Half of the year is already over. It's time to see which books I've loved so far. Been a mixed bag as always, but since I've become a more demanding reader I'm pleased to say there are a few I did love.
In the order in which I read them, then...
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: Set in the late 1800s with characters like a girl who works in physics, a mechanical octopus, and a Japanese noble who is gifted with a multi-layered prescience. Drew me in with the quiet, introspective writing and the quite novel plot. It was like looking through a window one night at a cozy lit room with two people talking, and you never wanted to leave.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: An artistic rendition of a dystopian future in which a virus has wiped out 99% of humanity. Among the survivors are a traveling Shakespearean troupe and this is their story. Again, the writing is simple and shines like a small pearl. Despite the ending being maddeningly enticing in terms of wanting a sequel, I loved this.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell: This is, to put it simply, mind-blowing. Themes like spirituality, linguistics, love, family, and loss all run together but, incredibly enough, against the backdrop of space exploration. Inter-planetary relations with a good twist of God, if you will. It's complex and challenging, and I almost died at the end when the reason for the title is revealed. Masterful. I have my teeth right now in another by the same author so I'm a happy bird.
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan Howard: I want to be friends with this Johannes Cabal. So what if he's a necromancer? He's such a loon while being a great brain at the same time, with a good dose of dry-as-heck wit to boot. What's not to love? To my delight I've found that he and his delightful brother Horst star in another installment of the series, yay!
Tigerman by Nick Harkaway: Quite an awful title belies the serene and limpid world to be found in this creation by the mad Harkaway. I didn't want it to end.
Blindess by Jose Saramago: I'm not sure I've fully recovered from the trauma of reading this. It's a bitter form of genius, that. Shudder and thank you, Mr. Saramago.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
The Pickle Index by Eli Horowitz
Not That Kind of Girl by Mary Wesley
Black Elk in Paris by Kate Horsley