Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Best Books of 2015... That I Read

I set a goal to read 36 books this year, which is 12 more than I read last year. I have read 35 of them, but I figured I'd get a head start on end of year type things and also maybe help you out with your holiday shopping.

Here are my 5 favorite books of 2015. Not all of these books came out this year, but this is the year in which I read them:

Uprooted by Naomi Naovik

When you do these year-end list things, you're supposed to save the best thing for last. Well screw that! The best thing I read this year was "Uprooted" by Naomi Naovik.

"Uprooted" is a thrilling adventure story, contains elements of romance (though that romance is not what defines the endlessly compelling protagonist, Agnieszka), creates an incredible fantasy version of Poland (for all the world-building types out there), tells a tale of friendship, shows the horrors of war... I could go on and on about everything that makes this book successful.

Oh, and there's an evil malevolent forest. 

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

Did you think I only read epic fantasy? YOU'RE WRONG! Sometimes I read businessy books and sometimes I read businessy books that aren't terrible. "Creativity, Inc.," written by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, is all about running a creative business. Catmull goes through the highs and lows of Pixar and how the things they've learned can apply to running any creative enterprise.

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

I don't only read epic fantasy, but I do read a ton of epic fantasy. "The Fifth Season" is another must-read epic fantasy from NK Jemisin who has, over the years, been cranking out great fantasy novel after great fantasy novel. Imagine a fantasy world that is routinely destroyed by natural disasters, has crazy earth wizards, and giant obelisk things floating in the sky. Then, throw in some cool narrative tricks for good measure. That's "The Fifth Season."

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

"Welcome to Night Vale" is already one of the best podcasts out there, and now it's one of the best books too. For Night Vale neophytes, WtNV is a story of a small desert town where every conspiracy theory you've ever heard is occurring at the same time. The podcast is framed as a local radio show. With this book, Fink and Cranor are able to explore the world outside of their radio show, and in fact, outside of the town of Night Vale. Their use of language is particularly neat.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Here's the one that will be on everyone's "best of 2015" list. And it should be. Coates writes a book that is personal, a story of his life, and also a story about America and race. Every good thing you have heard about this book is true and you should read it.

And BONUS! One book I thought was kind of lousy.

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan

A book about knights riding dinosaurs should be fun and amazing. It's not. It's boring, tedious, and often sexist. Skip it.

There you go! Five books to get for everyone on your Christmas list. I know it's only December 1st, and I promise if I read a better book than these five between now and 12/31, I will let you all know.

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