For this week’s installment, I decided to look at the random question that asks the following:
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Give a list of 4 books you read last year that you’d recommend to others — and why.
1. The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters — I suppose it’s cheating since I’m recommending three books in one, but I liked all the trilogy so much that it’s hard to recommend one without recommending them all. With a meteor heading toward Earth and the prediction of the end of life as we know it, would solving a murder still be a priority or necessary? Detective Hank Palace thinks so and he continues to try and close cases, even as the world descends into chaos around him. A lot of what I like about this trilogy comes from Hank Palace and his struggle as the end of the world looms large. But there’s also a palatable sense of foreboding and futility that Winters puts into these novels. It’s a series of books that I’ve thought about a bit after reading them.
2. My Real Children by Jo Walton — Part character study, part alternate history, My Real Children is a compulsively readable novel that looks at what Patricia Cowan’s life could have been like based on a single decision. There are positives and negatives to each timeline and the choices that Patricia makes in each. There are also some fascinating glimpses of alternate history thrown in for good measure, all adding up to a reading experience that I enjoyed a great deal and hope that others will as well.
3. Lock In by John Scalzi — I’m a big Scalzi fan and have been since I read Old Man’s War. He won the Hugo a couple of years ago for Redshirts and while that was good, I think this one is better. In fact, I’d say it’s one of his best, doing what great science-fiction does by examining on and commenting on what makes us human and what that means. The book reminded a lot of Issac Asimov’s Bailey and Daneel novels and is at the top of my list for the Hugo Award this year.
4. Big Little Lies by Liam Moriarity — Sometimes you just want to recommend something that was a lot of fun to read. And that’s the case with Big Little Lies. Something tragic happened on trivia night at Piriwee Public. We get a glimpse of it early in the book and then spend the next 250 pages setting up how and why it happened and the implications of it. This is a book that kept me guessing as to what the final twist would be and was just a lot of fun to read and enjoy the ride.