Sorry for the lack of posting this week (and this month). The computer and internet connection issues I was having have both been fixed so normal posting will resume.
On the plus side, I’ve read lots of books this month because I haven’t been spending my time reading the internet!
I know, it’s a bit late for a Best Of 2009 list! I had to think about the December books for a while and get some perspective on them, and I had to figure out how I defined “Best Of”.
When I find an author I enjoy, I will track down and read as many books by them as I can, so I’ve broken my “Best Of” into two sections:
- Awesome authors I discovered in 2009
- Amazing Books I read in 2009
But first, lets look at my reading statistics – I am a scientist after all.
In total, I read 194 books in 2009 (including audio books). I read the most in December (22) and the least in April (11).
Looking at genre, in 2009 I read:
107 fantasy books (55%)
13 science fiction books (7%)
31 romance books (16%)
16 graphic novels (8%)
21 fiction books of other genres (mystery/thriller/chick lit/whatever) (11%)
and 6 non-fiction books (3%)
In conclusion, I really like fantasy! (Please note that some of the romance and most of the graphic novels could be also be defined as fantasy.)
Awesome Authors I Discovered In 2009
Can there be anything more fun than reading an amazing book that blows you away and then finding out the author has a backlist of books for you to glom? I don’t think so!
- Ann Aguirre
- Kristin Cashore
- Colin Cotterill
- Jeaniene Frost
- Linnea Sinclair
- Nalini Singh
Amazing Books I Read In 2009
These books all have something extra that makes them stand out in my memory. (To get on this list I had to have read these books for the first time in 2009.)
- Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
- Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee
- Fire by Kristin Cashore
- Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
- The Eight by Katherine Neville
- A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
- Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
- Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman
- Fables: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham
Wow – these authors and books are pretty wonderful! I only hope that I can find some equally amazing new authors and equally special books in 2010.
I couldn’t resist posting this picture of Harry Dresden (from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files) riding a re-animated T-Rex. This was my favourite part of Dead Beat to read and Dan Dos Santos has produced a stunning illustration. (As he always does – check out his site for more awesome book covers.)
Shaun Tan writes and illustrates beautiful non-typical picture books, that are equally as rewarding for adults and children.
My favourite is The Arrival, a wordless graphic novel that nearly made me cry. I had never thought of myself as an immigrant before, having moved by choice from NZ to the UK, and then to Australia; but that is what I am, and I really identified with some of the situations the protagonist finds himself in.
My second favourite book is Tales from Outer Suburbia, a collection of short stories written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. The stories are beautiful and gently moving, about:
the quiet mysteries of everyday life: homemade pets, dangerous weddings, stranded sea mammals, tiny exchange students and secret rooms filled with darkness and delight.
The story of Eric (the tiny exchange student) can be read here, and there is an interview with Shaun Tan here.
Watch the pages of a book move and change as they illustrate the narrator’s words. A beautiful animation of part of Maurice Gee’s Going West, made for the NZ Book Council.
If this lego minifig had longer hair and glasses, it could be me!
William Shakespeare once came back from the dead to ask for Neil Gaiman’s autograph.
In any given week, 7 of the top 10 books on the NYT Bestseller List are by pseudonyms of Neil Gaiman.
Hitler actually won World War II. Then Neil Gaiman wrote an alternate-history story in which the allies won, and reality was too intimidated to argue the point.
Most agents charge a 15% commission. Neil Gaiman’s agent pays him an extra 15% for the privilege of saying “I’m Neil Gaiman’s agent.”
See 20 Neil Gaiman Facts for more!
Neil Gaiman’s bookshelves:
One day I’ll have bookshelves like this too – but then what would I do if I wanted to move?
A fascinating short documentary showing the printing and binding process of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Minus the security guards at the end, this is how most hardcover books are produced.
Megan Whalen Turner is not a prolific writer but her books The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia are almost unbelievably good.
The Queen of Attolia contains one of the most affecting and and surprising romances I have ever read – even if you start reading the book knowing these two people will get together in the end. (I read a review that contained spoilers before I brought a copy of The Queen of Attolia.)
Similar to Diana Wynne Jones, Megan Whalen Turner’s books are multi-layered and will stand up to re-reading for the rest of my life; but more importantly, they contain what I think of as Truth. That is, when I finish reading them, I come away feeling that I understand some part of human relationships/interactions better than I did before. All of my favourite books, the ones I will never get rid of, no matter how my tastes change, contain some kernel of Truth.
Whalen Turner’s first published book was a short story collection called Instead of Three Wishes. I haven’t managed to find a copy to read yet, but one of the stories is featured on her website in full.
Instead of Three Wishes: A young woman does a favour for an elf prince who offers her three wishes. When she turns the wishes down, he must find something that she will accept so he is no longer in debt to her.