So, how did I get on with Mount TBR in 2016?
I added a whole heap of books, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. Overall I added 48 books, and managed to read ten of them. That’s not bad… is it?
- Graeber, David – Debt: the first 5,000 years Rec’d by pharm on Metafilter :
he writes about the way societies who based their economies on slave labour had a kind of societal guilt about the institution that expressed itself in (amongst other ways) bloody violence against the slightest hint of slave revolts out of the fear of what such a revolt would do to the slave-owning classes – in other words they feared the worst because they knew deep down that they deserved the worst.This is still unread but it is available free online
- Schoen, Lawrence M. – Barsk Rec’d by the author on jscalzi’s blog. Still unread.
- Beard, Mary – SPQR rec’d by sukeban on metafilter
Last month I tried to read Tom Holland’s Dynasty. It literally begins with how Rome was founded on rapey rape rapeness and macho posturing and honor and such. So I endured a couple of pages and went on to Mary Beard’s SPQR, which begins about how the exact same legend of Rhea Silvia and Romulus and Remus is a fiction about which different versions Romans themselves disagreed a lot.. This one I read and enjoyed. Yay!
And this is why we need women writing history books.
(SPQR goes on contrasting the Roman legendary history with archaeological findings and it’s an awesome book)
- Kirstein, Rosemary – The Steerswoman. Rec’d by Renay – Lady Business
This book isn’t only about strength of body, but also about being smart, well-read, a good listener, and skilled at observation. Maybe that’s where I feel like there’s a difference with the more modern fantasy I’ve read. It places a very high value on skills that might be considered passive or “soft” but are actually incredibly difficult to master.Still unread, but I’ve read something recently that the author has the ebook rights so might be easier to get my hands on in 2017.1
- North, Claire – Touch Rec’d by Liz Bourke on Tor.com
It’s tightly-plotted, driven, tense, and brilliantly written. There are moments where the prose sits up and sings. Throughout, it’s saturated with a sense of not-quite-regret, a wistful ruefulness, that fits elegantly with the cathartic inevitability of its conclusion. Altogether a fantastic book.unread
- Jones, Eliza Henry – In the quiet rec’d by Pam – Book Crazy
I usually avoid books described as “uplifting” because “uplifting” usually means “sappy”. This one isn’t — there’s honest emotion and characters who snap and bitch and sometimes fail each other.unread
- Thompson, Tade – Making wolf Rec’d by Kate Elliott
Making Wolf works because Thompson has an unflinching understanding of how cynical and compromised people can become while depicting them as people with understandable motives and reactions. It is, as I’ve said, a violent book, but I never felt pandered tounread
- Tchaikovsky, Aidan – The tiger and the wolf I enjoyed the tor.com excerpt unread
- Case, Alison – Nelly Dean Rec’d by Lynns books :
On the whole I was totally enamoured with this book. The pages just flew by, I loved the style of writing and I really enjoyed spending time once again upon the moors. Like I said, this doesn’t have the haunting and darkly brooding atmosphere of WH but it is nonetheless a captivating story of love, loyalty and family secrets unread
- Wright, Helen S – A matter of oaths Rec’d by Sandstone on twitter. This is another I managed to read.
- Lofts, Norah – The king’s pleasure. Rec’d by Emjaybee & Rosie M Banks on Metafilter discussing historical fiction. I’ve bought this one but it remains unread.
- Tieryas, Peter – United States of Japan. Rec’d by Kameron Hurley
It’s so wild that after a time you just don’t even care if there are plot holes because you’re having so much fun in this insane world. Characters are good at keeping their secrets close to their chests, so as the truth bleeds out along the way about what’s going on, you’re surprised and fully invested in the outcome. Bonus points for having complex, interesting characters throughout that are actually gender-balanced.unread
- Arnold, Elana K. – Infandous. Rec’d by Flamingo House Happenings
The myths scattered throughout the book went a long way towards making this one hell of a dark and deep novel.unread
- Crispin, A C – Starbridge. Rec’d by Seanan MacGuire
There is a cat-person planet that will break your heart.unread
- Sattin, Sameul – Legend. Rec’d by the review on The Mary Sue
In what can only be described as a post apocalyptic world, we ask what happened? Where has everyone gone? And why have dogs (and cats) been left in charge? unread
- Divya, S. B. – Run Time. Rec’d by Kameron Hurley unread.
- Griep, Camille – New Charity Blues. Rec’d by the author’s post on Scalzi’s big idea unread
- Grant, Jules – We go round in the night and are consumed by fire. Rec’d by Jodie – lady business (and also because that title is just plain awesome) unread
- Palmer, Ada – Too like the lightning. Rec’d by Jo Walton
Too Like the Lightning is a very difficult book to talk about to people who haven’t read it. It’s a huge complex book introducing a huge complex world, and it’s bursting with fascinating ideas. But there’s no simple elevator pitch explanation for it. I’ve spent the last four years dying to talk about it. As people have been reading the ARCs and loving it and posting about it on Twitter—Kark Schroeder (“most exciting SF future I’ve encountered in years”), Fran Wilde (“AMAZEBALLS. GET. READ.”), Ken Liu (“reflective, analytical, smart, beautiful.”), Ellen Kushner (“stylistically wacky and daring”), Max Gladstone (“I’m kind of in love with this book”)—I’ve been bubbling over with “I told you you’d like it!”unread
- Pelevin, Victor – The sacred book of the werewolf. Rec’d by Tor.com article “Five Visions of Post-Soviet Weirdness” unread
- Elizarov, Mikhail – The librarian. Rec’d by Tor.com “Five visions of Post-soviet weirdness” unread
- Khanani, Intisar – Memories of Ash Added because I loved the first book in the series. Another I’ve read and loved.
- Lee, Yoon Ha – Ninefox Gambit. Rec’d by Renay at LadyBusiness:
My reaction throughout: “WTF is that? WTF is this? WTF IS HAPPENING???” You start with calendrical rot and end up in a battle sequence that uses a system of loyalty to create defenses known as formations that are then used to fight bad guys and resist weapons. But don’t worry: there are robots (called servitors), so at least one thing will be familiar.unread but I did buy it recently.
- Livingston, Michael – The shards of heaven. Added because I enjoyed the author talking about battles in GOT on Tor.com unread
- McDougall, Sophie – Romanitas. Rec’d by Daniel Godfrey on Tor.com
Within Romanitas, McDougall explores what the world would be like if the Roman Empire had survived to contemporary times: complete with mechanised crucifixes, magnetic railways … and the continuation of the Roman system of slaveryunread
- Walton, Jo – Necessity. Rec’d by Me! because I read & really enjoyed the previous 2 books in the series. Still unread
- Johnson, Kij – The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe. Added because it is Kij Johnson! unread
- Mieville, China – The last days of new Paris Added because all Mieville is well worth a read. unread
- Bengtsson, Frans Gunnar – The Long Ships. Rec’d by Wobuffat (Metafilter) based on Michael Chabon’s review
I personally guarantee that, however infinitesimally, the world would be a happier place if this wonderful novel, in its excellent English translation by Michael Meyer, were restored to print. A tale of Viking adventure set in the 10th century, what makes The Long Ships such a delicious book is not its thrilling escapes, battles and rescues, nor its lifelike, morally ambiguous heroes and villains, but the droll, astringent, sly tone taken by the narrator toward the characters, particularly with regard to their relations to God, gold and sex. It’s a world classic of the literature of adventure, on a par with The Three Musketeers and The Odyssey, its avowed models.. This is read & would also recommend it if you enjoy the whole viking action adventure.
On the strength of that recommendation, I ordered a used copy sight unseen, and yep, it was totally worth it.
- Ayrton, Michael – The Maze maker. Rec’d by Michael Swanswick on Tor.com
The Maze Maker sets out to be one of those novels where a mythic figure—here, Daedalus, creator of both the labyrinth and the wings that doomed his son Icarus—is rationalized as a historic figure, and it does include a great deal of fascinating Bronze Age smitheryunread
- Wilde, Fran – The jewel and her lapidary. Rec’d by Carl. I read this, but never got around to reviewing it. I liked it, but didn’t love it.
- Bull, Emma – Falcon. Rec’d by Courtney Schafer
I love the book regardless of its rough edges, because every character in the novel is so vividly drawn. You get difficult family relationships, betrayals, and reluctant friendships mixed in with surprising plot twists and space battles. Shamefully unread. I keep saying I *must* read something by Emma Bull.
- Tarr, Judith – Alamut. Also Farthing. And I read it. Another of the few.
- Smith, Sherwood & Trowbridge, Dave – The Phoenix in Flight Rec’d by Courtney Schafer on LadyBusiness :
Exordium [series] is five volumes of rip roaring yet intelligent space opera … “like Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond, but in space.Unread.
- Whitely, Aliya – The Beauty. Rec’d by Ellie at Curiosity killed the bookworm :
The fungus claimed the women. All of them. The men and boys left behind must live their lives with the knowledge they will be the last. Little do they know what lies in the woods, what grows in the graves of their lost loved ones…Unread.
- Bull, Emma – Territory. Rec’d by Little red reviewer
Reading this book was like climbing under a soft heavy blanket – everything just felt rightalso its got horses and magic. Sounds awesome. But still unread.
- Mieville, China – This census-taker. Rec’d by me! it’s China Mieville. I read this one, but didn’t really get it I’m afraid.
- McBride, Eimear – The Lesser Bohemians. Rec’d by me! I loved her A Girl Is A Half-Formed thing. I read and adored this. Please read these two books. Or at least give them a try. They won’t be to everyone’s taste but I just found them utterly captivating. Sometimes the felt like being punched, but so worth it.
- Walton, Jo – Half a crown. Rec’d by me as I adored Ha’Penny. Another one read.
- Bowen, Lila – Conspiracy of Ravens. Rec’d by me! as it is the sequel to Wake of Vultures, which was great. Unread.
- The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales. Rec’d by Barnes & Noble’s October picks – plus its a collection of Fairy tales. Of course I’m interested. Unread.
- Chu Wesley – The lives of Tao. Added because of the the author on reddit (via tor.com)
I want Roen Tan to fight Rand Al’Thor from Robert Jordan’s excellent Wheel of Time. Rand got a hand cut off but so we’ll let him use a sword. Roen isn’t allowed a weapon because we are a civilized folk and demand relatively fair odds.Unread.
- Newman, Emma – Planetfall Rec’d by Books_Pieces Vlog. Unread.
- Weatherford, Jack – Genghis Khan and the Quest for God: How the World’s Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom. Rec’d by Beth Fish Reads
Genghis was many things: warrior, husband, father, and ruler. He was also a seeker of spiritual wisdom. He talked with religious leaders of many faiths, including Judaism, Sufi, Islam, Catholism, and Buddhism. He made religious tolerance a mainstay of his empire, and his ideas reached into the centuries, influencing people like Thomas Jefferson– things I never knew. Also I always think of Kate Elliott’s wonderful Jaran books when I think of Genghis Khan. Maybe that’s just me? Unread.
- Jones, Sadie – The Outcast. Rec’d by Helen Lowe
its strength and focus is the indepth exploration of its characters and their motivations. Unread.
- Jones, Heather Rose – Daughter of Mystery. Rec’d by Renay
Gwendoline Christie, glammed up, but also wielding a sword. Unread.
- Griffith, Nicola – Ammonite. Rec’d by Jessamyn on Metafilter. Unread.
- Shepherd, Megan – The Secret Horses of Briar Hill. Rec’d by Maggie Stiefvater
Sometimes a book feels like it has always existed. It’s not that it’s predictable nor unadventurous, merely that you can’t shake the feeling as you turn pages that it is familiar — you’ve read it before or just known that it existed for so long that it feels as if you had.Unread.