Goodreads 2016 Reading Competition

This year a few members of my writing group posted their commitments to the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. I must say I was overwhelmed by some of their numbers. A few were committing to over 30 books a year, which is unfathomable for me. Even through my college years, where I majored in English Education and focused on Literature, I wasn’t able to put away those kinds of numbers. I am a S-L-O-W reader. It puts me to sleep. That made my last two years of college extremely tough, to say the least. I believe it has to do, primarily, with the nostalgic sense of peace and escapism I felt while reading as a child.

Fast forward to today and most of my reading happens as a byproduct of purchasing a new board game or role playing game. I feel shame in this, as I have allowed consumerism to infiltrate and occupy a deeply loved part of myself. This is the year I attempt to evict the white noise and detritus in my life and return to the things I love most.

So for 2016, I am setting a goal of 12 books to be read. One a month. I think that is more than doable. I also have friends who include audiobooks as part of the competition and, with that in mind, I believe I will be able to surpass my goal.

I am going to take it one step further as well. I am going to list some of the books I intend to read this year. I am doing this because, in 2015, I was a pretty horrible friend. I had several friends who released books, great books, and I have yet to finish a few and start others. If you are looking for excellent reads, I suggest you look into a few of the books on my list. Not only do you get beautiful stories, but you help support beautiful people.

Reading List for 2016

Old Broken Road by KM Alexander

If you like Lovecraftian settings with a Noir twist, KM is the guy for you. His world, Lovat, is extremely original and immersive, and his first book, The Stars Were Right, was a fantastic read. I have the honor of being in a writing group with KM, and his writing is approachable and addicting. This is the second book in the Bell Forging Cycle, and I cannot wait to pick up with Caravan Master Waldo Bell

The Unremembered by Peter Orullian

I am lucky enough to call Peter a friend. I saw him speak a few years back on a panel and was completely blown away by his intelligence and eloquence when talking the craft of writing. His fantasy has a strong foundation in music (Peter himself is an amazing singer and musician, and does awesome songs for Worldbuilders). Not only are his words beautiful, but his magic system and underlying structure of the world are extremely unique. I have started this book and, at times, I can hear it gently singing my name to come back.

Residue by Steve Diamond

Another release of 2015 by a friend – another failure by me as a friend. I own the book. I make sure to buy all of my friend’s books when they are released. As of yet, though, I have not read it. I will rectify that situation this year. Steve writes horror stories laced with paranormal elements and has received extremely high praise for Residue. I look forward to reading this a lot.

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland

This is a book which comes highly recommended by KM Alexander and his amazingly talented wife, Kari-Lise. I talk shop with KM all of the time, and the guy knows the craft and creativity in general very well. He knows the struggles I have with writing and how I find ways to self-sabotage my progress. I am looking forward to the insights in this little book.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Yet another book which I started last year that I never made it past half way. I enjoyed what I have read for the most part, and smiled at very tongue-in-cheek references to other mainstream stories of a boy who finds out about magic and goes to a secret school to study it. Unless something drastic happens in the second half, I probably will not be a hurry to continue the series.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

I am late to the game on this one but think I should give it a try. I know how highly respected this book is in the corporate scene, and the management team at my work talks about it a lot. I am trying to better myself by reading, and some introspection and self-improvement is gladly welcomed.

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick

This book comes highly recommended by one of my best friends, Alan Bahr. He is an aficionado of fantasy, and a great person to follow on Twitter if you love book and RPG reviews. It arrives on Wednesday and I might have a hard time not reading this book first.

Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues edited by JM Martin

This is a collection of short stories concerning characters of a more ambiguous persuasion. I have a few story ideas in mind for the unsavory side of civilization, so I will chalk this up to an amazing opportunity to research the dark side of the genre. Peter Orullian has a story in here as well, which is a double win!

Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia

I enjoyed reading Monster Hunter International, but am so much more excited to see what Larry does in a fantasy setting. The protagonist is chosen by an ancient magical weapon. Need I say more?

Red Litten World by KM Alexander

This is the third installment of the Bell Forging Cycle and is KM’s most recent release. RLW covers the dying City of Lovat and pushes Waldo Bell in a dire situation to not only save himself, but the city as well. I love Waldo as a character, and cannot wait to read more of his story.

Trial of Intentions by Peter Orullian

The second book in The Vault of Heaven world pushes Tahn Junell into the direst of circumstances as the Veil continues to weaken, allowing nightmarish creatures through. Peter writes amazing scenes of otherworldly creatures in a masterful way, and I am struggling with the fact that I will have to face new ones in this book. I was creeped out enough in the portion of The Unremembered I have read to date, so I have that nervous, scared feeling you get before entering a haunted house.

The rest of the books (there are only a small few left) I will choose as the year goes by. I am hoping to make it through Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance on audiobook this year, as well as a few others I have sitting unlistened to in my Audible account, such as Don Quixote, Neuromancer, and the currently in-progress The Stand.

It is my hope to write a review of each of these books once I finish them as well, and I will post those here as well as on Amazon and Goodreads (you should follow me there).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these books if you have read them, or to hear your recommendations for the remaining slots in my list.

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1 Response

  1. My reading levels have gone WAY down since having a kid. I read 86 books in 2014, I’m seriously not joking, and then I read something like 10 books in 2015. My attention span has just been devastated by this baby.

    But, I’m keepin’ at it! It doesn’t matter if you read slow or in little bits (like me), the fact that you’re reading is what really counts.

Please, let me know what you think.

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