Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My 2012 Reading List

Last year, my reading goal was somewhere in the range of seventy books. I read four of those.

This year I decided to be a bit more realistic and only have twenty books on my to-read/review list for this year. And I'm starting the reading frenzy out by re-reading three of my all time favorite books - the Han Solo trilogy by A.C. Crispin. The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, and Rebel Dawn were books I picked up in my senior year of high school, at the height of my adolescent Star Wars 'obsession' - it was around the same time the original trilogy came back into the theaters in a special edition format - and also at the height of my love for reading.

The reason I'm rereading these books is because they were my entry into my love of reading. Most of the books/stories I read during junior high and high school were involuntarily chosen for me. That's not to say I didn't fall in love with Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game. It was the Star Wars series that I began to pick up at the tail end of my high school term and of all the Star Wars books I picked up and read - which truthfully weren't all that many - I fell in love with the Han Solo trilogy more than any of them. It helped that Han Solo had always been my favorite film character, so when I picked up this series - which highlighted A.C. Crispin's wonderful writing craft and the magic of the Star Wars universe - I gobbled these stories up. They are the only books I have ever cared enough about to read through a second time.

Beyond the Han Solo trilogy, I'll also be reading more of my good author friend Thomas Barczak's Awakening Evarun series. Awakening Evarun is a short story ebook series - each story is sort of like an episode that adds to a bigger adventure - and each is only $2.99 on Amazon. I highly suggest if you love fantasy or adventure you pick up some of Thomas's stories. I've only read the first one in this series and then got distracted by the birth of my son, but now that things seem to be settling down around here as of late, I'll be hopping back into it.

The rest of my reading itinerary can be found at Goodreads, but I'll highlight a few of the books including the reasons why I've made them part of my reading adventure this year.

Casino Royale - Ian Fleming
I've been a huge fan of the James Bond movies since I saw GoldenEye back in high school. Over the last couple years I've had the chance to read a few of Fleming's novels including Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die, and Moonraker, but I've been wanting to read Casino Royale to see how it all started. It's Bond's first adventure, I loved the movie, and it looks to be a good read, coming in at almost novella length.

Wolves of the Calla (Book 5 of the Dark Tower series) - Stephen King
I started Stephen King's Dark Tower series a few years ago and I'm still only a little over half way through it. I'll unashamedly admit that The Gunslinger, the first book in the series, was the very first work I ever read of Stephen King's. I marveled at how well King was able to weave science fiction, horror and a bit of fantasy into a compelling story, especially one of the grand scape the Dark Tower series tries to encompass. The last book I read in the series was Wizard and Glass, which got some negative reviews from critics for slowing the action of the series down (the majority of the novel is a flashback of sorts), but it is by far my favorite book in the series so far. But I've always been a sucker for back story. This year I'll be diving into the fifth book in the series, Wolves of the Calla, and if I have time and finish this list, I may even get a chance to finish the series with the last two books, Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower.

Timeline - Michael Crichton
Remember the movie that came out back in 2003 starring Paul Walker from The Fast and the Furious? I don't know about you, but I remember liking that movie quiet a bit. When I found out the film was based on a novel written by Michael Crichton, I knew I had to read it. So here I am, years later, and I'll finally have the chance. Coincidentally I picked up a hardcover copy of this book when I traveled to California a few years ago to see my grandfather and found it sitting in a library book sale for $1.

House of Leaves - Mark Danielewski
I still don't remember how I came to even hear about this book - oh wait, I was researching Poe, the singer, and found links leading to The House of Leaves, written by Poe's brother. Anyway, the breakdown of this book's story - a young family moves into a house which they come to discover is actually bigger on the inside than it is on the outside - isn't the real treat of this novel. The real treat is the unconventional style the book is created with - some pages coming to only a sentence or a word, different styles of typesetting, pages containing highlighted text, footnotes within footnotes, some referencing books that don't even exist. Even poetry can be found in this book of horror, and I can't wait to read it with the covers over my head and a flashlight in one hand.

Dust - Elizabeth Bear
I picked up this book at a local Barnes and Noble a couple years ago simply because I wanted a change of pace in my reading habits. I've never read anything from Elizabeth Bear, and the premise of the book (taken from the back cover):

On a broken ship orbiting a doomed sun, dwellers have grown complacent with their aging metal world. But when a serving girl frees a captive noblewoman, the old order is about to change....

Ariane, Princess of the House of Rule, was known to be fiercely cold-blooded. But severing an angel’s wings on the battlefield—even after she had surrendered—proved her completely without honor. Captive, the angel Perceval waits for Ariane not only to finish her off—but to devour her very memories and mind. Surely her gruesome death will cause war between the houses—exactly as Ariane desires. But Ariane’s plan may yet be opposed, for Perceval at once recognizes the young servant charged with her care.

Rien is the lost child: her sister. Soon they will escape, hoping to stop the impending war and save both their houses. But it is a perilous journey through the crumbling hulk of a dying ship, and they do not pass unnoticed. Because at the hub of their turning world waits Jacob Dust, all that remains of God, following the vapor wisp of the angel. And he knows they will meet very soon.

Sounds pretty interesting. I didn't realize this until recently, but apparently this book is the first in the Jacob's Ladder series. Two other books, Chill and Grail, complete the series, both of which I'll have to get my hands on at some point...assuming I end up enjoying Dust.

This Present Darkness - Frank Peretti
This one is a known classic in the world of Christian fiction. And since I write Christian speculative fiction and my stories include much spiritual warfare, I knew I had to at some point get around to reading this. I've had both This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness in a box in my closet for years now and I figured now was a good a time as any to pull them out and get to reading them.

What books are you all reading this year?

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