Monday, June 15, 2020

Summer Reading List 2020: Joe

There are many things in this life which I really, really like. Two of them are reading books and making lists. A third would be making lists about reading books. Strangely, I'm not sure if I want to read a book about making lists, so we'll just move right on from there, shall we?

It is something of a tradition here at Nerds of a Feather to post one's Summer Reading List. Now, since I've been adulting for quite a number of years, the concept of "summer" doesn't have quite the same cache for me as it might have two decades ago. I have to go to work in July much the same as I do in February. And while the summer does mean more trips up to the family cabin, now that I have a child, some of that time spent reading on a swing overlooking a lake with a beer in my hand is going to be spent playing with my children. This is not a bad thing.

With all of that said, I do rather enjoy making lists about books. Nerds of a Feather is a genre blog, so while I plan to continue to read more non fiction each year and I've been reading an increasing amount of non SFF fiction, I do still get through more than one hundred books each year, so what I'm going to highlight is some of the science fiction and fantasy I plan / hope to read this summer.
For those keeping score at home, I read five of the six books I listed last year and expect to get the last one this summer, especially as the weirdness of this year has me reading more from that giant stack of books next to my bed.

1. The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich has been one of my favorite authors for more than twenty years now, since the day I first read Love Medicine and June Morissey walked out into the snow. From that moment, which has been reinforced by everything she has written since, each of her novels has been essential reading. The Night Watchman is her latest.

2. Sailing to Sarantium, by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of those authors I've always meant to read more of. I read Ysabel not long after it was published, loved it, and somehow never went back to Kay. So many of my friends and readers I trust are fans of Kay's work and, well, what better time to hit some of those long unread books on my to be read pile than this summer?

3. The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin

For all of the same reasons The City We Became was on my most anticipated novels of the year list, it is on my summer reading list. Is there a novel more anticipated this year than The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin's first novel published after her phenomenal Broken Earth trilogy. As I said back in January, "in a year filled with significant novels, The City We Became is a must read."


4. The Fire Dragon, by Katharine Kerr

At this point I'm not sure if I am going to continue with my Reading Deverry essay series (Part 1, Part 2). With the exception of Seanan McGuire, there are very few writers I am likely to read more than one novel from in a year and that pushes each of the Deverry essays several years apart. The Fire Dragon is the third novel of Deverry's Act Three and the eleventh novel overall. There is still quite a bit of story left in Deverry, but as I suggested last year, the farther we get from the Rhodry and Jill storyline the more this feels like a completely different series. Katharine Kerr has reset the series and Rhodry is back as the berserker he was early on. I don't love the arc in this Act, but I'm interested to see how both the Act and the series as a whole is resolved. Whether I write about it is another story.

5. The Rage of Dragons, by Evan Winter

I've had a copy of The Rage of Dragons for almost a year now and even though I wasn't initially excited about the debut (which is dumb, I should trust Orbit by this point) - I've been told by a good many people I trust that The Rage of Dragons is the truth, that The Rage of Dragons is a spectacular debut and the sort of epic fantasy we should all be reading. 

6. Valor's Choice, by Tanya Huff

A few years back I was both looking for some new old space opera to read and just happened to be browsing through Uncle Hugo's (a wonderful science fiction bookstore destroyed in the fires of Minneapolis this year) when I stumbled across an omnibus edition of A Confederation of Valor, the first two Valor novels from Tanya Huff. As so often happens when I buy books they then sat proudly on my bookshelf for years. It's time. And I may well push right into The Better Part of Valor.

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 4x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan. He / Him.