Books To Read in 2011

With the new year upon us, I’ve wrapped up my list of what I’ve read all of last year, and taken the books that I’ve got sitting on a shelf waiting to read for the next 365 days. I’ve got no illusions that I’ll get through this entire list in one year – there’s certainly books that I had planned to read in 2010 that I never got around to, but it’s a starting point, to be sure.

The Dervish House, Ian McDonald
I’m currently working my way through The Dervish House, a near future tale set in Turkey. It’s a dense, fascinating read, one that I’m trying to take my time with before finishing.

Hull Zero Three, Greg Bear
A man wakes up cold and alone on board a space ship, completely disoriented. I’ve wanted to get this book for a couple of weeks now, and it looks like a fun story, and I hope that it turns out better than Pandorum did.

The Habitation of the Blessed, Catherynne M. Valente
I thought this book was due to come out this year, but happily, I picked it up over the weekend. It’s a strange book thus far, a fictional take on a myth, and its rich story and prose is intriguing.

Grey, Yarn, Jon Armstrong
Yarn has caught my eye over the past couple of days from its gorgeous cover, and while reading up on it, I found that Grey, Armstrong’s first book, is available for free as an online read from Nightshade books. I can’t wait to read both.

At the Queen’s Command, Michael A. Stackpole
My last encounter with Michael Stackpole’s books was his ‘When Dragons Rage’ cycle was published a couple of years ago. This alternate history take on colonialism looks like a fun romp.

Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
Kowal’s first novel has been described as a sort of Victorian story, with fantastic elements, and so far, I’ve liked what little I’ve read of it. It’s on the sidelines for the moment, but I look forward to picking it up again.

The Unincorporated Man, Dani and Eytan Kollin
I know very little about this book – I’ve heard little buzz, seen no reviews or talk about this book or its follow-up, but it looks like a neat read, and it’ll be refreshing to go into a book with little context or bearings.

Spook Country and Zero History, William Gibson
I read the first book in this loose trilogy, Pattern Recognition, earlier in 2010, and really enjoyed it. I’ve since picked up the two follow-up novels, and I’d like to get around to them at some point in the year.

The Handmaiden’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood did a number on fanboys with her definition of science fiction a while back, which provides a good lesson in genre classification. Clearly, her books are speculative fiction, and according to a bunch of people, they’re really, really good.

Masked, Lou Anders
I started this last year, and never got around to finishing it. I’ll have to pick away at the stories over the year.

Nights of Villijumar, Mark Charan Newton
Another book that I started last year, but haven’t finished, Newton’s book is a good one thus far, but it’s been slow going, and I had to put it aside to meet a couple of deadlines.

Blackout, Connie Willis
Time-traveling historians. This book looks awesome to the military history masters recipients with a geek background crowd.

Machinery of Light, David J. Williams
David J. Williams has finished out his intense Autumn Rain trilogy with Machinery of Light, and I’ll be interested to see where he goes next with it. The first two were an experience, that’s for sure.

Kraken, China Mieville
I loved The City and The City when I read it last year, and Kraken, ironically, was a book that I was thinking of getting to first. No matter, this year will be the year. Hopefully, I’ll get it done before Embassytown comes out later this year.

Undoubtedly, this is an ambitious list of 16 books, in addition to the growing list of books that are coming out this year that I’d like to get to. If anything, it speaks to a goal to read more. Hopefully, I’ll be able to top my reading list of 43 books for 2010.

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8 thoughts on “Books To Read in 2011

  1. What a great (and ambitious) list! I may have to make my own similar one, partly to prevent me from impulse-buying more books than I can read in a year. I suspect that a few of the books from your list will make it on there – 2011 is definitely the year that I finally read some Mieville.

    I wholeheartedly recommend The Handmaid’s Tale, and if that goes well, follow it up with Atwood’s more sci-fi ‘Oryx and Crake’. I’d also suggest Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’ for similarly subtle speculative fiction.

    I’ve written about the 34 books I consumed in 2010 on my blog: http://cosycatastrophes.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/my-year-of-needless-data/

    • Thanks – The actual list is much, much longer, but this is what I want to focus on (and these lists help me keep focused.) I recommend Mieville – I’ve liked what I’ve read thus far. Never Let Me Go was adapted into a film, right?

  2. It was – I’ve not seen the film adaptation, although judging from early reviews it seems that it’d be a shame not to read the book first.

    In fact, the Mieville I have on my bookshelf is The City and the City, which you seem to have really loved reading in 2010.

    Another suggestion from leftfield – I’d really recommend Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s a Jules Verne-esque speculative fiction novel from 1915 about a land populated only by women – I thought it’d be an interesting curiosity, but it was surprisingly great.

    • Yes – it helps keep me focused & on track. Still, vie got over a hundred books on the major To Read List.

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