Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Look towards the Future - 2017 Reading Challenges?

I took a look at my BLog the other day and realised that I have sorely neglected my Reminiscences section. I'm not sure why, maybe because I haven't many photos of that particular time, maybe partly because my time in Ottawa, from 1981 - 1989, wasn't necessarily the happiest time I spent in the military. I will try to get back to that thread in the near future, I hope. :).. I also will get back to my update of the shelving we have in our house, updating how I've moved around and changed the book portions. I know you can't wait, eh?

I did find myself, the other day, starting to think of possible 2017 Reading Challenges. I guess that's because I've had such success this past year with them. I am almost finished my overall Goodreads' challenge of reading 100 books this year. As of today, I have completed 95 books, so should finish that by early September. I'm also almost finished my various Individual Reading Challenges and my 2nd 12 + 0 challenge, so I think for October through December, I will, for the most part, just read 'freebies'. So, that's what got me thinking a bit about 2017. These are some of my initial ideas.

2017 Reading Group Challenge - 12 + 4 (I'm basing this on the assumption that my Book Addicts group will continue with this challenge, as it's been going on for a long time, at least as long as I've been there). So I'm thinking that my 12 + 4 will be focused on Science Fiction and its permutations; Fantasy, Horror, Dystopic Future, Alternate History, that sort of thing. I started making up a list of Authors/ Books I have on my bookshelf in those categories, and just reaching the 'H's, I have 27 authors, plus more books by them. Of course, I will read some of them by years' end, but here are a few possible books....

1. Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard. I have three unread J.G. Ballard books on my shelves, Concrete Island, Running Wild and Vermilion Sands. Ballard is one of the most unique, strange writers that I've experienced. Take the synopsis of Concrete Island, for example.

"On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament in Concrete Island soon turns into horror as Maitland - a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe - realises that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory."

Ballard can definitely be hit or miss, but he is a unique, interesting writer.

2. Looking to Windward by Iain M. Banks. Iain M. Banks has become one of my favourite writers. An author of both fiction, the strange but fascinating The Wasp Factory, for example and also of some of the best Science Fiction that I've ever read, especially his Culture books, I'm pretty sure that I'll continue with the Culture books as one of my 12 + 4 challenge books. It offers such an interesting world for you to explore. Look to Windward was the 7th book in this series. I may try to find an earlier book in the series, but they can pretty well be read as one-ofs. This is the synopsis of this book.

"It was one of the less glorious incidents of a long-ago war. It led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient mistakes has reached the Culture Orbital, Masaq'. The light from the second may not."

3. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This is a trilogy that many of my Goodreads' friends have read and liked. I finally found the first two books this past month and look forward to starting it. I may read this first before year's end, but if I do and like it, then the second book will be on my list for 2017. This is the synopsis of Red Rising.

"Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow reds, he spends his days working below ground, believing that the blood and sweat of his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Discovering that humanity colonised the surface generations ago - establishing vast cities and lush wilds - Darrow realises that he and his fellow Reds are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Driven by a longing for justice and the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power., There he will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilisation against the best and most brutal of Society's elite. But he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if he must become one of them to do so."

and a few other ideas...

4. The Fog by James Herbert;
5. The Bad Seed by William March;
6. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz;
7. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson;
8. Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Needless to say, I've got a few to choose from, but I think this might be the perfect challenge for my 12 + 4.

Individual Reading Challenges

I'm thinking that I might just focus on my countless mysteries as my Individual Challenge and leave all my other genres as a catch-all in my Individual Challenge this year. I have so many new and ongoing series on my shelves; I filled up 3 pages of mystery authors as I considered this challenge. I think that what I might do in 2017 is have a Cop vs. Sleuth challenge, with no limit on how many books I complete in this challenge. If I can read 75 or so books, it'll make a little dent in my mysteries, well, maybe a small one anyway. It will give me a chance to read some of my ongoing series and also to try some new books. These are a few possibles in this challenge.


1. The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison (Inspector Shan). This is the first book in this series. If I manage to read it before year's end, I may try the second, which is already on my bookshelves, that being Water Touching Stone. I do enjoy mysteries set in Asia.

2. Bangkok Haunts by John Burdette (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #3). This is the 3rd book in this excellent series. I enjoyed the first two very much, a mix of mystery and Thai culture and mysticism.

3. Looking Good Dead by Peter James (Inspector Grace #2). This series is set in Brighton, England. It's been awhile since I tried this series and I'm looking forward to delving into Roy Grace's mysteries and life once again.

4. Wycliffe and the Tangled Web by WJ Burley (Wycliffe #15). I've read 5 books in this series and have another 8 or so sitting on the bookshelves in our bathroom upstairs. If I choose this series, I may pick an earlier book in the series, such as Death in Stanley Street. It's an excellent series set on the Southwest coast of England.

And other possibles..

5. Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series set in Italy;
6. Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond series set in Bath, England;
7. Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti series set in Italy;
8. Malla Nunn's Inspector Cooper series set in South Africa
9. Stanley Evan's Seaweed series set in Victoria, Canada;
10. Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series set in the USA.

I include any type of law enforcement professional in this category, such as Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon, a US Park Ranger or Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhymes, a forensic scientist contracted to the police, or Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan, a forensic pathologist.


In this group, you've got the classics, like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot plus others that I've discovered as I've perused the Mystery genre.

1. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - I finally read a Nero Wolfe mystery this past year, a collection of 3 short stories and enjoyed them very much. I've got a few others on my bookshelf now, awaiting my attention.

2. Victoria Thompson's Gaslight mysteries - In truth, this series could fit in either the Sleuth or Cop category. The focus is on turn of the century midwife, Sarah Brandt, but she is helped by or helps, however you want to look at it, by New York policeman Frank Molloy as they try to solve murders in New York city. I may read one for both categories.

3. Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy series - I used to watch the TV series any time I went to England on visits. It starred Ian McShane as a shiftyish antique dealer who finds himself involved in various mysteries as he hunts down unique antiques. It didn't hurt that the series also starred Phyllis Logan as the lovely Lady Jane and later on, Caroline Langrishe as Charlotte Cavendish. I only recently realised that the series was based on a series of books by Jonathan Gash. I'm looking forward to seeing how good the books are and hunting down more.

4. Laurie R. King's Mary Russell - I read the first book in this series about 10 year ago, that being The Beekeeper's Apprentice. It features one Mary Russell and her companion, Sherlock Holmes. It was an interesting concept and first book. I started picking up the next books but never actually continued reading them. This is another series I'm looking forward to making a dent in, maybe even this year.

and some others....

5. Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs - I read the first book in this series this past year and enjoyed very much. Maisie Dobbs is a budding Private Investigator just setting out on her own shortly after the end of WWI. She is dealing with experiences from the war as well as solving mysteries. Quite an enjoyable first book.

6. Nicola Upson's Josephine Tey - This will be a new series for me. Nicola Upson features mystery writer, Josephine Tey (whose books I've read) in this series, which might make for an interesting idea.

7. Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher - I've enjoyed the TV series and the first few books in this series set in Australia, lots of fun and adventure.

8. John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee - I've read the first 4 or 5 books in this hard-boiled detective series and it's about time I got back into it.

So there you go, my first look ahead to my 2017 reading challenges. Now to get back to the present..

Enjoy your week!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails