The Book Queue, 2013 Edition

Last year, I read for quantity. I mean, obviously I was seeking out quality stuff, but I tended to stay away from long books in the interest of getting through a lot of books. I set a goal of 50 books, and managed to hit it… just barely (depending on how you count novellas). It was a record year in terms of reading, but I didn’t want to get stuck in a rut of short books, so I devised this crazy idea of only reading super long epics in 2013. Well, that’s not really going to work out, because there are plenty of shorter books I really want to read this year, so I’m just going with the idea of reading whatever I want, length be damned (plus, it’s sometimes hard to gauge length anyway.)

So this list is going to focus on longer books, but there will be some occasional short ones too. I’m pretty sure some of these long books are going to be a bear to get through as well, so I will almost certainly not get to all of these books. But it should be an interesting year in reading nonetheless. Only a few of these are holdovers from the previous book queue update, but hopefully I can get through those!

  • Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter (832 pages) – This has been on every Book Queue post for, like, 2 years. We’ll I’ve actually already started this and have gotten about halfway through it so far. It’s mildly slow going, but I’m really enjoying the book, which gets my brain revved up in ways most of my cultural consumption doesn’t. A couple chapters have really blown me away, others can be a bit of a mathematical slog. Still, I’m excited that I finally tackled this thing and will actually finish it.
  • Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris (772 pages)- Another longish non-fiction book that I’ve had on the list since last year, but didn’t want to tackle since it would have probably demolished my reading momentum. Will hopefully take it on this year.
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin (992 pages) – Might as well keep the streak going with another forbiddingly long non-fiction book, this has been low in the queue since it came out, but I got a copy for Christmas this year, so I guess it’s time to give it a shot. In all honesty, not sure I’ll get to it this year, but it’s worth putting on the list.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (800 pages) – Another book I’ve always been interested in, but never quite pulled the trigger on, in part due to its length. I actually don’t know much about it, though it seems kinda like a fantasy novel, which is perhaps another reason I was hesitant to try it out, but I figure I’ll give it a shot this year. I seem to be orbiting around fantasy novels more often these days, so I’m actually looking forward to this one.
  • Ulysses by James Joyce (783 pages) – Go big or go home. This is one of those towering literary novels that’s supposed to be great but impossible to read. And long! Can’t guarantee I’ll be able to put up with this, but I’m interested in at least giving it a shot.
  • Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton (992 pages)- Kaedrin friend Ben calls this a “paper-brick space opera” which, you know, sounds fun to me. Other than a short synopsis, I have no idea what it’s about, but I’m looking forward to it.
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (448 pages)- In an effort to forestall Bujold withdrawal symptoms, I’m hitting up her fantasy series. This one isn’t strictly long, but I believe it’s the first in a series of three, which could make for a good long form story. Looking forward to it!
  • Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh (528 pages) – I was not a huge fan of C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner, but I’m more sanguine about this one, which one the Hugo in 1982…
  • Jack Glass by Adam Roberts (384 pages) – Really confused by the release of this book, which I thought came out last year, but that seems to be only in the UK. It sounds awesome and I’m super excited for it. It’s a relatively short book, but also a holdover from the last update, so it stays!
  • Among Others by Jo Walton (304 pages) – The 2012 Hugo winner was on my list last year but I never got to it. Will hopefully make a nice palate cleanser between large novels!

So there’s ten books I’m looking to read this year, some very long, some shorter. I almost certainly won’t get to them all, but it should still be a good year in reading anyway…