Unlike last year’s anemic tally (a mere 65 books read) this year has been a very good one for reading.  I’ve surpassed my goal of 120, finishing up my 140th book last night.  I don’t know how busy prep will keep me once I hit Toronto, but I think I can easily hit the 150 book mark by year’s end.

Yes, I do read a lot, but I’ve got A LOT to read.

Every week, I hit my two favorite bookshops:

The Book Warehouse (http://www.bookwarehouse.ca) where I’m now on a first name basis with the gang and regularly go in to chat,  praise, and critique my recent reads.  Unlike megastore Chapters, the staff here have ACTUALLY READ their Staff Picks, offering up a wonderful range of recommendations.

White Dwarf Books (http://www.deadwrite.com/wd.html) for all of my genre needs (SF, Fantasy, horror, and crime).  While I browse, Akemi spends quality time with the owners’ loveable basset hound (who we ended up dog sitting not too long ago).

I rarely ever leave either place empty-handed.  As a result, THIS, is my burgeoning To-Read pile:

October 1, 2014: Your Readerly Recommendations!

It’s like an ever-growing batch of kombucha, expanding from that original literary mother culture (which, if memory serves me right, is Clive Barker’s Weaveworld). And these are merely the books I have on deck, to be read sooner than later.  My downstairs library holds three times as many titles waiting to be called up to the majors.

As much as I prefer real books, I realize that digital is the way to go for the duration of my  Toronto stay.  Rather than lug around a suitcase of books, I can just download the titles onto my laptop or handy reader.

As a result of Amazon’s continuing war with publisher Hachette, I’ve decided to retire my kindle and purchase all future digital titles via iTunes and Barnes & Noble. Yes, the dispute is a complicated one and it’s not as simple as picking a side – but, in my case, I am because Amazon is the party that is inconveniencing me by making it difficult (if not impossible) to purchase the titles I want to purchase.

Anyway, I’m putting together a Toronto Reading Library and am looking for recommendations.  Here’s a list of some of the books that have been recommended to me so far:

Flash Boys – Michael Lewis

Sous Chef – Michael Gibney

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by

Love, Nina – Nina Stibble

Black Moon – Kenneth Calhoun

The Slow Regard of Silent Things – Patrick Rothfuss

Complicit – Stephanie Keuhn

The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

The End of Eve – Ariel Gore

Little Failure – Gary Shtenygart

War Dogs – Greg Bear

The Martian – Andy Weir

Shotgun Lovesongs – Nickolas Butler

Ancillary Sword – Anne Leckie

Silence Once Begun – Jesse Ball

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

An Untamed State – Roxane Gray

Winter People – Jennifer McMahon

The Word Exchange – Alena Graedon

J – Howard Jacobson

Season to Taste – Natalie Young

The Lemon Grove – Helen Walsh

The Farm – Tom Rob Smith

Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

Letters of Note – Shaun Usher

Wave – Sonali Deraniyagala

The Examined Life – Stephen Grosz

Big Brother – Lionel Shriver

The Reason I Jump – Naoki Higashida

The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison

Kiss Me First – Lottie Moggach

Any of you read any of the above guest and care to weigh in with your thoughts?

Or have a book to recommend me?  Preferably, no: steampunk, alternate wold, magic-themed, magical creatures, vampires, werewolves, zombies, romance, tie-ins, or instalments in an ongoing series.

30 thoughts on “October 1, 2014: Your readerly recommendations!

  1. Joseph,

    One great series to read (if you haven’t already) is ‘The Potato Factory’, ‘Tomo and Hawk’ and ‘Solomons Song’ trilogy – based on true events (Although the story is fiction) in England/Australia/New Zealand during the time when prisoners were being sent to Australia.

    On the other hand, going against your ‘preferably, no’ section (sorry :p its what I read) – have you tried ‘The Halfmen of O’ trilogy – its amazing, and very different to most ‘alternate world’ books 🙂

  2. Joe, I don’t think I will ever, ever be able to catch up to you at your book reading pace. Wow.

    I was had read an article a few days ago about how reading a print book actually activates a different part of your brain than reading it on an e-reader. Apparently, it results in a much deeper concentration and “feeling” of what’s going on in the book. I wish I could find the article now to post, it was very interesting. That said, I completely understand not wanting to cart that many print books around!

    I did recently enjoy “Following Atticus”, which isn’t fiction though. It’s related to hiking, but primarily is about one man’s relationship with his dog, which grows over the course of their experiences together. Tom Ryan is a great writer.

    So, what if the book is a steampunk romance between werewolves and zombie vampires? 🙂 You might not like it, but surely it would be a big hit!

  3. Impressive! I’ll be lucky to polish off two a month!

    I don’t know if I could recommend what I’m reading now; not because it’s bad, but because I don’t think you’d particularly enjoy them.

    One is a purely for pulp: The Eye of Heaven by Clive Cussler/Russell Blake
    One is a technical reference: BlueTooth Low Energy: The Developers Handbook
    One is a layman’s book on Super String Theory: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.

    The Super String book has a great explanation of Kubel spaces, though. Might come in handy for sub-space hyper drive techno-dialog writing. 😉

  4. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are really three people – the one who writes tv shows, the one who reads, and the one who appears on video or in pictures with puppies and adorable Japanese girls. I have given each a name: The Writer is Joseph. The Book Worm is Joecito (Deni, correct me if I spelled that wrong), and the guy with the cheesy smiles and penchant for weird foods is, of course, Joey. Out of the three I think I have a special fondness for the last one. 🙂


  5. I enjoyed listening to an interview with Gary shtenygart, but then found the book hard to follow and not worth the effort. I’d like to read THe Reason I Jump, so I’d appreciate it if you screened that one for your blog readers.

  6. At the moment, I’m reading Hild by Nicola Griffith, historical fiction; well written, but I’m not sure it’s a Joe book. In my “to read” pile is The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and, when it is released to the general public, The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Also The Lions of Al-Rassan on your recommendation.

    You might enjoy Rogues, a collection of short stories by the likes of Scott Lynch, George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss.

    And, das, I think you may be on to something.

  7. *Note – I said you’re three people because no way one person can do all that you do in a day.


  8. Wow. I read at basically the pace that one could read aloud, and I pause to really ‘absorb’ bits that I really like. So I don’t get through nearly as many books in a year as I’d like. My to-read ‘pile’ is probably at least two or three full bookshelves’ worth of books. I’ve been trying to cut down on buying new ones unless I really, really want them (new entries in series I love, for example). And I’m not afraid to give up on a book part-way through if I don’t like it. But still, I wish I could devote more of my time to reading.

    I’ve got a few of the books from that picture in my to-read queue as well, but I don’t think there are any in that pile or on your list that I actually have read. And I’m afraid your ‘no’ list makes recommending pretty difficult for me. I mostly tend to read urban fantasy, and even the stuff I read that’s not that is on your ‘no’ list for the most part.

    Um, have you read “Suspect” by Robert Crais? It’s a story about a cop and his dog trying to solve the murder of his former partner. As a dog-lover, I thought it was great.

  9. Oh, and if you haven’t read anything by Larry Correia, I’d recommend him enthusiastically. He’s got several different series, though most of them might fit into your ‘no’ list. I think my favorite series of his (which is saying something, as I’ve either enjoyed, really enjoyed, or loved all of his novels) is called the Grimnoir Chronicles. It’s basically a superhero story meets 30’s pulp detective story, with amazing characters and a lot of awesome. (There are teleporting ninjas.)

  10. 150 books read by year’s end.
    Every week, you go to two of your favorite bookshops.
    First name basis with the bookshop staff.
    You have a burgeoning To-Read pile.
    Your downstairs library holds three times as many titles waiting to be read.

    You might be an obsessive compulsive book hoarder. One day a huge stack of books may fall on you suffocating you. They will find your body somewhere between Jeff Vandermeer and Stephen King.

  11. Remember back on May 8 when you reviewed Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton and I said I was just about to start it? Well I did start it then and I’m still reading it now! *sigh* I’m probably 3/4 of the way through. That’s how slow I read! Two or three pages a day. 🙁

    I was going to recommend The Dresden Files and The Iron Druid series but they both fail on the no magic-themed, magical creatures, vampires, werewolves, zombies requirement.

  12. Rather then suggest a book, this starts very soon Joe. Log Horizon Season 2.
    It looks like they’re reusing the same song from Season 1 too, they revealed the opening during a promo thing.

    This series would make a good live action series. It has everything someone who loves fantasy would enjoy. It also has the insane popularity too.

  13. Sorry. No recommendations for you. I just don’t read as much as I used to. I need new eyes! On a self-centered and whiny note, it’s sad that the only book in your pile that I have read is Good Omens. (You definitely need to read that one.) I recognize few of the authors in the pile and none in the above list.

    Oh, if you’re interested in mysteries and cats I’d recommend the Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun. There are almost 30 of them with no more to come, as, sadly, the author passed away a few years ago. You could start anywhere in the series as the back story for the main character is referred to now and then throughout. A few events are also referred to in subsequent books, but it doesn’t really necessitate reading them in order. Or else I’m just weird that way, which is possible. 😉 Charming is one word to describe the books. The cats belong to Jim Qwilleran, the main character. They don’t speak or anything like that, but he believes one of them has some sort of intuition about things that are about to happen. They both play a secondary role as, well, cats. All of the books are about 300 pages, so you could probably read one in a day. *g* Read one and you get an idea of what the rest of them are like, just with different mysteries and assorted, colourful characters. You’ll either enjoy them or find them annoying. They’re quite popular if that helps. Not sure if any of them are available as ebooks.

  14. Um, so much for no recs. Also b y back story for Qwill I mean some of it is about where he came from and some of it is how he came to live in Pickax which occurs in the first book, which *might* be The Cat Who Could Read Backwards. Okay, pretty sure that’s the first one. Maybe. *g*

  15. Regarding your new series…

    1. What about your characters will help a present-day Earth audience relate to them?

    2. Are any of the characters foodies?

    3. Why do your characters travel in that ship and not some other ship?

    4. Who owns the space station?

    5. What’s cool about the space station?

    6. What type of natural settings might be used as filming locations?

    7. What kind of food fuels your characters while they are on the ship?

    8. What do they eat when they are on the space station?

    9. Would a small dog take up too much of the remaining living space on the ship to ever get a spot on the show?

    10. Name a useful skill one of your characters has.

    11. Name a useless skill one of your characters has.

    12. Pick a character. If this character were stranded on a desert planet, what book would he/she/it hope to have?

  16. I’ll second the rec of “Suspect” by Robert Crais. Also, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand is incredible – a biography of Louis Zamperini, Olympiian and WW2 POW (it’s coming soon to a theater near you – directed by Angelina Jolie – so if you like to read it before you see it, grab it now).

  17. Hello from Destin! It’s perfect weather here so far. Thanks for the well wishes @gforce and @Ponytail!

    How will you have time to read?

    I’d wait until you’re settled in Toronto and see what’s available for @Akemi’s hobby.

  18. What do you do with all those books after you’re done with them, anyway? Do you take them to a used book store? Seems like if you kept them all you’d run out of space in your home very quickly.

  19. Speaking of the Hachette issue, I read California: A Novel by Edan Lepucki on the advice of infamous Hachette author Stephen Colbert. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel set in the near future. I had mixed feelings about it, and I’d be interested in your opinion if you get a chance to read it.

  20. @Shawna

    Bookcases are a good way to store a lot of books in a relatively small space 🙂

  21. A man sitting beside me on the plane to London yesterday was reading “This is a Soul”, a true story account about a Doctor working in Ethiopia. From what I read over his shoulder, it was well written and interesting.

  22. I’d be surprised if you hadn’t read them already, but I’ve recently enjoyed Alastair Reynolds’ House of Suns and Karl Schroeder’s Lady of Mazes and Ventus. Having finished House of Suns, I’m actually wishing someone would make a movie of it. I think it could be well-contained to one (unlike every other recent book-movie of late) and it would be beautiful, based on the descriptions in the book. Plus, fun!

  23. @Randomness Spoken like someone who doesn’t have a room full of overflowing bookcases. 😉

  24. I asked this around a 2 years ago and I *believe* you said no, but how about anything written by William Gibson?
    Other good reads would be:
    Ellis Peters Cadfael Stories
    Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Series
    Julian May: Saga of the Exiles
    Any of the Battletech books written by Michael Stackpole

  25. I’d recommend _Name of the Wind_ and
    _Wise Man’s Fear_

    both by Patrick Rothfuss.

    Definitely among the best I’ve read in the last 10 years, and worth reading even though they break some (many, actually) of your prescriptions…

  26. (I meant proscriptions, of course. Apparently, my fingers auto-corrected as I typed)

  27. The Gargoyle by Canadian author Andrew Davidson
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

  28. We have “The Reason I Jump” in our Kindle app on our IPad but I haven’t had time to read it. (See the recurring theme here? I have NO TIME!)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.