January Reading

A bit late, but here’s the list of books I read in January. I was on vacation over Christmas until January 13, so I had a lot of time to read. I managed about 7500 pages! (Just a fun metric).

Leckie, Ann:

  • Ancillary Justice
    For those who haven’t come across this series yet: it is about a person who was forcibly turned into an extension (ancillary) of an AI piloted warship, the Justice of Torren. This meant that she was part of one AI with lots of bodies (the warship body, plus all the other ancillaries). All the bodies have different experiences but can share them all among themselves. They are controlled by the AI but still manage to have different personalities owing to their different experiences. Due to treachery by the ruler of the empire (who has some, let’s say, mind-body problems), the Justice of Torren is destroyed with all the ancillaries, except for the one, who then seeks justice and/or revenge. Great story, well developed. I read the first book a few years ago and never got around to the others in the trilogy. So, I re-read it and then read the other two. Definitively recommended.
  • Ancillary Sword
  • Ancillary Mercy
  • Provenance
    This is another novel set in the Imperial Radch world of the Ancillary novels. It’s a coming of age novel with a murder thrown in. It shows a different part of the universe in the Ancillary novels and elaborates on species and events only hinted at in the other novels. It’s very character-driven as are all Leckie’s novel, which I like (I’m not that keen on sci-fi that’s more about gimmicks and cool ideas that character development).

Williams, Tad:

I gave my mother some books by Tad Williams for Christmas, set in the Sorrow Thorn universe. I liked this fantasy series a lot (might want to re-read it sometime soonish) but didn’t like some of his other novels – the Otherland series didn’t do it for me, for example. But I thought I’d give him another try.

  • The Dirty Streets of Heaven
    Bobby Dollar series 1. I liked the premise: an angel as an advocate for souls doing an investigation into missing souls, but I prefer my detectives less hard-boiled. Not sure if I will read the rest of the series.
  • Shadowmarch
    The Shadowmarch series is somewhat similar to the Sorrow Thorn books (Elves, humans, others races and conflicts between them) but it’s also about keeping old gods from returning and has some interesting twists. I especially liked the Funderlings. Not bad! Makes me want to re-read the Sorrow Thorn stuff, including the new novels in that universe. Although not soon, because after four huge fantasy novels I’ve over indulged and need a rest.
  • Shadowplay
  • Shadowrise
  • Shadowheart

Schuhman, Rebecca: Schadenfreude, A Love Story: Me, the Germans, and 20 Years of Attempted Transformations, Unfortunate Miscommunications, and Humiliating Situations That Only They Have Words For – good but not great. A bit too many clichés. Sure, clichés are clichés for a reason, but this memoir was trying too hard to be funny. But maybe I’m just a dour German with an underdeveloped sense of humour! Or it’s because I don’t appreciate Kafka enough…

Caldecott, Andrew:

  • Rotherweird
    Great! It’s a fantasy with aspects of alternative history, sci-fi, and steampunk. It has a likeable cast of recurring and new characters. I can’t wait for the third book.
  • Wyntertide

Carey, M. R.: The Girl with All the Gifts: A new take on the zombiekalypse. There’s a movie as well that I want to check out now that I’ve read the novel. Beware fungi!

Jones, Diana Wynne: The Dark Lord of Derkholme about the ravages of tourism on a world of magic. Very imaginative, tragic and funny. Recommended, for all ages.

Steinfest, Heinrich: Die feine Nase der Lilli Steinbeck: A quirky read. A crime novel with fantastic elements and pointed philosophical bonmots. Also a good read, but I don’t think it’s been translated into English. I may look up other novels by this author.

A good start to the reading year!