Stretch 2017 reading and pencil things.

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Stretch 2017 reading and pencil things.

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Edited: Jun 16, 2017, 10:55am

Trying again this year after another low numbers and even less participation. There are at least more pencils to review if nothing else.


Nevernight | The Ball is Round

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Into a Black Sun by Takeshi Kaiko
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki, Jocelyne Allen (Translator)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
What I Saw of Shiloh by Ambrose Bierce
Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science by Carl Sagan
Kitzmiller et. al. v. Dover Area School District
Solitude and Leadership by William Deresiewicz
The Pencil Perfect by Caroline Weaver
The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston

Short Stories/Long form Articles:
Death and What Comes Next by Terry Pratchett
Theatre of Cruelty by Terry Pratchett
Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby by David Barthelme
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce
How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
Kin by Bruce McAllister
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

Pencils and Sharpeners Reviewed:

Forest Choice HB graphite
Mongol 482
Dixon Ticonderoga and Black
Papermate Mirado
Carl CP-80
General's Cedar Pointe
Staedtler Norcia 132 46 HB
Palomino Prospector
Mitsu-Bishi 9850 HB
Palomino Golden Bear
Musgrave Test Scoring 100
Staedtler Noris school pencil
General's Test Scoring 580
Staedtler FullHB
Helix Oxford Premium Grade
Write Dude's USA Gold #2
Blackfeet Indian Pencil
Palomino HB
Write Notepads Co. Lenore
Tombow Mono HB
Just/Basics HB
Mitsu-Bishi 9000 HB
Chung Hwa 6151
General's Kimberly 525
✖ Books off the TBR as of 1/1/17
✔ Books acquired in 2017
Percentage of Books read off the TBR pile = +5.4%

Jan 9, 2017, 6:12pm

Turns out I turned 10 in June! Wow, that doesn't seem right

Jan 9, 2017, 6:43pm

Even if you stick to pencils, I will enjoy your reviews. Good to see you back.

Jan 9, 2017, 9:52pm

Nice to see you posting Kevin, whatever it's on.

Edited: Jan 17, 2017, 5:04pm

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki, Jocelyne Allen (Translator)

Told from similar experience, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is a story of a doomed Imperial Japanese Army Unit defending an island in the archipelago of Papa New Guinea in the last days of WWII. The desperate acts to keep hunger at bay and the willingness to sacrifice their lives to prolong a meaningless cause is disturbing, especially when the senior officers were so callous with human life. It’s hard to understand how these men suffered and threw away promising lives for the vague notion of honor.

As told through the medium of manga, it gives a reality to the devastation wrought by war and a surreal feeling to the whole debacle. I’m not real familiar with the form, but there seems to be a concentrated effort to inject humor into stories like these, that makes the transitions from death and destruction to revenge humor a bit choppy and lessens the impact of the message somewhat. Not that all stories of hardship and sacrifice should be without their moments of brevity, but they can upset the flow of the story when in manga form, that might not be present in long form writing. Still a very well written and drawn story of tragic time. Maybe manga just isn’t something I get behind, since it lacks the emotional kick I look for in these kinds of stories.

Origin: Japan
Date Published: 2011
Pages: 368
Rating: ★★★★

Jan 9, 2017, 11:08pm

Thanks everybody. Going to try my best to keep up with everyone this year and hopefully return to reading a bit more.

Jan 9, 2017, 11:53pm

>5 stretch:

Interesting take. This is a comic I've been wanting to read for years but waited until I could get it in Japanese. However now the Japanese is a bit more difficult than I expected it to be so I have yet to attempt it again.

Jan 10, 2017, 10:25am

>7 lilisin: Perhaps, some of the clumsiness can be attributed to the translation. I assume most of the jokes play better in the original Japanese. Obviously I’m missing something from not being able to read from the original language.

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is well worth the read. The comic is well drawn and perfectly chaotic. I just find the Japanese take on the graphic novel as translated into English to be flat and lacking the same emotional impact as the long form novels. I mean the Fires on the Plain and Black Rain shear the horrors of the war into the brain like nothing that has come before them. Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths is nice addition to these books, but doesn’t quite achieve their status.

Jan 10, 2017, 5:54pm

>5 stretch:

I have his history of Japan somewhere on my shelves - and had been eyeing that one for a while as well. Manga is not my style but that is exactly the kind of books I do read it in... Good review.

Edited: Jan 14, 2017, 2:36pm

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I hate memoirs. They tend to to be self-indulgent and full of stories that are too personnel to really have an affect outside a very narrow scope of people. Amy Poehler is an awesome woman and for the most part this memoir isn’t all that bad. Got a little self-indulgent in the latter parts of the books, becoming something of a slog, but the early parts of the book was really interesting and there was some tidbits worth keeping for a while longer.

Origin: USA
Date Published: 2014
Hours: 7.5
Rating: ★★★

Jan 11, 2017, 9:50pm

Huh, interesting K. I love memoirs, can get totally lost in them (and have a better time with fictional memoirs than other fiction). Wondering why now. I'm hoping to catch my library's audio copy of Poehler.

Interesting about Onwards toward our noble deaths.

Edited: Jan 18, 2017, 10:00am

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

On the surface Pratchett's book, the Unseen Academicals, is a simple story about the codification of the game of football (soccer). Moving the game from the violent and disorganized game of street football to a game of fluid movement and moments of beauty. Beneath that simple story line is a story of class struggles, racism, and finding where you belong within society. I most enjoyed the football bits and found the subplots to be disjointed and at times spun too far from the main plot line of the book. The history of the game and how it was ultimately tamed is actually really well researched. It's pretty much spot on with most accounts of the founding of the game. I wish Pratchett had stuck more closely to game and the struggles to establishing a uniformed set of rules. There seemed to be too many moving parts in this one for Pratchett's usual humor and wit to find its mark. So this one while will leave a lasting impression on me for the love of football, it probably won't rank as one of my favorite Discworld stories.

Origin: UK
Date Published: 2009
Pages: 400
Rating: ★★★½

EDIT: What's stuck in my head about this book for the last couple days, is that the US edition has to be in the running for one of the most idiotic covers ever. For a book that is about formation of a game that is played exclusively without the use of hands, a cover that features at least 3 pairs of hands outstretched for a play is just confounding. Why was this decision allowed by all the people who make these kinds of decisions? Does no one know how to google?

Edited: Jan 18, 2017, 12:27pm

Mitsu-Bishi 9000

Wood: Incense-cedar
Core: HB core
Shape: Semi-rounded hexagonal
Finish: Thick green lacquer with a band of dark green near the end cap
Ferrule: None
Eraser: None
Markings: General Writing “Mitsu-Bishi” 9000 *HB*, on the reverse side: Made by elaborate process *HB* in gold foil
Origin: Japan

Aesthetics and form are important factors in Japanese pencil manufacturing. While someone like me values function over form, it’s nice to know that Japanese manufactures pride themselves in making even the most mundane objects beautiful without compromising the functionality of the object. For generations the Hignokami knife has been the epitome of a deceptively simple tool being beautiful yet highly functional. And like the Hignokmai, the Mitsu-Bishi pencil is a simple, elegantly designed tool that is perfectly suited for its function.

The thick forest green lacquer with a single dark green near the end cap gives the 9000 an understated elegance, not being overly fancy or too orientate. The gold foil of the imprint in combination with the color almost disappears and is only there to mark its intended use. It’s hard to believe that the Mitsu-Bishi intended use is just for “general writing”. It’s hard to imagine that a pencil as fine as this one could be used for nothing more than jotting down a few notes or a grocery list. Everything from the design to the fit and finish is nearly perfect. While humbly stated this pencil calls to be used for some higher level of writing. Like most Japanese pencils the 9000 isn’t cheap pencil and is more in line with premium prices, it certainly belongs in the same category.

Besides being aesthetically pleasing the 9000 is a first rate work horse. The HB core is not quite as dark as the typical HB, but it’s very smooth. Point retention is out of this world long and the newly classified designation of point durability is top notch. Once sharpened the 9000 can last through an entire writing session without the need to re-sharpen. The balance the 9000 strikes between the cores darkness and point durability is probably the only aspect that makes this pencil suitable for general writing. The only knock that holds this pencil back from perfection is the lack of an eraser. The end cap is gorgeous and simple, but for an all-purpose tool there really should be an eraser.

The slogan on the reverse side of the pencil, “made by elaborate process”, while humorous couldn’t sum up the 9000 any better, both its form and function is near perfection. The 9000 more than deserves its place in the upper echelon of the Japanese pencil world.

EDIT: I now realize that when I said the point can last an entire writing session that no measure can be attached to that. My handwriting is incredibly tiny (probably about the same size as the font you're reading now) and so for point durability the 9000 can last about 1 to 1½ pages of my handwriting, so anywhere between 2 to 3 pages of the average persons handwriting.

Jan 18, 2017, 8:49pm

>13 stretch:

My handwriting also resembles that of a computer's so it was always a struggle to find instruments that allowed my handwriting to remain clear.

(It was also a struggle when teachers assigned essays that had to take up a page and it took me a while to realize that I was technically having to write a lot more than my classmates due to my handwriting being so small. Only later did I confirm with teachers if I could write a little bit less than a page. :P)

Jan 19, 2017, 5:44am

>14 lilisin: I know that pain all too well. I dreaded in class essays, there was so many more words that had to be thought up and put down. Probably contributed to my wordiness problem. In cursive my writing gets even smaller, so I struggle to keep all those loopy letters open even e's are now tend to look more like thick c's. I had a teacher that got so fed up with my writing she tried to shame me into change by forcing me to do all my assignments on kinder garden paper. The landscape light brown paper with giant divided ruling. The idea backfired when I learned I could actually fit more of my script on that paper then ever before. Today I use graph rulings to help meter my writing so that my co-workers can read it a little easier. I hate when they exclaim how small my handwriting is when I'm trying to write larger for them.

Edited: Jan 30, 2017, 11:28am

Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science by Carl Sagan

Essays by Carl Sagan written for the moment. They show there age, but still worth reading if for nothing else then there beginnings and ends. Except the longish one in the middle where he tears into another less than scientific author, that one can be skipped altogether.

Origin: US
Date Published: 1979
Pages: 416
Rating: ★★★

Feb 21, 2017, 12:47pm

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This is my first metafiction. It was baffling and wonderful and confusing and enthralling. The surreal tale of Billy Pilgrim and his dealing with PSTD was an incredible way to grapple with the horrible effects of war.

In a lot of ways this story often reminded me of Catch-22, but it felt more mature and was actually a much better novel in my opinion. At first the numbness of the novel and the repetition of the phrase 'So it Goes' after every death or horrible outcome didn't register, but as the story continues and the frame of reference swifts around in time the numbness to death and destruction it began to make sense. In Catch-22 the war was all craziness, while Slaughterhouse-Five strictly deals with the absurd nature of war and how empty it leaves people. A depressing novel but worth while all the same.

Origin: US
Date Published: 1969
Hours: 5.9
Rating: ★★★½

Mar 10, 2017, 2:50pm

Chung Hwa 6151 HB

Wood: Reddish-pink juniper
Core: HB
Shape: Semi-Hexagonal
Finish: Red and black lacquer in alternating stripes
Ferrule: Complex designed Aluminum
Eraser: Crumbly pink rubber
Markings: Shanghai China First Pencil Co., Ltd. Chung Hwa in white, Reverse side: Chinese characters, Chung Hwa’s logo and 6151 HB in gold foil
Origin: Shanghai, China

Typically, when talking about Chinese pencils we are a talking about the mass produced carp that is sold under store branding. These are usually made from cheap woods like poplars and come with brittle waxy cores. They are throw away tools, not meant to last more than a few uses. The biggest selling points are their cheap price and wide availability. However, the Chung Hwa Company makes pencils of their own brand and of a much higher quality than mass produced yellow sticks coming from those other factories.

The first and most notable thing about the 6151 is its complex design. The lacquer alternates between red and black stripes with a thin black line centered along the red hexagonal panels. The paint job on this pencil is outstanding, the lines are strong and crisp. It’s incomprehensible how they can manufacture something with such precision. I have no idea how they manage to paint a single black line in the dead center of the panels. The imprints are just as clean and perfect as the lacquer. The most striking feature of the 6151 is the intricate ferrule. Most ferrules are pretty simple in design with some basic stamping and bands. To jazz up their ferrules some companies have painted them and these have become their trademarks (see Dixon Ticonderoga, EF Mongol, the blackwing, etc.). Chun Hwa has taken a different approach. The ferrule is made of standard aluminum, but have incorporated an intricate wave pattern into the stamping. The ferrule also, has a slight bulge in the middle like that of an oak barrel. This is by far the most complicated and coolest ferrule I have ever seen!

Unfortunately, outside of aesthetics the 6151 is just a pretty pedestrian pencil. The wood is some red juniper, which lacks beautiful wood grain that would make the red and black lacquer really pop. Instead the working end of the pencil looks like it’s got a bit of sunburn and should really be applying the sunscreen a bit more liberally. The core while being marked as an HB is actually fairly hard. The light, scratchy line is also prone to smudging. And at the top is a cheap and crumply eraser that just barely works, at least it does when it's not falling apart. As a writing instrument the 6151 is a real let down.

Complicated ferrule

The Chung Hwa 6151 is an interesting pencil. The looks and feel of the pencil are excellent. The amount of work and difficultly of consistently executing the design is phenomenal. It certainly doesn’t look like any of its Chinese cousins, but sadly it really isn’t that much better in the performance department. The eraser is terrible and the scratchy, light core just isn’t good enough for such a fine looking pencil.

Apr 10, 2017, 3:57pm

I'm not sure if you reviewed this pencil in years past, but I've discovered the Faber Castell 9000 B and I love it! I know almost nothing about pencils except for what I've read here, but I've been trying a few here and there and this one really stood out.

My every day pencils are the Forest Choice Palomino which I'm pretty sure I tried because of one of your reviews and the Staedtler norica HB2.

Thanks for the pencil inspiration!

Apr 18, 2017, 10:43am

>19 japaul22: Glad to pass on the "inspiration". The forest Choice was the first pencil i ever reviewed and is still among my absolute favorites. And the Norica is an excellent choice as well. I really like that Staples stocks them for so cheaply.

I've never the Faber Castell 9000 before in any grade. The German pencils tend to be on the harder side and having only tried a Grip 2001, was not a big fan. I really should try it in a B grade and the 9000 is just a better pencil. Thanks for the recommendation.

Edited: May 31, 2017, 10:22am

The Pencil Perfect: The Untold Story of a Cultural Icon by Caroline Weaver

The Pencil Perfect is a history of the pencil in the vain of The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski, but geared toward the mainstream reader and not as detailed. It's written by the owner of the only pencil specific shop in America and this is clearly a passion project. The research in the Pencil Perfect feels fresh and has been updated with the brand consolidation of the 90's and exciting developments in the pencil market of the 21st century. While Petroski's book is the definitive history of the object. The Pencil Perfect is a good companion history and a much needed update.

The Pencil Perfect is a beautifully designed book from a small press. There are some amazing illistrations throughout the book highlighting important moments in history. From the cover to the ink color choices is simple but utterly perfect and exemplifies the simplicity of the pencil. Written and edited in just three months there are some mistakes in the editing, and some of the science facts in the 1st chapter made me cringe as a geologist, but those are pretty small complaints. It is well written conversational history of one of my favorite things so i can't complain too much.

Origin: US
Date Published: 2017
Pages: 148
Rating: ★★★½

Edited: May 10, 2017, 10:43am

General’s Kimberly 525
Wood: Incense-cedar
Core: HB core
Shape: Hexagonal
Finish: Thin matte green lacquer
Ferrule: Brass end cap
Eraser: None
Markings: U.S.A General Pencil Co. KIMBERLY 525 HB in gold foil; Graphite Drawing since 1889 in white paint on the reverse side
Origin: New Jersey, US

The General’s Kimberly 525 is the General’s Pencil Companies’ drawing pencil line. Being a drawing pencil the Kimberly comes in 20 degrees, from a 9H to an extra soft 9xxB. There’s a hardness to suit any writing or drawing style possible. It’s not necessary to buy the full range of course. The pencils are typically sold in individual sets of two.

The Kimberly HB is a pretty basic pencil. Good quality incense-cedar, an adequate matte green paint job with minimal stamping, and a nice soft hexagonal shape makes for pleasant enough pencil. The only thing that makes the Kimberly distinctive is the brass end cap. Most eraser less pencils are dipped in lacquer, or have a thin plastic cap, or are just left naked. General’s has attached a brass cap much like a ferrule that has a bit of weight to it. So, if you like the feel of an erasered pencil but want a wider range of pencil hardness, the Kimberly is a perfect choice. Plus, with time the brass end cap will take on a unique patina and make each pencil one of a kind.

The Kimberly is a simple drawing pencil with the balance of erasered pencil that most Americans have become accustomed too. A hybrid between the standard writing pencil and the lightness of a of a naked drawing stick. It’s not the best pencil in the art world but it’s probably perfectly serviceable as sketcher. And well I think the brass end cap is just way cooler than any other end cap out there.

May 16, 2017, 12:08pm

>18 stretch: Savoring:
This is by far the most complicated and coolest ferrule I have ever seen!

The wood is some red juniper, which lacks beautiful wood grain that would make the red and black lacquer really pop. Instead the working end of the pencil looks like it’s got a bit of sunburn and should really be applying the sunscreen a bit more liberally.

>21 stretch: I love to visit Weaver's website -- terrific images and content, and her pencil shop is on my travel wishlist. Now her book is on my reading wishlist, thanks! Expensive, though.

May 17, 2017, 4:39am

>23 detailmuse: Thanks!

The Pencil perfect is Gestalten's first real text heavy book. They are mostly a design/art publishing so a lot pictures and graphic heavy titles. They're all very expensive books. I got it cheaper from Barnes and Noble. Although it's still expensive. Then again I can't remember the last time I bought a hardcover book.

Edited: May 31, 2017, 10:30am

The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston

With my continuation of the history of esoteric items I have now completed The Book, which is a complete over view of the book from it's earliest stages to what we find today. This includes the history of the earliest stages of writing, paper making, inks, type setting, and finally binding. Its well researched and through overview. Many the sections go into great detail. But for me there isn't enough information. I want to understand the evolution of type faces. There isn't much on modern printing and book making innovations of the last couple of decades. And their is no discussion about the future of book making; for a 2016 book in a world of ebooks and audiobooks this seems like a big oversight. I read this book ironically enough on a Kindle so a discussion about the this new form of book making would have been a nice addition.

A cool feature of this book, even included in the ebook version I read, is that throughout the text there are side notes on various components like: headers,titles, footnotes, bullets, margins, etc. I actually learned a lot just from these side notes.

Origin: US
Date Published: 2016
Pages: 448
Rating: ★★★★

May 31, 2017, 10:27am

Into a Black Sun by Takeshi Kaiko

Into a Black Sun, is a somewhat fictionalized account of a Japanese reporters time in Saigon and as a frontline reporter in 1964. There's no real point of view, the Vietnam War is just something that is happing and the reporter is merely experiencing in his limited capacity. There are no judgments about the rights and wrongs of the war or any of its actors. Its just an account of the South Vietnamese and their American counterparts waging a largely apathetic war for reasons that are lost on the general population.

The book was most interesting when discussing the war with the soldiers and the officers, even the discussions with other journalists about the direction of the war was insightful. But for me the second half dragged when the narrator started discussing his everyday life of drinking, eating, sleeping, and screwing in Saigon. It was all just a wash. Maybe that was the point. I really can't tell if this novel ever really had a point, other then to relate a totally neutral view of a pointless war.

Origin: Japan
Date Published: 1968
Pages: 214
Rating: ★★★½

Jun 16, 2017, 10:21am

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

I honestly have no idea if I liked this book or not. The narration was so unreliable and confusing I had a hard time following all the story elements. There's loss and grief. The struggle to define oneself. Psychological disorders to through a wrench into the mess. A house that wants to keep everyone close and safe. It's certainly a subtly creepy story and it was well written. But it was all over the place bouncing from one unreliable narrator to the next, neither of whom can be trusted with an accurate telling of events. It took me over half the book to realize one of the narrators was the house. Not knowing the exact details of what is going on is part of what makes the novel unsettling, but for me it has left me unsure of exactly where to come down on.

Origin: UK
Date Published: 2006
Pages: 283
Rating: ★★★ ?

Jun 16, 2017, 10:50am

Over my Lunch break I've been trying to read some single short Stories wither from the public domain or whatever internett source I can find:

Death and What Comes Next by Terry Pratchett - This to complete the Death Series of the Discworld. Fun and light, I miss the Disc from time to time.

Theatre of Cruelty by Terry Pratchett - A short and sweet Watch Story, not that great but passed the time well enough. The watch changed so much over the course of the series and this story written early on feels out of place in that world.

Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby by David Barthelme - This one was weird. Friends discussing the execution by hanging of their friend Colby for the slightest social faux paus. Like firendly version of the Lottery...

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin - The best story I've read this year so far. Dark and sinister, a summary would ruin the whole thing.

The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce - another dark story and a bit tough to read. Well worth it.

Kitzmiller et. al. v. Dover Area School District - Cause I like to read things about this topic just to punish myself. I know this one is a bit old but nothing really new from this arena has captured my attention. Wish? I could get into the Climate Change debate, but with that one it's either out right deniers or absolute hysteria. Far too political for me, I'll stick with evolution. Netflix has a a "documentary" about Gensis as history that they said I'd like with 99% certianity. So far its taken me nearly two weeks to get through the 1st 45 seconds. Netflix gets me so well.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman - Not the biggest Gaiman fan, although i feel i should be. This is probably the first story of his that I actually liked. Its surreal and just the right kind of creepy, not over done.

A good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor - Another author I've tried over and over to get into but just can't. She comes of a preachy or I don't know too formal?

The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell - A classic.

Kin by Bruce McAllister - the first story from Lavar Burtons new podcast. It's like a warm blanket have him read out loud again. And like I did as a kid reading along with him is such a joy. Also wasn't a a bad Sci-Fi story either.

Jun 16, 2017, 4:44pm

>28 stretch: "The Story of an Hour" -- one of my all-time favorites and I agree, readers should not read anything about it before they read it :)

P.S. I splurged for The Pencil Perfect, looking forward to dipping in and out of it.

Jun 16, 2017, 8:13pm

>29 detailmuse: Oh nice, the Pencil ladies really are the nicest. They put so much care into what they do, even if its flawed in some ways the passion is infectious.

Jul 27, 2017, 11:45am

I ran across this article and naturally thought of you.

Jul 27, 2017, 1:16pm

>25 stretch: i do love that you read The Book on kindle. It sounds really interesting, despite the limitations you mention.

>28 stretch: admiring your use of your lunch breaks.

Jul 28, 2017, 12:10pm

>31 RidgewayGirl:: That's interesting, I didn't know about the Faber Castell study of green and yellow pencils before!

>32 dchaikin:: It was an interesting book, just one of those non-fiction books that you wish there was more of and that has plenty of steam left.

Edited: Jan 1, 2018, 5:28pm

for completion sake:


Total Number of Books = 27 | Pace = 2.25
Fiction = 7 | 25.93%
Non-Fiction = 8 | 29.63%
Short Story = 11 | 40.74%
Other = 1 | 3.70%
Total Number of Pages = 6,102 | Average = 226
Audio Hours Listened = 18.5
Est. Podcast Hours Listened = 726.7
TBR Status = -2.17% increase (92 books last year)

Book Allocation:
Bought = 4 | 14.81%
Borrowed = 9 | 33.33%
Stole = 14 | 51.85%

Author Demographics:
Male = 16
Female = 6
New to Me = 13
More than 1 book: Terry Pratchett (3), Ambrose Bierce (2)

Country of Origin:
U.S. = 18
U.K. = 5
Japan = 2
Sweden = 1

Publication Year:
2010+ = 8
2000-2009 = 8
1990-1999 = 2
1980-1989 = 2
Pre-1980 = 7

5 = 2
4.5 = 3
4 = 3
3.5 = 6
3 = 8
2.5 = 1
2 = 4
Average = 3.37
29.6 % Rated 4 stars or higher
51.9 % Rated between 3 & 4 stars
18.5 % Rated below 3 stars

Favorites of 2017:

1st Quarter:
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin (Short Story)
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
What I Saw of Shiloh by Ambrose Bierce (Short Story)
Kitzmiller et. al. v. Dover Area School District by Judge John Jones III
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

2nd Quarter:
The Pencil Perfect by Caroline Weaver
The Book by Keith Houston
Into the Black Sun by Takeshi Kaiko

3rd Quarter:
Kin by Bruce McAllister
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Report on the Inquiry Into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process

4th Quarter:
Redshirts by John Scalzi