A Happy New Year to you all! If you celebrated last night, I hope you had fun, and I hope you have an awesome 2015 🙂
So I don’t normally do this favourite lists at the end of the year unless it’s the End of the Year Book Survey (see: my 2014 list), but I decided to do it this year because there’s some memorable standouts that I wanted to share with you all 🙂 By no means is this a definitive list–I’m definitely missing a few in the music section, I reckon–but nonetheless, I highly recommend the following if you’re looking for something to check out today or this year 🙂
A couple of awesome albums were released this year, and I discovered quite a number of new artists along the way.
I discovered this band when I checked out their single of the week, “Human”, on iTunes, which then prompted me to buy the whole album because it’s just awesome! Their music is very atmospheric and dreamy, the lyrics gorgeous. My favourite song from their album is actually “Shallows”, but “Youth” I think was their first single and probably the most well-known song off the album (love this song too…and “Still”…and “Winter”…the whole album, basically).
Today I’m going to be talking a little bit about sci-fi short stories and novellas. In recent years I’ve become quite a fan of short stories and novellas–not only because they’re shorter, but they help when you’re in the middle of a reading slump, they help provide backstory to worlds and larger stories and work as standalone adventures in the same universe, and from a writer’s perspective you learn a lot about telling a very concise and tight story. I talked a bit more about the medium in this post.
But moving along, I’ve come across some fantastic short stories and novellas in the sci-fi genre that I think are worth checking out if you’re interested. In no particular order:
- Brandon Sanderson’s Legion — I love Brandon Sanderson’s stories, period. The concept of this novella is very interesting: the ability to converse with other avatars within one person and whom you can gather skills and information from (like Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, maybe?). Like almost all of his other stories, the pacing is fast and the storytelling pretty effective. I think there’s a sequel story coming? (which makes sense because I think this story was left open-ended)
- James S.A. Corey’s short stories set in the Expanse series/universe — I love that these guys have been releasing short stories in between Expanse novels. I’ve only read two of them so far, The Butcher of Anderson Station and Gods of Risk, and I think they do a lovely job of fleshing out secondary characters that have appeared in previous novels but who are interesting in their own right. If you’re a fan of the Expanse novels, you need to check these out, they are fantastic.
- Kevin J. Anderson’s Island of a Sea of Stars — I loved Anderson’s Seven Suns series, so I was pretty excited to find out that he is writing a sequel trilogy set in the same world. This novella is actually a prequel to events in this new trilogy, and gives the readers a sense of what’s changed in the universe since the events of the last series, introducing new characters and mysteries, but also gives a glimpse of some old characters 😉 I’m looking forward to checking out the new trilogy at some point.
- Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut of Mars — I read her first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey (review) last year, but this is the first story I’ve read by her in the sci-fi genre. What’s really lovely about this story is that it’s more of character-driven story than a plot/sci-fi driven story. Very well worth checking out.
- Aliette de Bodard’s The Waiting Stars — This short story was nominated for the Hugo this past year, which was where I first heard of it. It may be short, but it does cover a lot of ideas about imperialism and culturalism, all within a story frame of space opera. Fans of the subgenre will want to check it out (it certainly let me wanting to read more from that world!).
That’s obviously just a taste, but there are plenty of excellent sci-fi short stories out there to check out. Just log on to Tor.com for instance and every few weeks there’s a short story featured there 🙂
So I turn it over to you now: What are some of your favourite sci-fi short stories and novellas you’ve read–either recently or all-time?
And here we are, at the end of another summer season. Time is flying by far too quickly! So, like every year that I’ve done this, here’s a list of my top six favourite reads from this summer, read between June and first weekend of September (don’t know why I stuck with six, it was an arbitrary choice that stuck over the years):
- Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You by (review) — Hands down the best book I read this summer. It was funny, it was sad, it was thoughtful. I highly recommend reading this novel, especially before the movie comes out this autumn 🙂
- Lucy Clarke’s A Single Breath by (review) — I could not put this book down, I had been recommending it here on my blog as the book to read this summer. The mystery and the revelations just kept coming chapter after chapter…I just had to find out what happened next!
- Graham Greene’s Monsignor Quixote by (review) — Clever, delightful, thought-provoking, profound. Just loved this novel so very much, I don’t think there’s anything I can add here that I didn’t mention in my review.
- Julie Wu’s The Third Son by (review) — I didn’t expect to love this novel as much as I did. I was rooting for Saburo the whole way through and I was so angry at his family for treating him the way they did.
- Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Marina by (review) — Hnads down my favourite of Zafon’s young adult titles. It has all of the trappings of a Zafon novel–the Gothic air, the story of heartbreak, a sliver of the macabre, a great character journey towards adulthood or some form of realisation. So happy this book was finally released in English!
- William Alexander’s Flirting With French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart (review) — An absolutely delightful, hilarious, and poignant account about William Alexander’s love for France and attempts to learn the language. It was a lot of fun to read, couldn’t put it down.
And of course, some honourable mentions that didn’t make the above list but where nonetheless fantastic:
- Lucy Clarke’s The Sea Sisters (review)
- Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (review)
- Antonio Hill’s The Summer of Dead Toys (review)
- Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody (review)
- Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (review)
- Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (review)
Not to mention I read some awesome comics over the summer; please see this category for the comics I read and posted about 🙂 And that’s my list for summer 2014! What were some of your favourite reads this summer (or winter, depending on where you are in the world)?
Bella Italia <3 What can you say about a country that’s beautiful and diverse and cultured (and at times a little insane)? I’ve been there a few times (see tag) and really there’s no words to express how much I love it there. There’s just so much history to the place that you could just spend a lifetime trying to let it all soak in. Rome for me is the perfect example of this; unlike in other cities where, depending on which part of town you’re in, you can see what period influenced the buildings, Rome is just a mish-mash of time periods all rolled in together. Some people don’t like it like that, but I love it.
I’m not travelling this year (or for a little while longer) so I decided to feature a list similar to what I did last year for Paris, France and Spain where I feature books set in Italy. Be forewarned that this is a rather lengthy list; I was initially going to split it up in two but because I’ve put together this list so late in the summer season, I decided to just roll them all in together.
HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! To celebrate the 147th anniversary of the establishment of the country, I’ve listed some books I’ve read recently written by Canadian authors (still working on the whole “reading more Canadian authors” that I noted last year but I’m getting there!) 🙂
The Emperor of Paris by C.S. Richardson (review) — This is one of those books I read earlier this year and that I can’t stop raving about. Set in the early twentieth century in Paris, it weaves a story of seemingly disparate and separate characters together…I absolutely love the prose and just the story on the whole. I’m hoping to pick up his first novel, The End of the Alphabet, at some point.