Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Year In Review: The Books I've Read in 2015 with Brief Thoughts


FICTION

Horns by Joe Hill
See blog article.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
A series about a wizard living in modern-day Chicago. Highly recommend. I read eleven of them. I especially enjoyed that they didn't all occur one after another. Years could occur between them and many characters were people Dresden met "off stage."

Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
Fantasy series of six books. I really like Jim Butcher and highly recommend his books. I liked this series better than The Dresden Files, if that is possible. I liked the main character.

Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making is the first, there are five total, but I could only find the first four. Shelved in the "Young Adult" section of the library, these clever stories about a girl alone in fairyland build a subtle theme of family. Although her mother is not present, she is a character firmly drawn in her daughter's thoughts such as, "September thought her mother was prettier than any of the girls on the screen" and "she was her mother's daughter, always and forever, and felt sure whatever she set her hands to would work" (61, 118). The first book has a quest for September to find "thy mother's sword," which turns out for her to be a wrench. I really enjoyed the underlying story about her relationship with her mom.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Great characters. Was really impressed by how they held things together when the plot got weird. Interesting premise. Fantastical murder mystery. Kate Daniels is the main character. Fights against Masters of the Dead who control vampires with were-animals of various types. An Upir that can't keep it in its pants.
Interesting world. Atlanta post a magical outbreak. Technology and magic working intermittently. New organizations and government branches.

 Temeraire fantasy/alternate history by Naomi Novik
Love this author. Possible new favorite. See blog article on the first one. Each book in the series is just as good or better.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
From my bookshelf. Juvenile novel tell how the classic story of Peter Pan began. Quite imaginative.

The Tale of Despereau by Kate DiCamillo
From my bookshelf. One of my favorite juvenile novels. My mom read it out loud to me when I was younger, and I can still hear her voice and see her lips form the words when I read it to myself.

Hounded and Hexed by Kevin Hearne
The first two novels in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Reminded me a great deal of the Dresden Files: snarky main character with a magical talent and many enemies both mortal and divine. Much shorter, though, and a tad raunchier.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
See blog article.

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
Maybe doesn't belong here since I quite several chapters in, but I began the book because on the back George R.R. Martin is quoted as saying, "It's like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones." It soon became obvious that the story did not resemble Jurassic Park at all, despite the dinosaurs, leaving a fantasy drama. Not the genre I enjoy; but others might. Side note: How self-absorbed do you have to be to compare another's book to your own?

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
From my bookshelf. See blog article.

The Wager by Carolyn Brown
From my bookshelf, but decided to get rid of it. The wager is about co-vice presidents of a successful oil company living for a week on minimum wage while keeping their identities secret, but the story was about the impact this had on their budding romance. I just don't enjoy this sort of thing like I did before I was married. The glorified hand-holding and stolen kisses. I experience that for myself now, and I don't feel the tension anymore.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My sister left this out on the couch when we went to visit home for the weekend. I started it, then had to get it from the library after we left. Same sister bought my paperback copies from me because I intended to replace them with hardcovers. Really need to do that!

The Hobbit and LOTR by J.R.R Tolkien
Intermittently. When I say that Naomi Novik is my new favorite, Tolkien is, of course, exempt as he is the greatest author ever.


NON-FICTION

Picturing Tolkien: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings Film Triology edited by Janice M. Bogstad and Philip E. Kaveny

The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and annotated by Douglas A. Anderson

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles Art & Design by Daniel Falconer

The QPB Companion to The Lord of the Rings edited by Brandon Geist

Bloom's Modern Critical Views J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Harold Bloom

Bloom's Modern Critical Views J.R.R. Tolkien 2nd Edition edited by Harold Bloom

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit by Corey Olsen

The Hobbits: The Many Lives of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin by Lynnette Porter

The Myth of the American Superhero by John Shelton Lawrence and Robert Jewett

"On Fairy Stories" by J.R.R. Tolkien

"Frodo's Batman" by Mark T. Hooker

"'Time Shall Run Back': Tolkien's The Hobbit" by Jean MacIntyre

"The Four-Part Structure of Bilbo's Education" by William H. Green

"Campbell and the Inklings--Tolkien, Lewis, and Williams" by Vernon R. Hyles

"The Many Faces of the Hero in The Lord of the Rings" by Stephen Potts

If you would like to hear more about any of these, let me know.
I always appreciate recommendations for 2016!

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