The SF, Fantasy, and Horror Book Meme

I stole a book meme from SF Signal because I was bored, and I like book memes. Then I added a bunch of unnecessary explanations and reasoning because, hey, I like doing that too.

1. The last SF/F/H book I read and liked: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

I just finished this over the weekend, and I thought it was pretty fantastic. It’s hard not to have fun with a book about a time-traveling serial killer. One of the things that surprised me, though, was how well-developed many of the victims were. Roughly half of this book is through the killer’s POV, but it’s very much a story about women, and I appreciated that.

2. The last SF/F/H book I read and wasn’t crazy about: The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

I should be clear: I didn’t hate this book. Actually, I liked it enough to give it three stars on Goodreads. (Although, being honest, it was probably closer to 2.5 stars for me.) But as imaginative and fun as the novel often was, I did have my fair share of problems with it, one of the largest being an incredibly bland love interest. There’s a sequel out already, but I don’t know I’m interested enough to read it.

3. The SF/F/H book I’m reading now: Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis

Technically, this is a lie because I haven’t started reading it yet. I’m actually reading Forensics: A Guide for Writers by D.P. Lyle, only I’m reading it a few chapters at a time in between my various fiction books. But I think Something More Than Night is next on the queue, once I finish reading about livor, rigor, and algor mortis, that is.

4. The SF/F/H I most want to read next: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Cause, you know. DRAGONS. Also pretty high on the To Read stack: All the Beautiful Sinners by Stephen Graham Jones and Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers. Which, admittedly, are not SF, F, or H . . . but I love mysteries, so I’m including M anyway, like a rebel.

5. An underrated SF/F/H book: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters. Also: Countdown City

Actually, Countdown City has received some acclaim — Ben H. Winters was recently announced as one of the nominees for the 2013 Philip K. Dick award — but I rarely encounter much in the way of buzz about these books, and other than my sister, I don’t personally know anyone else who’s read them. Maybe because they can be filed in mystery just as easily as science fiction? I’m not sure. I just know that I think they’re fantastic novels, and I wish I knew more people who also liked them.

6. An overrated SF/F/H book: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I guess I have to go with my standard answer here, since it’s usually the first thing that comes to mind. I mean, I get influence — I won’t argue the impact of this novel on other works. But man, I struggled to get through it, and really, I didn’t like almost anything about it. Maybe if I’d read it as a child? There are books like that — for instance, I love A Wrinkle in Time, which I read for the first time when I was eleven. But if I read it for the first time as an adult, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have gone over so well. If you love The Hobbit, when did you first read it? I’m curious.

7. The last SF/F/H book recommended to me: All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear

I’m kind of picking at random here because people recommend books to me all the time. Mekaela and I actually give each other a list of ten different books at the beginning of the year and challenge ourselves to read at least two from it by the end of December. All the Windwracked Stars was on that list, and I’d never heard of it until she brought it to my attention.

8. An SF/F/H book I recommended to someone else: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

Actually, Mek’s working on the last book right now. Funny thing about that series: I actually didn’t like The Gunslinger much at all — despite it having one of the best opening lines in existence — and I wouldn’t have continued reading it except that I found myself bored in a used bookstore one day and found the sequel for, like, a quarter. I decided to give it a shot and fell in love with it. That series was so very different from anything I’d ever read before, particularly because it was years before I’d ever even heard of steampunk. (Yes, I know the series isn’t really steampunk, but there are elements in it that certainly remind me.)

9. An SF/F/H book I have reread: Uh, none.

At least not lately. I haven’t reread a book in years, mostly because I spent so many years continuously rereading. I have always taken a certain level of comfort in routine, but as a kid, I particularly hated trying new things and always wanted to rent movies I’d already seen or read books by authors I knew I liked. In fact, I was kind of a serial rereader up until my early twenties, which I can’t help but feel has contributed to this weird anxiety I feel now and again when I talk to people about books and realize I haven’t read even half of the stuff that apparently everyone and their godamned dog has read. (I mean, there were other factors too. Sometimes I didn’t feel like reading as a kid. Sometimes I picked sports or Barbies or cartoons. I’m also not entirely convinced there was a bookstore in the entire county I grew up in, which I don’t imagine helped.)

10. A SF/F/H book I want to reread: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

That all being said, I really miss rereading books — especially because my recall is somewhat less than excellent — and am planning to pick at least a couple this year to revisit. Like Neverwhere — which is worth mentioning because it was my introduction to Neil Gaiman and one of the rare times where I spontaneously spent the little money I had on something I had never even heard of before. I’ve been a Gaiman convert ever since.

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