2020 Audiobooks

The only thing to note here is that I planned to listen to all the Discworld Guards books and got stuck at the final hurdle. The audiobook of Snuff is an unfortunate dud and I had to stop listening. I may try again some day.

  1. Faking It by Jennifer Crusie read by Aasne Vigesaa
  2. New York Actually by Sarah Morgan read by Jennifer Woodward
  3. Bellwether by Connie Willis read by Kate Reading
  4. Hold Me by Courtney Milan read by Xe Sands & Sean Crisden
  5. What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips read by Julia Gibson
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline read by Wil Wheaton
  7. Armada by Ernest Cline read by Wil Wheaton
  8. Redshirts by John Scalzi read by Wil Wheaton
  9. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley read by Katy Carmichael
  10. True Love At The Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling, read by Laura Kirman
  11. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, read by Kristin Atherton
  12. A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour by Hank Green, read by Kristin Sieh et. al.
  13. The Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett, read Stephen Briggs
  14. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
  15. Making Money by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
  16. The Truth by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
  17. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, read by Nigel Planer
  18. Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett, read by Nigel Planer
  19. Jingo by Terry Pratchett, read by Nigel Planer
  20. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
  21. The Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
  22. Thud! by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
  23. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire, read by Amy Finegan
  24. Microserfs by Douglas Coupland, read by Graham Rowat

2020 Books

I had big plans to make good use of my local public library on a regular basis this year and find new stuff to read. Then lockdown happened and closed the libraries.
The news (pandemic and political) and working from home compromised my ability to stay focused all the way to the end of a book. Way too many titles where I got a few chapters in and then my attention wandered never to return.
I did better with audiobooks but even then it was always listening to books I had already read in the past.

  1. Sensation by Nick Mamatas, rated B
  2. Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan, rated B
  3. A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky, rated B
  4. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi, rated B+
  5. The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, rated B
  6. Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis, rated B
  7. The Eternals by Neil Gaiman et al, rated B+
  8. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, rated A-
  9. A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour by Hank Green, rated A
  10. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, rated A-
  11. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones, rated A-
  12. Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis, rated A-
  13. A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews by Annie Darling, rated B
  14. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, rated A-
  15. The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis, rated B
  16. The Memory of You by Jamie Beck, rated B
  17. The Promise of Us by Jamie Beck, rated B-
  18. Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, rated B+

taprobane?

The Fountains of Paradise

Arthur C. Clarke

I first read this book a long, long time ago as a library book. A few years ago, with fond memories, I bought a second hand paperback copy of the book to revisit at some point.
Having a desperate need to spend more time away from screens now that I’m working from home during the lockdown I picked a physical book from my shelves to give me that diversion.
The plot is that superstar engineer Vannevar Morgan has decided that his next project should be a space elevator. He has a special low-g developed wonder material that will allow it but he needs to build it on a mountain somewhere on the equator. The best spot just happens to be on the site of an ancient monastery.
This book is solid entertaining Science Fiction but honestly nothing outstanding – definitely not as good as I had remembered.
Worth a read but not worth going out of your way to get a copy.

Rating: B

subway?

A City Dreaming

Daniel Polansky

M is a magician or as he would put in it “in with the management”.
This book is a series of rolling vignettes as we see what M gets up to after washing back up in New York after drifting all over the planet.
The main character is a charming rogue and the writing enjoyable.
The problem for me was that the story never coheres. Some vignettes are utterly trivial tales of life as a debauched New York who just happens to have magical abilities and others have a genuine sense of danger and high stakes.
The stories just feel random – there’s no sense of tension and release. It’s never building to something and certainly the war between magical queens promised in the blurb never materializes.
I don’t regret reading it – there was much to enjoy – but I just felt it could have been great if was a more conventional fantasy story.

Rating: B

princesses?

Holiday in the Hamptons

Sarah Morgan

This is a re-read of a perfectly enjoyable romance novel. You can read my earlier, still accurate, review here. I picked it up because I’d just finished listening to the audiobook of New York Actually (which is the first of the Knight siblings books) and remembered that I liked this one best of the series and the audiobook wasn’t at a price I was prepared to pay.

Rating: B

radon?

Sensation

Nick Mamatas

When Julia Hernandez is infected with parasitic wasps she walks out on her husband and her old life.
She accidentally initiates a new movement and becomes an infamous wanted felon only to vanish.
When Julia’s ex spots her in a grocery store we learn about the battle between parasitic wasps and the spiders that are their normal prey and about the Simulacrum – another world made up of the places that fall between the cracks of our world.
This is a weird and unsettling piece of present day science fiction.
I found it interesting enough to keep me reading but never quite satisfying enough to feel drawn in to the story.
Recommended if you want to read something a bit off the wall and you’re really interested in the way distributed movements act.
I would never have read this if I hadn’t come across it in the library. Just another reason why libraries are great – you can browse and randomly come across something interesting (the selection online is too vast to effectively do this) and take it home with you at no cost (definitely no way you can do this in a book shop).

Rating: B+

2019 Books

While I would have like to have read more this year I’m actually pretty happy I managed to to get my total up to 26 or a book every two weeks with a late spurt in December. Add that to the pretty huge number of audiobooks I’ve listened to this year though and I’m very happy with my ‘reading’ total.

I read a lot of so-so to middling escapist fiction this year – which I do not regret for a second as I like a good escape. That did mean that there were only two books that really stood out.
Tell Me How You Really Feel hit my sweet spot in terms of a Romance and after the initial read I’ve gone back over a few sections several times. I’d love there to be an audiobook of this.
The Fantastic Beasts of Eld belongs to a type of Fantasy that I almost never read any more but I borrowed it from the library on a whim and I just really enjoyed it. I’ve highly recommended it to friends of mine who love Fantasy books.

  1. Fear of Music by Garry Mulholland, rated B
  2. Gentlemen by Bob Gendron, rated B
  3. The Ruby Knight by David Eddings, rated C+
  4. The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings, rated C+
  5. Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi, Rated A-
  6. Traveller In Black by John Brunner, rated B+
  7. In At The Deep End by Kate Davies, rated B
  8. Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis, rated B
  9. The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis, rated B
  10. Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis, rated B-
  11. Domes of Fire by David Eddings, rated C+
  12. The Shining Ones by David Eddings, rated C+
  13. The Hidden City by David Eddings, rated C+
  14. Just Married? by Natasha West, rated B
  15. The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis, rated B
  16. Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, rated B+
  17. The Prenup by Lauren Layne, rated B
  18. Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman, rated B+
  19. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip, rated A-
  20. 99% Mine by Sally Thorne, rated C
  21. A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire, rated B
  22. This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone, rated A-
  23. Night And Silence by Seanan McGuire, rated B+
  24. The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire, rated B+
  25. The Human Division by John Scalzi, rated B+
  26. The End of All Things by John Scalzi, rated B+