2012 in Books


Charitable Getting, Sam Starbuck
My first book of 2012!

“Charitable Getting” is the first non-fanfic fiction I’ve read from Sam, and I really enjoyed it! Sam has a gift for writing complex, likeable characters.

I suspect anyone with passing familiarity with Sam’s blog will have no difficulty sussing out the big reveal from the first mention of the mystery, but I nevertheless enjoyed the chase. I look forward to reading more from him.
— Contemporary Fiction. E-book on Kindle.

Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi
Purely entertaining! This is much lighter than Scalzi’s later, more mature fare, and solutions to big problems tend to fall into the protagonist’s lap, but I found the book irresistible nonetheless.
— Contemporary Sci-Fi. Audiobook.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
This book was pure fun. Certain elements required a massive suspension of disbelief, and the supporting characters were a little flat, but I didn’t mind. It’s a lighthearted love letter to 80s pop culture, sci-fi/fantasy nerdery, and video games, and it features a massive robot fight–it’s not aspiring to be high literature.

I probably would have gotten greater enjoyment out of the book if I’d been a teen or a twentysomething during the 80s (I was born in 1984), but I could appreciate the references for what they were, and the references I did get were a delight!

One thing that bugged me about the book, however, was that the book took place in 2044, but there were almost no references (I assume) to pop culture produced after present day. It’s as if everyone stopped creating any new movies, TV, or books that were worthy of being remembered after Firefly and the Lord of the Rings movies. There’s some uninspired reality TV and propaganda and yes, a handful of computer games and educational software produced decades before the story begins, but virtually all creative storytelling effort seems to have been subsumed by endless rehashing of what has come before. In The Oasis, the population of Earth is living out eternal fanfic. Why not make passing reference to some sitcom produced in 2031, or a sci-fi trilogy masterpiece from 2028?

Meh. I still quite enjoyed the book, even more so with Wil Wheaton’s pitch-perfect audiobook performance.
–Cyberpunk YA Nostalgiagasm. Audiobook. Disclaimer: The author gave me a free ARC at Comic Con, though I ended up buying it again in audio format. The author is a super cool dude.

The Mists of Avalon #1: Mistress of Magic, Marion Zimmer Bradley
I’ve been hungry for some Bechdel-tastic media lately, and this was exactly what I needed. Marion Zimmer Bradley took an overwhelmingly male-dominant story and breathed life, personality, and agency into the female characters, giving them just as much influence over the course of history as the great heroes of Arthurian legend.

I know most fantasy readers discover this book much earlier than I did (I’m 27). Indeed, my high school librarian recommended it to me, but I read Bradley’s “The Firebrand” instead. I’m glad finally to have read it!

Davina Porter’s performance of the text was utterly spellbinding.
–Historical/Folklore-Flavored Fantasy. Audiobook.


Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed
I’m so honored to be a part of this series. The characters are an absolute delight, and the world Saladin constructed is entrancing, fresh, and grounded. Plus, all the descriptions of food make me HUNGRY. If you’re jonesing for some awesome non-European-inspired fantasy, look no further!
— Arabian-flavored Swords-and-Horses-and-Magic Fantasy. Audiobook. Disclaimer: I MADE ANOTHER MAP YOU GUYS. The hardcover edition was given to me for free, but I bought the audiobook, because that’s how I roll.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling
Charming and delightful, but it suffers by not being as spectacular as “Bossypants.”
— Humorous Memoir. Audiobook.


Shadow Ops: Control Point, Myke Cole
I met Myke Cole at NYCC 2011 and was somehow swept out to lunch with him and a bunch of friends. He has a magnetic personality, and I promptly vowed to read the heck out of his book. I did. It was awesome. Later, in a fit of the vapors, he asked me to illustrate a map for his second book, Fortress Frontier. I agreed before he could come to his senses. I’m so thrilled to be a part of this series! Myke is Good People, and Control Point is a riveting debut. Expect great things, people.
— Military Fantasy. ARC. Disclaimer: MAP #3 IN THE SEQUEL WHAT. The arc was given to me for free, but I bought the audiobook.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book. My boyfriend at the time gave it to me for my 20th birthday, and it took me seven-plus years to get around to it. My “To Read” list is kind of a monster. :D

Anyway, he was right. I adored it. The opening sequence was a gloriously kinetic festival of cyberpunk invention, and the world continued exploding outward and upward from there. The conflation of religion, viruses, and drugs was a fascinating thought exercise, and I loved the radical technological reinterpretation of Sumerian mythology and the Tower of Babel. I now find myself itching to devour more of Stephenson’s works. Highly recommended!
— Cyberpunk. Audiobook.


Womanthology: Heroic, every female in comicdom
I love what this anthology represents, and I’m delighted to have supported the Kickstarter! It’s a thrill to see so many talented, creative women getting visibility in such a male-dominated medium. However, I didn’t get much enjoyment out of reading it. The quality of work varied wildly, and the stories were too brief to really resonate. I got halfway through, then didn’t feel compelled to read more.
— Comic Book hodgepodge. Hardcover.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
A fascinating blend of nerdishness, Dominican culture/history/folklore, and pure heart.
— Magical Realism. Audiobook.


Angelmaker, Nick Harkaway
After I fell head over heels for Harkaway’s spectacular “The Gone-Away World,” “Angelmaker” became my most anticipated book of 2012. My patience was well rewarded! With scintillating wit and seemingly effortless style, Harkaway delivered another absurd and glorious adventure, introducing vibrant, complex characters and a frenetic, magnificently layered world for them to inhabit.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookseller and get yourself a copy. Or buy the audiobook, as I did! (Okay, I bought it in both print and audio, because I knew I’d want a lending copy. Don’t judge me.) Daniel Weyman, the audiobook reader, gives one of the most animated, engaging performances I’ve experienced, so if audio is your preference, you’re in great hands!

And now I want to reread “The Gone-Away World.”
— Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery/Humor with an Octogenarian Superspy. Audiobook.

Blackout, Mira Grant
An explosive, riveting end to a spectacular, heart-pounding trilogy! I love everything about this series, from its meticulously researched science to its compelling characters to its nuanced exploration of journalistic responsibility to its… y’know. Shooting zombies in the face and running like hell. McGuire’s storytelling challenges the mind and wrenches the heart–it’s a joy to read!

The mad science is quite a bit madder here than in the first two books, which pulled me a little out of the story at times, but I dove back in with gusto. There’s enough scientific grounding and logic underpinning the more fantastic moments that I always felt I was in good hands. I couldn’t put the book down!

Thanks, Seanan, for letting us join your intrepid team of bloggers on the ride of their lives!
— Zombie Apocalyptic Horror. Paperback. Disclaimer: I kinda beta for Seanan. I didn’t beta this, even though I think she credits me in it. Silly grad school, preventing me from betaing for anyone!

Midnight Blue Light Special, Seanan McGuire
This series is a freaking joy.
— Urban Fantasy Cryptozoology with some kissing and lots of intelligent hyper-religious mice.  Beta draft. Disclaimer: Beta!


The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson
I’m having a very difficult time deciding whether to give this book four stars or five. Neal Stephenson writes insightful, complex, gripping stories with extraordinary imagination, particularly in their approach to technology and culture, and if I were only judging this book based on the first 90%, I’d be wondering how to trick Goodreads into letting me give this book six stars. However, the ending was a total mess. Maybe that was the portion Miranda didn’t read to me. :D

I listened to this book on audio, and Jennifer Witsie’s performance was a delight!
— Sci-Fi. Audiobook.

Redshirts, John Scalzi
I laughed so hard I startled the dog. It’s kinda meta and self-indulgent (okay, EXTREMELY meta), but it’s so enjoyably and cleverly executed that I didn’t care. The meta-ness is part of its charm! Also, the glorious fusion of Scalzi’s words and Wil Wheaton’s audiobook performance is proof god loves us and wants us to be happy.
— Sci-Fi/Humor. Audiobook.

Blackbirds, Chuck Wendig
With her foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, lurid, deliberately off-putting demeanor, Miriam Black is one of the most unique protagonists in urban fantasy. BLACKBIRDS’ level of obscenity and barbarism go far beyond what many readers expect when they hear the word “gritty,” and I suspect readers will either love this book or hate it. I fell into the former category!

Wendig delivers an original take on a familiar concept: the ability to see the circumstances of others’ deaths, and I recommend it to anyone with a sufficiently strong stomach. Also, the cover is staggeringly beautiful. Props to Joey Hi-Fi!

Looking forward to Mockingbird!
— Urban Fantasy/Horror. Paperback.


8, Dustin Lance Black
This all-star production dramatized the actual court transcripts from the trial to overturn Prop 8 in California. While the structure was occasionally disorienting, I found the actual contents of the play to be fascinating. I wish it had been longer–the play itself only comprises the first hour or so of the recording. The other half are interview with the cast, production team, and the lawyers for the prosecution.
— Political Non-Fiction. GLBTQQ Interest. Audiobook.

Don’t Read This Book, ed. Chuck Wendig
This anthology was AWESOME. Each author’s voyage into the nightmarish derangement of the Mad City was extraordinarily imaginative. I had high hopes for this anthology, because I hold so many of the contributors in high regard, and it wildly exceeded my expectations!

My favorite stories, in order of appearance:
“Don’t Lose Your Patients,” Stephen Blackmoore
“Don’t Toot Your Horn,” Laura Anne Gilman
“Don’t Bleach Your Memories,” Mur Lafferty (ooh, isn’t she nominated for the Campbell this year? I think I know who just became front-runner for my vote.)
“Don’t Chew Your Food,” Harry Connolly
— Urban Fantasy/Horror Short Story Anthology. E-Book. Disclaimer: I was given a free copy, because Fred Hicks is good people, but I bought it anyway, because Fred Hicks is good people.

Edie Investigates, Nick Harkaway
I need to reread this.  I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind the first time, as I had difficulty getting into the story.
— Mystery. Ebook.

Stingers and Strangers, Seanan McGuire
I need to reread this.  I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind the first time, as I had difficulty getting into the story.
— Cryptozoology FTW. Beta draft.



Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box, Mira Grant
Short, sweet, and full of impeccably researched atrocities of science! Exactly what I wanted from a Mira Grant story!
— Mad Science/Horror. Audiobook.

San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant
“The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” is equal parts zombie apocalypse story and love letter to San Diego Comic Con, equal parts humorous and moving. I think the opening to “Feed” serves as a better hook for new readers, but fans of the Newsflesh trilogy will eat this novella up!

I like to think my tuckerized character’s dying words were “You can’t stop the signal.” :D
— Sci-Fi. Short Story. Ebook. Disclaimer: I have been Seanan’s roommate at SDCC. We were not eaten by zombies. Yet.

Movement: A Short Story, Nancy Fulda
I didn’t write a review at the time. I just gave it 4 starts out of 5.
— Sci-Fi. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.

The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu
I was kind of meh about this story. 3 stars out of 5.
— Fantasy. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.

The Homecoming, Mike Resnick
3 stars of 5.
— Sci-Fi. Short Story. Ebook.

The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu
My vote for the Best Short Story Hugo!
— Fantasy. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.

The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City. Prologue, John Scalzi
Absolutely freaking hilarious, particular the opening sentence/paragraph, but it lost steam as the story went on.
— Humorous Fantasy. Ebook. Disclaimer: From Hugo voter packet.


Cold Days, Jim Butcher
Months later, I’m still reeling. Ye gods, this book packs a wallop!
— Urban Fantasy. Beta Text. Disclaimer: I’m a beta.


Among Others, Jo Walton
While the treatment of magic and fairies was interesting, I wasn’t as captivated by this story as the rest of the world seems to be. Total Hugo bait. I suspect 80% of my enjoyment came from listening to the spectacular audiobook reader, whose accent was positively delicious.
— Fantast. Audiobook.


Dodger, Terry Pratchett
To give a Pratchett book any fewer than four stars would be a hideous disservice, because it’s a Terry Pratchett book, but “Dodger” didn’t quite resonate with me the way Sir Terry’s books usually do. Perhaps it’s because I kept wanting the book to not be historical fiction. I kept waiting for Vimes and William de Worde and the Patrician to appear, not Robert Peel, Charles Dickens, and Queen Victoria. I enjoyed all the original characters tremendously, but whenever a historical figure showed up, it pulled me out of the story.
— Kinda Historical Fantasy? Audiobook.

All About Eve: A Screenplay, Joseph L. Mankiewicz
— Drama. Screenplay. Paperback.


Legion, Brandon Sanderson
The concept is a fascinating one, and the characters are well realized, but I wish the story were longer. The plot was interesting, but it didn’t seem worthy of the huge potential of Leeds’ character and the fantastical camera. Five stars nonetheless!
— Fantasy. Audiobook.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag, Neil Gaiman
Delightfully creepy! Neil’s reading of this spooky short story is not to be missed.
— Spooky Story. Audiobook.


Action! Acting for Film and Television, Robert Benedetti
Assigned for my “Fundamentals of Directing” class. Some of the chapters were brain-thuddingly obvious, but others were insightful.
— Nonfiction: Acting/Filmmaking. Paperback.

Chinatown: A Screenplay, Robert Towne
Awesome awesome.
— Noir. Screenplay. Paperback.

Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Film and DV Production, Mick Hurbis-Cherrier
Read for classes. Good stuff.
— Nonfiction: Filmmaking. Paperback.

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold
A delight! Bujold is brilliant at creating chain reactions of chaos.
— Sci-Fi/Romance. Audiobook.


The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson
This is easily my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas. “The Alloy of Law” and “Legion” didn’t quite feel like they were the right “size” for the story and concepts therein, but “The Emperor’s Soul” was pure Goldlilocks. I loved the psychology and sense of history inherent in this book’s magic system. As with all Sanderson stuff, the worldbuilding is top-notch. The characters, too, are fabulous, as is the somewhat meta analysis of writing and constructing characters.

Sanderson has stated that this novella takes place in the same universe as Elantris, but don’t feel you have to read that first. There are no spoilers. Any connections between the two works are of the “blink and you’ll miss it” variety.

I listened to the audiobook, and Angela Lin’s performance was pitch-perfect for the character and tone.  Check it out!
— Fantasy. Audiobook.


Cold Days, Jim Butcher
I had to get the audiobook and reread it! So glad to have Marsters back. His performance was a credit to Jim’s fantastic story. My only beef was Marsters’ blatantly manipulated voice for a certain new character. It took me out of the story. Fortunately, Jim quickly reeled me back in!
— Urban Fantasy. Audiobook.


A Christmas Card from the Middleman, Javier Grillo-Marxuach
I love this man.
— Sci-Fi/Humor. E-text.


Books I read in:
Hardcover – 1 (seriously?  I bought so many!)
Paperback – 4, plus 2 screenplays
Audiobook – 13, plus 2 novellas, 2 short stories, and 1 audio play
Ebook – 1 novel, 1 short story anthology, and 8 other short stories
Beta – 2 novels, 1 short story
Total – 21 books, 1 short story anthology, 2 screenplays, 2 novellas, 12 short stories, 1 audio play

Male/Female Author ratio: 28.5:12:5.  Yikes!
Nonfiction: 3 books, 1 audio play
Written By and/or Starring a person of color: 7 books, 2 short stories, 1 novella (mixed authorship and lead ethnicities in Womanthology and mixed lead ethnicities in Don’t Read This Book; each counted as a half)
Books written before my birth: 1 novel, 2 screenplays — Mistress of Avalon (1983), All About Eve (1950), Chinatown (1974)

Priscilla in Publishing:

  • My second fantasy map was published!  Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, first in the Crescent Moon Trilogy, hit stores in February and won spots on a substantial number of Best SFF of 2012 lists.  
  • Also, my third fantasy map was illustrated and published!  Kevin Hearne’s Trapped came out in November.
  • I illustrated my fourth fantasy map for Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops 2: Fortress Frontier.  It’ll be published later this month.
  • I modeled for Lee Moyer and Pat Rothfuss’ fantasy literature pin-up calendar!  I portrayed Jim Butcher’s character Molly Carpenter for “April.”  Pin-up shoots make a fantastic fitness goal!
2012 in Review:  Wow, I sucked.  My reading resolution was to read more nonfiction and non-fantasy fiction, more stuff written before my birth, and more stuff by POC authors.  Not a very impressive result.  Also, due to grad school, I got WAY behind in betaing.  Obviously, grad school is a much higher priority, so I stand by that decision, but I wish there was enough time in the world to do it all!

My Reading Goal for 2013:  More screenplays, more nonfiction, and more stuff written by women and POC authors.  Let’s see if I can’t bump up my page count this year, too.  I’ll read all the short stories nominated for the Hugos and endeavor to read all the novellas and novels.

Books I started in 2012 but haven’t finished yet:

  • The Kingdom of Gods, N.K Jemisin
  • Ashes of Honor, Seanan McGuire
  • Dinocalypse, Chuck Wendig
  • The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron
  • Fated, Benedict Jacka
  • On Filmmaking, Alexander McKendrick

Books I most intended to read in 2012 that I didn’t:

  • Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun, N.K. Jemisin
  • Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog, Chuck Wendig
  • The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Books I’m looking forward to in 2013:
  • 01/29: Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier, Myke Cole (featuring my map!)
  • 01/31: Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente
  • 04/02: Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal
  • 04/19: The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, anthology ed. John Joseph Adams
  • 05/07: Gods and Monsters: Unclean Spirits, Chuck Wendig
  • 05/14: The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson
  • 06/18: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
  • 07/23: The Long War, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  • 09/06: The Chimes at Midnight, Seanan McGuire
  • 09/24: Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson
  • Cinder Spires #1: The Aeronaut’s Windlass (working title), Jim Butcher
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (50/50 chance of being released in 2013)
  • Half-Off Ragnarok, Seanan McGuire
  • Stormlight Archive #2, Brandon Sanderson (estimated late 2013)
And whenever they come out:
  • Stormlight #2: Highprince of War, Brandon Sanderson
  • Locke Lamora #3: The Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch
  • Kingkiller Chronicle #3: The Doors of Stone, Pat Rothfuss
  • Shades of Grey sequel, Jasper Fforde
  • Raising Taxes/Scouting For Trolls/the Next Discworld Novel, Terry Pratchett

2011 in Books

*BFB indicates a book that has been contributed to Books for Boobs.


Holidays on Ice: Featuring Six New Stories, David Sedaris
This book was very hit-or-miss for me. When David is on, he is riotously funny, but when he’s off, I feel like I’m wasting my time. “The SantaLand Diaries” is hilarious, and “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!” is evilly delightful, if overlong, but most of the others varied between “chuckleworthy” to “what the hell am I reading?”
— Short Story Anthology: Memoir/Humor. Paperback.

Snow White And Rose Red, Patricia C. Wrede
Meh. Enjoyable enough that I finished it, but far from Wrede’s best work.
— Fantasy/Fairy Tale Revision. Paperback.

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Patton Oswalt
Like Sedaris’ collection, this book is a collection of short stories of varying length, some autobiographical and some fictional humor pieces. It’s also an exceptionally quick read, next to the audio books I’ve been mainlining lately. Oswalt is very funny, and the autobiographical parts feel honest and candid.
— Short Story Anthology: Memoir/Humor. Audiobook.

American Gods, Neil Gaiman (REREAD)
I read this book when it first came out, over ten years ago. That blows my mind a little. I really enjoyed it then, even though I was a little young for it, I didn’t have the knowledge of Norse myth I have now, and I’d never been on a proper road trip. It’s an incredibly satisfying book to return to with that much more life experience under my belt. I’m reminded of just why so many people love it. With greater confidence, I can say I’m one of them.
— Contemporary Fantasy/Myth. It has a sequel, but I’m not sure I can call it first in a two-book series, as the tone of Anansi Boys is so different. Audiobook.

Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman
Hilarious and fun literary popcorn! It’s both a loving embrace and nose-tweak to the superhero genre. If you’re going to read this, I strongly recommend you go the audiobook route. Paul Boehmer’s voice for Doctor Impossible is delightfully overblown and pitch-perfect for the character–a great credit to Grossman’s story.
— Superhero Fantasy. Audiobook.

“We Will Not Be Undersold!,” Seanan McGuire (BETA)


Boneshaker, Cherie Priest
Civil War-era dieselpunk with zombies? And it *works*? I am so there! I listened to the audio book, which was ably performed by Kate Reading and Wil Wheaton. It’s not a “Drop Everything And Read This” type of book by any stretch, but I’d recommend it. The main characters took a while to grow on me, but I absolutely adored the setting. The thing that I enjoy most about zombie stories is seeing how society responds and adapts to them, and Priest’s world is exceptionally well fleshed out in that regard. Concerns regarding the blight and the rotters penetrate every aspect of life, and the technology she envisions to enable Seattle’s inhabitants to survive was a delight to read about.
— Dieselpunk Zombie Civil War Alt-History. Audiobook.

Dead to Me, Anton Strout
A very promising debut novel. The writing felt very uneven, but as this is Strout’s first novel, I’m inclined to cut him some slack. Plus, he includes a character who is a total jerk to the protagonist, but who isn’t secretly on the side of evil, a character type which seems infuriatingly rare in popcorn urban fantasy. This endears him to me significantly! Strout has some great ideas, and I look forward to seeing how he develops them over the course of the series. I appreciate his influx of goofy humor to the urban fantasy genre!
— Urban Fantasy. Paperback. BFB.

The Adventures of Sexton Blake, Dirk Maggs
Pat Rothfuss praised this in his blog months and months ago, and I finally got around to buying it. I hope it won’t take you as long to follow my example, because I’d recommend this to anyone who likes things that are wonderful. It’s HILARIOUS! Every member of this star-studded cast brings impeccable comic timing, and the writing is delightfully clever. Thanks, BBC, for continuing to fill my ear-spaces with joy.
— Pulp adventure. Radio drama.

Writing Short Films: Structure and Content for Screenwriters, Linda Cowgill
Required reading for my Short Animated Filmmaking Bootcamp class at SVA. A very solid guide.
— Instructional Non-Fiction. Paperback.

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss (REREAD)
This is the third time I read this book. Every time I come back to it, I love it even more.
— Exquisite, character-driven Fantasy. Audiobook. BFB.

“The Prince is Right,” Seanan McGuire (BETA)


The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
I devoured almost the entire book in four days, despite working a 9-7 job. And this was making an effort to be sane about my reading pace! When I read Rothfuss, everything inessential in my life goes on hold. And now my mind is a whirl with theories about the third book, and I want to reread both books and see what new treasures I glean that I missed on my most recent pass! It’s a sickness. What have you done to me, Pat?

This book was every bit as enthralling and exquisitely crafted as its predecessor. The interplay between the stories of Kvothe the man, Kvothe the boy, and Kvothe the legend attains greater depth as his genuine heroism grows. Yet he still feels human every step of the way. It’s a fascinating study of the way stories are born and how they evolve with the telling.

I’ve seen reviews from people who were frustrated by the lack of movement in one of the “main” plot threads, but so many new threads were introduced and woven together–even in ways that have not been explicitly brought to our attention–that I didn’t care. I’ve always been most fascinated by what else goes on while Kvothe searches for that knowledge.

This book is rich. It’s full. It spans nations and cultures and mindsets and a whole range of emotions. Pat Rothfuss is a master of his craft, and I would recommend this series to anyone within earshot.
— Fantasy of the highest caliber. Hardcover. BFB.

Late Eclipses, Seanan McGuire
Woohoo, Toby is back! This book was a total game-changer, and I’m thrilled at the direction Seanan is taking our heroine. I’m particularly pleased, as I didn’t jive with An Artificial Night, and I’m glad to see “what Seanan wants to write” and “what I want to read” are still in good company. I greatly enjoy my time spent in Toby’s world. The supporting characters are a delight (Toby/Tybalt FTW), the series’ mythology is richly developed, and the nonstop action ensures there’s never a dull moment. I can’t wait for One Salt Sea!
— Urban Fantasy. Paperback.

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston
I’m so glad I listened to this in audiobook format (read by Ming-Na, voice of Disney’s Mulan), as the oral tradition played such a key role in this book. It’s a personal memoir, but the author devotes large portions of the book to the folkore and familial oral history that influence her struggle to define herself. It’s a fascinating insight into different aspects of Chinese and Chinese-American culture.
— Memoir/Folklore. Audiobook.

Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them, ed. Lynne M. Thomas and Deborah Stanish
I contributed the essay, “Brand New Day: The Evolution of the Doctor Horrible Fandom,” and I am giddy beyond belief to be rubbing elbows with such a prestigious bunch of women writers.
— Personal essay collection. Paperback. BFB.


Ghost Story, Jim Butcher
This book is a major departure from Jim’s other works, and at times it felt a little meandering, but as the story went on, I saw how deliberate it was. I think one of the subplots took up more page time than it needed to, but it was still one HELL of a powerful book! Jim is in top form. (April 3, 2011)
— Urban Fantasy. Beta doc. Full disclosure: I am a beta.

And then I promptly reread:
Ghost Story, Jim Butcher (REREAD)
OMG, make plenty of time in your schedules, guys, because this is a book that NEEDS to be reread. I will say nothing more on the subject. (April 10, 2011)
— Still Urban Fantasy. Still from the Beta doc. Full disclosure: Yup, still a beta.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
A fascinating and moving true account of three stories: the lives of Henrietta Lacks and her family; the scientific breakthroughs made through Henrietta’s immortal cancerous cells; and the journey the author and Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, embark upon in search of understanding.
— Biography. Audiobook.

Elantris, Brandon Sanderson
April, 19 2011: I gave this book another go! While it’s clearly a First Published Novel and uneven at times, I’m finding much more enjoyment the second time around. It has all the hallmarks I love in a Sanderson novel–intriguing religious themes, strong female characters (well, one–while there are a bunch of cool ladies in the background, only one of the principal cast is a woman. At least it passes Bechdel!), a nifty magic system, and political/sociological maneuverings that stay interesting.

I feel his facility with worldbuilding wasn’t as strong here, as Sanderson occasionally threw in a detail unrelated to what we see of the world in the story, intended to make the world seem more “full”, but instead the attempts just felt transparent. So while I wouldn’t recommend reading this immediately after devouring “Mistborn” or “Warbreaker” or “The Way of Kings” or any of Sanderson’s stronger, more recent work, I think Sanderson fans will find it well worth a read.
— Fantasy. Audiobook.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu
Goodreads reviewer Kemper wrote, “This ended up being a book that I wanted to like more than I actually liked it.” I feel exactly the same way.
— Sci-Fi. Hardcover.

“Crystal Halloway, Girl Wonder, and the Curse of the Truth Fairy,” (published as “Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage.”) Seanan McGuire (BETA)
“Mister Hadj’s Sunset Ride,” Saladin Ahmed
“Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela,” Saladin Ahmed


Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
— Noir-style mystery. Audiobook.

Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Carrie Vaughn
This book is a quick read with a fresh premise, but it didn’t leave me with any particular desire to read further in the series. Looking back, I realize the radio show accounted for the majority of my enjoyment of the story. I spent much of the rest of the book wincing as she put up with (and even defended) her repeated emotional abuse and rape. No thanks!
— Urban fantasy. Audiobook.

The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Haunting and powerful. The audiobook reader, Tom Stechschulte, was perfectly suited for McCarthy’s spare, bleak prose.
— Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi. Audiobook.

Machine of Death, edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki
This book was a delight–an intriguing concept, executed with variety and wit. It was a little long to read in a continuous lump, but a took a week break or two, and it felt fresh again.

I enjoyed seeing many of my favorite online comic writers putting their pens to a different format. I loved finding what Randall Munroe and Ryan North and David Malki could do with a few thousand words, instead of a few dozen, and the illustrations by folks like Kate Beaton, Vera Brosgol, and Dylan Meconis were a great addition. The range and quality of submissions were commendable! Who knew existentialism could be such a treat?
— Philosophical Sci-Fi Anthology. Paperback.

Blackout, Connie Willis
I’m of two minds about this book. From moment to moment, I found it completely engrossing and an intriguing insight into lives of non-combatants in World War II. Overall, however, I felt it was overlong. I also feel the three lead characters were too similar in temperament–when they were put up next to each other, they felt almost interchangeable. I still intend to read the second volume, “All Clear,” but I think I’ll borrow it from the library instead of buying my own copy.
— Historical Sci-Fi. Paperback.

Feed, Mira Grant (REREAD)
I enjoyed the heck out of this book! It was every bit as engrossing on the second read, even though my heart ached at the knowledge of what was to come.
— Political Sci-Fi Horror. Paperback.

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
“Water for Elephants” is one of those rare, lucky books that ascend to a new level by translation to audiobook. It’s narrated by two actors, corresponding with the shifting POV from Jacob in his 20s to Jacob in his 90s. David LeDoux capably depicts young Jacob and the wide cast of characters that populate his world, but John Randolph Jones’ performance as elderly Jacob is extraordinary, breathing even greater life and sensitivity and pain into Gruen’s words. Superb!

I enjoyed the book on its own merits, of course. Gruen’s vivid depiction of life in a Depression-era traveling circus was clearly well researched. If only my mind didn’t keep flashing back to Carnivale, which has a similar setting. I kept expecting creepy magical realism elements to pop up. :D Of course, this may also be because I don’t read a lot of books outside the sci-fi/fantasy genre.

I recommend this book to anyone yet to be convinced of the brilliance of audiobooks.

Countdown, Mira Grant
Fascinating and evilly heartbreaking.
— Sci-Fi/Zombie Horror. Novella. E-text.

“Rat-Catcher,” Seanan McGuire (BETA)
“I Was a Teenage Bigfoot,” Jim Butcher (BETA)


Deadline, Mira Grant
Does anyone have a TARDIS handy? Because I kind of need to read book 3 RIGHT NOW. This book was a worthy successor to “FEED,” insofar as it also made me cry in public. This series is superb!
— Political Sci-Fi Horror. Paperback.

Faking It, Jennifer Crusie
Pure fun and utterly nuts! My college roommates passed around “Bet Me” and “Faking It” my sophomore year, but I only got to read the former. It’s nice to now know the difference between donuts and muffins!
— Romance. Audiobook.

Sandman 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman
While this volume demonstrates Gaiman’s extraordinary promise, the “fetch quest” story is much weaker than later volumes will prove to be. It’s kind of cool to see Neil experimenting with where he wants to take the story, though the DC character cameos feel gimmicky to me.

Also, the balance of genres is tipped more sharply towards horror, which is not where my interests lie. I heard Neil Gaiman speak last night at the 92nd Street Y, and he touched on that very subject: in those stories–particularly “24 Hours”–Horror was the main course, rather than a seasoning, and that wasn’t the brain-space he wanted to inhabit. I have no taste for horror pie, though I’ll happily consume mythology with horror masala! Bring on the rest of Sandman!
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Sandman 2: The Doll’s House, Neil Gaiman
I was sitting in sunny Bryant Park, reading this book during my lunch hour. Without warning, a six-year-old boy raced up to me and asked me what comic I was reading. Never before have I shut a book so quickly. :D

This book was exceptionally rich. Paging back through, I find myself stunned that so many stories were told in this one volume. It’s a delight to return to the text and see all the little puzzle pieces Neil dropped early in the series. I last read the books in high school, nearly a decade ago, but I remember enough to smile at the plot hooks when I see them.
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Green Arrow/Black Canary: The Wedding, Judd Winick
— Superheroes. Graphic Novel.

Kindred, Octavia Butler
My first experience with Octavia Butler was a very negative one. I picked up Fledgling and was squicked all to hell. After many long months, I picked up Kindred, and I found it much more to my taste. Butler approaches complex issues with great sensitivity, and the fantastical components are handled in a credible way. Great book!
— Science Fiction/Historical. Audiobook.

Sandman 3: Dream Country, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

“Doctor Diablo Goes Through the Motions,” Saladin Ahmed
“For Want of a Nail,” Mary Robinette Kowal
“Go the F*** to Sleep,” Adam Mansback
“The Faithful Solider, Prompted,” Saladin Ahmed


Sandman 4: Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Sandman 5: A Game of You, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Sandman 6: Fables and Reflections, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Sandman 7: Brief Lives, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Bossypants, Tina Fey
— Memoir/Humor. Audiobook.

Sandman 8: Worlds’ End, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Ghost Story, Jim Butcher (REREAD)
I had to listen to the audiobook! It’s lamentable that Marsters was unable to read this audiobook, but life happens. Glover made a perfectly serviceable replacement on such short notice. I enjoyed his performance for about 90% of the book, but the last 10% was a crushing disappointment. He didn’t inject enough emotion into the really devastating emotional scenes (read: pretty much everything involving Molly), and those were the scenes I cared the most about! Le sigh.
— Urban Fantasy. Audiobook. BFB. Full disclosure: My betahood continues apace.

Sandman 9: The Kindly Ones, Neil Gaiman
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

The Griff, Christopher Moore
Entertaining, but unremarkable. As a fan of Christopher Moore, I expected more of it.
— Sci-Fi. Graphic Novel.

Sandman 10: The Wake, Neil Gaiman
Oh my holy god and all his pretty ponies. This series is deserving of every scrap of praise heaped upon it. Can’t wait to read the Annotated Sandman starting in January.
— Fantasy. Graphic Novel.


Sorcery 101, Kel McDonald
Very enjoyable! Fun characters.
— Urban Fantasy. Graphic Novel.

Hounded, Kevin Hearne
A number of my friends have raved to me about the Iron Druid Chronicles, so when I met Hearne at Comic Con, I could only reflect their squee and express my intention to read his book soon. He excused himself for a moment, then came back with a signed copy for me. Generous guy! I’m now kicking myself for not reading it sooner, so that I could’ve offered him in-person squees of my own.

This book is ridiculous amounts of fun. I occasionally find myself suffering from Urban Fantasy Ennui, but Hearne’s world feels fresh and different. Also, I love Oberon to an absurd degree. I look forward to reading the next books in the series!
— Urban Fantasy. Paperback. Full Disclosure: Hearne is a classy dude!

Hexed, Kevin Hearne
Every bit as enjoyable as the first! On to book 3!
— Urban Fantasy. Paperback.

Hark, A Vagrant!, Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton’s brain is a Canadian national treasure. Bonus coolness: My copy was from the SDCC limited-edition set, sold to me by Seanan McGuire. I in turn donated it to Books for Boobs. Spread the love!
— Mostly Historical Comics Plus Other Geekyawesomelarious Topics, Hardcover. BFB.

“Another Man’s Burden,” Harry Connolly
“The Bone Orchid,” Harry Connolly
“Soldiers of a Dying God,” Harry Connolly
“The Blood Cord,” Harry Connolly


Circle of Enemies, Harry Connolly
Harry Connolly is one of the most innovative new voices in Urban Fantasy, and I wish his sales numbers reflected how mind-blowingly awesometasticsauce his books are. Harry creates original monsters that are truly formidable, not just because they appear difficult to defeat, but because they are so strange and alien that those fighting them often have no idea what their weaknesses are, or if those who fall prey to the monsters have any chance of being saved. This series is gritty and brutal and uncompromising and impossible to put down!
— Urban Fantasy/Lovecraftian Horror. Paperback.

Old Man’s War, John Scalzi
How could I have gone so long without reading a John Scalzi book, even though everyone and their parakeet recommended him to me? I must endeavor to be less of a dumbass in the future. What imagination! I’ll definitely be reading more from him in the future.
— Military Science Fiction. Audiobook.

Hammered, Kevin Hearne
I am really, really conflicted about this book. On one hand, it has all the delightful character interaction, solid action scenes, and fun and fascinating new spins on mythology I’ve come to expect from Hearne. But on the other hand, as the story unfolded, a flaw in Hearne’s world that’s been ignorable until now was brought screaming to the surface. And something happened that turned my stomach against Atticus, and therefore the series in general. My review contains spoilers, so I won’t post it here, but those interested in reading it can do so at my Goodreads page.
— Urban Fantasy. Paperback.

One Salt Sea, Seanan McGuire
It is deeply awesome to see Seanan’s writing improving with each novel. Characters I wasn’t 100% sold on in previous books were given new vitality and dimensionality. Seanan deftly balances humor, action, drama, and kickass worldbuilding, delivering an extremely satisfying and entertaining story.

The ending took me by surprise, as I was expecting Seanan to go in a different direction, but I am now even MORE curious to see where the story will take Toby and her friends next! As a reader, I know I’m in good hands. Because those hands are also carrying a machete.
— Urban Fantasy. Paperback.

The Magician King, Lev Grossman
I don’t know how to rate this book. I think the author was very successful in executing the story he wanted to tell, and I can appreciate his craftsmanship and his skewering of fantasy tropes in general and the Harry Potter and Narnia series specifically, but parts of it were just too bleak and frustrating for my literary tastes. I found myself saying, “Oh, come ON!” more than once. And I know that’s the reaction the author *wanted* from me, but… argh.
— High/Urban Fantasy Hybrid. Audiobook.

Goliath, Scott Westerfeld
I enjoyed the heck out of this book every bit as much as I enjoyed the heck out of “Leviathan” and “Behemoth.” Westerfeld delivers an extremely satisfying conclusion to a truly excellent trilogy.

Bonus: I got the audio book, so I had the privilege of listening to Alan Cumming performing the story. He does a fantastic job! Now I must hie to the nearest bookstore to leaf through the book and admire all the illustrations.
— Alt-History Biopunk/Dieselpunk. Audiobook.

Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi
A simple, delightful story, told with charm and style. John Scalzi is a freaking genius, and Wil Wheaton’s performance of the audiobook is pitch-perfect.
— Sci-Fi. Audiobook.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
I enjoyed the protagonist’s unique voice and point of view, but it eventually grew stale. The story didn’t sustain my interest to the end.
— Mystery/Psychological Fiction. Audiobook.

“B is for Bigfoot,” Jim Butcher


Turn Coat, Jim Butcher (REREAD)
I injured my eye and was unable to look at a screen or a book for very long, so I curled up with a Dresden Files audiobook to pass the time–comfort food for the ears!

I’ve read or listened to this book half a dozen times at this stage, so it was fun to sit back and close my eyes and observe how Jim structured the book and imagine how I’d compose various shots if I were shooting this book as a film. It’s a well-paced, engaging story with compelling characters, and holy GODS do I ship Harry/Murphy like FedEx at Christmastime.

I realize this is not the most traditional or even informative review, but meh. This book completes my “52 books in 2011” Goodreads challenge, so I have earned the right to include some irrelevant blather. :D
— Urban Fantasy. Audiobook.

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean
The Disappearing Spoon is a fascinating read. It’s not the sort of work I could devour in one sitting, but it was a pleasure to partake of in bits and pieces. Kean’s insights into scientists’ personal lives and the elements’ roles in history are intriguing, and I wish my high school chemistry class had explored some of this territory. Kean’s prose is approachable and often humorous, rendering even higher-level physics comprehensible and enjoyable by the layman. Recommended to science and history geeks alike!
— Chemistry/Physics/History. Audiobook.

Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (REREAD)
I read this book several times many years ago, and it was a joy to revisit!
— Fantasy Humor with Religious Elements. Audiobook.

Snuff, Terry Pratchett
While far from Pterry’s best, even Pterry’s worst would still garner five stars from me.
— Fantasy Humor. Hardcover.


Twenty Palaces, Harry Connolly
While I rant and rail at the heavens at the injustice of such a brilliant series being canceled, if it had to happen, I’m glad it was in an era in which e-publishing is gaining such traction and accessibility. I’m so grateful Harry Connolly was able to tell this story and that plugged-in fans were able to read it. After the third book, I wanted so desperately for there to be more, but… sigh. This review is not about my woe. This review is about joy!

This book was excellent, as everything I’ve read from Connolly’s keyboard has proven to be. I loved this insight into this period of Ray’s life. At times I wondered why this wasn’t the first book, but then I reread the first page of “Child of Fire,” and I thought, “Oh, yes. So he could open the series like THAT.” Still, this is a rare prequel that I feel newcomers to the series will enjoy just as much as folks who have read the full trilogy.

This series is powerful, innovative, and uncompromising. Check it out!
— Urban Fantasy/Lovecraftian Horror. Kindle.

The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson
This book is lighter fare than the epic, world-sprawling tomes Sanderson usually pens, but in true Sanderson style, it’s still highly entertaining, with a well-integrated magic system, great action, and compelling characters you can’t help but adore. I wanted to draw little hearts in the margins whenever Wayne was present. I wanted to draw BIG hearts in the margins whenever the characters of the original trilogy were alluded to, particularly Spook. Good lord on a stick, do I love Spook.

I debated giving it four or five stars, because the story just didn’t feel as “big” as Sanderson’s usual work. I just kept reminding myself that this book started as a short story, and it’s wide open for a sequel, so I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more from these characters.

The other aspect that didn’t sit well with me is–naturally–a spoiler. You can read about it in my GoodReads review.

I’d heartily recommend this book to any Mistborn fan, though I’d recommend any fantasy fan who hadn’t read Mistborn to devour the trilogy first. The trilogy isn’t required to understand the events of this book, but there are so many wonderful little details one needs to be a Mistborn fan to appreciate. I wouldn’t want a reader denied that enjoyment.
— Steampunk Fantasy Western. Kindle.

“Bigfoot on Campus,” Jim Butcher (BETA)
“One Hell of a Ride,” Seanan McGuire (BETA)


Did I seriously not finish a single novel in this month? I am the most useless being in the universe. I betaed a massive chunk of Seanan McGuire’s Midnight Blue Light Special, but as she hasn’t finished the book, it doesn’t count in this tally.

I guess the whole “packing up one’s life and moving 2500 miles cross-continent” thing cuts into one’s reading time.

“A Christmas Card from the Middleman,” Javier Grillo-Marxuach
“Lord of Reavers,” Harry Connolly

Literary Podcasts Consumed:


Books I read in:
Hardcover – 4
Paperback – 28
Audiobook – 24
Ebook – 2
Beta – 2 (well, one read twice in its entirety, in addition to the 5 or 6 times I reread each chapter as they’re written), 8 short stories
Short Stories/Novellas – 21
Total – 61 Novels, 21 Short Stories/Novellas

Male/Female Author ratio: 25.5:15.5 (mixed authorship of Machine of Death)
Fiction: 53.5 Novels, 21 Short Stories (mix of truth and fiction in Sedaris’ collection)
Non-Fiction: 7.5 Novels
Written By and/or Starring a person of color: 7 novels (mixed authorship on Whedonistas and Machine of Death; each counted as a half), 5 short stories.

Books auctioned for Books for Boobs in 2011: 54
Money raised in Books for Boobs auctions: About $2600?
Books in B4B auction queue: 53

Most Nerdgasmic SDCC Experience Ever: Small, quiet dinner with Jim Butcher, Pat Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Chris Paolini, and Chris’ Sister, followed by squishy taxi ride with Rothfuss and Butcher, followed by W00tstock. Plus much chillage with Seanan McGuire, who I am rooming with next year. Whaaaaat.

Priscilla in Publishing:

  • I illustrated my second map for a fantasy series, the Crescent Moon Trilogy by Saladin Ahmed. The first book, Throne of the Crescent Moon, arrives February 2012.
  • My personal essay, “Brand New Day: The Evolution of the Doctor Horrible Fandom,” was published in Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women Who Love Them, from Mad Norwegian Press. I rub elbows with Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Catherynne M. Valente, Jane Espenson, Nancy Holder, and other luminary ladies of sci-fi/fantasy!
  • Through “Virtual Signing” sales of the Alera Map posters, I raised $600 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, $60 for City Harvest, and $950 for Kiva. That Kiva money has already been reinvested multiple times, to the tune of $1,725 worth of loans to help support entrepreneurs and fight poverty. As in 2010, I also donated a map signed by Jim and me to Pat Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders charity, benefiting Heifer International.

2011 in Review: My goal for 2011 was to read 52 books, and I kicked that goal’s butt! I’m very proud of myself for reading so many more books this year. It’s just shy of double last year’s embarrassing 34.

However, just like last year, a staggering number of books I read were published in the last few months. Thankfully, unlike last year, I actually read two books published before my birth: The Woman Warrior (1976) by Maxine Hong Kingston and Kindred (1979) by Octavia Butler.

I deviated from the Urban Fantasy in many exciting ways, including an assortment of comedic memoirs; historical volumes that confronted issues of race, gender, and science; alternative histories infused with genre elements; and even some romance!

My Reading Resolution for 2012: Same as my resolution for 2011. Read more nonfiction and non-fantasy fiction, read more stuff written before my birth, and read more stuff by POC authors.

My Reading Goal for 2012: In December, I quit my job and moved to Los Angeles, so I expect my 2012 reading list will be lower than 2011. As I’ll be driving instead of taking public transportation, I’ll be listening to audiobooks rather than reading during my commute, and that’s much slower. Also, I won’t be listening to audiobooks at work, which allowed me to devour SCADS of them at a clip. I’ll be able to listen at the gym, but that doesn’t add up to much. I may have to downgrade my Audible membership.

I think I’ll set my 2012 goal at 35 books, with the certain expectation that I will trounce that goal’s shiny backside.

This Post Needs More Lists

Books I Started, But Haven’t Finished Yet:

  • Shadow Ops: Control Point, Myke Cole (ARC)
  • Midnight Blue Light Special, Seanan McGuire (BETA)
  • Mistress of Magic, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Charitable Getting, Sam Starbuck
  • Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin
  • The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson

Books I Started, But Don’t Intend To Finish:

    Kraken, China Mieville — I read half of this book, and I found the ideas fascinating and inventive, but I just didn’t feel connected to any of the characters.

Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2012:

  • 01/04: Annotated Sandman: Vol 1 (and subsequent volumes), Neil Gaiman
  • 01/31: Shadow Ops: Control Point, Myke Cole
  • 02/07: Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (featuring my map!)
  • 02/28: Friends With Boys, Faith Erin Hicks
  • 02/28: Fated, Benedict Jacka
  • 03/06: Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire
  • 03/??: Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch (speculative; fingers crossed!)
  • 04/10: Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal
  • 05/03: The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin
  • 05/22: Blackout, Mira Grant
  • 06/07: The Shadowed Sun, N.K. Jemisin
  • 09/06: Ashes of Honor, Seanan McGuire
  • ??/??: Cold Days, Jim Butcher (projected fall 2012)

And whenever they come out:

  • Nick Harkaway’s second book
  • Stormlight #2, Brandon Sanderson
  • The Doors of Stone, Pat Rothfuss
  • Shades of Grey sequel, Jasper Fforde
  • Raising Taxes/Scouting For Trolls/the Next Discworld Novel, Terry Pratchett

Book meme!

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4-7 sentences on your LJ along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag five people. I’m not really certain who all is reading my blog nowadays, so I’ll pass.

The book is Seanan McGuire’s A Local Habitation, which I’ve been consulting for my October Daye/Dresden Files crossover fic:

“She got knocked around a lot before she hooked up with Barbara, and I think she holds a few grudges. I mean, she was working here for over a year before she stopped being nasty to the purebloods on staff.”

“So why…”

“Because she’s good, and because she was the only Coblynau who needed the work. Jan needed somebody who could handle iron, at least until we got all the systems fully working. By the time her first contract was finished, she was hooked, and she stayed.”

So a guy on Formspring asked me what books I would recommend to kill time between Dresden Files stories, and I figured I’d reproduce it here. Here’s what I read to ease the pain between hits of beta smack, in convenient alphabetical order!

Douglas Adams — everyone I know has read his “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series, right? Okay, just checking.

Lois McMaster Bujold — the Vorkosigan saga is some of the best sci-fi I’ve read, and I’m very picky with my sci-fi. The books focus on Miles Vorkosigan, descendant of a long line of war heroes on a planet obsessed with military honor, who was born horribly deformed as a result of an assassination attempt on his mother. He has the mind of a brilliant leader in an all-too-fragile body, and his adventures are suitably grandiose in scale. One of the best part of these books is that the characters grow and evolve over the course of the series, and the tone of the books changes accordingly. Bujold also wrote “The Curse of Chalion,” which I hear is excellent, and “The Sharing Knive” series, which is mind-searingly dull.

Jim Butcher — I know this list started as “recs for people who love Jim Butcher,” but I felt silly leaving him off a list of my favourite authors. Oh, and there’s a map in book 6 of The Codex Alera I hear is pretty cool.

Shannon Butcher — There is altogether too much talent in that household. I’ve only read two or three of her books, as I’m not a big Romance reader, but she has a mind for creating fantastic monsters, and she writes fantastic suspense–I missed my bus stop because I was too engrossed in “Love You To Death.”

Eoin Colfer — his Artemis Fowl series is riotously fun fantasy enjoyable by a wide spectrum of ages.

Jasper Fforde — a genius madman. A worthy heir to Douglas Adams. He creates worlds that are gloriously absurd, but still internally logical and well developed. His Thursday Next series are deliciously clever and demonstrate a real love for literature. His most recent book, “Shades of Grey,” is “a cult classic for people who crave a rich brew of dystopic fantasy and deadpan goofiness,” to quote the Washington Post.

Neil Gaiman — needs no introduction.

Mira Grant — an alias of Seanan McGuire. Not sure why she or her publisher felt the need for the pseudonym, but oh well! Her book, “Feed,” is the first in a trilogy about bloggers following a Presidential election after the zombie apocalypse. This description will either compel you to buy the book instantly or send you fleeing the room, so if you’re in the latter group, I will add that I don’t generally care for most zombie stuff (“Sean of the Dead” being the near-sole exception), but I loved this. It’s much smarter and more thematic than your average campy gorefest. It’s more than a book about zombies–it’s about friendship and family and the politics of fear.

Lev Grossman — I feel the whole “Harry Potter for Grown-Ups” label has become overused, but it’s rather fitting in this instance, “Mixing the magic of beloved children’s fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond” (Amazon.com Best of the Month).

Nick Harkaway — You need to read “The Gone-Away World.” Right now. I freaking love this book. I don’t know how to describe it, so I’ll use Publisher’s Weekly’s description: “simultaneously a cautionary tale about the absurdity of war; a sardonic science fiction romp through Armageddon; a conspiracy-fueled mystery replete with ninjas, mimes and cannibal dogs; and a horrifying glimpse of a Lovecraftian near-future.”

John Hodgman — “The Areas of My Expertise” and its sequel, “More Information Than You Require,” are an exercise in the very best sort of madness.

N.K. Jemisin — “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” is a complex, beautifully-written book about politics, racism, and religion. Her world’s gods are fantastically eerie and absolutely magnetic. I can’t wait for the next in the trilogy!

Scott Lynch — his “Gentleman Bastard” series could be a bit sadistic for my taste, and the book’s constant pinballing between different times in the hero’s life could be confusing, but I still really enjoyed them. Think “Ocean’s 11” in Renaissance Italy. Great stuff. The third book in a planned seven-book cycle has been delayed, which is rather agonizing, considering how the second ended, so I’m sending good vibes in Mr. Lynch’s direction!

Seanan McGuire — I want to be this woman when I grow up. Her filks are among the best I’ve encountered, and her urban fantasy series has me clamoring for more. The Dresden Files are an easy comparison to make, as both heroes are blue collar private investigators with one foot in the mortal world and one in the supernatural community, though half-fae changeling October Daye has significantly less magical muscle to hurl at enemies than Harry Dresden. The world is richly developed from Celtic folklore, and her characters are memorable and lovable. (Tybalt! Quentin! Toby herself! *flings love at them*) I’ve found the endings of the series’ two books somewhat predictable, but the journey there is so enjoyable, it’s more than worth it.

Robin McKinley — I’ve only read a handful of her books, but I’ve adored each of them. Some of her novels re-envision fairy tales like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Donkeyskin,” while others create new worlds that capture the same timeless magical quality that drew us in fairy tales in the first place. “Sunshine” and “Deerskin” are two of my favourites of hers, and yes, I know I need to read “The Blue Sword” already!

Terry Pratchett — his Discworld series is unmissable. His novels ride the line between parody and satire, and his characters you’ll grow to adore. Discworld is actually a collection of a variety of sub-series: the Wizards, the Witches, the City Watch, Death, and a number of stand-alones. My favourites are the Watch and the handful of stand-alones folks quasi-categorize as “industrial revolution”, but you could ask a room full of fans and get a different answer every time. I’d suggest starting with “Guards! Guards!” And I totally need to redo the Angua costume I made in high school.

Pat Rothfuss — “The Name of the Wind” is one of my favourite books to recommend. I’ll lend it to a friend, she’ll disappear for a few days, and then she’ll emerge a frantic wreck, wailing, “YOU SUCK YOU SUCK YOU SUCK WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT?!?” This is the first in a trilogy chronicling the coming-of-age of a young man, who will grow to be a hero of legend. It’s a beautifully crafted story you just want to curl up with and disappear into for days at a time. I resented my job for taking me away from it.

J.K. Rowling — If you haven’t read Harry Potter, you live under a rock. Under a bigger rock. Under an even bigger rock. Under a tectonic plate. Under a sheet of impermeable metal three feet thick, built to withstand the brunt of time and man. Seriously, how?

Brandon Sanderson — Man, this guy is versatile. Hallmarks of his work include strong character development arcs, deliciously creative magic systems, wonderfully twisty plots-within-plots that are complex without feeling overly contrived, and a real sense of consequence to one’s actions. I adore his “Mistborn” series and plan to cosplay as his heroine, Vin, at my earliest convenience, and “Warbreaker” is also excellent. I couldn’t get into “Elantris,” but I feel it deserves a second chance. He’s also finishing Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” saga, but as I don’t care much for Jordan, I’ll have to trust the positive reviews my friends have given Sanderson’s continuation.

Geoffrey Willans (author) and Ronald Searle (illustrator) — Rede MOLESWORTH, gratest book in the history of man as any fule kno. Quite simply, this is the best book no one I know has ever heard of. It’s written from the point of view of Nigel Molesworth, “Terror of St. Custards,” a British schoolboy with a boundless imagination and a complete disregard for spelling and grammar. This book “contanes the full lowdown on skools, swots, snekes, cads, prigs, bulies, headmasters, foopball, weeds, and various other chizzes-in fact THE LOT.” When I moved to New York, I was living out of my suitcase for several weeks, so I only allowed myself to bring two books: the one I was reading at the time (Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”) and Molesworth. That is how much I love this book.

I’m sure there are scads of great writers I’m forgetting, but those are the ones jumping out at me. That should get him through to “Side Jobs,” at least. :D