Thoughtful Thursday: Best book you read in February 2012

We posted a lot of less than 3-star reviews in February. We consider it our duty, and the purpose of our existence, to warn you away from books that aren’t worth your time (because Life’s Too Short to Read Bad Books!), but perhaps we haven’t provided enough reading inspiration lately.Readers' Favorite Books

So, we’re appealing to our readers for help. Please tell us: What is the best book you read in February 2012 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. (And don’t forget that we always have plenty of reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Melanie Goldmund /

    The best book that I read in February was Planesrunner, by Ian McDonald. Why did I love it? Parallel earths! Airships! Adventures that had me on the edge of my seat, frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next, in a setting that seemed so real I wish I could cross through a Heisenberg Gate to visit. Everett was a great character, too. And so was Sen. And Captain Anastasia. And everybody else in the book, actually. This book really puts the fun in Infundibulum, and I can’t wait for the next one in the Everness series.

  2. I finished reading Catherynne Valente’s The Girl who Circumnavigated Faeryland in a Ship of her own Making which I adored. This was the first Valente that I had read, and I went on and picked up her novella Silently and Very Fast which was mind-bogglingly amazing. There’s a reason it is nominated for a Nebula this year. I also think that it would be a great crossover piece for people who don’t read a lot of science fiction because she takes a mythological approach to our understanding of a future setting.

  3. Rebekah /

    I finally finished Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. I enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to reading more of Sanderson’s work. The story was carefully planned. There is a great magic system – there is a science to it but it is still mysterious. It was well paced – lots of action but it wasn’t just a bunch of action sequences. And I cared about the characters. I think he may have even convinced me to read ‘Alloy of Law’.

  4. SandyG265 /

    I actually read a number of books that I didn’t really enjoy that much during February. The one that I enjoyed the most was Death of a Kingfisher by M.C. Beaton. It’s a mystery set in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a quick read and I’ve read all of the other books in the series so I enjoyed revisiting the characters and seeing what they are up to now.

  5. The Ice Dragon by GRRM – great children’s book

    The Damned Busters by Matthew Hughes – The beginning third was better than the rest of the book, but still a really really fun read.

  6. Mike /

    The best book I read in February was Memory by Lois Bujold McMaster. Possibly the best book in the Vorksigan Saga (up to that point, anyway), it very adeptly changes the direction and focus of the main character to better allow new growth.

  7. Mine’s a Valente, too — Habitation of the Blessed was the best book of February. Why? The language, the imagery and the sheer audacity of her idea.

    Mike, I loved Memory for just the reason you said — there is almost no other believable reason Miles would give up his alter-ego, and the pivot in that book allows her to explore a whole different side of his life and family.

  8. Asma K. /

    In February, I tried finishing the Imriel Trilogy (Kushiel’s Scion, Kushiel’s Justice, Kushiel’s Mercy). I didn’t enjoy it at all but forced myself to get through it hoping it might get better (it didn’t). I also started Naamah’s Kiss which, compared to the others, was probably the best book I read in February.

  9. I really enjoyed The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, the second book of the Inheritance trilogy. It was much faster-paced than the first book and Oree, the narrator, had an excellent voice. I also found it particularly interesting that she was blind. Definitely an improvement on the first book, but I’ve heard unhappy things about book three, so I’m a little nervous.

  10. Tizz /

    I’ve been reading Kate Griffin’s Midnight Mayor series (Rage of Angels, Midnight Mayor, Neon Court, The Minority Council). I started with the Neon Court and stopped half way because I thought: this is so good, I need to start at the beginning. It presents such a wonderful, vivid, richly quirky view of London that the city has come alive for me in a completely different way. Familiar bus and tube routes, parks, the river, modern landmarks, ancient city walls, all the symbols and emblems, shift just slightly sideways in Griffin’s world of urban magic. I’ve been reading her work since she was Catherine Webb, and she’s become a writer of real stature.


  11. The best book I read in February is actually three books, or is it eight… Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, no matter how you cut and slice it, was an engaging, witty, and enlightening window on the turn of the 18th century in Europe. Despite the historical setting, the spirit of science fiction is fully alive in this engaging revelation of the social roots of computational logic and commerce. For those who don’t mind digressions intended to inform as much as entertain, Stephenson’s singular voice may be for you.

  12. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins -The Maze Runner by James Dashner was a disappointingly distant second.

  13. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey — review coming soon.

  14. Derek /

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It gave me the sense of being a kid again and harkins back to loved books of my childhood. Nice, quick easy read and deserving of the accolades it received.

  15. Lots of great reading ideas here! We will have to do this every month!

    Best book I read in February: Speaker of the Dead by Orson Scott Card. Great characters and world-building, lots to think about.

  16. Sabrina /

    The best book I read in February was When We Were Executioners by JM McDermott. Its hard to say that I loved it since it is rather a depressing read, but I really liked it.
    I had a similar situation as Sandy. February was an off reading month for me. I had a number of DNFs and then rest were mostly “mehs”.
    Thankfully, my losing streak seems to be over as I started a few books near the end of February that are restoring my reading enthuisiasm, namely Heartless by Gail Carriger and Tears of Ishtar by Michael Ehart :)

  17. joe57 /

    So hard to pick just one. I loved Brian Ruckleys’ “Edinburgh Dead”, it felt like I was there and I have to admit I was a little spooked during parts of it. I just finished the Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb and that was spectactular also.

  18. Tizz, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks. Please contact me (Tim) with your choice and a US address.

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