In looking over this past year, I realize that I have read 209 different books. Whether they be graphic novels, full length books or eBooks of various sizes, I have totaled 209 different titles. They have ranged from drama to thrillers to erotica and often some combination of both. With few exceptions, if i finished it, I probably liked it. If I liked it, then I probably wrote a review. I try very hard not to write bad reviews. I prefer to share positive experiences on this blog of mine. I post negative reviews directly to the publisher or author with an explanation of why I didn’t enjoy the story. Unless it’s an established writer passing off half hearted crap that readers will spend their hard earned money on based on the writer’s name alone, then I have to say something.
So what follows, in no particular order, are my five favorite books that I read in 2015. Not the five best and not the five most popular, but the five that when I look back over the year, I can right now say, those were my favorite. They stayed with me. When I see the book cover or remember a passage, I can still experience the reading of it. Which for those who love the act of reading a book, will understand.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
“…’How right to fear it, sir,’ Wistan said. ‘The giant, once well buried, now stirs. When soon he rises, as surely he will, the friendly bonds between us will prove as knots young girls make with the stems of small flowers. Men will burn their neighbours’ houses by night. Hang children from trees at dawn. The rivers will stink with the corpses bloated from their days of voyaging…”
This mixture of fantasy, history and adventure is a social commentary of our times as well as our past. What is oppressed today often is the oppressor of tomorrow. Though set in Britain, the morality tale behind The Buried Giant is world encompassing.
Red Winter by Dan Smith
“…In the remote countryside of rural Russia the myths and horror stories of old folk tales is coming to life. As the legend of the terrifying Koschei is visiting village upon village, torturing the men, beheading others, stealing the boys old enough to fight and raping the women. The women, it is said, the women he likes to drown…”
War is hell and the dogs let loosed in that hell are demons that mortal men must find a way to conscious. Red Winter is the tale of one such man and one such demon and the few differences in between.
Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
“…Anna was a good wife, mostly…”
“…Whores, Anna once read, make the very best wives…”
“…Bored women join clubs and volunteer. Sad women have affairs…”
Anna is not a likable character. She is not trapped by circumstances. She is simply bored and in need of attention. Her actions and inactions drive this story of betrayal and infidelity. We are shown her life, through her own eyes and feel her sense of quiet desperation.
Long Black Curl by Alex Bledsoe
“…In the long and storied history of the Tufa only two of their people have ever been exiled, banished from Needsville and never to sing their song or ride the night winds again. Bo-Kate Wisby and Jefferson Powell. Two young lovers from different sides of the Tufa whose love and desire for one another created a killing spree that left whole families dead and bleeding in its wake…”
There are few writers and few characters that I will stop whatever I am reading and put it aside. Just so I can read their book instead. Alex Bledsoe and the tales of the Tufa are just that damn good.
The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi
“…The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi is the kind of thought provoking apocalyptic science fiction writing that harkens back to Harry Harrison’s Make Room!Make Room! and Richard Matheson’s I am Legend… Only with enough dark and violent moments to make Mad Max Fury Road look like a Disney film…”
The Water Knife may be my favorite book I have read this year. It is thought provoking and disturbing in the way that science fiction should be. A terrific read that deserves all the accolades that can be heaped upon it.
Well there they are. I hope this small blog encourages you to take a look at one or all of them. But mostly I hope it has served to spread the joy of picking up a good story and just having a good time.
Until next year!