Alright, here's my book* thread for 2021 – starting early this time, so I hopefully won't abandon it due to ETOOMANYBOOKS like last year's. Be warned that January is traditionally filled with fanfics and re-reads.

All tagged with for your muting convenience.

* books, papers, fanfics, etc etc


1/ The Arithmancer (Arithmancer, #1) by White Squirrel. Decent Harry Potter fanfic whith Hermione as math genius. Rat adjacent but nowhere near the mess that is HPMOR. Imagine having actual characters *and* science, at the same time.

2/ Lady Archimedes by White Squirrel. Second part of the fanfic series. Better plot, worse writing, and gets an honourable mention for having a bibliography that includes Heinlein, Sagan, Niven and Tolkien.

3/ Annals of Arithmancy by White Squirrel. Conclusion to the fanfic trilogy. Contained the quote "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to emotionally comprehend the exponential function." – hitting a bit hard right now.

4/ Weaving Fate by Aidan Wachter. Several useful introspection techniques, both meditation and journaling. My favourite was the one where you write a journal as your future self. Very useful stuff if you can ignore the, uhm, magic.

5/ Schadenfreude by Tiffany Watt Smith. Lots of examples of Schadenfreude (and related things), lots of hedging, not much else.

6/ Naudsonce by H. Beam Piper. First contact story. Nice re: linguistics, unimaginative re: everything else.

6/ Just a Random Tuesday… by Twisted Biscuit. Delightfully snarky, but fewer fluctuations in writing quality would've been nice.

7/ Madita by Astrid Lindgren. My yearly Lindgren re-read, just to confirm that she's still one of my favourite authors. Yep, still is.

8/ A Wild Ride Through the Night by Walter Moers. Walter Moers connects 21 illustrations by Gustave Doré in a delightfully weird story

9/ Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. Village boy into clan lord and assassin in Fantasy faux-Japan. Good fun, if bloody.

10/ Die Panne by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Delightfully brutal novella (as Dürrenmatt tends to be). The protagonist feels great the whole time, while the reader is trapped in uneasiness.

12/ Grass for his Pillow by Lian Hearn. Enjoyable second part of the series. Generally better than the first part, except for the sheer stupidity of the ending (which serves to set up a lot of equally stupid drama.)

13/ Im Land des Windes by Licia Troisi. Well-done if slightly generic Fantasy story. The last living half-elf, a young girl, grows up into a dragon rider and has to grow past her hate and stubbornness blah blah blah.

14/ Mimus by Lilli Thal. A young prince has to become the court jester for the enemy king. Excellent YA (re-read).

15/ Probably Still the Chosen One by Kelly Barnhill. A young hero in a standard Narnia-like portal fantasy, and what happens after she grows up. Short story, available online.

16/ Sansûkh by determamfidd. A Lord of the Rings fanfic with such a quality of writing and depth of research that I have to revisit it occasionally. Plus, it has art. And a soundtrack.

17/ The Lost City of Ithos by John Bierce. Currently the last part of the Mage Errant series. Setting up to drag the whole thing out, in that Fantasy spiral of upping the stakes forever. Characters still okay, plot very generic..

17/ Comes Around Again by scarletjedi. Sansukh spin-off, "what if you could go back in time to fix things" variation. Not as good as the original, but still enjoyable.

18/ Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. Short but sweet book on negotiations by a lead FBI hostage negotiator. Solid principles, good examples, very readable. Focuses on "tactical empathy" and open-ended questions instead of sleazy or boring rules.

19/ This Census-Taker by China Miéville. Strange novella. Unchacteristically little in ways of magic and colourful strangeness, for Miéville – instead, the strangeness comes as this strange kafkaesque mix of mundane and creepy. Not my cup of tea.

20/ Another broken thread. I swear I will figure it out by the end of the year.

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@benthor Let me know what you think! I'm unreasonably into this.

@rixx is there any reason, why you don’t link the story? Or am I too stupid to find the link?

@rixx Very exciting to meet a fellow fan fiction connoiseur in the wild! I will follow your reading list with great interest.

@bfiedler You may be interested in all my rated fanfic (though I started taking notes late and didn't include nearly everything)

@rixx Ohhh yesss, thanks 😄

If you're looking for some more recommendations:

* Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin ( Ongoing series, WBWL, smart, Slytherin-Harry (though not HPMOR levels of smart). I love it to death, on my 5th+ reread

* Error of Soul ( unfinished, only 7 chapters but original take on soul bonds

* Patron (, enjoyed it a lot

* Browncoat, Green Eyes ( HPxFirefly crossover, IDK really not into crossovers but this is well-written

* Just a Random Tuesday ( short, fluffy, who doesn't love McG?

* The Sea King ( short, good, not much else to say

* Victoria Potter ( ongoing, what if Harry was a girl

Maybe I should also start something like this? 🤔

@bfiedler Ah, interesting! I remember Victoria Potter as being too generic for my taste. I have read Browncoat, and I have literally no memories of it, huh. Same for Prince of Slyherin (though I have read Better Be Slytherin several times, so I'm no stranger to the niche).

I like the beginning of the None Other series, before it became a wordy dragfest

@rixx will definitely check it out, thanks!

I know I started Better Be Slytherin at some time, but I also can't remember any specifics or why I dropped it. Oh well, now I got something to read before bedtime 😄

Also I just noticed Just a Random Tuesday is almost 60k words, that's not short at all 😅 Well it seems you are a fast reader so it shouldn't pose any problems.

@bfiedler I got through about 20% of Patron, but it doesn't seem to stop being a creepy 24/7 fantasy, so I think I'll stop with that one 😬

@rixx Different people different interpretations 😄 I've not read it that way, but I can see where you are coming from.

I've got about 80% through Better Be Slytherin; not great, not terrible. The character's mood swings are too quick for my liking, but solid overall. Thanks for the rec!

@rixx Hope I'm not overstepping with another recommendation:

* Grow Young with Me ( Epilogue-compliant, Harry/OC, pretty angsty. Both writing and OC are executed really well, even if it's not your cup of tea I'd give it a try. Ongoing, gets sporadic updates

@bfiedler Heh, thanks. Neither "ongoing" nor "epilogue-compliant" are really up my alley, so I'll skip this one

@bfiedler Apropos of The Futile Facade just updating: It's a good series. The first one is Pureblood Pretense:

@rixx So I went to bed today at 10 and wanted to “see if I would enjoy the first chapter of this” and 12 chapters later it’s safe to say I do.

Thanks a lot! And also damn you 😉

@bfiedler Just a Random Tuesday: Some day I will understand why about half the fandom spells Umbridge's first name as "Delores",. No idea why it annoys me this much,. Pretty good otherwise though!

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