2011 Reading Wrap-up

Every year, I try to log every book I’ve read, even if I don’t actually review them all. This year, I’ve logged 96 books here at Bibliotica, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but I’ll leave the count there, because it seems a reasonable number. I’m always reading something, but sometimes fanfic will be my obsession, or magazines, or…well…not books.

In any case, here’s my list:

  • Favorite new-to-me fiction: 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson and Pirate King by Laurie R. King
  • Favorite previously-read fiction: The Black Jewels series, by Anne Bishop, which I didn’t log here, but re-read before reading the newest book this spring.
  • Favorite new-to-me non-fiction: Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a Smartmouth Goddess, by Susan Jane Gilman
  • Favorite previously-read non-fiction: The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean, by Susan Casey
  • Favorite new-to-me authors: Melissa Foster & Katherine Russell
  • Favorite previously-read authors: Keith R. A. DeCandido, Anne Bishop, and Laurie R. King

Wizard Roundup

Yes, I know I haven’t posted here since the tenth of December, but that’s because I found book seven of the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane (who, incidentally, also wrote a couple of my favorite Trek novels) while I was cleaning, and it led me to re-reading the whole series so that THAT book would make sense in contact.

The books in the series (as far as I’ve read) are:

  1. The Book of Night with Moon, by Diane Duane
  2. So You Want to be a Wizard, by Diane Duane
  3. Deep Wizardry, by Diane Duane
  4. High Wizardry, by Diane Duane
  5. A Wizard Abroad, by Diane Duane
  6. The Wizard’s Dilemma, by Diane Duane
  7. A Wizard Alone, by Diane Duane
  8. Wizard’s Holiday, by Diane Duane

There are two more that have been published in the last few years, which I’ll buy after Christmas, and I’ve heard book ten is in progress. (The Book of Night with Moon is a tangental prequel, and not really part of the core series.)

I enjoyed re-reading the Adventures of Kit and Nita, and am looking forward to learning how their story has progressed.

A Matter of Perception, by Tahlia Newland

A Matter of Perception

When Tahlia Newland, an on-and-off blog-buddy of mine, asked me to read and review her collection of magical realism/urban fantasy short stories, there was no way I could refuse, but the truth is I’d have read this collection of six tales no matter who the author was.

Taken together, these stories are a collection of different ways to perceive fantasy, and to use fantasy to perceive reality. The collection feels like a complete suite – all moods and tastes are well represented. Taken separately, well, let’s do that, shall we?

The Drorgon Slayer’s Choice
An unnamed photographer’s assistant sees an interdimensional monster, and is rescued by a god, though she does some rescuing of her own. It’s a great blend of action, romance, and philosophy. This was my favorite of the collection, and not just because it’s the longest or most developed. I really wanted to know what happens next

The Bone Yard
This one is the darkest in the series, in terms of mood. It involves a woman in a desperate situation being helped by supernatural beings, though the twist at the end is rather grisly. A balance of classic horror and modern terror.

Mistril’s Mistake
With great power comes great responsibility, even when you’re a wizard. The colored light battle had me imagining light sabers (but only a little), but the story about taking ownership of your actions is actually very good. More, please?

A Hole in the Pavement
What if our emotional troughs became literal holes that we fell into? That’s the premise of this story, and Newland envisions it beautifully. It was delicate and delicious.

Not me, it can’t be
Mind blowing: alternate points of view between a modern woman undergoing chemo and an ancient (fantasy?) world woman about to become a ritual sacrifice – and each are apparently dreaming of the other in a fabulous riff on the old “Am I a man dreaming I am a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I am a man” conundrum. I was teary at the end.

Rose Coloured Glasses
Easily the lightest tale in the sextet, this story is about an office worker named Sally who discovers a new perspective on her colleagues (and a possible new romance) thanks to a very special pair of glasses. Haven’t we all wished for these at some point?

I believe that any fan of fantasy, magical realism, or just a really gripping tale, will find this collection of stories compelling and entertaining, but what really puts the cherry on top is Newland’s explanation of the themes, included at the back of the book. Excellent book group fodder, but perfect for a plane trip, as well.

Goes well with hot chocolate and a brownie.

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