Yes, it's September. Yes, I have basically abandoned this blog. I'm writing short reviews on Goodreads, but I can't keep up with this anymore due to life circumstances. I'll probably write an official post about it in a while. But meanwhile, the Top-Ten Lists are just so fun to do, that I can still manage to find the time and energy.So yeah. I don't remember a lot because my memory's bad and it was a long time ago. But I tried.
But besides LIFE stuff happening, this was a decent year for reading. I read 4 more books than I did the year before (60 vs 56). 14 out of the 60 books were nonfiction--one more than the previous year. (Next year's going to be even better: I already read 14 and the year's not even done yet.) I count this as progress because it shows a diversifying of my tastes. I discovered a few new fabulous authors (especially Jean-Paul Sartre, Sage Blackwood, Gillian Bradshaw, Henri Nouwen).
So yeah, decent. Although the feeling in general is kind of meh, I think because of how many books I found just slightly less enjoyable than I'd hoped. (As a preview: this is not the case for this year, 2017. Difficult year, but good books.)
So without further ado, in sort-of approximate order from least to most favourite, are some of the best books I read in 2015:
Section Three--these were great, I loved these ones: the "all the good ones" section:
|From Nikita Golubev|
--Cuckoo's Egg by C. J. Cherryh. This will bring me to a whole new set of adult scifi books, both from the author and from the sub-genre (hard sociological scifi). There were relationships and world-building and people's inner thoughts that were all complex and interesting and made me think. Cool stuff.
--No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. Existentialist works are actually really interesting. I had no idea before this. At least Sartre's are. I so, so much wanted to properly discuss this one with someone after reading it, but alas my life was lonely last year.
--Shirt of Flame by Heather King. I'm just going to repeat my short original review for this, because it says it all: "Profound and difficult and consoling simultaneously. It came at an absolutely perfect time in my life, and gave me a relationship to St. Therese for which I'll be forever grateful. Also good coming so soon after The Power and the Glory, since King also get the grittiness and paradox and beauty of Catholicism."
--Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North. Ryan North is one of my favourite authors, which seems weird to say about someone who mostly writes comic books and choose-your-own-adventures. But he's just... SO. FUNNY. And comedy is as an acceptable genre as tragedy or realism. So take that.
Section Two--these are just so good: the section with my actual favourites of the year:
Spritual Formation by Henri Nouwen. Made me think and pray in a way I hadn't before. Always, always worth it, that.
--Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. This was just such a lovely reading experience. The way Tey gets into the heads of her characters is so great--I'm interested in all of them, which is so rare. (They're almost completely women in this book too, which is cool and interesting.) She also makes physical descriptions and atmosphere that actually interest me. As I said in my original review, it's "[l]ovely and light and cozy and creepy all at once". Plus just add in the feel of the book, the look of the cover. This is a book to read all alone when it's poring rain and you have hot chocolate and cookies to eat.
(Also a shoutout here to The Franchise Affair. I liked Miss Pym better, and I liked both of them for similar reasons, so I thought I wouldn't include TFA, even though it was pretty awesome.)
--Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw. I forget more of this book than I wish I did, but I remember it good. And didn't portray Gawain as a dumb brute. It was just a good, good historical-fiction-with-hints-of-fantasy book that actually portrayed Christianity as not a terribly thing. In fact, it was quite inspiring, and I remember being so thrilled to find a book about Gawain (called Gwalchmai here) and his family that was interesting and gritty. I really, really liked it.
--The Thrilling Adventures of Babbage and Lovelace by Sydney Padua. Famous historical computer science people! In an alternate universe! In graphic novel form! I looooooove books like this. Enough said.
Section One--life-changing, ground-breaking, or astonishing: the new additions to my all-time favourites
--A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima. Messy, real, tragic, romantic, sweet. There were aspects of my inner life and anxiety that I saw in this series that I never saw anywhere else. And the realness and complexity of these characters!
--Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer. This book changed my life. It's weird to say this, because in some ways it doesn't seem like the most profound book in the world. And truthfully, the change it immediately made wasn't that profound. But it started me down a path of growth that I am so, so grateful for. Self-knowledge and nurturing the inner life are WORTH it, guys! Who knew. But seriously, it is a great book, containing such phrases as "fierce with reality" which make me want to be the best person I can possibly be.
--The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. This book surprised and astonished me. Who knew it was going to be so thought-provoking? While still easy to read? And actually gripping? And so Catholic in the best, gritty, complex sense of the word? Amazing book, and it is to my great sorrow that I didn't get to discuss it with anyone while it was still fresh in my mind.
Runners Up (In No Order Whatsoever and Possibly Missing Some Good Ones Because I'm Really, Really Bad at Making Up My Mind)
--Voice of the Lost. Great romance! Unusual plot twists! Improvement from the previous book!
--Curse of Chalion. The way Bujold builds up the awesomeness of some of her characters... Also the religion. Good stuff.
--In the Night Garden. The structure! The imagination!
--Wild Seed. Memorable, unique adult scifi.
--Acedia & me. Interesting take on one of the most serious problems of our time (I think).
P.S. See also the Top Ten (Or So) lists from previous years: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.