Mostly, I read for entertainment. Most of the titles below fit that bill. Some, like The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe, find themselves on my reading list because I love history (Revolutionary War, Napoleonic, World War II, Ancient Rome timeframes are all thumbs up) and have great respect for anyone who has served in our military. I find their stories emboldening and interesting. Other reads, like What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank, are just fun, and something I hope provides information that finds its way into my writing. There’s one financial-related book in this year’s best because I love what Jim Cramer does for the small investor and I found this book in particular hit very close to home because Mr. Cramer talks quite a bit about the tech bubble of the late 90’s. I graduated college in 1994 and lived in the Silicon Valley area (I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area) during the rise and fall of the stock market during that era. Looking back, it was quite a ride. I don’t think any of us really knew what we were in the middle of, but it was some good times. The rest of the books are the usual fantasy, with a little steampunk thrown in, but all good reads (otherwise they wouldn’t be on this list) I recommend.
Carrying on the tradition of listing out my favorites reads of the year (here are my favorite reads of 2010 and 2011; apparently I skipped 2013—some tradition, huh?), I give you the books I found most enjoyable in 2013.
You can see all of the books I read in 2013 on Goodreads.
Other "Best Of" Lists
It's fast becoming a tradition around here to reflect a bit on the previous
year both as a writer and a blogger. Previous bouts of reflection spilled out of
me in 2010 and 2009. But, here we are now, in 2012, so let's dig in.
In terms of blogging, my posting decreased dramatically. In 2010, I wrote 144
posts. In 2011, only 44. This reflects an attempt to refocus myself on my novel
writing and my self-promotion as an indie author. I'm not giving up blogging; I
find there are important topics that, as an author, I need to know. Topics such
as the growing alignment of paperback and eBook prices is one of those things
that can change (and is changing) an industry. Also, Amazon's eBook strategy remains paramount for nearly every indie author out there. I can't guarantee
that every post I wrote in 2011 is going to be beneficial to everyone, but they
are at least beneficial to me.
In terms of what others found most useful, here are the "hottest" posts
written in 2011 (numbers in parenthesis represent the total number of views for
- Pricing: eBooks vs Paperbacks (2241)
- Contribute (1807)
- The Five Elements - 12. The Four Elements (1780)
- Free Kindles for Everyone! (1439)
- An introspective on Borders' liquidation (1187)
- The Five Elements - 21. The Fifth Element (888)
- The Five Elements - 18. Amongst the Clouds (842)
- How to ruin your writing career in 1 easy step (773)
- Book Review: Honour of the Grave by Robin Laws (747)
- Classic Reread: Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (714)
Now, let's look at the most popular posts overall:
- Tor Free E-books: The Complete List (17746)
- eBook File Formats (14890)
- Book Review: The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb (13571)
- Publishing’s Big 6: Who are they? (12717)
- Tor Free E-book: Old Man's War by John Scalzi (11120)
- Tor Free E-book: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (8955)
- Tor Free E-Book: Starfish by Peter Watts (8045)
- Has the fantasy genre become stagnant? (7791)
- Weekend Links - 7/3/08 (7544)
- Recommended Reference - The Synonym Finder (7178)
The #1 spot still belongs my list of Tor's free giveaways from a few years
ago. I think the word "free" in the title has something to do with that post's
longevity. My review of Hobb's Soldier Son Trilogy fell one place to #3, making
room for a new #2. My post on eBook file formats spent most of 2010 skyrocketing
through the ranks and really only missed the Top 10 for that year by a few
places. Seeing it at #2 (and eventually #1 is my guess) is no surprise.
Other notable additions to the Top 10 Posts for 2011 is my post on the
publishing industry's "Big 6". A lot of writers come by to take a look at that
one, and it's even gotten linked to from several other sources as reference
material. That's gratifying.
As far as writing… where to start? Lots of self-promotion via Twitter,
GoodReads, and this web site. I gave away a lot of free eBooks, serialized The
Five Elements, and purchased some professional art to use as the cover of The
Hall of the Wood. I even re-vamped the cover for The Five Elements. Also, The
Hall of the Wood went free on Amazon and I'm happy to say it's racking up over
100 downloads per day, went as far as #11 in the Kindle Free Mythology category
(it's at #26 as I write this), and remains in the Top 100 Free Fantasy category
for Kindle. It's even driven some sales of The Five Elements (but not
Clearly, there's a lot going on right now for me on the writing front. I
think I'd like to address some of these points separately in their own
That being said, I'll close this up with my usual statistics:
- Total number of posts at EOY: 407 (at end of 2010: 363)
- Total number of posts written in 2011: 44 (at end of 2010: 144)
- Total number of views for all posts: 716639 (at end of 2010: 450,053)
- Average posts/month: 4 (at end of 2010: 11.9)
Something I’ve done the past few years is engage in a reading challenge. I documented 2010’s on this blog, but left it to GoodReads to handle the bookkeeping exclusively for me for 2011 (41 books read and counting on a challenge of 35. Yeah, baby!).
Reading challenges serve a couple of purposes. Most notably, it allows me to track what I’ve read in a fairly unobtrusive and sometimes fun manner, while also allowing me to gauge progress over the course of the year. Of course, it also makes it easier to write a “Favorite Reads of the Year” post, something which has become an annual thing for me.
So, without further ado, here are my favorite reads of this past year.