Thursday, January 15, 2015

Books Read: December 2014

My intention was to get this post up immediately following all of my Year's Best and Looking Forward posts, which led to a good run of posting at very end of December and four posts in the first six days of January. That final post was scheduled for and posted on January 6. 

The reason we didn't get this post up on January 7 was that on January 6, my very pregnant wife's water broke in the wee hours of the morning and we spent the rest of the day in the hospital waiting for the arrival of our son.  Our first child.  Andrew decided to make an appearance at 11:49 pm.  He's doing great, and so is my wife.  But what this has meant in terms of posting is that we spent a couple of days in the hospital and then have been working on figuring this parenting thing out for the last 8 days.  By no means do we have it figured out, but I have some spare time while the rest of my family is napping. You could argue that I should be, too. 

There are no reviews to link to.

1. Grace's Guide, by Grace Helbig
2. Night Film, by Marisha Pessl
3. Prince of Dogs, by Kate Elliott
4. Hawk, by Steven Brust
5. Revival, by Stephen King
6. Allana, by Tamora Pierce
7. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer
8. The Last Man, by Vince Flynn
9. Unexpected Stories, by Octavia Butler
10. The Deaths of Tao, by Wesley Chu
11. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, by Matthew Inman
12. Steles of the Sky, by Elizabeth Bear

Best Book of the Month: Based on how I listed stuff on my list of the Top Nine Books Published in 2014, I have to go with Hawk. This was Steven Brust in full form and completely delivering a top notch Vlad Taltos novel. 

Disappointment of the Month: You generally know what you're getting with a Vince Flynn novel (action, a touch of jingoism, and a lot of ass kicking of terrorists and those who obstruct the safety of the United States).  You get an angry Mitch Rapp, which has generally been a solid if flawed ride.  The Last Man was Vince Flynn's last published novel and it was written while he was battling the cancer which ultimately took his life. Unfortunately, it wasn't up to the standard of the rest of the series.  I have some thoughts on that, but in the end, it doesn't matter. A husband and a father lost his life, and I feel so much more for his family than I care about how this particular novel turned out. I've enjoyed Flynn's work in the past and we have a couple of his books up at the cabin if we need to quickly dive in to something.  As a side note, it was recently announced that Kyle Mills will be continuing the Mitch Rapp series. The Survivor (a book Flynn started) may come out in 2015.

Discovery of the Month: I have mentioned this elsewhere, but I really wish I had discovered Tamora Pierce when I was twelve. I liked it at 35, I would have loved it then and would have devoured everything Pierce wrote back then. Allana was fantastic.

Worth Noting: With Steles of the Sky, Elizabeth Bear concluded her superb Eternal Sky trilogy, a "silk road" fantasy with far more eastern than western influences. It is a beautiful and brutal novel and series, and it should be held up as one of the top fantasy series in recent years.

Gender Breakdown: Of the twelve books I read last month, seven were written by women. This marks two consecutive months which I have read more books written by women than by men.  This brings my total to 62/135 for the year (45.92%), which is the greatest percentage of female authored books I have ever read in a given year as long as I have been keeping track of this sort of thing.  So, that's good, right?  It's a start.  I have a different and longer post in mind to talk about my year in reading as it relates to gender (a sequel to this one), so I won't bury it all here, but this is nothing more than a start.

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