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Fall Reading Shortlist

October 6, 2009

My attempt at a summer shortlist was a moderate success. I only read about half of the books I was planning to, even giving myself an extra month’s worth of summer in which to accomplish it. Still, I liked having a box of books by my bed where I could keep my “to be read next” pile. The only problems were a) finding something else on the shelf that appealed more, and b) getting books from the library instead of reading my own!

So, whether or not I stick to it is thoroughly up in the air, but I thought I’d at least make a shortlist of what I’d like to get read in the next few months. Some of these are my own, some are coming from the library, but hopefully having a list will keep me somewhat on track and not too distracted by other shiny new books at the library and/or bookstore. (Hey, I’m trying to be optimistic, here. Really, it could happen. Hey, seriously, stop laughing!)


Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. It’s a big anniversary year, and I’ve been “currently reading” this since March… and the Beagle hasn’t even made it past Brazil yet. Time to get on it.

Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: 1997 ed. by Terri Datlow & Ellen Windling. I don’t even remember when I started this, but I think it’s been over a year. I’ll commit myself to a story per night – and that usually last for two or three nights, and then I don’t pick it up again for ages.


Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan. I can’t help myself. I have to read the new one, so I’m going to have to re-read this one too.

New Releases:

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon. I think I am juuuust past the halfway-point.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer. New Hitchhiker’s book!

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

TBR non-fiction

Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day by Joan Bolker. It’s getting to be about that time… although I’m afraid it’s going to start “how to write your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day… starting in your first year of grad school.”

The Secret Lives of Lobsters by Trevor Corson. Kim’s making her sister read this book, and since I mooched it on Kim’s recommendation, I thought I might read along.

Stiff by Mary Roach. ‘Tis the season.

TBR fiction

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. For review in the next week or so… it might actually make a good break in the middle of the Gabaldon tome.

The Bigamist’s Daughter by Alice McDermott. My advisor walked over to my desk and said “You like novels, right? I think you’ll like this one.”

Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott. I won a copy last spring, spent all summer hearing good things about it, now I really need to read it.

Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett. It’s boats! And short stories! And sciency-related!

In the Woods by Tara French. Maybe it’s just the cover design, but this feels like an appropriate fall read.

The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox. I always feel bad if I don’t get one year’s Christmas presents read by the time the next year rolls around.

The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay. Aww, Guy, it’s been too long.

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Before I forget everything that happened in The Lies of Locke Lamora.

– The rest of the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. So addictive.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2009 7:19 am

    Like you, I often find myself making a list of books to read and will stray from the list. I then make a new list and will stray from that list as well. And on and on it goes! I love going to the library and usually will give my library books priority over my unread, purchased books. I try to limit myself with the number of books I’m allowed to have checked out at a given time, but will find myself going over the limit! It’s an ongoing issue… Nice to hear I have company!

    • October 6, 2009 4:25 pm

      Shonda – I think I have made exactly one list, ever, that I stuck to, and read all but one of the books from. :)

  2. October 6, 2009 7:27 am

    I have been really good and held off buying Her Fearful Symmetry, but I don’t think I can last out much longer. I need to read this book!

  3. October 6, 2009 11:09 am

    I’m highly skeptical of a different author writing a Hitchhiker book, so I’m eagerly awaiting your opinion. Also, I didn’t know that Kingsolver had a new book! What is it about???

    • October 6, 2009 4:29 pm

      Jen – I’m skeptical as well, but I’ve liked the two books of Colfer’s that I’ve read, so I think as long as I think of it as a new Colfer book in the Hitchhiker’s universe, rather than a new Hitchhiker’s book written by Colfer, it should be okay.

      And Kingsolver’s new book (her first fiction since Prodigal Summer, I think!) is coming out at the beginning of november, and according to amazon: “In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.”

      To be honest, I didn’t so much read the summary as go “New Kingsolver fiction? MUST HAVE.” :)

      • October 8, 2009 6:13 pm

        That’s sort of what I think, too. As soon as I heard about it here I went off and put it on hold at the library. I’m 6th on the list, but it looks like they’re getting 5 copies, so hopefully it won’t take too long.

  4. October 6, 2009 11:40 am

    Lots of good titles here. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the Lobster book. :)

    • October 6, 2009 4:30 pm

      Care – Every time I look at it, I automatically make little lobster-claw motions with my hands. Might make it hard to read. :)

  5. October 6, 2009 3:46 pm

    Great list! I’m jealous of Her Fearful Symmetry and Lacuna.

    • October 6, 2009 4:31 pm

      bermudaonion – Well, I don’t actually *have* either of them yet, but they’re books I know I’m going to get from the library. Actually, I’m far enough down on the holds list for The Lacuna that I might not actually get it this fall at all!

  6. October 6, 2009 6:16 pm

    The Lobster book is great; it was such a surprising book for me to read because I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. I also liked Stiff a lot, so both will be really good choices if you get to them.

    I had my reading shortlist books on a chair next to my desk. I just add library books to the top of the pile, but that means it never really gets any shorter :) Good luck with your list!

    • October 9, 2009 9:03 am

      Kim – I had my library books on top of my box of “up next” books – but that meant I had to finish my library books in order to be able to open the box! It’s on the side, now. :)

  7. October 6, 2009 11:35 pm

    Good luck!! Looks like a lot of great titles!

  8. October 7, 2009 9:57 am

    Great idea, doing a shortlist! Might have to steal that from you!

    • October 9, 2009 9:04 am

      Joanna – You’re welcome to it… I know I wasn’t the first one ever to come up with the idea. :)

  9. October 10, 2009 10:56 am

    So many great books on your short-list! I’ve got Darwins’ Origin on my list to read soon – I was determined that 2009 would be the year I would finally read it (ackk only 2 and a half months left.)
    You seem to read the Years Horror and Fantasy nearly the same as me – I read a couple, set it aside, flip through and read a few more, set aside…etc :)

    • October 11, 2009 10:17 pm

      Joanne – As a biologist, I probably shouldn’t be admitting this, but I don’t think I’ve ever read Origin straight through. I’ve read pretty much the whole thing in chunks, but never front to back. *shame!*

  10. October 10, 2009 1:51 pm

    I plan on getting as many of the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror as I can. I really want the earlier ones but my library doesn’t have but the newest. Hopefully I can ILL them…

    Hope you enjoy those Sookie books!

    • October 11, 2009 10:19 pm

      Ladytink – I think I own three? four? of the YBFaH editions, but they’re really random in terms of time – basically whenever I can find them cheap, I’ll pick them up, regardless of year.

  11. October 11, 2009 1:26 pm

    I always stray from my reading lists, but they’re so much fun to make that I keep on putting them together. :) I like yours. You’ve got a lot of good stuff on there.

    I really need to get back to my current YBF&H anthology too. I’m working through the 9th right now, and I’ve only read the summations and one story. I’m thinking of settling down with it for the read-a-thon.

    • October 11, 2009 10:21 pm

      Memory – I really like the idea of using it for the read-a-thon… Normally I pick short quick books so that my attention doesn’t have time to wander… but short stories would work just as well.

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