Read More Books

It’s probably one of the most common New Years resolutions – NOS4A2_cover“Read more books.” A lot of people say it, most of us mean, and…well we all know how best intentions go.

One my my new favorite authors (meaning I recently discovered his books, not that he is new), Joe Hill says the number of pages you average reading in a day equals the number of books you will read in a year. I think he may be right about that. I have been listening to a lot of books on audible lately – because there’s so many books and so little time – but I think he’s probably right about strictly reading.

At any rate, I’m really trying to hold true to that particular New Years resolution. I made the same resolution in 2014 so let’s see how I did:

  • In 2014 I got through 18 books – I’m sure that’s the most in a single years since I was in high school – a time when I would pick up a new book as soon as I finished one.
  • Ten of those books were audio versions
  • Six were Kindle
  • Two were paperback

That’s not too bad, but I think I’ll beat it this year.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’m going to go with NOS4A2 because it came as such a surprise. Since it was the first of his books I read, I didn’t really know what to expect from Joe Hill, but I absolutely love this book. You can see what I said about it here.

I also really enjoyed the entire Dark Tower series from Stephen King, but I can’t just pick one book as a favorite.

Actually I enjoyed everything I read (or listened to last year), which is pretty awesome because that doesn’t happen all the time. Do you finish a book if you don’t like it after you start reading? I used to, but in the last few years I have given myself permission to move on. I do a lot more reading if I’m enjoying it. Chances are I will go back to whatever it was I couldn’t finish – sometimes you’re just not in the mood for it at the time.

 

Girls Rule at Emerald City Comicon 2015

I grew up loving sci-fi and superheroes. For the longest time I didn’t know those were things that girls weren’t supposed to like. My mom was also a huge sci-fi fan and she introduced me to Star Trek and gave me plenty of short science fiction stories to read. I remember always being drawn to things that featured aliens, space, or pretty much anything with a supernatural bent.

It wasn’t until I reached my preteen years (now known as “tween”) that I discovered those things were usually associated with boys – at least during my Gen-X upbringing.

Marina Sirtis Star Trek TNG ECCC 2015

Upon attending Emerald City Comicon this year I’ve discovered that the tide is turning. When I attended the show in 2013 a co-worked asked me if it was almost all guys in attendance. No, it wasn’t and the female population at the con only seems to be growing.

Continue reading Girls Rule at Emerald City Comicon 2015

Now Reading: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a book I feel I should have read years ago. I’m notBrave New World sure how I skipped it. I have been a sci-fi fan my whole life and I particularly like stories about a futuristic societies.

But somehow I never got around to this one until now. I’m glad I’m reading it. I know how influential it is by reputation, but reading it I’m getting an even clearer picture of just how much impact this book has had.

This is trivial, but one of the first things that jumped out at me is the character of Lenina Crowne. Obviously the character of Lenina Huxley in Demolition Man was named for this character and the author of this book. I’m getting a lot of references to sci-fi in general, so as a long time reader, and wanna-be writer of the genre this book is a must-read. Better late than never.

Now Reading: ‘Revival’ by Stephen King

Revival Stephen King CoverRevival by Stephen King is the first hard cover novel I have bought in years. That might not be that big of a deal, but I have realized in this digital age that when it’s on Kindle I don’t really own it. Yes, I love the convenience of my Kindle, but what happens to all those books I bought if I should ever stop using Kindle?

Those books will just be sitting in a Kindle cloud waiting for me to get a new Kindle – and it will have to be a Kindle because the DRM will prevent me from using some other device (at least not without a lot of hassle).

Continue reading Now Reading: ‘Revival’ by Stephen King

Reading List: ‘NOS4A2’ by Joe Hill

Since it’s Christmas Eve I figured it’s the perfect day to talk about JoeNOS4A2_cover Hill’s NOS4A2. If you wish it was Christmas every day you might change your mind after reading this book.

Charlie Manx is a vampire-like creature who lives in Christmasland. It might sound like a cool place and that’s exactly what Manx wants all the little kids to think. Manx is not of the typical variety of blood-sucking vampires. Instead he drains the life force out of his child victims, which gives him eternal life and turns them into murderous little demons.

NOS4A2 is the first book of Hill’s that I ever read and I loved it. I have since read Horns and several of the short stories in 20th Century Ghosts.

What I love about NOS4A2 is the very realistic setting Hill paints before thrusting his characters into the extraordinary. Manx’s adversary is a young girl named Vic McQueen. We first meet Vic as a child. Vic likes to escape her troubled childhood on her Raleigh Tuff Burner bicycle. It’s on one of these rides where Vic discovers she has an unusual power.

She can transport herself places via a covered bridge nicknamed the “Shorter Way Bridge.” The bridge leads her to things she needs. In her childhood that was mainly lost items, but as she grew other another purpose for Vic’s ability began to form.

We spend a lot of time getting to know Vic before she ever encounters Charlie Manx. Hill does a great job transitioning Vic from precocious child to a troubled teen and even more troubled adult. That transition is something I’ve thought about a lot during my life.

How many times do we see a child in a difficult situation and wonder at what point they will give up on their childhood innocence. When will they stop caring about school, their goals, and doing the right thing? We’ve all seen it happen, whether it’s friends or family, maybe even ourselves. In NOS4A2 we see it happen and we want nothing more than to see Vic gain back the strong sense of self she had in her childhood.

So we have a great lead character to root for and added to that a horrible villain we want to see her get the better of. Manx preys upon children just like Vic, the ones who are innocent and good in their adolescence. Manx steals them before they can become the troubled adults he knows they will. In his own way Manx thinks he is saving these children from a bad life.

NOS4A2 is one of those books I didn’t want to end, even though it’s pretty long. Despite the story wrapping up, I wanted to stay with the characters a little longer. This book is highly recommended.

Many times I've wondered how much there is to know…