The Year 2017 in Reading: 35 Books (The Bronze Books)

When challenged to read books in 2017, I joined friends who had set individual targets  based on their interest level and the challenges life had in front of them. Three friends proposed to read 15 books. Three really ambitious readers proposed reading 50 books, 60 books, and 75 books in succession with varying degrees of reported success. In fact, I had one friend that reported reading a few hundred pages per day to the tune of 379 books read.

In joining a friend in the aim to read 24 books, or two books per month, we both exceeded our goal by landing in the thirty-plus books range. On a rating scale of 1-star to 5-stars, Matt with Matt Lynn Digital rated the 35-books mostly as worthy reads.

Five (5) books landed with ratings of less than average, which is to say at 3.25-stars or less.  Eleven (11) books landed at average with a rating of 3.5-stars while one (1) landed at slightly above average with 3.75-stars. These seventeen (17) books will be collected into this remembrance of 2017. Simply follow the links for a fuller review of any particular book.

Ranking as above average at 3.75 stars in 2017 included this one (1) book:

Having written in a style reminiscent of Agatha Christie, I particularly liked the notion of there being two mysteries in a single book to unravel. One might remember that I spent an entire blog post in 2016 reviewing the Agatha Christie books read in 2016.

Magpie Murders 1

Ranking as average at 3.5 stars in 2017 included these eleven (11) books:

I stayed mostly in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with these books, with Candide being the notable exception.

Candide 1

Ranking as just below average at 3.25 stars in 2017 included this one (1) book:

Live By Night 1

Ranking as slightly below average at 3.0 stars in 2017 included these three (3) books:

My ranking of James Joyce came as the biggest disappointment here as I had hoped for something that would resonate more fully with me. Perhaps the larger issue here was my coming to the book in my forties rather than as a younger man.

ulysses

Ranking lowest at 2.50 stars in 2017 included this book:

That final book lands in the pulp fiction genre; the book itself was recommended by Stephen King, whose writing has some quirks to it though has been entertaining to me. The bottom line for this book for me is to realize that not all influences to authors that entertain me are books that I would want to read.

At the Mountains of Madness 1

The above listing of books reflects the bronze listing of books. A silver and gold listing will follow shortly.

Matt – Friday, December 29, 2017

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Love is a fire burning in The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Love is a fire burning in The Road in Cormac McCarthy‘s rendering of the book carrying this name. The Road is a book about the dark, burnt, nuclear wasteland of what is left after an unnamed, unfathomable, yet detailed nuclear oblivion that occurred.

The tale that is The Road is overwhelmingly a dark, desperate tale of two unnamed characters on a journey to the ocean. Where this tale takes place, what ocean the characters aim to visit, or any sense of purpose beyond survival and the desolate, dependent love of father for son, and son for father, is beyond the point. The unflinching connection, mutual support, and need to keep moving for the sake of love and survival, is the story of The Road. The father and son live in the here and now with nothing but to get to tomorrow. The father wants to pass along the behaviors of survival before all else, with a steadfast focus on love for his son; the son wants to give his decency and humanity in the face of nuclear winter, dead humanity, cannibals on their trail, and other enumerated horrors.  The son is motivated by a bigger love that, as yet, isn’t as beaten down by life.

The Road 2

The Road focuses on survival strategies, cunning, and remembering loss. Lost empathy for the rest of humanity is the tug between father and son throughout the tale. The son survives his father at the end of the tale, yet ultimately doubts whether a larger morality, or God, exists. The message Cormac McCarthy leaves us is the thought that God is a highly personal concept that one experiences through heart and mind; for the unnamed son, he ends the journey at stories end bereft of place, time, people, community, and the tangible, day-to-day comfort of his father. The caregivers who will support this child, on the road and beyond the end of the tale, give the boy the wisdom of experiencing God through his memory of his father. After all, McCarthy says, how else do we experience God than through each other?

My rating for The Road by Cormac McCarthy is 3.5-stars out-of-5.

Matt – Sunday, April 9, 2017