Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books of the Year 2014

And so we come to the end of 2014. The list below is slightly provisional: there's a slight chance I may yet finish one more book and have to update. However, I suspect "The City" is much more likely to be book #1 of 2015 than to be #63 of 2014. Which isn't a terrible thing, as the next novel is a big one!

Update: Sure enough, I did finish "The City" last night, with about 3 hours to spare. So I've added that to the list and made a small number of changes below.

Anyway, here's the list:

  1. "The Commodore", by Patrick O'Brian
  2. "Ten Little Aliens", by Stephen Cole
  3. "Stalking the Beast", by Howard Andrew Jones
  4. "David Copperfield", by Charles Dickens *
  5. "Pathfinder: Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth", by Wolfgang Baur
  6. "The Yellow Admiral", by Patrick O'Brian
  7. "Dreams of Empire", by Justin Richards
  8. "The Dagger of Trust", by Chris Willrich
  9. "The Wind in the Willows", by Kenneth Grahame *
  10. "The Hundred Days", by Patrick O'Brian
  11. "Pathfinder: City of Locusts", by Richard Pett
  12. "Pathfinder: the Half-dead City", by Jim Groves
  13. "A Memory of Light", by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  14. "Blue at the Mizzen", by Patrick O'Brian
  15. "Festival of Death", by Jonathan Morris
  16. "Skinwalkers", by Wendy N. Wagner
  17. "Scoundrels", by Timothy Zahn
  18. "Pathfinder: Empty Graves", by Crystal Frasier
  19. "The Final, Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey", by Patrick O'Brian
  20. "Little Women & Good Wives", by Louisa May Alcott *
  21. "Fear of the Dark", by Trevor Baxendale
  22. "The Redemption Engine", by James L. Sutter
  23. "The Lovely Bones", by Alice Sebold *
  24. "Pathfinder: Shifting Sands", by Richard Pett
  25. "The Golden Ocean", by Patrick O'Brian
  26. "Players", by Terrance Dicks
  27. "Raising Steam", by Terry Pratchett
  28. "Angela's Ashes", by Frank McCourt *
  29. "Pathfinder: Secrets of the Sphinx", by Amber E. Scott
  30. "Firefly Roleplaying Game: Core Book", by Margaret Weis Productions
  31. "Cross-Stitch", by Diana Gabaldon *
  32. "Remembrance of the Daleks", by Ben Aaronovitch
  33. "The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day", by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen
  34. "Ender's Game", by Orson Scott Card *
  35. "The Crusader Road", by Michael A. Stackpole
  36. "Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Limited Edition Rulebook", by Cubicle Seven
  37. "Solo", by William Boyd
  38. "The Cuckoo's Calling", by Robert Galbraith
  39. "Pathfinder: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep", by Michael Kortes
  40. "Pathfinder: Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh", by Mike Shel
  41. "Earthworld", by Jacqueline Rayner
  42. "Pathfinder: Ultimate Campaign", by Paizo Publishing
  43. "The Grapes of Wrath", by John Steinbeck *
  44. "Pathfinder: Fires of Creation", by Neil Spicer
  45. "The Ocean at the End of the Lane", by Neil Gaiman
  46. "Reign of Stars", by Tim Pratt
  47. "Only Human", by Gareth Roberts
  48. "Beautiful Chaos", by Gary Russell
  49. "Pathfinder: Lords of Rust", by Nicolas Logue
  50. "Bleak House", by Charles Dickens *
  51. "East of Eden", by John Steinbeck *
  52. "Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 Stories", by Various Authors
  53. "Pathfinder: The Choking Tower", by Rob Lundeen
  54. "The Silent Stars Go By", by Dan Abnett
  55. "Winnie the Pooh", by A.A. Milne *
  56. "Nightblade", by Liane Merciel
  57. "Red Dwarf: Backwards", by Rob Grant
  58. "Firefly: Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics", by Margaret Weis Productions
  59. "A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings", by Charles Dickens *
  60. "Pathfinder: Valley of the Brain Collectors", by Mike Shel
  61. "For the Love of God, volume one", by Don Carson
  62. "Holy Bible", by Various Authors *
  63. "The City", by Stella Gemmell

So, that gives a grand total of 63 books, including thirteen from The List (technically, the Bible is on The List, though you can discount it if you want). Of these, there are sixteen RPG books, two re-reads (the Bible and "Backwards"), and I've also completed all of my sub-lists for the year. All in all, it has been very successful.

The book of the year is "The Grapes of Wrath". In fact, I'll go one further and say this is actually probably the single best book I have ever read, pushing Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" into second place. It's really not a comfortable read, but all the more powerful for all that. ("East of Eden" is also a superb book, but on balance I prefer the other. It's close, though.)

The worst book of the year was also an easy choice, being "Outlander". I really didn't like that one!

An honourable mention really must go to the Aubrey/Maturin series, which maintained an extremely high level of quality right to the very end. The final, unfinished volume was something of a disappointment, and so not one I would recommend, but the circumstances behind this provide the obvious explanation. My recommendation would be to stop with "Blue at the Mizzen", which is as perfect an ending for the series as one could wish.

A second honourable mention must go to "A Memory of Light", not because it's a particularly great book in and of itself, but because of what it represents: I've finished "The Wheel of Time"!

Next year I'm aiming to again reach 60 books. Three of the sub-series will continue unchanged: the Pathfinder (12), Pathfinder Tales (6), and Books from The List (12) series will remain intact. Beyond that I don't have specific series planned, though I do have a number of books picked out - there are several new books coming, as well as a number I picked up in 2014 but didn't get chance to read; I'm hoping to tackle the last part of the Musketeer trilogy, which itself is in three volumes; I have several RPG books to read, for the Firefly RPG and the new edition of D&D; and I have the three Shakespearean Star Wars scripts to read.

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