Monday, January 4, 2016

UPDATE: 2015 IN REVIEW

INTRODUCTION


2015 was a busy year for me in all regards. It saw the publishing of my debut novel, Digitarum, the birth of my Goodreads account, the start of my 2015 reading challenge for getting 20 books read, the inception of this very blog and the general renewal for my passion for literature (fiction in all forms really). Perhaps what I am most excited about is my new vigor for reading. I've enjoyed being a Goodreads user immensely and it has been great fun to run this blog. I've had a lot of other things going on to be thankful for like becoming a part of the indie author community, getting a fancy new day job that has been treating me far better than I could have ever asked for, and killing off one of my student loans.

Now that 2016 is upon us, I look forward to what I hope will be an even better year of reading and writing, and life in general. Time is something that always seems to be in short supply in life, but I'm very happy to have found such fantastic ways of spending it. I'll have another post to address how things will move forward with this blog during the new year, but for now, I will just look back on my 2015 year in reading which is brought to us by some of the nifty tools that Goodreads provides to users.

READING SNAPSHOT:



It would be an understatement to say that I am pleased with the amount that I was able to read in 2015. Sure it doesn't hold a candle to what some do, but for a guy that was only reading when classes demanded it, this is a big step forward. It's really neat to see my reading year broken down by the shortest and longest pieces of fiction I read as well as the average page count per book, but I wanted to look into this step forward and break up my 2015 reads into some more specific categories. Note that these categories are mainly just based off of how I have decided to classify each work that I have read.

Novels:  20

Short Fiction:  5

Graphic Novels:  11

Professional Development:  1

Interactive Fiction:  1


It's not a terrible lineup of book types by any stretch. I've tried a number of new genres and discovered that I really like Graphic Novels a great deal when they are done well. I also sampled my first piece of Interactive Fiction and found it that to be great fun as well. In 2016, I'll be looking to try even more new things and expand my reading count in all of these categories.

SOME OTHER COOL STATS:




FAVORITE BOOKS READ IN 2015:

Now for the fun part! Here is a list of all of my favorite books read this year. Effectively the criteria for this is whether or not the book received 5/5 stars from me and they are as follows:

NOVELS:

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games Book 1)
Suzanne Collins
My reread of the beginning to this epic trilogy was every bit as good as my first time through it. While distinctively YA in style, the more adult subject matter made this a memorable tragic tale that continues to hold a special place in my heart.



Catching Fire (The Hunger Games Book 2)
Suzanne Collins
Few sequels manage to outdo their predecessors, but that's just what Collins' follow up to the original did. It is by far my favorite in the trilogy both in book and film renditions of the story because of how it seamlessly takes elements from the first installment and uses them to set up the events of it's third and final book in as exciting and tragic a narrative as one could hope for.


Mockingjay (The Hunger Games Book 3)
Suzanne Collins
Goodbyes are hard, especially when they are farewells to a beloved series. In Mockingjay I felt the full weight of the story's dark conclusion. It's the perfect example that happy endings don't come without their price and was one of the most worthy conclusions that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.



Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)
Jay Kristoff
A bit of an experiment for me in that I don't generally gravitate towards steampunk literature. But this novel blew me away at every turn. Each page aches with somber emotion and dazzles you with lush imagery. Between it's moments of heartfelt sadness and dazzling action, this is one of the most satisfying books I have read all year.



Klubbe the Turkle and the Golden Star Coracle
Phillip Dodd
Not every book is packed with deep meaning or prolific thought, some are just fun. Such was the case with this little indie gem that I would recommend to anyone who simply wants a book to make them happy in a silly, somewhat childish way.



GRAPHIC NOVELS:

Injustice: Gods Among Us Volume 2
Tom Taylor
While the first volume in this series (inspired by one of my favorite fighting video games) was good, the second surpasses it in every way. It's brimming with heartbreaking depictions of  a civil war between Earth's most cherished heroes. Surprising turns and brutal climaxes lurk around every corner making this an absolutely thrilling graphic novel from start to finish.



Aquaman Volume 1: The Trench
Geoff Johns
The only first volume of a comic to make my list of favorites, Aquaman surprised me in every possible way. It's characters were compellingly conflicted, it's artwork beautifully done, and the story riveting from start to finish. In the sea of mediocrity that I found to be The New 52, this title stood out as a rare pearl.
Review (4th review down)



The Immortal Iron Fist Volume 2: the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven
Ed Brubaker
Loaned to me by a friend, I started in on the first volume in this series and thought it was quite good, but had a bit of a rocky start, which seems to be a common trend so far with super-hero themed graphic novels. But the second installment was absolutely fantastic and before it was even halfway over, I was completely sold on this character and the series in general.
Review (2nd review down)



SHORT FICTION:

Sixth of the Dusk
Brandon Sanderson
I'd never read any Sanderson before, but heard a lot of good things. In spite of that, I wasn't convinced that I should jump right into one of his large novels, so I tried out a novella and was extremely surprised by just how much I could enjoy such a short work of fiction. It's not particularly exceptional in any one way, but the cohesive package is mind-blowingly good.
Review



I sincerely hope that 2015 was as good to you as it was to me and here's to 2016 being even better!

As one last note before ending this post, I would also like to plug that the Kindle Edition of my novel, Digitarum, will be free tomorrow, January 5th through Wednesday, January 6th on Amazon.



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