Page name: Mirime's Reading List 2011 [Logged in view]
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My books for 2011!Now that I'm back home after finishing Uni, I have a lot more time to read. Plus, I've discovered that my local library's 'inter-library loan' system is actually quite handy, so I have good access to almost any book :) I'm always looking for recommendations!
See also: Mirime's Reading List 2010
1. Orpheus Rising
by Colin Bateman
An interesting sort of 'post-modern' styled mystery. I thought it was well written and enjoyed the narrative voice, although the plot got a bit strange.
by Anne McCafferty
I went back to re-read this trilogy, a childhood favorite. Sadly, unlike some other old favorites, this series didn't 'age' quite as well. I found McCafferty's feminism to be pretty blatant and the writing not quite as polished.
by Anne McCafferty
by Anne McCafferty
5. Proven Guilty
by Jim Butcher
This book is part of the Dresden Files series, which I first saw on TV last year and enjoyed. The books are so much better, though-- Harry Dresden is a slightly tougher character, with sardonic rather than goofy humor (as he is portrayed in the TV series) However, there is a good bit of continuity so I decided to go back to book one and work my way through the series in order.
6. Shalador's Lady
by Anne Bishop
7. Fool Moon
by Jim Butcher
Another Dresden Files book, lots of fun. I do like Dresden's voice.
8. Grave Peril
by Jim Butcher
Ok, so they're getting a bit formulaic, and definitely a quick read for me, but still lots of fun.
9. Innocent Mage
by Karen Miller
The first book of a trilogy, and interesting enough as I was reading it. Overall, though, rather forgettable, and I don't think I'll bother reading the other two books because I just wasn't that involved in the story and world-building.
10. Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori 1)by Lian Hearn
I enjoyed this book, although I expected it to be classified as a YA fantasy-- instead, it's considered adult fiction. Although it's not rife with magic, there are supernatural elements to this Japanese-inspired tale (which takes place in an indeterminate time and place-- 'Japan' is never mentioned). I didn't think the writing was as refined as it could have been, but I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading the next two books.
11. The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
This book, which is actually a collection of three short stories focused on the same main character, is well written in a noir style. I enjoyed the Russian setting and atmosphere. The author's moral premise reminded me of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series-- both make a point that in the struggle between Light and Dark, the Light can be just as harsh, even cruel, as the Dark.
12. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
I found this by chance at the library, but was pleased because I had been eyeing it in the bookstores for a while. Carey's writing style is very flowery, but it suits the character and the invented country in which the story is set. I don't usually care for first-person narratives, but I thought that she handled it very well in this case. The narrative was compelling, and kept me reading. At times, the main character's sexual proclivities seemed a bit forced or put in merely to titillate, but as I continued in the book I saw that Carey wove it quite well into the story. My only objection, in the end, is that Carey's fantasy world-building is a bit unoriginal (and original at the same time), as all she did was take a bunch of actual medieval nations and re-name them with older or plausible sounding names(Alba instead of Scotland, Tibernium instead of Rome, etc) and then re-write Western mythology and religions in her own made up terms. At times this bothered me, while at other times I admired her ingenuity. It made her world setting into a slightly surreal, semi-parallel world.
13. Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Another dresden files, and the first novel. I think the later ones will be better, but it's good to have read the ones that come before, for continuity's sake.
14. Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
A continuation of the first book (obviously), this one presented a new mystery for Phedre to unravel and took her traveling to different countries in search of her greatest adversary. I enjoyed the adventure of it, and the romantic subplot as well.
15. Grass for His Pillow by Lian Hearn
The sequel to Across the Nightingale Floor, in much the same vein. Another good story, leaving me wondering what happens next.
16. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
What can I say? It's The Hobbit :)
17. Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
Although I enjoyed this book, I was a bit disappointed, finding less character development and a less convoluted plot. Still, Butcher's humor carried the book to make for an enjoyable evening (it only took me half a day to read).
18. Death Masks by Jim Butcher
I thought there was much more character development and more twists and surprises in the plot in this one :) As the series progresses, I think that on the whole the books are getting better as more things are introduced.
19. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
Another old childhood favorite series :) This one I could never get tired of, no matter how well I know it! Delightfully written, humorous, and a lot of fun all round.
20. Searching for Dragons by Patricia Wrede
21. Calling on Dragons by Patricia Wrede
22. Talking to Dragons by Patricia Wrede
23. Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey
Overall, a satisfying conclusion to Carey's trilogy about the adventures of Phedre. At first I wasn't sure of the 'ten years later' conceit, but she made it work really well and smoothly eased into the story. The first half of the book was a bit unwieldly for me to get through, as it contained a lot of plot summary from previous two books and repetition in general. Once the adventure got underway, though, it was quite different and very enthralling all through the end.
24. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Another great read :) A few more characters are starting to come into play and interacting more with each other.
25. Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
The series is really taking off now and starting to get more complex-- it's not just one episode per book, but the stories are related and build on each other.
26. White Night by Jim Butcher
I really enjoyed not only the adventure but the twisty intrigue and plots within plots, too. Harry Dresden is developing as a person (and a character). They definitely need to be read in order at this point.
27. Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The sequel to Night Watch, this book (again composed of three interrelated stories) is told from the point of view of the Dark, giving them a dimension of humanity, and showing things from their point of view. More adventures, and more philosophizing too.
28. Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Lukyanenko really begins to explore moralities and philosophy in this book, although the adventures within the stories themselves are good, too. Like the other books, the atmosphere is very Russian, and the endings of each story are often inconclusive or bittersweet. I also enjoyed this one because it took place largely in Edinburgh :)
29. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
30. Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Wow... an amazing finale to the Night Watch series of books. I really enjoyed it-- another adventure, philosophy, and a satisfying conclusion.
31. Sasha by Joel Shepherd
This is a fantasy debut from a sci-fi writer. I've read one of his sci-fi books before, although I can't quite remember how they went. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this book as his writing style is refined (unlike many starting writers) and the characters do develop. My only objection was the slightly gratuitous and confusing flood of made-up names of cultures, countries, districts, and alliances that was all too often dumped on the reader in large quantities. This is not to say that I object to complexities-- but somehow, authors like Robert Jordan and George RR Martin do a much better job at gradually working them into the story and providing more explanation (I guess it helps that they have indexes).
32. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
I think I enjoyed this book more the second time around-- I felt more for a characters, and appreciated what was original rather than grumbling to myself that it was just taking off on the success of American Gods. And anyway, it's Gaiman :)
33. Petrodor by Joel Shepherd
Book two of the series. Even more complex than Sasha in terms of political intrigue, etc. I must admit that I probably skimmed over most of the details which seemed to weigh down an otherwise story jam-packed with lots of action. Although, it rather annoyed me that he named a country Torovan (rather than Torova, and called the people Torovans, if you see what I mean). English grammar habits are hard to break.
34. Tracato by Joel Shepherd
Oh noooo, it's not a trilogy, it's a quartet! And the fourth book isn't even out yet. This book continues on the same intrigue and military veiwn (which I admit I sometimes skimmed over), but I really enjoyed the characters and now I am dying to know what happens next and how the author can possibly resolve the complex religious and political entanglements that have currently thrown everyone into the midst of a war!
35. Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind
After discovering this series had been adapted as a TV series, I watched the first season and then picked up the books again. The book story is better than the TV series, but I found Goodkind's writing style to be a bit more simplistic than I remembered.
36. The Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
An enjoyable fantasy series, all in all. More prophecies, cleverly interpreted in the end. The Sisters of the Light annoyed me, as I kept drawing parallels to to Aes Sedai and seeing where Goodkind and Robert Jordan developed ideas together.
37. Blood of the Fold by Terry Goodkind
More prophecies, and a more satisfying conslusion. I appreciated the Sisters of the Light a bit more here as a few individual characters developed.
38. Temple of the Winds by Terry Goodkind
This is the first book that I hadn't read before-- I enjoyed it, though some parts were sad, and felt it brought the series to a fairly satisfying conclusion. Of course, there are quite a few more books and Goodkind did leave a few openings to continue. I suspect they may start getting a bit 'samey', but will give the next book a try after I've had a bit of a break from the series.
39. Savage by Stephen Laws
...it was that dumb, I caouldn't even remember the title, and had to go look it up after I returned the book :P It was about a boy who witnessed a Jack the Ripper murder and then was kidnapped by him aboard a yacht to America, and then had a wild west adventure while chasing the Ripper's trail. I only read it because the librarian wanted my opinion on adding it to the book collection, or not (I said no).
40. The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
Quite enjoyable, nice romantic twist and plenty of historical fiction mixed in with the magic.
41. Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn
Finally got my hands on the conclusion to this trilogy (see the other two books by the same author). Written in about the same style, and the characters face consequences for their actions, are separated, and emerge victorious.
42. Small Favor by Jim Butcher
I was glad to get back to the Dresden books :) The running plot thickens, and meanwhile everyone has another good adventure.
43. 13 Bullets by David Wellington
Not really my 'thing', but for the genre it was pretty well-written. Mostly a thriller I guess, bit of mystery-- two hard-bitten cops hunt down vampires.
44. Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind
Not a lot happened in this book, and yet things got more complicated. A good read but somehow not as satisfying, in the end. Definitely doesn't have the same drive and appeal as the Wheel of Time books for me. (ps- I looked at the summary for the next book and it looks pretty blah, so I think I'll stop while I'm ahead with this series.)
45. Turncoat by Jim Butcher
A big part of the conspiracy comes to the forefront here and the 'mystery' aspect of these novels really deepens. Harry just gets more awesome :)
46. Changes by Jim Butcher
The last Dresden Files book so far... most of the conspiracy emerges and Harry saves something even more important than the world. It ends almost on a cliffhanger, which is unusual for Butcher.
47. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
I've been reading this short story anthology for a while, but they are chronologically significant, so I would read one or two and then go back to the series, repeat. Mostly they're just good fun, with less focus on character development etc-- but definitely enjoyable little windows into Harry's world.
48. Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman
An interesting premise for a high fantasy novel-- mages access magic by growing grapes and fermenting wine in a magical process to create 'spellwines'. The author clearly is a wine connoisseur but her system of magic and the world she develops is delicately explained throughout the novel and the protagonist, though his character develops a bit more slowly, starts to emerge as a hero by the end of the book. It's book one of a trilogy and so ends rather abruptly, but I don't think I will bother getting the next two from another library-- while a good book, it's not worth pursuing and waiting for.
49. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Ok, I know I've read this countless times, but just felt like revisiting it again.
50. Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin
An interesting collection of observations, nature writing, and insights from the author of Wildwood and Waterlog. As a posthumous collection from his journal they're more disjointed than his books, but enjoyable nonetheless (or perhaps because of the different style).
51. Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky
This is a promising fantasy series :) The author's original worldbuilding is based on various races of people who have affinities with, and powers relating to, a particular insect. It's also rather steampunk, with warring nations, the threat of an evil empire (very Romanesque), and the different races having to come together and fight for their freedom. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the pace of the adventure was just right.
52. Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Book two-- wow, I'm really getting into the series now :) Everything starts to come together, lots of battle scenes and plotting, but it's not as complicated at Joel Shepherd's series (see farther up). It moves along at a good pace and I'd recommend it!
53. Blood of the Mantis by Adrian Tchaikovsky
54. Salute the Dark by Adrian Tchaikovsky
55. The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Very satisfying :) I'm looking forward to the next book, whenever it comes out.
56. Sir Apropos of Nothing
Meh... sort of uninspiring. As much as I love Terry Pratchett's humorous fantasies, this was more satirical, like mocking conventions but with less of storyline/plot to follow. Also, the main character wasn't very likeable, and I didn't really like the ending either. I know I probably should have known that this wasn't my type of book but I didn't have anything else to read :P
57. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
A short parodical adventure in California, very postmodern. I think I got more out of it this time around than I did four years ago. Like many postmodern things, it doesn't necessarily have a 'point'.
58. The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemmingway
59. The Price of a Child by Lorene Carey
I've had this on my bookshelf for a while now, and finally got around to reading it. It's pretty well written, with lots of local Philadelphia history, about some freed black slaves in pre-abolition America.
60. "The Spoils of Poynton" and Other Stories by Henry James
I'll count this as one book since it's a story collection all together. I read the title story, "The Turn of the Screw", "Daisy Miller", and "Washington Square". Sigh. This is an author I've never read before, and can't say I care much for his style. This era of writing is rather dated and James is particularly verbose.
61. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
I know I just read this last year but couldn't resist re-reading it again ^_^
62. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Well, although wordy and at times dry (lots of little chapters read like encyclopedic entries on whales, whaling, etc but are easy to skip), I did enjoy this book in the end. It's filled with rich, often blatant symbolism and Melville's subtle, often witty humour occasionally comes forth.
63. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
A really great book-- well written, with a creative perspective, and intriguing plot. It's set in a sort of post-'crash' global society where big food companies practically run things and strange diseases ravage the land and the people. It's also a story about humanity, though, and I really enjoyed it.
64. The Ambassadors by Henry James
I couldn't really get past the wordiness and the coyness of his language to enjoy the book as a whole, but occasionally I did get glimmers of beautiful passages or insight into the main character.
65. Magic Slays by Illona Andrews
Love it ^__^ Too short though-- I think the ending was maybe a tiny bit rushed and also, I just didn't want to it to end :( Waiting for the next book now...
66. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
67. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, the Modern Period
Well, it still counts as a book :P took me forever to get through, too. I enjoyed both the 'big names' (eliot, fitzgerald, etc) and some less-well-known black and minority writers.
68. The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
69. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
I'm back! I'd read this book before, years ago, and wanted to revisit it. A bit slow-moving sometimes, with a subtle humour. Think Jane Austen for style, with a touch of Faerie-laden darkness.
70. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
The most recent book of the Dresden Files-- finally! SO AMAZING. I really enjoyed all of these books but this one was wonderfully complex, a very brave move on the author's part to go outside some normal conventions, and just ties everything together so well.
71. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
A re-read, in preparation for the long-awaited book five (I couldn't get to it sooner... I know it's been out for a while!). I remembered most of the main plotlines but forgot how many awesome details and plots are packed in there :) Martin cleverly alludes to events from previous books through the eyes of different characters-- ones on the other side of Westeros who are only just hearing the news, for example-- to avoid lots of boring restatement, but still help the reader keep everything straight.
72. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Awesome! It's sort of the geographic match to A Feast for Crows, so I'm glad I refreshed my memory here. Martin does rejoin the characters he focused on in the previous book at the end though, so now everyone's timeline is caught up again, as it were. Very satisfying.
73. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
A humorous little mystery story, but nothing particularly special. It was just lying around the house, really :P
74. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Every time I read this book I love it even more :)
75. Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Is this really the next book I read? I can't remember reading any others. It has been a pretty crazy few weeks. Anyway. This wasn't high literature or anything, but a fun read and a page-turner. Also kinda just an 'in joke' for fans of the TV show Castle.
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