When it comes to announcing their favorite books of the year, the difference between publications and bloggers is that the former hope to sell you books for Christmas, while the latter hope to read one more excellent book to add to their lists. Here are some of the best lists that were posted within the last week:
Kings River Life has a list about the best mysteries.
io9 has an excellent list of science fiction and fantasy.
Far Beyond Reality also lists science fiction and fantasy, with surprisingly little overlap with io9.
The Book Smugglers have their list, which is heavy on speculative fiction but not limited to it.
Bookworm Blues has a very personal list of faves in the genres.
Stainless Steel Droppings looks at the best science fiction and fantasy book covers of 2013.
Fantasy Literature has a nice list (and this is where you’ll find my favorite SF, fantasy and horror of the year).
There is plenty of high anticipation of what books will be coming in 2014 as well. Here are a few of the lists of books that are eagerly awaited:
Fantasy Café believes it will be an amazing year for its chosen genre. I have a couple of the books listed already preordered.
The list from Kirkus is of an entirely different breed of SF/F/H, but still manages to overlap with N.K. Jemisin’s book — which just goes to show you how great Jemisin’s work is.
Fantasy Faction has some nice choices.
Reviewer Cheryl Morgan has some choices that are a bit more off the beaten track, and all the more enticing for it.
The Guardian gives us the picture from across the pond.
The Millions has a list of what to read in January. Not a one of them is new, but they are all places of beginning.
Author Joe Konrath, who has done pretty well for himself by writing as J.A. Konrath and Jack Kilbourn, has some predictions about the future of publishing. He’s been pretty accurate in the past, but I hope he’s wrong this time, particularly about mergers, bankruptcies and layoffs among the Big 5 publishers and the death of Barnes & Noble. Horror writer David Niall Wilson has his own predictions, which are almost diametrically opposed to Konrath’s. Compare and contrast in the comments, and add your own ideas!
One of the best things about books is that writing grows, changes, moves, takes U-turns, and generally does mental gymnastics — and makes the reader do them, too. Something new and different comes along every so often, or a new twist on an old trope makes it current again. The joy of reading is that you don’t always know what you’re getting. But that could change with modern technology. David Streitfield notes in the New York Times that e-readers can deliver an enormous amount of information to authors and publishers, letting them know exactly what readers liked and what they didn’t — leading them to produce pretty much the same reliable product time and time again. And that’s a huge problem for the thoughtful reader who wants to be challenged or even just amused. The same joke told over and over loses its punch. There are times when art should win out over market forces, and this is one of those times. Do you disagree?
The New York Times’ critics have some thoughts about what they’d like to see in the arts in 2014. I was surprised to see only two books listed out of the thousands that will be published this year. Are the projections for mainstream (or literary) fiction really that dull this year?
There will be a slough of writers conferences and book festivals this year, all across the country. You could spend your entire year doing nothing but going from one to the other!
I saved the best for last: they’ve figured out what causes old book smell!