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  • Writer's pictureFrancine Cunningham

What I read—2017 (Running list)

So as my 2017 goals state I am trying to read more books just for the pure joy of getting lost in a story, like I used to when I was a youngster, which means that I am going to be reading more fantasy, thrillers and mystery books this year since these are the books that first caught me when I fell in love with reading as a kid.

I have my Goodreads 2017 reading challenge set at 40 books, a reasonable number, not so daunting as #95 books, and I am hopeful. I shall keep a running list here for those who are interested in what words I let filter through my brain this year.

13. Choke by Chuck Palahnuik - As as many of you know I have a pretty big literary crush on Chuck Palahnuik's writing/books. For some reason I find myself reading his work in the spring/summery months. They're like my beach reads. I dunno, something about them makes them perfect for drowsy afternoon reading. What I liked about this book was that I read it after listening to an interview he did where he talked about framing his books in mundane devices. After I heard that I thought back to his books and saw them and I really appreciated how subtle they could be and they acted a great frame work for this absurd stories they felt structured. The device allowed you to trust the narrator. I am hoping to find a few more interview where he goes into this further, I am interested now.

12. Magician's End by Raymond E Feist-I FINALLY FINISHED. 17 years. 17. And I finally finished. I know what happens to Pug. Finally.

11. A Crown imperilled by Raymond E Feist

10. At the gates of darkness by Raymond E Feist

9. Rides a dread legionby Raymond E Feist

8. Swamplandia! byKaren Russell - AWESOME. Her writing is superb. I actually sat down to just read the first chapter while eating my lunch, planning on getting back to work after, but instead looked up at 7:00 pm when I had finished the book. I needed to know what was going to happen to Ava and Kiwi. NEEDED. I think what she did, which is something I need to work on in my own writing, is that she threaded so many questions into the plot that I was never bored. You know how sometimes when you read something and you hit the climax or the answer to the big question and you just feel unsatisfied? I think that comes from hinging a whole novel on one major question. The answer can never be good enough to satisfy 300 odd pages of suspense. It usually leaves me with a "thats all?" feeling. But what this book did was thread small questions and climaxes throughout so I never felt that way. The book felt complete when I finished because there wasn't one central thing the plot was hinging on. So basically I am going to take my next few months and see if I can replicate this in the next revision of my novel. I was already a fan of writing after Vampires in the Lemon Grove, her short story collection, but now I am like super fan. Don't be surprised to see her name on this list a few more time this year.

7. The Symbolby Dan Brown - I am a fan of Robert Langston. I am actually a fan of a few mystery solvers like him, from Nancy Drew (my first), Stevie Diamond (my second), Chester the cat (my third) right through to Kinsey Millhone, I just like getting to know a character and following them through countless books as they solve mysteries. Robert Langston is no different. This book was particularly interesting to me because what he was working through, Noetic science, is something that fascinates me. I also am one of the people out there that believe our thoughts have substance, that we can elevate ourselves through conscious thought and meditation and that we are the creators of our own lives. So this book was a great read for me.

6. Kingdom besieged by Raymond E Feist 

5.Wrath of a mad god by Raymond E Feist 

4. Into a dark realm by Raymond E Feist

3. Flight of the Nighthawks by Raymond E Feist- I've been reading this series since I was a teenager. Now that he has finally finished it I too will finally finish it. I only had the last couple books to read but it had been a while since I read books from this series so I decided to go back a few trilogies to get reintroduced with characters and details.

2.  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn -The writing was pretty fantastic in this book, like on a sentence level, it was on point. This was a great example of literary fiction and thriller/mystery coming together. I really appreciated the depth of the protagonist, and how Flynn really did a great job of writing an unlikable protagonist you want to succeed. Something I've been struggling with in my own work. So of course I am going to try another of her books right away.

1. Lord of Snow and Shadows by Sarah Ash-I remember reading this book years and years ago. I was recently at my sisters and was out of reading material so I took to her giant book shelve filled with mostly fantasy book and this one caught my eye. This cover also caught the eye of a stranger I was sitting with at a shared table by a food truck a few days later. This stranger was a Ph.d philosopher from Africa and we ended up having the most lovely conversation about the validity of seeing spirits (ghosts) and what that means in different cultures. Books bring people together people!


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