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Random Tag Tuesday is a new feature I wanted to try out just to mix things up a bit.  The name is a throwback to my college days when Tuesdays were the day for, well, random adventures.  For my blog, it will mean that on any given Tuesday I’ll tackle one of the many tags I always wanted to write about but never got around to.  Please note that most of these will come from my backlog notes and that I am terrible about keeping track of where I find these. As such, I probably will rarely, if ever, tag anyone.  It is not personal.

Since we’re still right around mid-year, this is probably going to be one of the least random tags I post under this header.  I do seem to be a couple of weeks late to this party, though, so I guess I have that going for me.  Either way, a tag felt like a nice, fun way to ease back into things after the holiday.

1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2019

I’ve actually been really lucky in all my selections this year so this is kind of a tough call.  The two clearly at the top list for me are 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson and Circe, by Madeline Miller.  The former was sci-fi at its absolute best, offering up a wondrous view of the future that mixed compelling scientific theory, political intrigue, environmental awareness, and told a gripping story.  The latter was a powerhouse story that provided a very moving and personal view of mythology that really flips the script on some popular stories.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far

The Dark Forest, by Liu Cixin.  The follow-up to one of my favorite novels from 2018, this one took the story of alien first contact and impending conflict to new heights with plenty of thought provoking scientific and social dilemmas.

3. A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, by K.J. Parker.  I’ve seen some very positive initial reviews and both the title and concept sound absolutely fascinating.

4. Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2019

This had been Mistborn: The Lost Metal, but unfortunately I found out recently that’s been delayed a bit.  I’m not sure I’m up enough on upcoming releases to have a second choice here.

5. Biggest Disappointment

My biggest disappointments this year have been rather minor thus far.  I’ll call this story a toss up between Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker and the People’s Future of the United States compilation that I just finished.  Warbreaker, despite its importance, just felt hastily put together and incomplete while the People’s Future felt a bit uneven with just as many hits as misses.

6. Best Surprise

Tough call, but probably Luo Ji’s plan to fight the Trisolarians in The Dark Forest.  I won’t ruin the surprise!

7. Favorite New Author

N.K. Jemisin.  She’s more of a new to me author since she’s been writing for several years now, but I’ve read quite a few of her short stories recently and have been very impressed.  They’ve made me think, they’ve made me angry, they’ve me laugh, and they’ve made me hungry and I am absolutely ready for more.  Photo courtesy of nkjemisin.com and photographer Laura Hanifind.

8. Newest Fictional Crush

I don’t usually have these and this year, so far, is no different.

9. New Favorite Character

Hard to pick just one since no one in particular has stood out above the rest yet.  Some of my favorites so far include Anthony Dey Craze from Lagoon, Swan Er Hong from 2312, and Circe.

10. A Book that Made You Cry

I haven’t had one of these this year.  I guess Circe probably came the closest though, as some of the parts about the fears associated with parenthood really struck a chord with me.

11. A Book that Made You Happy

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers.  While I didn’t love it unequivocally, there’s no denying that this was a feel good story.

12. Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation

I don’t really watch movies anymore so I couldn’t tell.  I am cautiously optimistic that the latest Dune reboot will good, though.

13. Favorite Review That You’ve Written

Probably my review of How Long ’til Black Future Month.  I just had a lot of fun with that book and enjoyed the challenge of picking only 5 or 6 of the short stories from it for the review.

14. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

I haven’t bought any books this year!  Favorite cover goes to Circe.  I just really like the style.

14. Books You Need to Read by the End of the Year

In no particular order, I’d like to read the aforementioned Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, get started on Brandon Sanderson’s White Sands comics, and read at least one more Kim Stanley Robinson novel.