Tuesday, January 24, 2012

[JD's Take] Year Review 2011

Another year, another even shorter book list. At least my trending is going down! 2009 I had 48 books, 2010 36, and this year... 36 again. Maybe I've stabilized? Still, my total pages dropped from 15,403 to 14,545 and my pages/day from 42.3 to 39.8.

My top 5 books for 2011 (drum roll please!), with the standard "order not relevant" disclaimer:
1. The Black Prism (Brent Weeks)
2. The Wise Man's Fear (Pat Rothfuss)
3. The Stranger's Woes (Max Frei)
4. Allow of law (Brandon Sanderson)
5. The Desert Spear (Peter V. Brett)

The other books I read in 2011 are a pretty big step down from those, actually. I was lucky to get 5 that really excelled. It's not that I didn't enjoy them (I did!) or that there weren't excellent and well written books in the remainder (there were!) but I just can't bring myself to set them next to those five, which were truly outstanding. Honorable mention definitely goes to Embassytown, which was excellent but wasn't "enjoyable" in the usual sense. Plus it killed my numbers for the year because it took me like 2 months to read those 300 odd pages!

Here's the full list:
The Child Thief (Brom)
Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robinson)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (N.K. Jemisin)
The Desert Spear (Peter V. Brett)
The Name of the Wind (Pat Rothfuss)
The Wise Man's Fear (Pat Rothfuss)
Machine Of Death (North, et al)
Tiassa (Brust)
Summer knight (Jim Butcher)
Death Masks (Jim Butcher)
Blood Rites (Jim Butcher)
Thunderball (Ian Flemming)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (ian flemming)
You only live twice (Ian flemming)
Empire in black and gold (Adrian)
The Way of Shadows (Brent Weeks)
Chasing the moon (A. Lee Martinez)
Shadow's Edge (Brent Weeks)
Beyond the Shadows (Brent Weeks)
Embassytown (China Mieville)
The princess and mr whiffle (Pat Rothfuss)
The man with the golden gun (Ian Fleming)
Casino royale (Ian Fleming)
Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art (Steve McConnel)
Tooth & Claw (Jo Walton)
Nobilis (Jenna Moran)
The Black Prism (Brent Weeks)
The Stranger's Woes (Max Frei)
Broken kingdoms (N.K. Jemisin)
Snuff (Terry Pratchett)
Stations of the tide (Michael Swanwick)
Live and Let Die (Ian Fleming)
Bitters (brad thomas parsons)
The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
The osiris ritual (George Mann)
Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson)

[Lisa's Take] Year Review 2011

And this year, in 2012, I resolve to post reviews in a more timely fashion... hah. Yeah. That's off to a good start! Sorry for the delay - better late than never, right? Here's my 2011 roundup.

I only reached my yearly goal of 50 books this year by the broadest definition. If you include the 8 books that I didn't finish (many of which I didn't even give my usual "100 page test" before discarding) and if you include the two books I'm (er, I _was_ at the time of drafting this) only half way through as the new year begins, then you can VERY generously say that I read 51 books in 2011.

That said, my page count was slightly higher than the previous year, clocking in at 22149. I read an average of 62 pages a day, and my average book length was 434 pages. So I suppose that's not too horrible.

The best books of the year? Honestly for a good portion of the year I expected to not even be able to pick a full 5 books (see: How Pat Rothfuss Ruined my Life). When I went back through my list I found that such a thought was awfully pessimistic; though I discarded many mediocre books, there were still some gems mixed in. So, in no particular order (well, no particular order save for the first book) here are my top 5 for 2011:

1) The Wise Man's Fear by Pat Rothfuss
3) Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine
5) The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
2) The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman
4) The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The two big surprises on that list are Gilman and Valentine; both of them deserve far more publicity among fantasy readers than they are currently getting. I would happily turn around and re-read either of their books, and will be adding both of them to my "buy their new releases without question" list. As for the other 3 authors - well, I am nothing if not predictable. Brent Weeks was new to me this year, and I am jonesing badly for anything he writes now. Sanderson and Rothfuss - what is there to say? Two wonderful Old Reliables.

Now, without further ado - the full list!

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin
The Broken Kingdom by N K Jemisin
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Never Knew Another by J M McDermott
The Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss
The Wise Man's Fear by Pat Rothfuss
Flirt by Laurel K Hamiliton
Liriel by Garth Nix
The Scar-Crow Men by Mark Chadbourn
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Bullet by Laurel K Hamilton
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
Bayan's Gold by Peter V. Brett
Tiassa by Steve Brust
The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
Farlander by Col Buchanan
Machine of Death by (Misc)
Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
Chasing the Moon by A Lee Martinez
Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks
Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks
Cowboy Feng's by Steve Brust
The Stranger's Woes by Max Frei
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Osiris Ritual by George Mann
Mechanique by Genevieve Valentine
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
The Half-made World by Felix Gilman
The Winds of Khalakhovo by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Acacia by David Anthony Durham
Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemisin
Other Lands by David Anthony Durham
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Cold Fire by Kate Elliott
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Sacred Band by David Anthony Durham
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones
The Paths of the Dead by Steve Brust

I feel I should say a word about the books I didn't finish, in hopes that someone can encourage me to give them another go (or learn from my mistakes)… but this post is already quite long and full of lists. I’ll save that for another time. Here’s to hoping I finish more books in 2012!