This is the second Arthur C. Clarke novel I’ve read (the first being Rendezvous With Rama), and I’ve been blown away by both. For some reason I expected Clarke’s books to be a bit drier and more dated, but his is some of the most exciting and mind-expanding science fiction I’ve ever read. I should have expected no less from the mind behind 2001: A Space Odyssey. Perhaps I had that prejudice because in some older sci-fi books, the science and ideas become outdated or the writing style does (or it was never any good to begin with). Especially with hard science fiction, which Clarke is often categorized as, the science is prioritized over the story, craft, and characters, so once the science itself becomes dated, the book does as well. But this is NOT the case with Arthur C. Clarke. Though there is some “hard science” in Childhood’s End, it was also quite weird, speculative, and philosophical (like 2001). Clarke’s ideas remain highly relevant and he is an exquisite composer of prose. This novel particularly features so many brilliant lines of philosophical insight, such as: “There were some things that only time could cure. Evil men could be destroyed, but nothing could be done with good men who were deluded.”
Looking at my stats, I realize I’ve read a lot more fiction books this year than the previous few. There are several reasons for that. One is I’ve been listening to more audiobooks, which in the past I said I didn’t do because I had trouble focusing on fiction while multitasking. To solve that issue, I’ve basically stopped multitasking while listening to fiction audiobooks. I listen when I first wake up in the morning and just lay in bed with my eyes closed. Upon awakening, I don’t like to get right out of bed. Instead, I lay with my eyes closed for about a half-hour, making it the perfect time to listen to an audiobook. I can really focus with my eyes closed doing nothing else but just listening.
Another reason I’ve read more fiction is I’ve spent a lot less time reading the internet and on social media, reading less Twitter and less blogs. I’ve been trying to focus my time doing more productive things like reading books and writing. Now, onto this year’s list…
I often feel overwhelmed by the number of great books I want to read and my lack of time to do so. Even if all I did was read for the rest of my life and I lived to 100, I wouldn’t have enough time to read every book I’d like to. But as I wrote about here, we often fail to realize how much we actually get done. I catalog every book I read on Goodreads, so at the end of the year, I can look back and be surprised at just how many books I read. The total was 115 this year, including novels, non-fiction, comics, and audiobooks. I already went through my favorite comic books. Next up are my favorite fiction books I read in 2017. Continue reading →
As 2016 is winding down, I thought I’d do a best-of list, but it won’t be a “best books released in 2016,” since there are too many I have yet to read. Instead, I’ll do a list of the best books I read in 2016, regardless of when it was originally published.