Best Reads of 2015

My favorite (new) reads of 2015 are as follows, in no particular order. I didn’t read that much this year – I didn’t have time. But it was still hard to whittle it down to a manageable least. I read a lot of AMAZING books this year. I usually pick just five, but it is so hard. I read a total of 49 books this year.

Two are non-fiction, which is higher than usual, as I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. And one is a classic. So the following is the top ten list:

  1. Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
  2. Fairs’ Point by  Melissa Scott
  3. Undercity by Catherine Asaro
  4. The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
  5. Stories of the Raksura, Vol 2, by Martha Wells
  6. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  7. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, by Bee Wilson
  8. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher
  9. The Color Purple by  Alice Walker
  10. Skyborn by David Dalgish

I have whittled it down to top 5. Like so:

1) Skyborn by David Dalgish    

Skyborn was pretty amazing. People fly and have powers and living on floating islands. There are rules for making war and the description of training of a soldier is very good. Almost the whole story, in fact. Floating all around all the personal angst/difficulty of that are hints of an explosive political situation. I loved it.

2) The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley 

I thought this book was going to a typical grimdark and violent and bloody, with lots of people dying and betrayal. And it is all that. I am not a fan of grimdark, but this one is really good.

3) Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

I was of two minds of putting this in the top 5. It didn’t blow me away like the first one, but it was still good. If I wasn’t comparing it to the first, it wouldn’t have come up wanting and I wouldn’t have thought twice about putting it here. So here it is.

4) Stories of the Raksura, Vol 2, by Martha Wells

Vol 2 wasn’t as good as Vol 1, but still great and still worth many rereads. It is a collection of stories and it explores the world in more depth.

5) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This was amazing. It is a like a gritty fairy tale and I would love to see a movie made out of this. I think Disney would do good with this one.


Best books of 2014:

Best books of 2013:

Best books of 2012:

Have I read this book before?

This is a question I find myself asking this week.  2zpoccl

I’m reading the first Kris Longknife book: Mutineer by Mike Shepherd. I know I’ve read other Kris Longknife books before. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this first one, too.

It’s just that I don’t actually remember the events in this book. There was a rescue of a kidnapped little girl; she goes to provide food and vaccine to a community over in with a deadly, infectious disease; I don’t remember thing.

I remember the liquid metal and that you could form it into any shape that you wanted. I also remembered that it stopped working after a while, maybe on purpose. I remember her computer’s name.

Nothing else is ringing a bell. Which leads me to ask myself: Have I read this b00k before?

I can’t make up my mind. But if I haven’t read it before, how did I miss the first Kris Longknife book? I don’t know. It seems impossible.


Teaser Tuesday: Ancillary Mercy

image Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

“Governor Giarod requests that you return to the station at your earliest convenience.” Seivarden said. Ship said. That request, the barely polite gloss of at your convenience or not, was more peremptory then was strictly proper.

– Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Eve Dallas is mellowing?

image I finished the new Eve Dallas, Devoted in Death, a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking: Eve Dallas is a lot mellower in this book. She still kicks ass and takes names, but in a less aggressive way.

Before, she threatened robots and parked right in different of buildings instead of finding a proper parking spot.

In this book she actually parks in parking garage before going up to interview witnesses or suspects or whoever.

It’s just so odd. What does this new, mellower Eve portend? I’m convinced it means something.

Teaser Tuesday: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

The tower, which was not supposed to be there, plunges into the earth in a place just before the black pine forest begins to give way to swamp and then the reeds and wind-gnarled trees of the marsh flats. Beyond the marsh flats and the natural canals lies the ocean and, a little farther down the coast, a derelict lighthouse.

– Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Banned Books Week 2015: September 27-October 3

Banned Books Week starts today and ends on Saturday.

Every year, people attempt to ban books from the shelves of libraries or schools, to keep other people from enjoying material they feel is bad in someway.

The website of the American Library Association lists some of these books. The top ten books challenged this past year are:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi                                                                   Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
  3. And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell         Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison                                                              Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris                                                          Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
  6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples                                                        Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini                                                              Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky                                                                                                                   Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  9. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard                                                                                        Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier                                                                                   Reasons: sexually explicit


I have only read Persepolis before, and only the first part at that. I suppose it was only a matter of time before this book showed up on the top ten banned list. I don’t recall gambling. Some of the language is strong, but not gratuitously so. But the political viewpoint – well. Politics is all over Persepolis. You take it out, there is nothing left. So, yeah. The politics cannot help but make it controversial and I suppose that means someone will try to ban it.

As far as I know, Persepolis is new to the top ten banned books list. Also: It’s Perfectly Normal, Saga, A Stolen Life and Drama are new to the list as well. Basically, half the list. Some of them probably appeared on the list, but not in the top ten.

Also, is Saga a YA book? It’s a comic, yeah, but I don’t know if that automatically makes it YA.

I haven’t read any of the others. I usually pick a banned book to read this week, but life snuck on me and I haven’t picked one yet.

There are lists of banned books: by decade and GoodReads and classics. I am sure there are other lists that I haven’t found!


Hugo Awards 2015

The Hugo Awards are over for another year. Most of the puppy categories won No  Award.

I didn’t vote and I didn’t watch the live tweeting. I suppose that means I am not invested or not invested enough. (The last. I am not really invested enough in fandom, not enough to spend hours and hours of my life submerged in it). This is also the only year I seriously considered getting a supporting membership. I never thought it might be necessary before.

But I am not truly displeased with the results of the voting. In the years I have been watching the Hugo Awards, I never have been really displeased with the results. Disappointed, usually, with a category or two, but never truly displeased overall.

I expect the drama will start over again next year and that’s not something I am looking forward to. Maybe I will vote next year. Maybe Martha Wells will finally be nominated for a Hugo. (If I do nominate anything for next year, Martha Well’s short stories and novellas will be on my list).