Monday, November 02, 2015

Books Read: October 2015

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 October.

1. The Builders, by Daniel Polansky
2. The Trials, by Linda Nagata
3. The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard
4. Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
5. The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu
6. The Bristling Wood, by Katherine Kerr
7. You're Never Weird on the Internet, by Felicia Day
8. The End of All Things, by John Scalzi
9. The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
10. Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell

Best Book of the Month: Can I make it a three-way tie? I really don't want to have to choose between The House of Shattered Wings, Sorcerer to the Crown, and The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I highly recommend all of them.

Disappointment of the Month: I would hesitate to call The Dark Forest a disappointment because that would suggest I came into it with expectations, and I did not. I did not enjoy nor appreciate the Hugo Award winning Three-Body Problem and normally that would be enough to have me not read the sequel, but I figure that there is a better than average chance The Dark Forest will pick up a nomination in 2016 so I might as well read it now. Also, it was supposed to be "better" than the first book. It might have been, but I still bounce hard off of this series. Not a fan. 

Discovery of the Month: Seth Dickinson and Zen Cho are damn good writers. Also - go read Felicia Day's memoir!

Worth Noting: Except for The Dark Forest, every other book I read this month was excellent to outstanding. This was probably the highest quality month of reading I've had in some time, but I'd have to actually check my records for that.

Gender Breakdown: I was an even 50% for October on my gender breakdown, which brings me to 64/110 for the year. This slides my percentage down just a touch to 58.18% books written by women. Goal is still on track. I'd like to slide that up over 60%, but I'm still nailing the goal so I'm happy.

Previous Months:


Todd said...

Thanks Joe, I was up in the air about reading Cixin Liu's work but after reading this I think I'll give it a pass as you're far from the first person who just didn't care for it.
Been wanting to dig into The Traitor Baru Cormorant, but I've also heard that it's a bit cold in it's characterizations (and I'm all about good characters, I can't stomach cardboard types) but I'm wanting to give it a try anyways.
One thing though Joe, how in the world do you find the time to read so much every month? I'm in awe as I'm lucky to get a third of as many as you.
Keep up the great work and looking forward to what you have for us next month.

Joe said...

I'm just a fast reader - but generally I read a bit before bed and on lunch break at work. It adds up.

I thought Traitor Baru was excellent. Perhaps a touch cold, but definitely not wooden. But it's a fairly tight third person, from what I recall, so you don't necessarily get inside anyone else's head and in some ways Baru is trying to shut herself down so she can do what she thinks she needs to do.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I was curious about the Felicia Day memoir. I enjoy her work online and imagine I would enjoy the book as well. Need to get it on my Christmas wishlist.

Todd said...

I'm wanting to finally take your advice and read some Elizabeth Bear but I don't know where to start with her work. Any suggestions?

Joe said...

Carl: I thought it was fantastic. Her personality comes through in the book.

Todd: That's a much larger question.

If you like / want Epic Fantasy, start with Range of Ghosts.
If you want a fantasy set before, during, and after the apocalypse, go for All the Windwracked Stars.
If you want some real urban fantasy with faerie, go for Blood and Iron (this was the book that hooked me on Bear).
If you want some Elizabethan era urban fantasy with Shakespeare and Marlowe and angels, Ink and Steel is your bet (set in the same Promethean Age setting as Blood and Iron, but earlier)
If you want a really ambitious not exactly a space opera on a generation ship with a whole lot more going on, start with Dust.
If you want a weird steampunkish western, Karen Memory.

There's a lot of options here.

Todd said...

I've been in more of a sci-fi mode the last several months and I really enjoy different takes on generation ships, so it looks like Dust is the winner!
And thanks I really appreciate the short genre synopsis, makes my future choices easier too.