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/ 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.

21/ Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay. Historical fantasy during Constantine's Byzantine Empire. You'll never have cared about mosaics as much as during this book. Enjoyable despite the terrible female characters.

22/ The Misplaced Legion by Harry Turtledove. Roman legion falls through portal into a world with a magical Byzantian empire. Not compelling enough to finish, plus all the 80s gender bullshit. (CW rape)

23/ On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi! by William Tenn. Extremely tongue-in-cheek short story, published in 1974. Available online, including a reading by the author. Hilarious.

24/ How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live by Missy Vineyard. Good dive into influencing your body with your thoughts and vice versa. Enjoyable read, adjacent to The Inner Game of Tennis (but more detail-oriented and less annoying).

25/ The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo. In a Chinese-inspired Fantasy world, a young monk (an enby, as monks are in this world) chronicles the dead Empress's life story by searching her old castle. Neat novella.

26/ Flight to Arras by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Memoir about being a reconnaissance pilot during WWII. I should stop reading English translations.

27/ Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet. An unlikely advocate for decentralised, anarchic structures. Much better as a memoir than as the management book it wants to be.

28/ War Music by Christopher Logue. Retelling of the Iliad in form of a modern poem. Excellent stuff, well-researched and full of ancient heroes and modern sentiment. I'm a bit in love.

29/ Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews. A bit more trashy than I like, not as good as her Kate Daniels series. I still like the sentient inn/magical innkeeper trope, though.

30/ Stoker's Wilde by Steven Hopstaken. Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde hunt vampires and talk about it in their letters. Very meh.

31/ Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. Space Hinduism! Extremely fun 60s sci-fi novel, and also thoughtful commentary on cultural appropriation.

32/ The Wizards and the Warriors by Hugh Cook. Much less generic than the title makes it sound, but didn't really work for me regardless. Felt like ASOIAF x Malazan.

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@rixx Apropos 80s gender bullshit, I'm reading old Perry Rhodan novels, currently from 1970. Last thing I read was about a lone human man, stranded on a planet with only an automated city and its android caretaker. To ease the (hu)man's loneliness they create a humanoid female android, Milli. Milli's job is to serve food, be good company and flirt. It was really hard to push through those sections.
Small silver lining, they ask and answer the question if it's okay to love an android.

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

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