelettes and novellas I’d purchased over the last couple of years. I reviewed the e-newsletters I receive from Tor.com and found some original fiction I’d missed in 2018. Her Scales Shine Like Music by Rajnar Vajra (read it free online here: https://www.tor.com/2016/08/03/her-scales-shine-like-music/) filled a poetic void in my reading soul that I didn’t realize I had. Tragic and wondrous simultaneously yet not quite a eucatastrophe. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though, since I started December reading The Ballad of the White Horse: An Epic Poem by Chesterton, which drove me to blog about poetry earlier this month.
I continue to consume the majority of my reading via ebooks. Audiobooks didn’t make much headway this year (basically the same percentages as the previous couple of years). Print editions keep losing ground and I do my best to avoid print at all costs (so I can control font size and brightness or loudness in the case of audio). Some other stats from my 2018 reading include:
- Twenty books made it to my ‘Loved-It’ shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/899665-jon?read_at=2018&shelf=loved-it
- Seventy books made it onto my ‘Liked-It’ shelf this year: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/899665-jon?read_at=2018&shelf=liked-it
- Fourteen books were just ‘Meh‘ and for once I didn’t Abandon or DNF any.
GoodReads annual mash-up of my ‘Year in Books’ found here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2018/899665
Highlights of some quotes shared via my GoodReads status updates:
. . . we will all die sometime. God created us to be mortal. But it is for you to decide if you will live like your parents did, or like the people who killed them.
“. . . remembering the dances they taught us and improvising as I go. This is stand-up tragedy; this is the free jazz of destruction; this is interpretive death.” 79% in ‘Killing Gravity’ by Corey J. White
Don’t shoot the messenger: ‘Well, in the first place an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.’
No joke: “Women will forgive anything.” With a flash of insight he added, “Otherwise the race would have died out long ago.”
. . . the knowledge that your adversary has anything other than victory in his heart is always a considerable comfort in any contest.
I did my best evil laugh when I heard this “It said, Do not attempt to hack my systems, and for .00001 of a second it dropped its wall.” Other commuters probably thought I’d lost it.
You know you’re reading an epic tome when you start chapter 100 with a quarter of the book remaining . . .
“At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts.” – Letter to son Michael, 10/6/1940
I ramped up my Tolkien reading as the year and work project waned. None of my Tolkien reading is done ‘at speed’ like my normal books are read. Since joining the local Tolkien Society of Kansas City chapter, I’ve sought a more in depth study of Tolkien’s work and life which has proved very fulfilling. I will spend most of 2019 re-reading, slowly, The Fellowship of the Ring simultaneously with The Return of the Shadow. The pace we set in October 2018 was four chapters per month. We next meet at the end of January (visit our Facebook or GoodReads groups for details).
I enjoyed the majority of my reading this year. I hope your reading journey was as rewarding as mine has been.
I wish you the best for the coming New Year and may all your reading adventures boldly take you beyond the horizon or to the stars in peace, hope and love.
* I’m a member of the Tolkien Society so I’m always reading something written by or about Tolkien.