...I might as well post a list of books I particularly enjoyed reading this year, regardless of whether or not they were published this year. BECAUSE DECEMBER IS FOR LISTS, and you might find something here that you'd like to read or give as a gift. These are books to which I was moved to give five-star ratings (out of five, just so we're clear). According to my way of rating things, that means I would gladly read them again and I imagine I'll get even more out of them upon doing so.
None of these links have anything to do with me and I will not profit even a tiny bit if you click on them, unless there's some karmic system that operates on a different level from financial gain, in which case I'm pretty sure there's no law against it. ENJOY.
- Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity, by Robert Keith Sawyer - "A science-backed method to maximize creative potential in any sphere of life."
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert - "Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the 'strange jewels' that are hidden within each of us."
- The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms, by Danielle LaPorte - "We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It's the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it's what leads to true fulfillment."
- Medusa's Web, by Tim Powers - "...a phantasmagoric, thrilling, mind-bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult secrets of 1920s Hollywood to save his family."
- City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett (my second reading of this one) - Divine Cities #1. "Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city's proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the quiet woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country's most accomplished spymasters — dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem — and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well."
- City of Blades, by Robert Jackson Bennett - Divine Cities #2. Just as outstanding as the first! I'm looking forward to #3 in 2017.
- The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins - The description of this book is too long to quote, and it also doesn't even begin to explain how freaking weird, dark, awesome, and amazing this book is. Probably because that would be impossible to explain. JUST READ IT.
- The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison (my second reading) - "A vividly imagined fantasy of court intrigue and dark magics in a steampunk-inflected world, by a brilliant young talent. The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir."
- Uprooted, by Naomi Novik - "Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood."
- The Severed Streets, by Paul Cornell - "Summer in London: a city in turmoil. The vicious murder of a well-known MP is like a match to tinder but Detective Inspector James Quill and his team know that it's not a run-of-the-mill homicide. Still coming to terms with their new-found second sight, they soon discover that what is invisible to others - the killer - is visible to them. Even if they have no idea who it is."
- The Necromancer's House, by Christopher Buehlman - "Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago. Andrew has long known that magic was a brutal game requiring blood sacrifice and a willingness to confront death, but his many years of peace and comfort have left him soft, more concerned with maintaining false youth than with seeing to his own defense. Now a monster straight from the pages of Russian folklore is coming for him, and frost and death are coming with her."