2016 in Books

I didn’t read as many books this year as I normally do. I think this is largely due to the fact that I have had a lot of freelance work to deal with, which is clearly not a complaint. In total I read just 17 titles in 2016, compared to 24 in 2015. However, some of these were excellent and a few authors will certain make repeat appearances next year. Below is my complete list in the order in which they were read.

  1. Beowulf (Seamus Heany translation). I hadn’t read this since college and it was just as good as I remembered. I think going back to books you read in your youth should be a requirement of middle age. Books change as readers evolve.
  2. Grendel by John Gardner. An obvious paring with Beowulf this short book tells the same tale from the antagonist’s perspective. I think I may have enjoyed this more.
  3. The Jesus Dynasty by James Tabor. Yet another account of the historical Jesus. I am quite addicted to these types of books.
  4. From the Library of C.S. Lewis. Another reread as this classic collection is literally full of treasures.
  5. The Man of Bronze by Kenneth Robeson. This is actually a two-for as the book includes two short Doc Savage novels from the 1930’s. Fun to see how much pulp writing has changed in 80 years.
  6. Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz. The continuing saga of Odd Thomas, one of the best protagonists in fiction right now.
  7. Biblical Literalism by John Spong. Interesting take on modern biblical scholarship marred by the author’s condescension towards many of his coreligionists.
  8. The Damned by Andrew Pyper. Pyper’s Demonologist was my favorite book of 2014, so this one had a high bar. While The Damned didn’t keep me up at night (Demonologist did, seriously) it was still a great read.
  9. The Searcher by Simon Toyne. I loved Toyne’s Sanctus Trilogy and I think I will enjoy this new series just as much. Suspense with a dose of supernatural is my kind of beach book.
  10. Revival by Stephen King. King may not be in his prime any longer, but I’ll take 70% strength King over just about any other author for page turning fun.
  11. Night by Eli Wiesel. Holocaust classic right up there with Anne Frank. I read this because I had to teach it this year and I am very glad that I did. A hard but important book.
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I teach this every year and therefore I periodically reread it. This was a reread year.
  13. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry. Between last year’s Force Awakens and the build up to this year’s Rogue One I felt the need to read a Star Wars novel. It was OK. These stories just play better on a screen than on the page.
  14. The Fireman by Joe Hill. Stephen King’s son shows why I’ll have plenty of fun reads to look forward to for a long time to come.
  15. The Apostle by Tom Bissel. Interesting travelogue about the supposed burial sites of all twelve apostles.
  16. Midnight Sun by Ramsey Campbell. I read this years ago and decided to revisit it. I am so glad I did. Campbell makes his haunting setting the star of the book.
  17. The Sandman Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman. This was my first attempt at understanding the lure of graphic novels. As much as I love Gaiman it will probably be the last.