Yes, I know, that’s not always true. But I love my bookish friends because they constantly introduce me to new and interesting books (and authors), and then make me feel better about the mountain of books towering over me waiting to be read. Solidarity, bookish friends. We will read together and it will be good.

It all started with The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. I’d been staring at the gorgeously minimalist cover in bookshops, so when my twitterfeed mentioned a group read as part of SciFi Month, I happily gave into my acquisitive instincts and signed up. And it was so much fun.

It was my first experience of reading alongside the wonderful @effingrainbow and I discovered a shared appetite for flailing enthusiasm. So while I missed Tremontaine on its first outing (I know. I KNOW. I’m sorry), I jumped straight on to a hint that Lisa was planning to livetweet Swordspoint and, err, invited myself along:

can-i-play

Although Lisa was happy to have the right sort of company.

One thing, as they say, led to another. That is to say, MUCH FANGIRLING. The flailing through 5 turbulent weeks worrying about Richard St Vier and Alec mumble-mumble (Swordspointwas eclipsed by the fever pitch of excitement and woe brought on by Katherine Talbert’s antics (The Privilege of the Sword). And then there was an ominous journey with Theron Campion (The Fall of the Kings).

There was no way I was ready to leave the glorious world of Riverside and the City, and I was delighted (and relieved) that I hadn’t read Tremontaine yet. Consequently, 2016 has been the Year of the Duchess; since the end of January, there’s not been a month where her name or her family haven’t featured on this blog.

It’s all Lisa’s fault.

Thank you Lisa.

Good friends are enabling friends are the best friends.

Kermit doing excited muppet arms as he introduces an act on the Muppet Show

Also, thank you Ellen Kushner, Serial Box and the writing team! In a year of appalling reality, you have made my reading life a delight. THANK YOU FOR MAKING 2016 BETTER.