My 2016 Reading Goal


I set my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge goal at 26 books and I’m using the above chart to choose a few of them. I’ve already got one book picked out, thanks to my wife: Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451.

I met my reading goal in 2015, beating my 26-book goal by 3 books, and I hope to do it again, thus giving me a three-peat for my yearly reading challenge.

One other book-related note: Gene Luen Yang was named the Library of Congress’ national ambassador for young people’s literature. He’s the first graphic novelist to be named to the post and if you haven’t already, I highly recommend reading his brilliant and thought-provoking American Born Chinese.

Day 275: Star Wars Reads Day

Star Wars Reads Day

Star Wars Reads Day

What’s not to love about Star Wars Reads Day? It’s Star Wars, it’s books … it’s two of my favorite things rolled into one ball of awesomeness.

Star Wars Reads Day is set for October 10th this year and libraries, bookstores, and other retailers will be celebrating with author signings and all kinds of festivities.

I’m fortunate to live in a town that still has a Barnes & Noble, something I did not think would still be possible in this day and age. I’ve got a few unread Star Wars books on my nightstand so I was able to resist the temptation of the store’s display shown above.

Then again, there’s still a week left to go … hopefully my wallet will resist any and all of B&N’s Jedi Mind Tricks.

Day 230: Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental

I ran across the photo above via my Google Photos. It’s from a few years ago, on a cold winter day when my wife and I were reading in bed. She’s reading on her tablet while I was reading an actual printed book.

We both agreed that books are still our preferred method of reading, but we’re not anti-technology, either. Any reading is better than none.

As the old saying goes, Reading Is Fundamental.

Day 61: Reading Through My Earbuds

World War Z audiobook

World War Z audiobook

After writing about a few of the podcasts I enjoy while commuting or working out, I added a few audiobooks to my phone for future listening. The first, World War Z, was excellent and you can read my review of it here.  As I noted in my review, it was vastly superior to the Brad Pitt movie that barely registered a “meh” with me. Having a large all-star voice cast definitely made the audiobook experience a pleasant one.

So pleasant, in fact, that after I finished it, I immediately borrowed David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls from my local digital library. Having read most of Sedaris’ books, this is my first audio version of his work and it’s been terrific so far. The subject matter is familiar (a collection of essays on various subjects, told through the author’s unique point of view), but the fact that Sedaris reads it himself makes this a must-listen; he’s an outstanding storyteller. I was fortunate to attend his performance in Santa Barbara last year and I’d see him again in a heartbeat.

For now, I’ll settle for reading his latest book through my earbuds.

Day 42: Ghost Month

Din Tai Fung's famous xiaolongbao

Din Tai Fung’s famous xiaolongbao

I finished my third book of 2015 tonight, the entertaining Ghost Month by Ed Lin. I’ll have my Goodreads review posted later tonight or tomorrow and re-post the link here. It’s a fun read, a murder mystery set in a night market in Taipei. While the book falters a bit, the characters in Ghost Month are likable enough that I’d recommend reading it. Lin certainly knows his food, with fantastic passages on the various foods in the market and I immediately took a liking to Ghost Month when chapter 2 featured a visit to Din Tai Fung, home of my favorite xiaolongbao. 

Pictured above: the xiaolongbao (“XLBs”) from Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, CA. Locations are being added throughout Southern California, so it’ll save you a trip to Taiwan.

Day 27: Post-Apocalyptic Reading

Station Eleven e-book cover

Station Eleven e-book cover

While I was learning the ropes of the board game Pandemic this weekend, I received a notice from the L.A. County Public Library. Apparently, I had placed a hold on the e-book* Station Eleven and it was now available. I didn’t remember doing this, but since I’d only read one book this year I decided to download it.

In keeping with my recent binge-watching of The Walking Dead and my fascination with the Pandemic game, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven fit right in with my entertainment du jour. It’s a brilliant book that I can’t put down. In fact, it’s so good, that once I finished 75 percent of it, I decided to slow down my reading pace in order to savor its final pages.

Station Eleven is a beautifully written book about life after a pandemic wipes out 99 percent of the world’s population. Mandel’s handling of each character is masterful and I’m looking forward to reading her previous work. For now, I’ll enjoy her post-apocalyptic novel between games trying to prevent the apocalypse.

*Note: One of my favorite things about the L.A. County Public Library system is its selection of online materials. Through the Downloads section of their website, patrons can borrow e-books, audiobooks, and music free of charge. All you need is a library card (any resident of California can get one) and a compatible device. I no longer own a Kindle, but the Kindle app allows me to borrow books on my phone or tablet.