Book 1 (of 52) – The Night The Lights Went Out

The Night The Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage – Drew Magary

In December of 2018, Deadspin writer Drew Magary was in New York, hosting a fan event and going to an after-party with his co-workers.  Two weeks later, he woke up in a New York hospital, where he had been in a coma ever since he collapsed that night with a brain hemorrhage.  The Night The Lights Went Out is the story of his injury, road to recovery, and what he learned along the way about letting the man he was go so he could become comfortable with the man he now was.

Magary published a version of this story on Deadspin in May of 2019, before that entire site imploded later that year.  He fleshed out the initial injury, interviewing family, friends, and doctors who retained memories of the night and days that Magary did not.  His recovery also lasted more than five months, eventually undergoing surgery for a cochlear implant, undergoing smell therapy, and seeing a therapist to deal with his ongoing anger.

Aside from his blogging work, first on Deadspin and now on Defector, I’ve also read two of Magary’s novels, one of which he seemingly finished and self-published in the midst of all of this.  I was familiar with the main beats of his story, but going through the details and the long fight to get back to normal, before abandoning that fight and coming to grips with what normal now was, was a completely different beast.


52 Books in 52 Weeks – 2022 Edition

A new year is upon us, and it is time to once again set a goal of reading a book a week for the entire year, totaling 52 books in 52 weeks.

Prior to last year, I’ve had a low point of 8 books.  I’ve hit a high point of 31 books twiceLast year, working from home for the entire year, I finally met and surpassed my goal, finishing with 54 books finished.

Since I have nothing but time again this year, now that I am officially a remote worker, I’m going to give it another go.  I’ve got plenty of new books stocked up in the Kindle app on my iPad, not to mention one or two birthday and Christmas presents and my handy dandy library card, so I’ve got a good pile to start with.  As a reminder, the rules I am using are:

  • You can count a book as read as long as you have completed the book in 2022 and at least 50% of that reading takes place in 2022
  • Any book counts as long as you’re not embarrassed to count it.
  • Poetry collections do indeed count.
  • Re-reading a book is okay as long as it isn’t done this year. (Reading Twilight twice in 2022 only counts as 1 read)
  • Audiobooks also count.

My first book of the year looks like it will be The Night The Lights Went Out, Drew Magary’s memoir about his traumatic brain injury and his subsequent recovery.  Here’s hoping 2022 is another good year when it comes to books.

Prolific Authors – 2 Books

Way back in December of 2011 (and again every other December since), we’ve taken a look at the authors I have read the most, dating back to high school.  This year, since I’ve far surpassed my reading output of any year on record, I thought it would be nice to take a deeper dive into those books I’ve read through August. Since our last check-in, I’ve read an additional 60 books from 54 different authors. There shouldn’t be much movement over the past 2 years, but it’s time to take another look and see if my “favorite” authors have changed much in that time span.  Today, we start things off with the 35 authors I’ve read twice.

Max Barry

An Australian author, I’ve enjoyed the two novels of his I’ve read, Jennifer Government and Company.

Laura Caldwell

I have no idea how I came across the work of this local author, but I must have enjoyed it enough to go back for seconds.  Unfortunately, she passed away last year.

The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the most recent of  the two works of his I’ve read.  I have another, Wonder Boys, waiting in the to read pile, so he rise up some day.

Matthew V. Clemens

The co-author, with Max Allan Collins, of the final two chapters of the Reeder and Rogers trilogy.

Felicia Day

The first author here that I’ve happened to meet in person.

Cameron Dokey

She makes the list based on two entries in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.

Diane Duane

Living in Ireland, she is responsible for a Star Trek: The Next Generation book and a Spider-Man novel, of all things.

Warren Ellis

The comic writer, currently in exile after being called out for abusing women, makes the list thanks to two prose novels.

David Fisher Continue reading →

Book 8 (of 52) – Point B

Point B: A Teleportation Love Story – Drew Magary

In his latest effort, Drew Magary introduces us to Anna Huff, a high school junior intent on finding out who killed her sister years earlier.  When her roommate, the daughter of the CEO of the world’s only porting provider, disappears from school after one night, she combines her two obsessions and, with the rag-tag group of friends she manages to make, attempts to bring down the new world order.  In this world, Huff sees her two obsessions overlap, as the search for her roommate/crush overlaps with the search for her sisters’ killer.  Finding one leads her to the other, and, ultimately, the life she has always wanted.

While Magary’s previous novel was a bit of an acid trip, Point B is more of a straightforward story of love and revenge, with the science fiction framework of teleportation wrapped around it.  It’s a pretty realistic take on an unrealistic scenario, which helped ground the tale.  It would have been easy to just add teleportation to the world without going into detail on how it changed things, but Magary builds out the entire world, thinking through the effects this new technology would have on tourism, the workforce, real estate, and international politics.  If he can keep producing content of this quality, then I will continue to be on board.



2018: The Year In Books

Another year has come to an end and it is time to take a look back at the 22 books I read over the past year, 6 less than last year.  Of those 22, 7 were non-fiction and, of the 15 novels, only 1 was a TV show tie-in.  Only one of the books came out of my dwindling “to-read” drawer, and 12 were e-books.  I read over 7,000 pages, my lowest total since at least 2013.

Once again, a majority of the books I read this year were by authors I’ve never read before. The 15 authors that I read for the first this year were:
Mamrie Hart
Dan Harris
Ginger Zee
Krysten Ritter
Karin Slaughter
Michelle West
Paul Ruditis
Michelle McNamara
David Ross
Don Yaeger
Araminta Hall
Amber Tamblyn
Laura Lippman
Lauren Graham
Drew Magary

There was not a single author that I read multiple titles from during 2018.

6 of the books I read were released this year, while 1 of them was released last century, exactly 60 years ago

Finally, the breakdown by month.  My vacation in September certainly helped pad its totals a tad bit.

Continue reading →

Book 22 (of 52) – The Hike

The Hike – Drew Magary

The Hike, the latest from Deadspin writer Drew Magary, tells the strange tale of Ben, a 38 year old married man with three kids who travels for work.  On one of those trips, he decides to go for a walk in the woods prior to his business meeting and, instead, finds himself in a strange world where a talking crab helps him stick to the path and, hopefully, find his way home.

I must admit, during the early going, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was reading.  In some ways, the surreal nature of it reminded me of the little I have read of Kurt Vonnegut’s work.  Eventually I decided to just go along for the ride and things turned out for the best.