Jamaica Dreams

This book beautifully and evocatively describes a series of episodes from the author's childhood in Jamaica. Each episode stands alone, and yet informs the others, as chapters in a single, if loosely bound, story.

Author: 

Rosmarie Robotham

Bear Mountain

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion of the debate around the reintroduction of the bear in the Pyrenees. Even readers who have never previously heard of the reintroduction program or the debate surrounding it will likely find it makes them re-examine their ideas about wildlife, human tradition, and man's place in the world. It is an even-handed discussion of the issue, which raises questions that are relevant in other contexts.

Author: 

Mick Webb

Hunted

This is the second book in a series that starts with Flash Gold, and it is just as much fun as the first book. The characters introduced in Flash Gold continue to develop in believable ways, and the plot is fast-paced and full of swashbuckling fun.

Author: 

Lindsay Buroker

Some of the Best from Tor.com: 2011 Edition

A solid collection of short fiction from Tor.com, with some truly outstanding entries.

Assumptions

This is an enjoyable short story about growing up and losing your illusions about the world and the grown ups who live in it.

Author: 

James Mulhern

Boom

This book is part travelogue, part thoughtful exploration of the issues around the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It works well on both levels. The author drives the route of the pipeline, talking to locals and also bringing in his own research about the issues, but also clearly enjoying the excuse to explore a region that most people don't consider a tourist destination.

Author: 

Tony Horwitz

The Importance of Building a Believable World

I recently read a book that really annoyed me. It was well-written, with a well-constructed plot and believable characters. But it fell into a class of books that I am starting to realize almost always annoy me: it was a science-fiction book written by an author who doesn’t usually write in that genre.

The Sourwood

This is an inventive story with an unusual premise: its characters are all insects, who have organized to survive in a post-human world. The story follows Fig, as a series of bad luck and bad decisions cause him to question his most basic beliefs. The world the characters inhabit is fully-formed and quite believable. This book is the first in a series of novellas, and the ending is a cliffhanger more than an end, but the writing was good enough and the story was enjoyable enough that I am willing to overlook that, and just move on to the next book in the series.

Author: 

Richard Wolanski

Natural Selection

The action in this story flashes between Earth, where the lead character was a middle school student, and a planet called Kurra, where she is about to go through the traditional coming-of-age ceremony. It is set in the same universe as a couple of longer books by the same author, but this well-written story stands on its own, exploring themes about growing up. I liked the characters, enjoyed the writing, and am intrigued by the universe in which the story is set, so the longer books are now on my to-read list, too.

Author: 

Malinda Lo

Amazon, Hachette, an No Easy Answers

I suspect that most people who enjoy reading and like ebooks (i.e., just about anyone who reads this site) has heard about the fight between Amazon and Hachette. If you have somehow missed it, the LA Times has a run down of the dispute.)

Most of the people I’ve seen weigh in on this dispute are weighing in as authors or publishers. The three main viewpoints I’ve seen are represented by:

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