Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Year in Classics, a Recap

For 2013, I decided to focus my reading on classic books that I'd somehow missed out on reading before. A lot of them I hadn't read because I thought I knew their stories since I'd seen so many adaptations, things like Dracula, Tarzan of the Apes, and Frankenstein. Others I hadn't read because nothing I'd ever heard about them interested me; a lot of romance novels like Pride and Prejudice fell in this category.

I started out the year mostly intending to stick to public domain novels. I could download them free on Kindle or listen to them free on Librivox, and free has always held a certain charm for me. But, in March, when Bitterwood came out on Audible, I signed up for an Audible account which gives me one download credit a month, so I started adding in classics not in the public domain yet, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I also added a few books I'd read before in high school or college but had only the dimmest memory of, like Old Man and the Sea. I'd intended to count only novels, but wound up with a couple of plays and books of the KJV Bible also making the list. In the end, I read 36 classics:

Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift 
Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne  
The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells
The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells
Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie 
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë  
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare, William
The Tempest, William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare  
Job, KJV
Ecclesiastes, KJV
King Solomon's Mines, H. Rider Haggard
A Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Riders of the Purple Sage, Zane Grey
On the Road, Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck 
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut 
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut 
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë 
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair 
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

These aren't all the books I read this year. I read a couple of novels of recent vintage, and five or six non fiction books (Walden's the only one I felt merited inclusion on my list of classics).

Next year, I'll probably stay focused on classics, since there's still plenty I haven't read, but will probably start adding in more contemporary fiction as well. If you're interested in finding out what I thought were the best and worst of the classics I read, check out my other blog, Jawbone of an Ass, where I'll be publishing my list of the five most deserving and five most overrated classics.

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