2018 Reading Challenge

The last of our 2018 list challenges is now ready, and can be found here. Expect to see a link collecting all four lists on the sidebar by the end of the weekend, and monthly posts for people to talk about how they are doing on these challenges.

7 replies on “2018 Reading Challenge”

  1. These are intended as ‘read these this year”, right? That seemed like the point of the other lists, but I rarely re-read books other than beloved favorites (though one or two of those are in the list).

  2. It’s inevitable, I guess, but the results (with the exception of Stephenson) skewer towards older books. A lot of the more recent books that lost out are better-written than some classic SF works, IMO, but newer and less well-known. I suspect they also resonate less than books that introduced or mainstreamed certain SF concepts.

  3. I’ve read almost all the SciFi/Fantasy ones (:

    I refuse to read any more Neal Stephenson books. I made it through Cryptonomicon and while most of it was enjoyable, it needed to end a few hours earlier since he clearly had no idea where he was going.

    Flowers for Algernon has been on my list for ages; I should try and finally get that one done. And anything by David Brin that I haven’t read yet.

    I did try reading Moby Dick a few years ago. In fact, I was live-tweeting it, once I noticed that every chapter of that book could be easily summarised into a short sentence. I think I got about half-way through before realising that nothing was happening and then they kill whales. I just couldn’t finish it.

    Which is too bad, since I was going to self-publish “Moby Dick: The Twitter Version”. My subtitle was going to be “Long on words, short on content.”

    • You might want to retry those novels again. Quite a bit happens in Moby Dick— it’s just not plot. I think that’s a large part of the reason his other, mostly-forgotten work sold, and MB took decades before it became something people read. And while I’ve been critical of some of Stepheson’s later novels, I think he knew exactly what he was doing with Cryptonomicon. (okay, maybe the ending needed work. And a certain female character).

      Of course, people read for different reasons. You may not want to open’em again.

      For some reason, I’ve never read Flowers for Algernon, either. I suppose I should add it to my list.

      • Snow Crash was a favorite of mine. I heard that it originally was intended as a comic, so that might be why it hit so well with me, but I am more likely to go re-read Snow Crash than I am any of the other classics mentioned.

      • Moby Dick wasn’t that long ago, otherwise I’d think maybe I was too young to get it (I had that with Catch-22 which I tried reading when I was 16, never got past the first couple of chapters, but picked up again as an adult and enjoyed). I got half-way through Moby Dick before giving up. I know a lot is going on, but none of it was, you know, interesting. And I’m more than half-sure that a lot of the symbolism that makes this a “good” book was unintended.

        There are literal boxes in my attic of books I need to read. I refuse to put books on my bookshelves if I haven’t read them, and I add to the boxes in the attic faster than I can read them… which is why I don’t tend to go back to authors I didn’t really enjoy. When I find an author I do enjoy, I hit used book stores and Amazon Marketplace or eBay and just get everything they wrote. Sometimes that’s a quest-level activity (:

  4. I did stop by Half Price Books today and grabbed a copy of Flowers for Algernon.

    Also Snow Crash.

    Also 8 other books.

    I may have a reading problem…

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