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How I Pick the Books I’m Going to Read: 2022 in Review

I thought it’d be interesting to see how I pick books to read, if there’s a pattern. So I looked back over 2022’s books I read and tried to remember how/why I added them to my “to be read” list.

Swashbucklers – a Big Idea on John Scalzi’s site. The Big Idea is a type of featured post where authors of new works can talk about what inspired them to write the book.

All These Worlds (Bobiverse #3) – The third book in a trilogy, and I liked the first two well enough. I don’t remember where I became aware of the original book.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth – a Big Idea on Scalzi’s site. The idea of non-Japanese written J-Horror appealed to me.

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller – I had this on my Amazon wish list for a long time and finally got it for Christmas. I think it had been on there for years, back when I was still a pup and needed to read more “how to write” books.

The Law of Superheroes – Also had been on my Amazon wish list for a long time because I couldn’t get it at the library. I finally bit the bullet and bought it because my next novel was going to deal with superheroes and the legalities surrounding them.

Hench – I can’t remember this one. Usually that means it appears on either my Twitter feed or Amazon recommendations.

The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration – Amazon suggested this when I bought The Law of Superheroes. I figured in for a penny, in for a pound.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Justin McElroy, one of the McElroy brothers (My Brother, My Brother, and Me, The Besties) mentioned this a few times on his podcast and recommended it. I have since found that his tastes and mine do not run together.

The Kaiju Preservation Society – John Scalzi’s latest book, and I read all his stuff

The Invention of Hugo Cabret – For the life of me, I cannot remember why/how I got this. I think it was sitting on my old Nook, and when I converted all those books over to my Kindle I found it again.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1) – I cannot remember, but I think Amazon recommended it because I read “A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet”, which I liked just fine. But this one had robots in it.

The Final Girl Support Group – Again, I cannot remember. But it must have caught my eye because I like eighties horror movies and I’ve read “The Last Final Girl” by Stephen Graham Jones and (unsuccessfully) “Final Girl” by Riley Sager. I remember reading a sample and becoming intrigued by the style and knowledgeability of the 1980s horror genre.

The Broken Blade – My youngest daughter was reading this for school, and it was short, and about French-Canadian voyageurs (from which I am descended), so I figured, why not. Bonding with your children over books is a magical thing. How else is a forty-year-old male software engineer going to relate to a twelve-year-old tween girl?

Legends & Lattes – I kept seeing this pop up on Amazon and Goodreads, probably because of all the “monster girl” searches that I do. What? Who said that? It claims to be a “low stakes” book set in a fantasy realm intrigued me. I read a sample, liked the writing style well enough, so I splurged.

Under the Dragon’s Tail – My family watches Murdoch Mysteries, a Canadian “cozy mystery” show set in 1900’s Toronto. I watch sometimes. My wife downloaded this book, and I wanted to see it too. I always enjoy seeing the differences between adapted materials.

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions – I didn’t realize this was based on a book until I rewatched it on Netflix. So, hell, yeah, I’m going to pick it up. This is one of my favorites.

Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir – I love Wil Wheaton, but I wish he’d publish something other than the same book again. I didn’t want to re-read his earlier book–I wanted something new. But shrug any port in a storm.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – I liked “The Final Girl Support Group” so much I started looking through Grady Hendrix’s back catalog. This was his previously published book and his highest rated on Goodreads.

Breakfast of Champions – I watched a Kurt Vonnegut documentary, which gave me the bug to read something of his. I had already read “Cat’s Cradle” and “Slaughterhouse Five”, so I picked up his third best.

Verity – I think I was writing a blog post at the time about best sellers and doing research. I figured I needed to read more best sellers to learn what it takes to be a published author, so I added a few that looked interesting. Given that Colleen Hoover owns about 75% of the list it was impossible not to put at least one on.

Anxious People – A selection from my wife’s book club. Even though I’m not part of the book club, I like to read what she’s reading (if I can) so we can talk about it (and I give her hints for what to discuss in book club). Plus, I like to drive her nuts that I finish the book while she’s only halfway through it.

The Book of Essie – See Verity. The multi-genre concept intrigued me.

Putting the Fact in Fantasy: Expert Advice to Bring Authenticity to Your Fantasy Writing – Alerted by a Big Idea. After reading a few samples from his web page, I thought this was a good way to add some authenticity to any future fantasy I write.

The Princess Diarist – It intrigues me that Carrie Fisher was both one of the most beloved and admirable Star Wars characters AND a Hollywood script doctor (and a good one too–she did rewrites on The Last Action Hero, Sister Act, The Wedding Singer, Hook, and Star Wars movies!). Yet I’ve never read anything by her. I figured I should rectify that and see what made this amazing lady tic.

The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut #3) – I read the first two and loved them. Kowal often appears in the same sentence as John Scalzi, so it’s only natural to read this.

Nine Tenths – Another Big Idea. Since this related to the mundanity of life in a world of superheroes, I had to pick it up.

Fairy Tale – I don’t read most of King’s newest work, but he said he wrote this during the pandemic as “comfort during trying times”. So I had to find out what made Stephen King “comfortable” during such uncertain times.

How to Take Over the World: Practical Schemes and Scientific Solutions for the Aspiring Supervillain – Again, more superhero research. I follow Ryan North on Twitter, so of course he promoted the hell out of his book.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism – I didn’t realize I read three books by Hendrix this year. I liked first two I read immensely, so this time I read his first book. It won’t be the last Hendrix I read, I assure you. I don’t know how the guy does it.

Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons – I cannot remember how this got recommended to me. Amazon? Felicia Day? Anyway, it’s right in my wheelhouse. But I didn’t add it to the list until I found out the journalist was a former writer for Geek and Sundry.

If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe (John Dies at the End #4) – I read everything by David Wong/Jason Pargin. I read JDATE back when it was up on his website as a free eBook, before it was published.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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