Qt3 2019 Reading Challenge


Here’s my tentative lineup for January.

  • 1A - Main: Recipient of a major award in one of your favorite genres

I read the previous work by this author (the Inheritance trilogy) over the course of this year, and really enjoyed all of them. All three books of The Broken Earth won the Hugo award in their respective years, so I should be in safe hands and able to start the year out strong.

  • 1B - Bonus: Recipient of a major award in a genre you rarely read

As far as I can remember, the only western I’ve read was Shane back in 6th grade. This won a Pulitzer and seems to be highly recommended, though it’s long enough that I’m a bit concerned about biting off more than I can chew.

  • 1C - Bonus: A book that appears on a “best of 2018” list

I grabbed this off The Goodreads Choice Awards 2018 list, where it won the Science & Technology category. Loved dinosaurs as a kid, and have been curious to update myself on how the state of understanding has advanced in the meantime.

  • 1D - Bonus: A book recommended by a friend or other Qt3 poster

People keep talking about The Expanse in the book thread, so it’s probably a good time to check it out.


Lonesome Dove is one of my favorite books. The miniseries is a pretty great watch, too.


Oh, sign me up. I surprised myself with reading this year, having managed to get through 23 books. That is a significant number compared to the fact I might have read no more than an average of 1 book per year for the last 10-15 years. It is nice to rediscover the joys of reading a good book, and they fill in my nightshifts beautifully now.

Sign me up for 12. I’ll be honest with myself, though I’ll see if I can manage 24 this year.


OK, it’s time to get this set up.

This won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. It’s been on my to-read list for a good long while. And it was on sale for $2 on Amazon for the Kindle edition!

This is hard, I read too much! Not a lot of genres that I haven’t read something from in the last few years. I’ll go with young adult and contemporary:

Awards all over the place. And there’s a movie, in case I like the book enough that I want more of the same.

I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, at least not unless it’s also got sci/fi or fantasy elements. Amazon had this on their best of 2018 list, and I got it for free via Prime, so it seemed an obvious choice.

I’m fairly sure I could pick up literally any sci/fi novel from the last 10 years and someone from QT3 would have recommended it at some point. :) I’m gonna give the Bobiverse a try:

Looks like @Matt_W and @Canuck and @barstein have all read the series and said it started out well, but didn’t follow through. First book it is!

Book Thread 2018^H9

I read all three of the Last Policeman books over the summer, it’s totally worth getting to all of them.


Good to know. I checked out the first few chapters and am enjoying it so far!

Also, I’m going to switch my plan for 1D to this one, which @Dave_Perkins recommended highly:


Oh, and while I’m at it, here’s the second batch of prompts, themed around the author.

February 2019 Prompts

  • 2A - Main: A book by a minority author
  • 2B - Bonus: A book with two listed authors
  • 2C - Bonus: A book published under a pseudonym
  • 2D - Bonus: A book with a translator as well as an author


Progress: 1/52

I finished this up today, and can definitely see why it’s so highly regarded. It’s full of vividly drawn characters, evocative places, and haunting moments. Much more contemplative and melancholy than I expected going in, frequently dwelling on mistakes, regrets, and luck. It also does a great job avoiding predictability and eschewing tidy resolutions, effectively making it feel like a bit of real life rather than something plotted out for dramatic effect.

I was struck repeatedly by the narrative style being unusually omniscient, often jumping in and out of the heads of several different characters in the same scene in a way that seems unusual these days. Don’t know how I feel about this style – it sometimes jarred me out of reading, but also certainly contributed to how well I felt I knew the characters.

All told, a very good start to my reading for the year. Rating: 4.5/5


Seeing @Thraeg post reminded me, I should report! I started a bit early since I had the books available, and have read two:

These two are similar - critical acclaim, contemporary fiction, people dealing with life-changing events. But wow, The Hate U Give is so much better than True Places. At least, for me it was, which I attribute largely to the fact that the former is outside my experience while the latter read like a description of any number of families I’ve known from childhood on. Because of that, True Places felt kind of boring while The Hate U Give was fascinating. Both are solid, but I can wholeheartedly recommend The Hate U Give while I’d say only read True Places if you really enjoy the genre or are excited about white, middle-class, suburban family drama plots.


I never read short books and my wife recommended I try reading a shorter series of books.

So started reading the Dead Cold series by Blake Banner. Each book is 200 pages or less. About a couple of unpopular detectives who investigate cold cases with peculiar twists.

Loving them but already up to book 5 in a week, good job there is 13 of them :)

An Ace and a Pair


Reading your post reminds me that I read a series of books a long time ago, like a couple of decades now, just about a pair of police detectives in the Netherlands. I really enjoyed those, they were just police procedural but it was interesting reading about how their jobs suffered from the standard American cops we’re always seeing and reading about. I forget what they were called and who wrote them, need to try my luck with Google fu. Then again, how many Dutch cop stories can there be?


Missed this thread…is it too late to add my name?

Last year I got through 26, which was damn good for me. I haven’t read that many books in the last 10 years, probably. So I though this year I’d increase the weight a little and bump it up to 32.


Not at all, just added you!


Cool, thanks!

My goal this year is to get through as many Edgar Award winners that I haven’t read as I can manage. If I start getting tired of those, I’ll mix in some Bram Stoker Award winners. Those kind of mix in well with the monthly prompt upthread.

Currently reading: The Long Goodbye by Chandler…love the movie, never read the book.


Progress: 2 / 52

Exceedingly entertaining and informative, and did a great job bringing me up to speed on how the state of knowledge about the Mesozoic era has advanced since I was a dinosaur-obsessed 6-year-old. Effortlessly dances among personal anecdotes about the process of digging up fossils, vivid descriptions of the environments and events, dives into individual species and what makes them interesting, and clear discussions of the scientific methodology involved in expanding the frontiers of knowledge. 4.5/5


I’ve started reading Gnomon by Nick Hardaway which was apparently on the Guardian’s best of 2018 sf list, and I’ve certainly heard it recommended a few times. Anyway the opening is quite good, there is clearly plenty going on under the surface in this seemingly utopian society and I look forward to seeing the layers peel back. OTOH I had thought I was done with dystopias, having read so many, so we’ll see.

I guess I’ve done this one already. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a terrific little novella about a girl from Africa who journies offworld against her family’s wishes, and meets aliens. There’s plenty to unpack for such a short form, and I look forward to the rest of the novella trilogy.


Lots of acclaim for this one last year, and it’s historical fiction which is right up my alley. Hope I like it, because I’m pretty sure Chen is going to be producing more novels for quite some time.

I’ve got the same author(s) for these two. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, a bunch of Robotech novels were written that adapted the cartoons, and then added a bunch of other stuff of their own. As a giant-robot-obsessed teenager, I devoured these. I’ve been wanting to go back and wallow in the nostalgia for a while, and it turns out that I can go one further - there are three books that were published in the mid-90s that I didn’t read! I can’t be sure I’ll get through the entire series in February but I’ll give it a try…most of the books are pretty short and (as befits the young audience) easy reading.

Oh, I should probably explain why the books fit the categories…the name on the novels is “Jack McKinney”, who does not exist. That name was used by the authors James Luceno and Brian Daley for their collaborations. So all of these books are both by two authors, and published under a pseudonym.

I thought I had this one nailed with Ken Liu, since he did such a great job translating the Three Body Problem and sequels. But it turns out the other two novels listed on his translation page don’t come out until later this year! Ah, but we can still do this…Liu also translated Folding Beijing, a novelette by Hao Jingfang published by Uncanny magazine back in 2015. Won the 2016 Hugo for best novelette, too, and it’s been on my list to read for a while. Bumped up the list for February!


Based on @ineffablebob’s praise, I’m leaning toward The Hate U Give for this slot. Though I just started The Fifth Season for 1A, and by the time I finish it it’s entirely possible I’ll want to immediately jump into book 2, The Obelisk Gate.

Going to be a bit flexible with these, deciding what to count things for depending on how they grab me. Looking at some combination of:

Planning to check out The Expanse for real this time. This works for both 2B and 2C, so if the first one grabs me I might go immediately into the next.

I liked The Three-Body Problem, and it has stuck around in my head in the months since reading it, so continuing the series seems like a safe bet for 2D (incidentally, as far as I can see, this was translated by Joel Martinsen, not Ken Liu).

And then there’s this, which has always sounded intriguing, and works for either 2B or 2D.

Also considering mixing things up with a graphic novel for two-authors, especially if I wind up running short on time for the month. That’s an area that I’m almost entirely ignorant about, but this looks intriguing:


Progress: 3 / 52 (stealing @Thraeg’s progress indicator idea)

This is a book written for sci-fi nerds. Which puts it right up my alley, but even I felt the second half was really fragmented and unfocused. I realize that’s partly because there are two more books in the trilogy, but the way this one was written doesn’t make me want to keep going. (Not to mention that other QT3 posters recommended not proceeding.) I still might get to the other two someday, but no rush.

To quote myself from my review:


Progress: 1/32

Already behind! But I finished The Long Goodbye last night, and absolutely loved it. It does seem to be a divisive book amongst Chandler-philes, but I couldn’t find much at fault with it.

So that counts as:

I’ve started into my next book, G. Willow Wilson’s 2013 novel Alif The Unseen which has been sitting on my e-book shelf for quite awhile. I was a pretty big fan of her Vertigo Comics series, Air, and picked up the novel a couple years back and hadn’t gotten to it yet. But given prompt 1B (the book won a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and I rarely read fantasy), seems like a good enough reason to get around to it.