Holiday Book Haul

I’ve been remiss in posting my holiday book haul.

Liar, Justine Larbalestier
In the Realm of A Dying Emperor, Norma Field
Shutting out the Sun, Michael Zielenziger
The Duel of Shadows, Vincent Cornier
The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
Lightspeed: Year One, edited by John Joseph Adams
Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy
The Steampunk Bible, Jeff VanderMeer and S.J. Chambers


Boooks I read in 2011

A little less than last year…

Child of a Rainless Year, Jane Lindskold
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, Mark Hodder
The Orphan’s Tales Part 2: Cities of Coin and Spice, Catherynne Valente
Fast Ships, Black Sails, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (editors)
New Spring: The Graphic Novel, Robert Jordan and Chuck Dixon
Madame Xanadu Vol 3: Broken House of Cards, Matt Wagner
Incarceron, Catherine Fisher
A Companion to Wolves (reread), Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
Fables Vol. 14: Witches, Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Among Others, Jo Walton
The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan
Marked, P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast
Betrayed, P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast
Seven for a Secret, Elizabeth Bear.
The White City, Elizabeth Bear
Sleeping Helena, Erzebet YellowBoy
Six Geese A-Slaying, Donna Andrews
Hounded, Kevin Herne
Little Fuzzy, H. Beam Piper
Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
The Shadows: The Books of Elsewhere Vol 1, Jacqueline West
Haunting Jordan, P.J. Alderman
Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, Nathan Bransford
Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris
An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, John O’Farrell
Gods Behaving Badly, Marie Phillips
Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch
Gears of the Earth (draft), Seamus Bayne
Heist Society, Ally Carter
Hexed,  Kevin Herne
Blackout, Connie Willis
All Clear, Connie Willis
The Pharoah’s Secret, Marissa Moss
Secrets of the Sands, Leona Wisoker.
Deathless, Catherynne Valente
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne Valente
The Case of the Missing Servant, Tarquin Hall.
The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head, Tarquin Hall
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder
A Tempering of Men, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
The Ice Princess, Camilla Läckberg
The Outlaw’s Tale, Margaret Frazer
Bloodshot, Cherie Priest
Hammered, Kevin Herne
You Slay Me, Katie MacAlister
Stork Raving Mad, Donna Andrews
Home for a Spell, Madelyn Alt
For a Few Demons More (reread), Kim Harrison
The Outlaw Demon Wails (reread), Kim Harrison
Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Goes to Washington, Carrie Vaughn
Dragon’s Lure, Danielle Ackley-McPhail (editor)
Pocketful of Rye, Agatha Christie
Murder at The Vicarage, Agatha Christie
The Body in The Library, Agatha Christie
The Moving Finger, Agatha Christie
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes
Madame Xanadu Vol. 4, Extra Sensory, Matt Wagner
An Impartial Witness, Charles Todd
Discord’s Apple, Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Takes a Holiday, Carrie Vaughn
All Men of Genius, Lev AC Rosen
Price of the Stars: Book One of Mageworlds, Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman, Jim Bernheimer
Kitty and the Silver Bullet, Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand, Carrie Vaughn
Secondhand Spirits, Juliet Blackwell
A Cast Off Coven, Juliet Blackwell
Blood and Other Cravings, Ellen Datlow (editor)
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Zero Sight, B. Justin Shier
Time Stops for No Mouse, Michael Hoeye
The Stepsister Scheme, Jim C. Hines
Akata Witch, Nnedi Otokofor
Morning Glories Vol 1, Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma
Let the Dragon Wake, Sylvia Volk
The Map of True Places, Brunonia Barry
Zero Sum, B. Justin Shier
Bone: The Complete Cartoon Collection in One Volume, Jeff Smith
Shimmer, Alyson N0ël
Bossypants, Tina Fey

Reading from the Book Pile

So like most readers, I have piles of books all around the house – under the beds, by the beds, in all the bathrooms, on the coffee table, in the stairwell, bookshelves in the kitchen, in the basement, in the bedroom. I even have some overflow at my office. Unlike my Most Anticipated Reads of 2012, the following list consists of books waiting for me in the pile.

1. and 2. Red Bones and Blue Lightning, Ann Cleeves. Books 3 and 4, respectively, of the Shetland Island Quartet.

3. Where Shadows Dance, C. S. Harris. Next in an excellent mystery series set in the upper class during the Regency. Comes right before When Maidens Mourn, #6 on my 2012 Most Anticipated list.

4. The Sherlockian, Graham Moore. Mystery about mystery lovers. How very meta.

5. The Habitation of the Blessed: A Dirge for Prester John, Cat Valente. I mean, it’s Cat Valente. It’s going to be awesome, and the language in it will be so beautiful, it will make me hate her. (I say that with all love, of course.)

6. Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick. From the author who brought us The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wnderstruck is in the same vein – half written, half illustration. A majority of the book appears to be line drawings with no dialogue. Intriguing.

7. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis. I loved The Domesday Book and Blackout/All Clear. My wife told me it was embarrassing that I’d never read this one, which is her favorite of all.

Running Out the Clock

So I usually am reading 3 or 4 things at a time. I’ve always been that way. Sometimes I want a mystery, sometimes straight-up fantasy, or a graphic novel. This, by the way, drives my wife crazy, who finds it incredibly distracting to read more than one thing at a time. She calls it a reflection of my hummingbird brain, which is always pinging from sweet to sweet.

This habit only annoys ME at the end of the calendar year. For whatever reason, I hate to have books cross over. I like to finish out the year with a book and begin fresh in January. As such, I’m on a countdown to finish the following by December 30:

1. The Map of True Places, Brunonia Barry. It’s a story of a woman dealing with her father’s failing mental health, which forces her to question the stories she has spun for herself about the death of her mother. I really enjoyed The Lace Reader. Not exactly sure if I’m liking this as well. Both books fall into the category of books I pulled out of  my wife’s pile, which I would not have purchased for myself. FINISHED 12/20/11.

2. Let the Dragon Wake, Sylvia Volk. One of my Viable Paradise 14 classmates. This is her self-published novel about a city built atop a sleeping dragon. I’m liking the mythic threads that she picks up and plays with. Can a woman, created by magic for a purpose – to be the wife of one man, escape that fate? Or does she even want to? FINISHED 12/29/11.

3. Bossypants, Tina Fey. This came in the free Christmas gift box from the quality paperback book club. It’s been great bathroom reading, honestly. FINISHED 12/26/11.

4. The Finder Library, Volume One, Carla Speed McNeil. A recommendation made by Seanan McGuire during SF Squeecast, a podcast in which McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Catherynne Valente, Paul Cornell and Lynne Thomas gush and, well…. squee over their favorite things. The Finder Library, Volume One is a major compilation of the first years of McNeil’s ongoing independent comic. Finder is good, but not a quick read like other graphic novels. I’m having to work my way through this one.

5. The Preacher, Camilla Lackberg. I really enjoyed her first book, The Ice Princess, and this is the next in her mystery series featuring Patrick and Erica Hedstrom, set in Fjallbacka, Sweden. Unfortunately, this is one of those books I started when all hell broke loose at work, and for whatever reason, I haven’t gone back to it.


I guess I have my work cut out for me in the next two weeks. Let’s see what I can do. I’ll soon be posting my “Read in 2011” list.

ETA: Forgot two.

6. Shimmer, Alyson Noël. OK, some explanation is required here. Not that I don’t read middle grade (which I do) and not that I don’t read “girl books” (which I also do). But this is book two of a series of which I have not read book 1. (Which is pretty anathema, honestly.) But my daughter asked me to read it so we could talk about it, and I didn’t feel like I would have to read book 1 to figure out the plot. FINISHED 12/20/11.

7. The Hangman’s Daughter, Oliver Pötzsch. A good book. Not sure why I stopped. The original is in German, but the translation, done by Lee Chadeayne, is terrific, so it’s not the translation which is bothering me.  Not sure if I will get through this one. I think it annoys me that we’re not dealing with the actual Hangman’s Daughter more, though maybe I’m just not far enough along.

Review: The Night Circus

So I finished Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and immediately passed it on to my wife to read. One of the most talked about books of the fall, and I can see why. The book is crafted, not just written. As I read each chapter, I felt as though I was exploring a perfect little shadow box. Each chapter led to a new room, newly crafted, full of perfect little ideas. It was immensely satisfying.

Although noted as a story of a magical duel between the proteges of two master magicians, the protagonists figure out that it’s less a duel than siege warfare. How much can one person endure before he or she breaks. And thus, the winner…

I can see why Hollywood immediately grabbed the rights to it, as the novel is full of very evocative images. Black and white and red is a bold color palette for the circus, and many of the magical attractions created in the form of circus tents would lend themselves to Hollywood imagery.

Definitely in the run for my favorite book of 2011.

Most Anticipated Reads of 2012

As soon as the year ends, I’ll post my 2011 reading list, but I thought I’d start and maintain a thread on my most anticipated reads for the new year. Though there are a lot of books still sitting unread by my bedside, these are the books for which I’m anxiously awaiting release.

I’m incapable of ordering anything, though, so… in no particular order.

1. Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal. Release date: 4/10/12. This is a sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey, which I thought was a perfectly lovely self-contained story. I’ll be the first to admit that regency fiction doesn’t do much for me (I thought Pride and Prejudice was much better with zombies), but I loved MRK’s magic system and how she explores the possibilities of weaving glamour. Although it’s seen as nothing more than a feminine art in the first book, I’m hoping she’ll begin exploring how that may change things.

2. Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear. Release date: 3/27/12. One of the things I enjoy most about Bear’s blog is her honesty as she chronicles her daily tribulations with whatever piece she is working on. This will be the first book of hers that I will have read after watching her blog its progress. And I have an inherent interest in Central Asia, so seeing that an alternate Central Asia is the setting, she pretty much had me either way.

3. Ad Eternum, Elizabeth Bear. Release date: March 2012. The final (?)  novella in her chronicles of Don Sebastien de Ulloa and Abigail Irene Garrett, forensic sorceress. I was hooked since New Amsterdam, and have followed this series’ progress eagerly. In addition to the great stories, each book in the series has had an amazing cover, with art by Patrick Arrasmith, whose art I’ve been a fan of for a long while.

4. Tricked, Kevin Herne. Release date: 4/24/12. (Bonus for being released on my daughter’s birthday!) I found Kevin Herne this year and eagerly devoured the first three books of his Iron Druid Chronicles. I love the snarky voice of Atticus, the protagonist. Although he does get away with a lot seemingly consequence-free, the ending of book three seemed to indicate that his worry free days are over. I’m hoping the title also alludes to an interaction with Loki.

5. Starpilot’s Grave, Book 2 of the Mageworlds, Jim McDonald and Deb Doyle. Release date for ebook edition: UNKNOWN. You are killing me, seriously. I met Jim and Deb at Viable Paradise over a year ago and looked forward to finally reading one of their best known series. But book 1, 3 and 4 in e-book, and not book 2? I’m putting this on my list even given that the original was published in 1993. I’m not going to read forward until I can get book 2, but book 1 was exactly the kind of classic space opera that I grew up reading.

6. When Maidens Mourn, C.S. Harris. Release date: 3/6/12. Previous comment on regency era notwithstanding, my wife and I have really been enjoying this mystery series. The protagonist, Sebastian St. Cyr, uses his upper class connections to get to criminals the police can’t touch.

7. Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, Mark Hodder. Release date: 1/24/12. (Although Amazon seems to think it’s already available, so maybe it doesn’t belong on this list.) Third in Hodder’s Burton and Swineburne steampunk detective series.

8. A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Release date: sometime in 2012. Because once it’s done, I can actually go back and read the last few books. The Eye of the World was a major reading investment since college, but as they got more spaced out, it got harder and harder to catch up. I reread the first 10 or 11 a few years ago, but I have waited to read the last few until the whole thing is out and done. I just can’t handle that much aggravation and waiting.

9. Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe, Nathan Bransford. Release date: 4/12/12. I’ve read Nathan Bransford’s blog for awhile now and I really enjoyed his middle grade debut, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow. My 4th grader thought it was awesome too, and we wait for the sequel, together, with baited breath.

10. Flora’s Fury: How a Girl of Spirit and a Red Dog Confound Their Friends, Astound Their Enemies, and Learn the Importance of Packing Light, Ysabeau Wilce. Release date: 5/8/12. A totally unexpected entry on this list in that I wasn’t aware a third book was coming out! I really enjoyed Ysabeau Wilce’s first two books, Flora Segunda and Flora’s Dare, and the completely bizarre setting. Complete with alt-Aztecs! And a hummingbird god!