Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Best of 2012

The Best of 2012

This New Year’s Eve marks the close of the second calendar year of Tethyan Books, and it's time to go through some of this year’s highlights.  I’ve reviewed 47 books this year, which is a bit lower than 2011.  I think that’s because this year has been a little busier, mostly due to the approaching the end of my graduate school years.  2013 is going to be a pretty busy year as well, what with defending my thesis, job searching, and probably moving somewhere.  2013 is going to be a challenging year, but I'm ready to give it my best!   

Most Highly Recommended New Books

These are my most highly recommended books that were published in 2011-2012.  I’ve mostly read books that were nominated for awards this year, but there were a few that I chose on a whim or due to the recommendations of other blogs.

1) Among Others by Jo Walton: A fantasy story of a young SF fan finding her niche and coping with family problems, which resonated strongly with many long-time readers of science fiction.

2) Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey: A space opera with elements of noir and horror, this collaborative novel kicks off an impressive new series.

3) The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairlyand in a Ship of HerOwn Making by Catherynne M. Valente: The first of Valente’s series of young adult Fairyland novels, the prose is beautiful and the content is surprisingly dark.

4) God’s War by Kameron Hurley: The story of a bounty hunter named Nyxnissa, who lives on a disease-ridden colonized planet that is the site of a perpetual holy war.

5) The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin: In an Egypt-inspired fantasy world, two priests who practice dangerous dream magic investigate the circumstances that led to the existence of a murderous rogue priest.

Most Highly Recommended Old Books

These are books that were published before 2011, but which I read during this past year.  I’m sure most of these have been read and enjoyed by many already, but its never to late to draw attention to a good book!

1) The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell: In this story of faith and suffering, Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz gives an account of a tragically failed first contact mission.

2) The Uplift War by David Brin: In this well-told classic science fiction story, Earth species and their allies resist the occupation of their colony planet, Garth, by a militarily superior avian alien species.

3) Perdido Street Station by China Miéville: A story set in the amazingly creative and complex city of New Crobuzon, following primarily the experimental scientist Isaak and the monster he unwittingly unleashes.

4) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: The first Gentleman Bastard novel, following an audacious group of conmen in the brutal and deadly city-state of Camorr.

5) Blindness by José Saramago: A disturbing story of the collapse of civilization following a universal outbreak of an inexplicable blindness disease.

Reading Challenges

In 2012, my two main reading challenges were the Grand Master's Reading Challenge at WWEnd and Calico Reaction's Theme Park Challenge.  I successfully completed the GMRC, which was to read a book by twelve different Grand Masters during 2012.  I didn't keep up with all of the Theme Park challenges, but I read most of them!

This year, I'm planning to participate in two challenges from the same places! The first is the Worlds WithoutEnd website’s Women in Genre Fiction challenge.  This challenge is to read twelve female authors I’ve never read before, over the course of twelve months.  The second is Calico Reaction blog’s Ladies First dare series. She'll dare everyone to read a specific book by a female author each month. I was surprised that both sources picked a similar theme, but I think the two reading challenges will complement each other nicely. 

Books that I Absolutely Plan to Read in 2013

There are a number of books I intended to read this year, but then didn’t get around to for various reasons.  Some of it was due to limited time, some of it was due to me being easily distracted and simply forgetting about them.  For this reason, I’m going to write these books down in a list, so that I will not forget them for another year!  I guess this can be considered my New Year’s resolution.
  • ·            Grey, Jon Armstrong : I read and enjoyed Yarn, but then somehow never got around to Grey.
  • ·            The Love We Share Without Knowing, Christopher Barzak : I read One For Sorrow, and then was interested in reading this one.
  • ·            Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold: I think I’ve made decent progress with the saga this year.  I just finished Ethan of Athos, and will be picking back up in 2013 with Brothers in Arms. I may not finish the series in the coming year, but there will be progress!
  • ·            The Expanse, James S.A. Corey: I haven’t yet read book 2, Caliban’s War, which was released in June 2012.
  • ·            Eona, Alison Goodman: This is the second half of a duology I intend to finish, which began with Eon.
  • ·            The Bel Dame Apocrypha, Kameron Hurley: God’s War was mentioned in the list books above, and I’m in the middle of Infidel at the moment. Rapture will be read sometime in 2013
  • ·            The Rest of N.K. Jemisin’s Novels: I’ve read the first of the Inheritance Trilogy and the first of the Dreamblood duology.  I would like to finish both series.
  • ·            The Fractal Prince, Hannu Rajaniemi: I’m not sure how I missed this one coming out, but it’s the sequel to The Quantum Thief. I had meant to grab this one when it was published.
  • ·            Small Change Trilogy, Jo Walton: I’ve read a few of her novels now, and pretty much loved them all.  It’s kind of embarrassing that I haven’t gotten around to finishing the Small Change Trilogy, and I hope to correct that soon.
  • ·            Blue Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson: This one is right on schedule.  I read 1 KSR novel a year, and this January’s will be Blue Mars.
  • ·            Children of God, Mary Doria Russell: I’m a little nervous about reading a sequel to such a wonderful book, but I hope it will live up to my expectations!


  1. Wow. I didn't think your review of Blindness indicated that it was actually one of your favs. That's cool, maybe I won't drag my feet on that one now. Glad to see "Lies" on there. Was the Read-Along for that one the reason I found your blog? It might have been, but it could have been WWEND. I forget. Anyway, good list. It looks like you did some great reading this year!

    1. The Read-Along might have been it, but there was also WWEnd. :) I was going back and forth on including "Blindness" on the list here. It's a really strangely written novel, and it was a challenging read in several ways. I thought it was really rewarding, though I can definitely see how it would not be everyone's cup of tea. My review might have focused a bit too much on its weirdness and too little on praise, sorry about that!