Books I’ve read/listened to/narrated this year

I’ve seen people’s book lists going around, so I thought I’d make one! As the subject line intimates, these are books I’ve read and/or listened to as audiobooks this year (sometimes both! Multiple times!). I’ve bought a lot of books, yes, and I’ve gotten a lot from the library.

I’m so THANKFUL for the New York Public Library and the Queens Public Library! I’m thankful for The Savoy Bookshop in Westerly, and for my local Queens Bookshop, Kew and Willow.

Two of the books I read and listened to multiple times are: Love Hacked and Beard Science, both by Penny Reid. Two of the books I loved so much it took me months to read them are: The Once and Future Witches, and The Shipbuilder of Bellfairie.

Sometimes I need to process books in different ways, either by repetition or the slow immersion. Both seem to work. I have little control over either response. Sometimes I feel like my brain is betraying me. Either: WHY ARE WE LISTENING TO THIS THE FIFTH TIME IN A ROW, BRAIN? or WHY ARE YOU READING THIS RELATIVELY SLIM BOOK SO SLOWLY, BRAIN? but really, my brain seems to know what it’s doing without me, so. I should just let it do its thang.

A few of the books I’ve labeled below as “in progress” fall under the “so good it’s still taking me a while” category. Often non-fiction takes me 6 times as long to read. And really complex, gorgeous fiction.

I feel like I’ve been very indulgent this year in my reading. I’ve not watched a lot of TV, but I’ve read a lot of books that are VERY MUCH like TV. But also, I have written a lot this year, and I think I needed to read vast amounts to charge and re-charge that battery.

I’ve probably missed a few important books. I definitely bought more books than I read, but I did my best. And I have a whole TBR shelf that I’m still looking forward to!

Books that came out in 2021 that I’ve blurbed, with blurbs:

Katherine Addison
Witness for the Dead

Is there anything greater than discovering a genius in our midst? Granted, I’m last to the Katherine Addison party, but this band is so swinging, I’m just glad to be here. I adored The Goblin Emperor, and Witness for the Dead—also set amongst the elves, airmen, goblins, and ghouls of that world—packs another lightning-fisted  literary wallop. High fantasy, murder investigation, ghosts, gods, and the opera: it rocks all my hot spots. Addison lavishes her ardent readers with adventure, new friendships, invisible enemies, and rewards us with her uncommon depths, subtleties, and kindnesses.

Robert V. S. Redick
Sidewinders

Sidewinders. I love this book, goddamnit. Robert V. S. Redick gives a fantasy reader everything her fiendish heart craves: plagues, prophets, demonic possessions, a desperate dash through desert dunes, giant spiders, giant cats, creepy children, plenty of vulgarity and sex, and an all-too-brief glimpse at paradise. So sure, if you like that kind of thing, go for it. Read this book. It’s for you. But wait, there’s more. For your not-so-average fantasy reader, your not-so-run-of-the-mill genre-lover, I beg you, look to Sidewinders. For it will give you ambiguity and delicacy. It will not spare you of its irony—and, oh, such irony! Its pages will impart so profound and aching an empathy that it just might leap off the page and follow you into your daily life. There is such courage in Robert V. S. Redick’s Sidewinders—such courage and fury and passion and hope. Truly, a breathtaking work.

Nicole Kornher-Stace
Firebreak

Nicole Kornher-Stace’s standalone Firebreak begins with the big guns. Literally. A badass gamer, Mal (Nycorix, in-game), slaughters her way through her “daily thousand” in a co-op first-person shooter. Gifts, both virtual and monetary, pour in from enthusiastic sponsors viewing her partner QueenOfTheRaids’ (Jessa, IRL) stream. But when Mal logs out of the game, rips off her blackout mask, and gets to work, that’s when her real problems begin—chronic dehydration, oppressive poverty, and an economy of artificial scarcity being the least of them. In a world where huge mechs duke it out with lab-baked supersoldiers in the streets, Mal finds herself in the middle of a resistance she can’t see the beginning or ending of, learning secrets that have disappeared countless others before her. Her advantages are few: her friends, the stream, her loyal viewers, and bald honesty in a world lit by deepfakes. Firebreak is a klaxon sounding at midnight. It is a howl and a wake-up call. It is a fire that does what literary fires do best: spits rage, radiates the warmth of compassion, and fans the flame of revolution.

Cassandra Khaw
Nothing But Blackened Teeth

Everything about Cassandra Khaw’s latest novella is purposefully wrong: wrong place, wrong time, wrong skin, wrong friends, wrong wedding. That wrongness is deliberately palpable: itchy but unscratchable, clammy but febrile as foxfire. What with poisonous relationships, parasite houses, and ghost brides, Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a really bad idea for a wedding, and a really great idea for a nightmare-on-the-page. This book is so magnificently rotten it writhes with literary maggots, and deserves a place of honor among it peers in horror.

Kelly Robson
High Times in Low Parliament (blurb forthcoming; it’s written, but will be released later)

Poetry

B. Sharise Moore
Black Kaleidoscope: Short Verse Honoring Black History

Tom Hirons
Sometimes A Wild God

Brandon O’Brien
Can You Sign My Tentacle?

Fran Wilde
Clock, Star, Rose, Spine

Gwynne Garfinkle
People Change

Sally Rosen Kindred
Where the Wolf

Lisa Bradley
The Haunted Girl (in progress)

Osip Mandelstam
Black Earth (in progress)

Hart Crane
White Buildings (in progress)
The Complete Poetry of Hart Crane (in progress)

Mary Oliver
A Poetry Handbook (in progress)

Fred Chappell
Midquest (in progress)

Nonfiction

Helen Macdonald
Vesper Flights (in progress)

Robert Macfarlane
Underland (in progress)

Helmreich
The Queens Nobody Knows (in progress)

Joshua Hammer
The Falcon Thief (in progress)

SFF

Francesca Forrest
Lagoonfire

Joyce Chng
Dragon Sisters

Neil Gaiman
The Sandman, Act I
The Sandman, Act II (in progress)

C. M. Waggoner
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

Susanna Clarke
Piranesi

Martha Wells
Fugitive Telemetry

Rebecca Roanhorse
Black Sun

Alix E. Harrow
The Once and Future Witches

Mary Rickert
The Shipbuilder of Bellfairie

Lois McMaster Bujold
The Assassins of Thasalon

P. Djèli Clark
Ring Shout (in progress)

Gene Wolfe
Peace (in progress)

Charles DeLint
Juniper Wiles (in progress)

Sharon Shinn
(These are all re-reads, but this time in audiobook format)
Twelve Houses
1. Mystic and Rider (2005)
2. The Thirteenth House (2006)
3. Dark Moon Defender (2006)
4. Reader and Raelynx (2007)
5. Fortune and Fate (2008)

Samaria
Archangel
Uncommon Echoes
Echo in Onyx
Echo in Emerald
Echo in Amethyst

Mystery

Sherry Thomas
Miss Moriarty, I Presume?

Penny Reid
Handcrafted Mystery
1. Engagement and Espionage (2020)
2. Marriage and Murder (2021)

Phillipa Nefri Clark
Deadly Start (audiobook)

Elizabeth Peters
Devil-May-Care
Night Train to Memphis

Contemporary Romance

Penny Reid
Knitting in the City
1. Neanderthal Seeks Human (2013)
1.5. Neanderthal Marries Human (2014)

2. Friends Without Benefits (2013)
3. Love Hacked (2014)
4. Beauty and the Mustache (2014)
5. Happily Ever Ninja (2016)
6. Dating-ish (2017)
7. Marriage of Inconvenience (2018)

Elements of Chemistry
1. Attraction (2015)
2. Heat (2015)
3. Capture (2015)

Winston Brothers
1. Truth or Beard (2015)
2. Grin and Beard It (2016)
3. Beard Science (2016)
4. Beard in Mind (2017)
4.5. Beard in Hiding (2021)
5. Dr. Strange Beard (2018)
6. Beard with Me (2019)
7. Beard Necessities (2019)

Rugby (with L H Cosway)
1. The Hooker and the Hermit (2015)
2. The Player and the Pixie (2016)
3. The Cad and the Co-Ed (2017)
4. The Varlet and the Voyeur (2018)

Dear Professor
1. Kissing Tolstoy (2017)
2. Kissing Galileo (2019)

Law of Physics
1. Motion (2019)
2. Space (2019)
3. Time (2019)

Good Folks
0.5. Just Folking Around (2021)
1. Totally Folked (2021)
2. Folk Around and Find Out (2022)

Olivia Dade
Spoiler Alert (2020)
All the Feels (2021)

There’s Something About Marysburg
1. Teach Me (2019)
2. 40-Love (2020)
3. Sweetest in the Gale (2020)

Love Unscripted
1. Desire and the Deep Blue Sea (2019)
2. Tiny House, Big Love (2019)

Sara Whitney
Cinnamon Roll Alphas
0.5. Tempting Heat (2019)
1. Tempting Taste (2020)
2. Tempting Talk (2020)
3. Tempting Lies (2020)
4. Tempting Fate (2022)

Ghosted: A Hot Halloween Novella

Talia Hibbert
Brown Sisters
1. Get a Life, Chloe Brown (2019)
2. Take a Hint, Dani Brown (2020)
3. Act Your Age, Eve Brown (2021)

Wanna Bet? (2018)

Ravenswood
1. A Girl Like Her (2018)
2. Untouchable (2018)
3. That Kind of Guy (2019)

The Roommate Risk

Alisha Rai
Modern Love
1. The Right Swipe (2019)
2. Girl Gone Viral (2020)
3. First Comes Like (2021)

Regency/Victorian Romance

Sarah M. Eden
The Lady and the Highwayman

Loretta Chase (all re-reads but this year as audiobooks)
The Last Hellion
Knave’s Wager
Lion’s Daughter
Devil’s Delilah
Viscount Vagabond
Captives of the Night
Your Scandalous Ways

Courtney Milan
Devil Comes Courting

Anne Gracie
Marry in Haste

Julia Quinn
The Viscount Who Loved Me

SFF Romance

Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels so far
1. Magic Bites (2007)
2. Magic Burns (2008)
3. Magic Strikes (2009)
3.5. Magic Mourns (2011)
4. Magic Bleeds (2010)
4.5. Magic Dreams (2012)
5. Magic Slays (2011)
5.4. Magic Gifts (2015)
5.5. Gunmetal Magic (2012)
6. Magic Rises (2013)

Edge
1. On the Edge (2009)
2. Bayou Moon (2010)
3. Fate’s Edge (2011)
4. Steel’s Edge (2012)

Kinsmen
The Kinsmen Universe (2018)

Innkeeper Chronicles
1. Clean Sweep (2013)

Hidden Legacy
1. Burn for Me (2014)
2. White Hot (2017)
3. Wildfire (2017)
3.5. Diamond Fire (2018)
4. Sapphire Flames (2019)
5. Emerald Blaze (2020)

Jessie Mihalik
1. The Queen’s Gambit (2018)
2. The Queen’s Advantage (2019)
3. The Queen’s Triumph (2020)


Consortium Rebellion
1. Polaris Rising (2019)
2. Aurora Blazing (2019)
3. Chaos Reigning (2020)

Classic

L. M. Montgomery
The Blue Castle

Herbert George Jenkins
Patricia Brent, Spinster

Cervantes
Don Quixote (in progress)

Dodie Smith
The New Moon with the Old (in progress)

Books I’ve Narrated

Karen Rose Smith
Murder with Cherry Tarts
Murder with Clotted Cream
Murder with Oolong Tea
Murder with Orange Pekoe Tea

Carol J. Perry
See Something (Witch City, Book 11)
Be My Ghost

Jennifer Beckstrand
First Christmas on Huckleberry Hill (Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, Book 10)

Lynn Cahoon
A Killer Christmas Wish (A Cat Latimer Mystery)

Tamra Baumann
Bound to Be Dead (Cozy Mystery Bookshop, Book 3)

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