Yearly Reading Targets 2022

  • 25 Replies
  • 1281 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5911
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« on: January 04, 2022, 07:01:07 pm »
New year, new books! Or trying to finish old ones. Or rereads. Or...

This year I'm going to try to read more consistently. Despite reading 27 books, I didn't complete any books after August last year, which feels bad. Plenty of things I still want to read.

TBR:
The Wisdom of Crowds Joe Abercrombie
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Startide Rising by David Brin
The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
Among Others by Jo Walton
Malice by John Gwynne
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
Dune by Herbert
Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood
Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie

January (1)
1) Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker

February (2)
1) The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron

March (3)
1) The Plague of Swords by Miles Cameron

April (6)
1) The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron
2) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
3) Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

May (7)
1) The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie
« Last Edit: May 13, 2022, 12:14:31 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2022, 05:26:45 pm »
I did not read as much as I wanted last year.  Only 21 books, and I didn't hit much of what I expected to read either.  So this year, who knows?
The only sure thing is reading new KJ Parker, certainly a novella or two and a novel.  Aside from that, probably Abercrombie's latter trilogy, Babel books, Tad Williams's new Osten Ard, finishing Ruocchio's series.  All subject to change and be bumped at a whim.  Maybe this time next year I'll be reflecting on my deep dive into Amish romance novels; time will tell, all is in flux.

MSJ

  • *
  • The Afflicted Few
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Yatwer's Baby Daddy
  • Posts: 2298
  • "You killed the wolf"
    • View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2022, 12:52:28 am »
Hey fellow sloggers! So, started off the year with The Wisdom of Crowds, by Joe Abercrombie (1). As always, I really enjoy his books and was a page turner. Highly recommended.

On to, The Hod King, by Josiah Bancroft. Love this series, and have already started on it.

I have so many books to read, and im gonna try and knock a bunch out this year. Miss you guys and hope to stop around a little more often. Cheers!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2022, 12:14:05 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2022, 06:00:22 pm »
Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey (1)

Hmm...  I was surprised to find myself not excited to read this conclusion to the series.  I liked the previous books pretty well, but maybe it had been too long before this one came out.  It could also be the time jump that occurred at book...7?  The plots and characters got spread out and disparate, and thus less compelling I think.

My biggest problem with this book was its pacing.  The beginning is kind of slow and aimless, then suddenly out of nowhere we are fighting for the very existence of humanity, which I knew was coming.  There is a very clear existential threat that has to be dealt with going into the book, but I just didn't like how the authors got around to dealing with it.  Some story elements got far out there, psychedelic, brief interludes of stream of consciousness kind of, I did not like it.  The Expanse is at its best when it deals with conflict between people, whether on a personal or planetary scale.  Going so far into the trippy mind alien realm just didn't work, it was better in previous books when it was just briefly touched on or alluded to. 

Overall, this is a fine conclusion to an otherwise great modern space epic.  The denouement was probably my favorite part.  I will say, throughout the whole series it is very clear this was lifted from/heavily-inspired by some sci-fi rpg session someone ran, not unlike Dragonlance is for D&D.  Characters have their clear class, traits, and alignments, and I found myself frequently thinking how a gamed session morphed itself into various scenes in the series.  It's still good, worth reading if you want a big sci-fi epic.

MSJ, both those series are on my list for the year.  Just started Senlin Ascends.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2022, 02:37:38 pm »
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft (2)

I really liked this one.  Well done characters, unique setting.  The story is basically this guy trying to find his lost wife in this massive (too big to ever realistically exist) tower.  I was worried it would be a McGuffin story where the missing wife is just there to move the plot, but there is sufficient work done in establishing her character and relationship to the titular Senlin.  A lot is packed into the 300 or so pages, Bancroft doesn't waste time giving wholistic descriptions of what is going on in the tower and how things work.  This is helped by our perspective being tied to the naive and out of his depth main character.  It's hard to believe some of the tower manages to sustain itself by what we see, but there's at least an idea of much more being out there that Senlin just doesn't get to.
I'm excited to read the rest of these, and probably will in short order.  But first a new KJ Parker.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5911
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2022, 01:13:45 pm »
I enjoyed Senlin Ascends but the subsequent book wasn't enough for me to want to finish.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2022, 03:30:45 pm »
A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker (3)

Loved it, of course.  Parker's trilogies are very structurally different from what's typical in the genre.  Each one of these books works well on its own, while also containing an enjoyable through line to tie them all together.  Even this third one is a fully contained narrative arc; someone could pick this up as their first Parker book and have no trouble enjoying it.  That said, there is some greater enjoyment to be found in how it all ties together with the previous two.

This book goes way beyond where I expected it to go after the first two.  It's again a first person account from a character we haven't met before and quite far removed from the setting of the first books.  Parker packs it full of various themes and ideas, some notable ones being, agency, consequences intended vs. unintended, providence.  There is significant riffing on some biblical stories, notably Moses, but also some sprinkling of bits of Jesus, John (the Revelator), and maybe some apostolic bits.  All very wry, sometimes subtle, other times pointedly obvious.

As far as the greater "Parker-verse" is concerned, this book has maybe the most references to other places and events, and maybe the clearest pinning down of anything else in the broader geography and timeline.  (For those who haven't read Parker, he is not a world-builder, although he likely has things concretely pinned down in his head, any references outside of the particular narrative scope are merely easter eggs and may or may not comprise a comprehensive whole, though they seem to.)  We hear about Perimadeia (Fencer trilogy), Vesani (Folding Knife), Mezentia (Engineer trilogy), Sashan (Savages), several other minor recognizable people groups, and a distinct call out to a practice in Sharps.

I thoroughly recommend.  The Siege trilogy will be my go-to Parker recommendation if people want something longer than a novella.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5911
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2022, 03:37:07 pm »
Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by KJ Parker (1)
Hey this was a fun book. My first KJP and well worth it. Light hearted (generally) and funny, KJP spins a nice story without spoiling it by going into too many details. I'll definitely be wanted to read more from him.

The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron (2)
I continue to enjoy Cameron. His books feel weighty and crunchy. This can be detrimental at times, when too much time is spent on inconsequential topics/plots, since they quickly feel overbearing and slow. But when Cameron focuses on the things that you care about, it makes an impact. As always the physical conflicts feel powerful - knights dueling, cavalry charges, man at arms taking the hill, the clash of monsters and men. These things have a visceral feel because of Cameron's talent.

The worldbuilding is  nice, driven largely by the plot and revealed at a pace that is acceptable. Enough mystery to go around but with enough explanation to keep the reader up to speed.

Character relationships are a mixed bag. Some feel forced and or contrived, but at the end of the day when someone not wearing plot armor dies horribly you feel sad about it.

The series as a whole is working for me. The path Cameron is taking is circuitous, and mostly this is fun. A few times there is a bog of details that are just not necessary, with characters and plots that end suddenly and/or obviously in a way that makes me wonder why the details were necessary at all. But largely the efforts made to bring the world and its characters to life are well worth the time to read. I feel compelled to read on, and so I will!
One of the other conditions of possibility.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2022, 02:32:38 pm »
The Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft (4)

I liked this one, but not as much as the first book.  It expanded the narrative to include the perspective of three other characters, which isn't terrible, but I preferred just getting Senlin's view point in the first book.  I think up until the last quarter of the book there was no need to get out of Senlin's head anyway.  I guess it works better if we needed their povs later that we established them earlier, even if it wasn't necessary.

Still entertaining.  A lot gets revealed about the inner workings and origins of the Tower, and it looks like the greater plot beyond "find my missing wife" is going to be interesting going forward.  Things are very steam-punky, too.  That's not really my thing, but I don't mind something different from time to time.

Next up is a horror/slasher(?) novel as payment for my friend reading TDTCB.  Then probably something else before I start on The Hod King.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2022, 02:30:58 pm »
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (5)

This one was my trade off for a friend reading TDTCB.  It's a pretty quick read.  The premise is there is this group of women who've all survived various slasher murder sprees as teens.  Now they are older and have a therapy group.  The whole book is narrated in present-tense by one of the group members.  The back story of each final girl is mostly slowly dribbled in with "newspaper clippings" or articles at the beginning of each chapter.  It kind of makes for a bit of a confusing start as there are sometimes a lot of names with no context until either the narrator or chapter breaks decide to expound on them.  Pretty early on the narrator concludes someone is trying to kill them all, and the rest is her trying to convince people and figure out who is doing what.

It's mostly entertaining.  It's a nice homage to the genre, and I especially got a lot of Scream sequel vibes in that all these women have either capitalized on or been exploited by their trauma by having movie or book deals.  There is some gender commentary throughout, but it makes its point without belaboring it.  There are some small surprises throughout, but by being a homage to familiar tropes, its beats are fairly predictable.  It's still fun.

I wish it had leaned more into the unreliability of the narrator.  She's relaying things as she sees them, and her perception is filtered by her past trauma.  But for the most part she couches her analysis of events and lets us know she's unsure and maybe wrong.  It makes for an easy read that you don't need to spend much thought on, but it would have been better to lean into her misperception.

He's got other books themed around other tropes of the horror genre.  And I certainly won't mind reading them, especially if they are "trades" for my friend reading more Bakker.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5911
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2022, 03:32:41 pm »
As a trade for TDTCB, seems fair. I wont be reading it, but good for you for giving it a shot!
One of the other conditions of possibility.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2022, 04:24:53 pm »
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie (6)

Great book.  While he's maybe not in the upper echelon of authors for me, Abercrombie is pretty close.  I like that he doesn't lean on the characters and story from his earlier trilogy.  Some familiar faces are around, or their kids are, but nothing feels rehashed or retread.  It would be pretty easy for him to fall into familiar character tropes, (i.e. Logen or Glokta v.2) even if they are different characters, but he manages to make the new cast wholly unique.  Abercrombie's strength has been his character development, and it remains so.  He takes particular care to make sure his main characters are changed by the events they go through and always in ways that seem real or reasonable.

I can't think of much bad to say about it.  Part of it deals with the plight of the worker in a time akin to the industrial revolution, and that maybe got a little tedious where I thought I was reading a fantasy version of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, but really it wasn't that bad and was put to good use in the end.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5911
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2022, 10:19:05 pm »
I am considering grabbing The Trouble With Peace since its on sale. A Little Hatred did grab me as much as I remember Blade Itself, but that was literally hundreds of books ago. Abercrombie is still very good and, of course, if you're looking for good characters/development then look no further.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2022, 01:22:50 pm »
Being and Being Bought by Kajsa Ekman (9) (7) (seven comes after six)

Non-fiction, by way of sciborg.  It was a pretty interesting read, arguing against prostitution and surrogacy with the main argument being that both institutions justify themselves by treating the woman (Self) and her body as separate entities.  But also hits on many other issues with both.  It's not too long, and I would have liked to see the main idea developed more.  A decent amount of it was spent dismantling arguments of proponents of each and underscoring the reality of many women involved in either prostitution or surrogacy.  Sometimes the argument seemed a bit scatter-shot, highlighting class disparity, capitalism, sexism.  Overall, it was worth reading.  Thanks, sci.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2022, 02:36:41 pm by The P »

The P

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2022, 05:05:37 pm »
The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie (10) (8 ) (it's eight you fool)

Very good.  Improves upon the first one even.  I have a small suspicion this was the initial start of the story, but in planning (because that's what good authors do), Abercrombie realized he should back it up a bit to establish the characters.  The result it the first book was maybe a little weaker, but this one is tops.  As always the character development is great, I only wish there was a little more time spent on the three second tier PoV characters (Broad, Vick, and Clover for those who've read it). 

This could easily top The First Law trilogy.  It probably will; Abercrombie has improved over the years.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2022, 02:37:37 pm by The P »