Thoughtful Thursday: Life’s Too Short to Read Bad Books

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

This has left me speechless.

I knew it was bad. I just didn’t know it was that bad.

Our list of FanLit Faves of 2010 comes out later this month. We’ll send a book to the reader who correctly anticipates the greatest number of books that we put on our list. Rule: You can only guess 5 books (SFF books published in 2010). The reader who has the greatest number of their guesses on our list wins their choice of books from our stacks. Here are some hints from previous years. This will run until we put up our list sometime this month.


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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21 comments

  1. What’s bad? What is “this” and “it”? I’m missing something here . . . It’s just a link to the customer top 10 favorites on Amazon?

  2. I think I’m missing something. The link takes me to the “Best of 2010” list at Amazon for SF&F.

  3. Sorry. I was just struck by how the top selling books in fantasy are all parts of a series, except for the tenth place one which is science fiction, and that many of the books have subpar ratings. I was just thinking that if life really is too short to read bad books, we have a lot of people wasting their lives. Especially when there are so many great original books out there that aren’t getting the same love.

  4. This reminds me that it’s time to compile FanLit’s favorite books of 2010. It will look a lot different from Amazon’s list!!

    [I edited Ruth’s post to mention our upcoming list and added a contest related to it — this will be fun!]

  5. I had that same thought, Kat.

  6. interesting deduction. I didn’t make the connection before…

  7. I wonder what criteria they used to pick those books.

  8. I think the horizontal array at the top is made up of their editorial picks, while the vertical list is by sales.

    My issue is not that they’re series books but that there are at least two on there I personally know are awful! LOL.

  9. I’ll take a stab at listing 5 books

    Blackout by Connie Willis
    Kraken by China Mieville
    Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobbs
    The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalup
    Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

  10. I’ll give it a try :)

    The Rats and the Ruling Sea – Robert V.S. Redick
    Watcher of the Dead – J.V. Jones
    Under Heaven – Guy Gavriel Kay
    The Folding Knife – K. J. Parker
    Midsummer Night – Freda Warrington

  11. No ideas other than the Kay book. It was interesting/dangerous to look back on the last couple of years lists. Found a couple more books I just have to have. I was waiting for softcover. I really need to keep better lists.

  12. I’m really hope this list gets out before the holidays, so I can pile up on all the stuff I missed and read it over Christmas/New Year’s :D

  13. Ooo, that’s a good idea. We’ll try. The issue is that several of us still have 2010 books in our TBR pile and we’re hoping to get through some more of them!

  14. I understand that of course :) no rush. I’m sure I can find a lot of great books on here that I haven’t read yet, even if I don’t have the newest list.

  15. Here’s my try:

    Hawkwood and the Kings by Paul Kearney
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
    The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
    Midsummer Night by Freda Warrington
    Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

    I would’ve put Way of Kings on it, but it was the one review I didn’t agree on. You guys didn’t seem to like it as much as I did. I’m also unsure if you’ll put two books in a series on the list, but both totally deserve a spot, so I’m taking my chances.

  16. Blackout – Willis
    All Clear – Willis
    The Bone Palace – Downum
    The Desert Spear – Brett
    Kraken – Mieville

  17. Can I have an alternate fifth guess?

    Witch of Hebron – Kuntsler – World Made By Hand #2

  18. Hmmm, this is a hard pick. You all have had an amazing year for books… many great reviews. Many liked, loved, and well those others too. ;)

    I had a hard time narrowing down the list to just 5. But here we go….
    Antiphon by Ken Scholes
    Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
    Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
    Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
    Kraken by China Mieville

    This was hard, as I kept changing my books. I have two others I had thought would make the list as well. But I will wait and see.

  19. Ooh, this is a toughie. But for a chance to pick from the stacks? I’ll give it a shot:

    KJ Parker – The Folding Knife
    John Scalzi – The God Engines
    NK Jemisin – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
    NK Jemisin – The Broken Kingdoms
    Guy Gavriel Kay – Under Heaven

  20. Franziska Steinmetz /

    It’s not really fair to put up a review for Catherynne M. Valente 2 days before the year ends :D
    If at all possible I think I’d like to change The Folding Knife – K. J. Parker and put take The Habitation of the Blessed instead.

  21. Haha! I wondered if there’d be a complaint about that, but I couldn’t get to it earlier.
    Keep in mind that we’ve each submitted 2 to 6 favorites, so it depends on the reviewer and how many 2010 books he/she read. Also, we will be breaking down our list into these categories this year:
    * adult fantasy
    * adult SF
    * YA
    * anthologies / collections
    * audio newly released in 2010 (so it can be an older book that just came out in audio).

    That’s a bit late notice (especially since we hope to publish the list in less than 12 hours from now), but we didn’t realize we were going to need to do that until we started working on the list. It looks like there will be about 40 books on the list. I’m sure we’ll give away more than one book this time!

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