Saturday, December 17, 2016

My Reading Resolution of 2016: Did I Hit the Mark?

Scott D. Parker

Back in January, I listed one resolution for 2016: read more broadly. One look at my Audible bought list, I think I hit that mark.

So, I don’t get a lot of time to read many physical things, Kindle or actual paperbound books. So audiobooks fill in the gaps. They allow me to do other things while still consuming great stories and non-fiction books.

A highlight in my fiction reading this year was Patti Abbott’s SHOT IN DETROIT. I wrote about it back in June (full review) but let me restate here my conclusion:

SHOT IN DETROIT is an excellent book and a nice change of pace from what some readers—me included—think of when the terms “crime fiction” or “suspense fiction” are bandied about. It’s not all cops and robbers, gangs and violence. Sometimes the best crime fiction can surprise you in ways you didn’t expect, giving you insight not only into the mind of a character but in yourself as well.
Do yourself a favor and add this book to your summer reading list. Pick your format. You're welcome.

On the science fiction side of things, REPLAY by Ken Grimwood was a standout. I read it as part of my SF book club. I didn’t pick this one, but all five of us really enjoyed this story about Jeff Winston, a 43-year-old man who wakes up in his younger self and can replay his life, knowing exactly what he’s already done.

REPLAY is one of the best books I’ve read this year. My historian self reveled in the minor details Grimwood changed. My reader self loved diving deep into a character’s mind and seeing him through many lives. I was also richly rewarded with the ending, the nature of which I’ll detail below in an “EPILOGUE.” There will be spoilers, so if you don’t want to know the ending, stop reading now. (Full review)

I lamented the cancelling of my favorite TV show, “Castle,” but was happy they ended the show with the two leads together. Much like the last season of the show, the latest Richard Castle novel, HIGH HEAT, didn’t live up to the high bar set by the previous installments in the series. But at least the novel series will continue a bit after the TV show. (Full review)

In non-fiction, William Shatner’s memoir, LEONARD: MY FIFTY-YEAR FRIENDSHIP WITH A REMARKABLE MAN was wonderful, especially the audio as narrated by Shatner himself. The Star Trek tidbits are great, but what’s even better is Shatner telling the dual biography of how he and Nimoy grew up in “the hardscrabble story of a working actor in the 1950s-2000s.” (Full review)

Lastly, are the westerns. 

I listened to Robert B. Parker’s APPALOOSA as read by Titus Welliver. Excellent narration to this tale of Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two lawmen who have to tangle with rancher Randall Bragg makes for a very enjoyable experience. 

Hey, I actually read a book! Well, an ebook. Brett Halliday, creator of famous PI Mike Shayne, also penned a few westerns featuring The Rio Kid. I read the first one over the summer when I vacationed in Big Bend, Texas, and it was the perfect book for the trip. (Full review)

And I’ve just recently finished my first two Longarm novels. I haven’t written the reviews for them yet, but I gotta tell you: I thoroughly enjoyed my first two adventures of U.S. Deputy Marshal Custis Long, grinning over and over at his action-packed cases. Heck, I even learned in one of the books that his middle name is “Parker.” 

In my current To Be Listened pile on my iPhone are a couple non-fiction titles:

  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (read by the Boss himself. Priceless!)
  • Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

So, I’d like to think my reading in 2016 was broad and varied. I didn’t even mention the titles I read half of then gave up on. Life’s too short to read bad books. 

How about y’all? Any great recommendations for favorite books of 2016?

Note: This is my last post for 2016. We here at the DoSomeDamages offices close shop during the last two weeks of December. I’ll be back Saturday, 7 January.

For whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it’s a great one. And thank you for coming back each week and reading what we all have to say.


pattinase (abbott) said...

It has been very hard this year to find books that take me away from what's going on in my personal life and with the world at large. I really like Noah Hawley's Before the Fall though. And a couple of older books. On the whole, not a good reading year for me.

Scott D. Parker said...

Noah's book has one of the more striking book covers from 2016. Very compelling.

And as far as books that take you away from what's going on in the world, tis why I write the books I write. Old-fashioned escapism. That's my mantra.