Now that things have slowed down a bit (including the annoyances of moving), I can start remedying a 2017 that has included far too little reading. But of course I never read as much as I would like to. Like my Holiday Reading List, this is very much an aspirational list. I certainly won’t get to everything.
Popular Social Science
I’ve been slacking off on reading popular social science, one of my favorite genres of nonfiction. I could remedy that by picking up Grit, The Complacent Class, Coming Apart, or How Money Walks. I did finish The Triple-Package by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld a couple weeks ago.
I have to get at least one history book in this summer. I have a biography of Martin Van Buren eight years into my quest to read biographies of the presidents, one a year, in chronological order. My sense is that Van Buren doesn’t get nearly his due given how important and interesting he was. I need to get back reading about Southeast Asia, maybe with Southeast Asia: An Introductory History. Or maybe I finally get to The Wars of the Roses, the second volume in Dan Jones’ history of England. I also have my eye on Lawrence Friedman’s A History of American Law. I’ve owned a copy for years and it’s past time I read it.
I have a whole shelf of unread country noir I’ve been neglected. I’m thinking I’ll pick up Savage Season or Poachers next. They both sound appropriately murdery. Savage Season would also be my first Joe Lansdale. To turn things in a more speculative direction, it’s about time I pick Alex Bledsoe’s Tufa novels back up.
I just started Lin Carter’s Gondwane series. There are six books total but I only have the first four (chronologically, not in publication order). I’m going to do a deep-dive into Conan, and that will probably eat up the rest of my pulp reading for the summer. I have the three volume Del Rey collected Robert E. Howard stories. I also have an omnibus volume with the first three of Robert Jordan’s Conan stories. Beyond that, I’m going to hit the used bookstores and see what I can find.
I also need to catch up on my retro short fiction reading. I recently finished Cirsova no. 3 and need to a review up so I can get to Cirsova nos. 4 & 5. I also have Skelos no. 2 and StoryHack no. 0 to read (and, uh, Skelos no. 1 to review).
One of the great things about the blog has been (virtually) meeting a lot of up-and-coming indy writers. Maybe I should actually read their stuff too! I finished Jon Del Arroz’s For Steam and Country over the weekend and will get a review up in the near future. After The River of Teeth, I really need a Weird Western palate cleanser. David West’s Scavengers sounds like just what the doctor ordered. I have an omnibus of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray by Barry Reese and I look forward to reading something pulp-inspired coming entirely from outside the #PulpRev scene. Brian Niemeier’s Nethereal and Karl Gallagher’s Torchship got a lot of attention a couple years ago and have been sitting on my Kindle ever since. Daniel Humphreys’ A Place Outside the Wild will get me through the long nights until the return of The Walking Dead. Jon Mollison and Rob Kroese both have way too much stuff out there for me to pick from. Now I just need to decide whether to start.
For old epic fantasy fan, it sometimes seems like I wind up every sort of speculative fiction but. With one review copy moldering on my desk and another just arrived, I’m starting In the Shadow of the Gods and The Bones of the Earth by Rachel Dunne. I need to grab something off my shelf too. Maybe Malice by John Gwynne or Black Wolves by Kate Elliott.
Every Sort of Speculative Fiction But
There is always more. I also have review copies of urban fantasy Graveyard Shift (which basically sounds like a noir-update of True Blood) and Hex-Rated (which also seems more than a little noir-ish, and inspired by the salacious pulp knock-offs of the pre-VHS era). I’m sure something else will pop up before the summer is over.