Best 10 fiction books read in 2019?

Bick

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Each year since I've been here we have had an annual thread to nominate the best fiction books we've read in the year. I didn't see one yet, so thought I would put such a thead up. What were your favourites, or those you felt had the most merit, in 2019? I shall list a top 10, and it would be good if respondents could also list 10. However, if you've not read so much this year (under 20), perhaps limit your list to not more than the better half of those you've read. So if you've read 16, limit your list to the best 8, etc. That way, it won't simply be a list of everything folk have read.

So, to my list then, in order of reading them, not any other priority, and limiting myself to one book per author:
  • Penelope Fitzgerald - Human Voices
  • Charles Dickens - The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Terry Pratchett - Guards, Guards!
  • Eric Flint - 1632
  • Robert A. Heinlein - The Past Through Tomorrow
  • Alan Dean Foster - Relic
  • Hugh Walpole - Judith Paris
  • John Le Carré - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
  • M. John Harrison - The Pastel City
  • Josephine Tey - The Daughter of Time
I usually also give a few stats, so here goes on that front:

Total books read in 2019 (as of today): 57
Most read authors: Robert A. Heinlein (7), Terry Pratchett (4)
Most read genre: SF (27), Crime/Spy (7), Fantasy (7),
Male/Female authors: 43/14
 

Parson

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I love this idea. Don't have time now, but will come back with my list later.

57 is a nice number of books in a year.

If the rest of us do Male/Female authors it will be interesting to see if the decidedly male beginning stays that way.
 

Bick

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If the rest of us do Male/Female authors it will be interesting to see if the decidedly male beginning stays that way.
Thanks Parson. I ardently hope this thread sticks to topic and doesn’t get bogged down in some sort of gender comparison thread though - that wasn’t my intention and I was just throwing a stat out there. I’ve really enjoyed books by a number of women writers this year who I’ll revisit. It’s just a stat for me and doesn’t indicate any position or aim. I like to think I’m pretty gender-blind when it comes to picking authors. Feel free to ignore :).
 

nixie

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Thanks Parson. I ardently hope this thread sticks to topic and doesn’t get bogged down in some sort of gender comparison thread though - that wasn’t my intention and I was just throwing a stat out there. I’ve really enjoyed books by a number of women writers this year who I’ll revisit. It’s just a stat for me and doesn’t indicate any position or aim. I like to think I’m pretty gender-blind when it comes to picking authors. Feel free to ignore :).
As Bick says keep the thread on topic, don't turn it into a gender comparison thread.
I'll have a think over the next couple of hours and post mine.
 

Randy M.

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The Annotated Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (reread of novel)
Night Has a Thousand Eyes by Cornell Woolrich (reread)
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand
Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives ed. Sarah Weinman
In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson / Sleep No More by P. D. James -- tough call on this one.


Total books read in 2019 (as of today): 25 (technically 23, but I read a couple of complete novels within omnibus editions, so ...)
Most read authors: Dorothy B. Hughes (2); Theodora Goss (2)
Most read genre: Crime/mystery (14), Fantasy (3), horror/weird (9) (yes, adds to more than 25, so sue me -- some writers insist on mixing genres)
Male/Female authors: 8/17 (Early in the year I noted a 70/30% split between male and female writers in my reading and thought I'd address it at least for one year)
Novels/Anthologies or story collections: 17/8
 

tinkerdan

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These are all from some of the paper editions I picked up; read; and enjoyed this year.
There are plenty of e-books in my list; however this list seems pretty full to me
Starplex Robert J. Sawyer​
Immortal lloyd, nick m​
Forever Maggie Stiefvater (I read the whole series of this one)​

Blood Under Water (Dark Renaissance) Frost, Toby (read the two book in set)​
[also read the first book of Space Captain Smith (1) (Chronicles of Isambard Smith) series ]​
The City in the Middle of the Night Anders, Charlie Jane​
The Fated Sky: A Lady Astronaut Novel Kowal, Mary Robinette (read two book in set)​
Odd Thomas Dean Koontz (I read the whole 7 book series of this one)​


Gridlinked (Ian Cormac, Book 1)
Asher, Neal (I read this one after reading The Warrior and The Soldier--and I found this earlier book to be much better.)​
 

Parson

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It certainly wasn't my intention to turn this into a "gender comparison thread." --- It was my sense that I read many more books by female authors than Male authors. A review of last years books proves that to be false. What is true is that the vast majority of my reads had female lead characters.

Stats:
Books read 76
SF books read 46 --- Next closest Detective 18
Male authors 39
Female authors 37
Authors most read: Lindsay Buroker, Lisa Regan, Martha Wells, and Laurence Dahners (all with 4 or more)

Top Books

Best book I read this year:
The Singularity Trap by Dennis E. Taylor

Second best book I read this year:
[All Systems Red - Artificial Condition - Rogue Protocol - Exit Strategy] 4 separate buys but in reality one book by Martha Wells

Other really good reads

Hero Code --- Lindsay Buroker
The Girl with No Name --- Marina Chapman
English Lessons ---- Andrea Lucado
When the English Fall ---- David Williams
The Hangman's Daughter ---- Oliver Potzsh
 

tinkerdan

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of the ebooks I've read.
Panglor (Star Rigger Universe) Jeffrey A. Carver​
Candy Savant A.L. Hawke​
Revelation Space Alastair Reynolds​
Distaff: A Science Fiction Anthology by female authors Jane O'Reilly, Rosie Oliver, Kerry Buchanan, E J Tett, Juliana Spink Mills, Damaris Browne, Shellie Horst, Susan Boulton​

Hope for the Best Jodi Taylor​
Green Rider Kristen Britain​
I've read
33 ebooks purchased and read
18 books reread from my shelves
27 Paper bound books purchased and read this year.
 

Bick

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I've read
33 ebooks purchased and read
18 books reread from my shelves
27 Paper bound books purchased and read this year.
Nice statistic, I'd not thought of identifying ebook/paper/rereads, etc.
100% paper for me. 1 re-read I think.
 

Brian G Turner

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Sad to say that of the 45 or so books I've completed this year, only 10 were fiction with most everything else being history reading. Of the novels I did read, Ready Player One stood out as the most interesting and enjoyable.
 

williamjm

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Using the same rules as the original (only one book per author):
  • Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
  • A Little Hatred by Joe Abercombie
  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Luna : Moon Rising by Ian McDonald
  • Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey
  • The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Total: 33 books so far

Most read: Adrian Tchaikovsky and Ursula Le Guin (both 3)

17 works by male authors, 17 by female - I wasn't expecting it to be so balanced.
 

Parson

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Parson grumps ..... "How did I miss "Dogs of War?" by Adrian Tchaikovsky? I most certainly read it and it belongs on the list of the books I liked the most. So up to 80, and back to wondering what else I missed. All but one (as far as I can remember) were ebooks, and the one that wasn't was a real pain in the neck to read.

Edit: Mystery solved. I is not a Kindle book and was not in an Amazon list
 

Paul_C

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I wasn't as good at recording my reading habits on here this year, but I know that there were quite a few I didn't like, and gave up on.

My ten favourites, in no particular order are:

This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Neptune's Brood
- Charles Stross
Darkwood
- Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
Yellow Blue Tibia
- Adam Roberts
Late Riser
- Jasper Fforde
String City
- Graham Edwards
Vurt
- Jeff Noon
Finch
- Jeff Vandermeer
Recursion
- Tony Ballantyne

and of course, the very fine Distaff :)
 

Bick

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A number of folk have noted The Murderbot books. Close call for me, I really enjoyed Martha Well's first in this series, but I didn't quite put it in the top 10, probably due to its short length. It gets 'highly commended' from me though.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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I discovered Scarlett Thomas earlier this year, and I'm currently on the fifth book of hers that I'm reading. My favorites so far are The End of Mr. Y (SF/F), and Our Tragic Universe (not quite SF/F, but constantly toying with the reader's expectation that it might turn into that).

Like @Randy M. , I read The Annotated Big Sleep, but that was probably my third or fourth read of the novel itself. (The annotations are excellent and quite entertaining on their own, though.) This got me to reread (again) Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely and The Lady in the Lake.

Steve Erickson (the avant-garde/slipstream-y LA novelist, not the fantasy author of nearly the same name), Zeroville and Tours of the Black Clock.

Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs. 19th c American novelist. A beautiful, lyrical novel with a strange, Poe-ish weird-tale-like interlude and some other eerie passages too.

Early in the year I finished reading all the Penelope Fitzgerald novels I hadn't read before. I'm pretty sure Human Voices I read in 2019, like @Bick ; also The Gate of Angels (my favorite of hers) and The Blue Flower.

I reread David Markson's last four novels, of which I'll mention just the first one, Reader's Block.

Rumer Godden, Kingfishers Catch Fire. Gorgeous.

I'm sure I'm spacing out on something I loved. I'll post again when I think of it.
 
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CupofJoe

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I don't keep a count of the books I read, so no number possible. I've reread a lot this year [Terry Pratchett, JRRT, HG Wells and a few others] but there have been four new [to me] book that I've enjoyed.
Anne Hillerman's Cave of Bones and The Tale Teller She has carried on her father's characters but has begun to make her oww world with them. The writing is sparse and dry letting you feel the space and emptiness of the Navajo lands.
Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers Of London One of the few books I've read this year that made me laugh out loud. Using hints and touches of the real mythic London to enrich the story was a good touch and the world was begging to feel very real by the end of the tale.
Malcolm Pryce's Aberystwyth Mon Amour I was quietly surprised at how much I like this mix of Noire, Whodunit and Fantasy. Enjoyment may have been helped by reading it while staying near Aberystwyth so I could track the real world and made up elements around the town.
I'm looking forward to reading more by each of them in the future.
 
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Victoria Silverwolf

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I had to look back over my "current reading" posts to see what fiction I had enjoyed this year.

No Enemy But Time (1982) by Michael Bishop. Very well-written, award-winning time travel novel.

The Secret Ascension or Philip K. Dick Is Dead, Alas (1987) by Michael Bishop. Manages to capture the flavor of a PKD novel without blatantly imitating one.

Wilders (2017) and Keepers (2018) by Brenda Cooper. Two book series set in a high-tech future recovering from environmental crises. The first one had more of a young adult feel, the second one was more mature, but both were interesting and different.

The Blunderer (1954) by Patricia Highsmith. Intriguing psychological suspense novel about a guy who kills his wife and a guy who doesn't kill his wife and how their lives get tangled.

The Wind From Nowhere and The Drowned World (1962) by J. G. Ballard. The former is more a "normal" SF disaster novel, the second one more what you expect from this author.

The Man Who Knew Coolidge: Being the Soul of Lowell Schmaltz, Constructive and Nordic Citizen (1928) by Sinclair Lewis. Creates a satiric character study of the fellow named in the title through six of his monologues.

The Absolute at Large (Továrna na absolutno, 1922; translated from Czech in 1927) by Karel Čapek. Offbeat satiric novel of a form of energy production by complete destruction of matter with the side effect of producing religious phenomena.

My other reading was nonfiction, collections, and anthologies, so that's not quite ten.
 

Pedro Del Mar

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I started the year with a lot of non-fiction Vietnam War related works so struggling to actually get a top ten fiction together but here are some of the most notable fiction reads of this year:
Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
Suicide Motor Club - Christopher Buehlman
The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks
Shattered Dreams - Ulff Lehmann
Cold Counsel - Chris Sharp
 
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