2010 in Books
*BFB indicates a book that has been contributed to Books for Boobs.
The Magicians, Lev Grossman
This book takes children’s fantasy staples like Harry Potter and Narnia and gives them a hard wrench to the left. What emerges is broken and tarnished and wonderfully intriguing.
— Contemporary Fantasy. Book 1 of 2?, series in progress. Hardcover. BFB.
Changes, Jim Butcher
I was on an airplane, chatting with Jim online, when he sent the final chapter to the betas. My exact words to him upon finishing the book were “WHAT THE EVER-LOVING CRAP WAS THAT”. He was suitably smug. This book is AMAZING. People need to read the whole series so they can have the wind knocked out of them by this breathless, adrenaline-fueled, heart-chomper of a book.
— Urban Fantasy. Book 12 of 23ish, series in progress. Beta doc. Full disclosure: I am a beta. BFB.
Shades of Grey, Jasper Fforde
Once again, Fforde produces a gloriously bizarre new world I delight in exploring. I’m thrilled that this is the first in a trilogy! I can’t wait to go back. In the meantime, I’m long overdue for a Thursday Next reread…
— Fiction. Book 1 of 3, series in progress. Hardcover. BFB.
Good lord, did I seriously not finish any books this month? What was I doing? Yeah, I was working on the Gruffs illustration for the RPG, but that shouldn’t’ve interfereed too much with my reading time.
Side Jobs, Jim Butcher
all most of Jim’s short stories collected in one place!
— Urban Fantasy. Book 12 1/2 of 23ish, series in progress. Beta doc. Full disclosure: I am a beta.
The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
A very enjoyable story with a protagonist I grew to love.
— Fantasy. Part of a series. Paperback. BFB.
The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin
I was thrilled to discover that this book is first in a trilogy, as I’m smitten with Jemisin’s unique voice and mythic characters.
— Fantasy. Book 1 of 3, series in progress. Paperback. BFB.
Changes, Jim Butcher
Even though I finished betaing this book back in January, I had to listen to the finished version in audio format! James Marsters does a superb job, as always.
— Urban Fantasy. Book 12 of 23ish, series in progress. Audiobook. BFB.
The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway
GOOD LORD ON A STICK READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. The structure and voice are so wickedly clever and breathtakingly original that halfway into this book, I purchased an additional copy to lend out to friends. In fact, I should probably buy another copy, because I want to read it again.
— Post-Apocalyptic Coming-of-Age Sci-Fi Horror Romance With Ninjas And Mimes. Pink, fuzzy hardcover with glow-in-the-dark lettering. If you don’t want to read this book based on that description, I’m not sure we can be friends.
Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
I enjoyed the heck out of this book. I love Toby Daye’s world, and I love Toby herself! A solid first book in what promises to be a stellar series.
— Urban Fantasy. Book 1 of many, series in progress. Paperback. BFB.
A Local Habitation, Seanan McGuire
An excellent sequel. It had lots of Tybalt and Quentin in it. Yessssss. Seanan continues to rock the casbah at worldbuilding! brb, writing fanfic.
— Urban Fantasy. Book 2 of many, series in progress. Paperback.
Fledgling, Octavia Butler
Parts of this book were riveting, yet parts of this book squicked the hell out of me. I almost didn’t finish it, I was so repulsed. I look forward to reading another of Butler’s books, as I’ve heard nothing but stellar praise of her work, but this clearly wasn’t the right one for me.
— Contemporary Fantasy. Paperback.
FEED, Mira Grant
The first in a trilogy about bloggers following a Presidential election after the zombie apocalypse. Except it’s more than a book about zombies–it’s about friendship and family and the politics of fear. And you should read it. Because HOLY CARP, MY HEART! P.S. I am totally cosplaying as Georgia Mason in the near future.
— Horror/Political Thriller. Book 1 of 3, unfinished series. Paperback. BFB.
Another month of not finishing any books, though this was forgivable. I was writing my essay for Whedonistas and doing some rewriting/tweaking for a friend’s project.
Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
Unflinchingly brutal and difficult to read, but also beautifully poetic and absolutely captivating. Highly recommended.
— Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi that reads like nothing like any post-apocalyptic sci-fi you’ve ever read. Hardcover. BFB.
The Princess and Mr. Whiffle, Pat Rothfuss
Simply brilliant and deliciously evil.
— A Book That Is Definitely Not For Children. Seriously. Hardcover. BFB.
Cryoburn, Lois McMaster Bujold
As I was reading it, I was thinking it was definitely not Bujold’s best. Until… Yeah, I’ll just let you read it. Wow.
— Sci-Fi. Book 14ish of …14ish? Does anyone know? Series possibly in progress. Ebook, because Baen is awesome and released it for purchase two months before the hardcover hit stores.
Child of Fire, Harry Connolly
Superb. I love the costliness of the magic system–it brings a freshness into the urban fantasy genre. And I freaking adore Annalise, who is totally played by Kristin Chenoweth.
— Urban Fantasy. Book 1 of ?, series in progress. Paperback.
Kiss Me Twice, Mary Robinette Kowal
Kowal perfectly merges two genres, in this case Sci-Fi with Detective Noir. The result feels like Blade Runner co-starring Mae West. Yes, please! It will be published in Asimov’s.
— Sci-Fi/Mystery/Noir Novella. Beta doc. Full disclosure: I betaed this story.
Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
Who knew Austen-style Regency romance could mesh so exquisitely with magic? Be sure to get the audio book, if that’s your style. Kowal reads her own work magnificently.
— Regency romance/fantasy/alt-history hybrid. Apparently book 1 of 3? I know there’s going to be a sequel, at least. Series in progress. Audiobook. BFB.
DUST, Joan Frances Turner
This book was very uneven. Parts of it were wonderfully inventive, and parts of it dragged. Worth a look for zombie fans, but not a must-read.
— Zombie horror. Paperback. Full disclosure: I received a free promotional copy at San Diego Comic Con. BFB.
An Artificial Night, Seanan McGuire
I owe this book a serious reread, because I appear to be the only person in the universe who didn’t adore it. And I adored the first two books in this series, so I’m half-inclined to chalk this up to being in a weird mindset when I read it. So I shall say QUENTIN <33333333 and put the all three Toby books back in the To-Read pile, because I think Toby will tear through the reality/fiction barrier and kick my ass if I do not.
— Urban fantasy. Book 3 of many, series in progress. Paperback.
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I am stunned at how brutal this is for a YA book. Fabulous! Katniss is a fierce, engaging protagonist, and I hope the eventual movie does her justice. The audio performance was excellent.
— Dystopian YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy. 1st of 3. Audiobook.
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
This sequel was disappointing. Big parts of it were mere tweaks on the first book. I know they say sequels should be “The same, but different,” but I need a little more different than this. I still really enjoyed it, but after the brilliance of the first book, I wanted more from the sequel.
— Dystopian YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy. 2nd of 3. Audiobook.
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
Man. This book was devastating. Both superb and wrenching.
— Dystopian YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy. 3rd of 3. Audiobook.
Side Jobs, Jim Butcher
Once again, I had to listen to the final version in audio format! James’ reading slays me.
— Urban Fantasy. Book 12 1/2 of 23ish, series in progress. Audiobook.
I Am Not A Serial Killer, Dan Wells
Good, though I wish I’d read it in the traditional fashion, rather than on audiobook. The narrator was totally wrong for the book and the character.
— Horror/Urban Fantasy. Book 1 of ?, series in progress. Audiobook.
The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
This book had some weird pacing issues at the beginning, but once over those initial hurdles, I found myself enjoying this book more and more. By the end, I was CLAMORING to find out what happens next! I’m really going to enjoy this series. Bravo to Brandon Sanderson for taking on such an ambitious project!
— Epic Fantasy. Book 1 of many, series in progress. Full disclosure: I received a free ARC of this book. Then I purchased the ebook, because I couldn’t heft even the paperback ARC on the subway. This book is kind of tome-y! BFB.
The Dresden Files: Storm Front vol. 2 graphic novel; Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Ardian Syaf, and Brett Booth
Thank god, it’s DONE. So much drama was involved in making this happen. The sudden switch from Ardian to Brett mid-way through issue 6 is lamentable, but both artists brought their A-game. The showdown between Harry and Sells looks fabulous!
— Urban Fantasy Graphic Novel. Book 3 of many, series in progress. Full disclosure: I am a Thematic Consultant. Beta doc.
I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett
I had trouble enjoying this book as much as others in Pratchett’s considerable oevre, as I couldn’t shake the cloud of dread at prospect of this being Pratchett’s last book. This isn’t helped by its surprisingly dark, mature themes–not what I would have expected for a YA/children’s audience, even from someone as forthright as Sir Pterry. I would absolutely recommend this book to Tiffany Aching fans, as it’s Terry Freaking Pratchett, of course. This book deserves a reread in a less morose frame of mind.
— Fiction. Either book 4 of 4 or 38 of many. Tiffany’s series is complete, but Discworld is still in progress. Hardcover.
Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire
Currently unplublished, so I can’t say anything except that Seanan’s fans will DELIGHT at this book! *flings love at all the characters*
— Fiction. Book 1 of many, series in progress. Beta doc. Full disclosure: I am a beta.
Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
A lush and sprawling tale that weaves multiple plots across multiple characters in multiple cities in multiple times, all connected by one common thread: the beet. It’s the kind of book that makes me want to expand my knowledge.
— Fiction. Ebook.
Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld
This YA dieselpunk/biopunk alt-history was a delight, made even more so by the captivating performance of Alan Cumming.
— YA Dieselpunk/Biopunk Alt-History. Book 2 of 3, series in progress. Audiobook. BFB.
Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld
Ditto! Looking forward to book 3.
— YA Dieselpunk/Biopunk Alt-History. Book 2 of 3, series in progress. Audiobook.
Seducing the Boys Club, Nina DiSesa
Provides fascinating insight for women seeking to enter the male-dominated culture of advertising.
— Nonfiction. Paperback.
The Broken Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin
Spellbinding and superb. Jemisin excells at creating strong, memorable female POC leads, and her pantheon of gods and godlings again strikes the perfect balance between empathetic and alien. Highly recommended!
— Fantasy. Book 2 of 3, series in progress. Paperback.
Books I read in:
Hardcover – 7
Paperback – 11.5
Audiobook – 8
Beta – 5
Ebook – 2.5
Male/Female Author ratio: 16:18
Books that feature characters named Priscilla – 3: Jitterbug Perfume, Discount Armageddon, and The Dresden Files RPG: Our World.
Total – 34
Books auctioned for Books for Boobs in 2010: 48
Money raised in Books for Boobs auctions: over $3,000
Books in B4B auction queue: 72
Favorite Book of 2010: The Gone-Away World, Nick Harkaway
In summary: I need to read more, in my copious free time. 34 is somewhat dismal. And nearly everything on this list came out in 2010, or it was in a series whose most recent book came out in 2010. The oldest book on this list is Jitterbug Perfume, which came out in 1990. I’m also seeing a dearth of non-Western books (5ish?) and books by POC authors (4).
My Reading Resolution for 2011: Read more nonfiction, read more stuff written before my birth, and read more stuff by POC authors.
This Post Needs More Lists
Books I started and have not finished:
- Dead to Me, Anton Strout (PB)
- A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin (PB)
- Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Audio)
- The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold (Audio)
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke (Audio)
- My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, ed. Kate Bernheimer (PB)
- Lady Lazarus, Michele Lang (PB)
- Nightlife, Rob Thurman (PB)
- The Dresden Files RPG: Your Story and Our World (PDF and HC)
Books I started and do not intend to finish:
- The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie (Audio)
- The Warded Man, Peter V. Brett (Audio)
- The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan (Audio)
- Night Shift, Lilith Saintcrow (PB)
- And Another Thing…, Eoin Colfer (HC)
Priscilla in Publishing:
- I sold my first personal essay, “Brand New Day: The Evolution of the Doctor Horrible Fandom” to Whedonistas, published by Mad Norwegian Press.
- The Alera Map was printed in Penguin’s new premium US paperback editions of Furies of Calderon, Academ’s Fury, Cursor’s Fury, Captain’s Fury, and First Lord’s Fury.
- The Alera map was also printed internationally in the Orbit UK edition of First Lord’s Fury. I believe it was actually printed in German in the German-lanuage editions, Codex Alera 2: Im Schatten des Fürsten and Codex Alera 3: Die Verschwörer von Kalare, but I haven’t received confirmation on this point.
- I illustrated a trio of Gruffs for the Dresden Files RPG. I was additionally credited as a “Secret Weapon” for the RPG books for my assistance with canon-checking Chad Underkoffler’s extraordinary character and creature guides and some of the art. My listing in the index reads, “Priscilla Spencer: see: AWESOME!”
- I was credited as a Thematic Consultant on The Dresden Files: Storm Front, volume 2 graphic novel.
- I created an 18″x24″ poster of the Alera map, now on sale! I sold and signed them alongside Jim Butcher at New York Comic Con.
Some Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2011:
- Whedonistas, ed. Lynne M. Thomas and Deborah Stanish
- The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
- Ghost Story, Jim Butcher
- Deadline, Mira Grant
- Late Eclipses, One Salt Sea, and Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire
- One of Our Thursdays is Missing, Jasper Fforde
- Goliath, Scott Westerfeld
- The Magician King, Lev Grossman
- Will 2011 bring Nick Harkaway’s second book, Scott Lynch’s Republic of Thieves, or Terry Pratchett’s Snuff? Let’s hope!
Bring on 2011!