I read fourteen books in 2019, two over my usual goal of one per month. I’m not entirely sure how I found the time, but a long, electronics-free vacation, coupled with the brevity of Pratchett’s books, had something to do with it, I’m sure.
Here are some of my favorite books I read during the last year, and why I loved them. If you’ve read any of these and want to chat, I’ll be taking over Facebook’s Fantasy and Science Fiction Readers lounge this Friday from 2-4 pm, so make sure to stop by. This takeover is part of the Lounge’s Anniversary Giveaway – more on the giveaway at the end of the post.
Books 1- 5 of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
I had heard about Discworld before and was intrigued, but I like to read all the books in a series, and 44 novels seemed like much too big of a commitment. After some research, I found out that the series is kind of split into subseries that follow different characters, with all the stories occurring on the Discworld.
I read The Color of Magic and loved it. Pratchett’s voice is so light and fun, it’s easy to breeze through these books, which are a deft mix of high fantasy and high fantasy parody. He pokes fun at the same aspects of fantasy that I do, while still telling a complete and compelling story. I ended up reading the first five books in the order they were written, as opposed to the subseries order or the order in some of the complex Discworld series maps I’ve seen online. I’m happy with this reading order, and I’m currently on book six – Wyrd Sisters.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
About half of the fiction I read is outside of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy spheres. I like to focus on classics I’ve missed, cozy mysteries, vampire camp, and current books with a buzz. Commonwealth falls into the buzz category, which is often a disappointment to me, but I found Patchett’s sweeping family saga captivating. However, had I researched it before I picked it up, I would never have read it.
Mild spoilers ahead.
The book starts with a chance encounter, which leads to an affair and an eventual marriage that blends two families. The blended family siblings are the main characters of the story, which covers about half a century of their lives. Their brother’s accidental death is one of the book’s catalysts and the reason why I would have skipped it if I had known. My brother died accidentally a few years ago, and I planned on avoiding books with sibling death as the subject until I wasn’t so raw. However, Patchett handled the topic with care and insight. Deaths like his leave in a hole in reality that can only be lived around, not ever filled, a fact the author understood perfectly.
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Great American Cookbook by Clementine Paddleford
I’m a cookbook person. I own about a dozen standards, a ton of cooking magazines, and I check out a new cookbook at the library once a week. I checked out The Great American Cookbook, and I knew I had to buy a copy for keeps.
The book is divided by American regions and then by state, with each state offering classic location-specific recipes. What makes this unique, besides the top-notch recipes, is that almost every recipe comes with a story about the person who provided it, often with a description of the cook’s home and meal from the author. It gives each dish a personal, comfy feel.
Fantasy and Sci-Fi Reader’s Lounge Giveaway
Facebook's Fantasy and Sci-Fi Readers Lounge is one of the best places on the web for genre readers and authors. They're celebrating their first anniversary with this awesome giveaway! Here’s the link to enter: http://fsfreaders.com/event/one-year-anniversary
Remember to stop by the lounge for my takeover on Friday, January 10th from 2-4pm EST!
How many books are you planning to read in 2020? What’s on your list? Tell me in the comments!