Favorite Fiction reads in the last 12 months

There are so many books that I love, but here is a sampling of a few that I’ve read over the last 12 months that I’ve particularly enjoyed. I like reading books without any major expectations, and part of my delight in the books below is that I had no idea what I was about to get! I hope that you enjoy these as well — with an open mind and expectations.

The Expanse Series by James S. A. Corey: a giant, sprawling science fiction series full of wonderful characters, politics, and alien technology. I gobbled these up with enthusiasm. There are eight main books with a handful of novellas and short stories. The television show is also delightful, but I spent the first 4 or 5 episodes upset about the differences (this actor is too pretty, that spaceship has overly large interior spaces, the plot didn’t unfold that way). Probably best to think of the books as loose inspiration for the television show.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: this big, beautiful novel delighted me on every level. The writing is fabulous, and I fell in love with the characters. I had been vaguely aware of this book for a few years, but hadn’t picked it up. Once I did, I was so glad. Friendship, work, art, and love are all explored, and I finished the book feeling better about myself and humanity. I don’t want to oversell this book, since I read it with no expectations, but I hope that you enjoy it!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: I both loved this book and was delighted by its unexpected directions. I picked up Big Little Lies without knowing much about the story, and I rather recommend this approach. The writing has a breezy quality that is an enjoyable counterpoint to some of the punches via the plot.

Max Tudor Series by G. M. Malliet: a delightful set of murder mysteries set in contemporary England. Despite being murder mysteries, I found this series to be a comforting distraction from regular life with sweet characters and a lovely location.

Provenance by Ann Leckie: a science fiction book by one of my favorite authors. Her books are dense, wonderful explorations of alien cultures and worlds. This book is a bit less bleak than some of her others, but still takes your full attention. This was the first time I read one of her books on an e-reader, and I benefited from being able to look up words right from my reading interface (pushing on a word in a paper book does not seem to cause anything to happen).

Friday reflections: why I write

I write to entertain. To make people laugh and encourage reflection. To take people into a world of imaginary friends and possibility.

I write for myself. I write stories that I want to read, that help me feel better about who I can be. Words and ideas that I find funny and interesting and exciting. Stories that are silly and weird. I write because I love the feeling of words coming out through my fingertips. I write because I love sentence fragments. I write because my writing is not good enough.

I write for readers and the chorus of voices in my head. So that they can see themselves and discover they are not so different from other people. To have empathy. I want my readers to feel better about themselves and who they could be. I want my words to include my readers, and not push them away. I want my writing to be accessible, using language that anyone can understand and also be exposed to new ideas.