Welcome to the 2017 edition of my annual Henry Bemis article, in which I reflect on the media I consumed over the last 365 days.
I read 23 books last year.
- The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
- Arena Mode by Blake Northcott
- The Goblin Crown by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
- Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George
- Kingdom Keepers: The Return, Book 3: Disney At Last by Ridley Pearson
- Ones and Zeroes by Dan Wells
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
- Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls by Raymond Arroyo
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Railsea by China Mieville
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
- The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
- Prototype D by Jason D. Morrow
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Between the Shadow and Lo by Lauren Sapala
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- Will Wilder: The Lost Staff of Wonders by Raymond Arroyo
- Uncertain Summer by Jessica Lee Anderson
- Fairy Keeper (World of Aluvia Book 1) by Amy Bearce
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The list would be longer, except near the end of November, I began reading Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. And it is a Very Long Book.
Going into the year, I was especially excited for Kingdom Keepers: The Return, Book 3: Disney At Last by Ridley Pearson and Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George, as each is the conclusion of a series I’ve much enjoyed. And I liked both of those books, too, but neither one was my favorite in its series.
My two favorites were The Night Circus and When You Reach Me. Both are really unique takes on common fantasy elements — magic and time travel, respectively — and I thoroughly enjoyed both.
Ones and Zeroes and The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre were reminders of why Dan Wells and Gail Carson Levine are two of my favorite authors. I’m at the point where I’ll buy any new book from either of them based solely on the byline.
Perhaps the most unlikely-for-me book on the list is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but it is one of the books that has stuck with me the longest. It might be the only one on the list this year that caused me to stay up way past my bedtime reading. Months later, I still remember specific scenes, and I’ve adopted some of Cather Avery’s phrases into my personal vocabulary. I adored that book.
I made it to a movie theater four times this year! That might be the most in-theater movies I’ve seen in a year since I was a teenager. Of the four, my favorites were Justice League and Wonder Woman. I really couldn’t pick one favorite between the two of them. Wonder Woman is undoubtedly the tighter, better-focused story, but the sheer fun factor of Justice League makes it equal. Plus, Justice League featured Superman giving The Flash a super-speed side-eye:
The other two movies I saw were Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t leave the theater dissatisfied a single time.
I wasn’t crazy about The Flash season 3, which I watched on Netflix. Savitar, Killer Frost, Doctor Alchemy… all of those aspects of the show were just OK or boring to me. But HR Wells was a gift to humanity. By far, he was the best Wells the show has featured yet. And the first half of season 4, which I’ve been watching every week on The CW? Amazing. The Thinker is the best villain the show has had since Reverse-Flash, and maybe better. This could be the best season yet.
Supergirl season 2 was good, but nothing like season 1. We finally got to see Superman, but we lost Cat Grant, at least for much of the season. And while Guardian is pretty cool, I think the writers have no idea what to do with Jimmy Olson anymore. I like Lena Luthor, though, and I’m glad she’s gotten a bigger role in season 3. But that’s about all the good I can say about the first half of season 3. It’s been OK. But Reign just doesn’t do much for me as a Big Bad. And why does Kara have to spend the season all mopey? Living Ray of Sunshine Kara is always the best part of Supergirl, along with the Danvers sisterhood.
Hey, here’s a game I play when watching Supergirl. See if you can spot all the times some kind of lame excuse is used to explain why Martian Manhunter can’t use one of his powers when that power would solve the current problem in seconds. “Darn, I can’t read their minds — they must have some kind of psychic shield!” “Would you look at that, I can’t phase through that wall for some reason. We’ll have to find another way in.”
The Crown season 1 was really great. Every episode left me eager to discuss it and to read Wikipedia articles about the real-life subjects. What I’ve seen so far of season 2 is equally good. Voltron seasons 3 and 4 were both excellent, but I wish they’d just kept them a single season. I especially loved the flashbacks to the creation of the lions and the original Alfor-led Voltron Force.
Stranger Things 2 is not on this list because I haven’t had a chance to sit down and watch it yet.
In 2018, the novel I’m most looking forward to is book 3 in Dan Wells’s Mirador series, Active Memory. In TV, I can’t get enough of The Flash season 4. I can’t wait to see how Barry’s fight against The Thinker ends… and at this point, The Thinker’s ultimate goal hasn’t even been revealed yet!
There is no movie I am more looking forward to than Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.
It’s going to be a great year for people who like stories. Lord, please don’t let me break my glasses.