Friday, January 4, 2013

Another List - This One With Books!

My favorite books of 2012

What a loaded topic. Since I know so many authors that have produced a lot of content I read during the year, I considered not doing this list at all. I decided to just let it be though, and do what I do, and hope I don’t leave anyone out that I wanted to put in. You know, I don’t want to risk hurting anyone’s feelings. So, to alleviate that, I decided to post a list of all the books I’ve read this year first. (Skip below to see what I have to say about this)

Clicking makes it bigger... if that sort of thing is important to you.

First thing I’d point out, now that the year is over and I have a chance to reflect, is that I didn't read that many books last year. Without knowing a great way to verify this, I'd wager this was the least I've read in more than a decade*. Too bad. 

The second thing I'd point out is that I gave a lot of very good ratings to many of the books and stories listed here. I was disappointed in a few, but all in all, I had a good year reading. I still wish I'd read more, but I'm pretty happy with my selections. It was a really strong year for my personal enjoyment.

In fact, I think I gave something along the line of twenty 5 star reviews. That’s a lot of great books. I also get the feeling that if I were to make a new list I might be tempted to change things around a bit. I mean, this was the year that I discovered Brandon Sanderson, I’d put him at the top of any list I have of favorite authors, but when I came down to tallying up my favorite individual stories of the year, he didn't make the cut.

What did?

3) Desert Spear, By Peter V Brett: This is one fantastic novel. I was so thrilled when I got done reading that I spent 45 minutes or so doing some fan art. I was honored when the author saw it on my DeviantArt page and commented.

This is the sequel to The Warded Man from a few years earlier and is about as well done as a fantasy novel can be. I couldn't love it any more than I did. I’m so stoked for the third installment that comes out early in 2013. Brett writes a bit slower than many, so a new release from him is a big deal to me.

2) The Scariest Things You Can’t Imagine, By Briane Pagel: I had promised myself that I wouldn't put anyone I know on a list of things I like this year. I really did. To do that is to start ranking the works of people I know and like and am friends with, not what I want to do. But I did read a lot of small press or indie published books last year and the very least of them was still good. In fact, I can promise that if I expanded this list to a top 10, at least 3 other folks I know would have had their works listed. Actually, it might be more than that. Again, singling one person out gives me a bit of the ickies, but really, when I look back over the year, I’d be lying if I didn't mention this collection of short stories. I read a lot of short stories this year, I critiqued a ton for critters, I read many from magazines as 'research' as I wrote several short stories during 2012, but of them all, this was what blew me away. 

1) Caliban's War, by James S.A. Corey. That's actually a pseudonym for two people, but I won't get into that. This was the most fun I've had reading a novel in a while. It struck the perfect blend of Star Trekish type of space opera, hard-ish scientific vigor, and all out adventure. I find it stunning that this is the second book in a trilogy, I almost quit reading the first installment half-way through because I couldn't get into it. It either got way better after the debut or I learned to appreciate it. 

*Part of me is unsure of this. Several of the books I read were 800 - 1200 page epics. Total wordcount might not be too far off from previous years. But I'd have to start digging into details there, and I don't feel up to that right now.


Brinda said...

Your favorites are books I've never heard of before. I'll check them out. I can see from your 2012 readings that you tend to lean toward a different genre from me. We have a few in common like Jim Butcher and John Scalzi. I've read those authors, but not the named books (and not in 2012).

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I recognize a few books there! Glad mine was in the five-star club.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And forgot to tell you! Did you know you have your own science fiction con? My publisher sent a list of cons they are sending promotional stuff to for attendee bags and such, and one coming up in a couple weeks is RustyCon.

Cindy said...

That's a lot of books! My writing time would be gone if I read that many.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I think I read six of the books you read last year. Hooray!

Tonja said...

Wow. That is a lot of books. I feel like I'm slacking off.

Andrew Leon said...

I need to get to Briane's book.

Tony Laplume said...

RustyCon sounds like something you'll need medical attention to attend.

Deborah Walker said...

Hey what a great way of presenting your book list. Nice one.

I don't know how you get anything else done with all the reading.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I need to read more of Pagel's stuff. He's so talented.

The Golden Eagle said...

Hey, I have The Disappearing Spoon in my stack of books from the library.

Thanks for the list!

Jo said...

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite authors too. Apart from his own original writing, I think he has done a fantastic job of finishing the Wheel of Time books.

Also love Jim Butcher, his Dresden series are great and can be hilarious too. Especially when he was hunting on a reanimated set of dinosaur bones.

Can't really read what most of your books are, bit too small for my eyes.

Jo said...

Managed to enlarge them enough to read, of course I too read Alex's books, I think there is a Sanderson one I haven't read. We have a number of books in common and those we haven't I must check out.

Briane P said...


I honestly just came over here because I saw your tweet about the new awesomer you and thought "I'll go get some of that patented Rusty humor and see what his resolutions were." Then I saw the book covers and was able, using my blurry early-morning eyes, to pick out the cover for "the After," pausing as I did so to think "That's neat" and also "Man, I did a good job on that cover."

Then I saw your post.

I reacted thusly: I said "WOO HOO!" so loudly that I startled Mr Bunches, startled him so badly that it interrupted the scene he was acting out with some action figures, a snowspeeder and a castle. He is mixing genres, I think, but I'll allow it.

In all seriousness, I really appreciate the high praise. As I've said over and over, you have so much talent that a compliment from you counts extra in my mind.

But I would trade all those great reviews if you would JUST PUBLISH THE SEQUEL TO DARK GOD. I NEED that sequel. And I am not above using your weaknesses -- such as your fear that you are editing too slowly-- to goad you into publishing it.

Yes, I read that post, too. And I am using your insecurities against you. Like Batman does. Does Batman do that? I'm pretty sure he must. Or he should.

Batman, after all, reflects our darkest fears about ourselves in the first place. Batman represents revenge, revenge above peace, revenge above happiness, revenge above even justice, for Batman represents revenge without trial or jury. Batman represents what we imagine we would be if the lawlessness in us were let loose by anger and fear, and so Batman of course knows, and uses, what we each hide from society and show only fearfully and in small glimpses, and Batman makes use of those tiny insecurities.

Or at least he does in Mr Bunches' action figure show. WHAT A MASTER THAT KID IS!

Again, thanks.

Christine Rains said...

Excellent list. We have similar tastes. I gave a lot of good reviews this year too. Some books surprised me.