Friday, August 28, 2015

The Good Stuff: Some Book Recommendations Through August 2015

Inspired somewhat by Jason Sanford's recent blog, I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the good stuff I've read this year and not about that other mess from this year. This is supposed to be a book blog, after all, even though I don't really blog too much about specific books that I'm reading outside of a monthly wrap up post and a series of "Best of the Year" articles which I put out at the end of the year.

This year has been a touch light on 2015 reading for me. I've only read 13 books published so far this year, but the remainder of the year looks to be a veritable explosion of goodness that I'm quite excited by.

So, thus far, I'd like to highlight three books that were the standout of 2015 publications I've read.

Signal to Noise, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear

These three novels could not be more different from each other, but are easily the class of the 2015 books I've read so far.  With Seveneves we have a novel set, initially, in that not too far future and it opens with the destruction of the moon. Bad things ensue. Bear's Karen Memory, on the other hand, is set back in an alternate 1800's which initially doesn't feel science fictional at all, but those elements come later - and it features one of the best character voices in that of its protagonist, Karen Memery. If I could sign up for two more just like this, I would.  Sylvia Moreno-Garcia's Signal to Noise is set in both modern day and 1980's Mexico City and the jacket copy describes the book as "A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City." I would also describe it as musical nostalgic fantasy, but descriptions do not quite service the beautiful and fantastic Signal to Noise well enough. Just go read it.

I'd like to include The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata on this list (or very close to my top 3), but even though Saga Press published it this year, it was previously self published in 2013 and was nominated for a Nebula Award in 2014. So if anything would pull it out of an eligibility year, that would be it. 

Three more books worth noting are:
Persona, by Genevieve Valentine
The Rebirths of Tao, by Wesley Chu
The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu

Actually, since Rebirths of Tao is the concluding volume of Wesley Chu's trilogy, I highly recommend seeking out The Lives of Tao. The Tao series is absolutely fantastic.

I'm limiting this to books published this year, though I've read a number of excellent novels published in previous years.

Some stuff I am very much looking forward to the rest of the year:
Loosed Upon the World, by John Joseph Adams
The End Has Come, by John Joseph Adams
Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
The Black Wolves, by Kate Elliott
Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott
The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins
Fool's Quest, by Robin Hobb
Empire Ascendant, by Kameron Hurley
Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie
The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu
The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin
Luna: New Moon, by Ian McDonald
An Apprentice to Elves, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
The Trials, by Linda Nagata
Going Dark, by Linda Nagata
Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson
White Trash Zombie Gone Wild, by Diana Rowland
The End of All Things, by John Scalzi
Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente
Kitty Saves the World, by Carrie Vaughn

I expect there are a number of books I also want to read this year and I question what I will actually get to and what I'll miss until they show up on some else's Best Of list and I have to try to power through it early next year - but this is a fairly solid year for books I want to read.

What are you looking forward to?


Anonymous said...

From your list of books, I've read:

The Dark Forest
The Fifth Season
The End of All Things

I'm currently reading The House of Shattered Wings.

Books that are bought and on my kindle that I am really looking forward to:

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik.
Lagoon, by Nnedi Okafor
Aurora, by Kin Stanley Robinson
Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson
The Philosopher Kings, by Jo Walton
Updraft, by Fran Wilde
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, by Kai Ashante Wilson (novella)

Books that are not out yet and that are on your list that I am eagerly awaiting:

Ancillary Mercy,
An Apprentice to Elves

Joe said...

That's a whole lot of good reading right there.

I was a bit disappointed by Lagoon, that one isn't going to be anywhere near my top anything of the year, but I have hopes for the rest.