It’s an unusual year in books for me. I read six non-fiction, and it’s not often I read one. The non-fiction I read was educational and inspiring: Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham, and Appreciating Asperger Syndrome by Brenda Boyd. Editing-wise, I read humorous Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss and insightful Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne. Near the end of the year I was fortunate to have read Writing Fantasy Heroes, a useful collection of writing-expertise chapters by reputable authors, edited by Jason M Waltz.
Fewer fiction books read
Fewer fiction books were read in 2018, perhaps as a result. I finished eighteen books, ten below my twenty-eight book target on Goodreads. I would have liked to have read more. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them much.
Best book I read in 2018
What stands out most in my mind was the first book I read in the year, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. I loved it – the clever use of language, the political reality of Britain in those times, chivalry, heroic fights and jousts. It was a story to remember, with surprisingly addictive dialogue, scene description, and conflict.
New fantasy pick
Throughout the year I couldn’t stop reading Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor omnibus – comprising three fantasy stories – based on Tarma and Kethry, a warrior under oath and a sorceress. One of the main differences of first book The Oathbound at the time it was first published in 1988 was that both protagonists were female and with a unique outlook and approach, and I thought this made novel their solving quests, fighting evil, making alliances, and growing as characters. The books took me on imaginative puzzle-oriented quests with intelligent sub-characters. It taught me about the strength and importance of bonds between friends and what was new to me were the practical thinking skills covered to survive in this world. There was humour in these stories, and characters I couldn’t help but like.
New science fiction pick
Residual Belligerence by CG Hatton has been a fantastic science fiction spy/action thriller, at the time of this writing. It has flair. The quality action scenes and the thinking of organisations with motives in space surrounding the Thieves Guild have been top-notch and enthralling. Sh*t happens, and a lot of it, to Hil.
Other tremendous reads
Other amazing reads I stumbled across in 2018 include grounded epic fantasy Rys Rising by Tracy Falbe, terrific horror Bag of Bones by Stephen King, multi-faceted science fiction dystopian Augmented Reality by James Jackson, engaging Victorian and steampunk alternate history A Switch in Time by John Paul Bernett, and fantasy-with-a-twist The Road to Corlay by Richard Cowper.