Happy New Year! …Hopefully.

I’m going to start this off with a confession. I utterly failed at my reading list last year. And, to be honest, I didn’t do as well the year before as I wanted to either. This is all despite the fact that I’ve been getting back into comic books and participating in tons of read-a-thons. It would be easy enough to make excuses about not having time or energy, but really I just haven’t buckled down and dove into my TBR stack as often or with as much enthusiasm as I have in years past.

Like writing, you have to make time for reading. And the two go hand-in-hand. You can’t be a good writer without being a good reader. Whether it’s fiction that inspires and drives you to write more or non-fiction that you just have to trudge through because research is important, reading is a crucial aspect of any writer’s lifestyle. And as the number of books I’m reading had decreased, I’ve definitely noticed that the number of words I’ve written has decreased as well. So this year, I’m making time for both of them.

I posted my New Year’s Resolutions on Twitter earlier today, but I’m going to reiterate them here…

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Keep up with dishes & laundry.
  • Take my dogs for more walks.
  • Write more.
  • Read more.
  • Get that blog I keep talking about up and running.
  • Take less shit from idiots with bad opinions.

All of this is crucial for establishing a healthier brain-space in 2018 and hopefully seeing some significant results from it. I should also mention that eating a bit healthier (just a bit, because you’ll pry potatoes and cheese out of my cold, dead hands) and keeping up with my meds are things I need to keep on top of this year because I haven’t done so well at that either. Drink more water? Does the water I use to make coffee count? Okay, maybe that one too. If I must.

And because I did it the year before last and managed to keep up with it fairly well, I’m also including my TBR list for the year. I might not get to everything, I might read something not on the list instead, but having it down somewhere that I could look at and not just a pile of books by my comfy chair did help in 2016. So here goes Part Two of my Resolutions…

Books I’ve already started and need to finish:

  • The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie
  • The King in Yellow: Tales of the Carcosa Mythos by Ambrose Bierce, Robert W. Chambers, and H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Devil: A Biography by Peter Stanford
  • The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O’Connor
  • Sex At Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

Books I want to start:

  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  • Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
  • Abbadon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
  • Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey
  • Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
  • Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey
  • Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
  • Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
  • Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
  • Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
  • Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig
  • Bloodline by Claudia Gray
  • Canto Bight by Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, Mira Grant and John Jackson Miller
  • From A Certain Point of View Anthology by Various
  • Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Count Zero by William Gibson
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson
  • Burning Chrome Collection by William Gibson
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick

…Noticing a theme here? Okay, let’s switch it up with some nonfiction.

  • Bioshock and Philosophy by Luke Cuddy (ed.)
  • Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy by Jon Cogburn (ed.)
  • The Ultimate Star Wars and Philosophy by Jason T. Eberl (ed.)
  • True Detective and Philosophy by Jacob Graham (ed.)
  • The Philosophy of Horror by Thomas Fahy
  • Horror Film and Psychoanalysis by Steven Jay Schneider
  • Lost Souls of Horror and the Gothic by Elizabeth McCarthy
  • Theatricality as a Medium by Samuel Weber
  • Punk Is Dead by Richard Cabut
  • Spectres of Revolt by Richard Gilman-Opalsky
  • Manifesto by Ernesto Che Guevara, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Marx and Frederich Engels
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara

And what about comic books? I did say I was getting back into reading comics, so which ones of those are on my list?

  • Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson
  • Afterlife With Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
  • Jughead! by Chip Zdarsky
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
  • The Crow by James O’Barr

That’s 43 titles, not counting individual comics, just collections (most of which have finished and all of which I have on hand). My reading goal for the year was only 24 – two books a month. So let’s see if I can double that. It really doesn’t seem like a lot when it’s all listed out – much like your average to-do list – and that’s a hell of a relief because it feels like a lot when I’m thinking about it.

But there’s no time better than the present to crack into it. I have The Violent Bear It Away open next to me now – a sort of gift from my other half – and a pot of tea just finished brewing. Here’s to 2018 and so many words.

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24 Books to Read in the New Year

My to-be-read list is notoriously long and just getting longer every time one of my friends publishes a new novel or short story collection. One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to read more, I even signed up for the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge, but I only ended up reading 10 of the 24 books I had pledged to read. I decided, not being one to accept failure lightly, I was going to make the same pledge for 2016.

12 months, 24 books. It’s not a hard challenge. But to make a little easier on myself, I’ve made a list of the books I want to read in the coming year.

  1. The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
  2. Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen
  3. The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave
  4. Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski
  5. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  6. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
  7. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  8. Lost by Gregory Maguire
  9. The Child Thief by Brom
  10. The Real Peter Pan: The Tragic Life of Michael Llewelyn Davies by Piers Dudgeon
  11. S. by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams
  12. Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker
  13. The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
  14. Holy Clues: The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Kendrick
  15. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
  16. The Girl Who Played in Fire by Stieg Larsson
  17. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
  18. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  19. Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
  20. The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
  21. Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
  22. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
  23. Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin
  24. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin

I’ll be crossing off books as I read them, so at the end of the year we can come back and see how well I did. You can add me on Goodreads and share your own 2016 Reading Challenge with me there.