To balance your writing and reading is essential for any writer. It can be a real challenge, with too much of one and not enough of the other leading to a – in the style, if not the words of Dr Emmett Brown – a Transverse Imbalance in the artists Flux-Capacitor!

So I settle on 40 books a year, hoping that 25-30 of them will be enjoyable enough to allow me to rate them above 3 stars on Goodreads. I don’t tend to leave ratings of 1’s and 2’s or even finish those books I’m not enjoying. Life is too short, especially when there are so many great books to jump into. Everyone hits a bad streak though and I had my share of stuff that didn’t really work for me, but there were some belting reads within the duds.

Though it wasn’t at all planned, in this last 12 months, I’ve returned to some old classics, such as Watership Down, beautifully scribed and imagined by the recently departed Richard Adams, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and the Legend of King Arthur & his Knights by James Knowles.

I took my annual trip back to Hogwarts of course, sinking into Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Vol’s 1-4, leaving me to complete the set again in 2017, and of course we were treated to something new from J.K, with The Cursed Child screenplay, which I’d been eagerly anticipating, especially as Jack ‘The Fades’ Thorne was involved, and it didn’t disappoint.

2016 was also the year when I gave up a portion of my life to immerse myself in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, and as an avid fan of the TV series, I loved the first book, what an epic journey, and I shall venture on another next year without doubt.

In terms of graphic novels, Mark Millar’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was a highlight, as was Volume 7: Endgame of Synder & Capullo’s Batman New 52 series. I’ve not read nearly enough good ones this year, having hit the buffers on a couple of series that I tried out. I’ll be wading out a little further in 2017 with a graphic novel fest planned for Jan.

At the end of the year I became embroiled in a Victorian phase, as inspiration for a round of edits I was working on with a new novel of mine – a Steampunk fantasy tale called The Sweep. This led me to receive a ghostly Christmas visitation from Mr Dickens, and the discovery of the works of local authors, Victoria Leslie and William Sutton, who have now invaded my reading time and both are most welcome again…as friends and great authors who I share the city of Portsmouth with.

So throw in some Goosebumps, some Peculiar Children, a spot of cricket, a Watchman, a Buddha, a Spear, a Sanctuary and some Prudence…and that’s my year in books.

If you want to see my full list, then here it is – Tom’s Goodreads Challenge List 2016

goodreads-challenge

Now for 2017! What Crackers shall await us all!

Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Reading Year!

Tom

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