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 #rixxReads 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. https://chaos.social/web/statuses/105630640382418276
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.
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.
35/ A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. Excellent scifi including technology and language and culture (so much language and culture). Loved it even more on the re-read.
36/ A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine. As good as the first part, in different ways. Still sci-fi focused on culture and language, and I want more.
37/ The Door into Sunset by Diane Duane. The weakest part of the Door Into series, leaving us hanging without a real end.
38/ The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip. Unconventional fantasy, reminded me of Earthsea. Glad I read it despite the oddly distanced storytelling.
39/ Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia A. McKillip. Good second part of the series – unconventional, as it makes the first protagonist's fiancée the new protagonist.
40/ Harpist in the Wind by Patricia A. McKillip. Interesting conclusion to the trilogy. Not what I expected. Good stuff, and rewards attention to detail.
41/ The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. Sadly, Bujold's Fantasy is not for me. I'll stick with the Vorkosigan saga.
42/ Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker. Not quite as good as the title, but decent. Roman military engineering fanfiction, in a good-ish way.
43/ Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews. More fantastical innkeeper stories. This time – intergalactic diplomacy edition. Enjoyable comfort read.
44/ One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews. The Innkeeper series with more of an ensemble cast. Not bad, but worse than the previous books, I'm probably going to stop reading here.
46/ The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. Coming-of-age portal fantasy. Nice, but not my cup of tea.
47/ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Basically Achilles fanfiction. A bit better than I make it sound but not *that* much better. Reading this so soon after War Music was not a good idea.
48/ Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer. Excellent YA about a friendly AI that really only wants to look at cat pictures (and help their friends).
50/ The March North by Graydon Saunders. Extraordinary start to an extraordinary series. I love it to pieces, as weird and unreadable as it is.
52/ A Succession of Bad Days by Graydon Saunders. "A fairy-tale lost in a civil engineering manual", literally. Amazing stuff, if you like civil engineering manuals in your fantasy.
53/ Safely You Deliver by Graydon Saunders. This one is pure worldbuilding, but three books into a series is a good place for that.
54/ Under One Banner by Graydon Saunders. A drop in quality, but still nice worldbuilding. Only worth it if you enjoy the series a lot.
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