There are some really great books coming out this year, and I can’t wait to read them. Continue reading
Let’s be honest, 2017 has been far from my best reading year, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find some new favorites. It does feel odd writing about my favorite books with half a month left to the year, however. So, even though this is called top ten Tuesday, I will be sharing my top five picks of the year instead.
No promises, but given how much more free time I will have for the rest of this month than I’ve had for the rest of the year, how much I’ve anticipated the books I plan to read next, and the fact that I finished one of the books on this list yesterday, I suspect there will be a part 2 with five more books to come.
I was planning to make a top ten list, but was having too much trouble narrowing it down in a way that didn’t make just about every book fall into a particular category written by a particular author. Instead I will be listing my favorite in each category.
Note that this is a list of favorite books I read in 2015. Not all were published in 2015.
Young Adult Fantasy
In the end I chose Six of Crows because it has so many different elements that were well executed as discussed in my review.
Words of Radiance is the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series which is part of the Cosmere, which is the larger fictional universe in which Sanderson’s adult fantasy novels take place.
I read just about all of Sanderson’s currently published Cosmere works this year, and I am now a huge fan. It was hard to chose only one, but this is my favorite Cosmere book so far.
I would not, however, recommend readers start with Words of Radiance, not just because its the second book in a series, but also because it’s hard to get through books in the Stormlight Archive for readers not used to long books. Starting with Mistborn: The Final Empire or Warbreaker might make Sanderson’s work easier to get into.
I have not yet reviewed Words of Radiance, but I have reviewed the first book, The Way of Kings.
Middle Grade Fantasy
I have always loved books about dragons, and look for novels with nonhuman narrators. For these reasons, this book written from the perspective of a young dragon was almost exactly what I was looking for.
If I had read this book while I was part of the intended age group it would probably have become one of my favorite books ever. As it was, I still enjoyed it enough to make it my favorite for this category, and I plan to continue with this series.
Young Adult Sci-Fi
Choosing a favorite for this category was hard. In the end I chose Illuminae in spite of the fact that I had a little trouble getting used to the formatting at the beginning because the second half makes up for the first. I have not yet written a review, but hope to soon.
Middle Grade Sci-Fi
This book is in the hazy area between YA and MG, but for the purpose of this list I will consider it middle grade. This book was very thought provoking, and I think it would be a great novel for discussion in a book club or classroom. It’s also the only book I’ve read set in Mexico, even if it is called something else in this novel.
This book is unlike anything else I’ve read. So different that I haven’t been able to compose my thoughts into a review. It’s hard to adjust to the disjointed way the story is told at first, but once I adjusted this book was heartbreaking and thought provoking.
I’ll admit that I don’t enjoy classics as much as some people seem to, but I really enjoyed reading and learning about the symbolism involved in this one. The fact that a large canvas painting/picture of myself I’d forgotten about arrived soon after I’d finished was a coincidence that finalized making this one of my favorite classics.
This book was shocking for me because I had no idea any of what it discussed was taking place in the medical community. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores the ethical questions of who owns body parts after they have been removed for medical reasons though the true story of Henrietta Lacks and her decedents.
For those who don’t know this year banned books week was from September 27 to October 3. I thought it would be the perfect way to end banned books week by making a list of my favorite banned/challenged books.
To read more about banned books week please visit the American Library Association’s website. All of the books I have chosen appear on either the list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 or Frequently Challenged or Banned Young Adult Fiction 2014-2015.
Note: I have not read all or even most of the books on these lists.
In no particular order I’ve chosen the five books off these lists I enjoyed reading the most:
Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Commentary: It’s been a while since I read this, so I don’t remember much in the way of specifics, but banning this book seems rather ridiculous to me. The only thing I can think might upset people is maybe the dystopian like society run by “IT” or the use of fortunetelling.
Title: The Harry Potter Series
Commentary: I have met people who are convinced that mentions of witchcraft, vampires, werewolves, etc. are against their religion and would not allow their children to view material related to these topics. That said, I think trying to ban the entire fantasy genre would not only be next to impossible, but also cause much heartbreak.
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and the one that made me fall in love with books in the first place. If I had not been allowed to read fantasy growing up I don’t think that I would love reading nearly as much as I do today. I don’t love Harry Potter nearly as much as most people seem to, but I did really like it and see how it has had a huge positive impact on many people’s lives.
Commentary: Overall I really enjoyed this biography told in graphic novel form. I don’t often finish biographies when I start them, but I read this one over the span of two days. That said, my least favorite part was when main character went to Europe and (highlight the rest of the line to reveal spoilers) starts using drugs. That made me lose some of my respect of her for a while, but later when she started putting her life back together I regained it.
The reason the book is banned/challenged probably has a lot to do with the usage of what I mentioned in the spoiler section. The other reason probably has a lot to do with the fact that it is set primarily in Iran, and a lot of people probably just hear “Iran” and become paranoid about it “indoctrinating their children with Muslim ideals” or something like that.
Title: The Giver
Commentary: This was the book that essentially introduced me to the dystopian genre. It helped begin a trend in my reading that became so excessive that I ended up needing to stop reading dystopian completely for years because I was so tired of it after reading so many. I’ve only very recently started to lift my self-imposed ban on the genre from my reading choices. Although I did “ban” myself from reading dystopian novels for a time, I think a self-conscious choice not to read books about a certain topic is very different from from someone/something other than myself determining I should not read a book.
I suppose this novel does have a subtle religious and political agenda, but I don’t fully understand why people want to ban it. I view it as more of a conversation starter than a book that actually directly manipulates people.
Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Commentary: The only reason I can think of anyone would want to ban this book is to avoid discussions of race, and I don’t think that is a good reason at all considering this book’s message is pro-equal rights.