2017 was a good year for me and a good year for the blog. 2017 also capped what was, for me, an extraordinarily eventful decade. A decade that started with the death of my sister. At the time, I had lived my entire life in one state, and I was working at the only “real” job I had ever held. A decade later, I’ve lived in five more states, picked up another advanced degree, changed careers twice, held five more jobs, bought two houses, and gotten married. I’ve settled into a state and job and career and house that hopefully I will keep for a very long time. I also lost my two remaining grandparents, and my wife lost her last grandparent. But we have our first child on the way this spring.
I started this blog in the middle of all of that in May 2015. 2016 more than tripled 2015 page views. 2017 more than doubled 2016 page views. Not only that, I had more visitors in 2017 than I did views in 2016. And I did it on three fewer posts. Jeffro tapped me for an every-other-week column at Castalia House. I participated in Vintage SF Month and started two new series of my own—my Dark Tower Big Read and the Summer of Conan. I continued my Throwback SF Thursday posts and reviewed far more indie books than in the past.
By books read, 2017 just squeaked by 2016. But I was still six books off my mark in 2015 (presumably my all-time best). By pages read, 2017 fell short of both 2015 and 2012.
I still really want to hit 100 books read in one year, but I don’t know that 2018 will be the year to do it. Real life remains gloriously busy. The blog has skewed my reading toward speculative fiction. Once again, I read into the new year planning to read more non-SF. I would like the split to look at lot more like it was in 2011 than in 2017. And that would inevitably bring down the number of books I read.
I also have a top secret project in the works that will be affecting my reading and my blogging. I stepped away from my column at Castalia House in November. Throwback SF Thursday posts will continue, if not in the same numbers. I will try to hew as much as possible to the groove I settled into last year of a post every Tuesday and every other Thursday.
I do plan to resume the Dark Tower Big Read, but I don’t have even a rough date in mind. I have a lot of big plans. I will be posting for Vintage SF Month this month and participating in a group reread of Dune and watch of the 1984 movie. I would like to do a Big Watch of sword and sorcery movies. I am planning an intermittent series called The Good, the Pulp, and the Superversive that will allow me to analyze some works in what I think will be a very useful way. (To continue to flex my critical muscles, I also want to start picking up some beta reading responsibilities.)
But the big news is that I am going to do a massive series on Tolkien. I’m rereading The Hobbit for the first time in years. I’m rereading The Lord of the Rings for the first time in years. I will finally read the Silmarillion in full. I will rewatch The Lord of the Rings movies. I will tape my eyelids open and watch *gasp* the Hobbit movies. I’m going to get really fucking drunk for that. I may even rewatch the animated movies. I’m also going to dive into some of the stacks of nonfiction on Tolkien. I will definitely talk about (and hopefully reread) Tom Shippey’s Author of the Century and Joseph Loconte’s A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War, both of which are outstanding. I will read my copy of The Fellowship as well. It is going to be a lot of fun. We could use more writers like J.R.R. Tolkien.
Let’s raise our glasses to another great year reading and writing about speculative fiction.