Jan. 4th, 2017

cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
91 books, 2 of which I read twice (My Friend Cousin Emmie and Ninefox Gambit). Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit, The Wizard of London, Last Call, Death on the Nile and Firestarter are also all re-reads, although not within the year. On demographics I really do need to make an effort to read more nonwhite authors (and, uh, possibly more men). I have not really been reading manga this year apart from a few volumes of What Did You Eat Yesterday that I haven't logged. I also need to tackle some of the (many!) books I've owned for years and haven't read yet.

Favourite new book:

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. I haven't written this up, sadly, but I loved it - amazing worldbuilding, fascinating characters, intriguing plot, impressive prose, and very cool magic/tech system. I think it's brilliant. I have read the sequel in draft and really enjoyed it too, but the first one just blew me away.

A Notable Woman: the Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt, by Jean Lucey Pratt (ed Simon Garfield) is a close second.

Favourite old book, or possibly favourite new series:

The My Friend(s) series, by Jane Duncan. These I have written up as I've gone through them. They are a stunning masterclass in writing and do so many things so well - character and setting particularly, but the way she explores and exposes motive and personality is outstanding. So far, My Friends the Mrs Millers, in which all the casual assumptions about race that her characters have been making (at this time they are living on a fictional Caribbean island) are suddenly overturned, My Friend My Father, which left me in tears, and My Friend Cousin Emmie, in which the titular character is shown to be both an incredibly difficult character and a truely tragic heroine, are my favourites.

Book I most wanted to love but didn't:

Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer. I love her blog and I think a lot of what this book is doing is fascinating, but as a narrative it never quite cohered for me and it's such a static book. Despite all the authorial work I am unconvinced by the 7-10 lists as worldshakingly important, I dislike urbane serial killers, I like Bridger but am troubled by the reliability of the narrator and the sabotage thread is interesting but only got going in the last chapter. I will however read the sequel and hopefully having lowered expectations will help.

Series I most wanted to love but didn't:

Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad, reviewed here. I did love The Secret Place; the detectives, the mystery and the characters all worked together really well, and hit a lot of my personal buttons. The others haven't been as good - either the narrator (Faithful Place, Broken Harbour or the plot The Likeness) haven't been as compelling, and too many of French's quirks dull with repetition. I do like them and would recommend them, and I'll certainly read the next one, but I have no real urge to own them and will stick to library copies.

Longest time to finish:

Jilly Cooper's Jump!, which I started about seven years ago. Now I'm stalled out on Mount! so, you know, expect an update around 2023.

Still in progress but I will finish soon, no really:

KJ Charles' Jackdaw, which I am enjoying and keep putting down and forgetting about. ZA Maxfield's The Pharaoh's Concubine, which is terrible and despite its name is contemporary m/m (escaped toyboy of Russian criminal mastermind hooks up with former gangbanger), but I'm only a couple of chapters from the end and feel committed, just not compelled. Shirley Barrett's Rush Oh!, historical whaling book, v good but I had heaps of other things to do and lost it in the car until it was overdue from the library and had to take it back.

Picture books:

I have not logged these because the numbers would be ridiculous; we usually have 40-65 out from the library at any one time, plus purchases, second hand sales, gifts etc. My favourites for the year are Tohby Riddle's Nobody Owns the Moon and John Birmingham's Aldo.

Everything (in roughly chronological order): )

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