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Some of the books I read in 2013

By no means a complete list, this is just what's on my Nook for the year and doesn't include (1) audio books (separate post coming) or (2) paper books, of which I know I read a few but probably couldn't list them. I've also left a short comment of how I remember the book.

A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar: The language is beautiful but I found the plot almost impenetrable and the ending sad.

No More Dead Dogs, by Gordon Korman: Wonderful YA with a great title; alternating chapters from various boys and girls in middle school.

Slow Apocalypse, by John Varley: Interesting, detailed vision of how one family prepares for (over only a few days), endures, and learns to survive after an apocalypse that, while it doesn't destroy the world or even just civilization, and without being about climate change, shows how artificial and fragile "modern society" is.

Parasite, by Mira Grant: My appreciation for this is pretty wordless, given the impossibility of discussing it without spoilers, but I look forward to the sequel.

Redshirts, by John Scalzi: Reread. Still fun.

The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery: Can't remember who on my online reading list recommended this, but I really liked it. Not a YA like her more famous books. Woman protagonist decides to stop caring what people think and do what she has always wanted to do after receiving a diagnosis that she will die within six months.

Chimes at Midnight, by Seanan McGuire: Still like Toby Daye.

Ironskin, by Tina Connolly: Interesting fantasy; a different take on how humans and fairies interact, with a woman protagonist.

The Bandit King, by Lilith Saintcrow: Sequel to The Hedgewitch Queen, I think this suffered from too much storytelling by the male protagonist.

Blood of Tyrants, by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #8): More of the same; the writing is good enough that I mostly overlook the ENORMOUS PLOTHOLE running through the entire series.

Crucible of Gold, by Naomi Novik (Temeraire #7): Interesting relationships, boring story sticks too much to actual history. I like these but not enough to remember to look for the next book when I'm done with one, it's Twoson who asks for the next one and then I read it.

Shapeshifted, by Cassie Alexander (Edie Spence #3)
Moonshifted, by Cassie Alexander (Edie Spence #2)
Nightshifted, by Cassie Alexander (Edie Spence #1): These were fun, about a nurse who works at the special emergency room/hospital for werewolves, vampires, and any other non-human fantasy folk in the world.

Affliction, by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake #whatever): I can't quit you, but I wish you were so much better than you are. If you have never read this series, I can't explain them. The first five or so books are completely different from any after that, even though the names were preserved to convict the innocent.

American Elsewhere, by Robert Jackson Bennett: This was excellent, the only book written by a man that I read this year that really struck me as spooky, suspenseful, and interesting. Well written and different.

The Hedgewitch Queen, by Lilith Saintcrow: Almost-too-naive-to-believe lady-in-waiting lives through mass assassination attempt and uses her non-sanctioned "hedgewitch" magic instead of the wizardly magic her society approves to survive and thrive. Title is giant clue.

Lord of the Mountains, by S.M. Stirling: Twoson insisted I'd like this even though my usual approach to Stirling is to read only the first book in any series, because his world creation skills are great but I don't usually like his plots or the stories he tells within his worlds. And I did like this one: it has come far enough past the origin story to be almost a completely different fantasy world.

Permeable Boarders, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: I am a major Nina Kiriki Hoffman fangirl and this collection of short stories was marvelous as is usual for her.

The Bear and the Dragon, by Tom Clancy: Can't remember why I reread this, might have been a comfort read due to my many medical issues this year.

Sacrifice, by Denise Grover Swank (The Chosen #3)
Hunted, by Denise Grover Swank (The Chosen #2)
Chosen, by Denise Grover Swank (The Chosen #1): YA series with a very dry style, young woman protagonist in a hard, dangerous world.

Marie Antoinette, by Antonia Fraser: This was a reread inspired by watching about 15 minutes of the movie it inspired.

Hull Zero Three, by Greg Bear: This hard SF is both traditional (amnesiac or mind-cleaned person exploring a giant ship that at first seems empty but is discovered to contain multiple life forms, most of them dangerous) and a good treatment of the topic.

The World without Us, by Alan Weisman: Non-fiction exploration the rapid deterioration of most of human civilization's scars (word choice very intentional) on the natural beauty of the planet and its other occupants if all of humankind disappeared overnight for no reason. Very politically slanted and eventually unreadable as it descends from fairly good descriptions of how hard it was to build things in the first place and then maintain them against nature's constant onslaught quickly into how awful we are and how much better things will be for the rest of life on earth if we would just GO AWAY AND STOP MESSING WITH THINGS.

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( 7 comments — What do you think? )
Jan. 3rd, 2014 04:57 am (UTC)
It's really remarkable how many of the books on this list I haven't read yet, but plan to: Slow Apocalypse, Parasite, Chimes at Midnight, Blood of Tyrants, and Permeable Borders.

And Redshirts, Blue Castle, and Crucible of Gold would be on the list were it not that I'd already read them.

I suspect there's a fair amount of overlap in our reading tastes.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
That's nice! What have you read and enjoyed that's not on my list then? I like discovering new reads.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
I recently read Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy because the movie trailer I saw looked intriguing (and the library had it as an ebook download). The first one is a very engaging read, as long as you don't examine it too closely; the other two were less interesting, but I did gallop through them all fairly quickly. (Apparently they're bestsellers, but I'd never heard of them until I saw the movie trailer.)

I'm almost done reading all the Dresden Files books that are out there, and they're some of the best dark(ish) urban fantasy I've read. (I don't read it as a genre, but I like a number of authors that write in that genre, if that makes sense.)

I tried to keep track of what I read this year, and failed miserably, but you might take a look at the Reading Wednesday posts that I did manage to get done -- they're tagged "books."
Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC)
Also, I just remembered that I started reading fanfic because of you so I owe you a ENORMOUS THANK YOU OF +10 GRATITUDE. I think it was a yuletide post of yours recommending some specific fics and I tumbled down that rabbit hole to find great pleasure.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow -- thanks for letting me know. I'm always a bit diffident about posting all the Yuletide stuff to the full LJ list instead of making a specific filter, but I won't be any more.

I'll also mention, then, that I read way too much Harry Potter fan fiction this year. And if you want 3 million words of really good Harry Potter AU, I recommend the Sacrifices series by Lightning on the Wave, which starts with Saving Connor.
Jan. 3rd, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
I've been meaning to write a review of Ironskin. I read it because of the magic/steampunk(ish)/ post-Great-War woman-in-a-mask angle. I was taken aback by, then liked, when I realized it had elements of Jane Eyre -- somehow I hadn't noticed that on the back cover!
Jan. 3rd, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
I read it in spite of the steampunk(ish)ness, because I don't actually care for steampunk, but I did like it.
( 7 comments — What do you think? )