2014 Reading Resolutions

I am a voracious reader, and I always have more in my to-be-read pile than I can reasonably expect to get through at any given point. This includes both physical books, and e-books waiting for me in my Kindle library. Last year, I went into the Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge with a goal of reading 45 books, which I surpassed. Within the goal was my own personal resolution of getting caught up on some series I've been lagging behind in. I had (in some cases, more than) a few Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Lee Child, John Sandford, and Brad Thor novels accumulating in the stacks. By the end of 2013, I had gotten caught up on the print editions I had of Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels, but have three more e-books of his titular hero to get through in 2014. I had been caught up on Connelly's work, until his latest released in December, and I'm down to the last two most recent book from Crais. John Sandford and Brad Thor, alas, have continued to be unread.

Which brings me to my 2014 Reading Resolutions.

Once again, I've decided to take part in Goodreads annual reading challenge, and have, again, set a goal of 45 books to be read throughout 2014. My first novel of the year will be Chuck Wendig's Cormorant, the latest book in his Miriam Black series. I've been looking forward to this one since finishing Mockingbird last April.

Over the course of 2014, I want to get caught up on the Lee Child books. I also need to get caught up on Sandford, Thor, and the Preston & Child releases. Aside from the Reacher novels, I have at least four books in each of these other series to work through.

But, I also want to explore other series, such as Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger novels, which revolve around a counter-terrorism task force combating supernatural elements, like zombies. I also have Maberry's Pine Deep series in my Kindle queue. In 2013, I read his Rot & Ruin series, as well as the zombie thriller Dead of Night, which have left me eager to check out more of this great author's work. Dead of Night's follow-up, Fall of Night, is slated to drop in 2014, as well, so I'll definitely be reading at least one Maberry book for sure.

Another author I'm hoping to check out is Mark Greaney and his Gray Man books. Greaney has been Tom Clancy's co-author for the last few Jack Ryan novels, and I'm interested in seeing how well Greaney's work stands on its own. There's a lot of positive buzz surrounding him, and I think his work as a co-author is what has helped make the recent Clancy books as good as they've been.

I've been intent on reading Clive Barker for a number of years, but never quite broke through. Amazon had a terrific sale recently, and I was able to snag the e-book of The Hellbound Heart for cheap. Last year, I bought, but have yet to read, Coldheart Canyon. Between these two novels, I think I have a fairly good entry point into Barker's work and can determine if more will follow. During this same sale, Amazon had a few Joe Hill e-books on sale, as well. NOS4A2 was one of my favorite reads in 2013, and he's been an author whose past works I've been meaning to check out. NOS4A2 was my first Hill novel, and I'm looking forward to reading his earlier works, like Heart Shaped Box and Horns, this year.

Also on the TBR front is the Expanse series from James S.A. Corey, a sci-fi opus that I've been negligent in reading. With the fourth slated to come out this summer, I should get to these critically acclaimed works soon.

Of the 52 books I read in 2013, very few were non-fiction titles. I expect this to change 2014, especially given the number of non-fiction titles I've obtained over the last few years. I'm a bit of a compulsive book-buyer, and, like I said, always have more than I can handle. But, as always, I expect to make a good dent in the pile this year. There are a number of titles I'm looking forward to, such as Dirty Wars, The Good News Club, and several novels from Richard Dawkin's. If I'm very diligent, maybe I can even get through the collection of essays from Christopher Hitchens in Arguably, and a book of writings from Hunter S. Thompson.

On the comics front, I have a few titles on my to-read list that I've heard a lot of high praise for. First off is Hawkeye. I have no good reason for not having read this yet, and I aim to correct this. Over the recent Thanksgiving break, Comixology had a nice Black Friday sale on Image titles, and I bought a bunch of collections that I have not gotten to yet, either: Revival, Mind the Gap, Prophet, The Manhattan Projects. I have plenty of trade paperbacks, hardcover collections, and over-sized hardcover releases to get through, including some Marvel NOW titles, Infinity in February, and an assortment of Marvel's Ultimate releases, particularly if the Cataclysm event happens to be the end of the Ultimate Universe. There's Grant Morrison's final year-long run on Batman, Inc. and his 18-issue run on Action Comics from DC's New 52. And, that's just off the top of my head.

At some point, I will need to do some serious organizing of my books and get them sorted and squared away. Unfortunately, I have little in the way of shelf space. Bookshelves have been on the wish list for quite some time, but other expenses have taken precedence, and 2014 appears to be no different. My wife and I need to get some bills paid off as soon as possible, and work on saving up money to have the house re-sided. So, I expect there won't be enough wiggle room to purchase bookshelves this year. I've had my eye on Ikea's Expedit bookshelves for a while, since I have a number of Marvel Omnibus and DC Absolute books that will fit nicely in these units. Maybe 2015 will be the year I can finally buy and organize my collections properly. I may have to invest in some large, rugged storage bins in the meantime, though.

Given the limitations of physical space, I'm expecting to lean more heavily on e-books when purchasing new titles from here on out. As I've noted previously on this blog, 2013 was a big introduction to the world of e-books for me, culminating with a purchase of a Kindle tablet as a Christmas gift to myself. In 2014, I'm guessing that e-books may outnumber the amount of physical books I read. On the other hand, I still have a lot of hardcover and paperback novels to read, so it may end up being a fairly even split. If it doesn't happen in 2014, I expect 2015 and beyond to put an even larger gap in the number of print versus digital reads. Although I wouldn't have expected it a few years ago, I can start to see a day where I stop purchasing physical books altogether (but not necessarily graphic novels), in favor of going the e-route.

In short, 2014 is set to be a big year of reading for me. My to-be-read pile, in both physical and digital mediums, is overflowing and I have a lot of catching up to do. And now, having taken up the Goodreads challenge once more, I have 52 weeks to get through 45 novels.

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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