Books Read in 2009 – Triumphs
Previously, I discussed multiple series books I read this year, the singletons that passable to awful, or were plain good. Here I’ll go through the books I loved this year, the ones that made me happy I read as much as I do.
These are books I really, really liked and recommend unreservedly. No particular order.
- The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie. Good, interesting read with memorable characters. Interesting politics.
- Hood, Stephen Lawhead. Really good re-imagining of Robin Hood as a Welsh lord, oppressed by the English.
- The Shadow Queen, Anne Bishop. I love the Black Jewels series, in all its glory. A new novel, plowing new ground? Really a win after the turgid Sebastian/Belladonna pair.
- Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson. Read again, for like the eleventy-millionth time. I still love it; still as compelling as the first time I read it. Strangely, this is my second favorite Stephenson. Zodiac remains the tightest of all his stories.
- Brothers in Arms, Lois McMaster-Bujold. Grabbed again when I needed a quick, compelling read. Soooo good, possibly my favorite Miles story. Reads in about an hour at this point, as I know nearly the whole thing by heart.
- Pattern Recognition, William Gibson. Of the two Gibson’s I read this year, I liked this one the best. Kayce is such an interesting character that the plot is nearly irrelevant, and the plot is good. Good stuff.
- Lamentation, Ken Scholes. An Amazon recomendation of all things, I bought it on a whim in hardcover and found a delight. Good story, good characters, neat world. Reminiscent of my delightful discovery of Across the Nightingale Floor years ago.
- The Algebraist, Iain M. Banks. Massively mind-bending, as Banks always is. I read all of Banks stuff, but sometimes it isn’t so accessible. This was a very human story, in spite of the unbelievably wild story and setting.
- Victory Conditions, Elizabeth Moon. This was the end-piece of the very fine Vatta’s War series. Very enjoyable space opera. I don’t like most of Moon’s stuff but this series really grabbed me. Lots of compelling characters.
- The Great Influenza, John M. Barry. Everyone should read this; it is a work much like Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague when it comes to making complex science accessible in human terms. Also, you’ll end up proud of what America and John’s Hopkins did for medicine.
- Uhura’s Song, Janet Kagan. I read this for the first time (bought a used copy for a dime) after Janet Kagan passed away. I normally stay away from Trek novels, but Kagan was a super writer; Hellspark and Mirabile, Hellspark in particular is astonishing. I am sad she is gone, but treasure that she left us those three books.
- The Sword of the Lady, S.M. Stirling. Latest in Stirling’s Emberverse series. First one where he unambiguously pushed magic into the world, though you could see it coming for a while. This series continues to impress.
- The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss. Wow. Really, really good. Like a very grown up, dark Harry Potter. Great writing, compelling characters. Damn good story.
- Battle of Devastation Reef, Graham Sharp Paul. Third in a dense, well-plotted space opera series. The only real flaw is the over-the-top villains; I find this is more than offset by the sharp writing and sheer fun.
So there is my list of books I was really glad I read this year. I recommend any of them to you, although one man’s beauty is an other’s dross.