My book-reading fiscal year (BRFY) ends April 30. Here is my report, submitted for your approval.
This year I read 48 books (well, depends on how you count: I read half of two others which I didn’t count, but read several novellae and novelettes which I did). Employment and the biological need for sleep continue to hamper me. I never seem to quite make that 50-book goal, and have fallen short yet again. I always seem to have one or two months during the year where there is some extreme stress or busy-ness that just kills my pace, and it happened again this year over the past month. It’s probably unrealistic to ever count on having 12 consecutive months of peace, at least until I am named King and make some serious changes to the structure of society. When will that be happening, by the way??
Anyway, books. I did have a nice year of reading, although kind of a different one, defined by my getting a membership to WorldCon last spring with the intention to vote for the Hugo awards and do all of that reading over the summer. But: I got started too late and procrastinated a bit with all of it and had to bail on the novels. I did eventually read all of them but didn’t complete the last one until, uh, last month. And to be honest, they weren’t a strong crop. Of the six nominees, I’d say I liked two a lot, thought two were just OK, and didn’t particularly like the other two.
Whoa: I just realized something while writing this. I would have voted for Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl. It happened to TIE for the win with China Mieville’s The City and The City. Had I gotten all my reading done and cast that vote, Paolo would have won outright and China would not have won a Hugo. Sorry, Paolo! Although I guess you still count as a winner. I inadvertently gave China a win share, though. You’re welcome, China.
- Some great re-reads, including Snow Crash and White Noise. I generally consider these two of my favorite books, and re-reading did not disappoint. More broadly, re-reading is awesome. I need to do more of it. It’s nice to read new books, of course, but when you re-read, honestly most of the time you get just as much or more out of it, with the foreknowledge that it’s something you will like.
- One benefit of the 2010 Hugo voting was that I tried a number of new things I wouldn’t have otherwise thought to read. However, I’ll probably bail on doing the membership/voting thing again anytime soon. It’s really for people who want to read ONLY that stuff for months. The graphic novels, in particular, were disappointing. Most were parts of LONG series and not really my taste.
- Gah, I only read three Hugo winners. That puts me at 43 out of 62 total. I had been reading 6 or 7 a year, which would put me on pace for a finish in 2013, but I fell off that a bit. Might still be that year, but not sure. I’d intended to plow through a bunch this year but after my 2010 Hugo voting push I was off of them for a while. I am not setting any goals about this for the year, though I’ll certainly try more than 3. Yuck. One thing: I probably read next year’s Hugo winner already, in Connie Willis’ Blackout/All Clear.
- I got through another Pynchon book! I think I can tackle Gravity’s Rainbow again when the time is right.
- Read a few good series, including Robert J. Sawyer’s Hominids and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. Both worthwhile.
Best read of the year (among new reads) is either Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity or Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale. The Asimov book was classic Ike, and just a great read. Just a perfect Golden Age sci-fi novel, of which I am spending way too much time not doing more of (like right now! I could be reading Isaac Asimov right now!). Winter’s Tale, though, is a special book. I just finished it yesterday so I probably need more time to let it settle, but I think I can say it was the most interesting book I read this year. Really unique, modern magical realism. Among the funniest books I’ve read, too.
Some goals for the upcoming year: more rereading. Didn’t get to the Baroque Cycle, but will absolutely do so soon. Between that and the new Neal Stephenson coming this fall (NEW NEAL STEPHENSON) I don’t know if I’ll get to Gravity’s Rainbow, but I’m not ruling it out. Fill out my Asimov reading. I’d like to carve a big chunk out of the remaining Hugos. Read a few of the things that have been unread on my bookshelf forever.
The complete list, favorites in bold:
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 5/8/10
- Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, James Patrick Kelly (ed.), 5/14/10
- Brian Eno’s Another Green World (33 1/3), Geeta Dayal, 5/29/10
- Nick Drake’s Pink Moon (33 1/3), Amanda Petrusich, 5/30/10
- The Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons, 5/31/10
- Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader, Neil Gaiman et al, 6/10/10
- The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi, 6/13/10
- Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow, 6/16/10
- Palimpsest, Charles Stross, 6/18/10
- The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker, 6/19/10
- The City & The City, China Mieville, 6/29/10
- The God Engines, John Scalzi, 7/13/10
- Fables: The Dark Ages (#12), Bill Willingham, 7/15/10
- Girl Genius Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm, Phil Foglio, 7/25/10
- Laika, Nick Abadzis, 7/27/10
- Little Fuzzy, H. Beam Piper, 8/2/10
- Fuzzy Sapiens, H. Beam Piper, 8/9/10
- Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby, 8/11/10
- The Android’s Dream, John Scalzi, 8/21/10
- God Save the Fan, Will Leitch, 8/26/10
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer, 9/4/10
- Blackout, Connie Willis, 9/18/10
- Physics for Future Presidents, Richard Muller, 10/4/10
- V., Thomas Pynchon, 10/11/10
- The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins, 10/17/10
- Hominids, Robert J. Sawyer, 10/26/10
- All Clear, Connie Willis, 11/15/10
- Humans, Robert J. Sawyer, 11/26/10
- Neutron Star, Larry Niven, 11/26/10
- Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins, 11/29/10
- Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins, 12/5/10
- The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov, 12/15/10
- Hybrids, Robert J. Sawyer, 12/23/10
- Manhood for Amateurs, Michael Chabon, 1/5/11
- Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson, 1/11/11
- Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 1/21/11
- White Noise, Don DeLillo, 1/30/11
- Boneshaker, Cherie Priest, 2/8/11
- Nova, Samuel R. Delany, 2/14/11
- This Immortal, Roger Zelazny, 2/20/11
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, 2/23/11
- Zodiac, Neal Stephenson, 3/2/11
- Star Trek: Klingons: Blood Will Tell, Scott Tipton et al., 3/13/11
- WWW: Wake, Robert J. Sawyer, 3/14/11
- Palimpsest, Cathrynne M. Valente, 3/27/11
- House of Stairs, William Sleator, 3/28/11
- Newton and the Counterfeiter, Thomas Levenson, 4/21/11
- Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin, 4/29/11