2023 Reading Diary Part 1!


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Book 1: Turncoat (2009) is the eleventh book in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series, and since I’m starting it on the third last day 2022, the last book I start in 2022. And it started with multiple bangs – I think the best start of the series so far. I have heard the books get better. I ended the year at the 12%. There are 17 novels published to date and there will reportedly be 25. There are also a bunch of short stories. I read four in 2022 (books  7-10), and I’ll aim to read more than that his year. I just passed the half way mark on Tuesday afternoon, January 10. It’s been slow going because of work, but I still think it’s my favorite of the series so far. I just wish I had more time. With the busiest part of the winter behind me,  I should finish it over the weekend if not sooner. I finally got around to finishing it just after completing my the winter classes – well, after finishing the first round of winter classes. I enjoyed that, and I was touched by a few events near the end. (Read between December 29, 2022 & January 13, 2023)

Book 2: The Lost Metal (2022) by Brandon Sanderson is the fourth and final book in his Wax and Wane (aka Mistborn Era 2) series which is the second series in his Mistborn saga with two more series planned. And Sanderson is man who delivers on his promised books, so those books, excluding an untimely death, are certainties. So it’s time to wrap up this second series and then sooner or later move onto Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series set in the same universe/galaxy. I plan to start that sometime this year. Enough talk of enormous series of books. it’s time to do some reading. Being less busy really helped my reading speed, and six days of reading did the trick. Well, that was my favorite I think of not only Mistborn Era 2, but of all the seven books that make up both eras. Mistborn Era 3 is years away, but when the first book is released, I’ll by diving right in.  (Read between January 13 & 18)

Book 3: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (2016) by Dennis E. Taylor is the first in his Bobiverse series. I had heard good things about it, and I just couldn’t put it down after about the 20% mark. This is just the kind of enjoyable read I needed after a few months of being quite busy. Now that I have some days off and a lighter schedule over the past few days and continuing for a couple of weeks, I can fly through a few books. I was just captivated by We Are Legion and read most of it the afternoon and evening of January 20. (Read between January 18 & 20)

Book 4: For We Are Many (2017) by Dennis E. Taylor is the second of his Bobiverse books. I had started a Discworld book before going to sleep last night, but upon waking up today, I found I couldn’t resist a return to the Bobiverse to see what happens next. I started it around 11 am and finished it abouy 11 hours later. I honestly don’t remember enjoying a book this much, and I had no choice but to immediately start the next book.  (Read on January 21)

Book 5: All These Worlds (2017) I found a couple of the plots less interesting than the major danger, but I still flew through it and finished it around 2 a.m. the morning of January 22. And although that major plot was resolved, I decided to press ahead with book four. (Read between January 21 & 23)

Book 6: Heaven’s River (2021) This one is taking me a bit longer as it’s about twice the length of the previous books. I finished in the early hours of January 25. Well, it was quite different from the previous three books, but I appreciated the change – less plot lines for one.  (Read between January 23 & 25) 

Book 7: A Change of Plans (2019) I decided to stick with Dennis E. Taylor for one more story, in this case a short story. I enjoyed it, and it did finish with something a twist. (Read on January 25) 

Book 8: Changes (2010) by Jim Butcher is apparently one of the best or the best of The Dresden Files 17 novels published to date, so I decided to not wait any longer. I’m expecting big things and … well.. some changes. I already caught wind of one such change, but that wasn’t really a spoiler if true. Yes, it was true and it was revealed one page one. And yes, I have to agree that was the best novel in the series so far.  (Read between January 25 and 28) 

Book 9: Side Jobs (2011) by Jim Butcher was next. I continued with The Dresden Files as Side Jobs, a collection of short stories and novellas, includes a novella, “Aftermath”, set an hour after the end of Changes, and I just couldn’t not read it as Changes ended with a cliffhanger. I’ll probably save the other stories in the collection for later, but I’ve already decided I’ll read a lot of The Dresden Files this year, and perhaps I’ll catch up on everything published to date and that is five more novels and  more short stories and novellas.  I finished “Aftermath” the day I started it. And then I had a really difficult time deciding what to read next. After a lot of thought, and considering “Aftermath” didn’t concern the actual resolution of the cliffhanger that ended Changes, I decided to continue the series with the next novel, Ghost Story – the short stories can wait. And they waited until March and were read bewteen March 10 ans 13.  I enjoyed those stories and they fleshed out some interesting characters and relationships. (Read between January 28 & March 13) 

Book 10: Ghost Story (2011), the 13th Dresden Files novel was another enjoyable and quick read, and I found parts of the end contained some of the most moving moments of the series to date. I will surely catch up on this series this year. I am, however, a little burnt out on series, and I again had a hard time choosing what to read next. (Read between January 28 & 30)

Book 11: Way Station (1963) by Clifford D. Simak was the book I finally decided was my next book. It wasn’t on my “To-Be-Read” list, but I had heard good things about it. and the author’s name was familair. I think I must have read some of his short stories when I was younger and well before Kindle’s were invented. Once I begun it, I felt I had made a good choice and it was a refreshing change from the recent run of books belonging to series. (Read between January 30 & February 2)

Book 12: Look to Winward (2000) by Iain M. Banks. (Read between February 2 & 7)

Book 13: A Deepness in the Sky (1999) by Vernor Vinge was next. It’s been almost two years since I finished A Fire Upon the Deep by the same author, and since I really enjoyed, it should not have taken me so long to get around to this loose prequel. Well that was one of those books you just don’t want to end. If I made a top ten favorite science fiction books, A Deepness in the Sky would certainly be in it. (Read between February 7 & 15)

Book 14: The Eleventh Metal (2011) is my last remanining story from Mistborn Era 1. I read it one sitting (standing actually) on the subway – it’s a short story.  (Read February 15)

Book 15: Mother Of Eden (2015) by Chris Beckett was next. I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, Dark Eden, and as soon as I started this first sequel, I was reminded how much I enjoyed the first one with its unique world and cast of characters. Mother of Eden is set a few generations after the first book, the events of the first book still reverberating through and influencing the descendants of four maraooned humans on a dark dark planet. I’m almost half way and I’m really enjoying it, especially the sense of dread dread as future conflicts and tragedies become more and more inevitable. (Read between February 15 & 19)

Book 16: Tress of the Emerald Sea (2023) by Brandon Sanderson has been getting some good reviews, so I decided it was my next read. I read a few pages late at night – or rather early in the morning – before falling asleep, and I wasn’t all that into it. But after a few more pages the next morning, I was captivated, and with almost no work to do over the next few days, this should be a quick and enjoyable read. It was and I finished it around 6 am on Thursday morning. (Read between February 19 & 23)

Book 17: A History Of What Comes Next (2021) by  Sylvain Neuvel was next. I have a list of about 40 books I plan to read this year, but this book wasn’t on that list. I had a sudden urge to read something unexpected. The title intrigued me, and I had read positive things about the author’s other books. However, I knew nothing about the plot, and it was nice to dive into a book without knowing what it was about. Last year, I read American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, the early parts of which focused on the developement of rocket technology and then  Operation Paperclip, the secret operation by the US to obtain the services of top German (Nazi) rocket scientists. It came as a nice surprise to discover that A History of What Happens Next in part is a fictionalized account of that project. The book also has a similair theme to the Dark Eden series in that it involves aliens marooned on a planet far from home. And it also explores the history of scientific development – in partular astronomy and mathematics. How those elements combine and the various first person naratives makes this book a unique, unexpected, unforgettable, and immensly enjoyable read. I didn’t realize when I decided to read it that it was the first in a planned trilogy – the third book, For The First Time, Again , is due out in April this year. And as I’ve written before, there is something refreshing and …well new… about reading an author for the first time. Sylvain Neuvel is certainly an author I’ll be exploring further beyond this trilogy. The book was pretty short, so I had no hesitation in going straight to the second book, and I imagine I’ll read the third book as soon as it’s released. (Read between February 23 & 25)

Book 18: Until The Last Of Me (2022) by Sylvain Neuvel was, as mentioned above, next. I read it as quickly as the first book, and the ending left me wishing the third book was already out. I’d read it next if that were the case. Alas, I have to wait. (Read between February 25 & 26)

Book 19: Ship of Fools (2001) by Richard Paul Russo won the Philip K. Dick Award, so it should be good. And it is! The funny thing is I picked it up a few months ago and just read the first few pages before deciding to read something else. I would have continued if I had just read a few more pages.  I’m now about half way through it, and I can hardly put it down. And sadly, this is probably my last quick read for a while with the new semester starting on March 2. (Read between February 26 & 28)

Book 20: The Shadow Of What Was Lost (2014) by James Islington, a fellow Australian,  was unintentionally next. I’ve heard a few mixed things, but mostly positive views – especially regarding the ending of trilogy, The Licanius Trilogy. I had planned to tackle it next year to avoid too many series this year, but I decided to read the first few pages just to see how it began. And I continued on. It’s certainly very readable. I am enjoying it without being totally in love with the story and characters yet, but I can see myself enjoying both aspects more as the story unfolds, and I do already have a favorite character. I’m still really in the set-up and world-building phase of the book, I am however making pretty fast progress. I’m well past the half way mark (68% on the morning of Saturday March 4), and while I continue to read it a reasonably quick pace, I’m not enjoying it as much as other books I’ve recently. Perhaps it’ll end with a bang, but I have a feeling that I won’t be in any particular hurry to continue and then finish the trilogy. Well, the last 20% of the book changed my mind as the pace and intrigue picked up. And to be fair, this was the author’s first book, and a lot of the books I read are by far more experienced authors. And it was very readable – the sentences and dialogue flowed really smoothly.  (Read between February 28 & March 5)

Book 21: Blindsight (2006) by Peter Watts is another recommendation from a BookTuber. I’ve not read any books by my namesake before, and this sounds like a really trippy and unique first contact with aliens novel.Well, that was different, interesting, and deep! And alas, that is the last of my vacation reads. As I type this I’m unsure what I’ll start next, but I do know one thing: a very busy semester is underway. (Read between February March 5 & 9)

Indecisive about what to read next, I returned to Book 9: Side Jobs – a collection of novellas and short stoies (see above) by Jim Butcher as I returned to his world of The Dresden Files. After a couple of stories, I decided on my. next two books, but I’ll finish this before proceeding. (Read between January 28 & March 13) 

Book 22: Brief Cases (2018) by Jim Butcher is the third collection of Dresden Files short stories and novellas and includes the three novellas published in Working for Bigfoot (2015), the second collection, thus making it redundant. I like the cover though, so I’ll include it below but not count it as a seperate book – that would be cheating I read those Big Foot novellas first. They are about Harry Dresden working for, you guessed it, Bigfoot. Two down and one to go as I type this, and I those two are among my favorite Dresden Files stories. I certainly hope I can encounter Big Foot senior and junior in latter books. I’ll read the other stories when the urge grabs me except for the two stories set after novels I’ve yet to read. (Read between March 13 & …)

Book 23: Daughter of Eden (2016) by Chris Beckett was next for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to finish this trilogy (this is the third and finale book in Beckett’s Dark Eden trilogy, and it felt like the right time.
  2. I gradually want to decrease the number of series I haven’t finished, and this is one step on that rather long and neverending journey.

That was a very special reading experience . It is one of those books – like the two previous books in the trilogy – that just had a unique flavor and voice. and it transported me totally – well almost totally to the dark dark world of Eden where the descendants of two marooned humans struggle to survive amid growing tribalism while holding on to a hope that a ship from Earth will return to take them home to a planet they only know from centuries of handed-down stories. And although the trilogy came to a satisfying conclusion, there is one character’s story that is essentially just beginning, and I would love to read more. (Read between March 14 & 17)

Book 24: The Black Cloud (1957) by Fred Hoyle is a book I only first heard of recently. Sir Richard Dawkins described it as one of the greatest SF novels ever written, so why am I only hearing about it now? That’s quite an endorsement, and after reading a summary of the plot, I decided this was a book I couldn’t not read. It’s certainly one of the better science SF books as a lot of the book was down-to-earth scioence mixed with a pretty unique first contact story. I wasn’t as captivated by the tale as Dawkins was, but his enjoyment of the book, as he mentioned in his afterword, was that he is a scientist himself. (Read between March 17 & 19)

Book 25: Cold Days (2012) by Jim Butcher is the fourteenth novel in his The Dresden Files urban fantasy series. I’m making quick progress, and it’s one of my favorites of the series so far. However, I felt things got a little muddled at the end in terms of characters, their powers, and their origins/significance, but on the whole I enjoyed the romp. After completing it, I read the novella “Cold Case” which was published in Brief Cases and set between Cold Days and the next novel in the series Skin Game. I think that’s enough of Harry Dresden and co. for the time being. (Read between March 19 & 23)

Book 26: The Space Between Worlds (2020) by Micaiah Johnson is another more recent SF novel I’ve heard good things about. Admittedly, I was’t too into it, but that changed after the first few chapters. (Read between March 24 & …)

Book 27: Skin Game (2014) by Jim Butcher is the next and fifteenth novel in Butcher’s The Dresden Files series. I’m on a real Dresden Files binge these days.  And for a change, I started while reading the The Space Between Worlds. I had trouble initially getting into that, so I read the first chapter of Skin Game, and then I kept going while often returning The Space Between Worlds. I’ve read two books concurrently before (a novel and a non-fiction or short story collection), but never two novels at the same time. No trouble so far keeping track of the two stories – afterall, it’s normal to watch several TV series at once. Back to Skin Game, I’m enjoying it as its something of a departure being a heist story, Ocean’s 11 style, except the crew are not exactly the best of friends.

With Skin Game now finished, I only have two more novels to read to be up to date. Interestingly, thoe two, Peace Talks and Battleground were both published in 2020, eight years after Skin Game. That would have been quite a wait for those who read Skin Game in 2014! Given the time between novels, this really does feel like the right time to take a break from the Dresden Files – I’ll just read three remaining short stories in Brief Cases. I plan to finish those today – March 31. Then I’ll return to The Space Between Worlds. (Read between March 26 & 31)