It’s the last couple days of 200.
Definitely been a landmark year, though not for the reasons anyone anticipated.
Everyone knows the bad stuff that happened this year, in a wild, shared, global way. In a small way, it was a weird year because Midas actually had soundness issues that took a few months to resolve (he’s fine now) and that meant we did a lot of hand walking and walking rides through grassy fields that were kind to his hooves. We didn’t do much that was exciting, except try our hand at ponying a pony, which the pony was not thrilled about.
But I thought I’d think about some of the good things, the favorite things…I thought I’d talk about books. Because I love books.
I opened Goodreads to see what I read this year. Man. I found SO MANY awesome books. Not always new, but new to me. I could just list everything I read this year, with a couple exceptions (there were a few meh and a couple I really hated) but I guess you can always just look me up on Goodreads for that.
So here are a few of the best:
- Crescent City – Modern tech meets angels and fae, and all the myths in one story full of detective work, demon hunting, soul searching, and unforgettable characters. The character depth and heartstring moments we’ve come to love from Sarah J Maas, but with a LOT of swearing. Like, a lot. That part wasn’t necessary, it really stands out in the audio book but I kinda glazed over when reading it in paper form. The rest of the story is enough for me to not care about the weird prevalence of foul language, I cannot wait to see what comes next for Bryce and Hunt.
- A Deadly Education – I don’t like stories about going to school to be something (assassin, wizard, whathaveyou). But this story, while set at a school, wasn’t about learning to be a wizard or use your magic. It’s more about facing down assumptions, finding friendship, and also getting graduation. El is a delight as a narrator. On the whole it’s fun, twisty, snarky, rewarding.
- Well Met – Light, fun, sexy, romantic. A rom-com for when you need something uplifting and funny to read. It’s a rom com, but I felt like this book avoided the things I don’t like about rom coms and embraced all the things I do.
- The Scorpio Races – This book is beautiful. It evokes such longing, and beauty, and it’s a good story–there is a thrilling horse race and gentle love story–and the horse sense is spot on (it would have ruined it for me if it wasn’t). It’s often described as atmospheric, and it is, but if that word sounds boring to you, don’t think of it as atmospheric. It’s not literary fiction which appears primarily obsessed with suffering and postmodern disillusionment–which would probably also get described as atmospheric, but that just means the atmosphere is hell. No, in The Scorpio Races, the atmosphere is Thisby, an island probably off the coast of the UK, and the island is practically a character in the story. If you have a location that you just LOVED, being there is how the book makes you feel. Read it so you understand.
- The Return of the Thief – Eugenides is back, and he’s amazing. You have six other books to read first, but for a series whose release spanned 20 years, the fact that this book doesn’t disappoint is itself a literary accomplishment.
- The Riyira Revelations – Royce and Hadrian are now among my favorite friend portrayals in fiction. Royce is a jaded assassin, Hadrian is an idealist fighter, and together they are Riyira, an expensive set of thieves and fixers who steal things and frame people for those with obscene amounts of money. But then they are hired to steal a “magic” sword, and everything kind of goes down hill from there. You will not regret diving into this series and its world. It’s a pretty massive series, I’ve only scratched the surface.
- The Expanse (first three books) – These books have an enormous cast of vastly different characters. They are very thoughtful, but also gripping and fascinating and hopeful. I love that they are hopeful. I didn’t keep reading into the series (yet) because there are SO MANY and I wasn’t sure how much longer they could go without someone I really cared about dying. So, I figured I would quit while there was at least a potential happily ever after.
- Paladin of Souls-I have actually read this book three times this year. If you haven’t read Curse of Chalion, start there, and then you will be EVEN HAPPIER reading Ista d’Chalion’s story. Actually, all of Bujold’s stuff set in the World of the Five Gods is good. Start with the Curse of Chalion, though.
- Beneath Cruel Fathoms – Imagine the cultural differences between a merman and a human woman–are you? Because they are funny. Plus a cosmic plot and some pretty world reaching issues. Add romance, adopted siblings, and you’ve got a good story with lovable characters and I want book two. Because I want it, not because the author was cruel with her ending. At least, not horribly cruel.
I could probably keep going forever, because I love books, but This List has satisfied my need to make a list relating to 2020!
Here’s to a new year in the new world with more glorious books to read.