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Old 12-20-2019, 11:42 AM   #1
Dazrin
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Question Your Favorite Books, 2019 Edition

As we plan our reading goals for 2020, it is a good time to review our 2019 and make our MR New Year's resolutions.

So, review your 2019 Challenge List, your GoodReads Year in Books, or your book diary then make some suggestions for everyone here as we make our 2020 reading lists, figure out what threads to lurk in at the Deals forum, and fill out our watch lists.

First, what books did you enjoy the most in 2019?
  • Is there a book that you have been thinking about since March?
  • A book you couldn't put down or have re-read three times just this year?
  • What books have you added to your "I'm going to re-read this" list?
  • Did your favorite author finally release that long awaited book? My apologies (condolences?) to Martin, Butcher, and Rothfuss fans. (I really wanted to reduce this list but, alas, no such luck. At least Butcher should come off the list next year!)
  • What books did you tell your friends "you have to read this"?
    Shameless plug: If they didn't read with you, feel free to suggest it in the New Leaf Book Club when an appropriate theme comes around. We'd love to read it with you.
  • Speaking of which, did you have a favorite book club selection? From the New Leaf Book Club, the MR Literary Club or elsewhere?
Second, what wonderful books published in 2019 did you read?
  • Are there any contenders for your favorite literary/genre/other award?
  • What would you have in a hypothetical MR slate for the Hugos?
  • What debut author is now on your must buy list?
If it is hard to remember what books you really enjoyed this year, issybird suggested making a "best of <year>" category at Goodreads (or wherever you track your reading) so you have it for next year.

If you want to see what some of the past favorites are check these out:
2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
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Old 12-20-2019, 12:08 PM   #2
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I'm a cozy mystery fan, and this year has been fruitful in the genre. I gave mostly 5 stars to most books in the Papa Pacelli series. The author's decision making is crucial. There's no room for error, these books being less than 150 pages. The advantage is that there's no room for padding.

But if you're looking for a book I've actually remembered then I would like to mention a book called 'And then there were Crumbs'. It's a recommendation.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:49 PM   #3
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Reviewing my books this year, I am wondering if my book selection is part of why I've been in a reading slump. I didn't have any books that really jump out at me this year. A few old favorites and a couple where I will certainly continue the series for but nothing really exceptional.

I did discover the Penric and Desdemona series of novellas by Lois McMaster Bujod and really enjoyed them. I need to read the last one still (it isn't available from my library yet) but I devoured the others. At the very least I need to read the first book in her main series set in this world too, The Curse of Chalion. I read one of her Vorkosigan books in 2018 and enjoyed it but not as much as these.

I didn't read many books from this year and nothing really stands out from what I did read.

For book club reads, I enjoyed The Graveyard Book and The Left Hand of Darkness the most out of the ones I was able to get. I was not able to get 2 in time and abandoned 3 part way through. (The movie version of The Natural is so much better than the book!)
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dazrin View Post
The Curse of Chalion
I unjustly Dnf that book. But I'm reluctant to try it again. It was a weird book. The events at the court or whatever it is, for me, took the wind out of the sails.
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:25 AM   #5
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Three standouts for me this year:
Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark
Jeeves, the King of Clubs and
The Commonwealth Saga (1&2)
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:55 AM   #6
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The biggest standout for me, which also happens to be a 2019 release, was The Buried Dagger by James Swallow. It marked the end of the 54-book-long Horus Heresy. I cried when it was over. (Even though it's book 54 of a series, the synopsis isn't a spoiler, due to the way the universe is set up - this series is ten thousand years prior to "current" Warhammer 40K lore.)

Quote:
For long years, the Horus Heresy has ground on. Now, the Death Guard have been sent to begin the final battle. But Mortarion and his sons must face their gravest challenge first – for Nurgle has claimed them as his own, and he will not be denied…

The skies darken over Terra as the final battle for the Throne looms ever closer... As the Traitor primarchs muster to the Warmaster’s banner, it is Mortarion who is sent ahead as the vanguard of the Traitor forces.

But as he and his warriors make way, they become lost in the warp and stricken by a terrible plague. Once thought of as unbreakable, the legendary Death Guard are brought to their knees. To save his Legion, Mortarion must strike a most terrible bargain that will damn his sons for eternity.

Meanwhile, in the cloisters of Holy Terra, a plot is afoot to create sedition and carnage in advance of the Horus’s armies. Taking matters into his own hands, Malcador the Sigillite seeks to put a stop to any insurrection but discovers a plot that he will need all of his cunning and battle-craft to overcome.
The book I enjoyed the most which wasn't due to my being a rabid Games Workshop fangirl, and which also wasn't released in 2019, was The Terror by Dan Simmons. The ending was a bit ... left-field, but I do love fictional accounts of "unsolved mysteries"!

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The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.

When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape.
I also began reading Japanese horror this year. By far my favourite, and something I've been recommending to every horror fan I know (whether they tolerate the right-to-left style of manga or not!) has been Uzumaki by Junji Ito. It's a hypnotically, grotesquely evil read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Quote:
Kurōzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in small ways: seashells, ferns, whirlpools in water, whirlwinds in air. And in large ways: the spiral marks on people's bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi's father, the voice from the cochlea in your inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurōzu-cho are pulled ever deeper, as if into a whirlpool from which there is no return.
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Old 12-22-2019, 04:59 AM   #7
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There were three book (or rather two books and a series) I liked very much this year.

All Systems Red and all other books of the Murderbot Diaries:I read them all twice this year and they are still on my "to be reread" list.

The Girl With All the Gifts: I liked the unconventional setting, the mastery to explain a world by still keeping a very narrow view and I was blown away by the ending; not expecting it, but agreeing that it was the best that could happen.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: In this one the way IS all that counts. I love that this is character driven science fiction story. Just got the next book in the same univers
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:01 AM   #8
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My top reads for the year were:
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

The best of the 2019 published books that I read were:
The Binding by Bridget Collins (also belongs in the above group) [Fantastic Fiction lists this as 2018, but my ebook says 2019.]
Made Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky (good but not really in the top 10)

And I match Dazrin for my favourite book club reads. (I missed reading two of the selections.)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (a favourite ever since it came out)
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Honourable mentions must go to:
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

I feel as if it has been a good year. I have discovered some very interesting authors and read a wide variety of books. For that I owe significant thanks to the good folk of the New Leaf Book Club - a lot of what I've read this year I have come across either as recommendations from there, or as a result of researching books to match themes.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:25 AM   #9
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The Secret of Santa Vittoria by Robert Crichton
Thus Was Adonis Murdered, A Legal Murder Mystery by Sarah Caudwell
They Came from Outer Space: 12 Classic Science Fiction Tales That Became Major Motion Pictures by Jim Wynorski
Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson (the chapter called "Charlie" is often anthologized)
John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman (the complete "Silver" John stories)
Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith, a reread
Rather a Common Sort of Crime by Joyce Porter, a humorous mystery featuring the Hon Con as she is known, the Honorable Constance Ethel Morrison-Burke.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:40 AM   #10
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Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith, a reread
How did it hold up? I've often thought of returning to it, but 35 or so years is a long time between drinks, wondered if the fizz would still be there.
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Old 12-22-2019, 12:01 PM   #11
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I thought it held up well.
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Old 12-22-2019, 01:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Luffy View Post
I'm a cozy mystery fan, and this year has been fruitful in the genre.
What, if I may ask, is a cozy mystery?

Edit, nevermind, I looked it up myself. And now I'm intrigued. 😊

Last edited by Number9; 12-22-2019 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 01:27 PM   #13
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How did it hold up? I've often thought of returning to it, but 35 or so years is a long time between drinks, wondered if the fizz would still be there.
I have read it numerous times over the years and have felt that it has held up well.
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Old 12-22-2019, 04:54 PM   #14
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I also began reading Japanese horror this year. By far my favourite, and something I've been recommending to every horror fan I know (whether they tolerate the right-to-left style of manga or not!) has been Uzumaki by Junji Ito. It's a hypnotically, grotesquely evil read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I'm not a fan of horror, but I "enjoyed" this book, if that's the right word. It's unlike anything else I've read, and I'm glad I experienced it. The manifestations of the spiral curse are so imaginative and, as you say, grotesque.
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Old 12-23-2019, 03:22 AM   #15
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What, if I may ask, is a cozy mystery?

Edit, nevermind, I looked it up myself. And now I'm intrigued. 😊
Most Agatha Christie books are cozy mysteries. But many of my favorite authors in the genre are still putting out books.
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