Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015: Year in Review

In my 2014 "Year in Review," I noted that I'd soon be returning to work after my maternity leave. And I quickly realized that while I could have a baby and continue reading, I couldn't have a baby, work and read. Now my evenings (once baby is in bed) consist of cleaning, grading, and lesson planning. So in 2014 I read very little, and it's something I've certainly missed. But, now that the year is coming to a close, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on the books I did manage to complete.

Books read in 2015:
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Wolf in a White Van by John Darnielle
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I also partially completed Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel (somehow I just didn't have the staying power for short story collections).

So I read eight books (I think--I wasn't good at keeping a list as I went along, so it's possible I forgot one). Fortunately they were all books I enjoyed (this was also a year where I had no patience for books that didn't grab my attention; I started and put down several others).

My favorite was probably Grashopper Jungle, followed by Station Eleven. Grasshopper Jungle is a weird, "edgy" YA/sci-fi mashup that's mostly about Austin's uncertainty over his feelings for his best (male) friend but is also about giant grasshoppers attacking and the end of the world. As an adult now far-removed from the teenage world, I was happily surprised to see the novel's very frank approach to sexuality (books have come a long way from Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret).

Station Eleven was a nice take of the apocalypse/dystopia genre that brought together diverse characters in a satisfying way. Wolf in White Van was mysterious, weird, and a little scary--about the pointlessness and idiotic purposefulness with which we sometimes make life-changing decisions.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot I liked when I was reading but liked less once I finished. I don't normally go for the "big" term-heavy sci-fi, but Ancillary Justice was enjoyable nonetheless.

I've written reviews of the last two since they're fresh enough in my head.

I'm guessing 2016 won't be much different, but it is nice to take a little time to read--and write--again. :)

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