1. Figures in a Landscape by Paul Theroux (2018). Collection of essays: celebrity profiles, book introductions, memoirs, travel pieces. More substantial than you might expect—especially the celebrity profiles.
  2. Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (1966). Classic science fiction novel, an early example of linguistics-based sf inspired by the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Short, evocative, picturesque.
  3. The Last Emperox by John Scalzi (2020). Final novel in the Interdependency series; wraps up loose threads in a manner that is twisty of plot and sweary of diction.
  4. Nova by Samuel R. Delany (1968). Another picturesque classic science fiction novel, a strange admixture of space travel, vengeance and tarot.
  5. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937). Reread for an online discussion.
  6. Snake by Erica Wright (2020, forthcoming). Part of the Object Lessons series. Review in production.
  7. The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalestier (2002). Based on her Ph.D. dissertation; a look at the history of the science fiction field’s girl-cooties problem.
  8. The Art of Star Wars Rebels by Daniel Wallace (2020). Art book that takes us behind the scenes of my favourite Star Wars series. Not quite enough of the behind-the-scenes; it’s more a visual encyclopedia.
  9. Secrets of Snakes: The Science Beyond the Myths by David A. Steen (2019). Short and useful guide debunking popular myths about snakes, which is something I’ve had to do a lot of as well. A review is probably coming. Reviewed here.
  10. The Field Herping Guide: Finding Amphibians and Reptiles in the Wild by Mike Pingleton and Joshua Holbrook (2019). It’s not just about how to find reptiles and amphibians in the field, it’s about ethics and responsible behaviour: possibly the first book of its kind to deal with those issues.
  11. The Land Across by Gene Wolfe (2013). Enigmatic travel novel about a post-Soviet Ruritania, with all of late Wolfe’s strengths and weaknesses.
  12. American Snakes by Sean P. Graham (2018). Reviewed here.