Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I read in 2008

I read 66 books in 2008 or 1.3 books a week. Possibly more, as I may have forgotten to record some. ( I am sure that at certain times in my life I have done a lot better than that.) I haven't included books related to my work.

I have listed them below and will start a new list in my sidebar for 2009. The division into genre is of course a bit debatable, as the line is always blurred...

I read mostly fantasy not just because I enjoy it, but because as a writer of fantasy I need to know what is out there, and to learn from my fellow authors. I try to read a variety of mainstream books as well, for both enjoyment and to keep abreast of what writers are thinking about in different parts of the world. A good book is always a learning experience, as well as entertainment.

I like pure SF too, although if the author assumes a heavy knowledge of physics and chemistry, I am totally lost and tend to abandon the read. My science knowledge is all towards the life sciences and ecology - in the field what's more, rather than what you find out in the lab.

Learning the World, by Ken MacLeod was a great read from my SF list - it has one of the most delightful "first alien contact" scenes I have ever come across. The title starts off by meaning that one has to learn all about the world you are about to explore, and ends up meaning so much more. When your knowledge of your universe alters, then you have to relearn your own world in light of that discovery.

I can't help but think that this is where we have fallen down here on earth (no doubt one of the things Ken was so brilliantly pointling out!). Our knowledge of our world has altered so profoundly over the past 50 years, yet we still want to view it using old paradigms - religious, economic, educational, environmental, cultural. And now we are in a terrible mess as a result.

Highly recommended book. Although I probably should point out that I am definitely prejudiced. Ken was the international Guest of Honour at the Australian Sf/f convention in 2008, where I was the national GoH. He was not only a great GoH to have, possessing a marvellous dry sense of humour, but he also wrote in my copy of "Learning the World, the following: 'To Glenda, a moving point of light...' Love the man, love the writer.

Science Fiction:

--Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierres
--Hal Spacejock by Simon Haynes
--Learning the World by Ken MacLeod
--Newton's Wake by Ken MacLeod
--Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Fantasy:
David B.Coe Winds of the Forelands
--Rules of Ascension
--Seeds of Betrayal
--Bonds of Vengeance
--Shapers of Darkness
--Weavers of War

Marion Zimmer Bradley
--Exile's Song
--City of Sorcery
--The Fall of Neskaya
--Two to Conquer
--Thendara House
--The Shattered Chain
--Darkover Landfall by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Jennifer Fallon The Tide Lords
--The Immortal Prince
--The Gods of Amyrantha
--The Palace of Impossible Dreams
--The Chaos Crystal

Karen Miller
--Hammer of God by Karen Miller
--Witches Inc (K.E.Mills)

Marcus Herniman Arrandin trilogy
--The Siege of Arrandin
--The Treason of Dortrean
--The Fall of Latuan

Sheri S.Tepper
-- Family Tree
--Six Moon Dance
--Grass
--Gibbon's Decline and Fall

Miscellaneous authors
--Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
--Lost by Gregory Maguire
--The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
--The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
--Feast of Souls by C.S.Friedman
--Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott
--Shadow Touch by Maureen Lui
--Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost
--Storm Front by Jim Butcher
--Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novak
--Daemon by Camille Bacon-Smith
--Monterra's Deliciosa & Other Tales & by Anna Tambour
--The First Weapon (Bk 2 TheTriumvirate) by Bevan McGuiness
--The Awakening (Bk 1 The Triumvirate) by Bevan McGuiness
--Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman
--Dark Heart by Russell Kirkpatrick

Mainstream:
--White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
--Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
--Certainty by Madeleine Thien
--The Sorceress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
--Animals' People by Indra Sinha
--Birds without Wings by Louis de Bernieres
--Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
--The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
--The Gathering by Anne Enright

Other Genre:
--Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
--Born in Death by J.D.Robb
--Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovitch
--Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb
--Murder at Madingley Grange by Caroline Graham

Non-Fiction:
--The Year of Living Biblically by A.J.Jacobs
--The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
--Growing up in Trengganu by Awang Goneng
--The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
--The Snow Geese by William Fiennes
--The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
--Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

6 comments:

Hisham said...

How do you pick which books to read? Do you already know what sort of book you want to read before you go hunting for one, or do you just get whatever catches your eye when browsing?

If you haven't already, you might want to look into the Chronicles of Chaos trilogy by John C. Wright... it's a wild, funny, and amazingly erudite read. I was surprised at how well all the elements came together. Science Fantasy, but leans more towards the Fantasy side.

Sharon Shinn's The Twelve Houses series is also great (especially with characterization). Patricia McKillip has some beautiful, lyrical works, while Robin McKinley's books are graceful and absorbing... her book The Blue Sword reminds me of your Mirage Maker series.

Although, why I am giving you recommendations when I have only been reading for several years now, while you have had a whole lifetime to do it, I don't know...

glenda larke said...

Hey, recommendations are always welcome! And often followed. McKillip's books have been on my "must get" list for quite a while; the others I have now added at your recommendation!

Other ways I choose what I will read: Too often nowadays,I read what I can get my hands on rather than I would choose to read if I could afford to buy or import. For example, all those M.Zimmer Bradley books were borrowed. I think I would rather have read more up-to-date stuff if I'd had more money to spend on new books...but I just can't afford to buy 1.3 new books every week. I would love to spend a lot more on books, and support the industry though. One day, when I write that bestseller.

Another limitation is what is available in bookstores here.

The Coe books I chose because I met David. The Fallon books I read because I know Jenny well. Same with Miller - in fact, I beta read for Karen. Mind you, if I didn't like what they write I wouldn't continue reading them! Same with some of the other sf/f books - I know the people who wrote them.

Many mainstream books and some of the non-fiction I read for the book group I belong to.

Other choices come from internet reading of reviews, blogs, etc.

Jo said...

Do you know there is already a continuation of the Coe series. I think its a new series, but I was offered the first book in the library the other day and left it because I hadn't finished Winds of the Forelands yet. You have given me a heck of a lot of reading to do Glenda, I have enjoyed recommendations of yours so far, so I will continue to follow them. I am reading A Feast of Souls at the moment, great story. I just read another Sara Douglass and Satima informed me that she is quite ill. Have you read her books?

glenda larke said...

Jo, I read all Sara's early books, yes. Haven't read the more recent ones.

karenmiller said...

Sigh. You put me to shame. I've struggled a lot with reading this year, mainly because of my own wordage output. I've needed to take time off from words, so watched a lot of dvd instead. I console myself with the idea that it's all story ... *g*

Jo said...

True Karen, it is all story, but I think story you have to read and use your own imagination for, is better than story presented to you in pictures. As an author you should agree.

Discovered today you are a Canadian by birth. I am a Canadian by adoption.