Here in our nation’s capital the weather has taken a turn for early fall digits, with 70 degrees on Saturday (21C for those of you in the rest of the world). People were walking around in shorts. I was reading outside on the grass.
If you are wondering how widespread the year-end book ranking is, take a look at this aggregated list. Basically everyone, including the Obamas, is making best of 2015 lists. Some of those are odd. ‘Best AP calculus books’? Nothing says ‘happy holidays’ like ‘I hope you don’t fail a test’. Some are important and amazing, like ‘Overlooked books by women’.
Well, I am going to be boring and confine my choices to top few. Because guilt and free books propel my reading habits, most of what I’ve read this year was actually published this year.
Reading trends in 2015:
- More graphic novels/comics, and definitely more comics in floppy/single issue form.
- More YA than last year. It’s not a lot, but I didn’t read any YA in 2014 at all.
- More mainstream fiction, with genre being confined mostly to graphic novel form.
- More audiobooks, by which I mean ‘any at all’.
- More poetry, which is once again ‘any at all’.
So here we go, the most amazing books I’ve read this year are (in genre order):
- Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life. What a hard book. What an astonishing book. I will probably never read it again, but I am absolutely certain I’m a better human and a better reader after this book.
- Lidia Yuknavitch, The Small Backs of Children. This book was strangely overlooked by every award list in the world, for reasons that elude me.
- Lyudmila Ulitskaya, The Big Green Tent – cheating a bit here, since it was published in Russian in 2010. For all your sprawling modern Russian novel needs.
- Kevin Barry, Beatlebone – I talk about it here.
- Zen Cho, Sorcerer to the Crown
I feel like I went full literary prize committee here, with 3 out of 5 being ‘serious’, emotionally intense books.
- Kate Tempest, Hold Your Own
- Joni Tevis, The World is on Fire
- Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
- Sarah Ruhl, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write
Fascinating, they are all essays. Not sure what that says about my non-fiction reading.
- Warren Ellis, Trees (trade exists)
- Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium (I thought the first volume was pretty amazing, this one is even better)
- Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Bitch Planet (yassss! out in trade)
- Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (if you like your comics standalone)
There is some really good stuff out in single issues as well: 8house: Arclight by Brandon Graham and a bunch of other people; The Spire by Simon Spurrier, Carlos Magno, and Jeff Stokely, Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chang, and Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.
And finally, in the ‘Did I Read The Same Book?’ category we have Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. So many people loved it, so many award committees thought it was amazing. I had to give up after 70 pages.
If you want to see the complete list of books I’ve read this year, here’s the page.