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My Year in Books (and Owls) 2020

Burrowing Owl Books

Burrowing Owl Books

Now that we have settled into 2021, I’m going to be looking back at the books – all 63 of them – I read in 2020.

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a crappy year, with more and more crap shoved down on top of it nearly every week. But if you’re reading this, you survived it – or you’re spending your afterlife in a very dull way – so you can give it the finger and hope 2021 will be better. That’s what I’m doing.

But you know what was good about the past year?

Lots of time for reading! You gotta look on the bright side of being stuck at home for months on end with only a tiny, grumpy owl for company. So here you have Artemis the Owl presenting each book, with my brief thoughts on each of them.

If you just want a gallery of Bookish Owl photos, scroll straight ahead to the bottom of the post!

Books 2020


Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising
by Leigh Bardugo

This was the last book in the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, and I thought it was a great way to end the story. Though there was plenty of excitement all the way through, the author still managed to wrap everything up nicely and I was left with a great respect for even minor characters. I’m glad the trilogy is part of the larger Grishaverse, because I’m definitely up for more stories in this world.


The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd’s Crown
by Terry Pratchett

This was the last book in the Discworld series, and neither this post nor last year’s make any attempt at hiding my love for this series, so I read this with a certain sense of melancholy. Most of the book’s plot even felt like a goodbye, with the death of Granny Weatherwax being a central point.
The Shepherd’s Crown wasn’t particular good by the (admittedly sky-high) standard of Discworld books, but it felt like a suitable end to the series.


The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot
by Genevieve Cogman

Gangsters and dragons. What’s not to like?


The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Colour of Magic
by Terry Pratchett

I needed something light after a rough start to the year, so I went with a re-reread of the first book in the Discworld series. It has absolutely no plot, but lots of insanity and humor, so it’s my go-to book when I need a break from books that are either too gloomy or that force me to actually think.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone OwlHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
by J. K. Rowling

It’s been years since I last reread the Harry Potter books, and let’s be honest: it’s a little ridiculous that I have had my owl pose next to books for more than a year without doing Harry Potter. Talk about missed opportunities, huh?

 


The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchet

The Light Fantastic
by Terry Pratchett

The continuation of The Colour of Magic. Still has nearly no plot, but it has Cohen the Barbarian – the eighty-seven year old barbarian hero with arthritis – and that’s worth any number of rereads.


Baking Bad by Kim M. WattBaking Bad
by Kim M. Watt

This was delightfully weird. It read like an episode of Midsomer Murders, but suddenly people are talking about dragons like it’s completely normal.
Oh, and all the talk of scones made me awfully hungry…


Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery
by Terry Pratchett

The Discworld + All out wizard war. Throw in the Luggage exterminating every unfortunate lifeform it comes across because it’s pissed, and you got all the weirdness you could possibly ask for.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J. K. Rowling

I had forgotten quite how awful Gilderoy Lockhart is… And honestly, it was a relief when Colin Creevey got Petrified. I know I should have saved my wrath for Umbridge in book five, but I kept thinking that if I had the power to magically curse someone and a kid kept following me around and taking pictures of me without my permission, I would have ended up in jail very quickly.


Eric by Terry Pratchett

Eric
by Terry Pratchett

This book was another reread in my hunt for mindless stupidity to entertain myself. Discworld books about the wizard Rincewind are always good for some of that. In this one he accidentally gets summoned by a kid who thinks he (Rincewind) is a demon.
That’s it. That’s basically the whole plot.


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson

Not sure what I think about this book. I read it because I absolutely loved the Netflix horror show loosely based on it, and while I liked the book well enough it suffers from the same problem as many other old classics (this one is more than 60 years old) – namely that most of the story seems to be told between the lines. You know, the kind of story you had to analyze in high school for hours to figure out what it’s actually saying?
I liked how the book was about Eleanor losing her grip on reality in Hill House, but I just wished there had been a bit more focus on the horror part, that is, the things that drove her insane.


Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites
by Terry Pratchett

Yet another Discworld reread (we don’t have that many more to go, I promise). This one is about witches, wizards, gender roles, and of course, horrible monsters from another dimension.
It also has Granny Weatherwax, who, in the eyes of the wizards of Unseen University, might very well be both a witch and a horrible monster from another dimension…


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban owl

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J. K. Rowling

I think I might be getting too old for these books. My thought processes are beginning to sound like Mrs Weasley. These kids are totally irresponsible, but even worse: what kind of headmaster urges thirteen year old kids to go back in time, dodge a rabid werewolf, steal a hippogrif out from under the noses of law enforcement, just so they can fly around to save a convicted murderer from soul-eating monsters?
Why don’t you do it yourself, you crazy old bat?!


Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

Lords and Ladies
by Terry Pratchett

I know, I know, another Discworld book, but this one has Granny Weatherwax and Archchancellor Ridcully reminiscing about their past romance (I ship those two so hard), Nanny Ogg being Nanny Ogg, and Magrat suddenly becoming super badass and killing elves left and right, and scaring the shit out of poor Shawn.


Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Alanna
by Tamora Pierce

A friend recommended this to me, since she thought I might enjoy a book about a girl who dresses up as a boy to become a knight.
I did.
It’s a short and entertaining read with likable characters and a simple story, and that’s something I think the high fantasy genre needs a bit more of. It doesn’t all have to be huge sagas with enough storylines to make your head spin (though I do like those as well).


Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Maskerade
by Terry Pratchett

I reread this because I adore Agnes/Perdita, and of course, Granny Weatherwax bossing everybody around.
It also makes me realize that I should really read/watch The Phantom of the Opera sometime…


In the Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

In the Hand of the Goddess
by Tamora Pierce

The second book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the sequel to Alanna, and just as enjoyable.
It’s so nice to read a book about a teenage girl falling in love and then not letting it rule her life decisions. The reason I avoided YA books with female leads for years was because I was getting fed up with the protagonists falling in love with some boy and then suddenly the whole book was about how they couldn’t live without them and nothing else in life mattered.
There’s only so much of that I can take.


Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music
by Terry Pratchett

This isn’t my favorite Discworld book, since I consider the rock music plotline a bit lame, but it was worth the reread because of the scenes with Susan and Ridcully.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J. K. Rowling

Someone needs to slap Ron in this book, but otherwise it’s great. Well… except from the fact that Cedric, the Hufflepuffest Hufflepuff there ever was, didn’t deserve being cannon fodder.
I finished this with the knowledge that I was now getting to the point in the series where every book would leave me depressed and teary-eyed…


Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

Interesting Times
by Terry Pratchett

I reread this Discworld book for Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde. There’s just something about a group of old men wreaking havoc and creating terror wherever they go that gives me hope for my retirement.


The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
by Theodora Goss

I really enjoyed this. It’s an entertaining book that pays tribute to all the classics I used to read as a child – Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula…
Yes, I might have been an odd child.
The writing style was a little weird, but once you get used to the ‘author’ and characters injecting comments every once in a while, it works just fine.


The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
by Tamora Pierce

I did not like this one as much as the first two books in the series, but it was still a good read. Jonathan is being a right asshole in this one, so I’m glad Alanna dumped his ass and got on with her life (for now). The book could have used a bit more plot, but it was entertaining nonetheless.


The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman

The Mortal Word
by Genevieve Cogman

I was getting a little tired of this series by the time I reached this book, but it turned out to be fairly good. It’s possible it’s because the overall plot was similar to the book I myself was writing at the time, and I very much like kicking back with a book and calling it research, but no matter what, I enjoyed it. We got an insidious plot in the middle of a peace treaty negotiation between dragons and Fae, multiple suspects, and everyone having their own agenda.
Always nice with a healthy dose of secrets and drama.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J. K. Rowling

I had forgotten just how utterly creepy the scenes in the Department of Mysteries were. Water tanks with floating brains and Death Eaters with baby heads… Funny to think that this started out as a series of children’s books, considering I’m this creeped out reading this book as an adult.

I was, however, much better prepared for Umbridge. I remember how completely awful I found her as a kid, but rereading the book now, she’s honestly just a more extreme version of the various bosses and politicians you’re faced with as an adult. It’s hard to be amazed by how far the Ministry of Magic is willing to go once you have dealt with today’s political scene for a few years.

On a less gloomy note: Professor McGonagall was this book’s total MVP and I loved every single scene with her.


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars
by Leigh Bardugo

Part of the Grishaverse where I loved the original trilogy. This one followed some of the supporting characters and it was really interesting to get inside their heads. I especially loved Zoya, a character way too complex to understand from the outside. She’s still a total bitch when you get inside her head, but it starts to make sense why she is that way and you also see the side of her that fights so very hard to protect her country and the people under her command.

I was a bit miffed to discover it was a duology and that I had to wait for the next book…


Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Lioness Rampant
by Tamora Pierce

This book, the last in the Lioness Quartet, had a lot of potential, but I felt like all of it fell flat. In my opinion, there should have been a LOT more focus on Roger and his schemes, but all the important parts felt very rushed.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Owl

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J. K. Rowling

After more than a decade of obsessing over this series, I could appreciate this book much more when rereading it. There’s so many great little details that you won’t notice before you have read the last book.
However, I still hadn’t completely learned my lesson: During the scene with Dumbledore’s funeral I had to repeat “He’s an asshole, he’s an asshole, he’s an asshole” in my head to keep from getting all sad and teary-eyed…


Nation by Terry Pratchett

Nation
by Terry Pratchett

I turned to a Terry Pratchett book because I needed to laugh, but instead I got a book that started out with the main character going around and burying everyone he knew after a natural disaster.
Don’t get me wrong, Nation is a very deep and enjoyable book. It just wasn’t what I expected!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J. K. Rowling

We all know this book is fairly depressing, right?
Right.
So I’m just going to focus on how great the Battle of Hogwarts is if you don’t take all the deaths into account.
The real badasses just don’t get enough credit. Neville literally went from an utterly useless and clumsy boy to the leader of an all-out rebellion against the Death Eaters. Elderly, stern Professor McGonagall enchanted a whole army of desks and led them into war while yelling “Charge!” (and I so need fanart of that…). Professor Sprout didn’t hesitate for a second when told she would need to fight, just rushing off to get every dangerous plant she could think of. Even Trelawney went berserker and cracked heads open by throwing crystal balls at them.
Screw Harry, Ron and Hermione. They wouldn’t have lasted a second against the pissed-off elderly women of Hogwarts.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes
by Sabaa Tahir

This was a new author to me and I enjoyed the book. The romantic relationships between the characters seemed a bit juvenile when compared to the dark themes of the story and the situation the characters found themselves in, but not so much that I felt it distracted from the rest of the book.


Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Pyramids
by Terry Pratchett

This was another reread and not one of my favorites, but I was running out of books at this point and I decided to go for a full set of Discworld book photos.
It does have its bright spots, though – Teppic getting ready for his Assassin exam and then promptly falling over from the weight of all his hidden weapons is hilarious. Also his prophetic dreams: “There was seven fat cows and seven thin cows. One of them was playing the trombone.”


Arthas by Christie Golden

Arthas
by Christie Golden

This was a novel tie-in to Warcraft 3/World of Warcraft, telling the story about how Arthas Menethil, Prince of Lordaeron, ended up becoming the Lich King, leader of an undead army trying to wipe out all life on Azeroth.
I have read it before, many, many years ago, but it was a nice revisit to one of the central stories from a game franchise I have played since I was 10 years old.


City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass
by S. A. Chakraborty

This book had great characters and a fascinating world with a rich history, but for some reason it took me 300 pages to really get into it. However, once I hit that mark, it suddenly got insanely exciting and the cliffhanger at the end meant I had to go out and buy the next book.


Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Moving Pictures
by Terry Pratchett

This has always been my least favorite Discworld book, but I did like it slightly better upon rereading it. However, it would have been improved greatly by more wizard scenes.
The mental image of most of Unseen University’s faculty clinging to Windle Poon’s racing wheelchair while screaming their heads off is just great.


Dragon Age The Stolen Throne

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne
by David Gaider

This was a novel prequel to one of my all-time favorite games, Dragon Age: Origins. And it follows Prince Maric, the father of my all-time favorite character, Alistair, during his rebellion against the Orlesian usurper of the Fereldan throne. You also see a lot of Loghain, who is much less of a jackass here than he is in the game… but still a jackass.
It’s a good and well-written book, but I had hoped for a bit more of the charm you get from the characters in the games. I liked the characters in the book, but I didn’t fall in love with them.
Still worth the read, though!


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo

This was a collection of fairy tales set in the Grishaverse, but you don’t need to have read any of the other books to enjoy them. The stories are wonderfully dark and the book is beautifully illustrated. I especially love how, initially, you think that each page of a story has the same illustration, but then you realize that each page the drawings change subtly in a way that hints about what is to come in the story.


Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save Mankind
by Terry Pratchett

This one might not have aged as well as Pratchett’s other books, but the overall message about how we’re numb to the horrors of war fits as well today as it must have done in the 90s. In the book it’s the Gulf War they’re referring to, but it might as well have been any of the wars over the last thirty years.

But despite the timeless morale, I think kids today would have a really hard time relating to this book, considering they have never known a time where space invader games were ‘cutting edge’…


War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Ravnica
by Greg Weisman

I have never played Magic: The Gathering, but when I was invited to a Dungeon & Dragons campaign set in the world of Ravnica, I felt I needed to read up on some of the lore, just so I would have an idea of who all those people trying to kill us were.

Turns out, MTG lore is actually really interesting!

And this tie-in novel was quite good. It was a little difficult to keep up with the large cast of characters at first, but the story was written in a way that made it easy to follow even for Magic noobs like myself.

And now I know more of the lore than several of my friends who actually play the game.


The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

I first read this one many years ago, and while I liked it well enough, the whole thing with the costumes and the interviews ruined it a bit for me, because I felt it was too far-fetched.
Upon rereading it this year, I didn’t feel the same way. Somehow, after America got a reality star who have dick competitions with dictators as President, I can TOTALLY imagine a government turning kids into celebrities before throwing them into an arena to kill each other.
Anyway… What I think I’m trying to say is that I loved this book far more the second time around and I should not analyze the reasons why that is so, because it turns out they’re slightly disturbing.


Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett

Johnny and the Dead
by Terry Pratchett

This was the second book in the Johnny Maxwell series and I liked it more than Only You Can Save Mankind, though I could not tell you what the morale of it is. I feel like there is a morale to the story, but it just soared over my head somehow.
But hey, it’s Pratchett and it’s funny!


Hard in Hightown Varric Tethras

Hard in Hightown
by Varris Tethras (aka Mary Kirby)

If you’re not familiar with Dragon Age: Varris Tethras is a character in the games who writes books when he’s not getting involved in whatever disaster or revolution the player character drags him into. One of his books is a noir detective story called High in Hardtown, which you can find and read chapters from in the third game.
Since I’m a total geek, I just got the physical, illustrated version.

I do think they could have made the story a little longer when they made it into an actual book, but I still enjoyed it, even though it’s short and rather predictable.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is a great follow-up to The Hunger Games. It’s fast-paced and filled with conspiracies, and I enjoyed it immensely.


Johnny and the Bomb Terry Pratchett

Johnny and the Bomb
by Terry Pratchett

This is the last book in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, and it was the very first Pratchett book I ever read, way back in middle school. It’s also by far the best book in the trilogy.
I adore crazy Mrs. Tachyon and her time-traveling shopping trolley, not to mention her insane cat Guilty.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows is a great Fantasy heist story set in Bardugo’s Grishaverse, and I absolutely loved it. Great plot, great characters, great world, and so many twists and turns that I could barely keep up. You follow a bunch of criminals, yet you still end up rooting for them and their insane mission.


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins

I don’t know whether this ending was a brilliant commentary on the nature of tyrannical regimes and revolutions, or simply the most pointless ending to a trilogy ever.

Either way, I cried.
A lot.


Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger
by Terry Pratchett

This book follows a small-time criminal who makes a living from finding treasures in the sewers. Yet this smelly lad is a surprisingly charming protagonist, because he’s compassionate and oddly innocent in some ways, while being rather clever in others. There’s just something about Dodger that makes you fall in love with him, even as he’s punching people and stealing the silverware.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom
by Leigh Bardugo

The second book in the Six of Crows Duology, and an amazing conclusion to the story. This one might just have even more devious plots and unexpected twists compared to Six of Crows, and that’s saying something. And at this time, you’re incredibly invested in the characters, so the book takes you to the edge of your seat while you wait to see what end is in store for them.


Dragon Age Tevinter Nights

Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights
by multiple authors

This was an antrology with short stories from the Dragon Age universe. Most of the stories were much darker than I anticipated, but that’s a good thing! It’s clear to see that these stories are foreshadowing the events in the upcoming Dragon Age 4 game, and I’m all there for it, even though the story The Horror of Hormak gave me nightmares…
However, though I like the dark parts of Tevinter Nights, my favorite character had to be Lessef, the tiny old lady who just so happens to be a deadly Crow assassin. Her last line of the story is “Onward, to cookies!” and I love it.


Truckers by Terry Pratchett

Truckers
by Terry Pratchett

Garden gnomes from space trying to hijack a lorry. No, really. That’s what the book’s about.


The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The Kingdom of Copper
by S. A. Chakraborty

The sequel to The City of Brass has it all:
Politics, plotting, ancient djinn soldiers, scary-as-hell water demons, and a batshit healer or two.
What more could you want?


Girls of Paper and Fire Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire
by Natasha Ngan

While the themes this book deals with – sexual assault being the main one – are horrible, the author still manages to create a rather heartwarming story focused on girls in a terrible situation finding strength in each other.
And if you ignore the small epilogue, the ending is immensely satisfying.


Diggers by Terry Pratchett

Diggers
by Terry Pratchett

This was the follow-up to Truckers, and the second book in the Bromeliad Trilogy. This one is about the alien garden gnomes – the Nomes – stealing an excavator to scare the shit out of the humans.


War of the Spark Forsaken Greg Weisman

War of the Spark: Forsaken
by Greg Weisman

As the title suggest, this was the sequel to War of the Spark: Ravnica, which I read as part of my mission to learn more about the world of Magic: The Gathering. This book mainly focuses on the necromancer Liliana Vess, and since I’m fond of both bitchy women and necromancers, this was right up my alley.


The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

The Court of Miracles
by Kester Grant

This story is a reimagining of Lés Miserables, which I have never read nor seen any of the adaptions of it. And maybe that’s why I enjoyed The Court of Miracles so much.
Or, maybe, it was because it’s a story about a criminal underworld and I love any book that has assassins in it…


Wings by Terry Pratchett

Wings
by Terry Pratchett

This was the last book in the Bromeliad Trilogy. The alien garden gnomes go to Florida to find their spaceship, and learn how to fly geese.
That’s really all I have to say about it.


This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab

This Savage Song
by V. E. Schwab

I really liked the concept of a world where committing violent crimes creates actual monsters. The main characters weren’t that memorable, but they were fairly relateable, and the ending was suitably bittersweet.


The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

The Empire of Gold
by S. A. Chakraborty

The Empire of Gold was an amazing conclusion to the Daevabad Trilogy. Manizheh was crazy, Dara was a loyal idiot, Jamshid was the most precious thing ever, but the Favorite Character Award goes to:
Mishmish, the apricot-loving shedu.


Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods
by Terry Pratchett

As always, this Discworld book is good for a lot of laughs, but it’s also a great commentary on the nature of organized religion.
But most of all, Vorbis is a great villain…
…who gets killed by getting hit in the head by a tortoise.


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale
by Katherine Arden

A beautiful story that reads like a Russian fairytale. It’s the perfect book for dark winter evenings when the snow is falling outside.


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
by Natasha Pulley

Despite the amount of Discworld I read, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street takes the prize for weirdest book I read all year. It’s a good weird, mind you, but… weird.
The beginning is a little rough to get through, since the main character is initially very boring and leads a very boring life, but that changes radically before long. And I can say I honestly didn’t see the ending coming.


The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

The Last Continent
by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett, Discworld and a ton of Australian jokes.
Add in a bunch of wizards that never listen to logic and ignore warning signs on pure principle, and you got yourself a tale that makes absolutely no sense.
And somehow, it works.


House of Salt and Sorrow

House of Salt and Sorrow
by Erin A. Craig

This book is an amazing mix of fantasy and horror, with several fairytale elements thrown into the story. It’s creepy and engaging, and at some point, downright horrifying.
I loved it.


Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden

Lord of the Clans
by Christie Golden

Another World of Warcraft tie-in that follows Thrall, the orc slave who ended up being the Warchief of the Horde.
Thrall was never one of my favorite characters, but Golden manages to make his backstory quite engaging even to someone who considers the main character rather boring.


 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday

I’m trying something new this week and doing one of the Top Ten Tuesday prompts, hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By, which seemed pretty manageable for my blog prompt debut.

I have now scoured my bookshelves to figure out who would get the 2nd through 10th spots on the list, because number 1 would be pretty obvious to anyone who’s followed this blog for any amount of time, or made the mistake of starting a conversation about fantasy books with me…


Bookshelf

Terry Pratchett

47 booksGuards Guards Terry Pratchett


Obviously Terry Pratchett takes first place. In fact, he not only takes first place, he leaves every other author in his dust. Not only have I read 47 of his books… half of them I have read twice. A few I have even read three times, and one I might have read four times.

…And I just ordered three more of his books.

George R. R. Martin

8 booksA Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin


I am not entirely sure if this one counts, since two of the books in question are so huge that they are each split in two volumes in the box set I own, but I feel like it does. The entirety of A Song of Ice and Fire + one prequel adds up to a LOT of words.

Andrzej Sapkowski

8 booksSeason of Storms Witcher


Andrzej Sapkowski ties with GRRM for second place, and like GRRM, all the books I have read by this author is in the same series. In this case, it’s The Witcher.

J. K. Rowling

7 booksHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Cover


Surprise, surprise – I have read all 7 of the Harry Potter books. Honestly, they should count for more, considering I have read them in different languages (all 7 books in both Danish and English, and The Philosopher’s Stone in German as well), but that’s where we’re getting into technicalities.

Richard A. Knaak

6 books


I have read 6 of Richard A. Knaak’s World of Warcraft companion novels.

Christie Golden

5 books


Like with Knaak, I know Christie Golden from her World of Warcraft novels. I have read 5 of them, but I think I have 3 or 4 more stuffed away somewhere.

Leigh Bardugo

5 books


I have read 5 of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books, and two more are waiting on my shelf.

Tamora Pierce

5 books


Another 5-booker, where I intend to read more.

Genevieve Cogman

5 books


I have read 5 of the books in Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library series.

Neil Gaiman

4 books


3 Neil Gaiman books take up the incredibly small space left over on the two shelves my Terry Pratchett collection occupies. They sit next to Good Omens, which was co-authored by the two of them.


Yeah, so… Very convincing victory to Sir Terry Pratchett!

I’m sure the list would have looked quite different if I could remember all the mystery novels I read as a teenager, but these are the authors I have read the most books from WITHOUT raiding my mother’s bookshelves.

What about you guys? Do we share any favorite authors, or do you have your own Pratchett who takes up half your available bookshelf space?

 

 

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The Bookish Owl – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Today’s book is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.

I don’t think I need to tell you that this book is fairly depressing. A lot of beloved characters die, but I’m going to completely ignore that for this post and instead focus on my favorite part of the book:

The Battle of Hogwarts.

All the awesome parts of this final battle don’t get enough credit, because everyone only tend to remember the deaths. But there is so much badassery going on. Not only has Neville turned into a surprisingly capable rebel leader, but the elderly ladies of Hogwarts are basically guerilla fighters when let loose. Professor McGonagall leading an army of animated desks and yelling “Charge!” might just be my all time favorite scene in a book. And Professor Sprout didn’t hesitate for a second when told she would need to fight, just rushing off to get every dangerous plant she could think of. Even Trelawney went berserker and cracked heads open by throwing crystal balls at them

Who cares about Harry, Ron and Hermione? Just piss off the lady professors, sic them on Voldemort, and be done with it.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter is leaving Privet Drive for the last time. But as he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the skies, he knows Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind.

The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything he loves. And he knows he can’t keep hiding.

To stop Voldemort, Harry knows he must find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

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The Bookish Owl – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Owl

Hoot, hoot! All aboard for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling!

I might be a little sleep-deprived…

But I must say I enjoyed rereading the Harry Potter books as an adult. Like most readers my age, these books were a huge part of my childhood and all the way through my later life (every twenty-something knows what Hogwarts house they belong in), but there are so many small details you only truly appreciate upon rereading them after almost a decade of obsessing over the story and the world.

Yet, somehow, I haven’t completely learned my lesson. Even with everything I know about him, I still got all emotional during the scene with Dumbledore’s funeral and had to repeat “He’s an asshole, he’s an asshole, he’s an asshole” in my head, so I wouldn’t start getting teary-eyed…

At least he’s being all flashy and badass on the cover. My Danish edition shows the same scene, just 5 minutes earlier, where the Inferi is crawling toward Harry kneeling by the water, and that cover art almost struck me as rather nightmare-inducing. Yet I still had a poster with it on the wall of my bedroom for years, so it was the last thing I saw every night before I closed my eyes.

No wonder I have suffered from insomnia ever since my early teens.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J. K. Rowling

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the Muggles have been affected. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . . as with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. And with Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thus finds what may be his only vulnerability.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Owl

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The Bookish Owl – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

We’re back in owl territory with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling.

Of course every book is owl territory when I’m involved, but I have to say something in these posts, right?

By the way, this is not the book to be reading after dropping your owl off for surgery. It is not an effective way of distracting yourself. Big spoiler alert, but there’s a lot of owls in this book, y’all.

All kidding aside, I had forgotten how creepy the scenes in the Department of Mysteries were, what with brains floating in water tanks and that horrifying scene with the Death Eater with the baby head. Remember, this is a series of kids’ books. I might have been a messed-up kid (when you got a 5 years older brother, you see a lot of horror movies and kill a lot of hookers in GTA), but it’s still a wonder I didn’t have nightmares about this.

But all that stuff isn’t what people remember about The Order of the Phoenix, is it?

They remember Umbridge.

I was prepared for Umbridge, because she’s so utterly awful that she’s edged into your childhood memory. But really, she’s not as awful as she seemed as a kid. Honestly, she’s just a more extreme version of the type of person you have to deal with in your adult life. We have all had a boss or a manager with a ruthless streak and a near sociopathic way of dealing with people, right? If you haven’t, just turn on the news and watch the political leaders of the world for a bit. That should do it. It’s hard to be amazed by how far the Ministry of Magic is willing to go once you have dealt with today’s political scene for a few years.

This got surprisingly deep, so let’s get back to my usual brand of enthusiastic rambling:

McGonagall.

Professor McGonagall was the MVP of this book and every scene with her is amazing. I would give my left foot to read a series that’s just about her dealing with students and other everyday problems at Hogwarts.

(I had already written this before I realized Artemis no longer has his left foot in the photo below – I swear its unrelated and that he’s not the victim of me making some shady deal with Rowling!)


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J. K. Rowling

Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors’ attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord’s return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort’s savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix