Well, 2011 was a year of change for me. I moved from a job just down the road to one that involves a 45 minute train journey, on a good day.
The best piece of advice I wass given (thanks Jon Ayre) was to make something of the journey. Make it something of value rather than something to be despised, and so I bought myself a Kindle and everyday get to spend around an hour and a half reading.
So, what have I read this year ?
Well I read all of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher, Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favour, Turn Coat, Changes and Ghost Story. I really enjoyed them. Great characters in a great setting, with each book building on the last and all written in a flowing style that make them more than just some good ideas stitched together. I loved the short lived TV series and the books are so much better. Nothing too deep, just good enjoyable stories about wizards, demons and stuff.
I then read the 7 Dark Tower books by Stephen King (http://www.stephenking.com/DarkTower/the_books.html). I loved the concept and the books are all good solid reads, but I must confess to being one of those who didn't particularly like the ending. Well worth the journey though.
I also downloaded all of the John Carter of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but sadly only managed to grind my way through three of them, A Princess of Mars, The Gods Of Mars and The Warlord Of Mars, despite loving them as a boy. A wonderful idea in a very rich world but the writing was a little too... well... plodding to me.
Much better written was Red Sonya - the Shadow Of The Vulture from Robert E Howard and his Conan The Barbarian (so much material and they make three rubbish movies as the people involved think that they can do better).
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacipalgupi was downloaded on a recommendation from someone at work and it was a great little book. I'll be looking out for future books from Paolo.
I also re-read an old favoutite of mine, Caves Of Steel from Isaac Asimov. This one also seemed a little dated and whilst the story and ideas are second to very few writers, his writing style didn't flow very well for me.
At the moment I'm in the middle (I think) of the fabulous House Of Chains by Steven Erikson. This is Book 4, I think, of his fantasy epic, starting with Gardens Of The Moon, Deadhouse Gates and then Midnight Tides. It's got to be the most involved and compelling fantasy series that I've ever read and has me completely hooked. It's very well written and operates on a number of levels, mixing the normal sword and sorcery with war and politics on a global scale. If you want just one recommendation from me then these are the books that I suggest you spend your money on.