Happy New Year!
It’s that special time of year again…you know what I’m talking about: January! The month to make and break resolutions, recover from holiday hangovers, and of course that most important event of all–reviewing the books I’ve read in the past year! You know you’ve been waiting for it.
Seriously though, several years ago I started keeping a list of the books I read as part of a local library challenge to read fifty books a year. For every fifty books, the library would put your name into a raffle to win a gift card. I’d never bothered to count the books I read before, so I started keeping track to enter the raffle, and lo! a post-holiday tradition was born. One of these days I’d like to be able to enter twice!
So, I hope that by sharing the books I’ve enjoyed–and a few I didn’t–you might find your next great read! I consume books in multiple genres and formats, so I’ll indicate which ones as well as link to where you can find them: Amazon, Audible, local sources, or free/low cost downloads from other places. Since my appetite for books exceeds my ability to buy all the ones I’d like, many on my list are library holds, while others were purchased from local authors or indie presses; I try to spend my dollars where they’ll have the most impact and support content creators. Enjoy!
BOOKS READ 2021:
2 Naked Toes: second edition by Sara Minges (Trade paperback)
—uplifting and personal collection of poems about inner strength
—moving and vulnerable poems on the theme of consumption
—this epic poem, arguably the best poem written in the English language, needs no introduction, so all I’ll say is if you haven’t read this yet, READ IT. It’s staggeringly beautiful.
8 THE GREAT COURSES: Life and Writings of John Milton (Prof. Seth Lerer) via AUDIBLE
11 The Witcher: The Last Wish (short story collection) by Andrzej Sapkowski (ebook via Overdrive)
22 The River Styx, Ohio, and Other Poems by Mary Oliver (hardback via Library)
27 Whiskey Sweet by Sara Minges (poetry collection, ebook ARC via author)
28 Iliad by Homer (audiobook, 1st part of Audible book HOMER translated by WHD Rouse, read by Anthony Heald, ILIAD AND ODYSSEY)
36 BEASTARS VOLUME 1, story and art by Paru Itagaki (Graphic Novel via Library loan)
41 BEASTARS VOLUME 2, story and art by Paru Itagaki (Graphic Novel, paper)
44 Ancient Greece 101: Greek History, Myth, and Civilization by Christopher M. Bellitto (AUDIBLE audiobook)
58 The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman (hardback via library checkout)
61 The Bible Repairman and Other Stories by Tim Powers (gifted paperback)
63 BEASTARS VOLUME 3, story and art by Paru Itagaki (Graphic Novel, paper)
65 Hesiod: The Works and Days/ The Theogony/ The Shield of Herakles by Hesiod (audiobook via Librivox)
68 College Hacks by Keith Bradford (paperback)
69 Evidence of Starving by Sandra Feen (paperback chapbook)
<Even though I read this in January as an ebook, I’m including it again, bc it’s a different format and therefore a different experience. Email author at email@example.com to buy a paperback copy for $7 (postage included)>
—moving and vulnerable poems on the theme of consumption
70 BEASTARS 4 by Paru Itagaki (Trade paperback)
–(from my Amazon review) “This is the book I was reading when my son told me, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but stop reading and watch television with the family!” It’s absorbing, mesmerizing, and hard to put down.”
73 Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge by Barbara Marie Minney (misspelled on cover as Minnie)
74 Whale Day and Other Poems by Billy Collins (hardback)
77 Dear Youngstown by Karen Schubert (paperback)
79 Working Hypothesis by Charles Malone (paperback)
81 Woman with a Fan: On Maria Blanchard by Diane Kendig (paperback)
82 Versed in Country Things by Robert Frost (Photographs by B.A. King) <hardcover>
83 Miracles: The Wonder of Life by Walt Whitman <small hardback>
84 A Threadbare Universe by Jason Baldinger (paperback poetry collection)
91 Stopover by Rikki Santer (perfect bound book)
Dead Beat (Dresden Files #7) by Jim Butcher
As you may have noticed, I’m hooked on the urban fantasy series,the Dresden Files, which I started a month or two ago: Harry Dresden is a wizard working openly in modern Chicago while facing all sorts of supernatural threats and cracking wise. It’s packed with action, adventure, and a fair amount of silliness. Harry Dresden is a rogue that’s both action/superhero and comedian. The novels are mysteries that unpack a fantasy world that gets more complex with each novel. They’re so much fun. I love them!
Tachyon by William F. DeVault
The other book I am currently reading is Tachyon by U.S. Beat Poet Emeritus William F. DeVault. He writes romantic poetry that’s strong on form, beat, rhythm, rhyme, and imagery. Each poem is exquisitely crafted, and since I’ve loved his poetry in the past I know that I’ll love this book as well. I’m only a little bit into the book at the moment, since some poetry takes me longer to read than others. In general, I read poetry more slowly than fiction, because with poetry it’s important to savor the lines; good poems benefit from multiple readings. Fiction can be approached the same way, but poetry focuses on the form and nuance of individual lines. However, fiction is usually more concerned with plot and character. There is overlap too, which is always enjoyable!
Next Friday, I’ll also post a companion piece on my Patreon, listing my favorite reads in the past year–including some I didn’t list here because they were not read from start to finish. If you’d like to read it, you can subscribe to my Patreon and support my work for just $1 a month! Until next time, stay safe and well, and read often!
*photo taken by myself of A-1 Books in Massillon, Ohio. The bookstore is located inside an old gas station and shares the building with a towing company.