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Christopher T. Ogden

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31 Dec 2015
Books Read in 2015

This year I had a goal of 50 books, and that’s exactly how many I finished. I met my goal with a day to spare. Average length was over 500 pages, which is also an improvement upon last year (and I only read 33 books in 2014).

Notes

My favorite books remain The Name of the Wind and it’s sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. I reread these this year and they were still great. Talk to me about them and I might show up at your doorstep to force a copy into your hands if you haven’t read them already. Seriously.

Hild was splendidly magical despite being plausible historical fiction. Nicola Griffith is an amazing writer.

Red Rising and Golden Son were my favorite new books this year (I’ve got my calendar marked for the release of book three and plan to spend it in a marathon read). Like the Hunger Games but with far more depth and excitement, believe it or not.

Also recommended: The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which blends themes of war, revenge, betrayal, and high finance into a rapidly paced tale of a pseudo-historical medieval nation’s upheaval. Six of Crows, a good heist fantasy. And all the Guy Gavriel Kay novels, especially the quasi-historical fantasy. And Jo Walton’s The Just City, in which Athene sets up an experimental “Platonic city” out of worshippers who prayed for the chance to live out Plato’s ideals and young slaves who will form the first generation of the ideal citizen. An interesting conceit and well executed.

Any (all) of Tamora Pierce’s books are great for young women who like fantasy in the slightest. But young men should read them too. Lots of great young heroines. Refreshingly feminist and sex positive (while still suitable for young readers).

Of these 50 books, 49 were fiction and 1 was non-fiction. Next year I want to read 50 novels and at least 10 non-fiction works (computer science texts mainly).

The Complete List

  1. A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3), by George R.R. Martin - It got a bit hairy two thirds through, but Arya makes it out alive which is what matters the most. Finished January 4th.
  2. Dragon’s Milk, by Susan Fletcher - a quick read as it’s really a young adult novel. Read it with a sense of nostalgia for simpler times (childhood). Not that I wasn’t reading dense and gritty thousand page novels then as well. January 10th.
  3. A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) wasn’t as good as the previous books in the series, but hopefully sets the scene for more good stories to come. January 29th.
  4. Hild, by Nicola Griffith - It was really good. The language is kinda magical and the story is rather rhythmic as the seasons progress. Quite different. I enjoyed how it reads like fantasy, but there’s no real magic, just plenty of imagination and cleverness. I heard there might be a sequel. Looking forward to it. February 5th.
  5. Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay - Kinda fun. Wasn’t expecting the connection to a previous series, so that was neat. February 10th.
  6. Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1), by Pierce Brown - Lauren Turner recommended this to me and it was great. Very suspenseful and quite dark. February 20th.
  7. Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, #2), by Pierce Brown - Had to get this as soon as I finished book 1 and just as good. Can’t wait for the final installment. February 23rd.
  8. The Causal Angel, by Hannu Rajaniemi - A bit of a letdown after book two in the series. Good, but a disappointing ending. March 1st.
  9. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, by Eliezer Yudkowsky - I got bored near the end, but it was pretty fun and frequently hilarious at the start and that kept me going. Ridiculous, but in a good way. March 14th.
  10. Sailing to Sarantium (The Sarantine Mosaic, #1), by Guy Gavriel Kay - Somewhat mystical, large scope, intelligent and appealing characters. A mosaicist gets caught up in some worldchanging events. March 21st.
  11. Lord of Emperorors (The Sarantine Mosaic, #2), by Guy Gavriel Kay - Just as good as book 1. Kay continues to delight (Which of his books shall I read next?). April 2nd.
  12. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume #1, by Diana Wynne Jones - Fun stories of the most powerful enchanter among all the worlds, who is tasked with keeping other magic users in line. April 21st.
  13. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume #2, by Diana Wynne Jones - In volume two we get another two fabulous stories filled with magical ne’er-do-wells and the sometimes comically austere Chrestomanci. April 24th.
  14. Clariel, by Garth Nix - A prequel to the other Abhorsen books, but only by about 900 years… This was my favorite of the bunch, and the author’s note at the end tells me I’ve missed another and that a new release is coming. April 26th.
  15. The Manual, Volume 4 - Another great collection of essays in a series dedicated to deepening the field of web design. May 10th.
  16. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett - A funny tale of a swindler turned postmaster (per threats of execution for his crimes). Quite fun. May 18th.
  17. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss - My favorite book. Just rereading it for the 3rd or 4th time.
  18. The Escapement, by K.J. Parker - a sound denouement to the epic Engineer Trilogy. June 2nd.
  19. A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5), by George R.R. Martin - These books are losing their luster, though it probably isn’t any worse than the previous installments. I do get tired of the wanton violence and the poor storytelling. Martin certainly is no poet. June 19th.
  20. The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss - Sequel to my favorite book of all time and just as good. Rereading this one while awaiting book three. July 7th.
  21. The Paper Magician, by Charlie Holmberg - Decent beginning but the middle to end dragged on. July 12th.
  22. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik - It was okay, but not great. July 17th.
  23. The Just City, by Jo Walton - Not too exciting a plot, but I loved it nonetheless. Athene sets up the “Platonic city” out of worshippers who prayed for the chance to live out Plato’s ideals and young slaves. An interesting conceit and well executed. July 29.
  24. The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett - First in the Tiffany Aching series, about a young witch protecting her homeland from invading monsters from another world. Lots of fun. July 20th.
  25. Making Money, by Terry Pratchett - Sequel to Going Postal. August 16th.
  26. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman - dark and strange, and with rats. Somehow still palatable. August 18th.
  27. Half a King, by Joe Abercrombie - August 21st.
  28. Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay - A tremendous tale. August 24th.
  29. A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett - The second Tiffany Aching book, just as good as the first. August 30th.
  30. The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay - Another great Kay novel. September 10th.
  31. Wild Magic (The Immortals, #1), by Tamora Pierce - Rereading some childhood favorites. September 11th.
  32. Wolf-Speaker (The Immortals, #2), by Tamora Pierce - Can’t put these down. September 12th.
  33. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume #3, by Diana Wynne Jones - A bit dreary, yet fun. September 16th.
  34. Emperor Mage (The Immortals, #3), by Tamora Pierce. September 16th.
  35. The Realms of the Gods (The Immortals, #4), by Tamora Pierce. September 22nd.
  36. Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1), by Tamora Pierce. September 24th.
  37. Bloodhound (Beka Cooper, #2), by Tamora Pierce. September 28th.
  38. Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #2), by Tamora Pierce. October 2nd.
  39. The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson. A truly gut-wrenching ending. A bit unusual as it focuses on how a nation is overcome through high finance, rather than battle (though there’s a lot of that too). October 6th.
  40. Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey. Book one of The Expanse series. Got exciting at the end, but then it was over. Can the follow up meet the mark? October 23rd.
  41. Winter Smith, by Terry Pratchett. Another fun Tiffany Aching book from the Discworld series. October 26th.
  42. The Emperor’s Blades, by Brian Staveley. Not so great fantasy. November 2nd.
  43. The Player of Games, by Iain M. Banks. The first Culture novel I’ve read. Had an interesting topic (I’m a sucker for books featuring all encompassing board games), but fails to excite in its execution. November 4th.
  44. Luck in the Shadows, by Lynn Flewelling. First book of the Nightrunner series. Some good ol’ fashioned fantasy with refreshingly modern social mores. Quite fun. November 10th.
  45. Stalking Darkness, by Lynn Flewelling. Follow up to the previous read. Just as good. November 18th.
  46. Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder. Not as good as hoped, but still fun. November 30th.
  47. Traitor’s Moon, by Lynn Flewelling. Another good installment of the Nightrunner series. December 2nd.
  48. Trickster’s Choice, by Tamora Pierce. An old favorite. December 13th.
  49. Magic Study, by Maria V. Snyder. An okay followup to Poison Study. December 16th.
  50. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo. A good heist fantasy. A bit dark, but lots of fun. December 30th.