Looking back at 2018 for Books and the Blog

As we kick off 2019, I wanted to take a glance back at 2018. 258 books read (plus comics, picture books, short stories, and the like that I don’t know how to count) — I exceeded my goal (nothing like exceeding an arbitrary number to boost the ol’ ego), 380 posts (short of my goal by a couple hundred, and worse — 15 fewer than 2017, which was down from 2016. This is a trend that I need to reverse). I had some strong gains in traffic — views and visitors — actually, strong gains doesn’t quite cut it. Consider my mind boggled. I’m also seeing good growth in followers here and on various social media fronts, which is encouraging as all get out — not just growth in numbers, but I’m actually interacting with people (and vice versa).

So here’s my breakdown of books by genre, like the one I did last year. Genre labeling is more difficult this year, I read a lot of hybrids, but I tend to go with the overarching genre (for example, Brassley’s The Drifting Lands books are fantasy novels in a SF setting, I went with Fantasy). Mystery/Suspense/Thriller is back to where it should be. Fantasy jumped up a bit, and Urban Fantasy took a dive. It’s been forever since I’ve read a Western, I guess (at least one that wasn’t a hybrid with Urban Fantasy or SF or something) — and I had to add a category for Poetry. Theological books went down in actual numbers, not just percent — but I read some big, technical stuff this year that take a lot of time/energy to read, so I’m not too bothered by that. Still, for someone who doesn’t plan too thoroughly, the percentages stay remarkably the same from year to year — tastes (and series I follow) apparently stay the same.

Genre 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Children’s 11 (4%) 7 (3%) 5 (2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Fantasy 30 (11%) 7 (3%) 31 (13%) 17 (9%) 11 (7%) 15 (8%) 12 (6%)
General Fiction/ Literature 22 (8%) 29 (10%) 27 (11%) 17 (9%) 7 (4%) 30 (16%) 30 (14%)
Horror 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (.4%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Humor 3 (1%) 1 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (1%) 3 (2%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller 107 (38%) 102 (37%) 61 (25%) 64 (34%) 62 (37%) 63 (33%) 73 (35%)
Non-Fiction 22 (8%) 10 (4%) 11 (5%) 8 (4%) 4 (2%) 2 (1%) 11 (5%)
Poetry 1 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Science Fiction 25 (9%) 27 (10%) 37 (15%) 16 (8%) 17 (10%) 14 (7%) 11 (5%)
Steampunk 3 (1%) 1 (0%) 2 (1%) 7 (4%) 3 (2%) 3 (2%) 11 (5%)
Theology/ Christian Living 25 (9%) 30 (11%) 33 (14%) 42 (22%) 42 (25%) 37 (19%) 10 (5%)
Urban Fantasy 29 (10%) 45 (16%) 36 (15%) 19 (10%) 20 (12%) 26 (14%) 48 (23%)
Western 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 1 (0%)

Have a great 2019, hope you find plenty of good things to read!

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December 2018 Report

So, this is the end of December. The end of 2018. As I said earlier, I started a new job, so my numbers are a little lower — I think this is likely the new normal (at least for a while). Twenty-two books is nothing to sneeze at, really. I think I know I say this too frequently for anyone to take me seriously (including myself), but I really didn’t write as much as I wanted to this month. But I rested a lot. I did like a good amount of what I actually wrote, so there’s that. Anyhow, some of the highs from this year — and a couple of lows, in other words — December was pretty representative.

So, here’s what happened here in December.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Not Famous Mr. Pizza Deep Dirty Truth
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
Past Tense Grounded in Heaven Murder in the Dark
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Dog Songs The World Savers The United Smiths of America
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 1 Star
Blackwater The Everlasting Story of Nory P Is for Pterodactyl
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
Godlefe’s Cuckoo Cold Days (Audiobook) The Crescent and the Cross
3 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Hardcore Twenty-Four The Impossible Dead Ross Poldark
2 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Audiobook) Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian John Owen vol 4
5 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars
Doctor Who: Rose            
3.5 Stars            

Still Reading:

The Power of the Dog            

Reviews Posted:

Book Challenge Progress:

Angel's Guilty Pleasures Past Tense by Lee Child
The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling, Jim Dale

Mr. Pizza by J. F. Pandolfi
Murder in the Dark by Betsy Reavley
The United Smiths of America by Jon Voss
P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar, Chris Carpenter, Maria Beddia
The Crescent and the Cross by Kurt Scheffler
Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
Dog Songs by Mary Oliver, John Burgoyne
Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian by Danny E. Olinger
Doctor Who: Rose by Russell T. Davies

Mr. Pizza by J. F. Pandolfi
Murder in the Dark by Betsy Reavley
The World Savers by Matt Cowper
The United Smiths of America by Jon Voss
P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar, Chris Carpenter, Maria Beddia
The Crescent and the Cross by Kurt Scheffler

✔ Read a book that takes place in one day: The United Smiths of America by Jon Voss
✔ Read a collection of poetry: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver, John Burgoyne
✔ Read a book you received as a gift: The Crescent and the Cross by Kurt Scheffler
✔ Read a book recommended by one of your parents (in-laws count): Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
✔ Read a book with your favorite food in the title.: Mr. Pizza by J. F. Pandolfi

How was your month?

November 2018 Report

Well, November happened. Lot’s of pretty cool stuff in my non-blog life, and things related to the blog. Pretty good reading month — almost good writing month. Some less-than-good reads, plenty of great reads. Nothing to complain about, that’s for sure.

So anyway, here’s what happened here in November.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Dark Sacred Night The Green Viper You Had Me at Woof
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
The Place You're Supposed to Laugh Be Brave, Little Puffy The Twisted Web
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation Her Last Move Degrading Orbits
5 Stars 5 Stars 3 Stars
Ghost Story The Summer Holidays Survival Guide Know Me from Smoke
4 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Ways to Die in Glasgow Kitties Are Not Good To Eat Rediscovering Humility
3.5 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
The Lord's Supper as the Sign and Meal of the New Covenant Dry Hard The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
4 Stars 3.5 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
 Small Town Nightmare The Complaints My Sister, the Serial Killer</a
3 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Curse on the Land  They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse
4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Fletch (Audiobook) The Frame-Up Play Dead
5 Stars Still Deciding 4 Stars
Them            
5 Stars            

Still Reading:

John Owen vol 4 Grounded in Heaven      

Reviews Posted:

Book Challenge Progress:

Angel's Guilty Pleasures You Had Me at Woof (Audiobook) by Julie Klam, Karen White
The Complaints by Ian Rankin
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
They Promised Me the Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner
Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse by Lee Goldberg, Laura Hicks
Play Dead by David Rosenfelt, Grover Gardner

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair
The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann
Be Brave, Little Puffy by Arline Cooper
The Summer Holidays Survival Guide by Jon Rance
Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips
Kitties Are Not Good To Eat by Cassandra Gelvin
Dry Hard by Nick Spalding
Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett
You Had Me at Woof (Audiobook) by Julie Klam, Karen White
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Her Last Move by John Marrs
Rediscovering Humility: Why the Way Up is Downby Christopher Hutchinson
The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin

The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair
The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh by Jenn Stroud Rossmann
Be Brave, Little Puffy by Arline Cooper
The Twisted Web by Rebecca Bradley
Degrading Orbits by Bradley Horner
The Summer Holidays Survival Guide by Jon Rance
Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips
Kitties Are Not Good To Eat by Cassandra Gelvin
Dry Hard by Nick Spalding
Small Town Nightmare by Anna Willett

✔ Read an audio book with multiple narrators: Ways to die in Glasgow by Heather Wilds, Napoleon Ryan
✔ Read a book you chose based on the cover: Know Me from Smoke by Matt Phillips: A heart-wrenching noir love story.

How was your month?

Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day/Thursday

(depending on your location/preference)

When I think about all the great things that have happened around the blog and behind the scenes this year leaves me at a loss for words, let me list a few things I’m thankful for — a very incomplete list, I assure you:

    • The readers of this blog, the authors who’ve corresponded with me/provided books for me to read/encouraged me — even promoted this here project. The messages of support/care/encouragement that we received from you all when my son got his kidney were inexpressibly helpful.
    • The publicists, publishers, book tour hosts, etc. I’ve been working with this year who’ve especially made things great — I typically hesitate to mention any by name, so as to not inadvertently miss anyone and cause offense (and make me feel bad). But I want to mention two by name this year — Lori Hettler of TNBBC Publicity and Emma at damppebbles blog tours. You two have expanded (and pushed) my boundaries this year, exposed me to some great reads I’d have not tried, and put up with my quirks and memory lapses with grace.
    • Books
    • Authors!
    • Books
    • Coffee (and other beverages both caffeinated and adult)
    • Books
    • Time to read
    • Books
    • Easily finding an appropriate image for this post for the second year in a row
    • Books
    • Easily finding an appropriate image for this post for a change
    • Audiobooks and talented narrators
    • The Nampa Public Library (and The LYNX! Consortium) — and their generous grace period
    • Books
    • Rediscovered Books and Libro.fm
    • Books
    • Goodreads, WordPress, NetGalley, BookLikes
    • Books
    • Evernote (but you’re making it harder)
    • Books
    • Organ Transplants (just to get serious for a moment)</li)
    • Authors!
    • Authors!

My supportive, understanding and encouraging wife and kids who do a pretty decent job pretending to care when their old man drones on and on about what he’s reading or what’s going on with the blog.

  • Again, all of you who read, follow, like, tweet, comment, email, etc. this page — you have no idea how much every little bit is appreciated.

October 2018 Report

A lot of highs, a couple of lows — and a decent amount of stuff in between. I’d hoped to get more written — but, I’m not beating myself up over it (or so I keep telling myself). I made some decent progress on the reading challenges I’m tackling. All in all, a pretty good month, I think.

Here’s what happened here in October.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Voyage of the Dogs The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Audiobook) Sourdough (Audiobook)
3.5 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Burning Secrets Lies Sleeping Blood Fued
4 Stars 5 Stars 3.5 Stars
Changes (Audiobook) Without Rules Two Kinds of Truth
5 Stars
5 Stars
1 Star 3.5 Stars
Still Protesting Video Killed the Radio Star The Defense (Audiobook)
3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 3.5 Stars
Exit Music Woof (Audiobook) Praying the Bible
5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Wrecked Changeless (Audiobook) Zero Sum Game
5 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Black Widow: Forever Red The Golden Orphans Time's Up, Afton
3 Stars 3.5 Stars 4 Stars
So Let It Be Written Dog On It (Audiobook)      
2 Stars 4 Stars      

Still Reading:

John Owen vol 4 By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation Dark Sacred Night

Reviews Posted:

Book Challenge Progress:

Angel's Guilty Pleasures Voyage of the Dogs by Greg van Eekhout
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Audiobook) by Mark Manson, Roger Wayne
Sourdough (Audiobook) by Robin Sloan, Therese Plummer
The Defense by Steve Cavanagh, Adam Sims
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
Woof by Spencer Quinn, James Frangione
Wrecked by Joe Ide
Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl, Julia Whelan
So Let It Be Written by Mark Eglinton

Burning Secrets by Ruth Sutton
The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond
Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl, Julia Whelan
So Let It Be Written by Mark Eglinton
Blood Feud by Mike Lupica
Without Rules by Andrew Field
Voyage of the Dogs by Greg van Eekhout
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Audiobook) by Mark Manson, Roger Wayne

Burning Secrets by Ruth Sutton
The Golden Orphans by Gary Raymond
Time’s Up, Afton by Brent Jones
Without Rules by Andrew Field
Video Killed the Radio Star by Duncan MacMaster

✔ Read a memoir or biography of a musician you like: So Let It Be Written by Mark Eglinton
✔ Read a book with your favorite food in the title.: Sourdough (Audiobook) by Robin Sloan, Therese Plummer

How was your month?

Happy Birthday, Archie!

My annual tribute to one of my favorite fictional characters (if not my all-time favorite).

On Oct 23 in Chillicothe, Ohio, Archie Goodwin entered this world–no doubt with a smile for the pretty nurses–and American detective literature was never the same.

I’m toasting him in one of the ways I think he’d appreciate most–by raising a glass of milk in his honor.

Who was Archie? Archie summed up his life thusly:

Born in Ohio. Public high school, pretty good at geometry and football, graduated with honor but no honors. Went to college two weeks, decided it was childish, came to New York and got a job guarding a pier, shot and killed two men and was fired, was recommended to Nero Wolfe for a chore he wanted done, did it, was offered a full-time job by Mr. Wolfe, took it, still have it.” (Fourth of July Picnic)

Long may he keep it. Just what was he employed by Wolfe to do? In The Black Mountain he answers the statement, “I thought you was a private eye” with:

I don’t like the way you say it, but I am. Also I am an accountant, an amanuensis, and a cocklebur. Eight to five you never heard the word amanuensis and you never saw a cocklebur.

In The Red Box, he says

I know pretty well what my field is. Aside from my primary function as the thorn in the seat of Wolfe’s chair to keep him from going to sleep and waking up only for meals, I’m chiefly cut out for two things: to jump and grab something before the other guy can get his paws on it, and to collect pieces of the puzzle for Wolfe to work on.

In Black Orchids, he reacts to an insult:

…her cheap crack about me being a ten-cent Clark Gable, which was ridiculous. He simpers, to begin with, and to end with no one can say I resemble a movie actor, and if they did it would be more apt to be Gary Cooper than Clark Gable.

I’m not the only Archie fan out there:

  • A few months back, someone pointed me at this post, The Wit and Wisdom of Archie Goodwin. There’s some really good stuff here that I was tempted to steal, instead, I’ll just point you at it.
  • Robert Crais himself when writing an introduction to a Before Midnight reprint, devoted it to paying tribute to Archie. — one of the few pieces of anything written that I can say I agree with jot and tittle.

In case you’re wondering if this post was simply an excuse to go through some collections of Archie Goodwin quotations, you wouldn’t be totally wrong…he’s one of the fictional characters I like spending time with most in this world–he’s the literary equivalent of comfort food. So just a couple more great lines I’ve quoted here before:

I would appreciate it if they would call a halt on all their devoted efforts to find a way to abolish war or eliminate disease or run trains with atoms or extend the span of human life to a couple of centuries, and everybody concentrate for a while on how to wake me up in the morning without my resenting it. It may be that a bevy of beautiful maidens in pure silk yellow very sheer gowns, barefooted, singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and scattering rose petals over me would do the trick, but I’d have to try it.

I looked at the wall clock. It said two minutes to four. I looked at my wrist watch. It said one minute to four. In spite of the discrepancy it seemed safe to conclude that it would soon be four o’clock.

Description:I shook my head. “You’re flattering me, Inspector. I don’t arouse passions like that. It’s my intellect women like. I inspire them to read good books, but I doubt if I could inspire even Lizzie Borden to murder.”

She turned back to me, graceful as a big cat, and stood there straight and proud, not quite smiling, her warm dark eyes as curious as if she had never seen a man before. I knew damn well I ought to say something, but what? The only thing to say was ‘Will you marry me?’ but that wouldn’t do because the idea of her washing dishes or darning socks was preposterous.)

“Indeed,” I said. That was Nero Wolfe’s word, and I never used it except in moments of stress, and it severely annoyed me when I caught myself using it, because when I look in a mirror I prefer to see me as is, with no skin grafted from anybody else’s hide, even Nero Wolfe’s.

If you like Anglo-Saxon, I belched. If you fancy Latin, I eructed. No matter which, I had known that Wolfe and Inspector Cramer would have to put up with it that evening, because that is always a part of my reaction to sauerkraut. I don’t glory in it or go for a record, but neither do I fight it back. I want to be liked just for myself.

When a hippopotamus is peevish it’s a lot of peeve.

It helps a lot, with two people as much together as he and I were, if they understand each other. He understood that I was too strong-minded to add another word unless he told me to, and I understood that he was too pigheaded to tell me to.

I always belong wherever I am.

September 2018 Report

This wasn’t my most productive month — between fatigue, busy-ness associated with mutliple doctor’s appointments for my son, and Lethal White taking a week to finish — I neither read or wrote what I intended to. Still, I like most of what I wrote — and didn’t have a book below 3 Stars (1 was borderline). So, I really can’t complain about much. Anyway, here’s what happened here in September 2018.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Darkside Earther The Sinners
4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
Lost in a Good Book Dead Heat (Audiobook) Night and Silence
3 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
The Tainted Vintage Burn Bright (Audiobook) Deck the Hounds
3 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Ed's Dead Stoned Love In the Year of Our Lord
3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars
Trouble Never Sleeps Nice Try, Afton Turn Coat (Audiobook)
4 1/2 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars
The Ten Commandments Cats, Cannolis and a Curious Kidnapping Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Audiobook)
3 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
Lethal White Looking for Calvin and Hobbes Soulless (Audiobook)
4 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
Depth of Winter The Holy Spirit      
4 Stars 5 Stars      

Still Reading:

Still Protesting            

Reviews Posted:

Book Challenge Progress:

Angel's Guilty Pleasures The Sinners by Ace Atkins
Lost in a Good Book (Audiobook) by Jasper Fforde, Emily Gray
Dead Heat (Audiobook) by Patricia Briggs, Holter Graham
Burn Bright (Audiobook) by Patricia Briggs, Holter Graham
Trouble Never Sleeps by Stephanie Tromly
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Audiobook) by J. K. Rowling, Jim Dale
Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip (Audiobook) by Nevin Martell, Jeremy Arthur

Bearded by Jeremy Billups
The Tainted Vintage by Clare Blanchard
Ed’s Dead by Russel D. McLean
Cats, Cannolis and a Curious Kidnapping by Cheryl Denise Bannerman
Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip (Audiobook) by Nevin Martell, Jeremy Arthur

Darkside Earther by Bradley Horner
Bearded by Jeremy Billups
The Tainted Vintage by Clare Blanchard
Stoned Love by Ian Patrick
Ed’s Dead by Russel D. McLean
Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones
Cats, Cannolis and a Curious Kidnapping by Cheryl Denise Bannerman

How was your month?