I have had the most abysmal start to my reading year. I bought a bunch of recommended reads, hoping to at last add some new fantasy books to my Best-Books-Ever shelf, and so far, I haven’t had any winners. In fact, at least two of the books I had the highest hopes for might just need to leave and find new homes.
But this month I hit paydirt.
Despondent with my reads so far, I decided to break my famine by choosing an author I love. I read both Good Omens (LOVED) and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Good). But in between that, I picked up three books that are destined to make it onto the Best-Books-Ever Shelf
I don’t name books I put in my give-away pile. The simply didn’t resonate with me, but might resonate with another reader. But when I find books I absolutely love, I have to share them!
The first one is Perdido Street Station, China Mieville. This is an older book (2000), but one that might not have been on my radar if I hadn’t been looking for things that were not quite one genre or another. This is almost epic fantasy in a steampunk world, and I am loving it. It is such a refreshing change from traditional epic fantasy, and I am following it so well, I want to mine the book for techniques I can use to make my own epic fantasy more approachable. Also, one very funny thing about this book—the pages are like nothing I’ve read lately. The feel is almost newsprint. I can’t wait to pick up this book to read because I like to touch those pages.
The second is Hollow Kingdom, Kira Jane Buxton. This is my first woman author going on my best-of-the-best shelf this year! I don’t usually like dystopian fiction, but I loved the non-human MC, the frequent inclusions of poetry composed by animals from elephants to trees, and the ending of the story actually gave me chills. Spectacular. Going on my shelf as a perfect example of how the darkest things in the world, when told with humor, actually have a greater impact than dark things told with doom and gloom.
The third is The Overstory, Richard Powers. I have cried more with this book than any other. Every line is a sword. It has a powerful heart-story that builds in the way that trees grow. Literary fiction isn’t always something I like, but this has such a magical quality to it, that I find myself wanting to slow down as I read, simply to savor the journeys of each unique character and how they come together like the trees make up the forest, individuals that are, in fact, one great organism. This one is going on my shelf as inspiration for all the nature magic I love to write. Also, it takes the cake for excellent characterization for multiple MCs. Through getting to know each person through their own story first, the author makes you feel like you know each strand of the web as it is woven.
So that’s my book round up for this month. I have another pile waiting for me to read soon!