Top Ten reads this year (2012)

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Fried Egg, Nov 30, 2012.

  1.  
    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    It's becoming a bit of a tradition now. What are you top ten books you have read this year?

    Not a bad year for me although I haven't really achieved what I wanted to do (complete the Fantasy Masterworks series) nor read quite as much as I would have liked. I had a cracking January, four of my top seven I read that month. Here is my top ten:

    1) The Space Merchants - Pohl, Frederik
    2) Occultation and Other Stories - Barron, Laird
    3) Slaughter House 5 - Vonnegut, Kurt
    4) The White Hands and Other Weird Tales - Samuels, Mark
    5) The Haunting of Hill House - Jackson, Shirley
    6) Dark Entries - Aickman, Robert
    7) Dying Inside - Silverberg, Robert
    8) The Stainless Steel Rat - Harrison, Harry
    9) The Hound of the Baskervilles - Doyle, Arthur Conan
    10) Starship Troopers - Heinlein, Robert A.


    And some individual short stories, not in any of the collections above, that are still worth a mention:

    • "A Little Woman" by Kafka, Franz
    • "On the River" by Maupassant, Guy de
    • "Having the Time of his Life" by Watson, Ian
    • "Next to Godliness" by Stableford, Brian
    • "Deciduous Tree" by Sketchley Martin
    • "Incentive" by Aldiss, Brian

    Biggest disappointment of the year: The Dragon Waiting - Ford, John M.
  2.  
    Grunkins

    Grunkins Couch Commander

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    Hmm, I read lots of books this year. Tough to remember which were this year and which were late last year, but I'll give it a shot.

    In no particular order:

    Song For Arbonne - Guy Gavriel Kay
    Sailing to Sarantium (Sarantine Mosaic book 1) - Guy Gavriel Kay
    Lord of Emperors (Sarantine Mosaic book 2) - Guy Gavriel Kay
    Planet of Adventure - Jack Vance
    Excession - Iain M Banks
    Look to Windward - Iain M Banks
    Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
    The Heroes - Joe Abercrombie
    Farseer trilogy - Robin Hobb (that actually puts me at 11, but I gave myself permission to go over.)
  3.  
    Juliana

    Juliana Between Worlds

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    I read a lot of trilogies this year so I'm going to cheat horribly and put down trilogies as one book... because choosing one out of three is just HARD!! And really, a trilogy is like one book split in three, right? RIGHT? <sits in a corner and rocks quietly>

    Like Grunkins, in no particular order:

    Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn Trilogy
    Deborah Harkness - Shadow of Night
    Elspeth Cooper - Wild Hunt
    James A. Owen - The Search for the Red Dragon
    Jim Butcher - read several but particularly liked Ghost Story
    Joe Abercrombie - First Law Trilogy
    Peter V Brett - The Warded Man
    Robin Hobb - Farseer Trilogy
    Robin Hobb - Tawny Man Trilogy
    Robin Hobb - Liveship Traders Trilogy

    (Is it obvious that I just discovered and really like Robin Hobb??)
  4.  
    algai'd'siswai

    algai'd'siswai New Member

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    I've read more fantasy in this last year than I have my whole life up till then here's my picks

    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
    The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
    Dune by Frank Herbert
    The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
    A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin

    Non Fantasy:
    Autobiography of a Super Tramp by W H Davies
    Quicksand by Nella Larsen
    A Confession by Leo Tolstoy
    The Iliad by Homer
  5.  
    Randy M.

    Randy M. Member

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    The best book I read bridged 2011-2012 for me:
    M. Rickert: Holiday
    This was my favorite book over the last year, each story taking place on or near a holiday. Rickert writes beautifully, brings her scenes and her characters to life, and can tear the heart out of you with just a few well-chosen words.

    Two other collections were also extremely good:
    Caitlin Kiernan: To Charles Fort, With Love
    Glen Hirshberg: American Morons

    If the novels I read didn't excite me quite as much, still I enjoyed them. In no particular order
    Toby Barlow: Sharp Teeth
    Glen Hirshberg: The Snowman’s Children
    Caitlin Kiernan: The Drowning Girl
    Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian
    Tim Powers: The Stress of Her Regard
    Guy Endore: The Werewolf of Paris (reread)
    J. R. R. Tolkein: The Hobbit (reread)

    Two other novels were not quite as satisfying as the others, but were still very entertaining:
    Steve Rasnic Tem: Deadfall Hotel
    Laird Barron: The Croning


    And I, too, read some very good short stories not in the above collections:
    "Near Zennor" by Elizabeth Hand (A Book of Horrors)
    "The Coffin-Maker's Daughter" by Angela Slatter (A Book of Horrors)
    "A Child's Problem" by Reggie Oliver (A Book of Horrors)
    "The Little Green God of Agony" by Stephen King (A Book of Horrors)
    "How Fear Departed from the Long Gallery" by E. F. Benson (The Big Book of Ghost Stories)
    "The Venes of Ille" by Prosper Merimee (Fantastic Tales: Visionary and Everyday)
    "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" by Robert A. Heinlein (The Fantasy Tales of Robert A. Heinlein)
    "Old Virginia" & "Shiva, Open Your Eye" by Laird Barron (The Imago Sequence)


    Randy M.
  6.  
    Mangara

    Mangara Member

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    Going off my Goodreads account:

    1. Walter Tevis: Mockingbird : I read this book in 1 night, which I have never done before. Stunning, thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable.

    2. The Final Empire: Brandon Sanderson: I'd heard good things about this series and I wasn't disappointed. An interesting magic system and a brilliant cast of charaters.

    3. Arthur C. Clarke: A Fall of Moondust: My second novel by this author, I really enjoyed this one, full of tension and character.

    4. Leviathan Wakes: James S.A. Corey: Excellent space opera, thrilling and intricate.

    5. Pandora's Star: Peter F. Hamilton: Excellent story with detail on a galactic scale.

    6. Hero of Ages: Brandon Sanderson: Brings the whole series together beautifully.

    7. A Game of Thrones, A Song of Fire and Ice: George R.R. Martin: Excellent foundation to what promises to be an epic series.

    8. Lost Fleet, Dauntless: Jack Campbell: Loved this gritty, millitary Sci-Fi.

    9. The Well of Ascension: Brandon Sanderson: Suffers a little bit from middle book meanderings, but still a cracking read.

    10. China Mieville: Embassytown: Loved the aliens in this complicated but interesting story.
  7.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    My top 8 (I hope to read another great one or two this month) SF/F books of 2012 have been

    Arthur C. Clarke - A Fall of Moondust (1962 novel)
    Bruce Sterling - The Zenith Angle (2009 novel)
    George RR Martin - Dying of the Light (1977 novel)
    Greg Egan - Luminous (1998 collection)
    Vernor Vinge - The Witling (1976 novel)
    Fritz Leiber - The Green Millennium/Night Monsters (Ace Double: 1953 novel/1969 collection)
    Mike Resnick - Inferno (1993 novel)
    Joe Haldeman - Marsbound (2009 novel)

    Honorable mention for more or less mainstream novel by an SF author:
    Robert Silverberg - The Book of Skulls

    For some reason, I did a lot of re-reading of stories. Excluding those, some noteworthy stories not in the above:
    • John W. Campbell - "Piracy Preferred" from The Black Star Passes
    • Peter David - "Bronsky's Date with Death" from the internet (and possibly many more from the net that I'm forgetting).
    • Philip K. Dick - "Captive Market" from The Collected Stories, Vol.4
    • Robert L. Forward - "Acceleration Constant", "Twin Paradox", "Self-Limiting"; all from Indistinguishable from Magic - the stories run the gamut from mediocre to quite good (the three mentioned) but the non-fiction interwoven with the stories and just the feel of the whole - it was a fun, stimulating read.
    • Harry Harrison - "Not Me, Not Amos Cabot" from Stainless Steel Visions
    • Keith Laumer - "The Last Command", "A Relic of War", "Combat Unit"; all from The Compleat Bolo.
    • John Shirley - "Shadow of a Snowstorm", "Cold Feet", "Parakeet", "A Walk Through Beirut" (and I have to add "The Incorporated" because it's also so great, even though it's a re-read); all from The Exploded Heart - brilliant crazy intense stories, though the collection as a whole is uneven.
    • Bruce Sterling - "Homo Sapiens Declared Extinct", "Code" (mainstream but very techie story), "Junk DNA" (with Rudy Rucker), and maybe "In Paradise" and "Luciferase", all from Visionary in Residence.
    • "A Response from EST17" by Tom Purdom, "A Militant Peace" by David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell, "Martian Heart" by John Barnes, plus at least seven other at least interesting stories all from Dozois' The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection.

    The best non-SF book of my year was:
    The Portable Thomas Jefferson, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (despite spectacularly deficient annotation)

    ---

    Of your list I've only read the above and think they're all great, too.

    I just read that this year myself, and I could have easily put it on my list.

    I call Dune SF of a sort and the Iliad can be seen as a sort of fantasy but, whatever they are, they're good stuff. The Iliad is a true masterpiece.

    Two people with Moondust this year. And I read Dauntless (and the whole original series) last year and I put the series as a single item on my 2011 top 10. :)
  8.  
    elvet

    elvet Easily amused

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    My 2012 five star books on Goodreads:
    Hydrogen Sonata by Ian M. Banks
    The Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
    Sharps by K.J. Parker
    Skirmish by Michelle Sagara West
    King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
    Caliban's War by James Corey
    Long Price Quartet (4 book series) by Daniel Abraham
  9.  
    AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Ive not managed to read 10 this yea! Been s bsd year for reading for me!
  10.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I dislike most of the list people have this year out of envy because i have not have read a great top 10 this year in SFF books,classics books. Mostly been reading quality noir,children books.
  11.  
    Heather Myst

    Heather Myst New Member

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    Michael J. Sullivan Percepliquis
    Robert Redick River of Shadows
    The Blinding Knife Brent Weeks
    Team of Rivals Doris Goodwin
    The Civil War Shelby Foote
    Prince of Thorns Mark Lawrence
    King of Thorns Mark Lawrence
    Among Thieves Douglas Hulick
    Stands a Shadow Col Buchanan
    Outcast Chronicles Rowena Cory Daniells
  12.  
    hitmouse

    hitmouse Member

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    Mostly non-SF this year, though I have enjoyed stuff like Jack McDevitt for light escapism.

    Naples '44 Norman Lewis The most amazing, well written account of Naples in 1944 after liberation by the Allies. Essentially a medieval society only just holding together with starvation, corruption, and incompetetent management by the occupying forces. A brilliant writer who deserves to be better known.

    Travels with Charley John Steinbeck. My first Steinbeck apart from Mice and Men (I have seen the film Grapes of Wrath.) I didn't know he could be so funny. Flawless prose.

    The Weirdstone of Brisingamen Alan Garner. Somehow bypassed Garner when I was younger. Great children's fantasy, very sinister indeed. The sequels are also good. The third was published this year and makes no pretence at being a children's book.


    Hydrogen Sonata Iain M Banks. A return to form.

    Ludd in the Mist Hope Mirlees. Excellent.
  13.  
    thaddeus6th

    thaddeus6th Active Member

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    I do this on my blog.

    The list, in no particular order is:
    Fantasy
    Red Country, by Joe Abercrombie
    Dragonfly Falling, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    Spellmonger, by Terry Mancour
    Heir of Novron, by Michael J. Sullivan
    Among Thieves, by Douglas Hulick
    Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay

    History
    The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, by Ian Mortimer
    The Early History of Rome, by Titus Livy
    The Crisis of Rome: The Jugurthine and Northern Wars and the Rise of Marius, by Gareth Sampson
    Philip Matyszak's Classical Compendium
    Mini-reviews with links to full reviews can be found at: http://thaddeusthesixth.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/top-10-books-of-2012.html
  14.  
    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Top 10 novels of the year for me.


    1) Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
    2) Something Wicked comes this way - Ray Bradbury
    3) The Face - Jack Vance
    4) Alice's adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
    5) A Gent from Bear Creak - Robert E. Howard
    6) He died with his Eyes Open - Derek Raymond
    7) The Man in the High Castle - Philip K Dick
    8) A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs
    9) Five Plays - Lord Dunsany
    10) Mio min mio - Astrid Lindgren



    I thought i have read not near as much books as i would have liked this year but seeing this list and leaving out books like Hounds of Baskervilles and others makes me feel pretty proud of those great,quality books i have read. The little reading time i had was well spent :)

    I have read many quality short stories and many good humor stories.




    Top Short Story Collections & non-fiction shorts


    The Wine Dark Sea - Robert Aickman
    Scum Manifesto - Valerie Solanas
    Robot Have No Tails - Henry Kuttner
    Carmilla - Sheridan Le Fanu
    Solomon Kane - REH
    Conan the coming of Conan - REH
    The Secret sin of Semptimus Brope - Saki
    Swords and Deviltry - Fritz Leiber
    The Continental Op - Dashiell Hammett
    The Merkabah Rider: Mensch with no Name - Edward M. Erdelac
  15.  
    Mark_Lawrence

    Mark_Lawrence New Member

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    I've read shockingly few books this year and I'm not putting all of them in my top 10 just to fill it, because some of them weren't great.

    [in order]

    1./ The Wind Through The Keyhole - Stephen King
    2./ The Sultan's Wife - Jane Johnson
    3./ Control Point - Myke Cole
    4./ Germline - T.C McCarthy
    5./ The Darkness That Comes Before - R.Scot Bakker
    6./ Apocalypse Cow - Michael Logan
    7./ Half-Sick of Shadows - David Logan
  16.  
    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    I usually only do a top five, but I do it for books, films and albums. And I write it up on my blog - see here.

    For the record, the books were:

    1 Girl Reading, Katie Ward
    2 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
    3 The Universe of Things, Gwyneth Jones
    4 Intrusion, Ken MacLeod
    5 The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles
  17.  
    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Ian, are you including only books released in 2012?
  18.  
    iansales

    iansales Active Member

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    No, I do books I read during the year. I don't read enough books published in the year in question to pick the best five. For example, I still have a couple on the TBR that were published in 2012, and there are books published during the year that I've heard are very good but I've yet to buy or read.
  19.  
    elvet

    elvet Easily amused

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    I've got to amend this list somehow because I'm reading Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, and it's a winner for me this year.
  20.  
    J-Sun

    J-Sun Active Member

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    I read six books in December and two of those were probably at least as good as other options so I'll add Greg Bear's The Forge of God (1987 novel)/Anvil of Stars (1992 novel) to round out my top 10.

    Oh yeah:

    I goofed on the date - it was 2004.

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