Friday, January 10, 2014

The Best of 2013

The Best of 2013

The third calendar year of Tethyan Books is coming to a close! I didn’t end up reviewing quite as many books as I’d hoped this year (36), but I did end up getting my doctorate in physics!  The coming year has some major changes ahead as well, but I hope I can learn from experience and keep up with my reviews a bit better this time around.  Hopefully, I can also nudge my number of reviews for 2014 back up above 50. 

Most Highly Recommended New Books

These are my most highly recommended books that were published 2011-2013.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente: A fascinating and sometimes bewildering combination of Russian folklore and history, this story of Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless was my first review of 2013.

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone: An impressive debut novel with a unique take on magic and deities, and a vivid, energetic world I hope to revisit in his future novels.

The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan: A poetic story from the point of view of a mentally ill woman, who struggles to explain and make sense of her experiences in a narrative shaped by urban myths, popular culture, and art.

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 it’s never too late to draw attention to a good book!

Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle: An impressively detailed story of mercenaries in 15th century Europe, as well as a science fictional mystery.

Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson: I know this is a series, not a single book, but I finished the final book in 2013.  This trilogy is the most detailed imagining of the colonization of Mars (and further) that I have ever read.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller:  The only novel he published in his lifetime, this story follows a certain monastery through the long destructive cycle of human civilization.


Thanks to WWEnd’s Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge, I became familiar with many new-to-me authors this year.  In addition to Mary Gentle and Caitlín R. Kiernan, I really enjoyed Pat Cadigan’s Fools, Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, and Patricia A. McKillip’s Ombria in Shadow.

This year, the WWEnd Reading Challenge theme is wide open!  The site is inviting people to design their own challenges, in what is called “Roll-Your-Own ReadingChallenge.”  There are already a number of interesting challenges here, including the one I designed, 12 Awards in 12 Months.  My visual art skills are pretty much nonexistent, so I’m going to have to forgo having a banner for my particular challenge. Everyone is welcome to join me in my reading challenge, but there are plenty more to choose from if mine doesn’t strike your fancy!

Happy Reading in 2014!


  1. Deathless was SOOOOO good!! and this reminds me I should really give KSR's Mars trilogy another read. I read it maybe 5-10 years ago, definitely in the pre-blog years.

    LOL, "roll your own reading challenge", I love that just for the name!

    and CONGRATS on your doctorate!

    1. Yeah, "Deathless" was amazing! And thanks for the congrats! :)