What I read in 2016

Yeah, I know. What do you care about 2016? We are way past the end of year posts – but well, bare with me. This is hopefully a way for me to start blogging again.

At the very least, I’ve started reading again after a very long hiatus and well, when I read, I also want to write about what I’ve read. Hence The Literary Bunny. I’ve read 6 books so far this year. Actually, I’ve read 6 books during April and May. And I’m loving it. And compared to the 10 books I read all of 2016, 6 books is a lot.

But enough talk about this year. Let’s look back and see what I did get read in 2016.

raising_steam1Terry Pratchett: Raising Steam (Discworld #40). 3 stars.
I love Terry Pratchett, I love Discworld and I love the character Moist von Lipwig. That said, this was not one of my favorite Discworld novels.
After having created both the post service and a proper banking system, Moist now has to deal with transportation – with trains.
Still, even though this is not the best Discworld novel, there are as always plenty of things to enjoy – like these quotes:
‘Is there something in the word ‘tyrant’ you do not understand?’
‘The Queen appeared as innocent as one of those mountains which year after year do nothing very much but smoke a little, and then one day end up causing a whole civilization to become an art installation.’
‘Don’t force me to draw my own conclusions. I do have a very big pencil.’

333293Stephen King: Song of Susanna (The Dark Tower #6) and The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower #7). Both 5 stars.
The Dark Tower series has been a presence in my life for a very long time. When I was a teenager and started going to the library on my own, I read Christine and Cycle of the Werewolf among others and kept eying The Dark Tower series – but kept waiting for it to be finished before I started reading. I regret not reading it back then but I’m glad that I have now finally read it. I started reading it back in 2012 (!) so it’s actually taken me 4 years to finish the series.
the-dark-tower-stephen-king-2011-a-pThese are so good books! They have so many qualities and I love the alternative reality elements where King himself suddenly shows up in the story and actually incorporates his real life traffic accident and the entire meta layer of Roland v. King. Who actually calls the shot? Fictional Roland or fictional King – or real King?
‘What we’re playing for, Roland, is the ages.’

 

9781922070005Félix J. Palma: The Map of the Sky (Trilogía Victoriana #2). 5 stars.
The second book in the series – and just as mad a ride as the first one. I love the mixing of alternative reality with fantasy elements. This one, starring both Edgar Allan Poe and H.G. Wells, is similar in many aspects to the first one but is still it’s own thing. The plot twists may not be quite as clever as in the first one but this might just be because I’m now more familiar with his writing style and crazy creativity. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

41fCzBniKSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Marjorie Celona: Y. 5 stars.
Oh man, I wish I had taken notes when I read this book. I remember loving it and thinking it was quite different from the other books I’ve read this year but I can’t quite remember that many details from it. And that makes the book perhaps seem not worth reading which is not my intention.
It goes into some quite heavy subjects – is it ever the right thing for a mother to give up her daughter?
It was a good read!

s-l400Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (I read the Danish version: Rosens Navn). 4 stars.
I am a big fan of reading the book before watching the movie – or tv series (still haven’t watched Game of Thrones!) but in this case, I watched the movie years ago and only now got around to reading the book. So my book had Sean Connery in it – which is not surprising for anyone who has watched the movie, I guess. And it is a great story. The killing of monks, the danger of knowledge, the clever old monk, the not so clever young monk. It is a great story. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is, that I feel it is a bit heavy. It’s a demanding read and at some points, it didn’t quite keep my attention (which might say more about me than the book, actually).
11174642._UY200_Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1), Shadow of the Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) and The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3). 4 stars, 4 stars and 5 stars respectively.
One of my colleagues got me reading this series. She absolutely loves it and actually owns several copies of it.
I bought the first volume some time ago but never got around to reading it. Finally I started to read it – and then had to pick the two next volumes up so I could read them, one immediately after the other. It has become quite a thing I do  – to buy the first volume in a trilogy to see if I actually want to read it, and then be annoyed later on and not start to read it because I only have the first book…
17270883I preferred the first and third volume though. The second one was a typical middle part of a trilogy and just not quite as interesting to me, despite it’s taking place in Shakespeare’s England. But I did like the time traveling elements and the chance it gave for Diana to know Matthew’s past.
I liked how Harkness introduces her vampires and witches into a modern setting and letting them just be a part of our world.
I adored Diana’s family house and her family and how the house kept secrets and things until it deemed it time to release them. And also Matthew’s family!
510BYyiGPdL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_The entire story of how to come into your own and learn who you are at the same time as you struggle with coming to terms with a love that is not supposed to be and which many people have an interest in preventing – and will go quite far to stop, actually – was very enjoyable and I think Harkness succeeded in creating a modern day version of a vampire story that is actually quite good.
I’m looking forward to the movie, whenever it might be out – and also the next book in the series, out later this year, supposedly.

9780007448036George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1). 5 stars.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t watched Game of Thrones yet – which is actually quite an accomplishment! And something my boyfriend hates me for because I’ve made him wait alongside me until I finish the books… So finally, I started. And of course, I enjoyed it. I wish I had read it earlier before knowing so much about the plot but it still captured my attention very much.

These are the 10 books which made my 2016. Mostly great reads. Mostly fantasy – which is my genre of choice, especially when I’m not reading much and trying to get back into reading.

So except for the low number of books, it was actually a really good year!

 

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Top Ten Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

toptentuesday-1So this week the Top Ten theme is Top Ten Series you want to start reading but for some reason haven’t got around to yet. I thought this would be piece of cake but it turns out that I have read the first book of a lot of series – without reading any further. So such a Top Ten would have been easier. Especially because – we already did that one. Back in September: Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished. And I actually made a bonus list back then of 4 series, I hadn’t started yet – so that did make this post a bit easier, well, not so hard. And then I looked a bit closer at my book shelves and well, turned out it was rather easy to put this Top Ten together.

As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There’s about a billion participants each week so go check out some of the many others if you are keen to find a new series to read.

I already own at least parts of the first 7 series mentioned below so really, I have no excuse for not starting to read them sometime soon!

  1. George R.R. Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire. Do I really have to explain myself here? Maybe rather try to explain why I, a self-proclaimed fantasy lover, haven’t read this one yet? Or watched the tv series? Well, I have no explanation and now, I own all the published books of this so I hope to get around to at least start reading it sometime this year.
  2. Robin Hobb: The Farseer Trilogy. This is about a boy and his dog, roughly put. I have been told that it will make me cry. Not just a little bit, but full on ugly cry. That’s why I have put it off. But I have also been told that I will absolutely love this story of the bond between human and animals – so we’ll see which one will win out. Maybe it will be both!
  3. Patrick Rothfuss: The Kingkiller Chronicle. I’m trying to wait with this one until the final one in the trilogy has been published. I have been told that it has quite a bit of cliff hangers and that it’s insanely good so I’m really trying to not read it before they are all out. It’s the story of a powerful wizard, how he became to be so powerful and how he ended up a fugitive.
  4. Ken Follett: The Century Trilogy. Whatever I have forgotten or never known about 20th century history, politics etc, I expect to learn from reading this novel. I really enjoyed The Pillars of the Earth, so I expect to enjoy this one quite a bit – especially because I find the 20th century of more interest than the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages… – even if that turned out to be rather exciting!
  5. Deborah Harkness: All Souls Trilogy. This is supposed to be the intellectual’s Twilight. I like Vampires (Buffy, anyone?) but I have no intention of reading Twilight, ever! So this book about a young woman, a witch I think, who stumbles upon a bewitched manuscript which unleashes hordes of vampires, demons and witches, sounds right up my alley. I have heard both good and bad about this one so not sure if it will be a good read but I’m definitely going to give it a go!
  6. Jasper Fforde: Shades of Grey. I have the first one of this trilogy – and it’s the only one published so far and the next one is not due out before 2015. So I have no guilt about not having started this one yet. Only thing is – I really want to read it soon because it sounds so cool. A society where your social status is determined by your ability to see colors? Fascinating!
  7. Neal Stephenson: The Baroque Cycle. I own Quicksilver, the first one of this trilogy of huge books. It’s historical fiction, it’s about philosophy, religion and history and I don’t know what’s not a part of this book. I think it’s a very demanding book and that’s probably why I have put it off. But I want to give it a go – I think it will be a rewarding, though difficult, read.
  8. Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, Maddaddam: I don’t know if this series has a name. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? I just want to read these – in part, because I want to explore Atwood some more since the two novels I have read by her (Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tale) have been really good, but also because Oryx and Crake is another post-apocalyptic tale from Atwood, this time about possibly the last human – and it just sounds really interesting.
  9. John Updike: The Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom series. I just wrote about this one the other day when I rented the first one at the library. I’ve been wanting to read this for years! You just keep hearing about this one! It’s supposed to be so good and Updike is supposed to be one of the best contemporary (although now dead) American authors. I have only read one of his novels, Terrorist, so I really have not much of an impression of Updike. He is another author I want to explore so really, it’s about time I get around to the Rabbit books.
  10. Jacqueline Carey: Phèdre’s Trilogy. This erotic fantasy about a young woman, part spy and part courtesan, is supposed to be really, really good. I have been hearing about it for years but am yet to buy and read it. I almost bought it last time I was in Paris and saw that W.H. Smith at Place du Concorde had the entire trilogy – but I ended up not buying it because I thought it would be easy enough to get it later and I had already picked out way too many books… I will read this one at some point!

Quite a bit of fantasy on my list, I think. It’s great because I love fantasy – I just don’t feel I have the time to commit to reading three books (or more!) in a row (which is silly since I can easily enough commit to reading huge, difficult books that take way more time than reading a fantasy trilogy). Anyway, I hope the making of this list will make me remember, that I actually really want to read these books!

Which series are on your list?

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Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished

So yeah, I like series. I mostly read fantasy series and I love diving into a completely different world and explore it through multiple books. It all began with the DragonLance shared world series. I fell in love with both the world and fantasy while reading Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weiss’ books.

As usual, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. And did I mention this is the fifth week in a row I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday. And there are a lot of us, check out The Broke and the Bookish blog to see the links to the other participant’s blogs.

So most of these series are fantasy series – but there are other series I enjoy as well. Here’s my top 10 – with a bonus at the end.

  1. Adrian Tchaikovsky: Shadows of the Apt. A wonderful refreshing fantasy series set in a world with insect kinden. The praying mantis are assassins, the beetles are hardworking people, the mosquitos are vampires etc. It’s the usual story – band of unlikely heroes goes against the big bad. But the insect kinden makes all the difference and makes it interesting. I’ve read the first four in this series of ten and enjoyed them all.
  2. Robert Jordan: Wheel of Time. Sighs. Every fantasy reader knows this series. And I think everyone agrees that it’s way longer than it had to be. I’ve read the first four and they are not great. They are okay but I have my issues with them – especially because Jordan repeats himself. Every time a character appears, he looks at his character description and says ‘oh yes, the girl with the braids’ or whatever and then he writes that. Every single time. I can’t really say why I keep reading them but I do. I plan on finishing the series – as far as I can tell the last books in the series, the ones not written by Jordan, actually get better…
  3. Diana Gabaldon: Outlander. A woman accidentally stumbles upon an opening to the past in Scotland, goes back and has great adventures and falls in love. I’ve read the first two and really need to get more of these. I sort of tend to forget how great this series is but it is actually really good and I enjoy reading them.
  4. Carlos Ruiz Zafón: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Just the name of this series is amazing. I’ve read the first of the trilogy and it was a very very good book. I want to read it again and then read the rest of the trilogy in succession. Luckily, I own all three.
  5. Lev Grossman: The Magicians. Harry Potter, Narnia… This is kind of a mix-up between the two. I liked the first and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. I have the second one, the third has not yet been published.
  6. Anne Rice: The Vampire Chronicles. So everyone knows Lestat and Interview with the Vampire. And that’s what I know too. I’ve read that one and seen the movie. And then I didn’t get any further. I have The Vampire Lestat and I also have Pandora and Vittorio, the Vampire of the New Tales of the Vampires series. I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire and I want to read further into the series and see what I think.
  7. Jean M. Auel: Earth’s Children. I loved these books. The first one, The Clan of the Cavebear, was so good. And the next two installments in the series were really great too. But the fourth one … The Plains of Passage was just so bad. It just went on and on and on – walking across the plains, detailing the plants, various tribes, sex scenes … But it was clearly just meant to get Ayla and Jondalar from A to B – and it was boring. Still, both Jean M. Auel and I took a break after that and I have the two last books in the series waiting on my shelves and I plan to read them later this year, actually. Hopefully, they will be as good as the first three books!
  8. Gail Carriger: The Parasol Protectorate. I really like this series. It’s steampunk, it’s vampires and werewolves and it’s a a fun, light and very enjoyable read. I only need to read the last one in the series, Timeless. Luckily, Gail Carriger has more books coming out, also set in this world.
  9. Jasper Fforde: Thursday Next. I read the first of these, The Eyre Affair, and I loved it. It was an amazing romp through Jane Eyre and it was so, so good. However, one of the things that made it so good was that I had already read Jane Eyre. So I decided that I wouldn’t read more of this series before I had read more of the classics, Fforde uses in his plots. And that’s what I’m sort of working on. I do look forward to reading the rest of this series!
  10. Various authors: DragonLance. This is series of books based in a shared world. This means that a lot of different authors write these novels and editors are then making sure that chronology and everything else is correct. Or at least supposed to. This shared world concept unfortunately means that not all these novels are of the same quality. I don’t think I’m ever going to read the entire series but I am going to go back and read the main novels and my other favorites from the series again.

And as a bonus, some series I haven’t started but which I’m definitely going to read.

  1. Patrick Rothfuss: The Kingkiller Chronicle. I own the two of these which has been published so far and I expect so much from them. And they look gorgeous!
  2. George R.R. Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire. I’ve seen a few of the tv series episodes and I think that at the right moment, I will just love these. I don’t own any of them yet but I will!
  3. Robin Hobb: The Farseer Trilogy. My best friend Henrik told me years ago that he thought I would love this if I could stomach it. I think these will be so good – if I don’t ruin them by tears…!
  4. Deborah Harkness: All Souls Trilogy. I own the first of these and I think it’s going to be a really great read although I have read both good and bad reviews of it.

Pratchett & Harkness

So I’ve bought a couple of new books. I was in Odense yesterday and there’s an all right bookstore so I of course had to go – and I was determined to buy something. So even though there wasn’t any of the books I’m really itching to get my hands on, they still have a couple of all right books that I would have bought sooner or later anyway.

Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors and I love the Unseen University and the wizards. So of course it was only a matter of time before I bought Unseen Academicals (Discworld # 37). This is Pratchett’s football novel and it came out around the time of the World Championships in South Africa. Of course, Pratchett’s take on football is quite different from … well, from anybody else’s really so there’s no way this isn’t going to be very funny.

About the book:

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork – not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they’re in the mood for trying everything else.

The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever.

Because the thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.

Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

The second book I got was one, I’ve heard both very good things about – but also very bad. Deborah Harkness is a professor of history and A Discovery of Witches is her first novel. I hope it’s an intelligent take on the vampire genre and that she has written an exciting novel about witches, amperes, daemons, love – and academia. This is the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy – vol. 2 (Shadow of Night) should be out this summer.

About the book:

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.

For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.

Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.

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