The beginning of a new month brings with it the opportunity to look back at the month gone by and to give one last glance at what I most recently read. The below listed books are what I read during the month of July.
1. Cibola Burn, by James S. A. Corey
2. The Breadwinner, by Stevie Kopas
3. Consider Phlebas, by Iain Banks
4. A Crown of Cold Silver, by Alex Marshall
5. Daughters of the North, by Sarah Hall
6. Adrift on the Sea of Rains, by Ian Sales
7. Die Trying, by Lee Child
8. The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
9. High Deryni, by Katherine Kurtz
10. Darkspell, by Katherine Kerr
11. Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos
12. Crucible of Gold, by Naomi Novik
13. Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee
14. Justice Calling, by Annie Bellet
15. The Eye With Which the Universe Beholds Itself, by Ian Sales
16. Witch Hunt, by Annie Bellet
17. The Assassins, by Gayle Lynds
18. The Complete Peanuts: 1995-1996, by Charles M. Schulz
Best Book of the Month: It was close between Daughters of the North and Darkspell, but I think the slight edge is going to go to Sarah Hall's wonderful and beautifully ugly novel.
Disappointment of the Month: I hesitate to call The Three-Body Problem a true disappointment, because usually I reserve this space for what is often the "worst book of the month", and Cixin Liu's novel is certainly not that. But I had such high expectations for it based on all of the hype and the buzz and the award nominations and it was...also not that. The Three-Body Problem is a novel of ideas and some cool science-y type stuff. Remember, kids, I have a degree in English so when science becomes a major aspect of a novel, it's all hand waving magic to me. I like it, but it's magic. The ideas of The Three-Body Problem were cool and interesting and I wanted to know more about what happened next. The characters and the dialogue and the prose...I expected something different. Better? Cleaner? Less cardboard? Different. I'll still read The Dark Forest, it's just that my expectations will have changed and be more in line with what these books are.
Discovery of the Month: I had never read the short fiction of Ian Sales before learning about his Apollo Quartet, a series of novellas (and one short novel, I think) dealing with and around the space program - but exploring different science fictional ideas. The first two volumes are tightly told and thrilling stories and while they are not left with cliff hanger endings and each told very complete stories I was itching to know what happened after the final page. What happened next?
Worth Noting: I thought Katherine Kerr's Daggerspell was fantastic. Darkspell is even better. I hope to not let two years pass before reading The Bristling Wood.
Gender Breakdown: July was a weird month for me. At several times I thought the gender balance was going to skew heavily towards male writers, only to even the course and have it totter right back again. I swear I had this month planned out, but it all went wonky. I had some issues with my Nook at the end of the month, so several books I had loaded from the library became unreadable and I had to pull stuff I had on there from other sources, which helped me read two of Annie Bellet's novellas and one more Ian Sales. As for the breakdown, nine of of the eighteen books I read were written by women (Stevie Kopas is female). This brings my yearly total to 49 out of 86 books and moves my percentage to 56.97%. I am still on track.