I checked out some books that have hit at least one Best of the Year lists. Overall, I’m amazed, as ever, how different people’s perceptions are. Feel free to argue with me; I’d really like to hear other opinions.
Thirteen, by Richard Morgan. Man, can he write. I just love a book with the kind of finesse Morgan brings to the page. However this plot seemed to fall apart in the middle. The story switches gears and the things you thought you cared about become irrelevant or torn away. That was disappointing, but his writing remained strong.
Shelter by Susan Palwick. A future where consciousness can be downloaded. A thoughtful, indirect book–normally qualities I like, but this one moved so slowly that I found my interest waning.
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. Delightful, easy read with a fascinating glimpse of a 1930s circus. This shows the power of a rich and unusual setting. I also loved how she handled the scenes with the retired circus guy in the rest home. What an excellent book.
Ilario by Mary Gentle. The story of a hermaphrodite I think I’ll look for other work by Gentle. But the plot of this one just didn”t grab me after the middle of the book when I kept putting it aside. After some fascinating events in the first half, the remainder of the book coasts, it seems, in readiness to deliver some resolutions in Book Two.
Catching up on older books that I hadn’t got around to reading yet:
A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George. Immensely entertaining and smart writing. Most of the fun is in the relationships of the Scotland Yard folks, never mind the murder.
The Maker of Universes, Book One in the World of Tiers by Philip Jose Farmer. Um. I know it’s a classic, but this one is so dated. I had to read it, because aspects of my new series are being compared to World of Tiers. I now understand how hard it is to do something unique, since it appears that I unwittingly stole quite a few ideas from World of Tiers, without ever having read a word of it!
Aegypt by John Crowley. Largely impenetrable. Some amazing writing, though. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it much, because I was constantly annoyed about being lost.
And in the books-by-friends category:
Airs and Graces by Toby Bishop. I really liked the first book in this fantasy series about the Academy of the Air, teaching young women to master the winged horses of Oc. But I loved the second book. Toby Bishop, of course, is Louise Marley, and her fine wordsmithing is a voice I think I could pick out of a crowd. Highly recommended.