April was all spent in Chicago working on Ada Palmer’s class simulation of the papal election of 1492. It really does consume the whole month, tweaking character sheets, writing letters, helping orchestrate—there’s barely time to eat, and pretty much all my reading was just reading myself to sleep. I came home to Montreal right at the end of April and did finish a few things on the train. I only read six books all month, and here they are.
Fiction and Excerpts 
An Informal History of the Hugos
Jo Walton’s Reading List: April 2023Jo Walton
Jo Walton’s Reading List: March 2023Jo Walton
March was a great month where I was in Florence for the first three weeks and then flew to Chicago to help Ada with the Papal Election of 1492. I read just twelve books, but some of them were awesome.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: February 2023Jo Walton
February was a cold, snowy month in Montreal with icy sidewalks and lots of blizzards. I was at home most of the month and didn’t go out much. I was teaching my online history of SF course, and writing, and then at the very end of the month I flew to Florence. I read seventeen books, a mixed lot, but some of them were outstanding.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: January 2023Jo Walton
I was home all month, which was the normal kind of cold snowy January we have in Montreal. I was working on the essay collection (done!) and the novel, but I didn’t go out, and anyone would be forgiven for thinking I spent the whole month doing nothing but sitting by the window reading my book and watching it snow, because I read twenty-eight books this month. Some of them were great.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: December 2022Jo Walton
December began excellently in Rome, then we flew to Chicago for a couple of days, then went by train to Boston for a conference. After that I said goodbye to Ada and headed home to Montreal in time for the holidays. It was a pretty good month in which I read eighteen books, and some of them were outstanding.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: November 2022Jo Walton
November started off in Nantes for Utopiales, then I flew to New Orleans for World Fantasy, and from there I flew to Rome to meet up with Ada again, where I still am, in a little apartment in Trastevere. We also had a weekend in Florence. So another terrific month, with much seeing friends at World Fantasy and then more seeing friends and meeting new people in Rome and Florence. I read just twelve books.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: October 2022Jo Walton
October was a really excellent month, starting in Turin, then going west to Spain for Hispacon, where we met a lot of very enthusiastic Spanish fans, then a book tour through France, all on trains. We had a couple of lovely rest days in Narbonne, then Ada and I signed books and answered questions at a bunch of really different bookstores, big diverse Ombres Blanches in Toulouse, little specialist Imaginautes in Tours, huge branch of huge chain FNAC in Paris, plugged-in neighorhood bookstore Quatre Chemins in Lille, and GLBT bookstore Les Mots à la Bouche in Paris. At all these places we met people who loved books and reading. It was terrific. Then we ended the month at Utopiales in Nantes, one of France’s best conventions.
I read twelve books, mostly on trains.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: September 2022Jo Walton
September was an excellent month, beginning with Chicon 8, Worldcon in Chicago, and then flying to Florence immediately afterwards, where we stayed for a couple of weeks before taking the train up through the Alps (so beautiful!) to Riom in the centre of France for the excellent festival Aventuriales, where I was guest of honour and had a really great time. Then we went back through the Alps on the train to Turin, where Ada was a guest at Italian Tech Week. With all this dashing about and being with friends, I only had time to read eight books, mostly on trains and at bedtime, and here they are.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: August 2022Jo Walton
August was a great month, exhausting, but really great. This is the kind of month I want in my life! I began it by winning the Mythopoeic Award in Mythcon in Albuquerque for my novel Or What You Will, where I had a great time. Then I took the train to Chicago, where I’ve been staying with Ada, first preparing for and then running another simulation of the papal election of 1492 with friends in town before Worldcon. I read ten books, and some of them were really great.
Mentioning Everything Twice: Samuel R. Delany’s Tales of NevèrÿonJo Walton
Tales of Nevèrÿon (1979) is a wonderful mosaic novel, Delany at his best.
It was published in 1979, but because of the vagaries of British publishing I didn’t see it until 1988, and I had to check the date twice because it feels to me to belong a decade later. It’s interesting to consider that this book was written (1979!) so early in the first boom of fantasy as a marketing genre—Judy-Lynn Del Rey, seeing the success of The Lord of the Rings had deliberately published Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara in 1977 to capitalize on the idea of fantasy trilogies, and suddenly fantasy out of nowhere was a big thing.
Before 1977 it’s fair to say that fantasy was a genre written by oddballs (up to and including Tolkien) or for children, but then between 1977 and 1980 fantasy for adults became huge, bigger than science fiction, selling in huge numbers to an eager public. And this fantasy explosion took a little longer in Britain which is probably why this book didn’t make it to teenage me until a decade after its original US publication. Because Delany too was writing fantasy—but of course, his wasn’t like the fantasy everyone else was writing.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: July 2022Jo Walton
July was spent at home reading and working on the new essay collection, and at the very end flying to Albuquerque for Mythcon, where very excitingly my novel Or What You Will won the Mythopoeic Award! (I never expect to win awards, I’m so thrilled to be nominated for them and on the ballot next to such great books, so it’s always an exciting surprise on the occasions when I do win.) I had a great time at Mythcon, seeing people, through masks, but seeing people, and having conversations. Before that, I read 21 books, and some of them were great and some of them were not. The good ones make up for all the others, and I’m glad I get to burble to you about the excellent ones and warn you off the terrible ones!
Jo Walton’s Reading List: June 2022Jo Walton
June was a busy month, with many friends in town for Scintillation, the small convention in Montreal for which I do programme. It was great to see people again after having to cancel for the last two years! We discussed many great books, including John M. Ford’s Aspects (2022) which is out now, so wonderful to be able to recommend it at last. And I read fifteen books, and I have quite a lot to say about them.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: May 2022Jo Walton
…And then I caught Covid on May 1st, still in Chicago, still in the middle of the Papal Election of 1492, which we had to abruptly move online because Ada and Lauren caught it too. We’d caught it in class; it was the only place we’d been. We caught it despite masking, despite everyone being thoroughly vaccinated. We were sick for a couple of weeks and still positive for a week after that, having an isolation slumber party, but we are all fully recovered now. The weird effect of this is that the whole pandemic now has narrative closure for me. I came home by train late in May, straight into preparations for Scintillation, the small con in Montreal that I do programme for, which is happening in June. And I read twelve books, some great, some strange, and very, very different from each other.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: April 2022Jo Walton
It’s a short one this month because April was a great month, spent entirely in Chicago working on the Papal Election of 1492, except for Easter weekend when I went to Minicon in Minneapolis, which was wonderful. I’ve been very busy revising character sheets and writing letters to cardinals and kings in character, and I have only read eight books, and here they are.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: March 2022Jo Walton
March was a month where I started off at home and came to Chicago halfway through. So I am with friends, getting to hang out and have conversations and play board games, and also starting to do preparation for the papal election.
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