Monday, February 4, 2019

2018: The Annual Summary

I finished reading (or re-reading) the following books in 2018:

  1. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
  2. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. Existence by David Brin
  4. The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea by L. Sprague deCamp and Fletcher Pratt
  5. The Queen of Air and Darkness (the second book of The Once and Future King) by T. H. White
  6. The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President by Bandy X. Lee et al.
  7. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (read out loud to Grace)
  8. Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin
  9. The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher
  10. The Wonderful O by James Thurber
  11. The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
  12. City of Glass by Paul Auster
  13. Unspeakable by Chris Hedges with David Talbot
  14. Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds
  15. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  16. Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson
  17. Daughter of Dreams by Michael Moorcock
  18. Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories by Michael Moorcock
  19. Elric: The Fortress of the Pearl by Michael Moorcock
  20. Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress by Michael Moorcock
  21. Elric: The Revenge of the Rose by Michael Moorcock
  22. Elric: The Sailor on the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock
  23. Elric: Stormbringer!
  24. Jhereg by Stephen Brust
  25. Yendi by Stephen Brust
  26. Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey
  27. Moderan by David R. Bunch (New York Review Books Classics 2018 edition)
  28. The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
  29. Daughter of Dreams by Michael Moorcock (the first of three novels in the 2014 Gollancz omnibus edition Elric: The Moonbeam Roads)
  30. The Wrecks of Time by Michael Moorcock (in the omnibus volume Traveling to Utopia, Gollancz 2014)
  31. The Ice Schooner by Michael Moorcock (in the omnibus volume Traveling to Utopia, Gollancz 2014)
  32. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  33. George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl (Joshua read it to us as a bedtime story)
  34. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

That’s 34 books. I actually did a little better, in terms of the number of books completed, than I did in 2017. In 2017 I only finished 26 books, although I also read a whole year of New Yorker magazines.

A few of the books in the list above jump out at me for being particularly memorable. These are:

  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (read out loud to Grace)
  • Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin
  • The Wonderful O by James Thurber
  • Unspeakable by Chris Hedges with David Talbot
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Icehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Moderan by David R. Bunch (New York Review Books Classics 2018 edition)
  • The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
  • The Ice Schooner by Michael Moorcock

I’m not going to re-hash my detailed criticism of Moorcock’s Elric stories here, except to say that I wouldn’t recommend reading all those Elric volumes; see my numerous long comments on the Elric stories in blog posts from 2018.

Another thing that jumps out is that I didn’t finish a whole lot of non-fiction books this year, although I started reading many more, or dipped into certain chapters, often to discuss them on the podcast. That’s some information for me, although I’m honestly not sure if it tells me more about myself, or about the books I chose to read.

The best movie I saw in 2018 were:

  • Sylvio (2017 film)
  • Paddington 2 (2017 film)
  • Iron Man (2008 film)

And… that’s about it, unfortunately. I didn’t see a lot of movies in 2018, so there wasn’t a large field to choose from. Of these, I have to give the nod to Sylvio, for its wonderful surreal silliness presented on a shoestring budget.

As for television shows, well — I’m not going to try to rate a big pile of both old and new Doctor Who shows, especially when I have a number of fan edits mixed in there. I’ll just mention my frustrating with Doctor Who Series 11, and point out that the best episode of Series 11 was actually the not broadcast in 2018, and strictly speaking wasn’t part of the regular series. It was the New Year’s Day special, “Resolution.”

Speaking of resolutions, I have a few. I want to get into an exercise regimen on the treadmill. I want to finish more non-fiction. I want to get engaged in a new writing project, and get the podcast rebooted, at least in some form, for a new season.

Ypsilanti, Michigan
January 20th, 2019

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