12 books in 12 months

When 2017 started I had a plenty of goals for this year. Some of them are reached, others are not. (I’ve written a whole article about this.) One of these goals was to spend more time on reading.

The story

When I was a small kid, I nearly read everyday. I even spent whole nights reading with a torchlight under the blanket so my parents would not find out that I was still awake that late.

But then when I started as a web developer, I found myself reading tutorials and documentations only. At the same time in school I was forced to read books that I would never have read on my own. So my interest in reading got lost.

But reading has always been so inspiring and in 2016 I had the feeling that I may have lost all of my creativity. The times where I would see a website and immediately had an idea how to make it look better and more usable were gone. So by the end of 2016 I decided that I must read more and that I would at least read one book every month.

My books of 2017

There were no restrictions about what to read and of which author, so here is what I finally read.

January: Ian Rankin — Schlafende Hunde (Saints of the Shadow Bible)

A simple but really nice book by Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin. I never heard of him before, so I did not now about “Inspector Rebus” neither. I just got this book in December 2016 when I decided that I would start reading, but never read until 2017 started.

It’s a typical crime novel. Nothing special, but still worth reading if you are a fan of such books. (I am).

February: Andreas Eschbach — Herr aller Dinge (Lord of All Things)

This was maybe the best and most inspiring book I’ve ever read. Written by German author Andreas Eschbach, this book is about a Japanese boy’s idea to make all people have the same value. He ends up with creating a nano robot that can reproduce itself and assemble itself to bigger robots that can then solve specific tasks.

What I really enjoyed was that nearly everything in this book was well researched. Normally I read science fiction novels and end up like “Are you fucking kidding me?”, because the author seems to have no idea about what he is writing. This was not the case here. Instead after I finished the book, I really spent time on wondering if it wasn’t already possible what Eschbach presented in his book.

Andreas Eschbach — Lord Of All Things

March: A. Jeyaratnam Wilson — S.J.V. Chelvanayakam

After such a mind-blowing book, I needed something non-fictional. I had bought this book about S.J.V. Chelvanayakam already and already had read most parts of it, but never finished, so I decided to re-read this.

For those who don’t know: Chelvanayakam was a Tamil political leader far before Prabhakaran came to take up the space Chelvanayakam left. This book describes the life of Chelvanayam and why he decided to do what he did.

April: Douglas Preston — Dark Zero (The Kraken Project)

The book of February by Andreas Eschbach was a recommendation by one of my colleagues at work, so I asked her for another one. The result was that I bought Preston’s “Kraken Project”.

It’s also a well written book dealing with AI and what happens when the AI gets out of control. But well the Eschbach book was just a few days away and still in my mind and I was not that fascinated about this one.

But I finished reading this book within two weeks anyway as it was quite thrilling.

May: Meena Kandasamy — The Gypsy Goddess

For May I chose on of the books that was in my list for quite a long time. I’ve been following Meena Kandasamy on Twitter for quite a long time and in May (or April) she published her book “When I hit you: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife”. I added this book to my reading list but got her first novel as my book of this month.

Well, this book was the second best book I read so far. (Right after Eschbach). This books story is about a massacre that really happend, where Dalit agricultural workers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu were murdered by oppressive upper-caste landlords.

While this is not an easy plot, Kandasamy manages it to tell this story in a way that you simply can’t stop until the end. That’s what I call a debut!

June: Tom Peters — The brandyou50

You may ask yourself if I did love every single book? Not I didn’t. The book of this month was a really bad choice.

Reading “The brandyou50 — Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an ‘Employee’ into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion!” I expected the book to provide some kind of tips and tricks how to become a personal brand. But instead I got a bunch of superficial tasks of what I should do.

Also the books was written in such a hasty way that even Gary Vaynerchuk seems to be calm compared to it.

July: Stephen King — Es (It)

After that disappointment with the previous book, I chose a book of which I was sure that I would like it. Well, who does not like Stephen Kings books?

1500 pages to let ones imagination run free, but caution, this imagination could steal you a lot of sleeping times ;)

Kings books are always really long and full of details and that is the reason why his books are so helpful to train the power of your imagination.

August: Jo Nesbø — Der Fledermausmann (Flaggermusmannen, The Bat)

For 2017 I did not only had the goal to read more, but also to start writing. I did not write that much this year, but I did some preparation that I can publish some short stories in 2018.

Part of the preparation was reading crime novels as I want to write one as well. This book by Norwegian author Nesbø is also part of a series (like my January’s book by Rankin) and it helped me a lot to learn how I should design a character for my own book.

At the same time the novel was written really good, providing some interesting insights into Australian life (That’s where this novel takes place)

Jo Nesbø — Flaggermusmannen

September: Dale Carnegie — How to Win Friends & Influence People

The disappointment of the book of June did not get off me, so I decided to get a proper replacement. That was this book by Carnegie and yeah — this was totally worth it.

It does also provide nearly the same tips as the book by Tom Peters but provides more detailed information on why this works and how you can use this in your life. There are so many examples on how these tricks worked out that you always get an idea on how you will use it.

The only minus point: It’s a really old book, so it only helps to get basic ideas. When this book was written topics like social media or even the internet did not exist. So if you are interested in Social Branding and Influencing, you can start with this one, but should continue with other sources as well.

Oktober: Elmore Leonard — Ohne Beweise (Split Images)

This book again is a crime novel. But this one’s slightly older that the others. Published in 1981, this small novel deals with Lieutenant Bryan Hurd who has to unveil the crimes of a billionaire.

Although this book is older than the others, you still find similarities in how the books are written. That really helps me to figure out what I have to consider when writing my own novel.

November: Ransom Riggs — Insel der besonderen Kinder (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children)

You may know this book as a movie which was released in September 2016. It’s a fantasy novel about a 15-year-old teenager who travels to an island to explore the place where his Grandpa grew up. There he learns about a new world where people live in a timeloop in which one single day repeats itself everyday.

Although it is a young adult book, I really enjoyed it. It was really inspiring to image a world with a possibilities of a timeloop.

December: Mary Higgins Clark — Das Haus am Potomac (Stillwatch)

By the time of writing this article, I’m reading my last book for this year. It’s the German edition of the thriller novel “Stillwatch” by Mary Higgins Clark.

I got this book (along with 40 other books) from my boss. He was about to throw away a lot of books when tidying up his attic, so I was able to get some really interesting books for free.

The author knows how to write in a thrilling and exciting way that it’s not that easy to stop reading once you’ve started.

Mary Higgins Clark — Stillwatch

As you see, I read quite a lot of different books and most of them were informative, inspiring and entertaining. I have decided to keep this up for the next year as well.

Luckily I got those 40 new books my boss wanted to throw away, so I’ll not be out of books!