2017: My year in books
Although I’ve had a life-long love of reading, I often can’t remember the specific books I’ve read from year to year – with a few notable exceptions. In April, I decided to start tracking my reading and brief impressions of each book. If your taste in reading is like mine, you might like some of these or at least avoid investing your time in a few I didn’t think measured up. While there are a number of good choices here, please read the first book on this list as I think it’s one of the best non-fiction books I’ve come across in the past decade and explains some of the root causes of poverty and homelessness in this country.
Essential reading (Pulitzer Prize winners)
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen – An interesting look at the Vietnam War through the eyes of an author born in Vietnam and raised in the United States.
The High Window by Raymond Chandler – Good Chandler novel with the bonus (for me) of being set in and around Pasadena, Calif.
The 39 Steps by John Buchan – Surprisingly suspenseful and fast-paced for a novel written in 1915.
No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child
The Midnight Line (Jack Reacher #22) by Lee Child – Latest effort is one of the strongest.
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie –One of the author's favorites and my last book of 2017.
Just for fun
For bicycling addicts only
The Rider by Tim Krabbé – Truly excellent book by a cyclist who went on to write several
The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail by Tim Moore
The Art of the Cycling Jersey: Iconic Cycle Wear Past and Present by Chris Sidwells – Great coffee table picture book!
The Cartel by Don Winslow – Good read, but long and ultra-violent.
X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking by Jeff Gordinier
A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney – Confirmed all of my biases about what’s happening in the country today, so I liked that.
Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder by Ben Mezrich
Disappointing, skip them
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis – I think you had to read this novel during the 1980s for it to make any sense at all.
The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West – Just a truly bizarre book, which I didn’t find entertaining or enlightening.
The Top Gear years by Jeremy Clarkson
Made to Kill (Ray Electromatic Mysteries) by Adam Christopher – A “robot” version of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe is a neat idea, but fell a bit flat.
Attempting Normal by Marc Maron – More depressing than funny.
The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler – The rare Chandler mystery that I can’t recommend, mostly due to a horrible ending.
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken – Need I say anything?!