November 2023 Reads

Everything I read in November.

Here’s what I read in November, in no particular order (no spoilers). It wasn’t a bad reading month, with only several titles that I didn’t really enjoy all that much. I don’t give stars or ratings as such, but the three I enjoyed the most (and enjoying a book depends on so much more than the book itself) are: Beacon 23Dawn, and A Spy in the House of Love.

1. Beacon 23

— Hugh Howey
Just what I’m looking for in a work of sci-fi. And a page-turner. At only 200-odd pages, I’d recommend it to anyone wishing to make a foray into the sci-fi genre.

2. Sand

— Hugh Howey
Great storytelling and strong and well-developed characters. I’m ready to read the sequel, Across the Sand.

3. Narcissus and Goldmund

— Hermann Hesse
Not my favorite Hesse (that accolade goes to Siddhartha), but a good story well told, and a compelling protagonist. If you’re new to Hesse, then I recommend starting with SiddharthaSteppenwolf, and Demian.

4. The Medusa Chronicles

— Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds
I’ve yet to be disappointed by a Baxter book. Not as good as his collaboration with Prachett (i.e., The Long Earth series), but pretty good, with a compelling cyborg protagonist.

5. Dawn

— Octavia E. Butler
A slow burn, but beautifully written. I liked it enough to order the two sequels and her Parable of the Sower. [update: read it in December]

6. A Spy in the House of Love

— Anaïs Nin
First-time Nin. Beautifully written. Will read more, starting with Delta of Venus.

7. The Space Between Worlds

— Micaiah Johnson
Lovely writing. Lost me a little in the middle.

8. Raft

— Stephen Baxter
Baxter’s first novel. It took me a while to get into this one, but it ended on a high note. It’s also the first in Xeelee Sequence series. Next up is Timelike Infinity, which I have as part of the Xeelee Omnibus edition.

9. The Demolished Man

— Alfred Bester
An easy and quick-paced (pulp?) 1950s sci-fi murder mystery with a twist.

10. The Dispossessed

— Alfred Bester
I really like Le Guin’s writing (and ideas), but everything about this book is so firmly rooted in the zeitgeist of the 1960s & ’70s, that I found it difficult to enjoy as far-future science fiction, which it pretends to be. Will try The Left Hand of Darkness next.

11. Foundation

— Isaac Asimov
Rather boring and painfully one-dimensional characters, but only 226 pages, so I finished it. I will try the sequels. I have the complete set of six books, so I’m praying that they’re better.

12. Tao Zero

— Poul Anderson
I loved the concept, but it was dull and outdated: G&Ts, smoking, wood paneling, and a band of thoroughly unlikeable and terribly immature adult characters on a spaceship traveling at relativistic speeds. Had it been any longer, I’d have DNF’d it.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? And, based on these, do you have any recommendations for me?