I have asked Canadian SF authors what they have been reading in 2015 to give you a sense of what has interested them this year.
A.M. Dellamonica tells us about the top 10 books she read this year and gives us a few comments about them.
CASINO ROYALE, by Ian Fleming – I read this as part of the preparation for writing my Moneypenny story, “Through Your Eyes Only,” which appeared earlier this winter in LICENSE EXPIRED: THE UNAUTHORIZED JAMES BOND. I found the Fleming book alternately charming and repugnant: there are passages where his prose is quite lovely, and his insight into the (male) human condition is quite keen. None of that was quite enough to get me past the misogyny. Flip to the last line if you want an example.
BEYOND BLACK, by Hilary Mantel – After devouring WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES, I wanted to check out one of Mantel’s genre books. This one is a dour thing about a psychic and her assistant. It’s rather like listening to really clangy experimental jazz – interesting, and arguably worth doing, but not exactly pleasant. Finish that third Cromwell novel, Hilary, I beg you.
DEAD WAKE, by Eric Larson. THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY is my all-time favorite true-crime book, and this account of the sinking of the Lusitania now ranks, in my mind, as his second-best. The things you will learn about torpedoes will blow your mind.
BLACK FEATHERS, by Robert Wiersema. A thoroughly creepy and satisfying suspense novel about homeless kids in Victoria, B.C. and the predator who stalks them from the shadows.
THE DESERT AND THE BLADE, by S.M. Stirling – Crown Princess Orlaith and the Empress Reiko of Japan go on a quest into Death Valley in Stirling’s latest Emberverse novel. I always enjoy these novels, but I loved this one. Because, as it says in my review: Womanpower!
THE YOUNG ROMANTICS: THE SHELLEYS, BYRON, AND OTHER TANGLED LIVES, by Daisy Hay. So you have all these poets who, between them, fuelled the archetype of the lonely poet starving in his garret and piecing together bits of solitude to make Art. And yet these guys were actually living entirely in each others’ pockets, and sometimes in each others’ wives and sisters too. (I mean that in a crass way.) This is a fascinating book about how artists inspire each other… and how they screw each other over.
UPDRAFT, by Fran Wilde. A city of bone spires, climbing to ever higher altitudes. Clouds obscuring the ground, and monsters on the wing. A population that gets around on hang-glider wings, and a police force that issues punishments by binding you to weights that you then have to carry as you flit about the city.
THE FLAME IN THE MAZE, by Caitlin Sweet. Ariadne’s scheme has come to fruition: her brother, the Minotaur, is trapped in an impossible-to-escape maze built by the great Daedalus. Meanwhile the King of Crete has been maddened by the touch of his god and is giving serious thought to setting off a massive volcanic eruption. The only reason there’s no write-up on this book is I finished it ten minutes ago and I’m still curled up in the fetal position, shaking.
EXPERIMENTAL FILM, by Gemma Files. Lois Cairns has a lead on a fantastic and undiscovered piece of film history: it looks like Canada’s first filmmaker might have been a woman. But what was Iris Whitcomb filming, exactly, back at the turn of the 20th century. Did it, ultimately, kill her? What will happen if someone else, someone like Lois, happens to capture the same footage a century later?
THE ULTRA-FABULOUS GLITTER SQUADRON SAVES THE WORLD AGAIN, by A.C. Wise. This book made me laugh. This book choked me up. This book is like getting to go into a high end bakery and eating every single thing without ever experiencing a sugar rush. It made me so very happy.
Thank you A.M. Dellamonica for sharing your reading list with us.
[…] rather a lot lately. Speculating Canada asked me to talk about the books I read this year, so I have written up ten of them, a Good-Bad-Ugly List of sorts. Not all of the books are new, or even novels, but I did read them […]