“So many books, so little time.”
January 4, 2016 5:50 AM   Subscribe

The Great 2016 Book Preview [The Millions]
We think it’s safe to say last year was a big year for the book world. In addition to new titles by Harper Lee, Jonathan Franzen, and Lauren Groff, we got novels by Ottessa Moshfegh, Claire Vaye Watkins, and our own Garth Risk Hallberg. At this early stage, it already seems evident this year will keep up the pace. There’s a new Elizabeth Strout book, for one, and a new Annie Proulx; new novels by Don DeLillo, Curtis Sittenfeld, Richard Russo and Yann Martel; and much-hyped debut novels by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Callan Wink. There’s also a new book by Alexander Chee, and a new translation of Nobel Prize-winner Herta Müller. The books previewed here are all fiction. A non-fiction preview will follow next week. While there’s no such thing as a list that has everything, we feel certain this preview — at 8,600 words and 93 titles — is the only 2016 book preview you’ll need.

- 2016 The Year Ahead for Readers [The New York Times]
Once the Star Wars tie-ins (my favourite was Slave to the Empire: An Erotic Star Wars Adventure) and novelty Christmas books for people who don’t read (remember A Simples Life: The Life and Times of Aleksandr Orlov?) are safely remaindered, it’s time to look ahead to 2016’s fiction lineup. After a vintage 2015, next year has much to live up to, and the early signs are good, with a particularly fine-looking collection of debut novels on offer.
- Books in 2016: a literary calendar. [The Guardian]
From a new novel by Julian Barnes to the film of The Girl on the Train, from the most hotly tipped debuts to Henning Mankell’s farewell essays – everything you need to know about the literary year ahead
- Science fiction and fantasy look ahead to a diverse 2016. [The Guardian]
After fans fought back at the Hugos, seeing off the Sad Puppies with a host of votes for “no award”, we can look forward to SF becoming a little less old, white and male in 2016. The growing range of authors breaking through to mainstream recognition, often after years of hard work in small presses, means the work is there to chose from. Books like Daniel José Older’s Half Resurrection Blues, NK Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy and Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings have been working to redefine the archetypes of fantasy and sci-fi for a broader audience. With that groundwork in place, you can expect to see some of these writers go on to mainstream recognition and bestseller success in 2016.
- The 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge [Book Riot] [.PDF]
There are, once again, 24 tasks averaging out to two per month if you’re planning out your reading year. As I said last year, “We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out. That’s what this is – a perspective shift – but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.”
1. Read a horror book
2. Read a non-fiction book about science
3. Read a collection of essays
4. Read a book out loud to someone else
5. Read a middle grade (YA) novel
6. Read a biography (not a memoir or autobiography)
7. Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel
8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born
9. Listen to an audio book that has won an Audie Award
10. Read a book over 500 pages long
11. Read a book under 100 pages
12. Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender
13. Read a book that is set in the middle-east
14. Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia
15. Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900
16. Read the first book in a series by a person of colour
17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years
18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie, and debate which is better
19. Read a non-fiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
20. Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
21. Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction)
22. Read a food memoir
23. Read a play/drama
24. Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness
- #BustleReads Challenge 2016 Encourages You To Read Women And Writers Of Color [Bustle]
1. Read a Book Written by a Woman under 25
2. Read a Book on Non-Western History
3. Read a Book of Essays
4. Book about an Indigenous Culture
5. Read a Book before You See the Movie
6. Read a YA Book by an Author of Color
7. Read a Book Set in the Middle East
8. Read a Book about Women in War
9. Read a Graphic Novel Written by a Woman
10. Read a Book about an Immigrant or Refugee to the U.S.
11. Read a Children's Book Aloud
12. Reread Your Favorite Book from Childhood
13. Read a Memoir from Someone Who Identifies as LGBTQIA
14. Read a Work of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Written by a Woman
15. Read a Feminist Sci-Fi Novel
16. Read the First Book in a Series You've Never Read
17. Read a Book Set in Africa, by an Author from Africa
18. Read a Book in Translation
19. Read a Contemporary Collection of Poetry
20. Read a Book by a Modernist Woman Writer
- 2016 Bingo Reading Challenge. [Bingo Card]
1. Read at the beach
2. Read while travelling
3. Read in a coffee shop
4. Read in a park
5. Read with someone
6. LGBT romance
7. Dystopian SF
8. Memoir/auto/biography
9. Comedy
10. Classic
11. Chosen for the cover
12. Outside your comfort zone
13. Will help with your career
14. Won or borrowed
15. A story about mental illness
16. Favourite author
17. Most recently added to your TBR pile
18. Recommended to you
19. Author you have met
20. Adapted to screen
21. Published before 1990
22. Under 200 pages
23. Over 400 pages
24. Published in your birth year
25. Graphic novel
26. First book in a series
27. Second book in a series
28. Last book in a series
29. Number in the title
30. Food in the title
- The 2016 Reading Challenge. [Modern Mrs. Darcy]
1. A book published this year
2. A book you can finish in a day
3. A book you've been meaning to read
4. A book recommended by your local librarian or book-seller
5. A book you should have read in school
6. A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF
7. A book published before you were born
8. A book that was banned at some point
9. A book you previously abandoned
10. A book that you own but have never read
11. A book that intimidates you
12. A book you've already read at least once
- 19 Ways to Read More Books in 2016 [Metro]
1. Carry a book everywhere you go
2. Start a ‘books I’ve read’ notebook
3. Download the Goodreads app
4. Start asking people if you can borrow their books when they’re done
5. Try The Willoughby Club (book subscription service)
6. Join the library
7. Make time to wander around local bookshops
8. Give yourself permission to give up on books you’re not enjoying
9. And don’t shame yourself for enjoying ‘dumb’ ones
10. Get a kindle/kobo/eReader/tablet
11. Start/join a book club
12. Ask for recommendations
13. Make a note of books you want to read
14. Set yourself a page target per day
15. Put down your phone
16. Set up reading spot
17. Stop worrying about being productive
18. Schedule time to read
19. Remember reading is fun
- 16 New Year’s Resolutions Only Book Nerds Can Relate To [Buzzfeed]
1. First off, you promise yourself you won’t buy ANY more books until you finish your unread pile.
2. And you solemnly swear you’ll stop using receipts as bookmarks in favor of one you won’t lose.
3. You’ll FINALLY commit to donating those piles of books that have been sitting in your closet for months.
4. And you’ll pledge to read That Classic Novel Everyone Else Has Read But You.
5. You’ll also vow to read books from an author you haven’t read before.
6. And you *swear* this is the year that you’ll FINALLY get your shelves organized.
7. You’ll also tell yourself this is the year you FINALLY tackle all the Game of Thrones books.
8. You’ll promise to *try* and stop whining when your book club picks a title that doesn’t appeal to you.
9. And you’ll tell yourself you won’t judge people when they say that their favorite book is just the current #1 best-seller.
10. You’ll pledge to read various genres instead of ONLY sticking to your favorite.
11. You’ll promise to stop babbling on about the current book ~that changed your life~ when you KNOW your friends are zoning out.
12. You’ll swear to explore more of your local indie bookstores.
13. And you’ll make an effort to not get *too* ragey when someone in your family interrupts your reading time.
14. You’ll promise yourself not to spend ALL your bookstore gift cards in one trip.
15. You’ll also pledge to be more organized when remembering which book you leant to which friend.
16. And most importantly, you’ll swear on all of your stacks that you’ll NEVER stop reading.
- 2016 List of Lists. [Goodreads Lists]
posted by Fizz (45 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
- Sleeps With Monsters: Books To Look Forward To In The First Half Of 2016 [Tor.com]
2016. Hell, 2016. How is it coming up 2016 already? I’d only just got used to it being 2015. Now I’m going to have to get used to a whole new year. But in compensation for none of us being as young as we used to be, there are new and interesting-sounding books coming out in the next six months. So many, in fact, that I can’t keep track of them. I’m sure I’m missing plenty, but here are a few I’m looking forward to in advance.

posted by Fizz at 6:00 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Alexander Chee, mentioned in the Millions link, wrote the excellent essay about being a waiter at the Buckleys that was linked here. I bought his previously-existing novel on the strength of it, but sadly it is still in the to-read pile. I'm excited to see his new one.

Also, Sofia Samatar has a sequel to Stranger In Olondria coming out this year. I am excited and terrified in equal measure, because SiO is a truly remarkable novel and a tough act to follow. On the other hand, it seems like Samatar has been gaining strength as a writer (not that she wasn't a strong writer to start with) - at least her post-Olondria stuff seems more technically accomplished to me. (SiO is, IMO, a little looser than it should be, and the generally amazing language sometimes tips over into being a teensy bit too purple. But it's one of the most impressive fantasy novels I've ever read, taken as a whole. I cannot recommend it too highly. I have a memory like a sieve and various passages have none the less impressed themselves upon it almost whole.)
posted by Frowner at 6:02 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Great post! It's going to take me awhile to read through all the links.

I am doing the non-white male science fiction challenge this year.

I have read so far.
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow
Octavia Butler, Dawn, First book in the Lilith's Brood series

All three have been great, though Parable of the Sower was hard to get through because it was so brutal. Of course, The Sparrow wasn't a very cheerful book either.

Always looking for more suggestions.
posted by KaizenSoze at 6:07 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am doing the non-white male science fiction challenge this year.

The challenge I linked to above, from Bustle, is good for readers who want to read in a similar fashion. All about reading books written by women and persons of colour. I'm thinking this is the challenge that I want to set for myself this year.
posted by Fizz at 6:13 AM on January 4, 2016

2016. Hell, 2016. How is it coming up 2016 already?

Imagine how those of us who have been serious, voracious readers since the 70s feel!
posted by aught at 6:33 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

My reading challenge this year (as it usually is in January!) is to patch up my knowledge of both the "canon" and recent literary fiction; for the former, I'm looking through online syllabi and MIT Open Courseware, and for the latter, the Morning News Tournament of Books.

But the Bustle challenge looks really good, and doable, as well. (Except for that reading aloud thing, which I rarely get to do except when the children's librarian is on vacation.)
posted by Jeanne at 6:36 AM on January 4, 2016

you promise yourself you won’t buy ANY more books until you finish your unread pile.

This would send my book expenditure down to zero.

For life.

Not happening.

(Though I did finally join Goodreads and am keeping track of what's actually getting read.)
posted by BWA at 6:43 AM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Always looking for more suggestions.

A-ha-ha-ha...I have such suggestions to show you!

First, check these magazines out:
Strange Horizons
Apex Magazine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Crossed Genres

They publish with varying regularity but all regularly publish interesting work by writers who are women and/or who are people of color. This is practically Strange Horizons' whole mission.

I thought about writing a giant ridiculous list of writers, but there are websites for that. If I could make suggestions generally, over and above what's mentioned elsewhere here:

- Aliette De Bodard generally, her Xuya universe and Viet diaspora stories in particular. Scattered Along The River of Heaven is one of my very favorite short stories.
- Nnedi Okorafor
- Vandana Singh
- Samuel Delany
- (if you're willing to read some queer white dudes, Hal Duncan's Vellum/Ink books are interesting)
- L. Timmel DuChamp

Aqueduct Press's annual roundup of posts about what people enjoyed in the past year is usually full of great suggestions.

Most of the things published by Aqueduct Press are good. They have the occasional clunker and the occasional political betise ("a class of genderless people manipulates society secretly for its own good, including killing people! because genderless people have no personal interest in the future since they will not have children and can therefore act with cool detachment! I, a cis writer, should totally write this!") but in general they work pretty hard to publish unusual feminist work and have published some important books by women of color. (Nisi Shawl's Filter House, Kiini Ibura Salaam's Ancient, Ancient, a variety of work by Vandana Singh who is totally my favorite now.

*I feel like momentum built such that by the mid nineties the SF landscape was changing dramatically - I went from feeling "I have read basically all the contemporary work in English by writers of color that is widely available" to "there are many writers of color getting published now" to "there is more than I can possibly keep up with or even know about unless it's my full time job" between about 1996 and and 2012. I mean, I was actively paying attention and seeking out work by writers of color.
posted by Frowner at 6:56 AM on January 4, 2016 [8 favorites]

(It's not that there shouldn't be more SF writers of color, or that the ones that exist get the respect they should* but if you're a serious reader of SF, you can find plenty to keep you busy, and that was not the case in 1996, and I know, for I was there scouring the shelves. When the Dark Matter anthology came out, it was totally revelatory.

*For one thing, Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany are basically the biggest things in science fiction post-1965. Any science fiction you read that is anything more than pow-pow-pow space shoot-em-ups probably owes something to at least one of the two.)
posted by Frowner at 7:00 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Always looking for more suggestions.

Off the top of my head, for both fantasy and science fiction (and assuming either non-white *or* women writers rather than both):

Nnedi Okorafor
N. K. Jemisin
Samuel Delany (pre-1990 books are sf or fantasy, most since then are mainstream literary)
Nalo Hopkinson
Steven Barnes
Tananarive Due
Andrea Hairston
Karen Lord
Walter Mosley (also writes mysteries)
William Sanders (Native American)
posted by aught at 7:04 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Halfway through last year I started hearing about the challenge to only read books written by women and decided this year I'm doing it. I'm definitely grabbing some stuff from this list.

I have a huge list I want to get through. A ton of books I've been meaning to tackle that I've put off (I'll finally get through an Atwood novel and I'm really excited.) Realizing that if I read one book a week I'll only get through 52 on my list is a little depressing but some of them are super short. Started this year on a fizzle: Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling which I thought was bland and should have been two hundred pages shorter.

Buzzfeed has some great best of books 2015 lists: Here's the one for Scifi in case you want to look at some very contemporary stuff. Here are all of their lists. Check them out, I put a ton of them on my list. I'm trying to read more contemporary works as well, I've been stuck in the past for a little too long.
posted by Neronomius at 7:16 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm always following behind on books, often years behind, so the idea of watching with bated breath for upcoming books is interesting. My "to read" pile keeps growing, and I've been doing some rereading as well, so at this rate it will be 2017 or beyond before I am ready for the best of 2016 lists.

Always looking for more suggestions.

The search term "aftrofuturism", both on Metafilter and more widely, will get you some amazing lists of authors and books.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:17 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I made this comment awhile back and I've shared it in other threads like this. I'll share it again just because its a great list of authors for those who are wanting to read more books written from women and persons of colour.
- Octavia E. Butler
- Elizabeth Moon
- Patricia A. McKillip
- Mercedes Lackey
- Jacqueline Carey
- Robin Hobb
- Elizabeth Bear
- Ursula K. LeGuin
- Jane Yolen
- Tanya Huff
- Sherri S. Tepper
- C.J. Cherryh
- Julie E. Czerneda
- Sarah Monette
- Tanith Lee
- Lois McMaster Bujold
- Katherine Kurtz
- Carrie Vaughn
- Kim Harrison
- J.V. Jones
- Carol Berg
- Terri Windling
- C.S. Friedman
- Katherine Addison
- N.K. Jemisin
- Katherine Kerr
- Kate Elliott
- Kameron Hurley
- Melanie Rawn
posted by Fizz at 7:28 AM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

you promise yourself you won’t buy ANY more books until you finish your unread pile.

Eh, no. I have more "to be read" books (two full book cases) than most people have books altogether.

At 52, I am under no illusion that I will ever empty these completely, even at a couple novels a week. (And I spent a good part of my holidays vacation culling out about 30%. Painful, but necessary. The local Friends of the Library sale will be happy, though to get the eight paper boxes full.)
posted by aught at 7:31 AM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

One does not have a "to read" pile, really, so much as a "what if I am ever unable to buy additional books for some reason" pile. The point of having the books is book security; also the possibility that you might never again be able to buy a particular book. Supposedly with the ebooks and everything this is not supposed to be a problem, but there's a tremendous amount of old and/or scholarly and/or small press stuff that just isn't available except as paper, and that rarely. No one is reissuing the extremely interesting but rather uneven 1980s Women's Press SF imprint stuff as ebooks, or any of the small press feminist SF anthologies of the 1970s - 1990s.

Also, now that I have learned that all this netflix business doesn't mean that all the movies are available all the time forever, as I'd thought, I worry a little about some future time when book access may be intermittent.
posted by Frowner at 7:46 AM on January 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

I worry a little about some future time when book access may be intermittent.

This -- I know that I became an order of magnitude more compulsive in book-buying and keeping when I started regularly coming across books I loved marked as "Withdrawn from [local library X]", as well as when it became clear that public library eBook services (like Overdrive) didn't map very well to my own tastes in reading.
posted by aught at 8:12 AM on January 4, 2016

I have made the commitment to read a 100 books this year. My personal annual best was 2013 when I managed 96 books (this does not include comics/re-reads). This past year was an okay showing with 76 books but I could have done better.

I will use these lists to change up what I buy or check out of my library, so thank you!
posted by Kitteh at 8:13 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

The last two years I've made sure to read 2/month. This year, I can't seem to make myself want to do it. I didn't read a single page during the holidays. I got 2 books for Christmas, one a daunting 1000page book about history, the other a Mitch Albom thing my mom wants me to read (I love her. I wish she'd stop trying to buy me books). I have a shelf of a dozen or so to-be-reads in a variety of types.

WHY? Why am I burnt out? How do I fix it?
posted by DigDoug at 8:24 AM on January 4, 2016

WHY? Why am I burnt out? How do I fix it?

I get that feeling sometimes. Try changing up your reading style/method. Maybe try audio books? Good for in the car or a walk or a workout. Or switch to short-stories or poetry collections? They're bite-size and don't take up entire chunks of your life, just a short break here and there.
posted by Fizz at 8:27 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

WHY? Why am I burnt out? How do I fix it?

Read light and fluffy stuff. Amazon has some dirt cheap stuff that you'll buzz through in few days.

Or make yourself read for 30 minutes day. No more, no less, works for me on harder stuff when I'm stressed and I don't want to read.
posted by KaizenSoze at 8:29 AM on January 4, 2016

Not trying to derail DigDoug but consider podcasts. Not the same as a book, but a good way to break up the monotony of reading or watching television/film.
posted by Fizz at 8:34 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Or maybe you should just watch some movies for a while, or go dancing, or get some of those adult coloring books everyone is on about. I like to read as much as - perhaps somewhat more than - the next person, but reading isn't cardio; you're not going to lose ground or have negative health effects if you knock off for a month.
posted by Frowner at 8:40 AM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Totally random, but I just noticed that this is my 800th post. Yay!
posted by Fizz at 9:08 AM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Fantastic post, Fizz!

Another upvote for N.K. Jemisin. I haaAAAAaaaate fantasy novels. But it turns out, I actually haaaAAAAAaate "elf/orc/troll/Princess of LaDeeDah searching for the magic book/sword/amulet/child" etc novels. Jemisin's world are so different and new to me. Love them. Love her.

I love reading but I can't get into reading challenges. They feel too much like homework for me, and it was the drudgery of assigned readings in schools that turned the little girl with her nose in a book into an adult who stopped reading for 10 years post graduation. But I LOVE MeFi threads about reading challenges because my to-read list benefits from everyone else's hard reading work. ;)
posted by kimberussell at 9:37 AM on January 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think I'm going to take one of these lists and apply it to my unread books at home, I need a push to make a dent in entire case of unread books. Thanks!
posted by lepus at 9:54 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

WHY? Why am I burnt out? How do I fix it?

I usually really change up what I'm reading, often with a dive into some really light, non-challenging stuff (like a Jack Reacher novel, or a Sanford or whatever). I like to think of it as giving my reading brain a bit of junk food every once in a while, and after a bit of that, I feel like going back to something more meaty.
posted by nubs at 9:57 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think I'm going to take one of these lists and apply it to my unread books at home, I need a push to make a dent in entire case of unread books.

I also recently started to do this. I have to keep on reminding myself:

“You have these books for a reason, at some point you expressed some interest in them, you found some value in owning them, so maybe you should read the damn things!”
posted by Fizz at 10:09 AM on January 4, 2016

WHY? Why am I burnt out? How do I fix it?

I get it, I have been a little uninterested in reading lately, too.

So I got a base-model Kindle for Christmas. I picked out a couple of dozen e-books from my stash which I have been meaning to read, and loaded them up on the Kindle. I also picked out some absolute froth: the three "Harper Hall" books from Anne McCaffrey's Pern series (yeah, yeah, I know) that focus on a young girl's story as she goes from rural nothing to Global Something. At first I half-heartedly opened a couple of the more meaty books, but then turned to the girl-with-tiny-dragons tales...

Reader, I burned through two of them in a couple of days, and am already into the third. I am even excited to be done with them so I can switch back to some real history, current events, and 18th-C. fiction -- like nubs says, it was like an all-junk-food diet!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:11 AM on January 4, 2016

Also, I found this: The 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge! [Chasing Faerytales]
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.

- This challenge will run from the 1st of January 2016 to the 31st of December 2016.
You can join in anytime you want.
- This challenge is meant to be a personal goal challenge to help find more diverse novels and to read more diversely.
- There are no levels/points! You can read as much or as little as you’d like, this is a personal goal and is mainly individualized
- To join the challenge, add your sign up post to the link up at the bottom of the post. You can include your TBR for the challenge if you want, but it’s not a requirement. Your sign up post can be a separate post or a part of a giant list of all your 2016 reading challenges. - Anything is fine.
- If you don’t have a blog, you may use a twitter handle or instagram profile and share this post with the hashtag #DiverseReads2016 that you’re participating! But add that link to the sign up link below.
- If you want to share why you joined the challenge or why you want to read more diverse books, you can tweet us using #Iwanttoreaddivesitybecause… and we can discuss there. - This is optional, just adding your blog to the bottom of this post is enough for this requirement!
There are themes for every couple of months, with different features and posts for each month:
- January to March : Ethnic Diversity
- April to June : LGBTQIA +Diversity
- July to September : Religious Diversity
- October to December : Mental and physical health and disabilities.
posted by Fizz at 10:15 AM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

For people looking for very brief books, over my Christmas break I read both Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists (both good in obviously very different ways).

Also (and this is a self-link as I published this book), Argentine author Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría's Memory: a novelette (translated into English by Lawrence Schimel) is about 50 pages long and is pretty different from what is being written in English SF—it's a far-future Mars, rather Bradburyesque, set during a revolution, but preoccupied with genetic engineering and how it influences relationship dynamics (the main characters are in a male-male-female triad).

For regular-length novels, I just finished Sangu Mandanna's beautifully-told The Lost Girl, in which the main character is a clone who has to experience the life of her original so she can take her place someday.

Thanks for posting this! I'm excited to sort through the recommendations.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:18 AM on January 4, 2016

I just joined to specifically recommend some of my favorite women sf/f writers. Most of the ones I like others have already mentioned, but I'd like to add:
Mary Gentle (esp. the Book of Ash quartet)
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Suzy McKee Charnas

I love book lists, so thank you all.
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:14 AM on January 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

I just joined to specifically recommend some of my favorite women sf/f writers.

Huzzah! Welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by Fizz at 11:36 AM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ah I was just looking at my copy of Beautiful Children the other day and wondering what happened to Charles Bock. Sad to hear about his wife, but that's definitely one 2016 book I'm marking on the calendar.
posted by mannequito at 11:44 AM on January 4, 2016

Samuel Delany (pre-1990 books are sf or fantasy, most since then are mainstream literary)

Sometimes I think it's weird, given that MetaFilter's answer to a wide-open "what should I read?" is so predictably a rousing chorus of "Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler," that people here don't generally give evidence of having read any of Samuel R. Delany's recent work at all. Not that you even ought to necessarily, it's certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but jeez, calling anything apart from Dark Reflections "mainstream literary" misses the mark about as widely as possible; and I say that even as a person for whom the literary importance of his pornographic work is something of a hobbyhorse.
posted by RogerB at 12:03 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

What if we just charitably said that people mean "not F&SF the way his earlier stuff "? That pretty much covers The Mad Man, Through The Valley Of The Nest Of Spiders, Times Square Red/Times Square Blue and On Writing....and it seems like folks aren't really talking about his other critical work at all. I definitely think you could be super into, like, Delany from Dhalgren through the Neveryona books and then not especially into anything else - that was where I was at for quite a while.

Gosh, maybe my New Year's reading resolution will be to read the big Delanys all the way through instead of skipping around - I've read most of The Mad Man, Dhalgren and TTVOTNOS but only in bits and pieces.

I think Triton is a really good starting point for reading Delany, if anyone is asking. Lo these many years ago I started out with the Neveryona books because they had been recommended to me, and although I love them perhaps the best now, they were some rough going to teen Frowner.
posted by Frowner at 12:52 PM on January 4, 2016

Another challenge suggestion, if you're like me and feel rushed all the time as it is: Read with a pencil or stylus in your hand. Don't aim for anything in particular, just notice and react. It does slow things down, but it's also a lot of fun once you're in.

(Also, if you do the Bustle challenge, please consider adding: 21. Read a first book by a woman over 40. )
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:29 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nell Zink, Helen Oyeyemi, Kameron Hurley, Penelope Fitzgerald, Nicola Griffith, Ann Leckie (mostly white, mostly American/British, mostly SFF, all of them blew my mind with at least one book this year)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:35 PM on January 4, 2016

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt has been duly added to my "read this one" list, on the strength of "Hunt’s fantastical writing is already drawing favorable comparisons to Kelly Link and Aimee Bender".

Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton has been added on the strength of "Margaret Cavendish, the titular character in Dutton’s novel". Sold.

Vinegar Girl was added on the strength of "by Anne Tyler".
posted by kyrademon at 5:35 PM on January 4, 2016

This seems like an appropriate place to self-link...

Best Kids Books 2015
Best Grown Up Books 2015

Definitely read your kids these books! The kids ones I mean.

P.S. I read 189 books in 2015, does that make me KING OF THE MOUNTAIN? A lot of these were kids books, but as Mitch Hedberg put it: "Any book is a kids book if the kid can read"
posted by jcruelty at 9:33 PM on January 4, 2016

I agree that reading challenges feel a little like homework, and if I signed up for one, I would probably end up reading the opposite of whatever the challenge was, but in 2015 I decided to read more books that were new to me and it was fun. Around 35% of the 130 books I finished were rereads, 53% by women.

(Between 1Q84, A Little Life, and War and Peace, I think I've probably broken one of my own records for number of pages read and should get a free bookmark or something.)

This year, I'm planning on reading less. Personal monthly reading goal:

-one translation
-one book that is new to me and published since 2000
-one old favourite
-one Henry James
-one non-fiction

(Now that I've said that, I'll probably spend the next 12 months reading nothing but Wodehouse and sensation novels.)
posted by betweenthebars at 10:12 PM on January 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have as my reading goal this year, to finally finish Middlemarch. We are five days into the year and I have already put it down to idly flip through other books I also will not finish.

I'm not sure what has happened to my reading the past few months, but the only books I have managed to make my way through, were pop fiction. Not even pop fiction with a glaze of literary appeal or a sticker on the cover mentioning which prize it had won, just like, "Now we know who killed all these people thanks to our keen psychological profiling skills. And now for the romantic subplot." Oh, and a Culture novel too, because when I'm sad I like to think that someday in the future robots will be my friend. (But then also added Banks to the failure pile when I put down The Algebraist in disgust.)

But I must finish Middlemarch. It's not even that it's a chore--I've loved what I've read so far--but it's work, Eliot's sentences are work, in a way I am not used to. I think I am actually scared of the book.

(as opposed to Delany's recent work, which I'm just scared to bring home, now that my kids are the age I was when I would ransack my parents' books, looking for evidence of Bad Words and other thrilling naughtiness. I thought about this the other day when two of his memoirs showed up at the used store, and I had to leave them on the shelf. It was one thing for me to puzzle over the more obscure passages in my mom's Silhouettes...the thought of the kids puzzling over Hogg or something is terrifying!)
posted by mittens at 5:10 AM on January 5, 2016

(pre-1990 books are sf or fantasy, most since then are mainstream literary)

Sorry, I was using "mainstream" in the science fiction fan sense of "not science fiction."

I should also note that Delany has been one of my favorite writers for decades, and no aspersions on his literary work -- whether memoir-leaning like _Atlantis_, historiographic fiction like _Phallos_, pornographic like _Hogg_, anthropological/allegorical like the Neveryon books, or contemporary lit/speculative fiction hybrid like _Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders_ (and this being Delany one can take for granted there will almost certainly be sexual if not outright pornographic content in any or all of these books) -- were intended by referring to some of them with the shortcut label "mainstream."
posted by aught at 8:05 AM on January 5, 2016

Great post! It's going to take me awhile to read through all the links.

It's a trap! Read a book instead!
posted by oxford blue at 4:42 PM on January 5, 2016

Also added:

The Wonder, because Emma Donoghue.

The Lesser Bohemians, because Eimear McBride.

Autumn, because Ali Smith.
posted by kyrademon at 4:50 PM on January 5, 2016

mittens: I have as my reading goal this year, to finally finish Middlemarch. We are five days into the year and I have already put it down to idly flip through other books I also will not finish.

Today is January 8th, and I have already abandoned Jayne Eyre. I feel ya!

(Though in my own defense, I am almost done with "Alanna: The First Adventure" by Tamora Pierce, which has been recommended here on MetaFilter 50+ times!)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:02 AM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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