I love learning about what other people are reading. I’m always in search of a good book, regardless of genre. If you’ve met me in person before, and if we’ve had any length of discussion, you’ve probably had me ask what books you’re reading. It’s up there as one of my top favorite conversation starting questions, along with “what high school did you go to,” but that’s strictly a St. Louis phenomenon (don’t ask, it’s a common question in St. Louis, it’s taken my wife years to get used to it and she still rolls her eyes.)
Of course, I’ll also tell you want I’m reading and probably goad you into at least considering to read my favorite books. Doesn’t everyone feel as passionately about books as I do? So to save you all from some incessant pestering, I decided to steal an idea from Kris Rusch’s blog and do an occasional “What I Read and Enjoyed List.” The list will appear in no particular order.
Rothfuss, Patrick, A Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2), DAW Hardcover, March 2011. I probably cannot gush enough about this book (and the first if you haven’t read it.) Go buy it now! The book is one-thousand pages long and frankly, it’s not long enough. I didn’t want the story to stop. Rothfuss effortlessly tells a timeless tale within a tale story based in a fantasy world that shows us life at the little edges. Those thousand small, and yet important events, paint the picture of a legendary figure growing in front of the reader’s eyes. As a writer, I kept trying to read the words to figure out how he was doing it, but the story so thorough sucked me in I couldn’t maintain that kind of reading at all.
Bellet, Annie, “The Light As Seen From Tartarus,” Doomed Muse Press, February 2011. The novelette is about the Talley brothers and their crew, hired by an eccentric billionaire to take him to Pluto. While it’s as much about space flight and how little we really know about our own backyard, it’s also about honor and the can-do spirit of human kind.
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn, “Broken Windchimes,” Asimov’s 2009 & WMG Press 2010. I’ve long seen Kris’ name, but never had an opportunity to read any of her work. I’m not sure why, because she’s definitely become one of my favorite authors and I’ve been busy devouring her fantasy and sci-fi works in recent months. I now put her in my “will read anything this author writes” club along with George RR Martin and a few others. Broken Windchimes is a good reason why–it’s a deceptively simple story about humanity’s relationship with music. It haunted me for weeks after I read it. There’s a good reason this story won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice award in 2009.
Bacigalupi, Paolo, The Windup Girl, Night Shade Books 2009. The book was described as agri-punk to me, but the stylistic use of language was only one part of why I loved this book. The heart and soul of the novel lies within the windup girl, Emiko, and I found myself cheering for her in this post-oil world of megodonts and calorie men. I cheered when the tiger’s men captured her and decided to dunk her in a vat of water to drown her. That may sound contradictory, but it’s true. Read it and find out why…
Andrijeski, JC, Rook: Allie’s War (Book One), White Sun Press 2011. Like most other adult-sized boys, I’ve always wanted to have secret powers, I just wouldn’t want them to come with the potential end of the world. The novel was an action packed thrill ride and I’m looking forward to reading the next two in the series.
Torgersen, Brad R, “Outbound,” Analog November 2010. The novelette starts out with, “I was eleven years old when the Earth burned.” Brad had me hooked from the first sentence. It’s a touching tale of loneliness and loss and the resilient nature of the human spirit set against the backdrop of the far ends of the solar system. It has a lot in common with the 2010 movie Moon and that is one of my favorite sci-fi movies from the past few years.
Martin, George RR, “In the House of the Worm,” Electronic Story 2005. As I said above, I will read anything written by Martin. He’s my favorite short story writer and it’s a real treat when I find stories I haven’t yet read. This is a dying world story, darkly fascinating, and so engrossing I’ve read it multiple times.
Whew. Those are just a fraction of the books and stories I’ve read the past few months. Unfortunately, most of them were not-yet-released copies by writer friends. When they do come out, I’ll be sure to point them out to you. Enjoy.