Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reading in Review

I was inspired by William Michaelian's blog post where he goes through all of the books he read in 2015. William read a metric ton of books this last year and it seems to be the year of Sir Walter Scott.

So, I wanted to develop my own list as a look back at what I read and enjoyed this year. I will give you what I rated each book as, but if you would like to see more in-depth reviews you can check out my reviews on Goodreads. I may do a little commentary about some titles, but not all of them. Here goes...

Redeployment, by Phil Kay: 3 out of 5 stars.

The Martian, by Andy Weir: 5 out of 5 stars. I do need to pause for a moment on The Martian because when I reviewed it I stated that it was the best book I read in 2015. When I wrote that it was like two or three days into 2015. I started this book in 2014 and only finished it in 2015, but looking over my list I might still go with that. Only one other book would be contending for that claim, but I might just like The Martian better.

Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: 4 stars.

Rat Queens, Vol 1: 2 stars.

East of West, Vol 1: 5 stars.

East of West, Vol 2: 4 stars.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte: 5 stars. I read this book as I was teaching it to my AP Literature and Composition class. I adored this book. I was skeptical if it would serve my purposes, and/or if the students would enjoy it, but it did both. I was surprised to see how many of my students dove into this lengthy novel and got wrapped up with this soap opera of a story.

The Walking Dead, Vol 6: 4 stars.

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan: 5 stars. This is a fantastic example of what can be accomplished in the comic book genre.

Maus, Vol 1, by Art Spiegelman: 5 stars.

Habibi, by Craig Thompson: 3 stars.

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb: 3 stars.

Bayou, Vol 1: 5 stars.

I Remember Beirut, by Zeina Abirached: 2 stars.

A Dance with Dragons, by George R. R. Martin: 3 stars. I have been reading one novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series every summer for about four years. So, this is my last one, until Martin writes another book. A bitter sweet moment when I finished this novel, not only because this one was not as good as some of the previous books.

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe: 3 stars.

Armada, by Ernest Cline: 3 stars. Such a disappointment.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling: 3 stars. I listened to this book on a road trip with my family. I have read this book before and watched the movie, but we plugged this in to listen because my son was interested. This has launched him into a journey of reading all of the Harry Potter books and I am excited for him. He seems to be enjoying the novels. I don't really care for them myself, but I am glad that Rowling wrote them, so developing readers have something exciting to latch on to and love.

The Dinosaur Lords, by Victor Milan: 3 stars. I really wanted this novel to be better than it was.

Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk: 5 stars. Loved it. This would be the book that might be the contender for The Martian. I wrote about this novel at length on my literature

Star Wars: Aftermath, by Chuch Wendig: 2 stars.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder: 3 stars.

I read 22 books in total and I had challenged myself to read 12. I have in the past challenged myself to read 24, but I am glad I didn't do that again this year. I prefer to be able to just enjoy what I am reading and read a leisurely pace. I read a lot of graphic novels this year, more than I have in the past couple of years. But, as I reflect, I also read a lot of mediocre stuff. A lot of just average books. That is a pity. I like to try new things, or read things I have seen, but it seems to me that a lot of the stuff I consume is just meh. I do feel like running my literature blog has pushed me towards reading more academic works. You can see that I start to read more "literature" in the second half of the year. I read a bunch of graphic novels during summer break though.

You also can see a cool info-graphic of my year in reading on Goodreads--Link.

Next year, I would like to continue to read more "literature," as well as return to me roots and read a lot more fantasy and science fiction.


Joseph Hutchison said...

A fine list, Scott, though for the life of me I don't know how you get through 2-star books! If I can't find pleasure in the first 50 pages, I'm done....

Don't get rid of your Things Fall Apart. I began it two or three times over many years before it suddenly caught me up and unfolded its tragic revelations. I think you have to be over 40...!

Mr. Allen said...

Things Fall Apart was assigned this year as the summer reading assignment for my AP Literature and Composition students. It served its purpose in that way wonderfully. It is simple enough that these burgeoning literature students can make it though the book and can come on day one ready to discuss. I feel like there must be other classics of African literature that are better than Things Fall Apart though. I just need to search them out.

When I'm reading a book that eventually gets two stars, my problem is that I keep telling myself that it will get better. Star Wars: Aftermath was like that. "This has to get better soon...right? RIGHT?" And then they don't, and then before you know it, I've finished the book and I am disappointed. I need to be better about dropping books.