Checkmate Rising 11/7 '22
I blogged a few years ago on Wordpress about how I was reading. Mostly it still seems to be accurate. Still trying to balance male and female, and add diversity.
One thing I'd done since then was make a separate list of books that I'd basically acquired on a whim, by an author I'd never heard of before, and only had one book by that author. Really, I pulled them all off of my shelves and then ended up stacking them on the disused pool table in our basement. So I added a sixth stroke to the cycle, for trying these books, and giving myself the permission to give up on the book if it doesn't grab me. Because normally I just read the book to the end anyway.
I've found a few decent authors that way, particular Rosemary Kirstein ("The Steerswoman" was great, but I was blown away by the sequel, "The Outskirter's Secret"), Jon Skovron, Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett, Joe Zieja, and Charles Palliser. I also found a few decent books that I finished but probably won't seek out the authors again, and several duds that I did not get through.
I'm still doing a lot of rereads--doing a lot of series, with some standalones in between, and slower rereads of Discworld, Dick Francis, and Star Trek. For a while it's been less of "series that I enjoy" and more of "series that I haven't read for a long time". Like the Thomas Covenant books, or the Incarnations of Immortality, or the Fifth Millennium series, or, most recently, the Deryni books.
For the record: the Thomas Covenant books seem to have held up pretty well (with the huge proviso that you have to get past the rape in the first book, which not everybody should be expected to do), and I've even started the Last Chronicles. The Incarnations of Immortality start off well, but I was not imagining the decline, and I had apparently completely forgotten about the pedophilia apologism in the last book; I think I've weeded all but the first off my shelf. The Fifth Millennium books are mostly pretty good, but I feel like they'd do better if I just took out the first book, S.M. Stirling's "Snowbrother", so we can pretend Sh'kaira isn't a bad person.
I'm still on my Deryni series reread. I know for a fact I got into these because of the mentions in Dragon Magazine, as part of a psionics-focused issue (I believe it was Issue #78), so I've never been able to see the Deryni "magic" as anything but psionics. They came out originally as several trilogies in non-chronological order; I read them in chronological order, with the Camber trilogy first before the original Deryni trilogy (which it precedes by a century or two), and then a sequel trilogy to each. (There's more besides those, but I haven't read them.)
The Camber trilogy was not bad; it gets a little downbeat towards the end, as persecution of Deryni starts, but the frequent high-handedness of some of our main characters feels like ample justification. The sequel trilogy gets pretty dark at times, but it was actually better than I had remembered. The Deryni trilogy itself was...not great. The main characters are not great, and the whole trilogy ends with a major confrontation that...gets wrapped up in a very unsatisfactory way. Like...let's say that ASOIAF ended with the Starks facing off against the Lannisters...and then suddenly one of the Lannisters revealed they'd been a (previously unknown) Lannister enemy in disguise the whole time and they'd just poisoned all the Lannisters and so the Starks got to win.
I've been showing a peculiar dedication to my 100-book-per-year Goodreads goal, too, and I've been trying to set regular reading quotas. Mostly this has been four or five days per book, sometimes more of the book is longer (I took seven days to get through Stephen King's "Duma Key"). You'd think this wouldn't work for reading 100 books a year, but I'm usually done my quota before supper, and then I can snatch a little bit more reading in the evening, like nonfiction books, or comics, and some of that counts as well, so it's mostly been working out. (And I started off the year frontloading it with a few short novellas, to get an early lead, so that also helped.)
Before I go on to the next Deryni trilogy, though, I've decided to reread "Les Misérables"--even the bits about the bishop and Waterloo and stuff--so we'll see how that works. I've got like a two-book lead right now. We'll see if that's enough.