There are time when I feel like Henry Bemis in the Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last”. The episode focuses on Henry, a bank teller played by Burgess Meredith, who is constantly prevented from doing the one thing he loves most: read. One day, during his lunch break, he retreats to the bank’s vault to get some reading in, only to be knocked unconscious by a concussive blast. He awakens and exits the vault to discover humanity has been wiped out but, in a fortuitous stroke, the public library is still standing. Henry is delighted and, after sorting through countless books and compiling a huge stack, he prepares to get started – only to stumble and break his glasses, preventing him from doing the one thing he loves most of all.
Anyway, not to make too much of it, but there are times when I feel like Henry Bemis. Despite my crazy production schedule for much of the year (I do some of my best reading between set-ups and before turning in for the night), I managed to set a pretty torrid reading pace this year. I figured the show’s cancellation would allow me to get even more reading in but the truth is I’ve been as busy these last couple of months than I was working on Dark Matter’s third season. Still, it looks like I’ll surpass my record of 185 books read in 2014 as I just finished my 185th book of 2017, American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in the Vanishing Land, a terrific work of non-fiction about the serial arsonists who plagued Accomack County, Virginia back in the fall of 2012. A great read. Sure, on the surface it looks impress, but truth is a good 15% of those 185 titles were graphic novels or novellas.
But looking ahead to composing my list of Best Books of 2017 (which specifically covers books published in 2017, as opposed to my Best Reads of 2017 which covers a more expansive list of books I happened to read in the 2017 calendar year), I realized I really need to pull up my bootstraps if I want to to weigh in with an informed opinion. By my count, of the 185 books I’ve read to date, a mere 67 were published in 2017, and 9 of them were graphic novels. Pretty sad.
In order to expedite things ahead of my spring Best Books of 2017 blog entry (I give myself some leeway to catch up on those late December titles), I put together a list of 2017 titles I still need to get around to between now and said blog entry. The list so far, in no particular order: