Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Books of 2013

Once again, I'm going to post the list of books read in 2013 a little early - I finished book 63 this morning and it's highly unlikely that there will be a 64th. Indeed, I rather hope not, as that will knock my plans for 2014 out of alignment. So, here's the list for 2013:

  1. "A Blink of the Screen", by Terry Pratchett
  2. "Master of Devils", by Dave Gross
  3. "Pathfinder: Into the Nightmare Rift", by Richard Pett
  4. "Desolation Island", by Patrick O'Brian
  5. "Pathfinder: The Dead Heart of Xin", by Brandon Hodge
  6. "Strata", by Terry Pratchett
  7. "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", by Thomas Hardy *
  8. "Death's Heretic", by James L. Sutter
  9. "The Fortune of War" by Patrick O'Brian
  10. "Pathfinder: The Snows of Summer", by Neil Spicer
  11. "Song of the Serpent", by Hugh Matthews
  12. "The Bromeliad", by Terry Pratchett
  13. "Pathfinder: the Shackled Hut", by Jim Groves
  14. "A Crown Imperiled", by Raymond E. Feist
  15. "City of the Fallen Sky", by Tim Pratt
  16. "Last of the Gadarene", by Mark Gatiss
  17. "The Surgeon's Mate", by Patrick O'Brien
  18. "Pathfinder: Maiden, Mother, and Crone", by Tim Hitchcock
  19. "Nightglass", by Liane Merciel
  20. "The Ionian Mission", by Patrick O'Brian
  21. "Treason's Harbour", by Patrick O'Brian
  22. "Pathfinder: The Frozen Stars", by Matthew Goodall
  23. "Blood of the City", by Robin D. Laws
  24. "The Long Earth", by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  25. "The Far Side of the World", by Patrick O'Brian
  26. "1356", by Bernard Cornwell
  27. "Pathfinder: Rasputin Must Die!", by Brandon Hodge
  28. "The Reverse of the Medal", by Patrick O'Brian
  29. "The Folklore of Discworld", by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson
  30. "Queen of Thorns", by Dave Gross
  31. "Persuasion", by Jane Austen *
  32. "The Hunger Games", by Suzanne Collins
  33. "The Letter of Marque", by Patrick O'Brian
  34. "The White Company", by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  35. "Pathfinder: The Witch Queen's Revenge", by Greg A. Vaughan
  36. "Called to Darkness", by Richard Lee Byers
  37. "Pathfinder: The Dragon's Demand", by Mike Shel
  38. "Heart of Darkness and Other Stories", by Joseph Conrad *
  39. "Catching Fire", by Suzanne Collins
  40. "Pathfinder: The Worldwound Incursion", by Amber E. Scott
  41. "The Wasp Factory", by Iain Banks *
  42. "Liar's Blade" by Tim Pratt
  43. "The Thirteen-Gun Salute", by Patrick O'Brian
  44. "Only You Can Save Mankind", by Terry Pratchett
  45. "Johnny and the Dead", by Terry Pratchett
  46. "Johnny and the Bomb", by Terry Pratchett
  47. "Mockingjay", by Suzanne Collins
  48. "Pathfinder: Sword of Valor", by Neil Spicer
  49. "The Nutmeg of Consolation", by Patrick O'Brian
  50. "The Blood of Gods", by Conn Iggulden
  51. "Pirate's Honor", by Chris A. Jackson
  52. "The Carpet People", by Terry Pratchett
  53. "Clarissa Oakes", by Patrick O'Brian
  54. "The Wizard's Mask", by Ed Greenwood
  55. "Pathfinder: Demon's Heresy", by Jim Groves
  56. "X-Wing: Mercy Kill", by Aaron Allston
  57. "Dodger", by Terry Pratchett
  58. "The Wine-Dark Sea", by Patrick O'Brian
  59. "King of Chaos", by Dave Gross
  60. "Red Dwarf: Better Than Life", by Grant Naylor
  61. "Pathfinder: The Midnight Isles", by James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan
  62. "Pathfinder: Bestiary 4", by Paizo Publishing
  63. "The Bridget Jones Omnibus: The Singleton Years",by Helen Fielding *

So, a grand total of 63, 5% over my goal at the start of the year. However, the break down of these into my five 'series' is rather patchy - there are twelve Patrick O'Brian novels, fourteen Pathfinders, and twelve Pathfinder Tales, and the Pratchett series is likewise complete (as it turned out there weren't twelve unread books). However, there are only five books from The List, which is rather poor. Still, it's not too bad.

The book of the year is "Dodger". For a long time, it looked like the very first book, "A Blink of the Screen" was going to be the best, with a couple of noble efforts falling at the last hurdle. However, "Dodger" managed to sneak it at the last. Of course, that means that Terry Pratchett managed to write both the top two picks of the year. The worst book of the year was "The Wizard's Mask", which I've blogged about before.

Honourable mention really must go to two particular series. The first of these is "The Hunger Games" trilogy, which really was excellent. Young adult fiction tends to be dismissed by literary types, generally those who can't see beyond "Harry Potter" and "Twilight", but "The Hunger Games" can probably stand up there with "Nineteen Eighty-Four" or "The Handmaid's Tale" as a strong exemplar of a rather unrealistic, but still compelling, dystopia.

The other excellent series is the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. These were universally excellent, although no individual novel quite made it to book of the year. Still, for a series of sixteen (so far) novels to be so consistently so good is incredibly impressive. I both look forward to reading the remaining volumes and am somewhat disappointed that I'm coming to the end.

Next year I'm planning to continue in much the same vein, except that some of my series are at, or close to, the end. Thus, I have six 'series' that I'll be following: the Aubrey/Maturin novels (5 volumes remaining, plus one other by PO'B), Pathfinders (12), Pathfinder Tales (7 or 8 volumes next year), the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary novels (10 plus a short story collection), new books (9), plus books from The List (12). That probably leaves me a little short of the target of 60, but I'm sure I can find a couple of others to fill in any gaps.

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