Updated Reading List for 2018

You can find the original post from the start of February here.

Deadpool – The Complete Collection by Daniel Way:
I actually liked the humor of the Deadpool movie and a friend off mine convinced me to try the comics too. I have to be honest though, the compilation I bought at least wasn’t really all that funny. The stories were fine, standard action hero stuff, but the humor was what I counted on to make this thing work. It didn’t.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett:
Here, on the other hand, the humor exploded of the page. I’d wanted to read Good Omens for a while, Pratchett and Gaiman being two of my favorite authors, and it didn’t disappoint. There was Pratchett’s humor, Gaimain’s eloquent writing, brilliant characters, and solid story telling. I very much recommend.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson:
I listened to this one while driving to and from work, and it was perfect just for that. The pacing was high, the conflict gripping, and the setting was original and well thought off. Add to that a clear writing style and you end up with a story that could entertain, but didn’t demand so much of your attention that it made impossible to drive simultaneously. The characters felt a bit superhuman at times, and the sentence level writing exactly brilliant. Still, with a debut like that, it’s no wonder Sanderson’s career sky-rocketed.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf:
I picked this out because I want something else than speculative fiction once in a while, and I’d heard Woolf’s writing style was a joy in itself. I’ve been let down by so-called classics before, and I have to say this was one of the worse letdowns. I can enjoy subtle tension just as much as all out action, but nothing really happened in this story at all, and the writing style, well… the combination of stream of consciousness and head-hopping was annoying at best, but mostly it just came across as pretentious since it didn’t really seem to have any purpose.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:
Having been let down by one of the general classics, I turned to one of the modern classics of speculative fiction. And this one was an instantaneous success. I would’ve enjoyed it just for the sentence level writing. Bradbury’s style is clear yet distinct and concise, and it paints images like few others can. But the story is so much more than this. It’s a well developed futuristic setting that seems all to close to the world we’re living in today, and with it, it carries a theme that should give every book lover, every intelligent being pause for thought. The only negative thing I have to say about the book is the relatively forgettable characters. Still, this has become one of my all time favorite books.

Serials, season 1 by Sarah Koenig:
All right, so this is like a book, book. It’s not even fiction. If you haven’t heard about it, Serials is a investigative journalism podcast, but it’s told in a story like format, which is why I’ve included it on the list. And I’d argue I did learn a thing or two about storytelling from it. Namely how compelling a casual narrative voice can be, how important it is to have interesting characters in your story, and how an unreliable narrator can add to the excitement. The first season utilizes all of these to tell a great story. However, it’s also, I wouldn’t say a let down because you should be able to guess this from the start, but it’s annoying not getting some closure, a proper ending to round off the story.

The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein:
I read this not long after having read Fahrenheit 451, and I must admit there was a world of difference by these two contemporary books. Where Fahrenheit was poetic and suspenseful, Stones was plain and flat. Where Fahrenheit carried a heavy theme and was based on an interesting idea, Stones seemed to have no theme other than it’s nice to have money, and though it was filled with long explanations of plausible space science, it had no big, original ideas. In one area was the Stones superior; it did have a very interesting cast of characters, and their interactions were the high point of the “story”. Iput story in quotation marks there because though it’s evident that Heinlein knew every little trick of storytelling, it seems he forgot the most important part: conflict. It didn’t really seem like the story was about anything. I’m not just talking theme here. Basically the plot was: The family Stone travels into space, runs into minor obstacle which is solved on the next page. There’s no overarching conflict, nothing to pull me through to the next page.

Serials, season 2 by Sarah Koenig:
As I mentioned above for season one, this isn’t really a book or even fiction but rather investigative journalism. However, the story-like format made me include both seasons. Where season one had a mystery to be solved, unreliable witnesses, and an a high level of conflict, season two was more meh. The overall conflict wasn’t really working for me because you could tell from the start that the podcast team wouldn’t really be able to dig into it. And by the end, all I walked away with was the message that politicians are idiots.

Sourcery by Sir Terry Pratchett.
Funny as always, Pratchett didn’t disappoint me with this one. It’s not as great as Good Omens or Guards! Guards! But it’s a far deal better than his first two Discworld books. In all, a fun and surprisingly quick read (somehow it always surprises me how quickly I get through Pratchett books).

If you have any recommendations for must read books, I would love to hear them in the comments below.

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