Having finished writing my first novel last year and wanting to spend this year doing research and planning for the next one, I found myself wondering what kind of goal I should set for myself.
Out of curiosity I started a book log to see how many books I read. I always feel like I don’t read books nearly as fast as I would like and I frequently lament that fact. So I started keeping track of books that I finished and when I finished them. At the end of January I had finished six novels. Somewhat shocked I decided to set a goal to read an average of one book each week, or fifty two books in 2009.
Movies were a disaster this year, but I read some books that I really enjoyed so I’m going to do micro-reviews of each of the books I read.
Eddie Fantastic by Chris Heimerdinger: Brilliant LDS science fiction that doesn’t feel like science fiction and doesn’t feel preachy. Real characters with real problems.
Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson: Makes more sense than the first book and the ending makes the previous 1000 pages totally worth the effort – not that they were hard to get through anyway.
The Looking Glass Wars by Alex Beddor: Brilliant and exciting idea – Wonderland is real and scary and maybe even weirder than Lewis Carroll describes – but poorly executed to the point of tedium.
Star Wars: Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry: The story of the creation of the Death Star… or it would be if there was actually a story, or a plot, or characters that mattered at all. One of the most boring Star Wars books that I’ve read in awhile – almost on the level of Barbara Hambly.
Plague Ship by Andre Norton: My first Andre Norton – excellent. I went out in search of more.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke: This is an ode to all who loves books and find magic in the written word. It is absolutely beautiful.
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson: Not quite as good as the first book in the series but definitely one of the strongest fantasy voices I have read in quite awhile.
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan: Sometimes I forget how incredibly beautiful these first six books of this series are.
Star Wars: Coruscant Nights: Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves: Disappointing start to a promising idea – noir murder mystery in a post Order 66 Coruscant – turns into bad dialogue while moping about nothing in particular.
Voodoo Planet by Andre Norton: Science Fiction with a voodoo twist – zombies and black magic on a prison world.
The Book of Mormon Sleuth by C. B. Anderson: Actually not as corny as the title sounds, nor as boring as the blurb sounds. Sort of enjoyable, especially for young audiences.
Watchmen by Alan Moore: The most stunningly realized characters I have ever seen, beautiful writing, heartbreaking story, long boring passages, social commentary and a rather silly ending. All in a comic book.
Starborn by Andre Norton: Adventure and secrets abound on the primitive world of Astra.
Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson: Erikson’s tale continues to grow in scope until it has become unbelievably vast. This series feels more like historical accounts than like fiction.
One in Thine Hand by Gerald N. Lund: Nothing really happens until the last twenty pages or so but it still doesn’t feel boring. This is more about the characters than it is about events.
Metatropolis by Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi and Karl Schroeder: Nice idea for a mosaic novel. Buckell and Bear started out interesting and then fell apart in a sudden avalanche, Scalzi was funny, Schroeder, as usual blew me away with the size of his ideas. Lake was annoying and pretentious and confusing.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed by Sean Williams: Novelization of the video game story. Video game routes are quite obvious – every chapter ends with a lightsaber battle.
My Man, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse: Wodehouse is one of the great literary comedians. This is some of his more mediocre work.
Redemption Road by Toni Sorenson Brown: Some of the most beautiful writing I have ever encountered in LDS fiction. This book was so depressing I had to read it in small doses.
The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer: An interesting look at African culture through a science fiction filter and a child’s point of view.
The Best Loved Stories of the LDS People Volume III editor unknown: Lots of stories (over three hundred) most of them ones that I hadn’t heard before.
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson: The final volume in the Mistborn trilogy. If Sanderson knows anything it’s endings.
Right Ho Jeeves! by P. G. Wodehouse: I think I laughed out loud through about two thirds of this book. The other third I was trying to catch my breath.
Star Wars: Millenium Falcon by James Luceno: I’m not entirely convinced that this novel really existed. It remains utterly pointless to this day.
Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga by Karl Schroeder: This is the greatest adventure story ever, in the coolest setting of all time, with great characters and told with one of the most amazing imaginations of our time.
The Committee by Wayne Overson: Mostly boring. Feels like a twelve year old wrote it – not one of those precocious savants either, just an average twelve year old.
The Miracle of Forgetness by Robert F. Smith: I have never laughed so much at a book.
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi: Silly and unrealistic. Lots of people love this book, I can’t see why.
Murder in the Gunroom by H. Beam Piper: One science fiction’s greatest pioneers writes a modern (at the time) murder mystery that is very well done and quite entertaining.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain: Mark Twain is the master and as long you stay away from Tom Sawyer Detective are Tom Sawyer abroad his books are generally brilliant.
The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan: Jordan’s best book. The ending makes me cry every time I read it.
The rest I’ve reviewed here on the site so I’ll just link to them.
Starman’s Quest by Robert Silverberg
House of Chains by Steven Erikson
Old Testament and Related Studies by Hugh Nibley
The Indiscretions of Archie by P. G. Wodehouse
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Star Wars: Coruscant Nights: Street of Shadows by Michael Reaves
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
Morgawr by Terry Brooks
Space Vikings by H. Beam Piper
Badge of Infamy by Lester Del Rey
His Final Hours by W. Jeffrey Marsh
Mission to Universe by Gordon R. Dickson
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson
Star Wars: Coruscant Nights: Patterns of Force by Michael Reaves
7th Son: Descent by J. C. Hutchins
Queen of Candesce: Book Two of Virga by Karl Schroeder
Dragon and Herdsman by Timothy Zahn
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
My favorite books this year are:
5. Badge of Infamy by Lester Del Rey
4. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
3. Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson
2. Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
1. A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
My least favorite book this year was:
Morgawr by Terry Brooks
2009 has been a good year for reading. In 2010 I’d like to read more books (I haven’t decided how many more yet). I’ve decided to change the way I review books. Writing reviews for every book takes a lot of time that I don’t have. Also, some books that I read I don’t have anything to say about.
So next year I’m only going to write reviews for books that I feel like writing about (probably about half).
I hope everybody had a good year in 2009.