My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What Makes This Book So Great is a thorough collection of Jo Walton’s blog posts written for Tor.com. Even though Walton says that these selections only cover one-fifth of her posts, the topics cover “books in many genres and published between 1871 to 2008” as well as Walton’s own thoughts on reading & what makes a good story.
Although collected by publication date, readers are encouraged to flip through these mini-essays and pick out whatever may interest them. These posts are conversational, curious & constructive–written with great wit, Walton’s entries invite readers in as well as letting them know right away what interests her & what she focuses on while reading. Readers who are new to sci-fi or genre fiction would be best served reading the entries that focus more on reading for pleasure or definitions of genres themselves in order to see if their interests match up. I myself am more familiar with fantasy than sci-fi, but I found much to enjoy in the discussions of genre overlap & plenty of new books to hunt down. (She even mentions if something is in print or not–how thoughtful!)
If you are intrigued by any of the above description or are just hankering for new books to discover, What Makes This Books So Great is a welcome read! Or, if you just want a nice tidy list, you can always start here.