Tag Archives: Brandon Sanderson

Best Books of 2010

I read.  I read fast, and I read a lot, and I read many varied things.   This year I read 135 books, so from among those, here’s my list of the very best.  (You’re welcome to  check out my full reading list on goodreads.com, right here.)

So, in no particular order:

1) Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King.  Great collection of short stories and novellas.  What Stephen does well is make you care, then rip your heart out.  Bah humbug on anyone who says he’s a “genre writer”.  He’s a master, pure and simple.

2) Anasi Boys, by Neil Gaiman.  I’ve held out on reading this one for a long, long time, because I couldn’t bring myself to squander the ‘first read’ of this book.  I knew it would be brilliant, because Neil always is, and I knew it would break my heart a little to never again be able to read it for the first time.

3) I Am Not a Serial Killer, by John Cleaver.  I have waited for this book my entire life.  Seriously…this is the book I always wished someone would write.  The only thing that kept it from being 100% perfect was the author’s decision to take the second half in a supernatural direction.  We don’t really need imaginary monsters when we’ve got real ones.  But.  Still so wonderful.

4) The Way of Boys, by Anthony Rao.  Non-fiction.  Everyone who has a boy, knows a boy, or has ever seen a boy needs to read this.

5) Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok.  Loved this, gave it to my mother to read, and she loved it too.  You don’t know how amazing that is, but it basically proves that there is no one on this planet who would not love this book.

6) The Temeraire Series, by Naomi Novak.  Okay, I’m cheating a little here, but I’m not listing an individual book.  But this is brilliantly done fantasy, and I couldn’t single out a single title when they all deserve mention.  If you love dragons, you’ll love this series.  If you hate dragons, or are so sick of seeing them in fantasy books you want to breathe fire, you’ll love this series.  If you love fantasy, it’s a given you’ll love this, but you don’t have to love fantasy, because it’s basically not even fantasy at all, but historial fiction.  Whoever you are, and whatever you like, give the first book a try.  I can nearly guarantee within the first few chapters you’ll be hooked.  Thank you, Sara, for giving me the push to read this!

7) World War Z, by Max Brooks.  Remember what I just said above about liking/hating dragons in fiction?  Replace ‘dragons’ with ‘zombies’ and you’ll have the description for why you’ll love World War Z.

8 ) The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.  Our food production has gone to hell in a handbasket, and unless something is done very very soon to change things, we’re all going to be in deep, deep trouble.

9) Wild Stories, by Colin Thompson.  Children’s stories about the wild and domestic life that lives in one house and backyard.  It brought me to tears many times, and completely charmed me at the same time.  It should be a classic.

10) The Passage, by Justin Cronin.  Intense and well-written.

11) Dragon Keeper/Dragon Haven, by Robin Hobb.  Robin Hobb is one of the top five current fantasy writers.  This is an awesome two-book series, bringing us all back to the “Rain Wild” world we’ve loved since her first series. She does some of the best world-building ever.

12) Ottoman Women Myth & Reality, by Asli Sancar.  Truly interesting non-fiction book that blew my old perceptions of what life was like to be a woman (or a slave) under the Ottoman Empire to smithereens.

13) The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson.  Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson are hands-down the two best writers of fantasy alive today.

And there you have it, my most unforgettable reads of 2010!

The Way of Kings

A few months back, Brandon Sanderson posted on his blog that if you work in a bookstore or library, you could send him an email, and he “might” send you an advance reading copy of his to-be released book The Way of Kings.

Since I do, in fact, work at a library, I sent him a carefully crafted email, full of flattery and mentions of his various works so he would know I am a Serious Brandon Sanderson Reader and Not To Be Given False Hopes.  I waited, not hearing anything back, and just when I was resigning myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get a copy, I went in to work and there was a large padded envelope in my mailbox.  I tore it open – and oh joy! – there was my ARC, with a note saying it was “compliments of Brandon Sanderson”.

This is a honking HUGE book, people, even in the ARC paperback; one thousand pages, with maps and fabulous illustrations.  Despite its size, I carried it around me, hauled it back and forth from work, because I could not bear to be parted from it once I had started reading.  It’s just that good, folks, it’s definitely going to make my list of the Best Books I’ve Read in 2010, and unless I read something truly incredible between now and January 1st, it’s going to be in position number one.

Beside the fact that I lugged this monster around me for weeks, one way I can tell how much I loved it is by the way it’s changed my metal slang.  Books do that to me.  Ever since I read the Wheel of Time books (which, btw, are so much better now that Brandon Sanderson is writing them!) my private name for my dreaming worlds is Tel’aran’rhiod.  I call the vitamin C powder I take laumspur, stealing the name for the healing draft from a different fantasy series.  And a few days ago at work, I caught myself mentally calling a nasty customer a cremling as he walked away.   Yes, The Way of Kings is officially hot-linked to my brain.

Here’s the review of it I wrote for Goodreads and Amazon:

Brandon Sanderson fills me with awe. He’s so prolific, so inventive, so exactly what I want to read. I was lucky enough to receive an advance reading copy of The Way of Kings, and from the very beginning I was completely enthralled by this new world he’s created. It’s gritty, realistic, thought-provoking, completely unique, and fascinating. I enjoyed reading every single character’s viewpoint, and that’s a rare thing; usually in books of this length, there are the necessary but somewhat boring chapters woven cleverly in with the exciting ones to keep you reading. This wasn’t at all the case with The Way of Kings; every character was one I was eager to spend more time with. Also rare, Sanderson managed to completely stun with a twist near the very end – one of those perfect twists that are so logical and fit so perfectly into the story that you wonder why you never saw it coming. I love that kind of storytelling, and if you can’t tell, I loved this book. It’s going to the very top of my “Best Books of 2010” list.

This is a must-read, folks.

I Don’t Know How This Escaped Me…

….but Robin Hobb is releasing a new book on Jan 26th – two days after my birthday! (How’s that for a birthday gift?)  She’s one of the foremost writers of fantasy, and after I read her Liveship trilogy, I’ve been desperate for more about the Rain Wild.  My wishes are granted, because this new book is ALL ABOUT the Rain Wild.  It’s called Dragon Keeper.  Here’s a youtube video with Robin Hobb talking about the new book and writing in general:

Also truly exciting in book news is the just-barely-released copy of The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.  I’d be even MORE excited by this, except that by now I feel Brandon Sanderson is wasting his talents on The Wheel of Time.  He’s so much better than Robert Jordan ever was.  Still, I’m grateful for an ending in sight (finally!) to The Wheel of Time saga, and whatever Brandon Sanderson says in the prologue, the story will be better with the reins in his hands.  I’m only a few chapters in, and already I can tell.

And in more personal writing news, I entered a short story in the big Writer’s Digest writing contest, and out of nearly twenty thousand entries, I won an honorable mention.  And not even at the bottom of the honorable mentions; out of 100 winners,  I came in at number 49.  That’s not too bad.  Okay, okay, that last was a failed attempt to be humble.  I suppose you can tell I’m pretty thrilled???  🙂

The Way of Kings

“It’s done.”

Are there any better words that could come out of author Brandon Sanderson’s mouth? Specifically, he’s done with his revision of his own book, “The Way of Kings”.  And it’s going to be released next year!

This is pee-your-pants-with-excitement good.  This is scare-your-dog-by-screaming-in-delight good.  This is I’ve-run-out-of-ways-to-describe-it good.

Brandon says on his blog:  “How did it turn out? Well, to be honest, it’s FANTASTIC. This is a monstrous, beastly, awesome epic of a book.”

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/blog/803/DONE

I adore monstrous, beastly, awesome epics!  And I don’t even have to know anything at all about the contents to know it will be fantastic.  Brandon is just that sort of writer.

This particular book has been a long time coming.  It was going to be published some time ago, but then Brandon pulled it back because he felt it hadn’t reached the required level of monstrous and beastly awesome-ness.  It ended up with a no-cover, no listed information Amazon.com entry.

Well, Brandon’s fans took care of that!  If you want to read some hilarious faux reviews (complete with a hilarious faux book cover) check out:

http://www.amazon.com/Way-Kings-Brandon-Sanderson/dp/B000WH4TIA

Who knows what will happen to those reviews once the real book comes out, so you’d better read them quickly.  They’re worth it.

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Brandon Sanderson

Interview with Brandon Sanderson about his latest novel: Warbreaker.  If you’re a fantasy fan and you haven’t read any of his books, what the heck are you waiting for?

In the interview, he calls his forthcoming book The Way of Kings “the project of his heart”, and judging by the way he lights up as he speaks about it, this one is going to be something spectacular!  I’m getting chills just thinking about it!

A Little Bit of Hope

According to several sources, Scott Lynch’s third book, A Republic of Thieves, is going to be released in Spring 2010.

Yes.

I’m currently reading Brandon Sanderson’s newest, Warbreaker, and good golly molly, if the ending is anything like the middle, this is a book that will vault onto my shelf of favorite books.  It actually reminds me a bit of Lynch’s writing, which is why I’m talking about it now.  The snarky sense of humor is nearly the same, and some of the characters could well exist within Lynch’s world.  This “wheel of time’ thing?  Sanderson really really needs to finish that, so he can stop wasting his creative juices on it.  And I say that as a fan of Robert Jordan’s writing. I think Jordan was terrific, but Sanderson could really be a writer for the ages.

Signed Books

I love getting the mail.

Today, I received my signed copy of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris! This one’s especially cool, because not only did he sign it to me personally, but he also included a lovely message.

elantris

I thought it was funny when Neil Gaiman’s signature looked like “Nei Gul”…well, I can’t begin to even make letters out of Sanderson’s scrawl. It is decorative, though. I have to wonder if it’s one he invented just for signing books, or if it’s the one he’s always used. Can you sign checks with a signature like that, for instance?

I also like how “guy” his writing is. 😆

Next on my quest for signed books, Scott Lynch (assuming he ever comes out of hiding – the guy’s P.O. Box is closed, and his website and livejournal haven’t been updated in over a year) and the most holy of holy signature grails, J.K. Rowling.

I also want signed books from Susanna Clarke, Robin Hobb, Stephen King (nearly as impossible as Rowling), Robert McCammon, and Cody McFadyen.