2017 Reads

In the order I read them here is my 2017 in books. All title links lead back to the respective Goodreads page. If I wrote about a book when I finished it I have linked to those articles as well. Happy reading!

A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, MassachusettsJ.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. I sort of know this author and wrote about both that and the book itself here.

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: 1950-1952This one needs no description, right?

The Complete Peanuts, 1950-1954This 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 AgesMore 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 PeopleStrange 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. I had more to say on this one here.

Bruce Lee — Wisdom for the WayBruce 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 RoomI 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 ChildA 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. I wrote a full review of this one here.

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 PoeSecond 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 WriterI’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 LifeThe 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. Longer take here.

WillnotNot 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 TellerA 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 IIII 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 DantooineWith 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.

Related: 2016 in Books