March 30, 2020, 04:15:08 PM

Author Topic: What books did you read in 2019?  (Read 934 times)

Offline Peat

Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2020, 12:44:42 AM »
Goodreads is telling me 42 books, but hasn't updated the last few. And there's still at least one I haven't added. So going to do this a bit manually...


1. City of Brass - Kinda standard YA-ish portal Fantasy. Liked the middle eastern setting but can't help but feel that if you'd made it western with western folklore, very little would have changed and not sure if good or bad.

2. Spellslinger - Fun twisty adventure but felt a little on the nose with its social commentary at times and two tone with the characterisation.

3. The House of Shattered Wings - Slow moving but enthralling; fantastic ideas (post-Great War Paris ruled by Fallen Angels) and writing.

4. Sabriel - Fun YA-ish fantasy about a Necromancer in not-Scotland. Could have used a little more pop and a little less formula at times.

5. Sword in the Storm - Very epic for a single book; a mix of brooding violence and riveting action and light-hearted drama. Was a re-read for me and will be a re-read again.

6. A Hero Born - English translations of East Asian stories fascinate me. They always come across as stilted by Western standards, but also intriguingly direct and bold. Fun read. Read some of Jin Yong's stuff as Manga and that seemed to suit it better though.

7. Wyrd Sisters - A tad too confused and too based on the source material it parodies, but still a lot of fun.

8. Jimmy and the Crawler - One of the more pointless and formulaic fantasy books I've read. Praise be its short.

9. Up To The Throne - Not-Renaissance Revenge story.

10. The Deep - Again, very Epic for a fairly short story; portrayal of a society caught in endless war with a Sci-Fi twist. Almost reads like SoIaF distilled into one book.

11. King of Assassins - Utterly wonderful. Alive with character and dark, haunted worldbuilding; full of action and emotion. Probably the best book I've read this year.

12, Jingo - Disturbingly relevant. Probably funnier for it.

13. A Brightness Long Ago - Beautiful and poignant and breathtaking; barely fantasy set in barely not-Italy, but no worse for it. Also probably the best book I've read this year.

14. The Imaginary Corpse - Great idea - detective story set in an imagination land that's like Toy Story meets Sandman - but never really got going for me.

15. The Relic Guild - Bold storytelling and an interesting idea - sort of steampunky - but didn't really capture me with the dual timelines

16. Lady Midnight - Urban Fantasy that had a nice old school 90s feeling to it; nice and comforting

17. The Hedge Knight - Graphic novel version; really brought the world to life. Fun story.

18. Pale Kings - Confusing and took a long time to get into, but some great action scenes and a powerful ending once I did

19. Lord of Shadows - Follow up to Lady Midnight, too full of love triangles and meaningless angst, and not as warm and cosy feeling.

20. The Golem and the Jinni - Beautiful little story with a great sense of character and place

21. War For the Oaks - The founding mother of Urban Fantasy kinda feels like just another Urban Fantasy now

22. Turning Darkness Into Light - Very good. Period diary account of translating Draconian artefacts. Great concept, executed nigh-perfectly.

23. The Killing Moon - Lot of great ideas and scenes but never truly completely grabbed me

24. Interesting Times - Not as good as I remembered it, but the best bits are Pratchett's best bits

25. The King in Yellow - Very old school horror, sometimes very good and sometimes meeeh

26. The Tiger and the Wolf - Lot of great ideas and scenes but never truly completely grabbed me

27. The House of Binding Thorns - Starts slow but a powerhouse of a read, full of emotions and drama and magnificent bastards

28. The Bone Ships - Lot of great ideas and scenes but never truly completely grabbed me; fantastic voice though

29. The Story of the Stone - Barry Hughart should have written more books. So much fun.

30. Hogfather - One of my favourite Pratchetts

31. Hero in the Shadows - One of my favourite Gemmells

32. Empire of Sand - Lot of great ideas and scenes but never truly completely grabbed me


1. Mama Can't Raise No Man - More treatise than story in some ways, but thought provoking and well written - the story of a fatherless young black man trying to make sense of his life while in prison

2. Call for the Dead - A very regular re-read of mine and one of my favourite Le Carres for its simplicity and acuity.

3. The Graveyard of the Hesperides - Witty detective mystery, full of details (and some anger) at Ancient Roman life

4. Slow Horses - Spy mystery; read great at the time, but already forgotten the fine details of what happened.

5. Giudici - Three short stories about Investigating Judges set in Italy; nice fun short read

6. What Does This Button Do - Bruce Dickinson's autobiography; very interesting but felt like it left out the best bits

7. Distaff - Sci-Fi anthology by an all women crew; nice mix of stories

8. The Art of Coarse Rugby - Very funny account of how social rugby used to be is (and still is at times)

9. Shoot to Kill - Memoir of an old guy who was briefly in the territorial SAS. Interesting but nothing more.

10. A Voice in the Night - Police proceedural set in Sicily; great sense of voice and place, not the best I've read in the series

11. Shoe Dog - My surprise find of the year. Never guessed Nike's founder would be such an interesting judge of people

12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Very good, didn't take to the characters

13. Art Matters - Gaiman's quick thoughts on why art matters. Liked it a lot.
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Offline Elfy

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Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2020, 01:41:27 AM »
These are my bests for 2019. I guess I could have put them in the other thread, but I don't do disappointments.

Jade City by Fonda Lee. I think I purchased this some time in 2018, but it didn’t make its way up to the top of the pile in 2019. It’s one of those set in a low magic world that is very similar to ours, but at the same time totally different. It was actually kind of fun trying to work out where the various locations actually were. The setting itself feels like a 60’s or 70’s time frame. The premise is that certain well connected families on the island of Kekon have access to jade and it gives them physical powers beyond that of the jadeless population. The jade families are rather like the tongs of Hong Kong and the book takes us into one of these families while they’re in the middle of a power shift and a turf war. It was an action packed book with an interesting premise and some strong character development, unafraid to make bold choices in story direction, which kept the reader guessing. Highly recommended.

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. This is the 4th of McGuire’s Wayward Children series. About children who find their ways into fantasy worlds and while they return to our and their worlds, they don’t forget where they were and this affects them going forward. This episode dealt with a character readers had met before, but explained why and how she found her way into an unreal world and why she would never be the same. McGuire ups her game with every one of these and this one was no exception. We’ve seen glimpses of a number of fascinating and very different worlds through McGuire’s eyes in these books and In an Absent Dream gave readers another one.

Vulturesby Chuck Wendig. In 2012 I read Blackbirds, the first of Wendig’s Miriam Black books, the story of the inventively foul mouthed Miriam Black, a woman cursed with the ability to touch someone and see the moment of their death. Throughout a number of years and 6 books. I’ve loved these from the moment  I first met Miriam in Blackbirds and adored Wendig’s short, sharp, visceral, brutal style of writing. They have a noirish feel about them and for the past few books, possibly because they’ve been set in and around Florida they’ve given me a very Burn Notice feel about them. The conclusion of Miriam’s story in Vultures was damn near perfect and the twist in the ending was a real kick in the guts.

Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly. This was the final of Donnelly’s Amberlough Dossier books. The setting and idea behind these is almost unique. Fantasy as written by Len Deighton or Le Carre. The only thing that really qualifies them as fantasy is that they’re set on a secondary world, but that world is not low magic, it is no magic. Not having magic, but an unreal setting allows Donnelly to write about people, not events, and follow their journeys through an always dangerous world. Amnesty brought the whole bloody mess to an appropriately explosive conclusion.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. This is the story of two individuals with unique abilities. It follows their lives and how they first met and develop a relationship and then follows their own separate journeys through life until fate demands that their lives once again intersect. It’s a lovely coming of age story which explores people, events and power. It was Anders’ debut and totally astonished me. Leapt easily into my best reads of the year for 2019.

The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. This is part of Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series, but it doesn’t have Peter in it. One of the things that I, and I suspect other readers of the series, have asked themselves, is do other countries have police whose job it is to investigate magical crimes and events? The answer is yes and it’s covered in this novella. One of the strengths of the Peter Grant series has been the obvious love that Aaronovitch has for the city of London (I actually felt that the one book located outside of the city; Foxglove Summer, was probably the weakest entry), so I approached The October Man with a bit of trepidation, not only did it not feature Peter, but was also set in Germany. I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed it and the main character Tobias Winter was a welcome change from seeing everything filtered through Peter’s eyes. Things are definitely different on the continent, but in a good way and it’s great to see that the concept has applications elsewhere. Would be interesting to see an encounter and maybe even a collaboration between Peter and Tobias in the future.

To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers. I don’t think Chambers is capable of writing a bad book. This novella, while still science fiction, moves away from her Wayfarers series. The two are not at all connected, even peripherally. This is about a manned space exploration and in what is a Chambers signature it’s less about the technology than it is about the people aboard it and how they interact with each other and deal with the situation that they face. Stunning, and it should win the Hugo for best novella in 2020, although I suspect that it won’t.

The Girl Who Could Move Shit With Her Mind by Jackson Ford. I picked this up because I liked the title. I knew nothing about it, but that is a very eye and mind catching title. It was a really fun ride. There’s a fair bit of Miriam Black about Teagan, although their ‘gifts’ are dissimilar, they have the same cynical outlook on life and the world, plus neither of them really play well with others. It was just such a thrill ride that kept me turning pages.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. In things that aren’t her two long running series McGuire is at the top of her game, Middlegame is an example of that. It shares a bit with All the Birds in the Sky in that it’s about two gifted people who first meet when they’re children, separate and then life forces them back together again. It does have a McGuire/Mira Grant (Mira Grant is a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, it tends to deal with zombies and recently mermaids) hallmark to it, in that the two principals are part of a giant genetic experiment. I think it’s the best thing that McGuire has written under her own name.

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie returns to the Circleworld, where he set his first 6 novels, after a successful foray into dystopian YA fiction with the Shattered Seas trilogy. Plenty of time has passed between the events in Red Country and A Little Hatred, enough that the characters of the original 6 novels have had families who have grown up and taken centre stage. It’s the coming of the 2.0’s Abercrombie style. I’m not generally a fan of grim dark, but Abercrombie does it with more style and humour than any of his contemporaries and that trademark wit is on display throughout A Little Hatred, it’s also an interesting fantasy look at the Industrial Revolution. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Abercrombie is a one trick pony, but he does that trick better than anyone else with a similar act.
I will expand your TBR pile.

Offline cupiscent

Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2020, 04:10:45 AM »
I would also like to NOT recommend The Anatomy of Story by John Truby to all writers, for reasons you can read about in my review.

Thanks for this, Magnus! I'm still planning to have a look at this book, because I think one can still learn a lot from writing-help books if one disagrees vehemently - it can help crystalise precisely what or how you DO want to do - but it's always nice to have views and questioning angles before taking a look at something.

(Also always delighted to see people enjoying Jemisin, especially the Dreamblood.)

Offline isos81

Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2020, 06:41:58 AM »
Only started keeping track of them since June but here is my list:
  • The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer (4)   Brent Weeks
  • City of Stairs (The Divine Cities)   Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Shadow's Edge The Night Angel Trilogy: Book 2   Brent Weeks
  • The Way of Shadows The Night Angel Trilogy: Book 1   Brent Weeks
  • The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastards)   Scott Lynch
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastards)   Scott Lynch   
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards)   Scott Lynch
  • The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Kingkiller Chronicle #2.5)   Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicle #2)   Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1)   Patrick Rothfuss
  • Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass)   Sarah J. Maas
  • Throne of Glass   Sarah J. Maas
  • A Darkness at Sethanon (The Riftwar Saga, Book 4)   Raymond E. Feist
  • Silverthorn (The Riftwar Saga, Book 3)   Raymond E. Feist
  • Magician: Master (The Riftwar Saga, Book 2)   Raymond E. Feist
  • Magician: Apprentice (The Riftwar Saga, Book 1)   Raymond E. Feist
  • Emperor of Thorns (The Broken Empire Book 3)   Mark Lawrence
  • King of Thorns (The Broken Empire Book 2)   Mark Lawrence
  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire Book 1)   Mark Lawrence
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Online Eclipse

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Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2020, 08:04:49 AM »
Are you missing book 3 of the  Night Angel Trilogy?
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline isos81

Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2020, 08:38:02 AM »
Are you missing book 3 of the  Night Angel Trilogy?

Jumped to Ciy of Stairs after book 2. Then started Blood Mirror and Burning White. Going to read it after Nightingale book :)
Kallor shrugged. 'I've walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I've commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I've spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'

'Yes' said Caladan Brood. 'You never learn'

Offline Lanko

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Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2020, 07:44:27 PM »
Just read 17 books in 2019 out of the goal of 50. And most were in the least ~3-4 months. And maybe half was non-fiction.

What I've read:

- Circe by Madeline Miller
- A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
- Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker
- Ironhand's Daughter duology by David Gemmell (Ironhand's Daughter and The Hawk Eternal)
- Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


- The Barcelona Legacy by Jonathan Wilson
- Soccernomics by Simon Kuper
- Red: My Autobiography by Gary Neville
- This is the One: Sir Alex Ferguson by Daniel Taylor
- Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin
- The Special One: The Dark Side of José Mourinho by Diego Torres
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline DrNefario

Re: What books did you read in 2019?
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2020, 01:28:07 PM »
I read 93 books in 2019. I won't list them all, but they're probably in the monthly threads if anyone cares.

It's the first time I've missed the 100 in a few years, but that was mainly because I stopped reading so many short stories, and I'm not too bothered about it.

My main goal was to end the year with fewer books than I started, but I failed that quite spectacularly with over 40 extra books. They were mostly free, though, it was one of my lower years for buying.

My other main goal was to read 60% women. I found this quite tough - you just need to read a couple of books by men and then you suddenly need three or four women - but I managed it. I expect a bit of a rebound this year, when I read the things I put off, but ideally my percentages will be more even in future.

My books were 43% Fantasy, 26% SF, 15% Crime, 9% Non-fiction, and the rest a fairly random mixture.