Going to do a sort of summary/rundown of all the books I read this year, which is something I usually do.
This year was a solid one, in terms of number of books and pages. I read 128 books (well shy of last years 187) and read over 40,000 pages, which is only a couple thousand fewer than last year’s 43,000 (the only reason I have page counts is because goodreads keeps track).
I read far fewer indie press books this year than ever before. I read relatively few literary novels, in general. This probably isn’t too surprising to anyone, as I’ve become less and less connected to that aesthetic.
Kyle Muntz and I were talking about this recently. I find a lot of experimental or innovative fiction somewhat childish, which, I think, is the opposite of how most people view it. But I’ve been reading experimental fiction for over 15 years, which means I was coming at it while I was just starting high school. It’s hard for me to dissociate plotless novels with beautiful or bizarre uses of language with being an angry teenager.
And so I’ve come, rather late, to love character and narrative, and I’ve come to the conclusion that character is really the most important aspect of any story (back in my old writing days, I often tried to write entire stories without character or narrative movement, which seems so hopelessly stupid now), and the real reason people love series is because they just want to hangout with characters that they’ve fallen in love with.
But, yeah, that’s enough preamble. Here’s the list:
Bitch Planet: Volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Was pretty excited to read this, to be honest, and found it mostly disappointing. I mean, that’s not super fair since comic books are serialized and I really only read the very first part of what’s likely to be a much longer story. But I found it to have a solid premise with pretty cliched subversion. And its subversions weren’t particulalry subversive, I think. But maybe that’s just me. People seem to like it.
When True Night Falls by CS Friedman
The second volume in a trilogy of science fantasy novels. Enjoyed this much more than the first, until about 100 pages near the end. The ending is just kind of dumb and makes you feel both empty and angry at the author. These novels remind me a lot of JRPGs and this is part of the reason. They set up an antagonist and talk him/her up for 500 pages and then you get to the end and OH NO the real villain is someone else that you’ve never heard of and have no connection to. I think I might come back to finish the trilogy, since the writing and worldbuilding are fantastic, but I was pretty soured on this for a while.
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Overrated. Tarkovsky is why this book even matters. It’s the definition of a thought experiment novel, which is, sadly, how I think of a lot of SF novels. That being, the author gets an idea and tries to wrap an entire novel around it. This rarely works and is almost never as interesting as the premise.
The Last Unicorn and Two Hears by Peter S Beagle
Had I read these as a kid, they probably would’ve been favorites and done so much to make me a happier adolescent.Coming to them as adults is still a treat and I enjoyed both a great deal.
The Time of the Dark and Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Each of these is the first volume to a series that I somehow never got back to. The Time of the Dark is portal fantasy and Dragonsbane is medieval fantasy. Dragonsbane is much better and does a lot of subverting of tropes and genre expectations. Reminded me a bit of the later Earthsea novels by Ursula K Le Guin, where you think the story must be one thing, but it turns into something far more interesting. Hopefully I’ll get back into that series, but both of these novels work as standalones.
Two Brothers by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Daytripper was one of my favorite novels and so I keep coming back to these two to find something close to that awesome, but I’m consistently disappointed by their work.
Memoir of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
This is a fantastic little novel. Funny, fun, and wicked and surreal. Loved it. Hoping to pick up some more Mabanckou this year.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Absolutely amazing. Who knew a fantasy novel about market manipulation could be so fascinating and thrilling? Seriously. This novel is made of economics and it’s breathtaking. It also does a lot to subvert tropes and expectations, while telling a truly heartbreaking story about love, sexuality, revolution, and the lengths people go to try to do the right thing.
The Tale of the Unknown Island by Jose Saramago
The only other Saramago I’ve read is Blindness, and I read that so so so long ago. This is a short novella but it’s playful and awesome.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Another little story that would’ve probably hit me much harder as a child. Even as an adult, it’s a beautiful little book. But you already knew that, yeah?
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I think this should be required reading in middle school or high school, because it’s a brilliant introduction to what it means to be a black man in america. However, reading it as an adult, I was hoping for something more. It’s a great little book, but it’s very much for people who are just starting to be empathetic. Better for young readers.
Moby Dick in Pictures by Matt Kish
Just okay, to be honest. Some of the art is fantastic, but a lot of it didn’t do much for me. I think it’s just that his vision of Moby Dick is so very different than mine.
Tremontaine by Ellen Kushner
So this is told over 13 novellas by a handful of authors. It’s brilliant and fun and exciting. It’s sort of modeled after serialized television, in that Kushner sort of created a writing staff to tell this story. She contributed most to it, but she also used other voices, and it creates something really special. The second season is out, but I’ve yet to start it. It takes her Riverside world and really opens it up to diverse voices, characters, and ways of thinking. It’s about sexuality, love, violence, math, cartography, and chocolate. Just amazing stuff.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Pretty overrated, I think. When it’s brilliant, it’s brilliant. And the dialogue is always perfect, but the narrators are constantly repeating themselves and their themes and whathaveyou. It makes it a frustrating book, because it’s both enormously rewarding and incredibly frustrating. It’s both an amazing and terrible book, sometimes in the same passage.
It’s definitely an ambitious and interesting novel, but it’s really just a giant mess. And not in the Bolano kind of way, where that messiness is part of the brilliance.
Train Dreams, The Laughing Monsters, and Nobody Move by Denis Johnson
Every Denis Johnson book is different, and every single one is amazing for very different reasons. Train Dreams was almost perfect, The Laughing Monsters is frightening and solid, and Nobody Move is hilarious and wicked but also just okay.
It was interesting to read him doing three distinct genres this year because they all feel like Johnson, but they’re all so very different and great for separate reasons.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The first Gaiman novel I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s awesome in the way all of his books are, and imperfect in the way they all are as well. It’s about childhood and growing up and the strange magical way the world looks when you’re young.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Not sure what it was, but I didn’t like this book. It could’ve been any number of reasons, but the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook might be a big reason I didn’t enjoy it a whole lot.
Might try again someday, but something about this just didn’t work for me.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
An audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry is kind of destined for greatness, yeah? Loved it. Hilarious and absurd and oddly thrilling. But you knew that. It’s just awesome.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Weirdly, this is the first Bradbury novel I’ve read. It’s solid and I kind of wish I had read this when I was 13, which is kind of a growing thing for books I read this year. It’s a problematic book in some ways and awesome in others. I liked it well enough, and it might be a book more necessary for the present than it has been for a long time.
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
Luxurious comes to mind. The writing is better than the novel, though. Samatar writes sentences with such confidence and beauty and power that it makes this just a delight in some ways. In other ways, the novel’s very thin and kind of overly long, for such a short novel.
Interested in reading her follow up, because she’s an amazing writer. Her short fiction, especially, is powerful and great and shocking. But this just missed for me.
Under Heaven and River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
Loved Under Heaven but River of Stars left a kind of emptiness in me. Kay is another fantasy writer who writes with immense grace and beauty and power, and he takes some really peculiar risks with these two books, to varying degrees of success. Oddly, where Under Heaven becomes peculiar and a success is the same way that River of Stars failed for me.
It’s strange, reading two books that take gigantic risks with narrative and come out to such different outcomes. These two books are related, too, with River of Stars taking place about 400 years after Under Heaven. It creates an even more interesting effect on River of Stars, but that novel just kind of unravels for me.
Version Control by Dexter Palmer
The best book of the year. It does everything just perfectly. I wrote a whole thing about it this summer.
You absolutely should read this novel. It’s daring and experimental and overwhelmingly brilliant with surprising levels of emotion.
United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas
I loved this book. It’s miles ahead of his debut novel and really shows how great of a writer Peter is, and how quickly he’s stepping things up. His next novel, whatever it is, is surely going to be all kinds of brilliant.
God Engines by John Scalzi
First John Scalzi and I’m not impressed, really. Don’t remember much about it, but that’s probably not a good sign.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Interesting little essay. Again, something I think should be read my middle schoolers or during the early stages of high school. Reading it as an adult, it’s not super interesting. Introductory essays have a place, definitely, but they’re really meant for people who don’t know anything about the topic.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
This book is bizarre. Surreal and sexual and just pretty surprising. I kind of love it.
Witch Hunt by Julia Escoria
A solid poetry debut. Not my favorite stuff, but it’s worth checking out. Oddly, it’s one of the only poetry collections I read this year. She has an interesting and visceral use of language.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Honestly don’t even remember reading this. It was probably fine.
The Beans of Egypte, Maine by Carolynn Chute
Brutal look at rural life. So much darkness and so much sweetness, and so much misunderstanding. In some ways it’s one of the best books I’ve read. In other ways, it’s pretty much the kind of thing I never want to read again. But it’s real. It’s maybe the realest realist novel I’ve read in I don’t know how long.
Peace by Gene Wolfe
Tricky doesn’t even begin to describe it. There’s so much going on beneath the surface of this novel. It’s deceptive and cruel and bizarre and sometimes surreal. It’s a puzzle, truly, and maybe the most postmodern text I’ve ever read. It’s Gene Wolfe, and this really is a glimpse at who he would’ve been had he chosen to be a literary writer. He’d likely be thought of in the same sentence as Pynchon. As is, he’s seen as a genre writer, which means most people will ignore him. But he’s brilliant, and does experimentation better than nearly everyone.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
I just like Jack London. His use of language is so powerful and robust.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Reads sort of like someone writing Hemingway parody. It’s probably not fair that I read this right after Jack London, who’s basically a Hemingway with triple the talent. But this helped win Hemingway the Nobel, so what do I know?
Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
Interesting and surprising and deceptive little novella. Definitely worth checking out.
Point Omega by Don DeLillo
Only the second DeLillo I’ve read and I thought it was kind of dumb. Dude can write a sentence but he can’t make me care about these disaffected imperialists.
Bellwether by Connie Willis
I hated this book. A lot.
I don’t even want to think of it because it’s making me mad with how stupid it is.
Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster
The kind of book that should’ve been 100 pages longer, I think. I loved it and also didn’t care for it at all. It’s an interesting adventure story with brushes of magic and mystery and foul mouthed pirates.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Harrowing and creepy and frightening and just soul crushing. It’s something you’ll never forget. It’s also incredibly unpleasant to read.
Snakewood by Adrian Selby
Some truly brilliant writing goes on in here, but the novel is just one-note, if you get me. It’s grimdark in a way that becomes kind of stupid and uninteresting. I mean, I get how people are trying to make fantasy more realistic and gritty, but there’s only so much I can care about hard men acting hard.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
If you’re looking for something like The Kingkiller Chronicles, you’re going to be frustrated, and he says as much in the Foreword. This is a good little novel though. Much more surreal and literary than his main body of work. A book about a damaged girl living a silent life in a peculiar place.
The Healer by Antti Tuomainen
Creepy and awesome and apocalyptic. It’s a thriller in the most basic sense of the term, and it’s races back and forth trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together. All to save a life. To save his wife. The world is falling apart due to climate change in the background, giving this noir a whole new element to deal with. But, yeah, my first look at Scandinavian noir, and I’m pretty impressed.
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
Had Version Control not come out this year, this would’ve been my vote for best of the year. I’ve read, like, 15 of Stephen’s novels, and I really don’t get tired of them. There’s a lot of what you’ve come to expect from him in here, but everything just gets taken to a new level. Reminds me of Ledfeather, in all the best ways. Wish this had come out when I was 15 because I’d likely never get over it.
But, yeah, so much heart and beauty and love. The love of family and what it means to grow up. How all your heroes are werewolves and all you love is somewhere just beyond here, somewhere where life’s just better.
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
Amazing worldbuilding and writing, but kind of stupid, as a whole. The sign of someone who thinks SFF fans only care about how intricate and well constructed your world is. But, yeah, just kind of missed the mark for me. Solid writing, though, so I’ll probably check out some of his literary work someday.
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
Didn’t even like this book, but that’s sort of on me. I don’t often look too deep into novels before I read them, which has been a problem for my year in reading, to be honest. Had I known what this book was about, I would’ve skipped it.
It reads like Kerouac or Miller, in a way. Selfish, self-absorbed artists being artistic in a world that’s just not artistic enough for them. Oh, also there’s a harrowing story going on in the background, used mostly to try to humanize these awful people, which makes the novel even more problematic for me. Using someone else’s horror for your own aggrandisement–I just didn’t like this book. Left a sour taste in my mouth.
Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Malory
Bizarre is the best way to put this, I think. I didn’t really like it. We all know the stories of King Arthur and his Knights, so it was interesting to finally read this. I just didn’t care for it so much.
The Vegetarian by Han King
Three novellas give shape to life in modern South Korea. It reminded me so much of my old home. It’s visceral and heartbreaking and complicated, and might require at least some basic understanding of South Korean culture and how life is changing there to get the full effect. But I thought it was brilliant.
Sigurd and Gudrun by JRR Tolkien
Tolkine’s translation, rather. I love myths, so I loved this.
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
Stunning and awesome. Lovecraftian fiction mixed with Harlem Renaissance. It’s fun and scary and creepy and magical and dark and all together amazing.
The Last Witness, Downfall of the Gods, and The Devil You Know by KJ Parker
Three novellas by KJ Parker. I’ve yet to read any of his novels, but the novella seems to be a perfect length for him. Every novella I’ve read by him has been utterly fantastic. And these are no different. All playful and tricky and surprising. Most of them dealing with humanity’s relationship to their gods, and this leads to a lot of interesting characters and ideas. Gods conned by humans, humans who find meaning in being abused by careless, reckless gods. It’s all quite brilliant.
Dragonflight, Dragonquest, Dragonsong, and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
Can’t believe I made it through all of them, really. It’s an extremely problematic series, and I read 2/3rds of two different trilogies here. But the misogyny and classism and racism are just too much on the surface. Sometimes it seems like she’s going to subvert some of this, and I kept waiting on that, but it never comes. Not really. It makes these incredibly unpleasant and it really sours everything good about them.
Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, and Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
You’ll know within ten pages of the first novel whether or not you’re going to be able to stomach this trilogy. It begins brutally and wickedly. Like, really, if you read the first chapter and don’t close the book forever, you’ll probably enjoy the whole trilogy.
It’s surprisingly good, I think. What Lawrence does here is very surprising. King of Thorns, especially, is pretty fantastic. He plays with structure and time and pushes you to the limits of what you can stomach, the limits of how evil you can make a narrator while still keeping you fully engaged and even, remarkably, on his side.
Interested to see his new trilogy.
Ship of Magic, The Mad Ship, and Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb is one of my new favorite writers. I wrote about this trilogy earlier as well. Hobb is just brilliant. She creates such amazing and real characters here, and keeps pushing you deeper and deeper into their world. You watch them try so hard to do what’s right, and you watch so much slip between their fingers. All their hopes and dreams transformed and mutilated into something so different than they ever thought possible.
And oddly, there’s hope in all that. Despite all the horror and tragedy, we keep finding hope.
The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, and Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
So I expected these novels to be so cliched and so bad that I decided I would just casually listen to them as audiobooks. Why did I even bother? Because the Wheel of Time series is recognized as being, if nothing else, the most ambitious work of fantasy fiction ever written. So I thought I’d give it a shot.
I’ve been surprised. They’re not great, but they’re much better than I expected. Also, the audiobook narrators do such a brilliant job that it’s easier for me to forgive some of the worse elements. I think if I were reading these as physical books, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the first one. But, as it is, I’ve found them surprisingly interesting and subversive and fun and thrilling.
There’s a lot of stupidity in them. Like all the stuff about destiny and good vs evil, but the world is so alive and vibrant that it’s easy to get swept along.
Moonstone by Sjon
Not my favorite by Sjon, but by no means bad. It’s surreal and haunting and playful and fun and beautiful. It’s kind of exactly what you expect from a good Sjon novel.
The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville
Pretty disappointed with this, which is too bad, since I love Mieville. But it just wasn’t that good. It’s great at what it does, but I think the premise really holds back the novel, in some ways. It’s surreal and fast and action packed, but it left me kind of dissatisfied.
The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde
Another book I didn’t care for. I don’t remember it too much anymore, but I remember being pretty disappointed. It all feels thin in my memory.
City of Wolves by Willow Palecek
A fun 18th century style detective story. It’s fun for what it is, and sometimes pretty thrilling. It’s also quite short, so it stays pretty fun.
A Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, and Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan
Was very excited to read A Natural History of Dragons, and planned on reading the whole series, but I gave up after the second novel. The fetishisation of empire is extremely unpleasant. The novels are often racists and classist. I suppose we’re meant to forgive these elements because it subverts gender expectations, but telling a story about capable women never feels subversive to me. I mean, I get why it is, but it all hangs on you believing that women are in some way inferior to men. And that’s obviously stupid, and so the premise always feels thin when that’s all I’m meant to hold onto.
And so I’ve really come to hate these novels for their love of empire and imperialism. Maybe the series goes on to subvert this, but I don’t really care anymore.
Cold-Forged Flame, on the other hand, was an exciting and somewhat noirish adventure. Grim and dark and kind of awesome.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Ambitious to a fault. I have a lot of thoughts about this book, but I think a lot of it ends up being pretty racist, unintentionally. She means to show how americans destroyed all the beauty of our continent, but she mostly does it through the Noble Savage cliche, which is, you know, a problem. She stops treating native people like real people and mostly turns them into a Hollywood stereotype.
That being said, there are big chunks of this novel that are great. But the novel gives up on character too often in favor of showing the movement of people. As in, the novel’s real character is the american forest, rather than actual humans. It makes the novel sometimes really uninteresting, as she tries to cover so much, so whole sections feel like lists of names with actions associated with them.
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
Another series I was excited about. I mean, it’s billed as the Napoleanoic Wars, but with dragons. I’m sold! Unfortunately, it also fetishises empire in ways that are incredibly unpleasant to me. It’s hard for me to be on the side of these savage imperialists, and so I likely won’t bother with anything else in the series.
That being said, the novel is fun, if you ignore the casual racism and classism.
A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab
Loved these novels. They’re fun and funny and exciting and interesting. The world develops and grows and becomes both terrifying and immensely satisfying. I loved both of them and can’t wait for the third novel.
Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw
Loved this. A PI who’s also a monster. I mean, what else is there to say? I could imagine reading 100 of these.
Antwerp by Roberto Bolano
Sort of feel like I need to reread this. It’s awesome, but I think it overwhelmed me. But, yeah, the first Bolano I’ve read that isn’t 600+ pages, and I like how it feels.
The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda
Ariel by Silvia Plath
Not my favorite bit of poetry, but it’s beautiful and dark and coarse.
The Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey
Would’ve been better had they used the word zombie, since this is obviously a zombie novel. And also had it been about 200 pages shorter.
Other than that, it’s creepy and terrifying and interesting.
A Betrayal in Winter, An Autumn War, and The Price of Spring by Daniel Abraham
I read the first book in the series last year and loved it, so it’s surprising it took me so long to go back and finish it. But wow. These novels are just amazing. Ambitious in scope while being extremely personal. They cover about 60 years of time in an empire, focusing primarily on two men. It’s a staggering work and one where the passage of time really makes an impact. To see these people at 15, 30, 45, and 60 (roughly those ages) is just a fantastic little device. Watching how they change and grow and become friends and enemies and maybe friends again. It’s astonishing and beautiful and full of so much failure that it breaks your heart.
They remind me of Hobb’s novels. Where hopes and dreams become mutilated and twisted and people just try to make the best of the scraps and dust they still hold.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich is awesome, and this is pretty great. Sometimes I wanted to give up on it, but I’m glad I stuck with it.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
A novel told primarily through interviews about the discovery of a giant humanoid machine. Couldn’t put it down. Kind of perfect. It does interesting things with transhumanism, philosophy, history, and politics. It says a lot about people by really sticking a tight lens on just a few individuals.
Signs Preceding the End of the World and The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrara
Short, fast, and deadly. I really dig these novels. They’re both kind of noirish, but with their own flairs. One being a disease in the backdrop, the other being the journey from Mexico to america.
For how short these novels are, they’re packed full of meaning. And they’re just awesome to read.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
I don’t know what I was expecting going into a novel with this title, but this exceeded my expectations. It’s dark and brutal and horrifying, but there’s hope in these pages. Or at least what hope amounts to when you’re telling a story about one of the worst (if not the worst) aspect of american history.
Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Didn’t really care for either of these and they, more than anything else, reminded me why I stopped reading a lot of literary fiction. Drown, especially, reads like a collection of MFA stories. And maybe it was. There are a few stories in the collection that are amazing, but most of them were just kind of whatever. And the dialogue, across the board, was pretty terrible.
Oscar Wao has some really interesting aspects to it. Almost all of them have to do with Oscar’s mother and grandfather. But his life is basically a weird nerd who’s incredibly creepy to every woman he interacts with, and then we’re meant to feel like his life mattered more than it did because he didn’t die a virgin.
I mean…why do people love this book?
Varamo by Cesar Aira
Interesting, in its own way. Feels very rough and raw and I just didn’t care for it the way I thought I would. I had a bunch of his books checked out from the library but after reading this one, they all felt like they’d be chores. I might still read them, but this novel just didn’t do much for me.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Like The Underground Railroad, this novel deals with slavery. Like Barkskins, it’s ambitious maybe to a fault. But Gyasi manages to pull it all together in a way that’s much more satisfying than Proulx. But, yeah, it’s brutal.
City of Golden Shadow and River of Blue Fire by Tad Williams
The first half of his Otherland cyberpunk epic. The first volume was really incredible, but the second one could’ve likely been cut in half. Even so, I love these characters and how intricate things are becoming. Everyone is so real and alive, and the future Williams imagines still feels relevant.
Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon, and The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn
The first three books in this trilogy create a very solid and satisfying trilogy. It’s beautiful and haunting and full of love. The Harsh Cry of the Heron is the follow up, which is nearly as long as the original trilogy, and it manages to dismantle everything good about these stories in the final 50 pages.
The trilogy itself is fantastic, and about 700 pages of the Harsh Cry of the Heron are really solid, but it ends in a way that is both ridiculous and stupid. So I’d recommend only reading the first three, which are just great. They have kind of a breathless beauty to them that I found incredibly appealing.
Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gate, Memories of Ice, and House of Chains by Steven Erikson
I knew these would be epic and dark and grim, but I never expected them to reach the heights they do. They take the word epic and really bring it to a new plane of meaning. And while it’s dark and grim and brutal, it’s also full of hope and beauty and the novels are remarkably funny. Or at least, everything after Gardens of the Moon.
I’m not even halfway through the series, but I can already tell it’s going to be an all time favorite. I’ll probably do a big write up when I finish them all.
Half a King, Half the World, Half a War, The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
No idea why I read two trilogies by Joe Abercrombie this year, because I didn’t especially love the first one I read, and I also didn’t especially enjoy the second. But Abercrombie does a lot right in these six books. Enough right that I’ll likely read the other three novels he’s published.
But he has such a pessimistic worldview in the novels that it makes them kind of frustrating, and not in a good way. At the same time, he’s created some unforgettable characters that I never got tired of.
He’s an interesting writer is what I mean.
But, yes, those are all the books and my look back on them.
It’s been kind of a disappointing year for my reading. There were some incredibly high highs, but a lot of lows. So it goes. This year will likely be full of more of the same, though hopefully fewer lows. I think I’ll be a bit choosier with my books this year.
Last year, I often just picked things up somewhat randomly at the library and then read that. It made the year somewhat frustrating because I read a lot of books I normally wouldn’t have, and I managed to run into a lot that left me disappointed or kind of indifferent, which is not a good way to feel.