Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top 10 of 2015

Last year, I read a lot. According to my count, I read 116 books, including graphic novels and novellas. That's a lot of books. It helped that I wasn't fully employed for a number of months and had insomnia for a few weeks in the fall, dropping me into a vicious cycle of staying up until 4 reading, napping, and then not being able to fall asleep at night so I pick up a book...

Side note: That was seriously unhealthy and I destroyed my immune system. Don't do that.

Looking back at those 116 books, I decided to whittle that down to my top ten books of the year. This was hard, as you can imagine, but not as hard as I expected. Despite reading a lot, many of the books were not that memorable or were easy to drop from my short list once I had a short list of seventeen books.

So, without further ado: my top books of 2015. These are in no particular order because asking me to do that would be infinitely more difficult than just picking ten.

  1. The Martian by Andy Weir - Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard of this book. I adored and devoured this book and commend it for not being afraid of being full of science!geekery. I loved that Weir had a diverse cast gender-wise, did not make a big deal about this, and did not describe anybody's physical characteristics. Also, it was a damn good book.
  2. Akata Witch by Nnedio Okorafor - This was the first Okorafor I read and I'm thankful that my public library had this book available as an ebook. If it hadn't I don't know if I'd had ever discovered Okorafor's books which are full of wonder and beautiful prose. Akata Witch tells the story of a young girl learning she has magic and going off to learn magic. Sound familiar? Think again. The book takes a well-known story trope and recasts it in a completely unique way.
  3. Saga, Deluxe Edition, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples - I borrowed this from a friend, and need my own copy now. This Deluxe Edition collects the first three trades of Saga, which I had been hearing good things about for years but never picked up. Once I started, this blew me completely away. I fell into the story and fell in love with the characters. It's incredibly smart, unique, and quirky.
  4. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - This is unabashedly British royal family fanfiction. It's also incredibly well-written and compelling with truly likable and human characters. I started this one night and did not get any sleep at all.
  5. Returning My Sisters Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice by Eugie Foster - I don't normally like short stories, but the late Eugie Foster's stories are these perfect gems that eat into my brain and warm me up. This collection is my favorite of all her books. All the stories are firmly grounded in the history, culture, folklore, and mythology of China and Japan. These stories were like coming home for me. I grew up with these stories, this history, and Foster took the familiar and made them new with a veneer of adult sensibility.
  6. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold - A new Vorkosigan novel! This isn't due to be published for another month but I happily gave Baen money for the eARC. I read this repeatedly for about a week; I loved it so. This is Cordelia's story, post-Aral. It's a story of life and love and moving on. It was a giant hug.
  7. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day - Felicia Day is my spirit animal. Her memoir of growing up a geek and nerd resonated heavily with me.
  8. Winter by Marissa Meyer - I adore the Lunar Chronicles and had this, the last book of the series, pre-ordered since it was available for pre-order. It was a perfect end to a perfect and amazing series that started with a cyborg mechanic who befriended a prince.
  9. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna - This book showcases the best of what YA and science fiction can be, tackling some heavy philosophical questions of self, identity, and free will. The main character is an echo (aka, clone) of a girl in India, and if that girl dies, the echo will take her place.
  10. Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram - A modern re-telling of Cinderella in which the prince is a famous movie star who is already best friends with Ella but she doesn't know who he is. I loved it.

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