Happy new year everyone! I hope you're all having a restful holiday season. I usually don't review books on this blog, but every New Year's I like to recommend my five favorite books from the year before (I read these books in 2012, but these books were not necessarily published in the past year). You can see my five picks from 2011 here.
And these are my five picks for this year, in the order that I read them.
1. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowskey
This is the most unconventional pick of the list. I'm not a regular fanfic reader, but this story has been making the viral rounds, and it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Think enlightenment thinking meets Harry Potter. In this universe, Harry Potter is a child prodigy well-trained in rationalism and the scientific method. When he enters magical Hogwarts, the developments are both hilarious and educational. I actually learned a lot about science reading this. It's truly unique and fresh, and you can read it for free!
2. Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2011 Edition
This is a short story collection compiled by Tor.com. Lots of gems here. My favorites are Beauty Belongs to the Flowers about a girl growing up in futuristic Japan, the noir alien story A Clean Sweep With All the Trimmings, and Shetl Days, which I can't really describe without ruining.
3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
What can I say that hasn't been said already? This tale about a World War II pilot and her best friend is amazing. The characters, the brilliant way in which the story unfolds.... I'm a little surprised it was categorized as YA, since it's strongly character driven and features characters in their late teens and early 20s, but who cares? It's brilliant.
4. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
I'm very late to the party on this one, since this book won the Hugo in 1990. I've been catching up on sci fi since marrying my sci-fi loving husband. Hyperion is styled after the Canterbury tales. Seven pilgrims travel to the planet Hyperion to meet the mysterious Shrike creature. On their way, they tell their stories. Simmons explores different styles with each story, leading to six unique yet interrelated tales. One story is written as a noir detective tale, another is written as a series of diary entries, etc. The world building is also fantastic. Definitely check this one out.
5. Anything by Laini Taylor
I'm not usually the type of reader to track down all of an author's books, but I've been doing so for Taylor. She's probably best known for Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but she also has two books from an earlier series Faries of Dreamdark and a short story collection Lips Touch: Three Times. I love the sense of wonder in the worlds she creates, and her language is beautiful. I'd check out Daughter of Smoke and Bone you want a more commercial YA romance. The Fairies of Dreamdark are younger and lighter in tone (though just as magical).
So these are my picks this year. What are yours?
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