Top Ten Books I Read Because of the Internet

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

  1. Perdido Street Station – China Mieville. I read this because I’d read a review of The City and the City on Strange Horizons (which now, of course, I can’t find) which told me, basically, that Mieville is an insanely clever fantasy writer. And because I wanted a big fat book at the time, I bought Perdido, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
  2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente. I think I first saw this on the Book Smugglers, who gave it a ludicrously high rating and immediately made me want to read it. And, indeed, it is another fantastic and lovely book which may be one of my favourites ever.
  3. A Madness of Angels – Kate Griffin. Someone in my Booklikes feed reviewed this a couple of years ago, and it just sounded really interesting – a bit different, a bit magical, a lot urban fantasy. And it is all of these things: a fascinating, slippery story of the anarchic energies of the city.
  4. Temeraire – Naomi Novik. I read this for a Book Smugglers readalong. Not a life-changing story, but a lovely one nevertheless – and it led me on to Uprooted, one of my favourite books of the year.
  5. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel. Another Book Smugglers read! And another lovely tale about art, and culture, and Things that Matter.
  6. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton. Another one which I saw on my Booklikes dashboard (I can’t remember who posted it, unfortunately), and which I loved. It’s a story about goldmining in New Zealand, but it’s also a story about stories (as the best stories always are) and its ending is something very beautiful.
  7. Zero Sum Game – SL Huang. I won this in a Book Smugglers giveaway; it’s a book about a superhero whose superpower is maths, which is, you know, awesome. A zippy and intelligent superhero read which I think quite a few people would enjoy. (Don’t worry, the maths is minimal.)
  8. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman. I read this one because the internet seems fascinated by Neil Gaiman, and I’ve never quite been able to fathom why. Generally, his books have good setups, but their execution fails to convince, which is very much the case with Neverwhere. Not bad, but not as good as it could have been.
  9. Cinder – Marissa Meyer. Admittedly, the reason I read this was because I was looking for Cinderella stories for my Children’s Literature essay during my degree. But I first heard about the series on the internet, so it counts. And it is a genuinely interesting retelling of the old fairytale, relocated to a beaten-up, futuristic city, full of questions about bodily autonomy and humanity.
  10. Phoenix Rising – Ryk E. Spoor. Another giveaway win. It may not be high literature, but what it is a fun, D&D-style romp through a strange land, full of monsters and gods and strange tongues, and surprisingly unproblematic for a fantasy narrative of its type.

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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