OK. I admit it. I don’t watch much TV.
A show will pique my interest once in a blue moon so I rarely watch more than a single television show each week. Oh, I catch snippets of what everyone else is watching but, quite honestly, I would rather have my nose in a book. I wondered at this for many a year but I believe the explanation is similar for many that hold this perspective. And that is … words on a page plus my imagination add up to a far more fascinating result than what can be captured and presented visually on the screen.
Like most hobbies, some years are better than others. The last few years (including this one) have been particularly good. I’ve read close to 10K pages of fiction up to this point in the year or, roughly, two to three normal-sized novels per month. I’m not all that quick of a reader. But, an hour or two around bedtime (more on the weekends) on most nights adds up though.
Where has all that time gone?
Cryoburn (Lois McMaster Bujold)
The latest entry in the Miles Vorkosigan series. Bujold is a great fiction writer. I haven’t read any of her fantasy novels so I can’t speak to them but I heartily recommend anything in this series. The series is light-hearted science fiction adventure (some would categorize as space opera) with the later novels (including this one) tending toward more detective/mystery elements and the earlier novels having more of a military focus.
The Reversal (Michael Connelly)
This is generally considered a Micky Haller series book but Harry Bosch plays a prominent role as well. I started reading Connelly 15+ years ago for his suspenseful Harry Bosch novels. After more than 20 books, I continue to enjoy his work.
A Song of Ice and Fire (George R. R. Martin)
Or, as the series is more commonly referred to by the title of the first volume, A Game of Thrones. This was a re-read of the first four volumes in anticipation of the fifth book being released this summer. All told, close to half of the fiction I’ve read this year (800 – 1200 pages per book!). This, in my opinion, is fantasy done right. You see hints of magic but it doesn’t overwhelm the story. Good and evil characters exist but it all plays out in shades of gray. Politics, intrigue, war, death (lots of death 😉). It’s a medieval soap opera!
The Magicians (Lev Grossman)
Contemporary fantasy in the vein of Harry Potter. It is sort of a ‘what if Hogwarts was a university and set in the northeastern U.S.?’ It was a first novel by the author and the writing was not very good. Generally not recommended.
The Word and Void Trilogy (Terry Brooks)
Contemporary fantasy trilogy by the author best known for his Shannara books. I read the original Shannara books as a teenager and thought they were good but read them again as an adult and realized they were not so good. Needless to say, I was hesitant about investing time into three more of his books but was pleasantly surprised and would recommend to someone looking for a not so standard fantasy selection.
Jack Reacher novels (Lee Child)
I’ve read six books from the series this year. Last summer, a co-worker brought this character to Jill’s attention. She’s read all the books. I read about half last year and have three left in the series. Well-written and suspenseful. Child and Connelly are the two suspense/thriller authors I read with no hesitation.
On deck are the remaining Reacher novels and Neal Stephenson’s Reamde. That will likely finish the year for me although Connelly released a Haller book earlier this year and has a new Bosch book coming at the end of November. Those will be high on the must read least for Jill and I.
For the last three years, I’ve read exclusively on an eReader for any fiction. While there is a tendency toward vendor lock-in for purchases based on your device, the eBook selection offered through libraries has grown significantly over the last three years. Our library offers more than 2400 titles that can be borrowed and read on all the major devices (yes, including the Kindle now). Check into this resource if you read a lot!