My friend Matt has Web pages listing the books he has read since 2004. I wanted to keep better track of what I read, so at the beginning of 2007, I started keeping a list here. For one thing, changing jobs at the end of 2007 meant I had lots more reading time than I used to, because I now have what amounts to a public transit commute.

Books I read in 2019

  1. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, by Alyssa Cole. January 28, 2019

    Date completed is approximate, because I spent most of January either unable to read or struggling to finih one library book and one book we own without finishing either. One of the Reluctant Royals series, related to A Princess in Theory and very entertaining.

  2. The Witch Elm, by Tana French. February 10, 2019.

    A stand-alone novel, not one of the author's Dublin Murder Squad series. A densely-plotted book involving a very close family, a first-person narrator who is beaten nearly to death early on, and any number of spoiler-ih plot points I won't mention. I have mixed feeling about this; some of the plot points are....almost a improbably as those of The Likeness, one of the author' earlier books.

  3. In a House of Lies, by Ian Rankin. February 14, 2019.

    The latest John Rebus novel. A body turns up ten years after the person went missing; complications ensue. Up to the high general standard of these novels, but not all that memorable.

  4. A Duke by Default, by Alyssa Cole. February 16, 2019.

    Lightweight fun involving swords, Scotland, ADHD, and a title. I pre-ordered two more books in this entertaining romance series!

  5. The Labyrinth Index, by Charle Stross. February 20, 2019.

    The ninth in the Laundry Files series. Viewpoint character is Mhari Murphy, the PHANG, now Baroness Karnstein. The Lovecraftian Singularity i about to arrive and the President of the United States is missing - from Americans' memories.

  6. The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal. March 4, 2019.

    Alternate history related to our time: a disastrous meteor strike destroys Washington, DC and surrounding areas, resulting in a familiar-sounding but nature-induced climate change. How to save humanity from impending environmental disaster? Space colonies. Told by the viewpoint character, Elma York, a brilliant mathematician who is a "computer" on the space project.

    I liked the book and I will read any sequels, but Elma, who is Jewish, didn't come across that way; the Jewishness felt more layered on than embodied. (Minor example: pretty sure she would not have had the first name she has and even more sure that if she did, her nickname would have been Selma rather than Elma.) I do like the Black characters and wonder whether Black readers felt about those characters the way I feel about Elma and her husband.

  7. Miniatures, by John Scalzi. Mid-March, 2019.

    The very short fiction, mostly quite amusing, of Scalzi. One was so funny I had to read it out loud to my girlfried.

  8. Alice Payne Rides, by Kate Heeartfield. March 22, 2019

    More of the time-traveling, biracial, lesbian, highwayman Alice Payne!

  9. It Takes Two to Tumble, by Cat Sebastian. March 23, 2019

    Gay romance novel. Fun, very unlikely, and by the way, non-Jewish Englishmen of the era when this book is set wouldn't be circumcised.

  10. Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee. April 2, 2019.

    A young-adultish, Korean-folk-tale influenced novel by the author of the brilliant Machineries of Empire series, it's the story of 13-year-old Min. She lives with her family on a backwater planet; her brother has joined the Thousand Worlds space force and is now accused of desertion. Min, a fox, goes in search of Jun and proves herself fabulously resourceful and brave. She encounters various spirits and animals. A really fine novel, gentle where Machineries is on the brutal side.

  11. Can't Escape Love, by Alyssa Cole. mid-April, 2019.

    Another in the Reluctant Royals series. Love among the nerds!

  12. [Read Through of an Unpublished Book-Length Manuscript], by [anonymous friend]. Early April, 2019.

    That's all I'm telling you about it just now!

  13. Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. April 20, 2019.

    The page-turning story of Elizabeth Holmes and her blood-testing startup Theranos. She migt have believed in her creation and she certainly managed to fool an awful lot of people who might know better if she hadn't been beautiful and if she hadn't presented herself as the second coming of Steve Jobs. Great reporting by Carreyrou, who has won the Pulitzer for investigative reporting twice.

  14. Amnesty, by Lara Elena Donnelly. April 25, 2019.

    The third and concluding book in the Amberlough Dossier. I could imagine several ways that this thriller / spy series might have ended, and I'm satisfied with the author's choices. I liked this book a great deal and overall love the trilogy.

  15. Clockwork Boys, by T. Kingfisher. April 29, 2019.

    Hilarious and serious quest novel, starring a ninja accountant, an assassin, a Paladin, and a scholar. Odd company makes excellent book.

  16. The Wonder Engine, by T. Kingfisher. May 3, 2019.

    The sequel to Clockwork Boys. Continued adventures, this time more serious, of the ninja accountant, the Paladin, the scholar, and, of course, the gnole.

  17. A Prince on Paper, by Alyssa Cole. May 8, 2019.

    This very sweet novel presumably wraps up The Reluctant Royals series, since every possible couple among the characters in A Princess in Theory has now been dealt with. There IS a teeny open thread, opera-related, in the book, so I may have to contact the author about that....

Books I read in 2018

  1. Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. January 7, 2018

    Space opera that will take you a while to figure out. Calendrical heresy? Hexarchate? Kel? Shuos? Brilliantly plotted and written; fascinating characters. Can't wait to real the sequel.

  2. The Delirium Brief, by Charles Stross. January 12, 2018.

    The most recently published Laundry Files novel. Things are getting very, very serious, as in seriously bad, leading the Senior Auditor to actions that will surprise you. Bob, Mo, Persephone, Johnny, Mhairi, Alex, Cassie, and others to the rescue following the return of Rev. Schiller and his horrible minions.

  3. Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee. January 19, 2018.

    The middle book of the author's Machineries of Empire trilogy. Another wild ride; great characters, extremely good plotting with a lot of moving parts to juggle. Will have to wait until June when the last book of the trilogy comes out. I am fonder of General Jedao than I feel I should be, all things considered.

  4. Two Serpents Rise, by Max Gladstone. January 28, 2018.

    The second book in the Craft sequence. A little confusing, but ultimately it all came together. Set elsewhere than the first book. Perhaps there are multiple story lines that will eventually merge?

  5. Dark State, by Charles Stross. March 7, 2018.

    The long break since the last completed book is because I was reading two other books that I have interrupted to read this, a library book. Dark State is the second in the current cycle of Merchant Princes books. Once again, he's leaving us about to go over multiple cliffs, with several plot strands hitting nasty-looking inflection points. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until next January or February to read the third book.

  6. Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone. March 11, 2018.

    Third book in the Craft Sequence. A pool, a dying idol, a young leader of urchins. Characters from the earlier-published books make their appearances and we get more tantalizing bits about the God Wars. Also there's a poet.

  7. Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey. March 22, 2018.

    The first in the gigantic Expanse series, now up to seven books and the basis of a popular TV series. Space opera; lots of politics and interesting human interactions. Two viewpoint characters alternate chapters, so you get parts of the story from very different viewpoints. One, a somewhat down-at-the-heels homicide detective on Ceres (which has been colonized), is straight out of Chandler. Only issue I have so far is the paucity of female characters, and this book is from 2011. I hope that improves. I'll continue to read them, though I am in the middle of multiple series at this point plus I have this pile of nongenre novels and nonfiction I want to read.

  8. The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. April 1, 2018.

    A masterpiece, one I'm finally mature enough to understand. The first two times I read it (in the 70s and 90s), I think that the political and personal aspects of the book went completely over my head. All I remembered, or even LIKED, was the trip across the ice. It is enthralling and brilliantly written, but the political and interpersonal relationships are the heart of the book.

  9. Six-Four, by Hideo Yokoyama, ? Mid-May, 2018

    I have sort of thrown in the towel about 320 pages into this 550-page behemoth. It is due back at the library and I've been trying to get through it since the beginning of April. I may try again, but for now I'm out of renewals.

  10. The Last Policeman, by Ben Winters. May 16, 2018

    Police procedural set in a small town in New Hampshire, with a twist: a huge asteroid is heading toward earth, and in some months, life on earth as we know it will end. This affects how people behave, and adds a couple of layers of complexity to what the policeman in question - a young mn who always wanted to be a cop - has to do

  11. The Thirst, by Jo Nesbo. May 18, 2018.

    The most recent Harry Hole novel, yet another bizarre serial killer story, still more dead women, still more of the tortured detective. Why do I go on reading this series? I do like the supporting cast, it's true.

  12. Head On, by John Scalzi. May 21, 2018.

    The follow-up to Lock In, set in a world where an infectious disease left millions of people with the equivalent of locked-in syndrome and a major research effort led to the use of new technology to provide the affected people with the ability to more or less inhabit robots (threeps) as physical extensions of their minds. Further adventures of Chris the FBI agent, of unknown gender and sex, this time following the suspicious death of a Haden-affected professional player of a particular sport. It gets...complicated. Fun, not deep.

  13. All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. May 22, 2018.

    First of the Murderbot Diaries, the Murderbot being a robot-human hybrid, designed to provide security, who has hacked its own governing module and become a freelancer.

  14. Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome and The Tale of the Wicked, both by John Scalzi. May 22, 2018

    The first is background for Scalzi's novels Lock In and Head On, which feature people who survived Haden's Syndrome. The second is a story about a starship, and a very good one it is.

  15. The God Engine, by John Scalzi. May 24, 2018

    Interesting novella about a world where gods power spaceships and things are not what they seem.

  16. Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente. June 16, 2018.

    It's Bloomsday and I feel as though I should be reading Ulysses, but somehow that is not what I've been doing. The long delay in finish this book is largely because I've been spending so much time reading articles when I'm on the bus, instead of reading novels. Also, this week I was out at the opera Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. This book is very charming, about a universe that decides which species are sentient and admissible to the galaxy-wide civilization based on their performance in a Eurovision-like contest. It is funny and warm and, like Valente's other books, full of words and sometimes a little overwhelmingly dense.

  17. Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee. June 24, 2018

    OMG OMG OMG a tremendous roundup to the trilogy that started with Ninefox Gambit. General Jedao is an extremely complicated person and so are most of the people around him. I can't recommet this trilogy more highly, if you like military s.f.

  18. Countdown City, by Ben Winters. July 8, 2018.

    Second book in the Last Policeman trilogy. The story continues; crime and a young man who only wants to be a small-town cop in New England in the last days of Earth.

  19. Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz, July 20, 2018.

    It's 2144; Big Pharma is about what you might think, and pirates reverse engineer their drugs for a black market. There's a strong free patent movement. Also, nearly everyone is indentured to some company or organization until they work off or buy out their indenture and buy a franchise - including robots. The nature of autonomy is one theme of this excellent novel

  20. World of Trouble, by Ben Winters, July 22, 2018.

    Indeed it is. The last of the Last Policeman trilogy; intense and sad and moving. The end of the world is nigh; Henry Palace is looking for his sister Nico. Superb.

  21. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, July 28, 2018.

    An exceptionally charming novel about a circus that springs up as if from nowhere, is only open from dusk to dawn, and has mysterious origins and rather unusual acts. I am not at all sure whether to call it fantasy or magic realism; I am sure that lots of people would find it too twee. I think the author came up with an unnecessarily complicated (though very dramatic) resolution of the central problem when she had set up her situation and characters for a straightforward resolution; still, I'd be happy to go live in the Le Cirque de Reves, at least for a little while.

  22. Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang, July 30, 2018.

    Long novella, the first in the Tensorate Series, about the family in power, the ways that science works, and siblings. Superb.

  23. The Red Threads of Fortune, by JY Yang, August 2, 2018.

    Another long novella. While the advertising says you can read this and Black Tides in any order, I don't recommend it. Read Black Tides first! A continuation, wrenching in many ways, of Black Tides

  24. The Descent of Monsters, by JY Yang. August 4, 2018.

    Third in the series - presumably there will be more - adding layers and complexity. First-rate. I especially appreciate the presence of children in this series and the gender/relationship flexibility.

  25. Waiting on a Bright Moon, by JY Yang. Date?

    Not sure when I completed this; s.f., not set in the world of the Tensorate, I think.

  26. World of Wakanda, by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay. Date unknown.

    I gather this is the backstory of the Wakanda series, on which the film Black Panther is based. Excellent storytelling, lesbians, and Wakanda!

  27. Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly. September 3, 2018.

    First in a gay, alternate-history, spy thriller. Extremely intense; the author does not pull back a bit from the bad things that can happen to you when the fascists come to town. (It only looks as though I read nothing in August; I am part way through three books, one of which I am probably abandoning and two of which I will finish.)

  28. Armistice, by Lara Elena Donnelly. Mid-early September, 2018

    The second book in The Amberlough Dossier. Intense, suspenseful, full of culture class and bravery. Introduces a number of new characters, continues the stories of several from Amberlough. I can't wait for the third, Amnesty, which won't be published until next year.

  29. I Will Be Complete, by Glen David Gold. Early October, 2018.

    Gold's memoir of growing up with a mother who becomes increasingly disturbed over time and a father who is at least somewhat neglectful, as a smart but socially inept child and aspiring writer. Superbly written; ignore the Times reviewer who thinks there is too much detail in it. That is one of the book's glories. I'm wondering whether there will bea second volume of memoirs.

  30. Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty. Mid-October, 2018.

    A Hugo nominee; a mystery set on a generation ship of sorts, where you get the murders more or less on the first page, then the back stories are filled in. I like it a lot, but I think this book has a number of minor flaws that should have been caught at the editorial stage and one ENORMOUS problem, unless the electronic copy I read it from is defective. ENORMOUS is that you never get the back-story of one of the characters - REALLY??? A couple of the minor issues: the claim that because there is no forensic lab, they can't collect fingerprints. C'mon, it's 2200-something; use any goddamn powder and a digital camera. Also, it's 2200-something, and a character whacks another over the head with a piece of a WOODEN PALLET. C'mon, by then, for a ship on a centuries-long trip, there will be much, much better ways to pack up supplies. These really jumped out at me as implausible and I'm shocked that nobody pointed them out to the author in time to fix them.

  31. Last First Snow, by Max Gladstone. Oct. 20, 2018.

    The first in chronological order of the five published Craft Sequence books. Where Temoc, especially, came from; more about the King in Red and Elayne and Caleb. Possibly I should have read it first.

  32. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. October 26, 2018.

    Wow, I re-read this for the first time since childhood. I see why I found it so magical back then, and today...mostly it annoyed the hell out of me. Yes, it's a coming of age story for Meg, who learns to appreciate herself, and learns that in her faults are her greatest strengths, but OMG little genius-I-am-so-different! Charles Wallace is such a fucking annoying mansplaining five-year-old! I wanted to smack him about every five minutes! I also disliked the religious aspects, which aren't to the fore, but they're there enough to bug me.

    I will say that having found the book so annoying, I am more inclined to see the movie, which will not damage my past experience of the book and might improve how I feel about the story!

  33. Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers. October 31, 2018.

    The third in Chambers' Wayfarer series. Superb. Well-written, convincingly plotted, characters I liked a whole lot, and with some very moving moments. It is somewhat anthropological, deliberately, and I liked that a lot too.

  34. The Ravenmaster, by Christopher Skaife. November 4, 2018.

    A thoroughly charming book about the life and times of the Ravenmaster, Chris Skaife, and his life with the ravens of the Tower of London.

  35. The Consuming Fire, by John Scalzi. November 6, 2018.

    The entertaining continuation of The Collapsing Empire. I liked it a lot, I really did, but it is so facile that I feel like it misses an awful lot of potential depth. Well, perhaps it's supposed to be this breezy and smooth.

  36. When Will There Be Good News?, by Kate Atkinson. November 18, 2018.

    The third of four novels concerning the former detective Jackson Brodie. Also includes Louise Monroe, who was a character in the previous book (and who is wonderful in her own way). New: a 16-year-old named Reggie Chase is one of the viewpoint characters, and how I hope she will be back. She is smart, VERY smart, perceptive, and imaginative. Central to the story is Joanna Mason, who, in the first chapter, witnesses her mother and two siblings killed by a completely stranger. Everyone in this book seems tangled up with everyone else; it is very intricately plotted.

  37. Alice Payne Arrives, by Kate Heartfield. November 25, 2018.Historical fiction meets time travel meets lesbians! A fun novella, looking forward to the novel that is coming at some point

  38. Unthinkable, by Helen Thomson. December 3, 2018.

    A book looking at a number of unusual brain conditions, with an attempt to situate them both in the human condition and in neuro science. Fun but not exactly deep. Subtitled "An Extraordinary Journey Through the Brain", it's not quite as extraordinary as the author thinks.

  39. A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole. December 14, 2018.

    A romance between an epidemiology student and a man she knows as Jamal, but who is actually an African prince and her betrothed from childhood takes interesting turns. This was fun and the first of a series. It was GREAT to have all characters be black people.

  40. Killing Floor, by Lee Child. December 26, 2018.

    The first Jack Reacher novel and the last I'll be reading. Didn't his US agent tell Lee Child that a certain school in Boston is universally referred to as BU, not Boston U.? Not very interesting, although it's a page turner of its type.

Books I read in 2017

A pretty good year. I finished around 33 books. Not listed below are the two John Adams-related books I read part of: Halleluja Junction, his memoir, half-read, and The John Adams Reader, essays, which I read a few of. I didn't finish SPQR (quit 3/4 of the way through) and there were a couple of novels I started but didn't get too far in, including The Girl on the Train, which was a big seller a couple of years ago.

  1. The Last Colony, by John Scalzi. Jan. 5, 2017?

    Third book in the Old Man's War series. The return of John Perry, complete with second wife and adopted child, this time as head of a new colony??....where things do not go as expected.

  2. Detective Inspector Huss, by Helene Tursten. Jan. 20, 2017

    First in Swedish mystery series feturing Irene Huss. Probably the last I will lead. Maybe the translation stinks, maybe the author isn't very good, but oy. Confused plotting, irrational behavior all around, terrible translation, or maybe everyone does use the phrase "get hold of" on every page.

  3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. January, 2017.

    Entertaining and often charming story of a "tunneling" spaceship with a multispecies crew and an AI with quite a persoanality. First of a series, of which the second is already out. Looking forward to the rest.

  4. SPQR, by Mary Beard. January? February? 2017.

    Well, sometime in January, I gave up on this book, which I'd gotten 3/4 of the way through. I liked it a lot; Beard ia a terrific historian and a great writer. It just hit the point where it seemed to be past the most interesting material she had to work with, about the founding myths, social structure, and history of the Roman empire. Damned interesting stuff!

  5. The Stars are Legion, by Kameron Hurley. March, 2017

    Space opera with only female characters. Intense, not much fun to read. I was way more creeped out than I would have expected by the intersection of the organic and mechanical, and the way the worlds seemed to be controlling the women who lived on them.

  6. Zoe's Tale, by John Scalzi. March, 2017

    Scalzi's alternate take, from a different viewpoint, on the same story as The Last Colony. Well done, vivid, but is everybody really such a wise ass in the OMW universe?

  7. About Alice, by Calvin Trillin. March, 2016

    The expanded version of Calvin Trillin's loving hommage to his beloved wife, who died younger than she ought to have of damage to her heart caused by intense radiation treatment for lung cancer (she was a never-smoker).

  8. The Human Division, by John Scalzi. March/April 2017.

    Fifth book in the Old Man's War series. A novel published as a series; very well done, more of the people we hve come to like a whole lot. That business with the dog, though: first, you could see some kind of problem coming a mile away, especially when caves were mentioned.

  9. The End of All Things, by John Scalzi. April, 2017

    Sixth and last book in the Old Man's War series. Lots of fun, and things mostly work out reasonably well. I would have liked more of the terrifying Consu, I must say.

  10. Cockroaches, by Jo Nesbo. April, 2017.

    The second Harry Hole novel and the last one I hadn't read, because nos. 1 and 2 were the last two to be translated from the Norwegian. Typically convoluted and unlikely plotting.

  11. A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers. April, 2017.

    Not exactly a sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but yeah, sort of! Contains some of the same characters, but set elsewhere and with a very different, less funny, plot. Continuing themes include AIs in an organic world and interspecies replationships.

  12. Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire. April 27, 2017

    The first October Daye series, it's a cross between urban fantasy and the hard-boiled detective genre. Half-human, half-fae, October Daye has gotten herself into, and clear will continue to get herself into, a lot of trouble, much of it unnecessarily. She is hard-boiled and hard-headed, not necessarily in a good way, as she seems to have no common sense at all. She's surrounded by an entertaining cast of humans, half-humans, and full-fae. I enjoyed this but was also driven slightly mad by it. I mean, after living parallel to humans for so long, wouldn't the fae have figured out how to have their own health-care system??

  13. Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages. Novella, May 2, 2017.

    Lesbian history, San Francisco History, fantasy, and various other themes meet in a delightful novella that must have been a ton of fun to research.

  14. Binti:Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (novell).

    Sequel to Binti. Superb Africa-centric s.f.

  15. Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson. June some time.

    The first in a series of detective novels. Well written, interesting, tangled. I'm not entirely convinced by some of the events at the end of the novel, but I liked it overall and will read the rest of the series.

  16. A Hero of France, by Alan Furst. June 24, 2017.

    Spy novel, the latest of Furst's. Decent but seemed perfunctory. I'm told his earlier books are better.

  17. Cold Magic, by Kate Elliott. July 2, 2017.

    First in a fantasy trilogy, set in a world where the Western Hemisphere wasn't invaded and colonized by Europeans; Africans are integrated into Europe, the Roman Empire lasted to 800 AD or so; there's no Christianity; Carthage was a power for a long long time. Oh, and there's magic. Excellent, will finish trilogy.

  18. Cold Fire, by Kate Elliott. July 10, 2017.

    Second the Spiritwalker Trilogy (I don't love that trilogy name, but whatever). Continues the story started in Cold Magic, but mostly outside of what's called Europa. Many mysteries!

  19. Cold Steel, by Kate Elliott. August 11, 2017.

    I can't believe it took me a month to finish this book. What? The conclusion of the trilogy, with lots of incident and a few battles.

  20. Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire. August 31, 2017

    A book about what happens when sentient and non-sentient spieces live among humans, there's an ancient organization dedicated to stamping them out, and one family opposing that organization. Entertaining and sometimes funny, first in a series. Maybe my library has it?

  21. The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi. September 3, 2017

    Space opera, positing a means of interstellar travel and an interstellar empire, but the means of travel is....changing, and very few people know it. What happens next? Very enjoyable, a fast read, and my feeling is that Scalzi's affection for snark and making a joke keeps him from being an even better writer. Or maybe this is his thing and he won't write anything really deep.

  22. Do No Harm, by Henry Marsh. September 6, 2017.

    Tales of neurosurgery, English-style. A memoir by a prominent (I think) neurosurgeon, nearing retirement and looking back at his successes and failure. He writes with a wry tone and you get a real sense of both the skills and emotions behind what he does and how it affects him, especially his genuine misery over errors of judgment, when he shouldn't have even attempted a particular surgery, and errors of technique. He is now 67 and one thing that amazed me is that he was able to get into medical school despite having had NO science courses as an undergraduate. At the time, there was one med school in Great Britain that would accept such students; they would get a couple of years of science classes, then medical training. It's true that the US has programs that prepare humanities majors for med school (many years ago I briefly considered going to Columbia's), but then you're competing with the science nerds with straight As.

    In any event, a good book from an evidently humane surgeon.

  23. Empire Games, by Charles Stross. September 11, 2017.

    Stross picks up on the Merchant Prices series, some years after the last incident in the last published book in the series. Major spoilage if I say much more than WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK?

  24. Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin. September 18, 2017.

    The latest (2016) Rebus novel. Big Ger, still out there; Darryl Christie, still out there; Rebus, still alive and unable to let go.

  25. No Man's Nightingale, by Ruth Rendell. October 1, 2017.

    One of the last, and probably worst, Inspector Wexford novels. The plot is poorly worked out, the pacing is draggy. I got this from a Little Free Library and I'm sending it right back there.

  26. The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi. October 21, 2017.

    Novella with quite an interesting premise and room for sequels. It didn't take me three weeks to read; I've been trying to read about John Adams.

  27. Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi. October 25, 2017.

    Scalzi's riff on H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, which I read decades ago and only half remember. Very entertaining and I'll have to re-read the Piper.

  28. Fleshmarket Alley, by Ian Rankin. November 7, 2017.

    An older Rebus novel, which I'd started and bounced off long ago. It is about the worst of the last dozen of these, something of a slog and weirdly unfocussed.

  29. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi.

    Beautifully written, hopeful, and profoundly sad memoir by a brilliant young neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at 36.

  30. One Good Turn, by Kate Atkinson. November 24, 2017.

    The second Jackson Brodie, set in an Edinburgh that is somewhat familiar to me from the Rebus novels. VERY complex plotting, many intertwined stories.

  31. The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman, December 2, 2017

    Well, around December 2, anyway. Not actually sure. Charming fantasy/detective novel hybrid built around the existence of a time-spanning, world-spanning Library and its Librarians. Firs of a series and I think a first novel. Not perfect but I'd probably read the second in the series.

  32. Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone. December 19, 2017.

    A friend of mine read one or more of Gladstone's books and wrote that they reminded her of P.C. Hodgell, a favorite author of mine, so it was inevitable that I'd eventually read one or more of his books. I see exactly what reminded her of Hodgell: the relationship between gods and their followers. (His writing style is very different from Hodgell's.) Throw in vampires, gargoyles, Deathless Kings, Justice personified, and the enforcement of contracts through magic, and you've got quite the world. I especially love how much he fills in about the world, the fact that it's done subtly and naturally, and how much he leaves you wanting more. I picked up two more books in the series before I was done with this one.

  33. Provenance, by Ann Leckie. December 26, 2017.

    Set in the same universe as the author's Ancillary series, but on a different planet and with different's a novel of politics and ephemera and justice.

Books I read in 2016

I more or less read 25 books this year, a dismal count. I got stalled out for a couple of months by feeling like I should read all 2500 pages of Dream of the Red Chamber aka Story of the Stone, then got stalled out for weeks after I started making some progress in the first volume of the book.

It's more or less because one of the listed books is three short stories/novellas, one is a novella, and one I threw against the wall and didn't finish. I read one and a half nonfiction books (I'm in the middle of Mary Beard's SPQR) and the rest is mostly science fiction and mysteries.

Books I read in 2015

I finished 31 books in 2015 and left Graham Robb's wonderful The Discovery of France unfinished. Still trying to finish Sleepwalkers about the start of WWI.

Of the 31 books, one was nonfiction, Helen MacDonald's H is for Hawk. Eleven were by women, 21 by men. Several of the books by men had excellent female protagonists, including those by Pratchett, Stross, and O'Donnell, as retro as Modesty Blaise might be.

Books I read in 2014

In 2014, I finished 28 books. The list below includes two books I did not finish, the novel Rupert of Hentzau and the musicological study The Sound of Medieval Song. As I'm writing this at 6:27 p.m. on December 31, I suppose I could wrap up Rupert. I am in the middle of, and will be finishing, The Sleepwalkers, Christopher Clark's study of "how Europe went to war" in 1914. The count below includes one play, four graphic novels, six books I'd call mysteries, eleven fantasy and science fiction novels, three books that might be considered historical fiction, and some odd ends. Note that two of the fantasy novels were the fourth and fifth Song of Ice & Fire novels, which are worth two or three normal novels each. The best book of the year might be The Hare with Amber Eyes, which I am pressing into peoople's hands, but boy, did I love Hild and Code Name Verity a lot.

I read four novels by Charles Stross, two by Anne Leckie, two by Elizabeth Weidn, two by Hannu Rajaiemi, two by Jo Nesbo, and two by George R. R. Martin.

Books I read in 2013

Maybe I'll finish two excellent nonfiction books I started last year.

Well, I didn't finish those two nonfiction books, and apparently I did not complete ANY nonfiction books in 2013, although I have two in process. I hang my head in shame.

What I did read was approximately 27 books, nearly all of them genre novels, either mysteries (mostly police procedurals) or s.f. The best book of the year was Kristin Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset's great historical novel of medieval Norway, in the wonderful new(ish) Tiina Nunnely translation. Highly, highly recommended. Other favorites include Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?, Neil Gaiman's American Gods (a superb dark fantasy novel), and Christopher Priest's The Prestige..

Books I read in 2012

As always, the goal was to read more non-fiction. I didn't succeed, in part because I started, but did not finish, two important nonfiction books, Tony Judt's Postwar and Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert. Perhaps in 2013?

Meanwhile, I read a total of 29 books. I'd feel worse about that low total if the two George R.R. Martin books and the two Trollopes weren't each the length of two or three typical novels. I also started, but have not finished, The Hobbit and Bleak House. I did not list a book I read in manuscript, so I guess I can reasonably say I read 30 books in 2012.

Books I read in 2011

This year's goal: read more non-fiction.

It's January 1, 2012, and I did, more or less, manage to read more non-fiction. I did this by doing a little jamming on non-fiction at the end of the year.

I think I am starting 2012 with non-fiction - a new book and also by finishing a book I've been 95% done with for almost a year.

The 2012 count: 3 nonfiction books (four if you count the one I'm almost done with...), 27 fiction (including a couple of very short books and a couple of very long ones), 1 novel thrown against the wall partway through. I'm also still picking up Berlioz's memoirs from time to time and will finish the book eventually. Also about 180 pages into Phineas Finn on my phone and thinking I need hard copy.

Books I read in 2010

I read 40 books in full and four more fractionally (from one-half finished to 3/4 finished) in 2010.

Huge reading break from late-Feb to early April as I IGNORED Luc Sante's Low Life, which I started in February while in NYC. Log jam now broken; I'll finish Low Life in a whilesomeday.

There were several books I read only half or three-quarters of the way through in 2010. They're listed among the books I finished, for some reason - probably so I could keep chronological track of what I read.

The books I read in 2010, most of them completed:

Books I read in 2009

I read 26 books in 2009, up from 23 in 2008, but still behind the 33 in 2007 and far under what i read before the internet took over my life. I spent too much shuttle time on line answering email or blogging, I think. I read a disproportionate number of books while home sick or on vacation (two-plus during a short stay in Santa Fe, for example). I still wish I were reading more nonfiction.

Books I finished:

Books I read in 2008

Well, I had a crappy book-reading year in 2008. I blame it on blogging a lot more than in previous years, reading other blogs too much, and the election. I also got badly bogged down, to the point of blockage, by The Rest is Noise. I read part of it in April, part of it in July, and remain stuck half-way through. Read the index to see why, she said cryptically; I still haven't figured out what to say about it on my blog.

My goal for 2009 is just to read a lot more, of whatever type of book.

Books I read in 2007

Books I've been in the middle of since 2009 and might finish some day:

Books I started in 2010 or 2011 and am in the middle of right now:

Books I started and will not be finishing:

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