This is the retired Bookshelf page for 2010. Looking over the list of completed books, I managed to read 37 titles, with the last book just sneaking in under the wire. I have about four books in various stages of read-ness, but they will carry over to the new year. That’s not bad. My record was set when I was trying to meet the 50 Books Challenge a few years back (read 50+ books in a year, and post your progress) and I hit 48 books. So close! However, I wasn’t writing at the time, so considering I wrote pretty heavily this past year, 37 ain’t too bad at all.
And now, time for some math!
Fiction vs Non-Fiction — 22 novels and 15 non-ficiton titles. The non-fiction titles were mostly writing how-to books, except for 4, which were general interest books. I want to be reading more fiction, and I want to make sure that my non-fiction books don’t just end up being how-to books. That’s limiting. It’s a big wide world out there. I have lots of non-fiction books in the house, but I tend to read them piece-meal for research.
Female vs Male Writers — 21 were written by women and 16 were written by men. Interesting. I always worry that I read men more then women, and I wonder about the differences in style and content, if there are any. But lotsa girls in the list, which makes me happy.
Fantasy vs Science Fiction — 15 fantasy titles (including horror), 5 science fiction titles, 1 historical. Certainly tipping one way. I counted Steampunk books as fantasy. If I wanted to get really anal, I’d break that further down by gender. A quick scan shows that the science fiction is more or less split down the middle while the women come out ahead on the fantasy side. Just.
But anyways, here’s the list! I can also be found over at GoodReads here, BTW.
BOOKS FROM 2010:
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest — much enjoyed, a strange blend of alternate history, steampunk and zombies! (And she has the coolest name. Srsly.) I really got into the characters, and the world. Will continue the series, will keep it handy to learn from. Slight quibble about the anachronistic dialogue, but really, do I want to read stuffy Victorianna? No. And besides, since the timeline of this world has changed so much, very forgivable and appreciated.
Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop — second in a series. Loved the first, a sort of guilty pleasure, but this book fell very flat, more guilty than pleasure. I’ll read the third, just to get closure on the story.
Mindscan by Robert Sawyer — so far, my favorite of the ones of his that I’ve read, though I still had my quibbles with the main characters. What I loved best was the lack of magical hand-waving. He actually explored the ideas of consciousness and humanity, though he only showed us the first vanguard. There’s a lot left on the table.
Thunder and Lightning by Natalie Goldberg — purchased whilst in Toronto, this is the second book in her treatise on writing. As always, thoughtful, wakeful, mindful stuff.
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See — discovered during my library wanderings, the cover, with it’s compelling photo/art style, drawing me like a magnet. It’s historical fiction, which I like dipping into. And it was so good! So rewarding when the universe just drops a great book in your lap. Looking forward to the sequel!
Geist: A Book of the Order by Philippa Ballantine — brand new fantasy from a New Zealand fantasist. A good first effort, interesting world-building, but didn’t click with me (and I really wanted to love it).
Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder — invigorating, captivating blend of hard SF worldbuilding and swashbuckling sky pirates. SO. GOOD.
Storyteller by Kate Wilhelm — Wilhelm is a long-time member of the Clarion faculty. This is part (wonderful) memoir and part practical. Going on the Awesome Shelf.
White Bird in a Blizzard by Laura Kasischke — a psychological horror told from an intense first person view point. Very compelling, if a somewhat predictable (or is that inevitable?) ending.
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips — the Greek Gods live … in the 21st century! Delightful.
Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis — What happens when you mix demons and superheroes and the Third Reich? A pretty damn cool book. Pick it up!
Getting Things Done by David Allen — WOW. Still incorporating this book into my writing and life habits. Much good to be learned here!
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie — book 2 in his series. I enjoyed it, but I was frustrated at the lack of progress. As exquisitely written, as wonderful the characters, it really felt like this was the sight-seeing book in middle of the story.
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell — crunchy, thinky book. Some real thought-provoking stuff. Going on the Awesome Shelf.
Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block — a classic, and purchased for about $10 for my Kindle App. Had it ages ago, now re-reading it.
Dogs by Nancy Kress — very unlike her normal work. It is a bio-terrorist thriller set in the United States and riffing off small town fears, government mistrust, and a plague.
Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us by Jessica Page Morrell — Wowie! This is a keeper. I raved about it in a blog post.
The Virtu by Sarah Monette — book two of her series that begins with Melusine. This is the Kobo App, as that’s how I started buying them.
The Black Company by Glen Cook — gritty fantasy with an epic spin with damn cool ideas, compilation of 3 novels.
Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen — something I enjoyed, if not without full understanding. Will be a book I go back to step outside my comfortable writing habits.
Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente — lyrical, beautiful, sad, with just a skoosh of twisted hope at the end. Nice. Also the experience has sold me on the superior utility of the Kindle App verses Kobo, though the Kobo is by far prettier.
Soulless by Gail Carriger — alternative Victorian/Steampunk/Horror, and my very first e-book in the Kobo format. Great romp!
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott — in the same vein as Goldberg’s classic, personal and passionate writing advice.
The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson — about the history of fish told through the lens of a set of sushi academy students. Science and culture and biology all merged into one.
James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Philips — fascinating, heartbreaking. I have to find her collections.
The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell — bite-sized pieces of writing advice that carries a whopping punch.
April Blood by Lauro Martines — non-fiction chronicling the plot against the Medici in the 15th Century.
The Illustrated Teachings of the Dalai Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (out of print now) — for some calming thoughts about life, the universe, and everything.
Darklight by Lesley Livingstone — continuing the tale from Wondrous Strange, but leaving off at a cliffhanger! Eep!
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin — it was all right, but I preferred Left Hand of Darkness more.
The Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine — heartening to hear that our writing group is doing what we should be doing and great tips on how to push it to the next level.
Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight — a classic. Had it before, sold it during the purge, repurchased is.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey — richly developed alternate history blended with magic and eroticism. Loved it, want the rest, but having a hard time getting hard copies.
Probability Moon by Nancy Kress — the beginnings of a series but stand alone enough to be a complete tale. As always, excellent world building, characters deeply rooted in their culture, and moral quandaries. Classic Kress!
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill — Wow. Really like Hill. Devoured this anthology and sing its praises wherever I can.