Best of 2015 – My Favorite Books

The year is officially over and – WOW – 2015 was an excellent year for science fiction and fantasy readers! I didn’t get to read half the new publications that I planned because there is just so much awesomeness this year. The Tor.com novella line-up was (and continues to be) wonderful, and I need to catch up on the ones that slipped through my fingers this year. In addition, a bunch of already established and well-beloved authors published new stuff this year – some of them more than one thing, because they rock.

I did read a lot of new publications as well as some older works, and all things considered, it was a brilliant reading year. Only a handful of books were really bad, most of them were good or great. And quite a few were instant favorites. So without further ado, here are my top ten(-ish) books of the year.

Top Ten Books Published in 2015

  1. Catherynne M. Valente – Radiance
  2. Naomi Novik – Uprooted
  3. Catherynne M. Valente – Speak Easy
  4. Nnedi Okorafor – Binti
  5. Paul Cornell – Witches of Lychford
  6. V. E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic
  7. Maggie Stiefvater – Blue Lily, Lily Blue
  8. Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
  9. Nalo Hopkinson – Falling in Love With Hominids
  10. Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Saga Volume 5 (not reviewed because as the series advances it becomes harder to do so without spoilers)

Top Ten Books Published Earlier

  1. Emily St. John Mandel – Station Eleven
  2. Alaya Dawn Johnson – The Summer Prince
  3. Laura Ruby – Bone Gap
  4. Kerascoet – Jolies ténèbres (Beautiful Darkness)
  5. Angela Slatter – Sourdough and Other Stories
  6. Angela Slatter – The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings
  7. Theodora Goss – In the Forest of Forgetting
  8. Karin Lowachee – Warchild
  9. Brandon Sanderson – The Mistborn Trilogy
  10. Shirley Jackson – We Have Always Lived in the Castle

…and all the other stuff that made me happy in 2015

I got new book cases! Yay! Because my boyfriend is the best, he not only got me two huge book cases for Christmas but also a number of books to fill them with. Here, have some pictures (photography is not a talent of mine…):

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The Tor.com novellas

I’ve mentioned them already, but I really love that Tor.com publishes novellas now. Not only that, but they publish mostly excellent novellas. I’ve recently started reading more short fiction (I have several collections in my top ten), but novellas are a weird length that I wasn’t very interested in. But slap some gorgeous covers on them, pick a great premise, and I’m sold. They are also wonderfully quick reads for when you don’t have time or energy for a big epic fantasy novel.

Graphic Audio

This is my audiobook discovery of the year. I stumbled across this format when looking for an audiobook for Brandon Sanderson’s first Mistborn novel and ended up buying all three volumes and devouring them in no time at all. The people at Graphic Audio make audiobooks but they’re really more “a movie in your mind” – that tagline doesn’t lie, you really feel totally immersed when listening to these things. There is music, there are sound effects, every character is voiced by a different actor (who are excellent!) and the narrator for the Mistborn books was brilliant as well.

I’ve listened to some samples of other books that interest me and not all of them speak to me as much as Mistborn did. The narrator is still the most important voice for the book and if you don’t click with him/her, that can ruin the experience. But I am always on the lookout for new audiobooks by Graphic Audio. Maybe they’ll fulfill my wish of adapting the newer Mistborn books as well… pretty please.

The Hugo Awards Spreadsheet

Renay has been doing this for a while but this year – due to last year’s troll – the sheet was read-only for a long time. It’s been opened up to edits from the public again and the fact that everything is still listed there makes me happy. Fandom can behave, after all.

This spreadsheet is equal parts blessing and curse. Because it gives me a chance to scream into the world all the wonderful stuff I think deserves nominations, it’s great. It also points me in the direction of great new fiction, movies, comic books, and other stuff – however… there is a LOT of it. My wishlist always explodes around the end of the year anyways and the Hugo recommendations don’t exactly help.

Looking forward to 2016

Next year doesn’t have it easy, trying to keep up with 2015, but there are a lot of books coming out that I’m excited about. Two of my very favorite book series will end (The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and The Fairyland Series by Catherynne M. Valente), some fantastic writers will publish new stuff, Scott Lynch may give us the next Locke Lamora book (PLEASE!!!), and there are plenty more reading challenges to look forward to. Plus, I’m nominating and voting in the Hugo Awards again and I have some seriously favorite favorites that I’d love to see get a rocket.

In addition to all the bookish goodness, real life also holds a treat or two in store for me. I’m going to London and will drink some butterbeer as I ride my Firebolt to catch the snitch, with my wand stuck in my Gryffindor uniform pocket. Yes, dear people of the internt, I’m going to do the whole Harry Potter Experience thing and I can’t stop giggling with excitement.

Happy New Year, everyone!

finn and jake silly

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Best of 2015 – My Favorite Books

  1. DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape) says:

    I read the Mistborn trilogy this year too and I thought it was one the best trilogies I’ve ever read. And I HAVE to read Station Eleven. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read qvreview for that book and felt like I missed out on something great :/ I’m heading to an event for Emily St. John Mandel in January so I fully intend on picking it up then and getting it signed!

    Also, I loved the bookshelf slideshow 🙂

    Like

  2. Jenny @ Reading the End says:

    Aaaaa I can’t wait for the Raven Cycle to end! I mean, I want it to go on forever, but since that can’t happen and it wouldn’t be good for the story if it did, I cannot WAIT to finally have the last book in my grubby little hands. I anticipate that my heart will be substantially broken.

    Like

    • Dina says:

      I feel exactly the same. I want it, then I don’t want it, then I hope for more sequels or prequels or short stories about the Raven Boys… but I’ll take whatever Maggie Stiefvater will give us.

      Like

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