Monday, March 7, 2016

In Which I Talk Books (part one)

So I read about 80 books last year, and each year I like to do a post of my top 5 or so favorite books. Not that I haven't read more than 5 amazing books, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

Last year, though, I read a ton of 2016 arcs. So I'm splitting this post into two: one post today about my favorite books of 2015 that are already out, and one post next week about my favorite 2016 debut arcs that I've read (and that's also not all that accurate because there are plenty of 2016 debuts I haven't had a chance yet, so this list is subject to change)

But anyway, here my top 5 non-2016-debut books I read last year (in no particular order)

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - A.S. King

I'm a big A.S. King fan, so I was super excited to read this book. And it did not disappoint. About a girl (Glory) who drinks a mummified bat (yep) and then is able to see the futures of any individual people she comes across. Which is disconcerting enough until she starts to see a pattern of a future world war coming her way.
Glory's story is fantastic, but even if there was no Glory, the secondary story about the world war is also amazing. I read this book in one sitting. I could not put it down

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

I absolutely LOVE Scorpio Races, so when I'd been hearing good things about this series, it didn't take much persuasion for me to pick it up. And since I was behind, 3 of the 4 books in the series were already out!
This series is hard to explain but it's about a girl who lives with her card reading, hippie psychic mother and aunsts and the 4 prep-school boys she befriends when she has a premonition about the death of one of them. There's an overall mystery across all three books, the supposed death of Gansey, and whether or not they'll be able to find the body of a celtic king, but each book also has it's own mysteries that are solved or not. I can't wait to read the last book in a few weeks.

Bone Gap - Laura Ruby

Caveat - I know Laura, she was one of my advisors for my MFA. But even if I didn't know her, or work with her, I would still love this book so much. It fully deserves it Printz award and I still wish it had won the National Book award, but that's neither here nor there.
Bone gap is about two brothers and a beautiful polish girl who comes to stay with them. But when she disappears, and the youngest brother is the only witness to her supposed kidnapping,  no one believes him because he can't describe the man who took her.
So he has to find her on his own. And along the way there are magical horses, and bees and honey, and ugly girls who are actually beautiful and beautiful girls who are kind and so much magic. Everyone should read this book. I can't wait to read it again when I have time.

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

This was a book that came my way via my sister, who got it via a co-worker who thought she'd like it. And then my mom read it. And my brother. And most of my writing group. And everyone loved it as much as I did.
Bird Box is a horror novel, about monsters (or something) that have appeared in the world. And anyone who looks at them go mad and kill everyone around them and then themselves. The story fouces on a single woman and has two timelines, the story of how everything starts, and a story of 5-6 years later, of what it's like having to live in a house, and never, ever, open your eyes outside.
It's so creepy, and the pacing is rapid fast so you cannot put it down. Highly recommend if you like creepy horror with mysteries that may or may not be solved.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic - David Quammen

I read a bit of non-fiction last year, and I look forward to reading more this year. This NF book not only beat out all the others, it beat out a lot of the fiction I read as well.
Spillover is an account of zoonotic diseases that led to pandemics (or could have had things gone differently) From Ebola, to Hanta to Aids, it's a fantastic accounting of the diseases that have come before, and a look at what we positively face us in the future. It's frightening and fascinating. Would recommend for people who like the movies Outbreak and Contagion or The Hot Zone

What were some of your favorite books you read last year?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cool you know Laura. Bet it added to the book when you read it.

M.J. Fifield said...

I love A.S. King's books. I haven't read this one yet, but it's coming up in my TBR list.

And I LOVE Maggie Stiefvater. I can't wait for the next Raven Boys book.

I haven't read the others on your list, but I'm now adding them to mine. Thanks for the suggestions!

mshatch said...

This is a great list. I want to read Bone Gap badly and I've just started reading the second book in the Raven Boys series. Spillover looks like something I'd want for research purposes...

Rena said...

I love seeing lists like these and I'm excited to see your list of ARCs!

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