Sunday, January 3, 2016

Persy -- 2015's Books

Hey guys. I'm alive. So is Arty (had a surprise encounter with her the other day actually), so that's good. But there's no denying that we both lead busy lives, so really this blog only gets updated when we have time and an itch to review a book.

But my review of the year's reading is one of my favorite things to do, so here it is!

My reading goal was only 110 books for 2015. I set it low since I'd had so much trouble the past years balancing leisure reading with college life, but for the most part I was pretty ahead of schedule. Until the fall semester anyway, when life fell apart. But you know, that's okay, it happens. I still managed to rope my total up to 110 books even, with 24,639 pages (plus quite a few unpaged graphic novels and childrens' books).

The first book I finished in 2015 was Sock Monkey Dreams by Whitney Shroyer and Letitia Walker, with pictures by Michael Traister. The final book of 2015 was the classic Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton.

I managed to narrow it down to 15 Fabulous Books of 2015! Please check them out, because they are truly fabulous.

Sock Monkey Dreams by Whitney Shroyer and Letitia Walker, photography by Michael Traister
This is an awesome little book about a huge collection of sock monkeys and their day to day lives. So many pictures of them doing their stuff and little side stories and information. Each sock monkey is unique, and it's just wonderful. Even if you're not a huge sock monkey fan like myself. Fantasy/Art.

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
The second book in the urban fantasy series Mercedes Thompson. I genuinely love these books because they're not only just well-written, they also don't revolve around sex. Mercy isn't constantly swamped by lovesick suitors of various supernatural races. She actually solves mysteries, fights monsters, and fixes cars. Urban fantasy.

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks
This is one intense, terrifying scifi ride. I don't really know what else to say about it, except that it's intense. And terrifying. And that you should read it. Science fiction.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
The great classics by the great author. Full of humor, truths, and adventure. And weirdness. Science fiction.

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori
I read volumes 13-17 this year and only have ONE VOLUME left of the entire manga. It has gotten SO INTENSE and SO HEARTBREAKING. And still so much fun to read. Shoujo manga.

The End and others by Lemony Snicket
I've had the great pleasure of rereading the entire Series of Unfortunate Events this year. Not only is Lemony Snicket full of wit and honesty, the story itself is interesting all the way until the 13th book. It was really awesome to be able to read all the books all the way through. Mystery/adventure/tragedy.

Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart, illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs
Anyone can tell you that I love bugs. I have a modest collection of entomology books. But this one was nice and specialized, with very cool and detailed artwork. A small volume of some of the deadliest bugs on earth, and not just the romanticized ones either. No, you get the honest truth here. Nonfiction.

Night Gate by Isobelle Carmody
Of course this is here. I reread this book every single July. Of course this book is here, guys. Fantasy.

Click by a whole bunch of people
I'm a big fan of this book because it has very little continuity. It's like reading ten short stories, and yet together they tell such a huge story that it's pretty impacting. With such diversity in authors, you can get a whole lot out of this novel. Fantasy/science fiction

There And Back Again by Pat Murphy
The Hobbit in space. Need I say more? Science fiction.

Beauty is the Beast series by Tomo Matsumoto
A short manga series that I had the pleasure of completing this year. I'm a sucker for shoujo, everyone knows this. But Eimi is the absolute weirdest main character ever. The series isn't the best (it's often real hard to tell who's talking), but the story and characters are really hard to not love. Shoujo manga.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow Archives Vol. 1 by Jerry Siegel and others
Superman is the best. Sorry, but he is. And fifties Superman? Even better. Graphic novel.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
No, it doesn't star Will Smith. It is, however, very awesome. It's an anthology of short stories involving Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist, and each story offers something different. Many, if not all, stories tell something important about humanity, while some also involve a technical mystery about robots. Either way, it's all very interesting. Science fiction.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
It's told out of order, which is one of the best parts. The story doesn't make a lot of sense at first. But then it starts to make a whole lot of sense. Plus, Vonnegut is a fantastic writer. Pretty much every single line I wanted to copy down and quote at opportune times. Science fiction.

Betsy B. Little by Anne McEvoy, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers
An absolutely adorable kids' book about following your dreams. Perfect for everyone, especially dancers of any age who tend to get discouraged. Childrens'.

**Honorable Mentions**

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson); Cut (Patricia McCormick); Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare); Graceling and Fire (Kristin Cashore); Poison Study (Maria V. Snyder); The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (E. Lockhart); The Sorcerer's Stone (J.K. Rowling); Being Dead (Vivian Vande Velde); I Am Here series (Ema Toyama); Fruits Basket series (Natsuki Takaya).

The Few Foul Books of 2015

Warrior by Bryan Davis
His Starlighter series is just...bad. Badly-written, with unappealing characters and overcomplicated plots. Fantasy.

Corpse Party series by Kudouin Makoto
This manga series isn't necessarily bad, but let's just say it's mostly gore and panty shots. Horror manga.

Serpentine by Cindy Pon
Again, this isn't a terribly bad novel. It's interesting, with a half-demon protagonist and monks and demon invasions and plot twists and lesbians and all kind of stuff. But that's kind of the problem, there was a lot of stuff that disappeared halfway through. Also, the writing isn't much to get excited for. Fantasy.

The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
AGAIN, not a terrible book. But it did cause me to go on a feminist tirade (which believe me, I NEVER go on) because I was sick of how every female and male romance protagonists are the same in every stupid romance novel. Romance/fantasy.

For 2016, my goal is to read 111, just one more than this year. Also, my only New Year's Resolution is to read Victor Hugo's Les Misérables before the end of the year (it's 1500 pages). So far I'm on page 7.

How was your 2015 reading?

--Persy

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