Stack Overflow: 2017 Year-End Reflection

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Well, somehow we’ve reached the end of 2017 already, and we figured it was time to check in on the reading resolutions we made at the beginning of the year. Stay tuned: in a couple weeks we’ll share our favorite books of 2017, and then set ourselves some new goals for 2018!


 Jonathan Liu Reading Resolutions 2017

Jonathan Liu’s Reflection

I did finally finish Parenting in the Age of Attention Snatchers, a book about handling screen time with your kids, and although I read it over a long period of time (with lots of breaks in between), I found it overall a very helpful way to think about screen time. In particular, the focus on voluntary vs. involuntary attention, and how we should encourage voluntary attention: things that you must actively pay attention to, rather than the things that just grab your attention with little or no effort on your part.

I never did get back to Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, though it’s still on my shelf. I picked it up this month and realized that I had set it down for so long that I’ve completely forgotten the beginning and will have to start over. I did finish the Three-Body Problem series (see here) and really enjoyed it, but I did not fare so well in terms of reading more books by the non-white authors I mentioned in that list. I did, however, give myself a reading list for Black History Month, mostly written by black authors, and read all but the last one, The Sellout, which I’ve started now. (You can see my follow up for several of the books here.)

I did pretty well in reading a lot of time-travel stories—I wrote three columns this year about time travel: here, here, and here. It’s definitely one of my favorite topics (and one of my own attention-snatchers), so I dove into those whenever I found them. And I still have another box of time travel stories set aside for future reading.

Finally, I did write one post about books in space but it was mostly shorter books and picture books, not the longer space-based books I’d hoped to get to. I’ve still got a huge pile of those waiting to be read.

Overall, my record this year is, as in many years past, heavy on fiction and comics (and picture books that I read to my daughter), low on non-fiction. This year was also somewhat lower than usual for middle grade and young adult fiction, too: most of the time travel stories I read were adult fiction. I think reading non-fiction for me is like eating my vegetables: I know I should do it, and when I do, I often enjoy it, but it takes a lot longer than reading fiction. Fiction is like popcorn or candy: I just pick it up to have a taste, and before I know it, I’ve finished off the package. But that’s why I keep making these resolutions, even when I fail at them—to remind myself to try. It’s also why my reading resolutions doesn’t include a lot of graphic novels, because I know I’m going to read those anyway.


Mariana Ruiz’s Reflection


Looking back, I don’t think I did too badly, I wanted to read five books and read three of them, plus Hariri’s second book on human evolution, so that’s four out of six. I did start on Black Matter but I quickly lost interest, perhaps because the narrative focuses on a conceited white male? I just couldn’t keep at it.

I haven’t finished Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence, but his narrative is enticing. You can see my review of three of my listed titles over here, and the remaining title is available here. Hariri’s books started well and got worse by the end, and I didn’t like the second one at all!

My main trouble to continue with my reading is with my Kindle Fire: it was a Xmas gift from my husband, he was convinced that I was going to love reading e-books, and he was right! I loved my tablet and used it for all kinds of things, especially reading. But now the battery is out and it needs to be plugged in all the time, which limits its mobility.

I did buy an iPad mini but the brightness of the screen (even at its minimum) does bother me. Until I figure out what to do with my reading gadgets, I will stick to actual books. I’m proud to say that my paper mountain has diminished significantly. On 2018 I want to talk about all the titles in the Scholastic Classic Series; I’m down to a third of the titles listed there.


to be read pile

Robin Brooks’ Reflection

By the end of the year, I’d pretty much flunked all my resolutions. My two main goals were to read at least 30 minutes every day and start and continue a regular monthly book column. Both started well. Tales From the Paper Mountain got off to a great start, but by the middle of the year, I was struggling. I found that by the time I’d read enough books to warrant a post, I’d forgotten what I wanted to say about the first ones I’d read.

I tried to get around this by writing the post as I went along, but it turns out I don’t have the discipline for it. Finally, it seems that you, the GeekDad reader, prefer your reviews in smaller parcels. In 2017 I learned a lot more about how people like to consume their blog content. Hopefully, this is making my pieces more enjoyable to read! To that end, Tales from Paper Mountain is little more than a short-lived experiment.

On the plus side, I did start a new regular “Word Wednesday” column. In these pieces I look at some great reference books. It’s been a blast to do, and I’ve enjoyed making the videos, far more than I ever thought possible. Look out for more in 2018.

The column may no longer exist, but the paper mountain grows ever higher. I still have lots of reading to do! My “read 30 minutes per day” resolution went well for the first three-quarters of the year. Later on, however, a change in family circumstance and my taking on an increasing number of gaming commitments meant that the time to read really began to dry up. This, like last year, was coupled with some poor book selection. These days, if I can’t get into a book immediately, my willingness to read at all ebbs away. This is an unusual and uncomfortable feeling. I’ve been getting around this problem by soaking up some great YA novels. My reading tastes, once again, are in a state of flux. Something I will need to consider when I work on my 2018 reading resolutions.

One final comment on the hard reading goal I set myself. I failed to even start Alan Moore’s epic, Jerusalem. Considering my current need for short sharp accessible fiction, I’m not sure I’m about to start anytime soon.


Sophie Brown’s Reflection

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017 Prompts, Image: PopSugar
PopSugar Reading Challenge 2017 Prompts, Image: PopSugar

I set myself two reading resolutions in 2017, and I’m rather pleased to have conquered one entirely, and scaled the second to admirable heights.

My first resolution was to read 60 books during the year. As it happened, I ended up reaching that goal way back in October so I decided to extend it a little and gave myself a “stretch goal” (for want of a better term) of 80 books. I reached that goal in early December thanks to rushing through many of the new Star Wars novels prior to watching The Last Jedi.

My other reading resolution was to complete this year’s PopSugar Reading Challenge. Of the 52 categories for 2017 I am currently missing 10, but there is still over a week to go so I am hoping to fill in a few more before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. However, I have long since admitted to myself that “A Book That’s More Than 800 Pages” will remain unfulfilled.

Many of the books I used to fill the prompts have been those I would be reading to review on GeekMom anyway, but as always, the PopSugar Reading Challenge has pushed me to pick up some books I otherwise would not have considered. For “A Book Set in a Hotel” I ventured into Stephen King’s The Shining; for “A Book Set Around a Holiday Other Than Christmas” I picked up five collections of short Halloween stories; and for “A Book Based on Mythology” I rediscovered a book I remembered from my childhood in Elidor by Alan Garner.

I’m already excited to start on next year’s challenge and recommend it to anyone looking to expand their literary horizons over the coming months.

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