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Robert's Reads 2018 (robertwmartin)

Club Read 2018

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Jan 11, 6:18pm Top

Hi everyone. After lurking on threads like this for a few years, I have decided to create one of my own. This should act as a motivator for me to increase my reading count from 2017 which was at 40. I want to get at least that many with a stretch goal of 50.

If you look at my profile, you will see a tag of "read2017" which is added to all of the books I read in 2017. The reading list last year includes a few graphic novels and about 20 YA books I read with my daughters. Of the 15 or so meatier, adult-level titles, there was one memoir, a couple of non-fiction research projects, two business books, two self-improvement books, and a half-dozen really great novels.

What does this year hold? There is room to up my game, so to speak, with a real need to chip away at the backlog of books that stare at me in my office every day, aka TBR, aka Pile Of Shame. Specifically this year I would like to read the books I have received as gifts in the last two years, including SantaThing books for 2017 and 2016. That means I will have read at least two memoirs (Fearless, So, Anyway), one non-fiction reference biography (Walter Isaacson), a re-read of a classic murder mystery (Murder on the Orient Express), and a re-read of one of the most important 20th century novels (1984). I would like to read The Three-Body Problem and The Name of The Rose especially since I own the Folio Society edition of the latter. I'll probably finish my third (fourth?) read-through of the Harry Potter series, this time with my youngest daughter, as well as two or three books in the Land of Stories series with her. On the business book shelf, I am about to dive into Predictably Irrational. With the books I have already in-progress (The Signal and The Noise, How Star Wars Conquered The Universe) , that is nearly 20 already. I will continue to tag my books so that I can easily reference a year's worth of reading, this time with the "read2018" tag.

Wish me luck! Carpe librum.

Jan 11, 11:44pm Top

Book #1 for 2018 was One Week in the Library. At 96 pages, and as a graphic novel, it was a quick read but relatively enjoyable. As I said in the review I posted on LT: I thought this was an interesting idea for a graphic novel. The individual stories were interesting and for the most part were a fresh take on old tales. I was left wanting a bit more in the end though, but it was good enough that I will look for more from the author.

I would be interested to see if anyone else had the same feeling as me on this one or if anyone has read anything else by the author.

Jan 12, 1:10pm Top

Welcome to the group, Robert. I think you will find this group to be very informal and friendly. You might want to go to the “Introduce yourself” thread.

Jan 22, 9:27pm Top

Book #2 for 2018 was Predictably Irrational by Dan Arielly. It was a work that was suggested by the leader of our organization and I can see why she recommended it. As I said in the review I posted, it presented an interesting and important concept, but it was a bit of a slog to get through. This was mainly because there was significant overlap of the ideas presented in each discrete chapter.

In summary, it was worth reading but not worth re-reading. Using the rating scale I adopted from jjmcgaffey, I give this ***

Jan 22, 9:28pm Top

Thanks for the suggestion. I wondered about that, and will do so.

Jan 26, 10:55am Top

Hi, Robert. Welcome! I grew up in Edmonton -- it was a great place to be a kid. Anyway, I hope you feel at home here and I'm looking forward to your thoughts on The Name of the Rose, I book I loved, but read far too long ago.

Jan 26, 1:45pm Top

Welcome to the group Robert. This is my first year posting on Club Read. I look forward to learning more about what you and your daughters read this year.

Jan 26, 5:31pm Top

Welcome, Robert! Yay! - another SciFi reader!

Feb 16, 6:51am Top

How is reading that backlog in your office going thus far?

Feb 25, 12:37pm Top

Hi Robert! I'm new here, also and look forward to some possible BB's from your thread!

Feb 25, 1:14pm Top

If you ever come back to Edmonton, let me know! The city is becoming a very vibrant place to live, and I would suggest that you wouldn't recognize it if you have been away for a long time.

I just took The Name of the Rose off my shelf! I wrapping up a few books right now but I should get to it in the next few weeks. Thanks for the motivation!

Feb 25, 1:19pm Top

I don't know about you, but making the decision to post on Club Read was kind of daunting, but I'm glad I did it. The conversations and support are definitely worth the angst.

My oldest daughter will be 11 in May so the books we are reading together are getting much involved. The latest is The Black Reckoning which is quite serious and emotionally complex. That whole series is fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Feb 25, 1:23pm Top

Yay to scifi! There seems to be a real resurgence in scifi interest lately, both in books, and in video (can you really call it "TV" anymore?!). I see that Amazon is going to produce a show based on Consider Phelbas so that should motivate me to read that before it is released. I'm curious to know if you or anyone else has read that.

Feb 25, 1:24pm Top

Well ... I haven't added anything to the backlog in the last month, so it hasn't grown at least. ;-)

Feb 25, 1:25pm Top

I'll do my best, and looking forward to seeing what you recommend as well!

Feb 25, 9:16pm Top

Book #3 for 2018 was Out of Abaton by John Claude Bemis. A clichéd review for this book would be that it is a modern retelling of the classic tale of Pinocchio, but since I am only familiar with the Disney film, that would not be a fair statement coming from me.

So what it is then? I would say it is book about family, love, commitment, selflessness, and courage. It is a story about a boy and his adopted father fighting an evil ruler, while making deep friendships across a series of adventures. There are magical creatures (musical cricket, anyone?), but there are also themes of slavery and discrimination, class war, and blind hatred. It isn't a dense read, but it is more involved than what one might expect from YA fantasy fiction.

This is the first book in the series. I look forward to the next one.

My rating: ****

Feb 25, 9:26pm Top

Book #4 for 2018 was Clean Disruption by Tony Seba. What can I say? It is a highly footnoted (543!!!) reference on solar power, autonomous vehicles, providing the author's thesis for the demise of conventional cars by 2030.

It wasn't a great read. Most of the mini-sections of the individual chapters were thought-provoking, rational, and compelling. There was a fair bit of repetition of material though, making this "book" read more like a collection of standalone ideas.

The concepts are interesting and it would not be an exaggeration to say that they are monumentally important, especially for someone living in an oil-based economy like myself. However, if you just want the information without the references, I would suggest you search for the author's 2017 talk at the Colorado Renewable Energy Society conference posted on YouTube instead of reading this book.

My rating: **.

Feb 25, 9:27pm Top

Robert, just adding a hint for you. If you put > and the number of the post that you are responding to, it will identify the person to whom you are responding. So if I put > and the number 16, you would know that I was responding to the post above.
>16 robertwmartin: .

Feb 25, 11:19pm Top

>18 NanaCC: Thanks for the pro tip!

Feb 26, 8:36am Top

>13 robertwmartin: I've had Consider Phlebus on my radar for ages. I'm thinking I might wait and just watch the Amazon adaptation. I'll be interested to see what people who have read the book think.

Mar 8, 10:29am Top

Book #5 for 2018 was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This book was highly recommended to me several times in recent months, and since it is set to be released as a movie, I figured I should read it before I see the movie. The dystopian near-future setting, virtual reality gaming theme, and 1980s pop culture references made me think "Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!" But not so fast.

The book presented interesting thoughts on spending your entire life online versus the value of physical human interactions. Plus, the homage it paid to early video games was a fun trip. Beyond that though, it was not a really written novel. Very few scenes provided anything beyond basic descriptions. Imagine something like: "They were close behind me. They began to shoot. I escaped." It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't much better either. I finished it because I want to watch the movie, not because I was enthralled or emotionally invested.

This story will lend itself very well to a movie adaptation, assuming the director has the imagination to fill in the gaps created and unfortunately left by the author. If you are thinking about reading this book, you should probably read some other reviews first as this is not a typical rating for this novel.

My rating: **

Mar 8, 10:52am Top

>21 robertwmartin: I remember my grandson reading that one last summer, and he quite enjoyed it, I think. But he is 14. Maybe that is the audience the author was aiming for?

Mar 8, 12:56pm Top

>22 NanaCC: That could be, but I would think the target audience for Harry Potter or Hunger Games would be about the same age and in my opinion those were much more compelling reads. I do know people much older than 14 that enjoyed it, so perhaps I just missed the magic somehow. Regardless, I am looking forward to the movie!

Group: Club Read 2018

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