2021 & 2022 Reading Challenge discussion

ARCHIVE 2017 > Nick B's 15 in '17

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message 1: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments I don't remember how many books I read last year but it was in the neighborhood of 20+. This year I've decided to bump the number down since my school and work schedule is going to be a lot more hectic.
I have an idea of what books I want to read, and it starts with finishing the Wheel of Time, which will knock out five of my fifteen and leave me room for ten books of hopefully some variety. I'm excited !

message 3: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments A Canticle for Leibowitz

My first book completed in 2017, even though I technically started it last year. There's not much I can say about this book that hasn't been said already. Personally I enjoyed it, but I thought the first part and the beginning of the third part were the most enjoyable. The end was rather sudden and underwhelming, as was the last fifth of the book.


message 4: by Chema (new)

Chema (kinginhighgarden) | 32 comments Good luck with your challenge, Nick, and Happy reading!

message 5: by Nick (last edited Feb 08, 2017 07:17PM) (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Crossroads of Twilight

Oh, man. What a dang slog. I started the Wheel of Time over a year ago, and this book almost made me stop reading it completely. Literally nothing happens. It's 800 pages of filler and politics (and Elayne taking baths). My only solace is that the books get better from here. I'm gonna take a break with some Neil Gaiman before I dive back into Knife of Dreams.


message 6: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Chema wrote: "Good luck with your challenge, Nick, and Happy reading! "

message 7: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Good Omens

So I decided to read lighter and more varied books in between each installment of the Wheel of Time so I didn't end up offing myself, and Good Omens was an excellent choice. The plot moved quickly, the humor was wonderful, and the characters were all unique and funny. The ending was a bit abrupt but it was a well-needed break from the constant politicking and scenes of Elayne bathing in Wheel of Time.


message 8: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Knife of Dreams

This book was actually good, thankfully. I'm glad we're finally getting to a point in the Wheel of Time where all the prophesies and plot threads established throughout the series are starting to resolve themselves. The book was very satisfying in that regard, despite the fact that there were still long stretches of plot that I could not give less of a shit about. For that reason, it still wasn't the most enjoyable read, but I take solace in the fact that up next are the three books that Brandon Sanderson authored (just in time for his third Stormlight Archive book too).


message 9: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments All the Light We Cannot See

To be honest, I hadn't heard of this book until I saw it recommended on Goodreads, even though it won the Pulitzer. I've tried to make a habit of reading "grown-up" books in between each installment of the Wheel of Time, and this book is the first one that's really resonated with me on every level. Although it took a bit of adjusting to get used to the story structure and narrative voice, in the end it served the story very well.

The third person limited perspective switches primarily between the two main characters as they grow up, with interludes every couple of chapters that take place in the future. The further along the story goes, the more this structure works. The prose throughout is lovely, and although the pacing is somewhat slow to begin, by the end I was fully invested in the story. It was really moving, and I highly recommend it.


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Grønsund (gullita) | 3262 comments Seems like you are well on you're way to reaching it :)
Looking forward to seeing what else you'll be reading throughout the year. Good luck with your goal, Nick!

message 11: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments The Gathering Storm

This book left me feeling conflicted for a number of reasons, chief among them being the fact that it's the first Wheel of Time book published after Robert Jordan's death. I almost feel guilty for enjoying it more than the previous books, but that's exactly what happened. Brandon Sanderson was the breath of fresh air that this series needed. Although there were some quirks and inconsistencies in tone/characterization when compared to Jordan's work, on the whole Sanderson did a much better job with the plot, pacing, and action sequences. So much so, in fact, that I'm breaking my own rule about never reading Wheel of Time books back-to-back. That's right. For the first time since Fires of Heaven, I'm reading consecutive installments in the series.

On to Towers of Midnight.


message 12: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Towers of Midnight

I tore through all 1200 pages of this book in less than a week, that's how excited I am to finally be near the end of the series. It seems like Sanderson really grew into writing in Jordan's world, as the discrepancies in style and characterization (particularly of Mat) weren't near as jarring as they were in the previous book.
There were so many incredible moments, intense battles, and payoffs of things that had been set up in even the earliest of books. I can't believe I'm almost done. There's only one more book to go: A Memory of Light.


message 13: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments A Memory of Light

When I picked up Eye of the World a year and a half ago on a whim, never did I imagine that this series would affect me to the extent that it has. This book really drives that point home. Throughout the course of reading this final entry in the Wheel of Time, I experienced just about every emotion possible: everything from heart-wrenching distress to exhilarating happiness.
I gained immense satisfaction from all the long-running and long-foreshadowed things that came to pass in the final book, and, by the time I reached the very end, I was left feeling that, despite how long it took, reading the Wheel of Time is something that I will never regret. The series is a part of me, and even though I just finished, I'm already itching to do a re-read.
I guess that's what's so great about the Wheel: there are no beginnings, and there are no endings.

A Memory of Light is not the end, but it is an end, and one that I love very much.


message 14: by Nick (last edited Apr 23, 2017 07:38PM) (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments The Lies of Locke Lamora

I'll admit I was a bit shell-shocked after finishing Wheel of Time, and I was really looking for something to fill the void. I chose Lies because I've heard that the main character, Locke, is similar to Matrim Cauthon, who was my favorite character from WoT.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how good this book was. The world was extremely interesting, and the pacing almost felt like an action movie. I really enjoyed the structure of the story too, as the main chapters told the story of adult Locke with interludes that feature Locke as a child.
I think this is a series that I could come back to, and I'll definitely pick up the next book.


message 15: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Between the end of the semester and exams, this book took me a lot longer than it should. It didn't really grab me like I thought it would; the writing was great, and I'll definitely be picking up more of Murakami's work, but the plot and the setting were both too vague for my tastes.
What I did manage to glean from the scant details given about the worlds presented in the two parallel stories were interesting, but not interesting enough to make up for a plot that sort of meandered to an unsatisfying conclusion.
Only the strength of Murakami's prose made me enjoy it enough to finish it.

message 16: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments American Gods

To me, this book didn't feel as long as it was. By the time I got to the end, I was surprised that it ended up clocking in around 700 pages. Overall, I really enjoyed it, mostly because the setting and the characters felt like a grown-up version of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
I never really identified with Shadow as a main protagonist, because I think he was a little too one-note in comparison to the characters around him, but that didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the story. The plot was very well structured, and the pacing worked effectively as a narrative device. I also liked how there were little vignettes that dealt with other characters in the world. I think this book will inspire me to work my way through all of Gaiman's other books.


message 17: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Old Man's War

I didn't really have any expectations going in with this book, and I think that ended up working to my advantage because I didn't end up getting let down, which probably would have been the case if I went in expecting something great. This book is average. It doesn't do many things well, but it's not terrible either.

It felt like all of the characters had the same narrative voice, and it was hard to differentiate one from the other. I didn't really connect with any of them, and the pacing and structure of the plot felt off. The worldbuilding and action scenes were good, and Scalzi did a good job with making sure the exposition didn't overpower the action. Overall, this book was just...okay.


message 18: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments The Sympathizer

Like All the Light We Cannot See, this book was another Pulitzer winner that I discovered through Goodreads. The main strength of this book was the prose, which was so strong and well-written that it managed to sustain my interest even through some parts of the plot that were slower.

The author doesn't use quotation marks, which is a bit jarring in the beginning, and right around the third act there is a shift in tone that really doesn't fit in with the rest of the narrative. Despite these issues, the plot, characterization, and especially the prose made this book well worth reading.


message 19: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments Tigana

I started this book because I always heard that Guy Gavriel Kay wrote fantasy with complicated and beautiful prose that was not very typical of the genre. In that aspect, the book met my expectations. The prose was captivating, well-written, and thoughtful.

In all other aspects, though, this book did not meet my expectations. It exceeded them. The characterization, the plot, the worldbuilding, the pacing- all of it was amazing, and I can confidently say that this book has been my favorite of 2017, and it's probably in my top five books of all time.


message 20: by Nick (new)

Nick Barata | 28 comments When Breath Becomes Air

For the final book of my 2017 reading challenge, I chose something that I hoped would make a profound impact on me. I'm sorry to say that this book didn't exactly do that. It was beautifully written, to be sure, and the story of the final days of a neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal cancer did manage to tug on my heartstrings, but this book really didn't manage to say anything too profound.

I feel bad, because I feel like I'm missing some sort of grand revelation, considering how popular and well-received this book is, but I didn't really take anything away from reading this. Morbidly, I think my favorite part was after the author's daughter was born, in the final days before he passed away. The epilogue by his widow describing the impact he had on the people in his life was really good too.


Now that I've finished my reading challenge, I realized I underestimated how many books I'd be able to read in 2017, so I will continue to add to this thread until the New Year.

message 21: by Nik (new)

Nik (bleepnik) | 852 comments Congratulations, Nick! I'm sorry that your first-last book wasn't all you hoped it'd be, but I hope the last-last book is. =)

message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Grønsund (gullita) | 3262 comments Congratulations on reaching your goal, Nick! Hope you have a great reading journey in 2018!

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