January 2023 Wrap-Up

Books read in January 2023:
To Each This World ★★★¾☆ Colony SF, first contact, aliens.
– The Sea in the Sky ★★★☆☆, Audible Original, SF, exploration on Enceladus.
– And What Can We Offer You Tonight ★★½☆☆ Dystopia, murder, revenge, overloaded prose.
– Magic Tides (Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years #1) ★★★★★ UF, Kate fails at keeping a low profile. Novella.
– Beneath the Dark Ice 🦑🦑🦑🦑☆ Milfic, Antarctica, caving, speed, action, creature feature, high body count — fun!
– Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures ★★★★☆ audio, Stephen Fry narrates, Greek mythology..
– Icehenge ★★★☆☆, 2nd novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, exploring Mars for the first time.

Ongoing:
– Ship of Destiny, I will still finish this, but right now it‘s in a bit of a hiatus.

Pages and minutes in January 2023
1,710 pages eye reading & 14.67 hours of audio

Moving pictures…
– Strange World ★★★★☆ animation, Disney+, nice one! Center of the Earth stuff.
– Babylon 5, season 1-5 ★★★★☆ I rewatched some of my favourite episodes. It was fun.
– Star Trek: Strange New Worlds ★★★★★ Fabulous! Old Trek lives again… I‘m still laughing about the episode where Spock and T‘Pring attempt a soul joining.
– Dexter New Blood ★★★★☆ Enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
– Dexter, S1-4, ★★★★★ re-watch, still great.

February 2023 plans:
The Red Scholar’s Wake, Netgalley, read the first two chapters. SF, Universe of the Xuja, sentient ships, pirates, LGBQT+.
Destroyer (Foreigner #7), audio, listened to the first 4 hours. Oh boy.
– Blackfish City, SF, maybe end of the month.

Visiting Locus Magazine

I do not read online SF magazines regularly. I get a newsletter from Tordotcom, that leads me to reading some of their articles. That‘s about it. Most newsletter I read a few times and then get rid of again. Today I stumbled across Locus magazine though and read some good stuff.

JAMES PATTERSON signed on to finish an incomplete manu­script by MICHAEL CRICHTON (1942-2008) for Little, Brown via Robert Barnett for Patterson and Shane Salerno for CrichtonSun (the estate’s production company). The novel concerns “a mega-eruption of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano that can destroy not just the island but the entire world.”

https://locusmag.com/2023/01/people-publishing-roundup-january-2023/

I would read that! I like apocalyptic scenarios and have always found volcanoes oddly fascinating. Then this article had me nodding my head vigorously:

Commentary: Cory Doctorow: Social Quitting

  Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow
Photo by Paula Mariel Salischiker

As I type these words, a mass exodus is underway from Twitter and Facebook. After decades of eye-popping growth, these social media sites are contracting at an alarming rate.

For social media, the biggest switching cost isn’t learning the ins and outs of a new app or generating a new password: it’s the communities, family members, friends, and customers you lose when you switch away. Leaving aside the complexity of adding friends back in on a new service, there’s the even harder business of getting all those people to leave at the same time as you and go to the same place.

https://locusmag.com/2023/01/commentary-cory-doctorow-social-quitting/

Isn‘t that the truth! And you need a place to switch to, once you get to that point. Or not, as the case might be. When I left FB and Twitter years ago, I did not replace them and it wasn‘t a big deal. However, leaving Goodreads would be. Where to go? There is no other booksite that has these social media qualities. I have been with them since 2008 and with my current favourite group I have been since 2017. I don‘t want to loose them. So, at the moment, the switching cost is too high.

Annalee Newitz: Terraforming

 

Debut SF novel Autonomous was published in 2017, and was a Nebula Award finalist and win­ner of a Lambda Award. The Future of Another Timeline appeared in (2019) and was nominated for a Dragon Award and won the Sidewise Award. Their latest book, The Terraformers, will be published at the end of January.

“My latest book is called The Terraformers and it is a multigenerational epic about terrafor­ming a planet. As it says on the tin, it is about some terraformers, the people doing the real work planetside, and it takes place over many thousands of millennia. It starts about 60,000 years in our future and ends 65,000 years in our future. I spent a lot of time working on the timeline leading up to the events of the novel. I have all these files on my computer that are full of things like, ‘Okay, but if this happened at this date, then what would happen at this date?!’

https://locusmag.com/2023/01/annalee-newitz-terraforming/

Tempting, but I still haven‘t read Autonomous, which has been on my ebook shelf since 2019!

And I just subscribed to their newsletter, let‘s see how long that lasts…

PS: I am weak, I just requested The Terraformers from Netgalley… Tor doesn‘t like me much though, so the probability to get rejected is high.

Top Ten Tuesday — Bookish Goals for 2023

Top Ten Tuesday moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

https://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/

Topic for January 17: Bookish Goals for 2023

I am not very goal oriented in my private life. Work is about goals. Private life is for doing what I want, when I want. Or not. Anyway, I do have some ideas about this year‘s reading.

  1. Read fewer buddy reads in 2023 — odd, I know. But I committed to so many buddy reads last year that I did not have any room for mood reads. I ticked off my list, following a schedule. It started to feel like work.
  2. Read fewer books than last year — the next odd one. I did set my usual 100-book-challenge on Goodreads and The StoryGraph, but I am considering to lower it or maybe completely delete it. I don‘t need it for tracking purposes and I am trying to de-stress my reading life.
  3. Reduce my Netgalley pile — I have 20 unread Netgalleys and some of them are really ancient. It would be sweet to finally get caught up. And then I would only request more with the expectation to actually read and review them close to their publishing date, as it was intended.
  4. Don‘t commit to reading challenges — again, it’s about de-stressing my reading life. Regardless, I have actually picked two challenges. One is the 2023 bingo challenge of my favourite Goodreads group. It‘s about reading previous, missed buddy reads. I don‘t expect to get a bingo, it‘s more of a tracker for books I own from those old buddy reading lists. And i picked an Alphabet challenge on Storygraph. I will only use it to help me pick books from my owned bookshelves.
  5. Reduce my TBR pile of owned books and buy fewer new books — I failed at this last year. I finally want to make a dent in my physical bookshelf. Buying no new books is an illusion. I don‘t want to set any rules either, aka only buy a new book after reading 3 old ones. That would just stress me out, plus I would need to track it. More tracking = less reading.
  6. Finally continue with the Dragonriders of Pern — a few years ago I decided to re-read the series plus to read all the new ones that I never picked up. I was off to a good start and had fun, but last year I was so overbooked that I didn‘t read a single one of them.
  7. Mix it up — I have been reading a lot of SF and Fantasy in the last few years. I want to mix it up a little more. There is enough choice on my owned bookshelves…
  8. Don‘t overthink it, more mood reading!

That‘s it for now. How about you? Do you have any new goals, besides the usual „read x books this year“, „read more classics“, „read more non-fiction“, etc.?

Top Ten Tuesday — most anticipated books releasing in 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week‘s topic: top ten most anticipated books releasing in the first half of 2023

Another meme that I haven‘t done in a really long time. And I doubt that I will get together ten books. I don‘t check and plan ahead a lot for my reading. It‘s more of an accidental affair. So, anyway, let‘s see what I have planned already in terms of new books for this year…

I do not actually have anything newly published on my list until late April. So the title of this Top Ten Tuesday is right out of the window. Anyway, April!

In the Lives of Puppets
by T.J. Klune

This one is a maybe, I have plenty of other books on my T.J. Klune backlog.

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe. 

Inspired by Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall-EIn the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.

Next one. I am not even sure this here will be published in May, as I can‘t find any dates about it anywhere besides its Goodreads bookpage:

Moon of the Turning Leaves (Moon of the … #2)
by Waubgeshig Rice

Twelve years have passed since a widespread blackout triggered the rapid collapse of society, when the constants of the old world—cell service, landlines, satellite and internet—disappeared. Twelve long years since the steady supply of food and fuel from the south became a thing of the past.

The sudden end of the world as everybody knew it, and the horrors of that first winter since everything became dark, only steeled the resolve of Evan Whitesky and the other members of the Anishinaabe community to survive on their own terms. Because the world wasn’t ending, as the community elders reminded them. It had already ended with the original displacement of their people to the far north by colonial authorities. They have seen this “apocalypse” before. They’ve seen it—lived it—over and over. But they had always survived. And they will survive this too.

http://www.bukowskiagency.com/Rice/Moon-of-the-Turning-Leaves.htm

The book was supposed to come out last year. Maybe Corona threw a wrench into the works? On Rice‘s Twitter he posts about a Fall 2022 draft, so work is still going on, fingers crossed. Sequel to MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW. My review of that book wasn‘t too favourable, when I read it in 2019. But the story has lingered, so it can‘t have been that average.

And another one for May:

Lords of Uncreation (The Final Architecture, #3)
by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us the third and final novel in an extraordinary space opera trilogy about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.

Loved the first one, struggled with the second one, have to read the third one to get closure.

The final book to come out in May, not sure yet if I will get it. Barring another Murderbot, I can settle:

Witch King
by Martha Wells

“I didn’t know you were a… demon.”
“You idiot. I’m the demon.”
Kai’s having a long day in Martha Wells’ WITCH KING….

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

Doesn‘t sounds all that different to dear old Murderbot, right?

And we finally move into June. ANOTHER IMPERIAL RADCH!!! Boy, did I wait long for this one! I got so fed up with waiting, I re-read the first Imperial Radch trilogy in 2021. Tea did not help with the waiting, dear!

Translation State (Imperial Radch)
by Ann Leckie

The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will have a ripple effect across the stars in this powerful new novel by award-winning author Ann Leckie. 

Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn’t “optimal behavior”. It‘s the type of behavior that results in elimination. 

Squeee! Presger translator! So looking forward to this one!

At some point in 2023 there should be Mercy Thompson #14 by Patricia Briggs. That‘s all I know. No title or cover art yet. But I will definitely read it, when it comes out.

That was only six books, sorry! We‘ll see what other books will sneak up on me in the next few months! And then back to my owned pile of TBRs….

My year in books 2022, according to Goodreads

My average rating for 2022 according to Goodreads: 3.7 (all-time average is 3.47)
I read 121 books in 2022, including 12 DNF. The statistics from Goodreads diverge a little from the StoryGraph version. I am not too bothered. You know what they say: Never believe a statistic that you didn‘t fake yourself! It‘s close enough.

My 5-star ratings in 2022, including the most-used genre tags:

Novels
Even The Wingless Fantasy / SF / LGBT
The Iron Duke Steampunk / Romance / Fantasy
*Little Fuzzy SF / Fantasy / Aliens
*Wolfsong Fantasy / Romance / Paranormal
*Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders) Fantasy / High Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
*The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders) Fantasy / High Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
Taken (Alex Verus) Urban Fantasy / Fantasy / Magic
Sinew and Steel and What They Told Short Story / SF / LGBT
*Under Fortunate Stars SF / Space Opera / Time Travel
Chosen (Alex Verus) UF / Fantasy / Magic
*A Psalm for the Wild-Built SF / Fantasy / Novella
*Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome SF / Short Story / Novella 
Thistlefoot Fantasy / Horror / Retellings
*Soul Taken (Mercy Thompson) UF / Fantasy / Paranormal
Into the Riverlands Fantasy / Novella / LGBT
*Explorer (Foreigner) SF / Space Opera / Aliens
*Children of Memory SF / Space Opera / Space

Little Fuzzy was a very positive surprise. I usually don‘t do well with Classics / older books. This was utterly charming and readable.

Wolfsong was another feel-good offering by T.J. Klune. The MC was a delight and these were the nicest werewolves ever. Yes, yes, I do need to get to that author backlog.

I am so happy that I gave Robin Hobb another chance with the Liveship Traders! Slow, but fun. I am still slowly moving through the third book of that sub-trilogy.

Another unexpected delight was A Psalm for the Wild-BuiltBecky Chambers is another author that I need to catch up with.

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome showed me that I might like John Scalzi after all.

And the Mercy Thompson books are still worth reading, although Soul Taken is already #13 and I rarely read Urban Fantasy anymore.

I will continue to slowly work my way through the Foreigner books by C.J. Cherryh. It was love at second sight. But so good, if you can relax enough to go with the flow.

Children of Memory was a great third addition to the Zoo that is Children of Time. Adrian Tchaikovsky delivered again.

Under Fortunate Stars stands out, because it was a debut novel. But there was no novel that outpaced the others. And I am sure that within my 4-star novels could be some that would be worth 5 stars as well, if I took a look.

Graphic Novels / Comics
The Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to Fear Horror / Zombies 
March to War (Walking Dead Vol. 19) Horror / Zombies
We Stand On Guard SF / War / Dystopia
Ham Helsing #1: Vampire Hunter Middle Grade / Humour / Fantasy
The Adoption: CE Bande Dessinée / France
Saga #56 Fantasy /SF
Saga #60 Fantasy /SF
Shadecraft #1 Horror / YA
Lunatic (Moon Knight) Marvel / Superheroes
The Bottom (Moon Knight) Marvel / Superheroes

The Walking Dead is still good, but so long — it‘s a lot of work. Those two Moon Knight comics were great fun, although I am not really into superheroes that much anymore. Saga is back, YAY! We Stand On Guard was a totally unexpected find. And Ham Helsing #1: Vampire Hunter was so cute! I have to check again, I should really get the sequel if there is one…

My year in book, 2022 StoryGraph Statistics

I finished reading 103 books, across 19,979 pages and 338.83 hours. Goodreads claims that I read 29,918 pages. Which might or might not fit, if you convert the hours into pages. 🤷‍♀️

First book:

Cursed by Benedict Jacka

Cursed

Last book:

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

I explored new worlds, went to dark places, and got wrapped up in intrigue.

Longest book with 915 pages:

The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

The average length of the books I read was 275 pages and it took me around 10 days to finish each book.

I explored the works of 55 new authors, including James A. Moore, Molly Harper, and Ryan North.

Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore

71 of the books I read were part of a series.

Nerilka's Story & The Coelura by Anne McCaffrey

I revisited a total of 2 books, decided not to finish 15 of the books picked up, read 77 books from my own shelves.

Compared to 2021

Number of books: Decreased by 21%

Number of pages: Decreased by 26%

Number of hours: Increased by 31%

The discrepancy of pages and hours in the last graph: I think here Storygraph only counted the finished books. The overall figure at the top also counts the DNFs. Anyway, so much for the statistics…

My Reading Goals for 2022 revisited

I wanted to concentrate on my TBR shelf, specifically my owned books, in 2021. That failed spectacularly, as I committed to a lot of buddy reads. So …

My Reading Goals for 2022

Wow, well that did not go well at all. I had a look at that post and I did not read a single book mentioned in that post! Instead I read a lot of buddy reads with my favourite Goodreads group. And I finished 2022 with more owned books than I started out with. To top it off, I already bought 3 more books… 😂

Anyway, those famous New Year resolutions… Less buddy reads, more mood reads, concentration on my owned books. I want to concentrate on my physical bookshelf, but I think that would be a futile commitment. I have more ebooks and many of those have been lingering for a while now as well. Plus there is that pesky Netgalley backlog. And I want to finally get back to re-reading and then catching up with unread books of the Dragonriders of Pern. We‘ll see how that goes!

A wrap-up of my reading year of 2022 will follow soon… Happy New Year! To a better 2023!

December 2022 Wrap-up

Books read in December:
– FBR Children of Memory ★★★★★ audio. The zoo is growing. And there is more to it than animals.
– GR Thistlefoot ★★★★★ Netgalley, sweet and creepy, magical realism and folklore, Baba Yaga goes West.
– Something to Talk About ★★★★☆ ebook, f/f romance, LGTBQ+, accidental romance, slow burn, rumours, Paparazzi. Fun!
– FBR Even Though I Knew the End ★★★★☆ NG audio, LGTBQ+ Crime Noir with demons and magic. Good!
– Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome ★★★★★, epistolary companion novella to Lock In by John Scalzi.
– The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion ★★★½☆, ebook, novella, demon deer, anarchists, creepy birds, LGBTQ+
– Hospital Station ★★★☆☆, part of the omnibus Beginning Operations, ebook, medical SF, hospital in space, catering to many different aliens, from 1962.
– Little Fuzzy ★★★★★, ebook, novella, colony planet, are the cute fuzzies sentient/sapient or not? And what will Big Business do about it? Another 60s, a classic…
– To Be Taught, If Fortunate ★★★★☆ ebook, novella, space exploration, exoplanets.
– Dying Earths: Sixteen Stories from the Ends of Times ★★★½☆ ebook. I backdated the finishing date, just to tidy it all up nicely. I actually finished this on New Year‘s Day.

Currently reading, carrying over into January:
– FBR Ship of Destiny, ebook, still moving along really slowly…
– BR Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures, audio, made it to Jason and the golden fleece.

Moving pictures…
– Moonfall, too bad the makers take this movie seriously, otherwise this could have been fun. Pretty hammy acting, too.
– It Chapter Two, it was ok, I had hoped for more.
– A Quite Place II. Good! Surprisingly I really liked Cilian Murphy in this, he is usually not really my cup of tea.

Dying Earth, part II

Dying Earths: Sixteen Stories from the Ends of Times
by Sue Burke and others…

Ongoing. I will update as I go along…

WAITING FOR THE RAIN by Shana Scott ★★½☆☆ Dystopia? Hard to tell. There was no magic or any SF elements.
“The summer was beating them down: plants burned before they grew, scavengers poisoned by the rotted carrion, water scarce—coveted.“
Possibly set in Africa somewhere, hard to tell. Drought, suffering, a sacrifice is needed to appease the Sun. I didn‘t like the writing much.

PURPLE NASTIES by Jez Patterson ★★¾☆☆ Dystopia / SF
“The Sun isn’t really purple either. It’s just a big ball of white light. Only, now it’s got this cloud of purple gas around it.“
Very short, very odd. Some cosmic event led to a chemical reaction that led to purple gas around the sun and purple light on Earth, with disastrous results.

TO CLIMB BY THE LIGHT OF THE SPUTTERING SUN by Daniel Ausema ★★★★★ Dystopia / SF
A team of scavengers for hire venture outside of the city to find valuables. The city is under a dome in the shape of a skull, made from bone? The sun is old and dyeing, the seas are acidic. Our crew has a steep and dangerous climb to make.
The writing of this one hit my sweet spot, I really liked it. I never figured out the skulls. Robots or machines, partially made of bone? 

LEGACY 2.0 by N. E. White ★★★★¾ SF
Maria and Juan circle a dead Earth, millenia after humanity has abandoned it. They have a cockroach situation aboard their spaceship. Good one!

DRIED SMOKE by Kat Pekin ★★★★★ Post-Apocalypse
“First to get hit were the capitals, so Brisbane was much fucked from day one.
Australia after a nuclear attack. Siblings are driving away from the cities, trying to stay alive… Well written, good action scenes, I liked the characters.

Link to the review of the first set of stories.

Housekeeping 2022

The end of the year is nigh. I am having a look at my want-to-read shelf, aka books that I want to reads, but do not own yet. Every now and then I kick some books off that shelf, because I am not that interested anymore. I am very, very stingy with adding titles to that list, because I do not want to be overwhelmed and I want to stand a chance to actually read those books at some point in time. So I only have 170 titles on that shelf. I own another 240 unread books, so I am not running out of reading material anytime soon. Anyway, I am currently filling my virtual shopping basket at a secondhand bookstore at the moment and going through that want-to-read, looking for some low-priced bargains… Here it goes…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road (Lone Wolf and Cub, #1)

Lone Wolf and Cub (Kozure Okami in Japan) is acknowledged worldwide for the brilliant writing of series creator Kazuo Koike and the groundbreaking cinematic visuals of the late Goseki Kojima. Creating unforgettable imagery of stark beauty, kinetic fury, and visceral thematic power, the epic samurai adventure has influenced a generation of visual storytellers both in Japan and in the West.

I‘ve had this on my shelf for a while. I do not read a lot of Manga, I am not a huge fan of the black-and-white medium. But reviews for this are consistently good, so… bought!

Raising Stony Mayhall
by Daryl Gregory

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.

This sounded really good at the time I added it. Plus I really liked Afterparty and the short story NIne Last Days on Planet Earth by the author. But I am a little oversaturated with zombies… Deleted!

Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City, #7)
by Penny Reid

Marriage of Convenience is one of my favourite romance tropes, which is why I added this to my shelf. However, I recently read the first book of that series and was utterly underwhelmed. It was ok, but generally not interesting enough to continue with the series. Deleted!

Made to Order: Robots and Revolution
by Jonathan Strahan and others

They are often among the least privileged, most unfairly used of us, and the more robots are like humans, the more interesting they become. This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through.

I have too many short story anthologies on my shelves and robots are another topic where I reached saturation… deleted!

The Loch
by Steve Alten

Marine biologist Zachary Wallace once suffered a near-drowning experience in legendary Loch Ness, and now, long-forgotten memories of that experience have begun haunting him. The truth surrounding these memories lies with Zachary’s estranged father, Angus Wallace, a wily Highlander on trial for murder. Together the two plunge into a world where the legend of Loch Ness shows its true face.

Ugh, I think I am done with Steve Alten. Delete! And if I should find any more Meg novels on my shelf, I will boot those off as well…

Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines, #1)
by Marko Kloos

With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price…and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums.

I guess I added this because I saw some good reviews and it‘s on Kindle Unlimited. But to be honest, it sounds depressing and I am not a massive MilSF fan anyway. Deleted.

The Survival of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #2)
by Tade Thompson

I did like the first Molly Southbourne book quite a bit, but it also made me very uncomfortable. So, delete…

Ok then, besides those 7 books above (of which I only bought one and deleted 6), I also deleted a ton on KU additions and other stuff that I remembered nothing about. I am now down to only 130 books left on that shelf. Quite a nice clean-up.