Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Top 5 Reads of 2015

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If you guys don't know this about me by now: being a day late and a dollar short is one of my trademarks. I procrastinate, I brood, and I work to deadlines. I have come to embrace this part of me and hope that you all can learn to feel the same. And all of this is to say that I will hold out on an idea until I am good and ready to produce it.

With that fluff out of the way, here are my top five reads of 2015!

5. A Dance with Dragons – George R. R. Martin 2/25/15

I read this back in February, and I couldn't not put ADWD on this list. GRRM has become one of my favorite authors, and I love his A Song of Ice and Fire series. Despite that love, there isn't much for me to say about this novel other than it is the most recent installment of the aforementioned series. I like that characters are finally moving around Earthos, and I like several characters' plot arcs. Other than that: I am, like every other fan, ready for the next book. To bide my time until then, I am going to start rereading the series and doing blog posts on what I think. C'est la vie.

4. "Flight of the Crow Boys" – Micah Dean Hicks 04/08/15

I love Micah Dean Hicks's work, especially his collection entitled Electricity and Other Dreams (read my review of it here). "Flight of the Crow Boys" is dark and moving, and reminded me of much of Hicks's other work in that I could relate to it on an emotional and experience-based level. I was teaching at the time I read this, and I must say: it was awe-inspiring to be standing outside in the frigid April air after PARCC testing, and watch as students grew silent and came to hear what I was reading out loud. We finished the story up in my classroom, after which we searched for other dark and gloomy tales. Hicks won the Italo Calvino Prize for this story, and I think he well deserved it.

3. "Ponies" – Kij Johnson 05/11/15

I searched for Kij Johnson's work because I was thinking about applying the the University of Kansas's MFA program and wanted background knowledge of who the professors are and how they write. I still think about "Ponies" from time to time as being one of the most memorable commentaries on childhood that I have ever read.

2. Bitch Planet – Kelly Sue DeConnick/Valentine De Landro 12/21/15

I am slowly getting into graphic novels, and Bitch Planet is the marriage of topics and issues very close to my heart: Feminism, satire, science fiction, and mid-century adverts all bundled into one. It is a great social commentary on slut shaming, gender issues, government control, and body perception. I am eager to get my hands on more of DeConnick and De Landro's work.

1. Wolfskin – Juliet Marillier 12/17/15

Juliet Marillier is a beloved author from my middle and high school days, and I must say: I fall deeper in love with her writing style each and every time I read one of her books. Her ability to tell a story is unparalleled by anything I have ever read. On top of that, she is an interesting person.

As you all know, I am an aspiring author still honing her craft, but I must be honest: I hope that I am able to one day write with such depth of feeling, such imagery, and such respect for nature and the form of story as Marillier. Read my post on Wolfskin here.

Here are all of the novels, short stories, and graphic novels that I read in 2015.

Hush – Donna Jo Napoli 1/17/15
The Black Swan – Mercedes Lackey 1/19/15
Reserved for the Cat – Mercedes Lackey 02/06/15
A Dance with Dragons – George R. R. Martin 2/25/15
The Gates of Sleep – Mercedes Lackey 3/09/15
Plague of Angels – John Patrick Kennedy 3/29/15
Near Enemy – Adam Sternbergh 04/11/15
Cell – Stephen King 05/23/15
The Girl in the Road – Monica Byrne 05/31/15
The Diviners – Libba Bray 06/21/15
Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris 06/29/15
Living Dead in Dallas – Charlaine Harris 06/30/14
Club Dead – Charlaine Harris 07/01/15
Dead to the World – Charlaine Harris 07/01/15
Dead as a Doornail – Charlaine Harris 07/07/15
Definitely Dead – Charlaine Harris 07/10/15
The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen 08/16/15
Ruins – Dan Wells 09/06/15
Storm Rising – Mercedes Lackey 09/20/15
All Together Dead – Charlaine Harris 10/05/15
From Dead to Worse – Charlaine Harris 10/09/15
Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris 10/11/15
Graveyard Shift – Angela Roquet 10/13/15
Dead in the Family – Charlaine Harris 10/16/15
Witch Song – Amber Argyle 10/18/15
Dead Reckoning – Charlaine Harris 10/20/15
Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris 10/23/15
Dead Ever After – Charlaine Harris 10/25/15
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 11/05/15
Wolfskin – Juliet Marillier 12/17/15

Short Stories
"Flight of the Crow Boys" – Micah Dean Hicks 04/08/15
"Harrision Bergeron" – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 05/07/15
"Meathouse Man" – George R.R. Martin 05/10/15
"Spar" – Kij Johnson 05/11/15
"Ponies" – Kij Johnson 05/11/15
"All Summer in a Day" – Ray Bradbury 05/12/15
"Dia Chjermen's Tale: The Delmoni Atrocity" – Kij Johnson 05/23/15
"The Memory Lights" – K. M. Weiland 08/05/15
"The Way Life Was Forever" – Carey Corp 09/15/15
"In the Lost Lands" – George R. R. Martin 12/07/15

Graphic Novels
The Walking Dead, Volume 1: Days Gone Bye – Robert Kirkman/Tony Moore 1/3-11/15
The Walking Dead, Volume 2: Miles Behind Us – Robert Kirkman/Charlie Adlard 1/3-11/15
The Walking Dead, Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars – Robert Kirkman/Charlie Adlard 1/3-11/15
The Walking Dead, Volume 4: The Heart's Desire – Robert Kirkman/Charlie Adlard 1/3-11/15
The Walking Dead, Volume 5: The Best Defense – Robert Kirkman/Charlie Adlard 1/3-11/15
The Walking Dead, Volume 6: This Sorrowful Life – Robert Kirkman/Charlie Adlard 1/3-11/15
Bitch Planet – Kelly Sue DeConnick/Valentine De Landro 12/21/15

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