In the order I read them here is my 2017 in books. All title links lead back to the respective Goodreads page. Happy reading!
A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts: J.W. Ocker spent the month of October in Salem, MA. What he discovered was not always what you’d expect of America’s most Halloween Town.
Let the Right One In : Swedish vampire novel. Interesting take that pushes the genre in new directions. A vampire novel for people who don’t like vampire novels.
The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 1: 1950-1952: This one needs no description, right?
The Complete Peanuts, 1950-1954: This one either.
Hex: Second Swedish book of the year. Not as good, but an OK horror novel about how a secluded town deals with a strange witch infestation.
Lift: Fitness Culture, From Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors: Not nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. Author spent too much time talking about his own plans and not enough about the history.
The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity:: Huge fan of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus and this tome puts forth the best of their writings along with Seneca. Excellent read for those into philosophy.
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages: More of a reference book than anything else. Gave me some great books to add to the want-to-read list.
After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain: Loved Morgan Llywelyn’s Finn McCool series so I gave this a try. Not as good. Thin plot. Some nice set-piece type narration about the transition of Britain from Roman outpost to chaotic dark age island.
Saint Odd (Odd Thomas, #7): This was the final installment in one of my favorite series. I was really sad to see it end, but it ended well. Dean Koontz fans should definitely give it a shot.
The Winter People: Strange goings on in the Vermont woods. Part family history, part local fiction and part supernatural horror. Really great book by new-to-me author, Jennifer McMahon.
Bruce Lee — Wisdom for the Way: Bruce Lee was teenage me’s favorite philosopher and movie star. This book did nothing to dissuade me from my opinions.
Light on the Mountain, the Story of La Salette: I love the shrine of La Salette located in Attleboro, MA so I thought I would read up on its history. While I now understand the origin of the La Salette Marian visitations, I wish a better author had told the tale. This was a slog.
Full Wolf Moon (Jeremy Logan, #5): I have read a lot of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston books. Good solid thrillers. This is the first solo work of Child’s I tried. It did not disappoint. Strong suspense just this side of supernatural horror.
Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears, and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room: I make a cameo appearance in this book, so vanity alone bade me read it. But it is also a great story of a community coming together after tragedy.
The Only Child: A favorite author, Andrew Pyper, writes a novel reminiscent of one of my favorite Gothic novels of all time, The Historian. While not Pyper’s strongest work it is nonetheless a great and fast read.
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin: My son is a huge graphic novel fan and I keep trying to get into them. This year I thought my love of Star Wars might be the bridge into this world I needed. It wasn’t. While I can see the appeal, graphic novels just are not my thing.
Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe: Second time J.W. Ocker shows up on the list this year. This time for his part biography, part travelogue about Edgar Allan Poe. Love this author’s voice and I teach Poe. Win/win for me.
You Are A Writer: I’ve followed Jeff Goins on social media for a while, but never tried one of his books. This short one is a distillation of the writing advice he gives on his blog. OK for what it is. Nothing earth-shattering here.
Story of Your Life: The movie Arrival was a favorite of the past year; so when I learned it was based on this Ted Chiang novella I had to give it a go. It did not disappoint.
Willnot: Not my typical choice. Despite the fact that it included a pit full of dead bodies, a secret assassin war and a possible empath, this was a character study without much plot. I think because it is so different from what I normally read I really enjoyed it. I missed these characters once it was done.
The Fortune Teller: A race through history with an ancient language translator. Combines my love of books about books, history and seat-of-your-pants thrillers all in one. Loved this book.
The Bone Labyrinth (Sigma Force, #11): I really enjoy James Rollins’ Sigma Force novels. He is to the science thriller what Dan Brown is to the religious thriller. Just good fun.
Masters of Darkness III: I had not read a short story collection in a long time. This horror volume, read during Halloween season, was quite good. Some were amazing, and only one or two duds. Solid collection.
The Pack (The Pack, #1): I am a sucker for monster movies and novels. This werewolves in New York book wasn’t the best of the genre but it did its job. I was entertained the whole week I took to read it. (And I may even go back for the sequel. It’s a guilty pleasure.)
Ordering Your Private World: It is a classic I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Solid tonic for the chaotic and over-connected times we in which we live.
The Ruins of Dantooine: With the recent release of The Last Jedi and a recommendation from my 11-year-old son, I decided to give this Star Wars genre fiction a try. Thin plot, thinner characters but for a Star Wars geek like me still kind of fun. I just like hanging out in this world for a while.