Book Reviews

Top 5 Wednesdays: Books You Want To Read Before The End of The Year

Today I will briefly talk about my bookshelf full of unread novels.

So my physical, personal library is actually about 650 books deep. That’s a lot, I know, but it’s also probably nothing compared to some others. In any case, within my personal library, I have a bookshelf specially dedicated to all of the novels that I have yet to read. That’s about 30-something books – not counting another 20-something unread trade paperbacks – just waiting for me to get to them. So at any given time, I have a book waiting to be read.

Still, some books are more of a priority than others, and this week’s Top 5 Wednesday is about the books I want to read before the end of the year. You’ll notice that N.K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate is not on this list, because I know that I won’t have a problem knocking that out as soon as I’m done rereading The Fifth Season. In fact, you can expect that review by the end of next week.

However, for this list, I want to focus on the books that are already on my shelf that I need to get done with as soon as possible. So these are the five that I need to read before the end of the year:  

1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown


(Photo Credit: Goodreads)
(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

I like to make lists on Amazon. You know, for when my life gets better, and my cash flow is consistently great. My most populated list has to be my books because, duh, I like to read.

So one day Amazon goes, “hey friend, you might like this”. And I was like, “Okay, Amazon. I think I will”. And I somehow managed to get around to actually purchasing it.

Of course that was like, six months ago at least, and now one of the other Fandom Following writers has went and covered the whole damned series (because when am I ever on time to the party?). So now I’m waiting for me to catch up so that I can join the discussion. I want to be involved and have opinions. I want to be a part of the conversation.

I’ll get to it.  

2. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling


(Photo Credit: Goodreads)
(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

So I bought this one to be read as part of my book club, mostly because a friend of mine was supposed to read it for his book club. And, of course, no one actually got around to reading it.

Cue me looking at this book stacked at the front of my to-be-read shelf a year later, wondering when the hell I’m going to get around to reading it. I have a small white board with a list of things that I should do for the month, and this book has been on my list every month since at least October.

I’m pretty sure that this book is actually part of a mystery series that J. K. Rowling had originally written under a pen name. I think the reception was okay, but, you know, people want JK to do Harry Potter and only Harry Potter the same way that they want GRRM to do nothing but finish the A Song of Ice and Fire series. People will never care about your other works the way they care about the thing that got you famous.

3. The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny


(Photo Credit: Goodreads)
(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

Way back in 2011, I had a really great Creative Writing teacher who didn’t believe in downing our writing. Not to say that my other teachers were rejecting people left and write, but I remember that this particular teacher said something like, “I’m not going to tell you to stop writing”. Like he knew that people’s dreams could be easily broken, and he just wanted to help us get better at this hobby that we loved, whether we become published writers or not.

So my big piece of writing at the time is still basically my life’s work: to write a creation theory and build an entire fantasy series about it. I minored in Classical Studies because I was so serious about this dream. However, the first time I had really tried it out in a group of my peers, I was told that I should “pity the reader”. Basically, I wrote it with the expectation that my audience knew what I knew about Ancient Greek mythology, which would have been impossible at the time. So I felt like a bit of a failure.

My teacher was pretty good about it in his review. He gave me pointers about what I should do as far as my revision, and then he recommended some authors who had also reimagined Greek mythology. One of them was Roger Zelazny.

In my possession, I have both The Great Book of Amber and The Hand of Oberon. I bought the latter book first, thinking that I would collect the entire series. Then I happened to spy The Great Book of Amber in Barnes and Noble, so I bought it because I really didn’t see the point in hunting for all of the books when I could just pick up this giant omnibus of the whole series instead.

I plan to read The Great Book of Amber, and all of the rest of these books, before the year is out. It is legitimately taking up too much space on this one bookshelf.  

4. Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly

(Photo Credit: Goodreads)
(Photo Credit: Goodreads)

When I first started writing for Fandom Following, I was supposed to cover Star Wars and Minority Report.  Minority Report was cancelled (and I’m still salty), but Star Wars is a world-building franchise that is worth the billions that Disney paid for it. And the best thing about it? Star Wars operates on several mediums, so you never quite run out of things to talk about.

That doesn’t stop you from getting tired of talking about it, but that’s a story for another day.

In any case, I had resigned myself to writing a ton of Star Wars meta, so I told myself that I would immerse myself in the canon, as well as the extended universe stuff. Luckily, a friend of mine was nice enough to lend me a few books, Children of the Jedi being one of them.

I’m somewhat making my way through the novel, but it’s such a slow pace that I don’t think that I’ll be done before Christmas. Thankfully, the friend that I borrowed the book from doesn’t really care when I return it.

5. Alex Rider / Beka Cooper


As I’ve said before, I have a shelf full of unread books, so this fifth spot is a toss up between Anthony Horowitz’s Scorpia Rising and Tamora Pierce’s Mastiff.  Each book belongs to their respective author’s Alex Rider and Beka Cooper series.

To be honest, I’ve probably had both books for more than two years without any inclination to start either of them. They’re both the end of their series, and both authors were childhood favorites of mine. I think my problem is that I’m not quite ready to let go of these worlds.

Still, Alex Rider can’t be a 14-year-old spy forever (seriously, Horrowitz, it’s been like eight books already), and Beka has to eventually get around to having kids so that George Cooper can be a thing. So hopefully I’ll actually get to reading these books this year. And if not, there’s always next year.

If you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in appreciating the many different types of literature, please be sure to subscribe to this blog. If you just want to chat with me about these particular novels, make sure to hit me up in the comment section.

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