Reading List for December 2016

Another year is finished, and it seemed like 2016 was a real clunker for most people. I can’t say that I thought it was bad for me – my 2015 sucked so it was mostly up from there.

As far as reading goes, it was my first year on Goodreads, and I set a goal to read 78 books for the year. That’s 1.5 books per week, in case you’re not mathematically inclined. It just so happened that it was my best recorded year ever, though – I doubled my goal and logged 156 titles for the year. Some were short, which helped, but there were also some door stops in there: this month’s Atlas Shrugged is 1100+ pages, King’s IT was massive, that Hobb trilogy earlier from the year was huge.

It was also a great year for my writing productivity. I surpassed 300,000 words written, which was short of my goal of 500k, but I only started 3 months in. I’ll take it. It’s too bad that most of those 300k haven’t (and won’t) be published, because they were mostly practice words, but I’m okay with that, too.

For 2017, I’ve increased both goals. I want to read 2 books per week – 104 in total. I’m being a little bit cheeky with that goal, assuming that I’ll go over again. If I can double that one, good for me.

And my writing goal is set at 1 million words for the year. That’s kind of crazy, but I’m trying to push myself to create something meaningful, and that’s a number that gets me excited. I have other writing related goals, and some publishing goals, but those are private.

Anyhoo, cheers to another year, and here’s December’s list:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (audio): When I first read this in my early 20s it made so much sense to me. Rereading it now, at 33, I thought it was even better. It’s far from perfect – as either pure fiction or pure philosophy, it leaves a lot to be desired. As a combination of the two, though, it is superb.

Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich: I really wanted to like this one, so I felt kind of disappointed after I read it. It isn’t bad, but my expectations were more than it could deliver. This is probably a great place to start if you want a primer on personal development. It covers the spectrum from NLP and visualization, to health and finance. If anything, it could use to go into more depth in many areas.

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle (audio): This is a tough book to review. On the one hand, the dude is way too zealous for my liking, but on the other hand he’s exactly the kind of crazy fucker you’d want to go to war with, or have fighting for your side. This is not the best written book, this is not the best told story, but I think you should probably give it a shot anyway. I’ve already recommended it to a friend before I could post this.

Non-Fiction Writing Machine – How to Write a Book in 5 1/2 Days in 3 SIMPLE Steps by Anbu Rayappan: This book is clearly not written by a native English speaker, and is full of horrible grammar mistakes. But, it’s short, to the point, and the information is actually useful. If missing words drive you crazy, avoid this at all costs, or you will smash something. If you can get past the writing, this might be worth your time. At least if you believe in his model of short, self-published non-fiction to solve specific problems.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant: Mostly, this short book just tells you to repeat to yourself, over and over and over again, “I love myself.” There’s a bit more to it than that, with a daily practice, and a question to turn to in case of trouble. I really dug the message, but I was also looking for some sort of meditation to add into my routine, and this book just coincidentally found me. So, I’m kind of biased, but I’m a big believer in the law of spooky shit happening not-so-randomly, so I’m going to give this a shot.