lavaturtle's 2015 reads

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

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lavaturtle's 2015 reads

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des. 31, 2014, 9:13am

Hi folks. I'm new around here. I didn't read nearly as many books as I wanted to in 2014, and I'm hoping to do better in 2015.

I mostly read science fiction and fantasy. I love dystopias (so excited that they're popular now!), time travel, cyborgs and androids, and books that explore "how would this tech/magic/disaster change society?"

des. 31, 2014, 10:09am

Welcome! You're in good company - plenty of us like those sorts of books. :)

Editat: maig 12, 2015, 2:57pm

One of my goals this year will be to read some of the books I already own and haven't read yet. Here's the list of books on my fiction shelf that I haven't finished yet. There's 48 of them! That's more than I expected.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Orc's Opal by Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff
The Collected Stories of Greg Bear (Greg Bear)
Chobits, Vol. 4 by CLAMP
Chobits, Vol. 5 by CLAMP
The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke
The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke
Cup of Clay by Carole Nelson Douglas
Baudolino by Umberto Eco
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
The Ghatti's Tale by Gayle Greeno
The Samarkand Solution by Gary Gygax
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Orsinian Tales by Ursula K. Le Guin
Parasyte, Vol. 1 by Hitoshi Iwaaki
The Day Before Tomorrow by Gerard Klein
Winnie Ille Pu by A. A. Milne (translated by Alexander Lenard)
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
Orion Arm by Julian May
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
The Man-Kzin Wars by Larry Niven
Neutron Star by Larry Niven
A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
The Sky People by S.M. Stirling
A Way Home by Theodore Sturgeon
The Book of Lost Tales, Vol. 2 by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien
Catspaw by Joan D. Vinge
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon and Georges Jeanty
The Best of Connie Willis (Connie Willis)
DMZ, Vol. 1: On the Ground by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli
Full Spectrum 2
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Treasury
The Magic Goes Away Collection
Medieval Romances
Nine Centuries of Spanish Literature
Robot Uprisings
Time Probe: The Sciences in Science Fiction

(This list also posted at

gen. 1, 2015, 9:44am

Some good ones there!

gen. 1, 2015, 2:44pm

Hi, and welcome to the group!

gen. 1, 2015, 8:23pm

Not sure if this counts, but I just finished a book that I started in the last days of 2014.

01. Not Less Than Gods by Kage Baker

I loved the Company series, so I was excited to learn that there was another book written in that world. This book doesn't have as strong a plot arc as the rest of them, but it's still a fun romp around 19th-century Europe with the Company in the background.

gen. 2, 2015, 7:46am

Yep, totally counts!

gen. 2, 2015, 6:47pm

02. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind by Zack Whedon and Georges Jeanty

My favorite so far in this series.

gen. 3, 2015, 11:39pm

Heya lavaturtle - you popped up as someone in the 75ers group with a most similar library to me. And there are some awesome books on your To Read list up above! I also read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, so I'm starring your thread for future shared reading pleasure :)

gen. 4, 2015, 9:35am

Hi! I've starred your thread too. I hope you enjoy Perdido Street Station -- it's one of my favorites.

gen. 4, 2015, 3:00pm

03. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Aside from the time travel element, this book skips around in time a lot, between the narrator's past and present, and it takes work to understand what's going on. But IMO it's worth it. Piercy has written both a chilling tale about a person trapped in an abusive institution, and a lovely utopia that I wish really existed.

gen. 10, 2015, 8:01pm

04. Chobits, Vol. 4 by CLAMP

It's been a while since I read the previous volume, and I found this one hard to follow until about halfway through. Not a lot happens, but it's interesting enough that I'll probably keep reading this series.

gen. 27, 2015, 9:23am

05. Psion by Joan D. Vinge

I picked this book up from the library after realizing I owned its sequel, Catspaw. Psion tells the story of how Cat, a boy from the slums, learns of his telepathic powers and struggles to make his own way in a world where everyone wants to use him.

I really liked this one. The world has cyberpunk elements, but also a morally complex history. The characters are well-drawn and sympathetic. The ending was not predictable. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Editat: feb. 13, 2015, 10:10pm

06. Catspaw by Joan D. Vinge

Cat has a little more control over his life in this sequel -- but he's up against some very powerful people.

The worldbuilding got even better in this one. The supporting characters were larger than life without being one-dimensional.

My reading experience suffered a bit from reading this in short chunks over a couple of weeks. I suspect it would have been better read in a couple nights like the previous one.

feb. 14, 2015, 10:09pm

07. The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

This is the first audiobook I've tried. And it was a challenge: 12 and a half hours of a very meandering story that only very gradually advances the main plot. The story's interesting, though, and the characters are quite well developed with extensive backstories. The main character's voice is very strong; how much you like the narration style will probably depend on how much you like the classic noir jaded/alcoholic hardboiled P.I.

març 5, 2015, 10:59am

08. The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories by Connie Willis

I've enjoyed a lot of Connie Willis's other work, so I was excited to pick this one up.

Some of my favorite pieces from this collection were ones I'd read before: Inside Job and Fire Watch. I also quite liked "Even the Queen", "At the Rialto", and "Death on the Nile". "All Seated on the Ground" was cute.

I read a lot of this book during one airplane ride, and occasionally the characters in all the stories blur together -- the irritating friend, the relative who won't listen to the main character, the dog. But overall it's a fun assortment. Also, the afterwards and forwards and introductions, etc. are definitely worth reading.

març 6, 2015, 8:06am

09. Chobits, Vol. 5 by CLAMP

There's a bit of plot advancement here, but for the most part it's getting a bit repetitive of things already covered in previous volumes. Hopefully things pick up soon (whenever I find the next volume :P )

març 7, 2015, 6:37pm

10. Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

Another excellent installment in the Saga series. Some new characters are introduced, and they're as compelling and well-drawn as the main characters. Hazel is a little older, and the family has a new set of problems. Meanwhile, interesting things happen in the Robot kingdom.

Editat: març 14, 2015, 4:08pm

11. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 4: Unstoppable by Joss Whedon

I love what Whedon has done with the X-Men in this series. This volume was full of twists and turns -- it was never predictable what happened next.

Editat: març 14, 2015, 4:08pm

12. The Sky People by S.M. Stirling

Good: Story was fun. Worldbuilding was pretty great: Stirling has taken the classic pulp sci-fi ideas of what Venus is like, and thought through what all the implications are.

Not so good:

* Most of the story is one giant White Savior trope. (i.e. "Our white American hero meets some natives, seduces their most important woman, becomes their leader, and solves all their problems!")

* There were only three named women characters; two of them were love interests for the narrator, and the other one only entered the story because of her husband. None of them got very much character development.

* The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying.

abr. 4, 2015, 8:26pm

13. Clover Omnibus by CLAMP

Didn't finish (100 page rule). I think CLAMP's style is not to my taste -- I can't tell the characters apart, the whiny singing underage love interest is annoying, and I have no idea WTF is going on most of the time. Cool art though.

abr. 27, 2015, 9:37am

14. On a Spiritual Plain by Lou Antonelli

I'm starting to read through the Hugo nominees, and... dear God this thing was awful. Someone needs to tell this guy... it's not because of a conspiracy that you had trouble getting this published.

abr. 27, 2015, 9:40am

15. Totaled by Kary English

This was much better than the previous one I read (yeah, I know, low bar). Decently written, interesting premise, just didn't go as many interesting places as it could have.

abr. 27, 2015, 6:36pm

16. Turncoat by Steve Rzasa

This was just OK. Interesting narrator, sort of. Too much military hardware porn.

maig 4, 2015, 8:59am

17. Nexus by Ramez Naam

I loved everything about this book. The characters, the plot, the themes, the setting.

maig 4, 2015, 7:29pm

18. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium by Gray Rinehart

Continuing the Hugo nominee readthrough with novelettes. This one has an interesting world, but we don't get to explore it much. The story ends at a seemingly random point, weirdly emphasizing the specifics (which seem neither plot-important nor shocking) of a character's death.

maig 4, 2015, 10:23pm

19. Championship B'tok by Edward M. Lerner

I was intruiged by the world and the various mysteries the story sets up. Unfortunately, the story didn't feel complete. (The blurb at the end saying "Read more about this plot in these other stories!" doesn't help that feeling.) I wish someone had taken the time to finish writing it!

Editat: maig 12, 2015, 2:55pm

20. The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Such mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, it employs the lovely device of telling us about a huge global disaster by focusing on a single character's personal tragedy. And it's got a cool magical-realism feel to it. On the other hand, the narrator is a selfish asshole and I can't stand him.

maig 12, 2015, 2:57pm

21. Parasyte, Volume 1 by Hitoshi Iwaaki

Spent some time on the train this weekend, and took the opportunity to return to the pile of physical books waiting to be read. I should have brought more than one! This graphic novel was a fun, quick read.

maig 12, 2015, 9:33pm

22. The Journeyman: In the Stone House by Michael F. Flynn

Ugh. This was so un-compelling and irritating. It took me several tries just to force my way through the first half-page. Eventually finished it, but it wasn't worth even the small amount of time needed to read it.

maig 12, 2015, 10:40pm

23. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale by Rajnar Vajra

This was definitely better than that last one. Reasonably well-told, and the main plot actually felt complete at the end.

maig 19, 2015, 9:43am

24. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

I saw the movie version (in a theatre! very unusual!) when it came out, and I'm glad I finally read the book. This is a book of big ideas and my vaguely-anarchist self loves it. The story's treatment of women is troubling, though.

maig 22, 2015, 8:57am

25. A Single Samurai by Steven Diamond

Another Hugo nominee. This was very disappointing. The story fails completely because the narrator / writing style are completely boring and emotionless. So much so that even events that should be exciting or terrifying or tragic are just 'meh'.

maig 24, 2015, 4:45pm

26. The Parliament of Beasts and Birds by John C. Wright

Upside: I'm finally done reading through the short story nominees! Downside: This story was also terrible.

maig 28, 2015, 9:30pm

27. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Moving on to the graphic novel nominees. This was refreshing and awesome. The characters are great, the story is fun if you don't mind a fair bit of "oh no I'm quadruple-grounded!"

maig 29, 2015, 9:20am

28. Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

This was also super fun. The world felt like a D&D-inspired place, to the point of all the mercenaries being organized into groups of four people of assorted species who go on quests. It's silly and it's exciting and I want to read the next one.

maig 31, 2015, 5:58pm

29. Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction

Rounding out the Graphic Story nominees is this odd little piece. Not something I normally would have picked up, but it's a fun story with an original premise. Lots of fun details in the background art, too. Unfortunately, this first volume is mostly backstory and so the plot doesn't really advance at all by the end.

juny 8, 2015, 6:59am

30. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Picked this up because its sequel is on the Hugo nominee list this year. I'm glad I did! It's an excellent story, and it's right up my alley: a cyborg from a genderless society on a quest to get personal revenge and also maybe save the world.

juny 19, 2015, 9:52am

31. Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

First hugo novel read this year, and it doesn't disappoint. Will definitely pick up the sequel when it comes out in October (i think).

juny 25, 2015, 9:27am

32. Skin Game by Jim Butcher

This was a disappointment. Decent overall plot, but everything else about the writing left much to be desired. Did not live up to the three books I'd read in this series before.

juny 30, 2015, 7:57am

33. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Pretty good swords-and-sorcery/court-intrigue fantasy. I think Maia and Breq would be friends.

jul. 21, 2015, 9:04am

34. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Everyone said such nice things about this book and now that I've read it I'm confused. Sure, it has some interesting ideas, but narratively it's a jumble of exposition with a protagonist who's the least interesting person or thing in the whole novel :/

ag. 1, 2015, 5:48pm

35. Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

Overall I liked this book. With the system of mining the past for resources, Chu manages to do something new with the time travel genre. The characters are morally complex. And the future technology is really neat. I just wish the ending had actually resolved anything.

ag. 17, 2015, 3:18pm

36. The Just City by Jo Walton

This book was really interesting because it was full of big ideas - utopic city! ancient philosophy! set up by gods! - but didn't shrink from exploring how those big ideas affected actual, realistic people. Nothing is sacred, no one is infallible, and the human experiences of marginalized people are at least as important as the whims of gods or the plans of philosophers and city planners.

set. 30, 2015, 9:07am

37. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I loved the first part of this book. It's nonstop action, it's a crazy what-if scenario and how humanity deals with it, it's how a handful of well-drawn characters cope with the end of the world.

The second part... eh. The plot never quite comes together or goes anywhere. It feels like Stephenson is too distracted by all the cool future tech he invented, or perhaps the suspense has just fallen out the bottom of the story. I kind of wished the book had just ended before jumping 5000 years into the future.

oct. 7, 2015, 7:09am

38. Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

I really enjoyed this book. It has a diverse set of well-drawn characters. I like what it does with steampunk -- enough for an interesting setting, but not so much as to overwhelm the story with "and here's another zany steampunk contraption!!". The plot keeps moving, and I didn't know how it would end.

oct. 18, 2015, 9:37am

39. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Absolutely brutal. The main character is sympathetic, but utterly ruthless at the same time. The ending is completely horrifying.

oct. 18, 2015, 10:03am

40. The Angelus Guns by Max Gladstone

Short story about war between angels. Hints at terrible things in the universe. Interesting and sad.

oct. 18, 2015, 10:48am

41. Badge, Book, and Candle (Bookburners, Episode 1) by Max Gladstone et al

This sets up an intruiging world of monster hunters and killer books. I liked it.

oct. 21, 2015, 12:44pm

42. The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys

This story does a great job subverting the standard Lovecraftian narrative. Instead of being a scary subhuman Other, the narrator is humanized and we have to face what's been done to her people.

oct. 31, 2015, 5:28pm

43. Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Interesting modern/aztec setting in the already interesting world of the Craft sequence. Several interesting characters: Teo, Mal, Temoc, the King In Red. Unfortunately, the protagonist Caleb, despite an interesting backstory, is the least interesting person in his world.

nov. 9, 2015, 8:25am

44. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy -- it wraps up the major plot arcs in a way I didn't see coming. The characters are compelling and well-drawn, including the Translator, Sphene, Sievarden, Kalr Five, Tsiwirat, and Breq herself.

des. 10, 2015, 12:33pm

45. Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

I liked this book a lot more than the previous one, primarily because the main characters were way more interesting. The setting was also cool.

des. 11, 2015, 11:51am

46. She Commands Me and I Obey by Ann Leckie

I appreciated this taste of what Breq was doing before we met her in Ancillary Justice. The worldbuilding of this place where elections are decided by ballgame (and also monks are involved? somehow?) was intruiging.

des. 11, 2015, 11:51am

47. Limestone, Lye, and the Buzzing of Flies by Kate Heartfield

A haunting short story about two teenagers and a historical reenactment that is more than it seems. I loved the slowly building tension in this story, which left the right number of questions unanswered.

des. 12, 2015, 5:24pm

48. Night's Slow Poison by Ann Leckie

The Gerentate, mentioned in passing in the Ancillary series, gets a bunch more worldbuilding and development here. It's fascinating to see the differences and similarities between the culture of the Gerentate, Ghaon, and the Radchaai. The main character is compelling and the story is an emotional roller coaster. Excellent.

des. 12, 2015, 5:25pm

49. The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson

A thoughtful story about growing up black in America, racist violence, and confronting family secrets. And magic.

Editat: des. 30, 2015, 5:11pm

50. New X-Men #114-120 by Grant Morrison

Decided to get more seriously into the X-Men comics. This was a good place to start, with a handful of easily recognized characters and few ongoing plot arcs -- and it jumps right in with the crises and mutant-human relations.

des. 29, 2015, 10:17pm

51. In The Woods by Tana French

Picked this up on a recommendation from a friend. I'm glad I did. I devoured this book in just a couple of days. I'll definitely be looking for the next one.

des. 30, 2015, 5:12pm

52. New X-Men Annual (2001) #1 by Grant Morrison

Went back and read the annual I'd missed. Introduces Domino and the U-Men.

des. 30, 2015, 9:03pm

53. New X-Men #121: Silence: Psychic Rescue In Progress by Grant Morrison

Liked seeing more of the relationship between Emma Frost and Jean Grey here. And some tantalizing hints about what's going on with Prof. X...

des. 30, 2015, 9:20pm

54. New X-Men #122: Imperial by Grant Morrison

We're sort of thrown into the Shi'ar story with no context, but all soon becomes clear. The idea of installing new powers on the fly is neat.

Editat: des. 30, 2015, 9:58pm

55. New X-Men #123: Testament
56. New X-Men #124: Superdestroyer

The main plot is advancing, and there are some surprise twists.