Friday Five


I realized last night that I’ve achieved my goal of reading 50 books this year! I am a voracious and fast reader, so I set a rule for myself: the 50 books I read must be books I’d never read before. I tend to re-read the same books over and over again (at this point, I practically have Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series memorized), and I was eager to branch out. I relied heavily on Goodreads’ book recommendations and my local library’s collection of ebooks for the challenge. I bought a few ebooks from Barnes & Noble as well as several hard copies from Gardner’s Used Books. Nearly everything I read was sci-fi or fantasy, with a few horse books thrown in for good measure.

So for this Friday Five, I thought I’d share with you my 5 favorite authors/series/books I’ve read so far this year! (They aren’t in any particular order, though.)

ONE Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series

One of the first books recommended by Goodreads was The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, which is the first book in this series. I didn’t think I would like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Set in a bizarre fantasy world strongly influenced by the Italian Renaissance period, the series follows the adventures of a band of thieves and con men. There’s swearing, murder, weird alien relics, and Ocean’s Eleven-like plotting. All three books in the series are well-written and fun (if long) reads.

TWO How Good Riders Get Good by Denny Emerson

This is an excellent, excellent book. Denny’s no-nonsense approach that makes him so popular on Facebook is in full force throughout this book, which isn’t so much a guide on riding as a guide to setting yourself up for success. Reading it, I alternated between despair and maniacal fervor to improve my life and my riding. It isn’t geared toward a particular discipline; rather, Denny has interviewed many top riders from across a variety of equestrian sports and presents their stories in an unbiased way. He isn’t afraid to force you to confront your life choices and tell it like it is. If you want to succeed as a rider, however you define success, you need to read this book.

THREE Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy

This is another series I thought I’d dislike, but I trusted the Goodreads process and came away with a new respect for it. Set in a dystopian world whose hero failed it, the series follows a group of rebels who initially plan to overthrow the brutal ruling empire and end up searching for a solution to save their ugly, dying world. Full of innovative and interesting mythology and magic, this series is a nice change of pace from standard wizards-casting-spells fantasy fare.

FOUR Robin Hobb

Traditional fantasy full of dragons and magic and kings and talking animals might make some people roll their eyes, but I’m not ashamed to say it’s my favorite genre. Robin Hobb’s work is wonderful: full of well-developed and interesting characters, complex plots that weave different series together, and totally immersive writing. Most of her books were available through my library, but I was too impatient to finish the series and bought about half of them rather than wait for them to be off hold.

FIVE Practical Horseman’s Book of Horsekeeping

I reviewed this book in July, so most of you probably know how I feel about it. It’s a great, great book full of advice that’s still relevant. It covers such a broad range of topics that I can’t imagine an equestrian it wouldn’t be useful to!

If you want to see all 50 books I’ve read this year, you can see the whole list on Goodreads. You’re also welcome to add me as a friend, although I don’t do anything interesting like review books on the site.

Are any of y’all big readers? What have you read this year that you’ve liked?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

18 thoughts on “Friday Five”

  1. Ooohh I’m definitely going to read a bunch of these!! I also love scifi/fantasy but I also read a healthy amount of suspense/thriller/mystery/adventure novels. With covert agents and explosions and lots of fight scenes and really really bad bad guys. YEAH!! I’ve somehow JUST NOW discovered Dean Koontz and I’m loving the ways he confronts evil in his books, and how his love of dogs pervades all his work!

  2. I’ve probably read 50+ books this year, but a lot of those were re-reads. I recently forced myself to stop re-reading and start some new books. I have a nice stack to go through now. Since you like, sci-fi, have you read Perdition by Anne Aguirre? I just read it for my book club and really liked it and it’s a series so now I can read the rest.

    1. It’s HARD to stop re-reading! Books you’ve read dozens of times are like comfortable old sweaters.

      I haven’t read Perdition, but it is now on my list! I’ll have to check on its availability at the library.

    1. I was surprised at how well the Goodreads recommendations worked; if you aren’t on there or haven’t rated a lot of books, I would advise adding and rating as many books as you can think of before browsing its recommendations. The more data it has, the better it does!

  3. Yessssss to all your books. I can quote all of McCaffrey at will. Sigh. The last of the Gentlemen Bastards books left me a little cold but I LOVED the first two.

    Check out Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight books. Those are even more tightly plotted & well written than the Mistlight books. Patrick Rothfuss is another good rec in that line.

    I’m not sure what I’m up to this year but my Goodreads challenge is 75, and I usually hit it!

    1. I feel like you and I are like, best friends. Because seriously, we like all the same books.

      I wasn’t super into the last GB book either; it seemed kind of…off, somehow?? Regardless, I am still excited to read the next one.

      I will definitely check out the Stormlight books! I’m currently 3rd on the library’s waiting list for a Rothfuss novel, so maybe that will happen before the end of the year…

  4. Sounds good! I’m going to look into those. I read a good little series a while back called the emperor’s edge. Kinda scifi-y, fantasy, streampunk.

  5. Oooh, a book post!! I’ve been thinking about doing one of these because lately I’ve been on a huge YA Fantasy/Sci-fi kick (I like to go in waves, a few months ago it was historical fiction). I love reading. Haven’t read the Scott Lynch books, I’ll add him to my list.

  6. congrats on all the reading! i need to get back into it! my interest in reading new books suddenly evaporated, after living in a bookstore for about a year (while underemployed and broke). at that point i treated it like a library – reading 2-3 books a week. and now? pretty much nothing ever (except the occasional reread)….. need to get back to it!

  7. I’ve been completely on the fence about the Mistborn trilogy. Goodreads keeps telling me a I should read it but when I read the blurb it doesn’t excite me. I may have to give it a go now though.

    I’m also a fast and voracious reader. I’ve already completed my Goodreads challenge of 200 new books (at 215 on Friday) and I’ve also reread over 50 books so I’m always looking for new suggestions.

    1. 200 books?! that’s amazing, congrats!

      I didn’t think I would like the Mistborn trilogy either. I thought it would be terrible and I was like “u crazy goodreads!!” But one weekend, I’d finished a book, I was waiting for the next one in that series to become available, and the first Mistborn book was available at the library, and I read it and really liked it.

      I also hate-read “Red Mars” once because I started it and felt like I HAD to finish it even though I thought it was THE WORST.

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