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freelunch | 2018

Club Read 2018

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1freelunch
Edited: Jan 9, 9:15pm Top

Eleven years on LibraryThing. First year in Club Read*, though I've lurked on and off over the years.

2017 was my best reading year in a while and it is good to be back.

I'm sitting on several thousand unread books, so many that I know I'll never get through them, but I feel better about them being here if I'm making some progress at least.

My reading is pretty much limited to pulp genre fiction and comics/manga, and the occasional (auto)biography. I have been able to appreciate "literary fiction" in the past, but I'm sticking to less challenging fare if it means I keep reading.

I like to follow discussion of books I've read but I seldom have much to say other than "I enjoyed this book". Life is too short, and I have too many unread books, to devote time to anything I'm not enjoying, so I only tend to finish books I like. This probably skews my ratings a little high overall.

I've been involved in Bookcrossing for about ten years and many of the books I've read are no longer in my possession (though I keep them listed on LibraryThing, categorised as "released" and not included in "My Library")

I met my goal of finishing 36 books in 2017 (detailed here: http://www.librarything.com/list/11182/freelunch/)

For 2018 I'm aiming for 50 books read.

*Actually, it is my second. I found a thread from 2015 which I'd totally forgotten about.

2freelunch
Edited: Nov 1, 2:16am Top

Read In 2018

01. The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 by Charles M. Schulz
02. Sunstone Book One by Stjepan Sejic
03. Blacksad: A Silent Hell by Juan Diaz Canales
04. Blacksad: Amarillo by Juan Diaz Canales
05. Harvest Of Time by Alastair Reynolds
06. The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson
07. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
08. In Times Like These by Nathan Van Coops
09. One-Punch Man Vol. 7 by One
10. Elf Slave by Sarah Hawke
11. Gerald's Game by Stephen King
12. The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll by Robert Forster
13. The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
14. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
15. Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes by Carlton Mellick III
16. A Silent Voice, Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Oima
17. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
18. My Love Story!!, Vol. 1 by Kazune Kawahara
19. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
20. The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter
21. Delicious In Dungeon, Vol. 2 by Ryoko Kui
22. Misadventures of a Virgin by Meredith Wild
23. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
24. Lord John and the Hellfire Club by Diana Gabaldon
25. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
26. Groupie by C. M. Stunich
27. One-Punch Man Vol. 8 by One
28. The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
29. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
30. A Silent Voice, Vol. 2 by Yoshitoki Oima
31. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
32. King of All the Dead by Steve Lockley & Paul Lewis
33. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
34. Delicious In Dungeon, Vol. 3 by Ryoko Kui
35. Cable & Deadpool Vol. 1: If Looks Could Kill by Fabian Nicieza
36. Elvis and the Memphis Mafia by Alanna Nash
37. Cable & Deadpool Vol. 2: The Burnt Offering by Fabian Nicieza
38. Roadie by C. M. Stunich
39. Cable & Deadpool Vol. 3: The Human Race by Fabian Nicieza
40. Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
41. The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman
42. The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
43. Star Wars: Lost Stars, Vol. 1 by Yuusaka Komiyama
44. Three Simple Rules by Nikki Sloane
45. Felix Romsey's Afterparty by Tim Thornton
46. His Kidnapper's Shoes by Maggie James
47. One-Punch Man Vol. 9 by One
48. Moxie by C. M. Stunich
49. Cable & Deadpool Vol. 4: Bosom Buddies by Fabian Nicieza
50. Castaways by Lily Harlem
51. Motherfucking Sharks by Brian Allen Carr
52. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North
53. Tearaways by Lily Harlem
54. Stiltz by C. M. Stunich
55. Alone by Skye MacKinnon
56. Hidden by Skye MacKinnon
57. Found by Skye MacKinnon
58. Runaways by Lily Harlem
59. Blackwater Lake by Maggie James
60. Stowaways by Lily Harlem
61. Battle Harem by Isaac Hooke
62. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
63. A Silent Voice, Vol. 3 by Yoshitoki Oima
64. Breakaways by Lily Harlem
65. Spotted Her First by Emma Dean
66. Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
67. Flightless Bird by Kellie McAllen
68. The Way We Burn by Michelle Leighton
69. Growing Wings by Kellie McAllen
70. The White Queen by Addison Cain
71. I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
72. Taking Flight by Kellie McAllen
73. Rough Surrender by Cari Silverwood
74. Flying Free by Kellie McAllen
75. Music: What Happened? by Scott Miller
76. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
77. Nailing Studs by Virna DePaul
78. The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni
79. Charcoal Tears by Jane Washington
80. The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964 by Charles M. Schulz
81. The Pisces by Melissa Broder
82. A Crack in Everything by L. H. Cosway
83. Max the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
84. How the Light Gets In by L. H. Cosway
85. A Silent Voice, Vol. 4 by Yoshitoki Oima
86. American Queen by Sierra Simone
87. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
88. Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
89. American Prince by Sierra Simone
90. The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
91. Plague City by Jonathan Morris
92. Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn by Amanda Gefter
93. American King by Sierra Simone
94. It Takes Two by Nikki Sloane
95. When We Were Kings by Auryn Hadley
96. The Complete Peanuts 1965-1966 by Charles M. Schulz
97. The Education of Sebastian by Jane Harvey-Berrick
98. Three Hard Lessons by Nikki Sloane
99. When We Were Dancing by Auryn Hadley
100. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

list continues below, because 100 titles (plus authors) are a lot of touchstones to load each time I add a book...

3freelunch
Dec 31, 2017, 10:54am Top

So I'm announcing my arrival here and two-thirds of my reading list is BDSM-themed.

This just happens to be where the new year has found me, and not necessarily how I'd choose to introduce myself. It'll pass :)

4freelunch
Dec 31, 2017, 10:42pm Top

Finished The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 by Charles M. Schulz!

One down, forty-nine to go :)

5dchaikin
Jan 2, 7:40am Top

Those are a lot of books in your profile picture gallery. Welcome to cr. And, whether you make 50 books or not, hope you enjoy trying.

6freelunch
Jan 4, 12:11am Top

Thanks dchaikin :)

I just finished Sunstone Book One by Stjepan Sejic, a gorgeous "graphic novel" romance about a sub/domme BDSM couple who fall in love. Five-star material, highly recommended.

7freelunch
Jan 9, 8:56pm Top

Ten days into the new year and I've already finished five books :)

Yes, four of them were comics/"graphic novels" and I was midway through two when the year began, but they're putting me "in the black" for some longer books I want to read without losing sight of my fifty-book goal for the year.

Juan Diaz Canales' Blacksad series are noir-ish detective stories featuring anthropomorphized beasts (the protagonist detective is a panther and his sidekick for most cases is a hyaena). The art is spectacular and the English dialogue (translated from original Spanish) is entertaining, if not stunning.

Harvest Of Time is a Doctor Who novel, set during the series' early seventies run. I've read a lot of Doctor Who fiction and this is one of the better examples. I'm inspired now to check out author Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series.

I'm currently reading The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson. I don't know much about Churchill and I rarely read historical non-fiction but I'm finding this book interesting and very readable.

Finally, Elf Slave. I received a Kindle for Christmas and when I went a-browsing at Amazon.com I was taken aback by the prevalence of "romance" eBooks (ie erotica) and curiosity lead me to a fantasy (elves, goblins, magic, etc.) series. The plentiful, lengthy sex scenes aren't particularly "erotic" but the protagonist is likable enough and I've been returning to it every few days to see where it goes. I doubt I'll be devoting time to this particular sub-genre once I see this story out.

8freelunch
Jan 18, 12:27am Top

Boris Johnson's The Churchill Factor kept my interest to the end, and I'm inspired now to add Churchill's own My Early Life to my reading list. Given that Churchill apparently has more work published that Shakespeare and Dickens combined, this might be a long path to start on...

On now to Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation, before the film adaptation is released next month.

9chlorine
Jan 18, 8:03am Top

Hi to a fellow ex-bookcrosser! (though in my case I'm still slightly involved in it, but way less than when I was really active.

I encourage you to read the Revelation Space series. I really liked them myself. I still have one to read and I think there's a new one coming out in 2018.

I hope you enjoy your kindle! Which model is it?

10freelunch
Edited: Jan 18, 6:27pm Top

Hi chlorine :)

I'm still involved in bookcrossing, chiefly through a bookcrossing zone I started a few years ago which somehow became "official" and used to see a lot of action until my workplace moved. Now we have less passing foot traffic so it has slowed down.

There's a kindle bundle for the Revelation Space series. I might just pull the trigger on it today...

I am really enjoying my Kindle Paperwhite*, to the point that I'd rather read it than a dead-tree book. I regret not making the switch sooner as I'd have potentially hundreds less books weighing down my shelves today.

*I would have gone with the more expensive Kindle Oasis but Amazon's case for it is apparently terrible and the good third-party cases made by Moko cost US$10 to American buyers but close to $100 for AU buyers.

11chlorine
Jan 19, 3:05am Top

Well if you're still involved in bookcrossing and feel you have too many books, at least you know what to do. ;)

12freelunch
Jan 19, 3:23am Top

that's always an option :)

my problem is I have too many books I want to read. A nicer problem to have, though harder to solve.

13chlorine
Jan 19, 5:50am Top

Oh beware of the kindle then. It's really easy to stock up on ebooks because they're on sale and not realise how many you have because they take no physical space.

14freelunch
Jan 19, 7:00pm Top

Definitely much too easy. Thanks for the warning.

15freelunch
Edited: Jan 21, 8:54am Top

Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation was compelling enough but creepy and mysterious and even though it is the first part of a trilogy, I wish I had slightly more grasp of WTF happened. I can't imagine how they've made it onto a movie without huge compromises.

16chlorine
Jan 21, 2:14pm Top

>15 freelunch: I was too baffled by Annihilation to really enjoy it. Will you read the sequel? I'll look forward for your thoughts if you do. I decided to skip the sequel but may change my mind at some point.

17freelunch
Jan 21, 3:22pm Top

I will read the sequel. The books are short enough and I enjoyed the writing style, even if I'm left a little in the dark at this point.

18avaland
Jan 21, 4:49pm Top

>15 freelunch: I loved Annihilation. I think you are are supposed to feel "WTF happened" in it. He's asking the question what would happen if you/we were faced with something truly alien, something we have difficulty wrapping our minds around. The second book, if I remember correctly, is mostly about the Southern Reach. The third is another trip over the line but I think readers expect him to answer all the questions they have and he doesn't.

I wonder if the movie will cover just the first novel or incorporate stuff from all three.

19freelunch
Jan 21, 5:56pm Top

The film was apparently developed when only the first book had been written. Based on the trailer, a lot has been changed/added, some of which might have come from the author but I think it is more likely that the film will be a whole different beast.

20freelunch
Jan 22, 6:13pm Top

Next up I'm trying In Times Like These by Nathan Van Coops (a free kindle download) because the sequel is going cheap this month.

21freelunch
Feb 5, 7:13pm Top

Ten books finished in January bodes well for my goal of fifty for the year :)

22chlorine
Feb 6, 2:14am Top

>21 freelunch: Indeed! :) I'll wait till you reach 50mto congratulate you on reaching your goal, but it seems like a done deal.

I have the same 50 goal but have only read 5 in 2018, so I should be OK but there's more suspense in my case.

23freelunch
Feb 6, 3:22am Top

To be fair, I did cheat with a few easy reads this month. I'm sure I'll slow down once I move on to heavier fare.

24LolaWalser
Feb 6, 9:17am Top

Hey, thanks for putting the Sunstone books on the map. I borrowed Ravine to check out the art (unfortunately the library doesn't carry anything else by Sejic); the story didn't interest me, it's like a video game scenario, but I liked his style and might buy Sunstone.

25freelunch
Feb 6, 5:58pm Top

No problem :)

I first encountered Sejic via a link to his deviantart.com profile. There's a lot of content there, including many pages of Sunstone.

https://shiniez.deviantart.com/

26freelunch
Edited: Feb 25, 10:01pm Top

Since my Jan 23 update I've finished In Times Like These, a free kindle eBook. Time Travel fiction which I thought was well done. The author spends a fair chunk of the book training his characters, thereby explaining his rules for time travel, but once they get moving there's a nice tangle of paradoxes and alternate timelines to weave through. The story was self-contained but it is (of course) the first of a series.

I then re-read Stephen King's Gerald's Game before watching the recent film adaptation. The movie is excellent, one of the best SK adaptations I've seen, but given its difficult subject matter I don't really feel comfortable recommending it.

Next came Robert Forster's The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll, a selection of articles originally published in The Monthly magazine which ended up feeling somewhat redundant, being reviews of music and books from ten years ago. It is a usually expensive book that I've had on my wishlist for years, so I was pleased to find it for free during my one-month kindle unlimited trial from Amazon.

Then Rainbow Rowell's Landline, a rom-com in which the lead discovers she can use the phone in her childhood bedroom to connect to her husband (then boyfriend) fifteen years in the past. I usually refer to any "chick lit" I read (slightly less emasculatingly) as "romantic comedies". In this case it was more true than usual, with a premise and dialogue that seem perfect for a big screen translation.

Next I read The Only Harmless Great Thing, a novella by Brooke Bolander that packs a lot of story into its ~100 pages. The book is an alternate history based around the "Radium Girls" of the 1920s. This telling is concerned with circus elephants re-trained to work with radium due to their (apparently) high tolerance to radiation. The elephants in the story are capable of communication via sign-language and portions of the story are told from the creatures' perspective, including retelling of some of their native folklore akin to the "El-ahrairah" legends in Watership Down.

And now I've started Altered Carbon, thanks mostly to hype for the new TV series, having owned the book for more than a decade.

27chlorine
Feb 16, 2:04am Top

>26 freelunch: Thanks for the reviews!
The only harmless great things in particular seems right up my alley.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Altered Carbon.

28.Monkey.
Feb 16, 6:05am Top

>26 freelunch: Oooh I didn't remember there was a recent film of Gerald's game, but now that I think about it I do seem to recall, vaguely, something about it a while ago, like when it was in production or some such. Damn, that's got to be rough as a movie! "Stephen King himself called the film "hypnotic, horrifying and terrific" after watching the rough cut." Welp guess I'll have to watch that. That's one of his only books (one of the only books) that has truly horrified me, lol. Not much bothers me when it comes to fiction, because, you know, it's fiction. But that one, the idea of it... maaaan.

29freelunch
Edited: Mar 1, 8:07am Top

I've just finished Altered Carbon and I liked it well enough, but something kept me from getting truly excited about it. I've read a few reviews here on LibraryThing since I closed the book and I think maybe the pacing is off? This is not a factor I usually consider, but I did find the book dragging at times, and it has taken much longer than I expected for me to finish it. The world was interesting and credible, Takeshi Kovacs is a likeable character and I was satisfied with the denouement of the tale. I'll definitely be continuing with the series.

I've now started on Voyager, the third book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Having read the first two instalments I pretty much know what to expect from this one and I'm looking forward to it. :)

Other books I've read since my last update:

Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes by Carlton Mellick III, a novella which read exactly as expected based on the title. My first foray into "Bizarro Fiction".

A Silent Voice, Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Oima, first of a seven-part manga series about a school bully and the victim he reconciles with years later. I enjoyed the anime adaptation of this series and I'm looking forward to a more detailed telling of the story.

30chlorine
Mar 1, 2:02am Top

>29 freelunch: Thanks for the récif Altered Carbon. This is one I'm on a fence about but I think in the end I'll skip it.

Every time we meet seems fascinating!

31Goblin_Investor
Edited: Mar 19, 1:29am Top

>29 freelunch:" I've just finished Altered Carbon"

I too have found the book a bit meh. The writing is not that pretty and i didn't feel the world-building.

I liked the Netflix adaptation better. Pacing is better, they added a touch more of noir and the esthetic is definitely a nice 2018 rendition of the original Bladerunner, which is a huge plus in my book since BR 2048 has ventured elsewhere. A bit more a cyberpunk-y and Shadowrun live action.

>29 freelunch: : "I've now started on Voyager"
As far as i'm concerned, Gabaldon jumped the shark with the Jamaica trope...

32freelunch
Mar 19, 3:43am Top

I haven't hit Jamaica yet (busy month, little reading time) but I'm far enough to see it heading there.

33freelunch
Apr 15, 9:55pm Top

Since Voyager I've read The Wheel Of Ice, another "event" Doctor Who novel written by a high-profile author. In this case Stephen Baxter, who I've never read. His book was set during the 60s run of the show and he captured it well, but as with any TV spin-off fiction, it exists for fans and isn't likely to attract anyone outside that audience.

Next I read Ready Player One. I've had the book since it came out, figured I better read it before seeing the film. The book was a fun, geeky spin on the Hunger Games formula, drowning in pop-culture references which I enjoyed, and although it was a simple book aimed at teens I found it vastly superior to the dumbed-down movie.

Next: Lord John and the Hellfire Club, an Outlander spin-off novella. There are a bunch of books featuring Lord John Grey which fit between the third and fourth Outlander books. I'll keep reading them for as long as they stay fun. This one was barely long enough to earn an opinion. Initial exposition was clumsy but the second, action-y half was fun.

Then: A Study In Scarlet. I've never read Sherlock Holmes so I decided to grab a cheap eBook collection and start at the beginning. For 19th Century literature I found it surprisingly readable, and a better story than the recent BBC modernised version.

Now I'm reading:

Music, What Happened? by Scott Miller. Scott fronted two great but relatively unknown bands: Game Theory (1982-1990) and The Loud Family (1991-2006). He passed away in 2013. He devotes a chapter to each year beginning in 1953, in which he discusses what he believes to be the defining popular music of each year

Elvis and the Memphis Mafia by Alanna Nash, based on extensive interviews with three members of Elvis Presley's entourage. It takes the form of a series of anecdotes, often "setting the record straight" on some of the more extreme stories that have emerged about Elvis over the years (and in many cases, confirming them).

34chlorine
Apr 28, 9:20am Top

That's an interesting mix of books! I'm on a fence about reading Dr. Who fiction. Maybe I should try one someday.

35freelunch
Apr 28, 10:02am Top

There are some decent Doctor Who books, but there's also a lot of dross. Most modern-era books are aimed at young kids, but the two I've read this year, written by high-profile genre authors, have been good.

36chlorine
Apr 28, 10:12am Top

>35 freelunch: So I'll look for these ones if/when I decide to take the plunge! :)

37freelunch
Edited: May 26, 10:12am Top

I've just finished Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson, about a team who time-travel from an ecologically-wrecked 23rd century back to 2000 B.C. to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It took a while to get going as the author didn't include explanations of a lot of her tech concepts, but it got there in the end.

Now I'm reading Lost Stars a YA novel set during the original Star Wars film trilogy. It follows two Imperial cadets from childhood, friends who enter the Imperial Academy together but end up on opposing sides when one joins the Rebellion. All the big events from the original movies will play out as a backdrop to their story. I'm not far in but it has started well.

38freelunch
Edited: Jun 15, 1:23am Top

I set my goal for 2018 at 50 books and I'm already up to 41. This could have allowed me to tackle a few seriously heavy reads over the next six months, but where's the fun in that?

Instead, I'm upping my goal to 75 books for 2018, which still leaves me ahead of schedule :)

39chlorine
Jun 15, 1:03am Top

Good for you to be so much ahead of your initial goal, and I hope you can make the new goal!

I have also set a goal for 50 books this year and I've read 24, so I'm on track (and maybe a bit ahead). Let's see how it turns out in the second part of the year!

40freelunch
Jul 3, 9:06am Top

Thanks :)

That's fifty done, and the year just over half gone.

41freelunch
Edited: Aug 30, 9:40pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

42freelunch
Sep 9, 7:35pm Top

I've bumped my goal for the year to 100 books, and with 81 down I'm confident I'll hit it. I've been avoiding challenging reads following years of "readers block" so once I hit #100 I'm going to read Les Misérables, a book I haven't yet had the courage to tackle.

43chlorine
Sep 26, 3:25pm Top

>42 freelunch: At the rate you're going you'll probably reach 100 in a bit more than a month.
I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts about Les misérables. I personnally can't stand Hugo but then I've never try (and probably never will) tackle his two most famous books, Les misérables and Notre-dame de Paris.

44freelunch
Oct 28, 9:41pm Top

So I'm on book #100 now, and after stating a bunch of places that I was going to read Les Miserables as #101, I'm thinking of switching it for Margaret George's Memoirs Of Cleopatra. Not as classic, or as long, but still 1000+ pages and I'm much keener to read it.

If I do the switch I'll keep my Victor Hugo (already purchased in readiness) for next year.

45freelunch
Nov 1, 2:17am Top

...and that's 100!

My list will continue below, because 100 items is a lot of touchstones and I've been getting timeouts when trying to add a new line

47NanaCC
Nov 1, 7:46am Top

Congratulations on reaching 100. That’s a number I’ll never reach, and I’m always amazed by those of you who do.

48dchaikin
Nov 1, 8:01am Top

Congrats!

49freelunch
Nov 1, 8:03am Top

Thanks :)

My annual count got as low as five a few years ago, so getting back into the swing of things is a great relief.

Group: Club Read 2018

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