12 from 12

There is a thing called 12 on 12. You may, if you are bookish on the internet, know of it. The idea is 12 of your friends give you recommendations of books to read through the year. I don’t know why it started but I decided to get involved in the party. Broaden the horizons, deepen the bonds of friendship, all that good stuff.

So I stuck a post on twitter, asked a few other people… and got 14. I’m not saying you people can’t count, but… anyway, here’s all 14 with a little bit about the person who pushed this on me. Yes, I am deciding on how nice to be about them based on how likely they are to look at this post.

Quantum by Manjit Kumar

Within minutes of me sticking up the tweet, Jon – my best man at my wedding – asked whether he could recommend me a physics book.

Is this the spirit of the exercise? Nevermind that, am I going to admit I’m too stupid to understand high level physics? Exactly not. So I said said yes. As of now, I’m glad as this set a standard early for trying anything. Come six months down the line when I’ve DNFed half this list, I’ll probably be stating that Jon is a most disappointingly futile onanist, but we can get into that as and when.

I know literally nothing about this book save what I just saw on looking it up. Apparently it’s about quantum theory and the nature of reality. I have to admit I am quite intrigued. The nature of reality is of great interest to me, even if just in a know your enemy type way.

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

Things went from bad to worse when Bryan Wigmore, author and long standing friend, gave me a list in order. I could have picked out of order, but I honoured his request as it was and stuck Riddley Walker on the list.

I don’t know anything about Riddley Walker other than it’s post-apocalyptic and written in an invented English dialect. I am once again forced to speculate about the deviant habits of those who do such things. That said, Bryan has been a very good guide to weird big concept things for me, so I shall keep my insults back until a later date.

A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

It looks like fellow blogger HC Newton didn’t get the message that we were looking for books I’d almost certainly hate, as his suggestions were fairly conventional fantasy.

I’ve yet to read Kevin Hearne and I’m not really sure other than his Iron Druid series sounds far too like the many World of Darkness games I’ve been part of. A Plague of Giants is his more trad fantasy series if memory serves – yup, looks right – so hopefully it scratches that itch.

Deerkskin by Robin McKinley

The next three all came from members of the same Discord server, a quiet little place where we ignore most of the books we pick for our bookclubs in favour of looking at pics of each others’ pets. This is the way. Pyjaks, owner of a nefarious parrot and an axe murderer looking dog, nominated Robin McKinley’s Deerskin and said we should do a buddy read. Sounds good to me.

Robin McKinley is another author I somehow haven’t tried – just don’t think she crossed the ocean super well – so I’m excited to try her given her rep. Deerskin is about – one moment – a prince falling in love and a woman refinding optimism. How sweet. It also contains some rape and incest.

I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a woman who saw a dog that looked like an axe murderer and decided she must adopt it.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Yellowbirdie, our glorious leader in reading slumps, has three wonderful dogs and an endless well of rage that has nothing to do with being a teacher. Nope nope nope. She gave me a list and I picked Children of Time.

Why this book? As I get more into Sci-Fi, I feel like this is one of the recent big names that are worth looking at to learn about the genre. Tchaikovsky has been hit and miss for me so maybe trying him in another genre will help.

Bitter Medicine by Sarah Paretsky

The man we know only as TheBurningGod suggested this or Kuang’s Babel. I’ve no intention of reading Babel and had every intention of trying Paretsky after I saw Le Guin praising her, so this was very easy. And… wait. I’ve just realised he probably meant Mia Tsai’s Bitter Medicine.


Well… we’ll see whether I try what he meant or this, since he did just say Bitter Medicine. The obvious thing would be to follow the intended rec, but I know he does have an excellent disappointed stare he enjoys using.

Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty

Now time for a different circle of Discord friends. My friend and general busybody in the world of fantasy, Fab, gave me a choice of this of another book whose name I can’t remember as it contains a made-up word. I was leaning towards the other book until I saw it was a political fantasy and skipped out of town.

Chakraborty’s newest one was on my list anyway. I found City of Brass did several things that made me happy but it never really wowed me, so when I saw the incipient love triangle I ran for the hills. A second go is in order.

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo

Chayote is a lovely person who was initially going to pick the book they’d already sent me until I pointed out I was already obliged to try that book, so they might as well pick another.

The third novella of the Singing Hills cycle was their choice. Since I loved the first and liked the second, this is the book on the list I’m most excited about trying.

Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

Author Guerric Hache went through an idea or two before finding a book I hadn’t already bounced off, which of course bodes brilliantly for this book’s chances.

I am intrigued by this one. I know it’s Sci-Fantasy, and I know to expect good things from Tor novellas, and that’s it. I’m going to enter this one otherwise blind and see what I see.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Shanno was a friend until he pissed off back to Australia, and now he’s just an annoying git. The fact I left London shortly afterwards doesn’t mitigate this at all.

This horror novel was his favourite book of last year, so I’m very much looking forwards to hating.

The Elementals by Michael McDowell

Christopher Bean is a friend and author who really loves horror. I’ve got a few horror recs on the go from him right now, but still took another one with his favourite novel, The Elementals.

The main thing I know about this is its southern gothic and Bean calls it epic horror, which is a very enticing label to me.

Geometries of Belonging by RB Lemberg

I first followed Sandstone on twitter after someone pointed me to her as a person of immense knowledge about genre. I’ve never actually converted that into reading her patreon posts, but I do enjoy seeing her thoughts.

I know quite a few Lemberg fans. I’d been avoiding it as a bit too slice of life for me, but it’ll be good to give them a full go as I do enjoy the writing in the kindle samples.

The One Kingdom by Sean Russell

The first name after the bell – although how could they know I was past twelve when I was collecting recs hither and thither – Jodie is a blogger and big blog supporter. Some people are here to do their stuff, some people to support the community. Jodie is very much one of the latter.

Her first choice was Glen Cook’s The Black Company, a previous bounce off, so she suggested this epic fantasy instead. Think there was a Tad Williams comp? This is a year I try more epic fantasy, so this works well.

Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

Alex Hormann is a fellow blogger who I also know through a forum. He’s more sci-fi than fantasy these days, which is why I got a sci-fi rec from him.

I think this one is more Space Opera/Mil SciFi? Should be a good chance of pace, and hopefully add to the appreciation the Vorkosigan Saga has created for the artform.

There we go. I’m not sure I’ll do all 14, but I’m going to try and at least do 12, and hopefully not hate all of them. Small goals, eh?

Any thoughts about these books? The comments are open as ever.


8 thoughts on “12 from 12

  1. Lol! This was a fun read. Shout out to Jon for recommending a physics book. Wasn’t expecting that.
    Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors. I love the way she writes, however, I haven’t read Deerskin in years and have forgotten much of it. Hope it goes well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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