This is it.
We’ve reached the end. Today, I’ll list the last nine books for the Literary Exploration reading challenge this year.
There’s plenty of novels which are romantic. But for my romance selection, I’m going to go to the bookshop’s Mills & Boon/Harlequin section and pick the pulpiest thing I can find – bonus points for muscular, hairless torsos on the cover. Then I will read it, and I will blog about it. Actually, the only pulp (or ‘category’) romance I’ve read was in the Historical category, and it was very bad. I know they’re not really for me, but I’ll give it a shot! Exploration.
29. Science Fiction
Science Fiction is a gigantic genre. There’s so much ‘classic’ scifi which I’ve never read – things like Asimov, Wells, and Card – so I could choose something from that region. I’ve loved the cyberpunk I’ve read too, so I could pick something else by Stephenson or Gibson. Then there’s spec fic; although a lot of those seem to be in the ‘magic-girl-cover’ region, there’s potential there too. In the end, it’s too hard. So I’m opening it up to you, reader. What’s the best sci-fi book you’ve ever read? If I haven’t already, I’ll read it this year. What will you do with this power?
Richard Ford. Kultus.
I love steampunk books which don’t take themselves too seriously. I read one last year which had tesla coil walking sticks, zombies, and a steam-powered Queen Victoria, but it was so earnest as to be silly. So, for my next foray into steam and gears, I’ve chosen Kultus, by Richard Ford (not that Richard Ford). It’s about a mercenary trying to stop a cult from opening the gates of Hell. His name is Thaddeus Blacklok. I’m sold.
Glen Duncan. Talulla Rising.
I’m cheating a little bit on this one (can you tell we’re getting to the end of the list?). I read Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf last year, and thought it did a fine job of making an interesting story out of everyone’s second-favourite overdone supernatural creatures: werewolves. It ended suddenly, with a note of hope (for the werewolves, anyway – maybe not for soft, slow, edible humanity). I thought it was a great ending. Naturally, a sequel appeared last year, and I believe there’s a third and final part coming out in 2014 as well. Despite a sequel seeming a little unnecessary, Talulla Rising should be a good read.
Gillian Flynn. Dark Places.
After reading Gillian Flynn’s latest, Gone Girl, I always intended to check out her earlier ones as well. Dark Places is considered on par with Gone Girl, so I’m excited to read it. Sadly (?) it bears no connection to the other Darkplace.
Chloe Hooper. The Tall Man.
I had trouble picking a True Crime book. It’s another genre that I don’t have a lot of experience in. It made sense to look at something Australian, and I remember the story from 2004, so I’ll be reading The Tall Man.
Jim Butcher. Storm Front.
Okay. Let’s take a little walk down Memory Avenue (that’s the phrase, right?). At the beginning of 2011, I was trying to decide what to do with my life. I’d signed up for the National Novel-Writing Month, but was terrified about actually having to write anything. So I searched online for writing guides, and found one from Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files series. I read it front to back, and felt really confident about writing a novel.
November rolled around. I mostly ignored the writing guide, churned out fifty thousand execrable words of dystopian sci-fi ghost story, realised I needed some direction, and went back to university to study writing and editing. Despite his influence in helping me develop life goals, I’ve never actually read any of Butcher’s novels. Which is strange, because they’re occult/supernatural hardboiled detective stories. I can’t wait.
Charles Dickens. David Copperfield.
I had a lot of options here, so, as I’m inclined to do, I tried to hit the best of the best. I’m ashamed to admit that the closest I’ve come to reading Dickens is A Muppet Christmas Carol, so it made a lot of sense to read Dickens’ own favourite.
Paolo Bacigalupi. Ship Breaker.
Last year I read Bacigalupi’s breakthrough novel The Windup Girl, and although the story didn’t really grab me, the setting was one of my favourite dystopian futures yet. I’m not sure if Ship Breaker is set in the same universe, but with Bacigalupi’s expertise in environmental-apocalypse writing, I’m looking forward to finding out.
Well, that’s about it! I’m still looking for feedback and suggestions for these categories, so let me know if anything comes to mind.
I’ve already finished one book on my reading list so far – Krissy Kneen’s Triptych. It’s a confronting read, and very, very interesting, so I’ll try to get my thoughts straight and post something about it soon.