Books read 2010

Last year I did pretty poorly on reading books, so this year I made an effort to read much more. I managed 62 books this year: the first year where I've read at least a book a week. My reading rate dropped off just before Christmas, due to the lure of new DVDs and the minor improvement to TV schedules around Christmas. But I will get back to reading more regularly this year.

Here's the list (for completists and myself only); the ones with asterisks are considered "classics" in the SF/fantasy fields (one of my personal goals this year was to get better acquainted with the classics in these fields); the ones in bold are the ones I really rate:

  1. Earth Abides - George R. Stewart *
  2. Man Plus - Frederick Pohl *
  3. Code - Charles Petzold
  4. The Brothel in Rosenstrasse - Michael Moorcock
  5. The City and the City - China Miéville
  6. The City and the Stars - Arthur C. Clarke *
  7. The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe *
  8. The Physiognomy - Jeffrey Ford - a random find in a local charity shop, but really an incredible read, very unusual fantasy but not the sword and sorcery kind
  9. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman - I don't really get Neil Gaiman; don't get me wrong, this was quite engaging, just a bit workmanlike maybe; I think I need something a bit more unhinged, uncontrolled, and melodramatic
  10. Downward to the Earth - Robert Silverberg *
  11. Gloriana - Michael Moorcock
  12. Explorers of the New Century - Magnus Mills
  13. Memoranda - Jeffrey Ford
  14. Kéthani - Eric Brown
  15. The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica - John Calvin Batchelor - recommended as a classic by The Guardian 100 Best SF books (IIRC), but I found it very, very dull and skimmed the last quarter
  16. The Jewel in the Skull - Michael Moorcock - I'm not sure if I've read these before, and I am sure they're not as good as the Corum series, but they are bloody entertaining
  17. Thorns - Robert Silverberg
  18. The Family Trade - Charles Stross - a nice light read, but the second one didn't really live up to this one
  19. Gateway - Frederick Pohl * - this is a solid read, good characters, and an intriguing plotline
  20. The Hidden Family - Charles Stross
  21. A Case of Conscience - James Blish * - although this is supposedly a classic, it just didn't really hang together well for me, and I found it pretty hard work
  22. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card * - I enjoyed this, but some part of me keeps reading his work from a Mormon/religious perspective; which is wrong of me (the Death of the Author and all that), but I can't help it, and it spoils it for me a bit
  23. The Mad God's Amulet - Michael Moorcock
  24. Motorman - David Ohle - I'm amazed I hadn't heard of this until this year, but I'd say this is a remarkable piece of surrealism
  25. The Space Merchants - Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth * - not as good as I'd been led to believe
  26. Grass - Sheri S. Tepper * - very eloquent, strongly plotted, and human
  27. The Gamesman - Barry Malzberg - almost always a pleasure
  28. Retribution Falls - Chris Wooding - another bit of fluff, but quite well done, though very reminiscent of Firefly (the TV series)
  29. The Embedding - Ian Watson *
  30. The Cave - Kate Mosse - dreadful
  31. I Am Legend - Richard Matheson * - a good read, and it prompted me to watch all three movie adaptations (The Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man and I am Legend - all of which completely miss the point, that the main scientist character becomes a legend among the newly-evolving "vampires"; by the end of the story he has become a relic of an old species, a legend)
  32. The Age of Sinatra - David Ohle
  33. Striped Holes - Damien Broderick - frothy and comic; I'd like to read more of his stuff
  34. Blood Music - Greg Bear * - gripping, great imagery, striking
  35. Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham *
  36. The Unreasoning Mask - Philip José Farmer * - couldn't really see why this is rated as a classic; A Feast Unknown is much better
  37. The Claw of the Conciliator - Gene Wolfe
  38. A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge * - excellent, great page turner, also quite moving
  39. House of Suns - Alastair Reynolds - quite tiresome; I did finish it, but it was a bit formulaic (you can kind of see the narrative struts holding it up)
  40. Travels in the Scriptorium - Paul Auster
  41. No Enemy But Time - Michael Bishop - confusing, but at least it had some guts
  42. Riddley Walker - Russell Hoban * - a remarkable feat of storytelling, but I struggled to concentrate
  43. Greybeard - Brian Aldiss * - this one is just lovely
  44. At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror - H.P. Lovecraft - really enjoyed this, but got a bit bored when I tried to read his entire oeuvre
  45. Emphyrio - Jack Vance * - excellent fun, with a really satisfying conclusion
  46. The Man in The Maze - Robert Silverberg *
  47. Voice of Our Shadow - Jonathan Carroll * - I started reading his books for the first time this year, and found them quite addictive (I read 5 altogether); but they are so readable and fun they make me feel a bit suspicious; and they can get mildly repetitive
  48. Stolen Faces - Michael Bishop
  49. Grendel - John Gardner
  50. A Billion Days of Earth - Doris Piserchia - this is very unusual and has some fantastic off-the-wall ideas, but I lost track of what was happening a bit (my attention drifted)
  51. Kissing the Beehive - Jonathan Carroll
  52. Bones of the Moon - Jonathan Carroll
  53. Sarah Canary - Karen Joy Fowler
  54. Sleeping in Flame - Jonathan Carroll
  55. The Dying Earth - Jack Vance * - also really good fun
  56. 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories - ed. Isaac Asimov - a bit rubbish
  57. Carnacki, the Ghost Finder - William Hope Hodgson
  58. The Story of the Eye - Georges Bataille - I read this a few years back, and still found it quite shocking (and a bit tiresome) when I re-read it
  59. The Land of Laughs - Jonathan Carroll
  60. Lud-in-the-Mist - Hope Mirrlees * - another supposed classic, but I found it a bit slow
  61. The Face in the Frost - John Bellairs - a light, quick fantasy quest narrative; the two central wizard characters are excellent
  62. The House on the Borderland - William Hope Hodgson * - very odd, but well worth reading, with a particularly excellent "house under siege from the supernatural" sequence; proto-fantasy with a sort of cosmic horror element; an influence on Lovecraft

This year I plan to read more Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock and Jonathan Carroll, as well as more of the "classics", particularly older works of The Fantastic I have on my Kindle (stuff like Charles Williams, H. Rider Haggard, G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, George MacDonald).

I've also been attempting to put together some ideas for short stories, or maybe even interactive fiction. Something might come of that too. Probably not, though.

Comments

Ah, some good scifi! I

Ah, some good scifi!
I found Greg Bear's Blood Music v. intense, too much so in a way. One of those books I admired for its literary prowess but wanted to run away from at the same time.
I agree with you about Neil Gaiman. I like the graphic novels but can't get into his 'real' books :)

Wow, quite a large list for

Wow, quite a large list for a year! I haven't read that much :)
Thank you for sharing!