This week’s theme is books you loved less or more than you thought you would. I’ll do five of each!
Books I Liked Less Than I Hoped:
- The Children’s Hospital, by Chris Adrian. A notorious failure in one of my online book clubs. Like, I don’t think any of us liked it, and I’m not sure how many of us actually finished it. For a while it was a byword for terribleness.
- Hard to Be A God, by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky. I enjoyed Roadside Picnic a whole lot, and then found Hard to Be a God… completely impenetrable. I’m told it’s a hard one to translate.
- Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps, by Kelly Sue DeConnick. It just felt so monumentally pointless. I normally enjoyed DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel, but nope. Not this one.
- Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. I know, what’s wrong with me, right?
- The Book of Atrix Wolfe, by Patricia McKillip. It wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t enjoy it the way I expected to, since I’ve come to appreciate McKillip’s work a lot.
Books I Liked More Than I Expected:
- Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates, by Kerry Greenwood. Once upon a time, I read this and hated it. Then I read it again and fell in love, and since devoured the whole series. Right time, I guess.
- The Wolf Hunt, by Gillian Bradshaw. I expected to be mad at how heteronormative this was set up to be, given I knew the original lai as something rather “homosocial” (as my tutor would’ve said, and did, often). But somehow it charmed me all the same.
- Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. This is the first of Rowell’s books I read, and didn’t expect to be so drawn in by her warm style and her characters.
- The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer. I hadn’t yet admitted that I enjoyed some romance stories when I first read this. But Heyer won me over — not a bad person to convert one, I think.
- DNA: The Secret of Life, by James Watson. Having read his book on the discovery of DNA, I couldn’t picture getting on with another book of his. But he apparently aged well, and this book was interesting and decidedly less rage inducing.
What about you?
Repost! Since for some reason, WordPress ate the first version.
It’s February 14th, which means it’s Valentine’s Day. Which means that the TTT topic for today is, unsurprisingly, about romance. I’m going to talk about couples-that-might-have-been, and couples-which-aren’t-yet, in books that I love.
- Csethiro and Maia, from The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison). Okay, they’re getting married, so the chances are good. But we only just glimpsed the two of them beginning to really come together as a couple. I long to see more of Csethiro protecting him, and Maia respecting her and giving her power and influence in his kingdom, and how that unfolds.
- Kim and Aileron, from The Fionavar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay). Come onnnn, I can’t be the only one who saw that. Kim should’ve stayed in Fionavar; marrying Dave makes no sense at all. But then, Kay is kind of prone to that.
- Arthur and Guinevere, from Paths to Camelot (Sarah Zettel). I just love seeing them have a functional, central, mutual relationship without betrayal. We get glimpses of them throughout the four books, but… I want more.
- Eowyn and Faramir, from The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien). They make sense as a couple, but they have so little time and development. Gimme more!
- Alcuin and Anafiel, from Kushiel’s Dart (Jacqueline Carey). It’s not faaaaair.
- Phèdre and Nicola, from Kushiel’s Chosen (Jaqueline Carey). I really liked their relationship and wished we saw a bit more of it.
- Alan and Matthias, from Blood and Circuses (Kerry Greenwood). Their scenes together with Phryne made me laugh, and I kind of hope that they at least kept up the relationship.
- Lin Chung and his wife, from Murder in Montparnasse (Kerry Greenwood). I feel like Lin Chung’s wife deserved a bit more ‘screen time’, so to speak — she and Phryne could have a fascinating relationship, and she seemed pretty interesting as a character.
- Rupert and Bryan, from Season of Storms (Susanna Kearsley). Okay, I kind of want them to be my dads, but. The book ends tragically and it’s not fair.
- Celia and Marco, from The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). Or maybe I just never wanted that book to end…
And now I kind of want to go and reread all these books.
I feel like fewer and fewer of the Top Ten Tuesday lists lately are things I’m really interested in doing — possibly because now I’ve done so many that a lot of it feels like repetition. The theme this week, “books I wish had more or less X in them”, is fun, but my brain is dead because I have an ear infection. So noted for the future and here’s ten books I can see from where I’m sat and how excited I am about them.
- The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams. Currently rereading this; 200 pages in. I do love the world and characters, and I remember thinking it was amazing the first time… but the fact that there’s four 900+ page books is a little daunting. I’m currently just trying to read 100 pages a day while also reading other things.
- Late Eclipses, by Seanan McGuire. Actually, I finished this one yesterday. I enjoyed it a lot — finally, some answers about Amandine!
- Deadline, by Mira Grant. It seems to be the year of Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant for me, so I think I’ll probably pick this up soon. Though I know I don’t like the protagonist as much as I liked the protagonist of the first book.
- Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I have been meaning to read this for over a year now. I like the idea of the format, but I don’t know how I’m going to feel about the execution…
- The Vital Question, by Nick Lane. Apparently, it’s dense as heck. Buuut, it’s asking the big question about life: why? Why is it the way it is? So I’m rather intrigued.
- Europe in Autumn, by Dave Hutchinson. The idea of Europe splintering into dozens of tiny kingdoms feels a bit too on the nose right now…
- The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu. I didn’t love the first book, but I did enjoy it, and I’m curious to see what happens now.
- War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull. I keep being told to read this, and now it’s been reissued and I have a copy, so… soon!
- Od Magic, by Patricia McKillip. It’s Patricia McKillip: I will get to this sometime, by hook or by crook. Her writing is gorgeous.
- A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab. It’s been long enough that I’m going to reread this before reading A Gathering of Shadows or the third book. Soooooon.
I hope you’ll all forgive me for going off the topic! My head is spinning a bit and I have work to be getting on with. Gah. Hope everyone’s doing well!
This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is graphic novels. I’m not positive I have ten, but then, I have read quite a few comics, so one hopes I do. Here goes!
- The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The art is gorgeous, and I’m intrigued by the story as well.
- Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Again, gorgeous art along with a story I’m hooked on, and it’s quite often hilarious.
- Ms Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, etc. I’m not going to pick a specific volume — I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything in this run.
- Young Avengers, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Yeah, pretty much a winning team on everything, though there have been a couple of their comics I didn’t enjoy. Their Young Avengers were perfection, though. And hey, love saved the world! (And it was queer love.)
- Captain Marvel, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, etc. I loved almost all of DeConnick’s run, even when I wasn’t in love with the art. (I did like Dexter Soy’s a lot, for example — I have some of it on a t-shirt — but was less a fan of Emma Rios.) I love Carol with all her faults. Pros: she wants to punch her way through most situations. Cons: she wants to punch her way through most situations.
- Civil War: Iron Man, by Brian M. Bendis, Christos Gage, etc. I don’t like the Civil War event in general, but this volume brought home how the Avengers were torn apart, plus Tony’s genuine regard for (and love of) Steve. I don’t know how anyone read it and was unaffected, though the whole Camelot bit was weird.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier, by Ed Brubaker et al. I think this was a really, really effective comic — and I love the fact that the storyline also went into the MCU.
- Nimona, by Noel Stevenson. Cute, cute, cute, funny… oh wait you just ripped my heart out.
- Red Sonja, by Gail Simone. Pretty much all of her run. I loved that other women got involved in the story, that there was humour, that there were little moments lampshading the sexist background of the character…
- The Movement, by Gail Simone. The second time I read it, I found more flaws, but… I loved that the team were openly politically disparate, queer, disabled, asexual, weird… All the things they turned out to be.
Hurrah for a week where I feel I really participated in the spirit of the TTT prompt! What’s everyone else been putting together?
Today we have a guest post from my favourite person…
Hulk, the bunny
Over to her! Her spelling mistakes and typos have been corrected in the interests of readability.
Hi! I am a bunny. I like to nibble books, and here are the books I want to nibble.
- The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. In French. Because Mummy forgot to read me the end and I want to know how it ends.
- The dictionary. Lots of quality nibbles in there.
- The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. It was used to keep me from rattling my cage before I lived in a pen. Vengeance will be mine.
- Among Others, by Jo Walton. Mummy and Mommy both like it.
- The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. Because Mummy and Mommy read it a lot and I am jealous of it.
- The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have nibbled this a tiny bit in the past and I got a taste for it.
- There’s A Hippopotamus on my Roof Eating Cake, by Hazel Edwards. Because I want cake!
- Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. The things Mommy makes from it SMELL nice, but I’m never allowed any.
- The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. Because Mommy says Locke is her “tiny thieving boyfriend” and she is not allowed anyone except Mummy so BYEBYE TINY THIEF.
- Anything else I can reach! Wait, Mummy says that’s cheating. It’s not. It’s not! I am not a cheating bunny.
Now comment and tell Mummy to give me ALL THE KERRIT [ed. she means carrot].
This week the theme is based on hidden gems read in the last year or so. I’m going to twist it slightly because I’m writing this on a train and my brain doesn’t want to work. Here we have books I’ve read and wish more other people would read (so we can talk about them).
- Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton. Victorian-esque dragons! Who wear hats! And eat each other. It’s amazing, I promise.
- The Carpet Makers, by Andreas Eschbach. Honestly, I need to reread this, but I was blown away by the structure and the quality of it.
- Seaward, by Susan Cooper. I know I’m enthusiastic about her Dark is Rising sequence, but Seaward is more mature, and at least as beautiful.
- Island of Ghosts, by Gillian Bradshaw. Or maybe Bradshaw’s work in general. Amazing historical fiction, and too much out of print.
- The Positronic Man, by Isaac Asimov. I loved this as a kid, and read it over and over. I haven’t seen the novel around very often, though. It’s worth reading.
- Always Coming Home, by Ursula Le Guin. I was reluctant to read this, once upon a time, because it’s not a novel as such. But it’s very, very good, and I do recommend it.
- Lifelode, by Jo Walton. Is this cheating? Still, this book is far too rare and really should get to a wider audience.
- Chime, by Franny Billingsley. I remember a few people reading this back when I read it, but I don’t think I’ve seen people talking about it lately. But it’s so good!
- The Falling Woman, by Pat Murphy. I only read this in 2016, and I really wish I’d read it sooner. It’s very good, with great atmospherics.
- Postcolonialism Revisited, by Kirsti Bohata. This mostly just because I would love to be able to talk to more people about Welsh literature as post-colonial literature.
I’d say I’m looking forward to other people’s lists, but “dreading” might be the better term — I don’t need more books on my wishlist!
This week’s theme is “2016 releases I meant to read and didn’t get round to”. I didn’t think I’d manage this, but then I had a look at my list, and… ah. Right.
- Revenger, by Alastair Reynolds. I need to apologise to my sister. All the excitement, and I never got round to this one…
- Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. I’d been anticipating this since it was announced, and yet. Still love that cover so much, too.
- Necessity, by Jo Walton. I’m just hiding my face in shame here, guys.
- Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I even had an ARC. But nope.
- Double Down, by Gwenda Bond. I loved the first book. Why haven’t I picked this up yet? Whyyy?
- A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab. I think I need to reread the first book, first. Oh no, etc.
- Magic Binds, by Ilona Andrews. Again, I even had the ARC. Whyyy, self.
- Red Right Hand, by Chris Holm. I feel bad about this, because I promised a review, but it got caught up in being busy with my wedding.
- Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. The author is my mother’s penpal and even sent a signed review copy. I’m a bad person.
- Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer. I’m sorry, okay?
Gah. Now I feel bad.
On the other hand, that means I still have some awesome books in my future.
I’d feel weird if I didn’t do these posts at all, but I’m not primarily, or at least solely, a reader of new books. So themes like the one for this week aren’t really geared at me… that theme being “Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For”.
So, going off on an entirely unexpected tangent (/sarcasm font), here’s…
My ten bookish resolutions:
- Read for joy. If I’m dreading reading a book, I’m not going to read it. If I’m dying to reread an old favourite, I’ll reread it. If I get halfway through and I can’t bear a minute more, I’ll DNF.
- I’ll honestly review books I don’t finish. I think it can still be useful to know why someone didn’t get along with a book, even if they didn’t finish it. So I’ll be reviewing and rating books, even if I don’t finish ’em.
- I will strive to remember that my ratings are wholly personal. I think The Goblin Emperor is the most five-star book of all the five-star books. Buuut, that’s just me, and I know it. I rate based on enjoyment, which is why I feel that I can give an honest rating to a book I don’t finish. I need to keep making it totally clear that’s how I rate and review, though. And, especially, not act like a book is bad just because I disliked it.
- Read more than I buy. I have a whole spreadsheet for this, which tracks interesting-to-me reading stats. Like the amount I paid for the books I’ve read, and how much I’ve spent on new books, for example. I plan for the former number to be higher than the latter, at all times. We’ll, uh, see.
- Spare time? Read! Why do I end up wasting time so often? My plan is to get good at just picking a book up and reading.
- I’ll boost books I love. In whatever way I can — reviews, giveaways, etc.
- I’ll boost older books too. You never know what might be someone’s gateway drug, or whatever. There are some older books that you don’t see around the blogosphere. A lot of them are amazing!
- I’ll read more audiobooks or cancel my Audible subscription. Really, self. More crochet, more walking, more audiobooks.
- I’ll comment on at least one other blog every single day. I did this in 2016, and I enjoyed getting out there and interacting.
- I’ll comment on at least one new blog every week. Who knows what gems I’ll find, right?
And of course, my usual ones like replying to and returning all comments still stand.
What’re your bookish resolutions?
Is it Tuesday again already? Hope everyone had a good weekend, and a good Christmas if you celebrated! The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the top books of 2016, so without further ado…
- Dinosaurs Without Bones, by Anthony J. Martin. Entertaining and informative, and it’s about dinosaurs. I loved it and it got five stars without hesitation.
- City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett. It took me far too long to get around to it, but once I did, I was blown away. And my wife just devoured it in two days, so it’s a winner around here.
- City of Blades, by Robert Jackson Bennett. Again, super awesome. I can’t wait for City of Miracles.
- Vicious, by V.E. Schwab. I know I’m late to the V.E. Schwab train, but I’ve been making up for it this year. I think Vicious might’ve been my favourite so far.
- Lud-in-the-Mist, by Hope Mirrlees. I took ages to get round to this one, and I don’t know why. It’s true it’s a little slow, but it’s magical.
- In the Labyrinth of Drakes, by Marie Brennan. So satisfying, and a certain mystery of the series is solved. I can’t believe the next book is the last.
- Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. Powerful and clear-sighted about critical issues. It’s not an easy read, and enjoyment might be the right word, but I appreciated it a lot.
- In the Forests of Serre, by Patricia A. McKillip. Another magical one, and one of my favourites of McKillip’s work that I’ve read so far.
- Planetfall, by Emma Newman. This only got four stars, but it’s been on my mind since I finished it.
- The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard. Also a four-star read, but it has to be mentioned since it made me utterly forget about my dinner one evening; my dinner went cold as I read 250 pages.
I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s lists, but it’ll probably be terrible for my TBR pile…
The theme for this week is books or non-book bookish items that I’m hoping to find under the tree. I’m pretty sure of what I’m getting, in general, so I’m not going to guess, just feature some cool stuff I’m getting.
- The Infinite Library Kindle Case. My wife is getting me this and I’m so excited.
- The Funko Pop Captain Marvel t-shirt. So cute, so badass.
- A book on tyrannosaurs. I know my sister’s getting me this, or planned to, but I can’t remember any other details.
- I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong. Microbes! Yes please.
- The Burning Page, by Genevieve Valentine. Gimmmeee. Technically I have an ARC, but hush about technicalities.
- The Hanging Tree, by Ben Aaronovitch. Same.
- The Death of Caesar, by Barry Strauss. I’ve enjoyed his books before, so Christmas seemed like a good time to ask for more.
- She-Hulk Complete Collection vol 2, by Dan Slott. This was ridiculously hard to find for some reason.
- The Bloodbound, by Erin Lindsey. Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum‘s fault entirely.
- The Edge of Dark, by Brenda Cooper. Ditto, I believe.
So yeah, plenty of books, I hope. And cool book-related stuff. And whatever other surprises my dad has in store.