I started to write this post, then remembered I could see all my books in my Goodreads account. Well, whaddaya know — Goodreads had a handy “My 2015 Year In Books” feature that gave me all kinds of great info. Sweet! See that chart at right if you’re interested.
It says I did 22 books, but I counted it up and it’s 27. Goddamn lying Goodreads! And that 27 tally doesn’t include 5 books of my own I added, and with good reason. Turns out you can use the review feature on Goodreads to talk to people who have read that book or marked it to-read, a fun way to keep peeps informed (thanks for that idea, author-person Michael J. Sullivan!).
I have reviews for many of these books up on my Goodreads Account. I give only brief thoughts on all the books below, so if you want to know more go to Goodreads and see what I have to say. Follow me and add me as a friend while you’re there.
I think all but six of these books listed were consumed as audiobooks. I use Audible for that, and f-ing love that service. Not only is Audible a great partner for selling Empty Set Entertainment titles (that’s my and ARealGirl’s company, FYI), but the company provides a great product that keeps my ears flush with awesome stories and talented narrators. They are also an advertiser of our podcasts, so if you want to sign up for a trial and get a free audiobook, just click here.
One thing you can’t get on Audible is comic books, because the art is half the product. Natch. As for my 2015 in comics, all I’m showing in Goodreads is DAREDEVIL LEGENDS, VOLUME 1: YELLOW. Six comics in that series. If I read more comics — and I very well may have — I forgot to put them in my Goodreads account. I’m definitely going to have to step up comic consumption in 2016.
Plenty of the mono-a-mono shit went down for me in 2015. I rocked out with three books by Joe Abercrombie (BEST SERVED COLD, THE HEROES, HALF A KING), some Irish swashbuckly magician stuff with HOUNDED (Book I of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series), and some historical fiction (see below) with SHOGUN and THE LAST KINGDOM.
I read two classics this year, SHOGUN by James Clavell and THE LAST KINGDOM by Bernard Cromwell. I enjoyed Cromwell’s book, a first-person account of Viking invasions of the British Isles circa 866AD. Extremely well done, but since it is a series and I know the main character continues through all the books, I probably won’t continue it (a personal thing with me that kills almost every series, unless, apparently, it has very earnest dragons (see below)). As for SHOGUN, I loved-loved-loved this classic until the last 50 pages. When I got to the end — after over 1,100 f-ing pages of setup — I wanted Clavell to commit seppuku, just so I could be there to slice off his head. Do. Not. Recommend.
Because I am so god-dammned fancy, publishers occasionally send me advance copies of books so I can provide an endorsement blurb. This helped keep 2015’s reading list packed, with five books added to my normal fiction consumption. Thing is, because these are advance copies, I don’t get them in audiobook form — I have to actually read the damn things. Silly archaic technology. Here’s the books I read for blurbs this year, in chronological order of when read:
- TIN MEN by Christopher Golden (a final girl/guy thriller about military robots with human souls)
- ZERØES by Chuck Wendig (fantastic hackery goodness that takes a right turn at Albequerque into WTF land)
- ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders (Charlie is an editor at io9.com, that bastion of SciFi culture)
- PANACEA by F. Paul Wilson (biotech thriller stuff that really delivers)
- NOTHING SHORT OF DYING by Erik Storey (I predict this one is going to blow up — you’ll hear about it soon, both as a book, then a movie)
MY BIG SERIES OF 2015:
I absolutely hammered through Naomi Novik’s Temeriare Series. From HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON (Book I) through THE BLOOD OF TYRANTS (Book VIII), I was an unstoppable force of audiobook-listening, dragon-loving, Napoleon-admiring joy. If you’re old-school and love Anne McCaffery’s DRAGONFLIGHT series, you will eat up Novik’s work. Book IX, LEAGUE OF DRAGONS, is the final book of the series and coming out 2016. I am a-squee with anticipation. This series does an amazing job of starting out as relatively light-hearted nerd fantasy fulfillment but builds in intensity and scope to become an allegory for many social issues, both historical and current. The series grows darker and darker as the Termeraire, the dragon in question, goes from idealistic hatchling to a grizzled veteran of the Napoleonic wars. Did I mention I loved this series?
Not much for me in the way of non-fic this year. The only non-fic book I finished was THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, a stunning piece of work by Rebecca Skloot. Highly recommended, peeps. I have two others that I started in 2015, so they count, although I have not finished them yet: ON COMBAT by Dave Grossman, and THE AMERICAN MONOMYTH by Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence. ON COMBAT is to help me better understand the mind of people in combat, recommended to me by my firearms instructor. THE AMERICAN MONOLITH is a work that builds upon Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, but focuses primarily on American story archetypes rather than stories that have more of a worldwide cultural resonance.
MONSTERS AND GUNS AND SHIT:
What’s a year of books without monsters? I got my share of beasties: vampires with the flat-out-amazing THE KEEP by F. Paul Wilson; genetically engineered nightmares with Jonathan Maberry’s THE DRAGON FACTORY; one more winged reptilian behemoth with A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS by Marie Brennan; post-apocalyptic American nightmare shit with Benjamin Percy’s THE DEADLANDS; some what-the-fuck-is-happening delicious goodness of Peter Cline’s THE FOLD; and the goddamit-I-wish-I’d-known-this-would-end-with-random-unexplained-magic-before-I-paid-for-the-hardcover BROKEN MONSTERS by Lauren Beukes.
I’D HAVE TO SAY IT WAS A GOOD YEAR:
Lots of awesome books, many by authors I had not sampled before. I knocked out a few classics I’d been meaning to read forever (like THE KEEP and SHOGUN), got my annual fixes of Maberry and Abercrombie, and discovered the amazing dragony world of Naomi Novik. In all, my life is far better for having whooped up on 27 books in 2015.
As for your 2015, did you read any of these titles? How many books did you knock out?