It’s once again that time of the year when I look back on the books I read during the previous year. I had more reading time in 2015 than in years past because I was traveling the world with my family. Such an adventure allows for a lot of time to read. In some cases it also dictated the kind of books I’d read. I tried to read a book about the country we were visiting while we in that country. This didn’t always work out exactly, but I did at least start (if not finish) a given country-specific book while we were visiting there. So, without further preamble …

… Books I Read in 2015

Books read in 2015
  • Heart of Darkness // Robert Conrad — I read this while we were in Vietnam. We wouldn’t be visiting the Belgian Congo, but since Apocalypse Now was based on the plot of this book, it seemed like an appropriate time.
  • The Blade Itself // Joe Abercrombie — I’d heard how good this was, brutal and violent fantasy. It’s not as brutal and violent as people led me to believe, but it was still a good read. I was annoyed that it didn’t end though — like so many trilogies, it leaves a lot of loose ends dangling.
  • Laundry Man // Jake Needham — An entertaining crime thriller that provided a good bit of insight into Thai culture.
  • Bangkok 8 // John Burdett — Another insightful Thai crime thriller.
  • The Way Into Chaos // Harry Connolly — I’d read that Connolly wanted to write a fantasy novel without the boring parts, and this book took off fast and kept going … until it got to some boring parts. And again, the trilogy problem.
  • Confessions of a D-List Supervillian // Jim Bernheimer — Solid super-powered fiction.
  • Honor Among Thieves // James S.A. Corey — A Star Wars* novel starring Han Solo and Chewbacca by the gents who write The Expanse series. Good thing I wrote this down, because I don’t remember a thing about the book.
Books read in 2015 / 2
  • Tears in Rain // Rosa Montero — A futuristic mystery featuring synthetic humans set in a world where Blade Runner exists as both fiction and fact, which made this story a little jarring. But overall, enjoyable.
  • The Jungle Book // Rudyard Kipling — I’d never read this before, at least not the whole thing and certainly not the original.
  • Around the World in 80 Days // Jules Verne — I felt it was important to read this, considering the scope of our adventure. I was really interested to learn that Phileas T. Fogg never traveled by hot air balloon.
  • The Assassin and the Pirate Lord // Sarah J. Maas — The less said about this the better. Mercifully, it was short.
  • Meta // Tom Reynolds — Another delving into the superpowered fiction genre, this one skewed a bit younger than D-List.
  • Hard Times in Dragon City // Matt Forbeck — This book answers that age old question … What happen if this orc had a shotgun? Soon to be a role playing game called Shotguns & Sorcery (I reviewed the successful Kickstarter campaign on GeekDad).
  • The Remaining // D. J. Molles — Zombies take over the world. Humans fight for survival with moderate success.
Books read in 2015, 3
  • The Thief // Megan Whalen Turner — The series title completely gave the plot of this away.
  • The Magicians // Lev Grossman — It took me a long time to read this book becasuse I kept putting it down. I just couldn’t work up to caring about these characters. But I always came back to it, largely because Grossman’s writing is very engaging.
  • The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ // Philip Pullman — A provocative title, certainly, and an interesting book with a great controversy-stirring set-up. A good read, though the resolution fell a bit short for me.
  • Treasure Island: A Zombie Novella // Philip Tomasso — Since I’d finally read Treasure Island (in 2014), I couldn’t pass this one up, and I’m glad I didn’t — it was a lot of fun.
  • The Name of the Wind // Patrick Rothfuss — I enjoyed this, although I’m not sure why. The main character’s ability to be amazing at everything he does gets eye-rollingly tiring, but the big picture story piqued my interest enough to keep reading.
  • The Apocalypse: The Undead World // Peter Meredith — Zombies take over the world. Humans fight for survival with moderate success. Yes, I was on a bit of a zombie fiction kick this year.
  • The Prague Cemetery // Umberto Eco — I felt it was important to read this before visiting the actual Prague Cemetery.
Some of the books I read in 2015.
  • Two Necromancers, a Bureaucrat, and an Elf // L.G. Estrella — Who doesn’t love necromancers? It was short and inexpensive, so I gave it a shot. It was funny, although perhaps a bit too goofy for my taste.
  • The Wise Man’s Fear // Patrick Rothfuss — I was compelled to read the second volume in this series. Well written, but the eye-rolling continues as we watch the main character always win, even when he loses. This guy can do anything!
  • Lying // Sam Harris — A Kindle single about the importance of being honest.
  • Trilisk: Ruins // Michael McCloskey — I was looking for some hard sci-fi, but this didn’t do it for me.
  • The Way of Kings // Brandon Sanderson — It took some time for me to get into this one. It’s a dense book and about 2/3 of it is set-up, but once he gets rolling, it’s a great ride.
  • Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes // Jonathan Auxier — A curious tale of a young, blind master thief and an epic, mysterious quest. Oh, and he’s got a collection of fantastic eyes in a bag.
  • The Monstrumologist // Rick Yancey — A young adult novel written within a style (especially the dialogue) hearkening back to early 20th century horror tales — maybe even earlier. Very chewy, but it’s unlikely I’ll be reading any others in the series.
Some of the books I read in 2015.
  • Half a King // Joe Abercrombie — Young adult fantasy novel from the author who wrote The Blade Itself.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora // Scott Lynch — A fantasy caper novel with fantastic worldbuilding and strong characters.
  • Paintwork // Tim Maughan — People were calling it the newest entry in cyberpunk, and it definitely has that vibe. The title story was good, but “Havana Augmented” was the real gem for me.
  • The Golden Compass // Philip Pullman — Another novel I’d never read before. Although I knew the story, still a delight to read because of Pullman’s prose.
  • Choose Yourself // James Altucher — I always enjoy Altuchers writing, and this is an excellent and inspiring “go be an entrepreneur” book.
  • An Accidental Adventure: We Are Not Eaten by Yaks // C. Lloyd Alexander — After an adventure around the world, a good way to keep the adventure going is by reading books. And this book has one big adventure undertaken by very reluctant adventurers.
  • The Magician King // Lev Grossman — I didn’t love The Magicians and wasn’t going to read this one, but something about Grossman’s writing kept me turning the pages despite my disdain for almost every character.
Some of the books I read in 2015.
  • Killing Pretty // Richard Kadrey — Sandman Slim always delivers.
  • Eyes Full of Empty // Jérémie Guez — The Frenchest French noir. Great stuff.
  • Enchantress // James Maxwell — Another one I picked up to scratch the fantasy fiction itch. Good story, decent worldbuilding, but, again, the trilogy conundrum (although less so than some of the others I’d read this year).
  • Station Eleven // Emily St. John Mandel — I was unsure about this one, and I kept putting it down during the first few chapters. But I kept going back to it and the story really took off. My favorite book of the year.
  • Caliban’s War // James S.A. Corey — I put off reading this for more than a year and now I’m not sure why — it’s well done and mightily entertaining.
  • The Night Gardener // Jonathan Auxier — Another YA title from Auxier. Not as spooky as I’d hoped, but he crafts interesting characters.
  • Daughters // Nathan Walpow — Back when I published crime fiction, Nathan was one of the gents I published. I’m glad to see he’s still writing.
Some of the books I read in 2015.
  • Electrograd: Rusted Blood // Warren Ellis — A short future noir. It felt like a smaller piece to a larger work.
  • What It Was // George Pelecanos — I bought this many years ago and finally got around to reading it. I burned through this in a day. I really like how Pelecanos tells a story.
  • Rulers of India: Lord Clive // G.B. Malleson — Published in 1893, this book relates the history of one of Britain’s most notorious and controversial sons. Often credited for securing England’s colonial foray into India.
  • Saga v4 // Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — Now that we were back in the U.S., I had to catch up on Saga.
  • Saga v5 // Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — as above.
  • The Private Eye // Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin — Okay, so I was on a Brian K. Vaughan kick. I didn’t read this online (it was originally released as an online serial), even though I’d wanted to. So I was glad to see it was released as a hardcover. Great story with some fantastic and inventive ideas about the future. A good book to end 2015 with.

As I unpack all the books I stored before our trip, I’m finding a lot of titles I either haven’t read or want to re-read (in addition to the new books I’m looking forward to), so 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for reading — although I’m not sure I’ll hit 48 books. But I won’t know for sure until I try. See you next year!

 

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Written by Tom Fassbender

An amateur hobbyist, expert generalist, and outdoor enthusiast who recently traveled around the world with his family.

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