T5T: Books on my 2018 bucket list

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic:

JANUARY 9TH – Top 5 books on my 2018 bucket list

I’ve taken the topic to mean books that you’re prioritizing for 2018 and will absolutely, positively read this year. I’ve opted for books that were mostly hold-overs from 2017, and possibly earlier than that, some of which overlap with my 2018 reading resolutions, to read more classics and to read what I own.

272460685. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Pushkin’s short novel in verse has been on my reading list for a few years now, because it’s a story I’ve seen and loved in other forms. It was while watching the National Ballet of Canada dance the classic John Cranko-choreographed adaptation of Onegin that I fell for ballet as an art form. I was spellbound by the female lead, Tatyana, who begins the ballet as a country girl who has to be dragged away from her novels to greet company and felt empowered by the end of the ballet, where Tatyana doesn’t die, but holds a position of power over the (quite frankly rather dickish) Onegin. More recently, I caught a new Canadian musical based on the story that was one of my favourite theatre experiences of the year! By now I know the elements of the plot and characters well, but like any bookish blogger, I really want to read the original!

676974. Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault
Historical fiction is one of my preferred reading genres. Several years ago, I went looking for recommendations to read some of the more foundational authors in the genre, hoping to find well-researched and well-written titles. Some I took to heart, like Sharon Kay Penman and Dorothy Dunnett, but although the name Mary Renault often came up, I’ve still never read any of her books. A few friends have told me how much I would love her works, and I even picked up Fire From Heaven and The Persian Boy at a used bookstore last year, so I have no excuse! Fortunately, owning copies just means that Fire From Heaven can count towards one of my 2018 reading resolutions, to read what I own. Although I’ve heard it’s dense, I fully expect to love this book, and I can’t wait to tackle it later this year!

AssasinsApprentice3. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
In 2017 Assassin’s Apprentice made a lot of my ‘series I’ve been meaning to start’, ‘top of the TBR’, kinds of lists. Yet here we are in 2018 and I STILL haven’t read it. A few book bloggers I follow made their way through the fantasy series last year and seemed to love it, and friends offline have recommended it to me, so I am determined – 2018 will be the year I finally pick up a Robin Hobb book! I actually have copies of the first few books too, thanks to a friend who permanently moved to New Zealand and gifted some of the books she couldn’t take with her to me.

320756712. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The book everyone was talking about last year was The Hate U Give. I intended to read it. I moved up the holds list at the library. I looked forward to it, yet it never quite reached the top of my TBR, despite the raves. My only excuse is that I’m really not much of a YA Contemporary reader, but there are a few notable exceptions and I suspect this is one of them. I’m making this important book a priority for 2018, and am planning to read it in February!

110161. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I always get the same reaction from friends when they learn that I, a former English major and current enthusiastic reader, haven’t picked up Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece. “You haven’t read Jane Eyre?” they ask in disbelief, jaws hanging open. To be honest, I’m a little surprised too. Somehow I never encountered it in high school or university and, although Jane Eyre is one of those rare classics that seems to be beloved by its readers, I rarely read classics after completing my degree. Now, as I make a conscious effort to choose a variety of reads and tackle some of the classics though, Jane Eyre is undoubtedly at the top of my list.

Have you read any of these? What are the titles you’re prioritizing this year? Comment and let me know!

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T5T: New to Me Authors in 2017

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Bionic Book Worm.  This week’s topic:

DECEMBER 12TH – Top 5 (OR 10!) new to me authors in 2017

In an attempt to branch out of my comfort zone, I read a lot of works by authors I hadn’t previously discovered. Here were my top five favourites of the year, and another bonus five authors that I was also happy to discover:

253532861. Ann Leckie
As someone who keeps, at least vaguely, tabs on what’s happening the world of science-fiction and fantasy books, Ann Leckie’s name has been on my radar for ages. Each year, her Imperial Radch trilogy seemed to be on my TBR but I never quite got around to reading them. So this year I finally picked up Ancillary Justice. I loved it. The world building was exquisite, different from anything else I’d ever read before, and the use of default female pronouns through me for a loop. Two of Leckie’s books, Ancillary Sword and her standalone novel Provenance, will make my Top 10 List of the best books I’ve read in 2017, which makes her my favourite new author discovery of the year!

332532152. John Boyne
I’ve only read one of Boyne’s novels so far (I’m planning to read The Absolutist before the end of the year), but what a novel it was! From its first page The Heart’s Invisible Furies hooked me with its black humour, cynical criticism of the Catholic Church, and flawed but fascinating characters. I loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies so much that it’s in contention for my favourite book of the year! I can’t wait to dive into The Absolutist and have my heart broken by John Boyne once again, and I will definitely be going through his back catalog and reading the rest of his works over the next few years.

2qir5w73. Becky Chambers
I don’t read much in the way of science-fiction, I really prefer fantasy, so it says a lot about the caliber of the authors’ work that there are two science-fiction writers in my Top 5 this week! Becky Chambers’ cozy sci-fi novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a character study in which very little actually happens, but you don’t even care because the characters are so damn enjoyable. It reads more like a series of vignettes that concentrate on the relationships between crew members on a rundown spaceship than it does a novel with any overarching plot. It works surprisingly well, but I was even more taken with her sequel. I found something empowering in reading the parallel narratives in A Closed and Common Orbit about young women who are shaped by tragic pasts, but who start over, gain autonomy, and shape their own identities. I was genuinely moved by both novels in her Wayfarers series and look forward to reading more by Chambers in the future.

Pachinko4. Min Jin Lee
Although I’ve only read one of her novels, I loved Pachinko so much that I would pick up any new novel she writes based on the strength of it alone. A multigenerational novel about an ethnic Korean family living in Korea under Japanese rule and then in Japan itself, it’s an evocative beautifully written book that I would recommend to absolutely everyone. Lee has a way with words, and although the book appears daunting due to its length, it’s a quick read with prose that is simple, yet elegant. Where Pachinko really excels though is in its depiction of characters who are kind, flawed, and hard-working. I look forward to seeing what else Min Jin Lee can do in the future.

255288015. E. K. Johnston
I absolutely loved Exit, Pursued by a Bear. I’m so sick of stories where rape is used as plot device or to show how dark and gritty a world is, but Johnston’s story is focused on the girl impacted by sexual assault. She refuses to be a victim, and the narrative empowers her at every turn, putting the decision about how to move past what’s happened to her and what to do about the assailant in her hands. Exit, Pursued by a Bear also gives protagonist Hermione a rock solid support system. It’s absolutely brilliant. I was less impressed by That Inevitable Victorian Thing, but the creativity in concept and diversity in the novel was terrific to read about. Of course I also love that she’s a Canadian author!

Honourable mention to:

Lisa See – I’ve only read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, but I really enjoyed it and have been told that it’s not her best work, so I will definitely read more of her books in 2018.

Adam Silvera – I often find YA a little light and fluffy for my tastes, so what a relief to find Adam Silvera’s work! I adored More Happy Than Not, which is unusually bleak for the genre, yet fascinating to read. I wasn’t as taken with the other book of his I’ve read, History Is All You Left Me, but I still solidly enjoyed it and intend to read more of his works.

Katherine Arden – The opinions I’ve read about The Girl in the Tower are more mixed, so I’m cautious about putting her on my list, but The Bear and the Nightingale was such an unmitigated delight. Atmospheric with a protagonist who is brave and intelligent, yet kind, I loved it from the first page.

Anita Amirrezvani – I read The Blood of Flowers, a historical fiction novel about carpet weavers in 17th century Iran (Persia), recently and loved the flowing prose and the elegant world building. The setting was a completely unique one for me, and such a refreshing change from the usual England and European-set hist fic novels. I see she has another novel about Persia, which I intend to read next year.

Kathryn Ormsbee – Tash Hearts Tolstoy resonated so much with me for its positive asexual representation. I don’t know if this is a one-off, or if more asexual characters will appear in her work, but it was also a charming YA novel in its own right. I would definitely pick up future work by Ormsbee.

Have you read books by any of these authors this year? Which new (to you) authors did you discover in 2017? Let me know in the comments!

T5T: Books on my TBR the longest

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Bionic Book Worm.  This week’s topic:

NOVEMBER 14TH – Top 5 books that have been on my TBR the longest

Like most book bloggers, my TBR list is miles long and seems to get longer by the day. Looking through my goodreads ‘to read’ list I picked out some of the earliest entries that I still intend to read in the next few years. Without further ado, here are some of the oldest entries on my TBR:

110161. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre is one of those classics that I’ve been meaning to read for probably a decade. I can’t believe I got through an English major, including a Victorian Lit class, without reading this one! Sure I’ve seen the most recent film, and the BBC miniseries (which I really enjoyed), but as we all know, the book is usually better, and I just know this is one classic I’m going to enjoy!

40145002. Falls The Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman
I read the first book of her Welsh Princes trilogy, Here be Dragons, in 2012 and really enjoyed it. Set in thirteenth century Wales, the characters were great, the historical aspects were well researched, and the plot engaging. I’ve been meaning to get back to this series for awhile, but it fell victim to timing. See Here be Dragons was the last book I read before I started The Lymond Chronicles, the dense six-book historical fiction epic that ate my life for six months, and then continued to do so while I re-read, and fought the urge to re-read, and re-read. At this point it’s been five years, so I’ll probably have to re-read Here be Dragons, before I can finish the trilogy, but it’s definitely on my list!

3. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
2054I was introduced to Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled detective Phillip Marlowe in a Detective Fiction class during my undergrad. The Big Sleep immediately captured my attention with its unusual and evocative metaphors and similes, its depiction of seedy Los Angeles, and the atmospheric noir style. I’ve been meaning to read more of Chandler’s work for awhile now, and The Long Goodbye seems to be one of his better known works, so I thought I’d start there.


4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
7126Along with Rebecca and Jane Eyre, The Count of Monte Cristo completes my trilogy of classics I actually want to read and fully believe that I will enjoy. Dumas is often held up as a pillar of adventure/historical fiction and I know he was a favourite author of Dorothy Dunnett’s, which is enough to put him on my to-read list on its own! Wrongful imprisonment, betrayal, and revenge, what’s not to like?! After War and Peace I think I need a break from doorstopper books for a few months, but hopefully I will get to this at some point next year!

5. The Last Great Dance on Earth by Sandra Gulland
651908I really need to finish the historical fiction series I start! Like Sharon Kay Penman’s Welsh Princes trilogy, this is a series where I read the first book (and I think the second?) in 2010 but never finished, despite really enjoying this story, which focuses on the life of Napoleon’s wife Josephine Bonaparte. A friend of mine recently read the series and loved it, which reminded me of how I need to get on this. Again, I think it’s been so long that I’ll have to re-read the entire series first, but I’d like to read more historical fiction next year anyway.

How about you? What books have been on your TBR the longest?

 

T5T: Book Quotes

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Bionic Book Worm.  This week’s topic:

OCTOBER 24 – Top 5 book quotes

Rachel and Steph can attest to the fact that narrowing down the multitude of favourite quotations to just five choices was a Herculean task. Asking a book lover to pick just five favourite quotes seems on par with selecting only five books to read for the rest of our lives! Nonetheless, here are some of my favourites (and I’ve only cheated a little bit this time!):

~ 6 ~

The leaves rustled, close and protective, pressing up against his ears, curled in his fists. They didn’t mean to frighten. They only ever tried to speak his language and get his attention. It was not fearsome Cabeswater’s fault that Adam had already been a fearful boy when he’d made the bargain.

“You think they’re gonna look at you and see an abused kid? Do you even know what abuse is? That judge will’ve heard enough stories to know a whopper. He’s not gonna blink an eye.”

The branches leaned toward Adam, curling around him protectively, a thicket with thorns pointed outward. It had tried, before, to cling to his mind, but now it knew to surround his body. He’d asked to be separate, and Cabeswater had listened. I know you are not the same as him, Adam said. But in my head, everything is always so tangled. I am such a damaged thing.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Have I mentioned that Adam Parrish is one of my favourite characters in all of literature?! Adam’s thought at the end of this passage always make my stomach clench in pain, but it’s such a beautifully written part and I love the development of his relationship with Cabeswater.

~ 5 ~

Jack: How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.

Algernon: Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.

Jack: I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Earnest was my first taste of Oscar Wilde’s famous wit. I originally encountered the play in high school and now, more than ten years later, this ridiculous scene of frivolity between the anxious Jack Worthing and his rogueish friend Algy Moncrieff still makes me smile.

~ 4 ~

Cosette, though from another cause, was equally terrified. She did not understand; what she saw did not seem possible to her; at last she exclaimed, “Father! What can that be in those wagons?”
Jean Valjean answered: “Convicts.”
“And where are they going?”
“To prison.”
At this moment a the cudgeling, multiplied by a hundred hands, reached its climax; blows with the flat of the sword joined in; it was a fury of whips and clubs; the prisoners crouched, a hideous obedience was produced by the torture, and all fell silent with the look of chained wolves. Cosette trembled all over; she asked, “Father, are they still men?”
“Sometimes,” said the man of misery.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Hugo’s writing is such that there are several Les Miserables passages that could go here, but this often overlooked passage hits me right in the heart, as ex-convict Jean Valjean is confronted with a visceral reminder of his past, while adoptive daughter Cosette, who remains ignorant of his status as an escaped convict, is by his side. Fun Fact: This is actually the passage I chose to have printed on a custom book scarf several years ago!

~ 3 ~

“You’re Jude St. Francis. You are my oldest, dearest friend. You’re the son of Harold Stein and Julia Altman. You’re the friend of Malcolm Irvine, of Jean-Baptiste Marion, of Richard Goldfarb, of Andy Contractor, of Lucien Voigt, of Citizen van Straaten, of Rhodes Arrowsmith, of Elijah Kozma, of Phaedra de los Santos, of the Henry Youngs.
“You’re a New Yorker. You live in SoHo. You volunteer for an arts organization; you volunteer for a food kitchen.
“You’re a swimmer. You’re a baker. You’re a cook. You’re a reader. You have a beautiful voice, though you never sing anymore. You’re an excellent pianist. You’re an art collector. You write me lovely messages when I’m away. You’re patient. You’re generous. You’re the best listener I know. You’re the smartest person I know, in every way. You’re the bravest person I know, in every way.
“You’re a lawyer. You’re the chair of the litigation department at Rosen Pritchard and Klein. You love your job; you work hard at it.
“You’re a mathematician. You’re a logician. You’ve tried to teach me, again and again.
“You were treated horribly. You came out on the other end. You were always you.”

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life destroyed me, as I suspect it does just about anyone who makes it through. Yanagihara’s prose is so devastatingly beautiful that again there are any number of quotes I could choose. I had enough distance from this book that a particular quote didn’t instantly spring to mind and I was leaning towards one on friendship (which I also love) but then I scrolled by this one and every single one of those feelings came rushing back. It’s such a beautiful passage. More moving in context, but still wonderful.

~ 2 ~

“Inej turned to go. Kaz seized her hand, keeping it on the railing. He didn’t look at her. “Stay”, he said, his voice rough stone. “Stay in Ketterdam. Stay with me.” She looked down at his gloved hand clutching hers. Everything in her wanted to say yes, but she would not settle for so little, not after all she’d been through. “What would be the point?”
He took a breath. “I want you to stay. I want you to… I want you”.
“You want me.” She turned the words over. Gently, she squeezed his hand. “And how will you have me, Kaz?”
He looked at her then, eyes fierce, mouth set. It was the face he wore when he was fighting.
“How will you have me?” she repeated. “Fully clothed, gloves on, your head turned away so our lips can never touch?”
He released her hand, his shoulders bunching, his gaze angry and ashamed as he turned his face to the sea.”
Maybe it was because his back was to her that she could finally speak the words.
“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Gah! Do I really need to say anything more? All the building sexual tension, the reliance that these two characters have on each other and the feelings between these them, which have always been present, but never before voiced, and it comes to a head in this wonderful scene. Inej’s last line gets me every time.

~ 1 ~

“Go away and bleed to death,” said his onetime saviour sharply. “On behalf of the female sex I feel I may cheer every lesion.”

“Remember, some live all their lives without discovering this truth; that the noblest and most terrible power we possess is the power we have, each of us, over the chance-met, the stranger, the passer-by outside your life and your kin. Speak, she said, as you would write: as if your words were letters of lead, graven there for all time, for which you must take the consequences. And take the consequences.

Queens’ Play by Dorothy Dunnett

In my eyes, Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond series is sheer mastery of the craft of writing. There’s a reason so many prominent authors (including Ellen Kushner, Leigh Bardugo, C.S. Pacat, and Guy Gavriel Kay) admit to being inspired by her works! I could easily create a Top 5, 10, probably even 50 Lymond quotes. I don’t think these are my favourites of all time, but they fit better out of context, and aren’t a page or two in length. The two I’ve chosen also complement each other well. Both quotes are words said by the same character in the same book. Margaret Erskine is a great underappreciated minor character who speaks plainly to Francis Crawford of Lymond. I would love to steal the words in her first quote to use against someone particularly heinous, but it’s the advice she gives in the second about the impact we can have even over acquaintances and people who barely register in our lives, and how devastating the impact can be should we abuse or remain ignorant of the power of our words, that stays with me, and with Lymond.

Those are some of my favourite quotes of all-time, what are some of yours? 

Top 5 Tuesday: Favourite Book Covers

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Bionic Book Worm.  This week’s topic:

OCTOBER 17 – Top 5 Favourite Book Covers

As much as we all try not to judge books by their covers, we definitely do take notice of books with fabulous cover designs, so this week’s topic is a great opportunity to show off some of our favourite covers! Without further ado, here are my choices:

5. The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon     The Shadowed Sun

I adore the vibrant colours in this pair of covers that make up N.K. Jemisin’s Dreamblood Duology, a fantasy series based in Egyptian mythology. Admittedly I’m not someone who tends to actually judge a book by its cover or choose to read one based on its art, but these gorgeous covers by designer Lauren Panepinto and artist Cliff Nielsen are striking! I also love how the book title is worked into each design in a way that’s clear, and yet not obtrusive.

4. The Book of Three, The Castle of Llyr, and The High King by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three   Castle of Llyr    The High King

I’m cheating a little bit here by naming a whole series, but some of the first book covers that I fell in love with were these covers of Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, a series loosely based on Welsh mythology. The vibrantly coloured illustrations by Jody Lee on these editions published in the 1990s are gorgeous. My favourite covers belong to the first, third, and fifth books in the series, which so vividly bring to life characters like Taran, the assistant pig-keeper who longs for adventure and glory, oracular pig Hen Wen, Princess Eilonwy of the red-gold hair and her glowing “bauble”, and the dark enchantress Queen Achren. I feel like it’s rare for illustrations to actually depict characters in a series in a way that matches the pictures in your head, but for me this series of covers for the Prydain Chronicles did exactly that.

3. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

15q8eaf

I think Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale is the perfect match between cover art and the feeling that the novel inside creates. I’m usually not much of a seasonal reader, but from the first page The Bear and the Nightingale gave me a feeling of wanting to curl up under a warm blanket, clutching a mug of tea, while snow fell outside on a day where I had no where I needed to be. The cover art for this edition makes me feel exactly the same way. It conveys the fantasy element and feeling of being swept away by a great story, but also the sense of warmth in the midst of a Russian winter.

2. The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

barucormorant

Although the design is fairly simple, I can’t think of a more appropriate cover for this gut-wrenching fantasy about one woman’s attempt to infiltrate an empire and to tear it down from the inside. The design by Sam Weber speaks to Baru’s struggle as she conceals her true emotions and feelings in order to elevate her position, but her experiences threaten to break through her carefully constructed mask and leave her shattered.

1. Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

22055262     20764879     AConjuringOfLight

My favourite book covers of all-time have to be the American Shades of Magic series covers designed by Will Staehle. I love how the covers utilize the colour scheme of the 4 Londons that becomes so significant in the series (Gray, Red, White, and Black), and the map element that’s subtly integrated into each design. The font choice is appropriately fantasy-esque and yet feels appropriately historical for this 1800s set fantasy adventure. I think my absolute favourite thing about these covers is that they are so unique and don’t remind me of anything else.

What are some of your favourite book covers?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Most Read Authors

I’m not much for scary reads or for thrillers, so the multiple weeks of Halloween-themed topics for my usual weekly book tags are leaving me a little cold this month, which is why I’m branching out to join Top 5 Tuesday!

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Bionic Book Worm.  This week’s topic:

OCTOBER 3 – Top 5 most read authors

1. LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD
61900Lois McMaster Bujold has written several science-fiction and fantasy books, most notably her space opera epic The Vorkosigan Saga. I’m still, slowly, working my way through this series, which features the Miles Vorkosigan, a physically disabled, but strategic genius, protagonist. Precocious and gifted, Miles is as skilled at getting himself out of trouble as he is at getting into it in the first place. I’ve enjoyed some books in the series more than others, but have always liked them enough to keep reading. One of the best things about women writing science-fiction is that, in my opinion, they tend to have more developed characters and character arcs than many of the male authors I’ve read in this genre. While Bujold provides space battles, strategy, and alien races, she also provides richly developed, flawed, and engaging characters throughout.

Where to Start: My favourite book of Bujold’s is her fantasy novel The Curse of Chalion. I loved the middle-aged protagonist and found him kind and the kind of person I wanted to root for, and I loved the world-building. I also highly recommend Shards of Honor and Barrayar (sometimes found in a collected edition as Cordelia’s Honor), the first and second chronologically in her Vorkosigan Saga. It features a middle-aged incredibly awesome female protagonist, Cordelia Naismith and a lovely slow burn love story.

2. DOROTHY DUNNETT
112077Dorothy Dunnett was a prolific Scottish author, best known for her six book Lymond Chronicles and for her eight book House of Niccolo books. I’ve read, and re-read, and wept over The Lymond Chronicles. Telling the story of a brilliant, polyglot, bookworm of a Scottish nobleman in 1500s Europe, they are hands-down my favourite series of all time. The Lymond Chronicles left me with the biggest book hangover I’ve ever had, which is probably why I haven’t been able to fully commit to her other books yet. I’ve read the first two House of Niccolo volumes and, while they were good, the plot and the main character, Claes, didn’t grab me in the same way. I fully intend to read the rest of the series at some point, I just need some distance from my beloved Lymond!

Where to Start: Book 1 of the Lymond Chronicles, The Game of Kings. It’s a dense book that takes some time to get into, but give it a fair chance (100+ pages), don’t worry if you don’t understand everything (literally no one but Ms. Dunnett herself does), and trust that the plot, as well as protagonist Francis Crawford of Lymond’s motives, will all become clear in the end, and it will charm you too. Hot tip: don’t try to translate the foreign quotations on a first read.

3. V.E. SCHWAB/VICTORIA SCHWAB
22055262Publishing under Victoria for her YA releases, and V.E. for her adult books, I’ve now read 6 of her books and have enjoyed them all. I have to admit that so far I prefer her adult books. Vicious and The Shades of Magic series are my favourites, but I liked This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet as well. I’m eagerly looking forward to both the Vicious sequel, Vengeful, and to her announced Threads of Power series! Also I follow Ms. Schwab on twitter and I feel like we’d get along really well! If nothing else, we could bond over our shared hated of white chocolate and Earl Grey tea!

Where to Start: If you’d like a standalone about superpowers and dubious morals, try Vicious. If you’re interested in magic, multiple Londons and a wonderful dynamic between a cautious, fretting male protagonist and a bold, knife-wielding female protagonist, try the first book in her Shades of Magic trilogy, A Darker Shade of Magic.

4. N.K. JEMISIN
thefifthseasonI’ve read six of N.K. Jemisin’s works so far and will definitely work my way through the rest of her books. For the last two years in a row, this African-American woman has won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, not an easy task in a genre that is still dominated by white men. The Broken Earth Trilogy, for which she won these awards, completely deserved to win imho. Featuring exquisite world-building, lovely prose, and flawed but engaging characters, this is a series I would recommend to absolutely everyone, and Jemisin is pretty much on my automatic to-read list at this point.

Where to Start: I REALLY enjoyed her lesser known Dreamblood Duology, but I also think the recently finished Broken Earth trilogy is a masterpiece of fantasy, so it depends on what you’re looking for. The Killing Moon is inspired by Egyptian mythology and deals with dreams, the magic of the sleeping mind, and morality. The Fifth Season is a complex work set in a world where Seasons, major climate events, threaten the world’s population every few hundred years, and where Orogenes, who can use the earth’s power to quell the shakes, are systematically oppressed and feared.

5. NEIL GAIMAN
14497In terms of most titles period, Neil Gaiman is one of the authors I’ve read the most, but unlike the other authors on this list, in his case I’ve only read 3 novels (4 if you count Good Omens, which he co-authored). The other 8 are all graphic novels. I definitely think graphic novels count as literature, but because they’re shorter I don’t know that I count them on the same level as reading a full several hundred page novel. Anyway, I’ve opted to put Gaiman on my list, but I have to admit that while the other currently living authors on this list are ones who I eagerly read new material from, I don’t tend to feel rushed when it comes to Neil Gaiman’s work and there’s a lot of his books I still have to read… one day.

Where to Start: If you like graphic novels and haven’t read the wacky and wonderful trip that is Sandman, I highly recommend doing so. Otherwise my favourite book of his is Neverwhere, which involves a hidden London Below that runs through the Underground. It’s definitely more fun if you’ve ever visited London, but is still an enjoyable read.

Honourable Mentions

MAGGIE STIEFVATER, LEIGH BARDUGO, GEORGE R.R. MARTIN, and SARAH MONETTE
I actually have four authors who I’ve read five books from and will read more from in the future, so I’ve included them here. I have to admit that I don’t intend to ever read Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls, but The Raven Cycle and The Scorpio Races are all favourite books of mine.

I enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, but I LOOOVVVED her Six of Crows Duology. I have The Language of Thorns in transit for me at my local library, so I’ll be reading that in October!

Yes, I’m a fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and I hope he does one day finish the series. I’ve also read one of his graphic novels, The Hedge Knight.

Sarah Monette’s Doctrine of Labyrinths series is not for everyone, but it’s among my favourite books ever, as is her standalone The Goblin Emperor, which is published under her pseudonym, Katherine Addison.

Do you have a favourite book by any of these authors? Who are your most read authors?