2015 has come and gone, which means it is time for me to name my favorite books from this year. Did you read any of these and enjoy them? Do you see something you want to try?
Nonfiction: This spot is secured by Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Montgomery unfolds the story of her experiences forging a bond with the octopuses at the New England and her research into these highly intelligent and unique creatures. Montgomery’s passion for her subject and her ability to blend research and personal narrative made this an engaging and thought-provoking read. (Honorable Mentions: Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Snyder), Finding Reliable Information Online (Stebbins), and Redefining Realness (Mock) )
Literary Fiction: This year, my favorite literary fiction pick is Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Station Eleven follows a traveling performing troupe as they traverse a world recovering from the destruction wrought by a virulent flu. I was captivated by Mandel’s writing style and her ability to mix present and past events to create an emotional and engaging story. This is a good one if you are in the mood for a post-apocalyptic story, but you don’t want a dystopian novel. (Honorable Mention: The Buried Giant (Ishiguro))
Science Fiction/Fantasy: As usual, this was a hard category–there were a lot of really interesting reads this year. The winner for this category is Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormonant. The story–which follows a brilliant young woman who will sacrifice everything to free her home island from conquerors–explores so much (identity, race, and colonialism, to name a few) in a gripping story of political games and betrayals. Don’t miss this one. (Honorable Mentions: Stormlight Archive (Sanderson), Autumn Republic (McClellan) and The Fifth Season (Jemisin) )
Graphic Novels: This was another tough category this year. I’m going to have to name Julian Voloj’s Ghetto Brother as one of my favorites; Voloj presents a compelling story about Bronx gangs who band together to promote peace in their community. I also enjoyed C. and R. Gage’s Lion of Rora (which follows Waldensian Joshua Janavel as he leads a rebellion against his community’s oppressors) and Noelle Stevenson’s two fun and engaging stories–Lumberjanes (a group of girls attend a camp with supernatural themes), and Nimona (“evil” mad scientist and a wild shapeshifter shake things up in a corrupt kingdom ). (Honorable Mentions: N/A–I had too many top favorites this year).
Young Adult: Marie Lu’s The Rose Society secures this spot. The sequel to Lu’s Young Elites delivers a compelling story of a young woman’s descent into evil as she pursues her vengeance. This story dragged me in, and, once I finished it, I immediately wanted the final book in the trilogy (which, alas, I have to wait for). (Honorable Mentions: The Winner’s Crime (Rutkoski), Shadowshaper (Older), and Made You Up (Zappia) )
That’s a wrap, folks. I wish you all the best (and, of course, good reading material!) for 2016!