Full time report – a reflection on the past twelve months

There are always ‘best of’ lists this time of year. Interestingly – well to me at least – is that I’ve not read the majority of the fiction mentioned in most of them. Check out this list, as an example: 2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson; The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter; Intrusion, by Ken MacLeod; Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson; The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun (Dreamblood Duology), by NK Jemisin; Wonders of the Invisible World, by Patricia McKillip; Redshirts, by John Scalzi, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan; vN, by Madeline Ashby; Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed and The Dog Stars, by Peter Hiller (from io9). Not read any of them. Shocking, I know. However, most are on my To Read list on Goodreads. I’m just a bit slow in getting around to these things.

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So, these are the books I did read in the last twelve months, in no particular order:

Three short story collections:

I also read the eponymous short story and a couple other others, but not all of Micromegas by Voltaire.

Thirteen non-fiction books:

  • In Glorious Technicolor: A Century of Film and How it has Shaped Us by Stock, Francine
  • Massive: The Missing Particle That Sparked the Greatest Hunt in Science by Sample, Ian
  • Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Demick, Barbara
  • The Geek Manifesto: Why science matters by Henderson, Mark
  • Beware Invisible Cows: My Search For The Soul Of The Universe by Martin, Andy
  • The Edge of Science: Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time by Baker, Alan
  • In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination by Atwood, Margaret
  • Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror by Zinoman, Jason
  • Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Botton, Alain de
  • The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals: The Evil Monkey Dialogues by VanderMeer, Ann
  • The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex: What’s Wrong with Modern Movies? by Kermode, Mark
  • On Writing by King, Stephen
  • Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge by Yarm, Mark

Thirty five novels:

  • Life of Pi by Martel, Yann
  • Stray Souls (Magicals Anonymous, #1) by Griffin, Kate
  • Frankenstein by Shelley, Mary
  • Trust by Moody, David
  • The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Raspe, Rudolf Erich
  • The Magician King (The Magicians, #2) by Grossman, Lev
  • Breed by Novak, Chase
  • Ready Player One by Cline, Ernest
  • The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4) by Stross, Charles
  • A Matter Of Blood (The Dog Faced Gods #1) by Pinborough, Sarah
  • Asbury Park by Scott, Rob
  • Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Joyce, Graham
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Swift, Jonathan
  • One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Thursday Next, #6) by Fforde, Jasper
  • The Minority Council by Griffin, Kate
  • Rule 34 (Halting State #2) by Stross, Charles
  • The Coincidence Engine by Leith, Sam
  • Anno Dracula by Newman, Kim
  • Zone One by Whitehead, Colson
  • Curse of the Wolf Girl (Kalix MacRinnalch, #2) by Millar, Martin
  • By Light Alone by Roberts, Adam
  • Lonely Werewolf Girl (Kalix MacRinnalch, #1) by Millar, Martin
  • Shadow’s Son (Shadow Saga, #1) by Sprunk, Jon
  • Anagrams by Moore, Lorrie
  • Embassytown by Miéville, China
  • Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (Zombie, #1) by Roux, Madeleine
  • Sadie Walker is Stranded (Zombie, #2) by Roux, Madeleine
  • Pure by Baggott, Julianna
  • The Hobbit by Tolkein, JRR
  • Heroes and Villains by Carter, Angela
  • The Radleys by Haig, Matt
  • The Last Werewolf by Duncan, Glen
  • The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2) by Wooding, Chris
  • The End Specialist by Magary, Drew
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) by Scott Lynch

So for the novels alone, that is 6 classic fantasy, 4 urban fantasy and a single modern fantasy, a couple of literary fiction (assuming Life of Pi isn’t fantasy or magic realism), 12 science fiction and 10 horror, which includes 3 werewolf and 3 zombie and 2 vampire. It would appear I don’t have a favourite genre as such, as I gave roughly equal weight to fantasy, science fiction and horror, although modern fantasy/supernatural/horror and near future science fiction would be my stated choices, followed by apocalyptic science fiction. Several authors had a couple of books each and it appears I like series, although I would deny it flat out if you asked me.

And now to the awards:

  • Top 5 novels in no particular order: Frankenstein, Life of Pi, Trust, Some Kind of Fairy Tale & The Apocalypse Codex
  • Surprisingly enjoyable: A Matter of Blood
  • Most unputdownable: Lonely Werewolf Girl
  • Most disappointing: Embassytown
  • Dullest/overhyped: Zone One
  • Worst read: The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Special award for the most palpable physical response to reading it: Rule 34

On the whole, a good year, but not a great year for reading. I enjoyed more than I didn’t which is the important thing. Of the novels I’d not read before, not many would make my all time favourites list, which is a shame. Authors I want to read more of include Millar, Cline, Pinborough, Lynch and Duncan. I will also try to read a few newer books this year. The History of Science Fiction Literature Challenge will continue. At the very least, I will read:

  • Mary Shelley – The Last Man
  • Jane Loudon – The Mummy
  • John L Riddell – Orrin Lindsay’s Plan of Ariel Navigation
  • Jules Verne – Voyage to the Centre of the Earth
  • Samuel Butler – Erewhon

The next books I’ll be reading are Fated by Benedict Jacka, London Falling by Paul Cornell and The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar. And who knows where we’ll be in twelve months time?

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