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.

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.