Most Memorable Stories of the Past Decade

Books & Mags, Geek out!

So far this year, I’ve seen a number of posts listing the best books of the past decade. For example, the Boston Public Library has a top ten fantasy novels and a top ten sci-fi novels list, and Adri and Joe list their best books at Nerds of the Feather. And of course, the definition of best varies enormously from site to site and writer to writer. The point, though, is to talk about books. πŸ™‚

Here’s my take on the β€œbest of” list – the most memorable stories of the past ten years. And I’ll tell you upfront that I’m going to cheat: instead of listing a dozen or so monographs, I’m including groups of books when appropriate.

 

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor. The way an abused minor relative dismissed to the edges of the realm claims the throne and becomes an emperor who believes in himself is beautifully described.

Current Reading 2x Becky Chambers

Becky Chambers: ALL of it! The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; Record of a Spaceborn Few; To Be Taught, If Fortunate. I just LOVE her humanity-affirming style.

Thoraiya Dyer: Titan’s Forest series (so far I own Crossroads of Canopy and Echoes of Understorey). I don’t really care about the people, but the forest is so astounding it might as well be a major character in the story! (Note to self: Get Tides of the Titans.)

Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer. I wasn’t quite as grabbed by the sequels, but this one contains a scene so out of this world (literally!) that it got me to sit bolt upright in my armchair (when Isaac took the automaton to the moon).

N.K. Jemisin: The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. I had heard good things about TKM long before picking it up; I kept resisting it because of the title – at the time I was so, so, SO tired of dystopias and violence in my fiction. I wish I could remember why I decided to pick it up, though; whatever it was, I’m thankful, for Jemisin immediately became by favorite living author.

Mary Robinette Kowal: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. These surprised me, since I really am not interested in 1950s and 60s. At all!

Yoon Ha Lee‘s Machineries of the Empire series (Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun) is so different from anything I’ve read before. I’m lagging behind in my reading, though, and haven’t yet gotten to the third book. Bad me! (Note to self: Check whether I already bought it or not!)

Likitalo Waning Moon Duology

Leena Likitalo‘s historical fantasy duology The Five Daughters of the Moon and The Sisters of the Crescent Empress were loosely inspired by a setting that I find completely uninteresting (end of the Romanov family and revolution in Russia), but the books proved I should keep an open mind.

Karin Lowachee: Warchild. Shifting alliances and survival story extraordinaire. Without gore.

Emma Newman‘s Planetfall series: Planetfall, After Atlas, Before Mars and Atlas Alone. Which author has the gumption to destroy a planet and stay around to see what it does to people?

Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death. It was part of my 21 Authors reading project, and even though I like the Binti trilogy more, there’s no denying that WFD has serious staying power.

Mike Pohjola: Ihmisen poika. Autobiographical fiction that also includes some of the history of introducing larping to Finland. Note: Mike is a friend, and there’s also a reference to me, well-veiled but there. πŸ™‚

Current Reading All Systems Red Artifical Condition

Martha Wells‘s Murderbot diaries (so far published are All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, with full-length novel Network Effect forthcoming this year). The series is all-round excellent, but Murderbot really is the best grumpy, conscientious, self-preservation-centered protagonist there is. (Note to self: Must. Read. Again. Soon!)

 

Also, I unfortunately had to skip a couple of books like A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz or Kelley Eskridge’s Solitaire, either because they aren’t novels or I came to them too late.

What would you pick and why?

January 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Due to being sick, I have read a bit more than usual in early January. I also got an AMAZING selection of books and screen entertainment this Christmas; thank you, fam! Just some of the works I’ve already enjoyed or am looking forward to are below.

Reading Pile January 2020

From top to bottom: Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh and, finally, Gamechanger by L.X. Beckett.

Did you get anything especially great over the holidays? Do share!

November 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

This month I have so many good things to curl under a blanket with! πŸ™‚ Among them are the following:

Reading Pile November 2019

From top to bottom: Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes, The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz and Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse. In addition, I took two non-fiction books out of the library: Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants by Lisa Eldred Stenkopf and Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski & Amelia Nagoski.

I’ve already read Newitz’s excellent novel – which pairs really well with the movie Harriet, by the way – and am in the middle of Chilling Effect.

Anything else you’d recommend? Please share!

October 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

My TBR pile this October looks quite fabulous!

Reading Pile October 2019

Top to bottom:

Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee, To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Furthermore there is Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Fated Sky and Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Chambers’s is the only one haven’t yet read; I’m currently in the middle of Harrow. In addition, I’ve read a few books that didn’t make it to the photo before their due date came round. Ohwell. πŸ™‚

How’s your reading lately?

 

September 2019 Reading Pile & Other New Books

Books & Mags

This month has been so epic on my book front! I got quite a haul from the library – I even had to put two books back on the shelf because of all of the ILLs that had arrived!

Library Pile September 2019

Top to bottom they are: Millenneagram: The Enneagram Guide for Discovering Your Truest, Baddest Self by Hannah Paasch, Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse, and Ursula Le Guin’s The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition (illustrated by Charles Vess). I also grabbed Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley, and Flossie Teacake’s Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp.

I also bought some books. Here are a few:

New Book Order Is in

From left to right: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse, and Kathleen Herbert’s Peace-Weavers & Shield-Maidens: Women in Early English Society.

Yes indeed, I had already nabbed Storm of Locusts from the library because my order was delayed, only to have the order arrive to my door within two days. Well, such is life. πŸ™‚

I’m looking forward to diving into these, especially To Be Taught, If Fortunate. As soon as I heard Chambers had another Wayfarers universe book coming out I knew I had to get it. I adore her writing for its humanity. Before the publication date I saw Lee Mandelo’s review at Tor.com, which didn’t exactly help – among others Mandelo says the novella is a β€œreminder of our responsibilities to one another as a social group, not as lone individuals on solitary islands. None of us exist without each other, or survive without each other.” Right up my alley!

Can’t wait! πŸ™‚

August 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Since I didn’t post this last month, here’s my August reading pile:

Reading Pile August 2019

From top to bottom: Norma by Sofi Oksanen, Hath No Fury edited by Melanie R. Meadors, and Susan Cooper’s young adult series The Dark Is Rising in a one-cover edition (Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark Is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; Silver on the Tree). Lastly, there is Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s excellent Gods of Jade and Shadow.

What’s on your TBR stack at the moment?

April 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

My March reading piles stretched well into April, so my current pile isn’t that large:

Library Pile Apr 2019

The quality will make up for the quantity, though, or so I suspect: I have Kameron Hurley’s military time-traveling scifi novel The Light Brigade, Arkady Martine’s debut novel A Memory Called Empire, and The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore.

Can’t wait! πŸ™‚

Anything intriguing in your pile? Do share!

March 2019 Reading Piles

Books & Mags

I got quite an awesome haul from the library:

Library Pile March 2019

In fiction I found The Afterwards by EK Johnston, The Song of All by Tina LeCount Myers, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo and Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower. On the non-fiction side, there’s Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister by Sheila Johnson Kindred.

I’m apparently really hungry for reading, for that’s not my only pile this month:

Reading Pile March 2019

From top to bottom: Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, Mem by Bethany C. Morrow, Home Fires by Julie Summers and the non-fiction title Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives by Jane Brox. Finally, there’s the not-quite-brand-new-anymore Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines.

In addition, I’m slogging my way through all of Agatha Christie’s Hercules Poirot books, slowly but surely. The latest I’ve gotten to is Mrs. McGinty’s Dead – a fascinating case hinging (in part) by the first name Evelyn, which can apparently be both male or female. I love the fact that despite a Master’s degree and 20+ years of daily use I still learn new things about English!

Anything special you’d recommend?

Some February 2019 Reads

Books & Mags

My February reading has been all over the place. Just look at this representative selection:

Reading Pile February 2019

From left to right: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell, Rogue Protocol plus Exit Strategy – the latest two in the Murderbot Diaries series – by Martha Wells and, finally, Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett.

In my youth, I read a lot of what was then called girl lit (or tyttΓΆkirja in my native Finnish). I’ve never read some of the classics in their original English, though, so I gave Little Women a shot. I have to say the young me missed so many of the nuances!

A Study in Honor, however, was the most refreshing take on the Sherlock Holmes & Doctor Watson duo I’ve come across. It was at times hard (and at times boring) to read about Watson’s PTSD, but once I started thinking of that part as formation of personality (like coming-of-age stories) it made more sense to me. Also, I LOVED how many women were present both in the fore- and background! It took me a while to get to book 1, but I liked it so much that the sequel, The Hound of Justice, will go directly to the top of my to-be-read pile.

And I just adore Murderbot! (Don’t let the name fool you!)

Anything you’ve especially liked recently? Do share!

Some November 2018 Reads

Books & Mags

My latest book order came in at the end of October, but I haven’t cracked any of them open yet.

New Books Oct 2018

From left to right: Thoraiya Dyer’s Echoes of Understorey, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, Emma Newman’s Before Mars, Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers and, finally, what sounds like a very interesting take on Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell.

November is already looking like a great reading month. Anything else you’d recommend?