Best Reads of 2013

Here are my best reads in English during 2013. It was a really good year for quality, though I didn’t read very much: 41 books, twelve of which were e-books. The latter number was boosted by the Humble E-Book Bundle that I bought at Junior’s recommendation (sadly no longer up for sale). Find me at Goodreads!

  • Pirate Cinema. Cory Doctorow 2012. A fun, engaging and optimistic piece of polemic fiction, slightly preachy in parts, about the social and artistic consequences of intellectual property law.
  • Old Man’s War. John Scalzi 2005. Energetic co-ed military sf.
  • Stiff. The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Mary Roach 2003. Excellent non-fic about the things our remains go through after death.
  • Stories of Your Life and Others. Ted Chiang 2002. Short stories: idea-based scifi.
  • Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Carl Sagan 1997. Interesting and, again, just a little preachy.
  • Elves in Anglo-Saxon England. Alaric Hall 2007. What did they actually believe about elves and how did it change over time?
  • The Best of Saki. 1950. Short stories: misantropic, perceptive, elegant.
  • The Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, vol. 2. 1951. Short stories: empathic, humorous, elegant.
  • Dagon and Other Macabre Tales. Howard P. Lovecraft 1939. Short stories: horror and Dunsanian fantasy, most of it great, some of it silly.
  • Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World. Nicholas Ostler 2006. Magisterial on the political history of not empires, not states, not nations – but languages.
  • Dangerous Visions. Ed. Harlan Ellison 1967. Short stories: ambitious and edgy sf.

Dear Reader, what were your best reads of the year?

Here’s my list for 2012.

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Best Reads of 2012

Here are my best reads in English during 2012. I read 50 books this year, six of which were e-books. I flirted with LibraryThing for a while, but lately I’ve found that Goodreads is more the kind of leisure reading database/community that I enjoy. Find me there.

  • Packing for Mars. Mary Roach 2011. Delving into space exploration history to get a perspective on the gritty realities of a future human-staffed Mars mission. (Let’s first do sample return.)
  • My Early Life. Winston Churchill 1930. Scion of power spends his youth trying to get involved in war and trains as a cavalry officer as one of the last generation to do so.
  • Falling Free. Lois McMaster Bujold 1988. Charming and exciting scifi adventure.
  • Good Omens. Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett 1990. Wry contemporary fantasy classic.
  • Collected Fantasies. Avram Davidson 1982. Lovely short stories.
  • The Swerve. Stephen Greenblatt 2012. On the creation and rediscovery of Epicureanism, the ancient philosophy I come closest to espousing, through Lucretius’s The Nature of Things.
  • Erotic Refugees. Paddy Kelly 2012. Dick lit / romantic comedy set in Noughties Stockholm, reviewed here.

What were your best reads of the year?

Here’s my list for 2011.