Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 5 Reads of 2015

I started using Goodreads in July, which has allowed me to actually keep track of what I am reading. Since July 1, I have read 71 books. Here are five of my favorites from the year. (Well, the last half. I don’t remember what I read in the first half!)

The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
These are the first two books of a YA fantasy trilogy. Book three (The Winner’s Kiss) is due in March.

I do not usually like fantasy. For me, all the blah-blah that goes into world-building is wasted text that puts me into a coma. I get lost in the endless stream of odd names for people and places. Once we do get to story, I have a hard time following it, probably because I don’t know who the people are or where they are.

I did not have this problem with Kestrel’s story. Her story clearly does not take place in my world, but the world and people who populate it have enough touches of the familiar that it was never a struggle for me to stay invested in the story.

It doesn’t hurt that the story is just good. Kestrel is torn between obligations to her family, obligations to her country, and obligations to her heart.

On Writing by Stephen King
I have read this book before. I’m sure I will read it again.

This is not a how-to-write manual. This is the musings of one man about writing and his relationship with it.

Every time I read this book, it reconnects me with that pulsing drive to put words on the page. Sometimes that pulse gets buried, drowned out by the world around me. It’s nice to have a book that can sweep all the debris away.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I blazed through this story in less than 24 hours.

The writing is witty and sharp. The characters are bent, borderline broken. I loved them all.

This is a story that has the power to draw you in, plunk you down in France (even if you have never been there), and take your heart for a ride.

I loved the book already. Then I found out it was born in NaNoWriMo, which made me love it even more!

The Only Woman in the Room by Eileen Pollack
Possibly my favorite non-fiction read of the year.

I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to this book, so I won’t say a lot here. This book challenged my perceptions of myself and the world around me.

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