1. Iron Council – China Miéville
This book was fantastic. How to describe it though… how about: a western that read lots of weird fiction and then did mushrooms.
One character, Judah, is one of my favorite ever. Seriously.
2. The Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov
These books were recommended to me in high school by my friend Dave, and they’ve been on my to-read list ever since. Finally, I have read them.
I’m only through the original trilogy, but I’ll read the other four soon enough.
It’s tight, simple prose telling a science fiction story focused more on sociology than space ships, although there are certainly plenty of space ships, too. I’m excited to delve further into the fiction of Isaac Asimov.
3. Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
The hard sci-fi to beget all future hard sci-fi, Clarke unveils the most original and stunning sci-fi civilization as if it’s no big deal. The attention to scientific detail is so engaging. There’s a reason the major British sci-fi award is named after this guy.
4. The Complete Stories – Flannery O’Connor
I finally got around to reading O’Connor. It’s really amazing reading a life’s work of short stories because you get to experience their growth as a writer before your eyes, in just 500 pages or so. O’Connor writes of the soul of the arrogant, white, protestant southerner with an honesty, hilarity, compassion, and contempt that are each startling in their turns. She was really great at pulling the rug out from under a reader, or even just punching you in the diaphragm.
5. Falconer – John Cheever
Cheever’s most famous work, a prison drama set in New York. Cheever writes unflinchingly of depravity without ceasing to care for his characters. He wrote of the darkness and perversity within the white, wealthy, Connecticut/Westchester County, country club set of the 50’s and 60’s in the same way O’Connor wrote about the south.