Saturday, October 25, 2008

Update on books

I have not posted here in a long time since I started doing reviews for Robert at Fantasy Book Critic, while keeping the habit of doing mini-reviews on sffworld and Goodreads.

As a matter of counting I am currently at 194 books read in 2008, though of course I've done many rereads, partial reads, short fiction and such. Though I started cataloging the books read with my son too - or to be more precise the novels, some with more graphics, some with less, but full novels otherwise - so the true number is probably around 190 for now.

Of 2008 releases, right now I have 4 that stand out in terms of impressions made on me. These 4 are books that I encounter rarely, so powerful an impression they made.

Anathem by N. Stephenson, a once in a decade book and the only current serious candidate to displace Use of Weapons by IM Banks from my all time sff novel, though I will need some years to assess that.

2666 by Roberto Bolano - an extraordinary novel, dark but full of hope too

Caine Black Knife by M. Stover - the perfect, no words wasted, blade-edge fantasy novel

Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney aka G. Joyce - an adult fairy-tale, dark, funny, and with a message of hope and redemption that resonated powerfully with me.



1: Anathem
2: Void 2/BSRA - tie
3: January Dancer
4: House of Suns
5+: ??? Matter/Line War/Cosmos Incorporated/Gone Away World/Martian General's Daughter/Principles of Angels/Winterstrike/Devil's Eye/Affinity Bridge/Incandescence/Implied Spaces/Swiftly/Multireal/Claws that Catch/Slanted Jack/The Great Planet Robbery ???

Genre Fantasy:

1: Caine 3
2: Kingdom Beyond the Waves
3: Ten Thousand
4: Magician and Mrs Quent
5+: ??? Painted Man/Way of Shadows/Empire Black and Gold/Deep Water/Sharing Knife 3/Affinity Bridge/Havemercy/The Steel Remains/Red Wolf 1/Last Argument of Kings/Bloodheir/The Alchemy of Stone/Shadowbridge ???

Mainstream literature with fantastical elements:

1: Memoirs of a Master Forger
2: El Juego del Angel
3: The Gargoyle
4: Ghost Radio
5+: ??? The Monsters of Templeton/The Enchantress of Florence/The Memorist/Black Ships/Ninth Circle/Domino Men ???

Mainstream/historical fiction - no fantastic

1: 2666
2: Waltenberg/Le Salut De L'Empire - tie
3: The Good Thief
4: The Gift of Rain/Serious Things - tie
5+: ??? /The Triumph of Caesar/Legionary 2/The Minutes of the Lazarus Club/Other People's Children/Spies of Warsaw/The Lost Army/ ???

Since Thunderer was technically 2007, and Storm from the Shadows and Drood are 2009 I have not included them here, otherwise Drood would have competed strongly for 2nd against El Juego del Angel in mf, Storm would have been tied with Void 2/BSRA in sf and Thunderer would have been tied at 3 in gf

Also a bunch of interesting 2008 books are coming, or I have not read yet including

already own: Gladiatrix, Quiet War, Shadows' Edge, Creator's Map, Glass of Time, Watermind, Lord Tophet, Breath God, Dark Volume, Hakawati, Fraction of a Whole,

to buy asap: The Juggler, Shadow of the Scorpion, The Company, Sentients Orion 2, BioHell, Long Look,

and of course unexpected surprises, so the rankings may change