October 16th, 2013

2013, Books 20-45

I've gone too long without noting my reading progress, so I'll keep comments on most of these books short. I've been on a bit of a kick reading a lot of historical fiction.

20. The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco. I always get giddy and happy when there's a new Eco book, especially when it's such a good book. It has everything I love and expect from Eco - intrigue, great research, conspiracy theories, mysticism.

21. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The third (and concluding book) that follows The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. This set is fantastic, I just recommend going out and getting all three and reading. If you like the kind of literary mysteries of Arturo Perez Reverte (think The Club Dumas), you'll like these books.

22. A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss. Historical fiction, with mystery and intrigue and conspiracy theories.

23. Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells. First of a new YA steampunk series.

24. Wool by Hugh Howey. I got the first chapter of this as a freebie for the Kindle, and it was so damned good that when I found the complete book in Half Price, I scooped it up and read almost the entire 600+ pages in one night (it made going to work the next morning really harsh). Humanity is reduced to living in an underground silo, because the world has been poisoned. Any mention of even wanting to go outside results in a death sentence of being forced to go out and clean the cameras that show just how ugly and poisoned the world really is. So, imagine what would happen if you were sent to clean and not only didn't clean, but you discovered your silo wasn't the only one out there? Highly recommended.

25. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. Charming debut novel. Think Jane Austin with Glamour magic.

26. Illuminations: A novel of Hildegard von Bingen, by Mary Sharrat. Historical fiction about the life of Hildegard von Bingen, who I am familiar with because of her compositions. But she was an interesting woman, a nun, a mystic, composer, and the novel gives a glimpse into her life.

27. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchannan. Historical fiction about late 19th century ballet dancers who catch the eye of impressionist painters.

28. The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis. Historical fiction about a teenager girl who is a political pawn and becomes the wife of one of the Borgias of Renaissance Italy fame.

29. The Yard by Alex Grecian. Murder mystery, set in time of Jack the Ripper, when the detectives at Scotland Yard are facing a new kind of killer: the serial killer.

30. Happily Ever After ed by John Klima. Anthology of short stories, retellings of fairy tales.

31 and 32. Glamour in Glass, and Without a Summer, by Mary Robinette Kowal. The second and third installments of her series about genteel glass glamourist Vincent and Jane. They encounter danger in the form of Napolean, and a society that blames them for a summer that never comes.

33. The Truth of All Things by Kieran Shields. Set in Portland, ME at the end of the 19th century, a detective is investigating a series of murders that have ties to the Salem Witch trials.

34. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. Excellent book spanning the genocide against the Armenians during WWI and a writer in the 1980s discovering her grandparents' past as it relates to that genocide.

35. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. Set in Victorian England, an story with several intertwined plots of time travel.

36. Paris by Edward Rutherford. As is typical of Rutherford, he follows the history of place (in this case, Paris) over centuries, following the intertwining lives of numerous families.

37. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. Debut fantasy novel set in a fantasy middle eastern setting. It's been getting a lot of buzz and a lot of award nominations, and I liked it okay but maybe not quite as much as so many others have.

38. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson. Charming, interesting book about a unique system of soul magic and how a condemned criminal must use it to save her emperor.

39. The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Clarke. I thought this book was tremendous. Future earth when the technology exists to have sentient androids who are fighting for their rights. This is really the story of Cat and her relationship with Finn, the android brought to be her tutor when she is a child but who becomes so much more.

40. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wacker. Historical fiction set in early 20th century New York, following the lives of two fantasy creatures from different cultural traditions, and how those two impact each others' lives.

41. and 42. Shift and Dust by Hugh Howey. At the end of Wool, I was left with the questions of how did the world get this way and what's ahead for this world? Those questions are answered in the two concluding volumes of the Silo saga. I didn't think these books were quite as strong as Wool but it does give a satisfying ending to the story arch.

43. Tithe by Holly Black. This was recommended at a YA panel I sat in on at Fencon, and I was pretty meh about this story of a fae changling discovering the truth about herself. It was a short book, and I thought it left me with too many unanswered questions.

44. Cinder by Marissa Meyers. This was also recommended at that same YA panel, and I thought this was terrific. I want to get the next book in the series. It's a retelling of Cinderella in a far future earth, and Cinder is a cyborg, a very low class citizen. She becomes entangled in interplanetary intrigue quite accidentally when the Queen from Luna comes to earth expecting Prince Kai either to marry her, or watch his world get destroyed by plague. I quite enjoyed this book.

45. Feed by M. T. Anderson. This was my book club's book selection for October, and it was excellent. Depressing as hell, but I also quite recommend this.