Saturday, December 27, 2014

My End of Year Book Report

Long before Goodreads, I was tracking the number of books I’d read. Almost 20 years now, in fact. I write down the title, the author, maybe the genre, date read, and a short impression (bad, so-so, good, or great). Past few years I’ve adopted the ubiquitous star system and also note if the book is physical or electronic, novel length or novella.

I have a notebook full of literary memories.

A few years ago I transferred that list to Goodreads and added as many books as I could remember having read since childhood. I’m closing in on 1,000. Probably read north of that since that number only averages out to only about 25 books a year since age 10. Past few years I’ve been averaging 50. This past year I read 75 (even though GR says 102...I'm not counting short stories, etc.).

For those who are interested in this sort of thing, here’s the breakdown.

33 physical books – 10 of which were hardbacks (3 from the library, 6 were bought used, 1 bought new). (Out of the 23 paperbacks I read, I only purchased maybe 8, and only 2 of those purchases were new.)

42 electronic books, 24 of which were novel length and 18 novella size (mostly free downloads from giveaways or friends, quite a few were borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, but a few were purchased, maybe a half dozen?).

As for genre breakdown, I hate trying to classify. So in round numbers (they won’t add up to 75, I’m sure) I read about 5 nonfiction, 7 middle grade, 7 fantasy, 2 satire, 5 sci-fi/space opera, 10 horror/suspense, 15 thriller/adventure, couple of mysteries, westerns, and literary books, and 10 to 15 SF and post-apocalyptic books.

I’ve also made some new discoveries - some great new series and new to me writers. Here are a few you might want to check out.

Last year was Hugh Howey's Wool, Shift, and Dust trilogy. This year it's Michael Bunker's Pennsylvania omnibus...and some great fan fiction that's sprung up along with it, including Chris Pourteau's alt-future military sf series written in Bunker's Amish SF universe, Gettysburg, Susquehanna, and Columbia (forthcoming).

A sf/horror series that I stumbled upon is Mia Zabrisky's Shudderville series. Crazy time travel, alternative timelines, fantasy elements, all mix together in this paranormal thriller that covers 18 episodes. It's like a cross between Twilight Zone, Fringe, and American Horror Story. Good stuff.

Another sf/thriller I'd recommend is Blake Crouch's Wayward Pines trilogy (coming to Fox television this summer). A straight up thriller writer that's new to me is Mark Dawson, whose protagonist John Milton is a pretty intense assassin. Milton appears in two free prequel stories, 1000 Yards and Tarantula, which are pretty good. As a result, I'll probably read a Milton novel this year.

If you're into crime noir but want something different, you should try Milo James Fowler's series featuring the snarky private investigator, Charlie Madison. Madison lives and solves crimes in an alt-future, cyber-noir, paranormal big city. The three stories are Girl of Great Price, Immaterial Evidence, and Yakuza Territory. Great reading.

I could go on and on, but let me simply mention a few more of my favorites. If you're looking for some good reading in 2015, you might want to track down T. M. Hunter's Triple Shots (space opera novellas); Joe Konrath's Jack Daniels mystery/thriller collaborations with the likes of Joshua Simcox, Ken Lindsey, Jude Hardin, Tracy Sharp, Iain Rob Wright, Bernard Schaffer, and, er, me writing as Garth Perry; Simon Kewin's cyber thrillers; Jeff Chapman's gothic and fae tales; Timothy Ward's Scavenger (Sand fan fiction); Ty Johnston's high fantasy; Rachel Starr Thomson's Oneness Cycle; Nick Cole's Apocalypse Weird; and Mike Duran's The Ghost Box.

Wow, I guess I did go on and on. So enough from me. What new writers or series did you discover in 2014? Feel free to comment below. Thanks and happy reading in the new year!

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