Back in January I wrote a 2017 preview post that included a game of Book Bingo: 24 themed reads I wanted to tackle over the course of the year. Now that we’re entering June, it seems a good time to check in and see how I’m doing (since I haven’t paid the slightest attention to my bingo card).
The results: not great.
I’m nearly half way through the year, but I’ve only read a third (8) of the books required (24) to fill out my card.
The Books I’ve Read
By a Small Press: Encountering Riel by David Orr. This is a book by Stonehouse Publishing, a local press here in Edmonton. How small is this press, you ask? They’re only going to publish three books this year, one of which is a re-issue of a classic (Evelina by Frances Burney). Encountering Riel is about Willie Lorimer, a young poetry student who’s called to join the fight against the Metis rebel leader, Louis Riel. Regionally, this book sold extremely well. Considering the size of the press, it’s been a nice success story. I only thought the book was okay, though. Not enough Riel in it for my tastes. But if you’re into period pieces, give this one a whirl.
Biography or Memoir: Bleaker House by Nell Stevens. I wrote about Bleaker House a few months ago, so I won’t go into too much detail here. It’s about about a would-be writer who travelled to Bleaker Island, a barren scrap a land nearly as south as one can get before they hit Antarctica, to try and write her first novel in total solitude. Long story short, I adored this book.
That I’ve Pretended to Have Read: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d read The Hobbit 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through at least five times. It had gotten so ridiculous that I just started telling people I’d finished it. Never had, though. This year, I did, and wrote a couple of pieces about it.
Science Fiction. Mass Effect: Nexus Uprising by Jason M. Hough. You know it’s a bad sign when you can’t even remember the name of the author for a book you finished six weeks ago. Truth be told, the only reason I read this is because I was intrigued by the fact that N. K. Jemison is writing the third book in this loose trilogy. These are tie-in novels for the BioWare’s latest Mass Effect video game franchise, so it makes almost no sense that a writer of Jemison’s calibre would do this. I’m so astonished, I have to read it. Hopefully it’s better than Nexus Uprising. This was a waste of time.
Six or More Words in the Title: The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams. The first book I read this year. It it’s bordering on a novella (at just over 200 pages), but it’s so good. If you are a fan of Tad’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy of fantasy epics (the greatest series of all time, in my book), I implore you to a) read this book, and b) read Tad’s sequel trilogy, which kicks off in June with The Witchwood Crown. I. Can’t. WAIT.
An Author’s Debut: The Futures by Anna Pitoniak. The more I think about this book the more I loathe it. I wrote about why it doesn’t need to exist, and I stand by that opinion today. This one got a lot of good press, but my word, what a garbage book.
Set Before 1800: The Skystone by Jack Whyte. This was a super weird read for me, and probably the best 2-star book I’ve rated on Goodreads. It’s an alternate (and grounded) take on the King Arthur legend, and the first in a series of nine books. I quite like Jack Whyte’s style, I’m really interested in this series, but I feel like I had to send a message with the rating. It was a protest against Whyte’s complete ambivalence toward a dramatic arc. This book absolutely does not need to exist. It’s written like an unnecessary, cash-cow prequel. Except it was the first book in a series. Just strange.
With a 1-Word Title: Testament by Nino Ricci. One of my top five books of all time, probably. This was a re-read for me. I wrote about how it saved me during a low point earlier in the year. Just a wonderful, wonderful book. Criminally under-read.
The Books I’ve Yet to Read
I really have to get going on a few of these, especially since I will be spending much of June, July and August reading The Witchwood Crown and War and Peace (for an upcoming readalong … stay tuned to Reading-in-Bed.com for an announcement). That’s over 2000 pages of reading in two books, neither of which will qualify for a Book Bingo square.
That leaves five months for 16 squares. Not a crazy task, but I’ll have to get a bit strategic, methinks.
Oh! I just realized I have a 800-pages-or-more square. I’ll knock that one off with War and Peace. So there’s that. (There’s also a before-1900 square, which also would have worked). Five months and 15 squares, then.
I’d like a bit of help with a few of these. Do you have any suggestions for:
- A literary magazine/journal
- A poetry collection
- A play
- A banned book
Or any of the open squares, really. I have some thoughts on the ones I didn’t list, but I’m open to suggestions! Let me have ’em.
Do you have any specific reading plans for the rest of the year?