2014 End of Year Booklist

December 29th, 2014

Read Rick’s, Rachel’s and Diana’s year end book list, and got inspired to write up my own.

2014 was a year of extenuating circumstances, the most obvious being the arrival of Anwen 9 hours before it began, but numerous others large and small abound. Reading this year was centered around escape, even oblivion, in short doses, and re-reading featured prominently.

(also I finally forwent the urge to build a Kindle exporter as part of this process and just used clippings.io which did the job well, though seems to have hit a problem after downloading nearly 2400 highlights)

Additionally I’ve probably missed a couple which I didn’t highlight anything in (or read exclusively in dead tree)

  1. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane

    Pilgrim paths, green roads, drove roads, corpse roads, trods, leys, dykes, drongs, sarns, snickets – say the names of paths out loud and at speed and they become a poem or rite – holloways, bostles, shutes, driftways, lichways, ridings, halterpaths, cartways, carneys, causeways, herepaths.

    In Ireland there are hundreds of miles of famine roads, built by the starving during the 1840s to connect nothing with nothing in return for little, unregistered on Ordnance Survey base maps. In the Netherlands there are doodwegen and spookwegen – death roads and ghost roads – which converge on medieval cemeteries. Spain has not only a vast and operational network of cañada, or drove roads, but also thousands of miles of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrim routes that lead to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela. In Scotland there are clachan and rathad – cairned paths and shieling paths – and in Japan the slender farm tracks that the poet Bash? followed in 1689 when writing his Narrow Road to the Far North

  2. The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1), Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

    displayed a multitudinous mess of life’s unnecessities.

  3. The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2), Robert Galbraight (aka JK Rowling)

  4. Startide Rising (Uplift Trilogy Book 2), David Brin

  5. The Uplift War (Uplift Trilogy Book 3), David Brin

  6. Tamsin, Peter S. Beagle

    She’s got a daughter, too, my cousin Barbara, and we were always supposed to be lifelong buddies, but the first time we met, when we were maybe two years old, we tried to beat each other to death with our toy fire engines, and it’s been downhill from there.

  7. The Peripheral, William Gibson

    “Terrorism,” said the rental. “We prefer not to use that term,” said Lowbeer, studying her candle flame with something that looked to Netherton to be regret, “if only because terror should remain the sole prerogative of the state.”

  8. Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch), Ann Leckie

  9. Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch), Ann Leckie

  10. Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip, Peter Hessler

  11. The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1), Patrick Rothfuss

    You might not want to buy this book.

  12. Memory (Vorkosigan Saga Book 10), Lois McMaster Bujold

    There’s no place like home. I didn’t say there was nothing better. I just said there was nothing like it.

  13. The Winter Long: October Daye #8, Seanan McGuire

    “The day I get a vacation is the day the world ends,”

  14. Chimes at Midnight: Book Seven of Toby Daye (October Daye), Seanan McGuire

    “A knight of the land Courts asking a Duchess of the Undersea to save a King of Cats,”

  15. Fool’s Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy, Robin Hobb

    “I will always take your part, Bee. Right or wrong. That is why you must always take care to be right, lest you make your father a fool.

  16. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente

    I’m afraid the whole thing moves around according to the needs of narrative.

  17. The King’s Blood (The Dagger and Coin Book 2), Daniel Abraham

    The day you throw me in a ditch and take control of the company?” “Still not today.

  18. The Dragon’s Path (The Dagger and Coin Book 1), Daniel Abraham

    if everyone benefits, you’ve overlooked something.

  19. The Widow’s House (The Dagger and Coin Book 4), Daniel Abraham

    “The world is burning. Anything that doesn’t end in ashes is worth doing.

  20. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (Vorkosigan Saga Book 14), Lois McMaster Bujold

    “The ones still inside, you’ll want to commend. The ones outside, those are the ones I’d promote . . .”

  21. Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga Book 11), Lois McMaster Bujold

    He’s not even a mad scientist. He’s merely a very upset engineer.

  22. A Civil Campaign (Vorkosigan Saga Book 12), Lois McMaster Bujold

    You won’t regret this seemed a much too optimistic statement to add.

    “What about acts of ineptitude?” “A gray area, and don’t tell me you haven’t lived in that twilight before.” “Most of my life, sir. Not that I haven’t leaped up into the blinding light of competence now and then. It’s sustaining the altitude that defeats me.”

  23. Rogues, George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

    the very image of a person with just the average amount to hide.

  24. The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files Book 5), Charles Stross

    “Hurry up! We can’t stop here; this is black pudding country!”

    The five stages of bureaucratic grieving are: denial, anger, committee meetings, scapegoating, and cover-up.

  25. Farthing (Small Change), Jo Walton

  26. The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2), Patrick Rothfuss

    “It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most.

    “Maps don’t just have outside edges. They have inside edges. Holes.

    It was the same scolding any child receives. Stay out of the neighbor’s garden. Don’t tease the Bentons’ sheep. Don’t play tag among the thousand spinning knives of your people’s sacred tree.

  27. The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One, Patrick Rothfuss

    “I thought you would be older.” “I am,”

  28. Be Slightly Evil: A Playbook for Sociopaths (Ribbonfarm Roughs 1), Venkatesh Rao

    We are low-entropy creatures trying hopelessly to swim upstream in a universe that’s gradually winding down towards a maximum-entropy heat death.

  29. My Real Children, Jo Walton

    She had never felt older than those years when the children were small and so demanding of her attention. She had felt it a new lease on youth when they were grown and gone,

    In November of 1966 there was a flood in Florence, killing six people and damaging some property. Fortunately the weather computers had predicted it well in advance, so most people had evacuated and most works of art were moved to safety. Some frescos were damaged. Pat wrote articles about their restoration and sat on a committee to raise money for it.

    Just the cold contingent universe where things happened for random reasons nobody could understand.

  30. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty

    Expert analysis will never put an end to the violent political conflict that inequality inevitably instigates.

  31. Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, Book 2), Brandon Sanderson

    “If I toss something upward, it comes back down.” “Except when it doesn’t.” “It’s a law.” “No,” Syl said, looking upward. “It’s more like . . . more like an agreement among friends.

  32. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1), Brandon Sanderson

    Shallan moved her eyes down to the bottom of the page where—separated by a line—the undertext was written in a small, cramped script. Most books dictated by men had an undertext, notes added by the woman or ardent who scribed the book. By unspoken agreement, the undertext was never shared out loud. Here, a wife would sometimes clarify—or even contradict—the account of her husband. The only way to preserve such honesty for future scholars was to maintain the sanctity and secrecy of the writing.

    When he passed, the timid grass pulled back, but the fingermoss was bolder. The clumps would only pull into their shells if he tapped the rock near them.

  33. Moneyball, Michael Lewis

  34. Liar’s Poker (Norton Paperback), Michael Lewis

    Why did investment banking pay so many people with so little experience so much money?

    By the mid-eighties, however, all things black, yellow, and female have disappeared from the photographs. There isn’t a trace of anything but white men in the annual reports.

  35. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Marc Weissbluth Md

  36. Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Michael Lewis

    Every systemic market injustice arose from some loophole in a regulation created to correct some prior injustice.

  37. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, Ben Horowitz

    “When we drove off the cliff, we left no skid marks.

    The people who stay will care deeply about how you treat their colleagues.

    Yes, of course. The reason that people leave our service and don’t come back is that we have not been sending them enough spam. That makes total sense to me, too.

    Shock is a great mechanism for behavioral change.

    Hiring scalable execs too early is a bad mistake. There is no such thing as a great executive. There is only a great executive for a specific company at a specific point in time.

  38. Half-Off Ragnarok: Book Three of InCryptid, Seanan McGuire

    Nature’s not talking, possibly because even nature realizes that giving perfect camouflage to apex predators is sort of a dick move.

    (Australia. The only continent designed with a difficulty rating of “ha ha fuck you no.”)

  39. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, L. David Marquet

    Most of what we study, learn, and practice in terms of leadership today follows this leader-follower structure. This model has been with us for a long time. It is pervasive. It is the structure depicted in The Iliad, in Beowulf, and in other Western epics. But this model developed during a period when mankind’s primary work was physical. Consequently, it’s optimized for extracting physical work from humans. Those who take orders usually run at half speed, underutilizing their imagination and initiative. While this doesn’t matter much for rowing a trireme, it’s everything for operating a nuclear-powered submarine.

  40. The Privilege of the Sword (The World of Riverside Book 2), Ellen Kushner

    “I do not make the rules,” he said creamily. “This annoys me, and so I comfort myself by breaking them.

    Getting the long sword into the soft scabbard was a bit like getting a bootie onto a baby’s foot: neither was very interested in helping,

    And suddenly, as the night air turned cold and the day sky burned a bright and gallant blue, the world was full of apples. The air smelt of them, sharp and crisp, then underlaid with the sweet rot of groundfall.

    Serious sword-practice made me forget to think in words, so that I didn’t always understand when people spoke to me.

  41. What’s Going on in There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, Lise Eliot

  42. Influx, Daniel Suarez

    “Mankind was on the moon in the 1960s, Jon. That was half a century ago. Do you really think the pinnacle of innovation since that time is Facebook? They designed the Saturn V rocket with slide rules.

  43. Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse Book 3), James S.A. Corey

    She had a sudden vision of Jesus, who’d asked His disciples to keep doing this in remembrance of Him, watching her little congregation as they floated in microgravity and drank reconstituted grape beverage out of suction bulbs. It seemed to stretch the boundaries of what He’d meant by this.

  44. Caliban’s War (The Expanse Book 2), James S.A. Corey

    Owning your own racing ship wasn’t even wealth. It was like speciation.

  45. Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Book 1), James S.A. Corey

  46. The Tyrant’s Law (The Dagger and Coin Book 3), Daniel Abraham

    “Job is we kill a goddess and save the world. Let’s not complicate it.”

    The citizens of the city wrapped themselves in coats and cloaks, scarves and mittens, until they all seemed part of a single unified race of the chilled.

    “Good that we have the powers of chaos and madness on our side sometimes.

  47. The Golem and the Jinni (P.S.), Helene Wecker

    Gradually the well-kept brownstones gave way to Dutch clapboard houses, their trellises heavy with roses.

    He supposed that eventually Matthew would grow older and lose interest, and take his place with the feral young men who slouched on the neighborhood stoops. Or—even worse—he’d become just another streetcar rider, dull-eyed and unprotesting.

  48. The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network, Katherine Losse

    Logging on to Facebook that first day, in retrospect, was the second, and to date the last, time that any technology has captured my imagination.

    “California is a place in which a boom mentality and a sense of Chekhovian loss meet in uneasy suspension; in which the mind is troubled by some buried but ineradicable suspicion that things better work here, because here, beneath the immense bleached sky, is where we run out of continent.

    While they abhorred the idea of being a wage slave, the young men of Silicon Valley were not trying to tear down the capitalist system. They were trying to become its new masters.

  49. Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross

    Which means I need to brief you on the politics of mermaids.

  50. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Brad Stone

    “How do you plan to handle the narrative fallacy?”

    “When a company comes up with an idea, it’s a messy process. There’s no aha moment,”

update

remembered at least one book missing from above

Half a King, Joe Abercombie. YA but looking forward to the sequel

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