wishfulclicking: stack of books (books)
[personal profile] wishfulclicking

I fell down on reading full books this year. Not counting poetry journals and lit mags, I only finished 36 books this year which is not my lowest point, but it is not where I wanted to end up this year. I like to at least do 50 complete books a year, preferably with a range of nonfiction and fiction, across different genres. Oh, well, here’s to next year.

The last book I read was Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. It’s the first novel of the Southern Reach Trilogy and it was an engrossing read that showed a deft hand when it came to prose and description. Having it be first person pov with an unreliable narrator is essential to the story and really allows the creep factor to seep through without it ever feeling overwrought; by the time the main character feels overwhelmed, the prose is right there to press down. Having said all that, there were moments that felt too much and I can appreciate the skill while not fully loving the product. I am planning to finish the trilogy next year (they are short reads) but I am not as enthused about them as I were before I read the first one.

The first book I read was Octavia Butler’s Xenogenisis saga, starting with Dawn. Butler presents such a vivid, alien world where it forced me to have a constant awareness of figuring out how things would go as Lilith learned about her new environment. I did not go in completely blind, having read some yuletide fics dealing with the aliens’ sexual relations arrangement before I had read the books. The themes dealing with the nature of humanity, identity, choice, and oppression are well done and never dropped. Butler’s style is easy to read and each book flows into the other. The level of worldbuilding reminded me of The Left Hand of Darkness.

Lowest Rated Books: Young God, The Colour of Magic, Powers vol 1. The first was too choppy and the stylistic choices couldn’t make up for the empty narrative peppered with distant sex and violence; the second was just definitely the first of a good series; the third had predictable beats and is perhaps being unfairly judged by works that have come after it.

Highest Rated Books: Saga vols. 1 & 3; The Iron King; The Girl of Fire and Thorns; Dawn.
I already talked about how much I liked Octavia Butler. The first is still the best for me out of the Xeno trilogy: the last is too short and the second not full enough. Saga, I feel is in its perfect medium: the first volume was perfect from beginning to end and the third was just as good. I feel like so many are talking about it that there’s nothing I could add. TGoFaT I wish was bigger because it is such a great YA fantasy series: female protag coming of age and dealing with the weight of rule, an arranged marriage that is not out of a romance novel, dealing with the nature of faith and being called to a mission, various characters of both genders, showing the cost of war on multiple scales. The Iron King I happened upon after it was linked to me on kindle: GRRM called it the first ASOIAF and I have to say it is in the spirit of Martin’s series (you can obviously see how Martin was influenced) but it has no magic and is better paced and so much tighter. I need to read the rest of this series.

Books I haven’t mentioned but want to mention: Under the Skin (so weird, so good, so alien, so descriptive); The Glass Sentence (world rocked by event that separated lands into various ages with a range of phenomena! protagonist on a quest to search for her uncle! Adventurers! Pirates! Scientists! Time shenanigans!); The End is Nigh (How many ways can the world end? Check out this short story anthology to see.)

Here is my goodreads account. I do hope to post here more on the books I do read but I plan for a lot of things.

Date: 2015-01-03 02:59 pm (UTC)
eggcrack: Icon based on the painting "Kullervon kirous ja sotaanlahto" (Default)
From: [personal profile] eggcrack
Xenogenisis saga! It's been years since I read those books but I remember being blown away by them, Dawn especially. One day I'll find the time to get into Butler's other work too.


wishfulclicking: man in black and white pulling back a curtain to show moving sky (Default)
needs to up my sock game

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