Episode 100: We score a century!


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Perry and David celebrate the 100th episode of the podcast by discussing the best books they read during 2023. And bid you all a fond farewell.

  • Introduction (00:12)
  • Our 100th Episode! (04:14)
  • Let’s talk about Books (02:10)
  • 2023: Highlights of our reading (01:11:53)
    • Best Science Fiction read in 2023 (David) (04:24)
    • Best Science Fiction read in 2023 (Perry) (03:41)
    • Best Fantasy read in 2023 (David) (03:40)
    • Best Fantasy read in 2023 (Perry) (03:34)
    • Best Crime read in 2023 (David) (05:28)
    • Best Crime read in 2023 (Perry) (05:59)
    • Best Spy/Thriller read in 2023 (David) (02:01)
    • Best Spy/Thriller read in 2023 (Perry) (02:57)
    • Best Historical Fiction read in 2023 (David) (05:50)
    • Best Novellas read in 2023 (Perry) (05:26)
    • Best Literary read in 2023 (David) (02:13)
    • Best Literary read in 2023 (Perry) (04:32)
    • Best Children’s Literature read in 2023 (David) (02:27)
    • Best Collection/Anthology read in 2023 (Perry) (02:19)
    • Best Nonfiction read in 2023 (David) (03:16)
    • Best Nonfiction read in 2023 (Perry) (02:36)
    • Best Overall read for the first time in 2023 (David) (01:22)
    • Best Overall read for the first time in 2023 (Perry) (01:11)
    • Best Overall re-read in 2023 (David) (01:10)
    • Best Overall re-read in 2023 (Perry) (02:39)
  • Windup and Farewell (06:02)

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David’s List

Science Fiction

  1. Embassytown by China Miéville
  2. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  4. The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
  5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Honourable Mention:

  • Red Team Blues by Cory Doctorow

Fantasy

  1. House of Odysseus by Claire North
  2. Civilisations by Laurent Binet
  3. Among Others by Jo Walton
  4. Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

Crime

  1. Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
  2. Down Cemetery Road by Mick Herron
  3. In the Morning I’ll be Gone by Adrian McKinty
  4. All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien
  5. Fire with Fire by Candice Fox

Honourable Mentions:

  • Unforgiven by Sarah Barrie
  • Everyone Here is Lying by Shari Lapena
  • Exiles by Jane Harper

Spy Thriller

  1. The Russia House by John le Carré
  2. Real Tigers by Mick Herron
  3. Spook Street by Mick Herron
  4. Dead Lions by Mick Herron

Historical Fiction

  1. Loot by Tania James
  2. Joan by Katherine J. Chen
  3. Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
  4. Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris
  5. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Literary

  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. Limberlost by Robbie Arnott
  4. Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down
  5. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Honourable Mentions

  • The Conversion by Amanda Lohrey
  • Blindness by José Saramago
  • Her by Garry Disher

Childrens

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  2. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. Utterly Dark and the Heart of the Wild by Philip Reeve

Honourable Mentions

  • Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell

Nonfiction

  1. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann
  2. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder
  3. Anaximander: And the Nature of Science by Carlo Rovelli
  4. The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness & Obsession by David Grann
  5. The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

Honourable Mentions

  • Unknown Shore: The Lost History of England’s Arctic Colony by Robert Ruby
  • The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation by Cory Doctorow
  • Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Peter Hand

Best Overall Read for the First Time

  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. Embassytown by China Miéville
  4. Loot by Tania James
  5. Joan by Katherine J. Chen

Honourable Mentions

  • Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
  • Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down
  • The Wager by David Grann
  • The Russia House by John le Carré

Best Overall Re-Read

  1. Limberlost by Robbie Arnott
  2. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  4. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Honourable Mentions

  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers

Perry’s List

Best Science Fiction

  1. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
  3. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  4. Every Version of You by Grace Chan
  5. The Migration by Helen Marshall

Best Fantasy

  1. Spear by Nicola Griffith
  2. The Grey King by Susan Cooper
  3. Treacle Walker by Alan Garner

Best Crime

  1. All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby
  2. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley
  3. Exiles by Jane Harper
  4. In the Woods by Tana French
  5. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Spy Thriller

  1. The Day of the Jackal by Fredric Forsyth
  2. Real Tigers by Mick Herron

Best Novella

  1. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  2. The Drop by Mick Herron
  3. The Lesson of the Master by Henry James
  4. A Mirror Mended by Alex E. Harrow
  5. The Paper House by Carlos Maria Domínguez

Best Literary/Non-Genre

  1. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  2. The True Story of Spit MacPhee by James Aldrich
  3. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
  4. Fly Away Peter by David Malouf
  5. Sunday in Ville d’Avre by Dominique Barberus

Honourable Mention

  • The Odd Angry Shot by William Nagel

Best Collection/Anthology

  1. Pavane by Keith Roberts
  2. New Writings in SF 8 edited by John Carnell

Best Non-Fiction

  1. Monash’s Masterpiece by Peter Fitzsimons

Best Overall Read for the First Time

  1. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  3. Spear by Nicola Griffith
  4. All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby
  5. The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler

Honourable Mentions

  • Monash’s Masterpiece by Peter Fitzsimons
  • In the Woods by Tana French

Best Overall Re-Read

  1. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  2. The Grey King by Susan Cooper
  3. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
  4. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Honourable Mentions

  • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

And finally: the title image for every episode: