2018 Stand Outs


Since we're in mid December, it's time to ask the question....what were your favourite things you've read in 2018?

This is a point where I lament that in 2018 I failed to keep careful records of the things I read.

Of the book club books, Invisible Cities stood out. I also enjoyed Venetian Masque and The Girl with All the Gifts. Wizard of Earthsea, the Big Sleep, and The Lies of Locke Lamorra were all good, but I didn't actually reread them for the book club discussion, them all being pretty recent reads before 2018.

When it comes to historical fiction, I've been enjoying the Falco novels of Lindsay Davis- a hardboiled private detective in the Roman Emperor at the time of Vespasian. Recommended.

There hasn't been much (anything?) in terms of fantasy.

When it comes to science fiction, I've enjoyed some of Alistair Reynolds' more recent books- specifically Revenger and Poseidon's Wake, last part of his Poseidon's Children series.

Enough of that....what's yours?


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    The Falco books are excellent! They do veer towards a bit more soap opera than hardboiled as they go on, but you're more interested in the characters by then anyway. And I really enjoyed the book written while the author was trying to move house, just for all the unpleasant things that happen to estate agents in the book!

    As for stand-out books I've read, the ones that loom largest in my recollection are the Broken Earth books by NK Jemisin. Fantastic story, fantastic characters, fantastic world building.

    I also read a few Georgette Heyer novels (Devils Cub and A Civil Contract are the stand-out ones) that I picked up in an Amazon bundle a while ago. A wonderful peek at a different world (English Regency aristocrats) and nice to get away from everything being nerd-troped.

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    Another good book was Under a Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. A Gothic tale of Victorian missionaries in the land of Fae. Took a while to get going, but once it did, oh boy. (And my appreciation was helped by some twitter conversations with the author about the VERY SUBTLE SYMBOLISM that was EASILY MISSED in the just awesome pair of films that was Baahubali.)

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    I have so far read 70 books this year (over 23K pages, for an average of 330 pages per book) and will complete at least 2 more books (1000 more pages) before the end, which is a record year for me since I've been keeping track.

    My standouts were:

    1. The Lord of the Rings Slow Read, which really gave me a new appreciation to Tolkien's ability as a writer, as well as a storyteller.
    2. A Wizard of Earthsea, which I feel similarly about. We read that as a club pick back in January.
    3. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, which is as wonderful a character study as I've seen. In fact, I'm tempted to reread this one soon.
    4. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, which I re-read this year. I have previously been of the opinion that Lions of Al Rassan or the Sarantine Mosaic were his best books, but having now re-read all within the last year I'm feeling it's Tigana.
    5. Sharpe's Tiger - chronologically the first in the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell and probably still by favourite so far (I've now read, or listened to, 6 of these). The narrator on the audio book is superb, which added to my enjoyment. I really loved the three books set in India - a little more that the European ones.
    6. RPGs - I read 12 RPG products this year, and really enjoyed Tekumel and Monster Island in particular.
    7. In SF, I really rather liked Hellstrom's Hive by Frank Herbert and The Left Hand of Darkness by UKLG.
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    Ah, I hadn't counted rereads. Obviously, Lord of the Rings stood out, not just for being, well, Lord of the Rings, but it stood out amongst Lord of the Rings readings because of the way we read and discussed it as a slow read.

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