In 2015, I set a new personal record and read 50 books -- many of them very good! (I suspect that had they been less good on the whole, I would have read fewer of them.) I've also been able to read so many thanks to my discovery that Audible is wonderful.
I want to do a roundup of my favorite ones. So here, as the year ends, are my four and five star picks from the year-in-reading gone by. Some of these came out in 2015. Many of them did not. All of them are wonderful, and I do not hesitate to recommend each one.
If I were to sum up the list before getting into it, I would say that for me this was the year of Napoleonic/Regency Fantasy. This is a subgenre I never would have suspected that I needed. And yet...
- Ubik, by Philip K. Dick
- Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Red Seas Under Red Skies & The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch
- A Local Habitation (October Daye #2), by Seanan McGuire
- Indexing, by Seanan McGuire
- Blackout (Newsflesh #3), by Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire)
- Tongue of Serpents, Crucible of Gold, & Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire Series), by Naomi Novik
- Glamour in Glass & Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories), by Mary Robinette Kowal
- Captain Marvel Vol. 2, by Kelly Sue DeConnick
- The Girl with All the Gifts, by MR Carey
- I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
- The Galaxy Game, by Karen Lord
- Lock In, by John Scalzi
- The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss
- Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear
- Welcome to Night Vale, by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
- Kensei, by Jeremy Zimmerman
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Ryan North & Erica Henderson
- Black Powder War, Throne of Jade, Empire of Ivory, & Victory of Eagles (Temeraire Series), by Naomi Novik
- Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
- Outcasts United, by Warren St. John
- Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Broken Kingdoms & The Kingdom of Gods, by NK Jemisin
- Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed
- Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson
- The Noble Hustle, by Colson Whitehead
- The Just City, by Jo Walton
- Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie
- Rooms for Ghosts, by Terra Brigando
- Selfies from the End of the World, Edited by Jeremy Zimmerman and Dawn Vogel
- Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
For those counting, that means I read and loved eight books by Naomi Novik, three by Seanan McGuire (aka Mira Grant), and two each by Mary Robinette Kowal, Scott Lynch, and NK Jemisin, making each of them my gold standard recommendations for 2016.
Coincidentally, Novik's League of Dragons, the final book in the astonishingly good Temeraire series, is due out in 2016. Scott Lynch's Thorn of Emberlain (next in the Gentleman Bastards series); Seanan McGuire's (aka Mira Grant's) Once Broken Faith (next in her October Daye books), Chaos Choreography (next in her InCryptid books), Rewind (next in her Newsflesh series), and Every Heart a Doorway; Mary Robinette Kowal's Ghost Talkers; and NK Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate (follow-up to The Fifth Season) all also come out in 2016. Get your pre-orders.
I like to track it, and so out of the 38 books listed above, 26 were written by women and 9 were written by people of color.
Incidentally, I do seek out books by women and people of color, so while I'm heartened that well over half of my reads are by women, I'm a bit dismayed by that 8 count. I should be able to do better than that when I'm actually, actively trying to.
Most of what I read is science fiction or fantasy, so it's worth taking special note of those books that fell outside that umbra: Outcasts United, I Am Malala, Rooms for Ghosts, The Noble Hustle, and Speak are all fantastic books you won't find on the usual shelf -- and all quite good enough to pull me away from my comfort zone.
And, lastly, I want to link out to this 5-star review for Terra Brigando's Rooms for Ghosts, from the San Francisco Book Review. You may remember how much I loved this book, and if you're just finding it here you may enjoy my interview with the author!