Dec 30, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

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The year is nearly over, which means it’s time for another one of these posts — my ninth since starting this blog. 2015 was a very good reading year: I read fewer books than in previous years, and didn’t read at all for the longest stretch of time in probably a decade, but when the time came to narrow down my favourites I struggled more than I recall doing in recent years. I ended up with a longer list than usual (twenty fiction titles and ten non-fiction) just because I couldn’t bear to leave any of them out; if that’s not a sign of a great reading year then I don’t know what is.

2015 was a year of comics: I read a lot of them, discovered that I do enjoy superhero stories after all, and generally felt more excited about the medium than I had in ages. Books like Jem and the Holograms or Lumberjanes made me feel the way Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries did last year — they were restful and joyful and fun in ways that are interesting to examine, mostly because they take girls’ humanity for granted. I don’t want to say this makes them more than fun because I genuinely believe that fun is valuable in its own right, and that we should treasure whatever brings us joy. However, I do want to highlight how grateful I am for the possibility of finding uncomplicated enjoyment in stories — something that has always been more challenging than it should be if you’re anything other than a straight white man. The world of comics seems rife with this possibility at the moment. Also, so many of these were kind stories; stories that put forward fantasies of conflict-resolution that deviate from the default of recurring to violence (which has always been a fantasy we don’t necessarily recognise as such). Doreen Green’s approach with Galactus in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, for example, is a thing of beauty, and does something that has become increasingly important to me.

In 2015 I also read a lot of non-fiction that was absolutely crucial to my well-being. I read 22 non-fiction books — more than in 2014 but less than in previous years — and yet I couldn’t list fewer than ten favourites because all these books were important to me. If any theme emerges, I suppose it’s something like “gathering intellectual ammunition to fight the psychological onslaught of free-market capitalism”. I worry wording it like this sounds like posturing, but this is something I felt deeply all year, and which has genuinely affected my sense of myself and of my place in the world on a day to day basis. 2015 brought me hope in both a personal and political sense, and the words of these writers were a big part of the reason why.

Here’s my list — as before, they’re books I read this year and not necessarily just 2015 releases:


  • Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead: “I’d go so far as to describe Goodbye Stranger as the Gaudy Night of friendship books: it doesn’t just present functional, emotionally satisfying relationship as ready-made, but looks at them closely and examines the everyday decisions, the small acts of compassion, support and forgiveness, and the emotional labour that go into keeping them that way. I didn’t quite realise how much I needed a story like this in my life until I read it.”

  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman: A lot of my fellow Seraphina fans were disappointed in the follow-up, but to me it was the exact right story at the right time. I couldn’t have loved it more: “Reading Shadow Scale gave me the same feeling as reading The Goblin Emperor did last year: both are novels that examine complex and pertinent political ideas via incredibly rich secondary worlds, both have real darkness in them but nevertheless resist cynicism, and both were reminders of why I love genre. As the quote I opened with indicates, Shadow Scale is very much concerned with shifting categories, and with what resisting complex and flexible definitions of what it means to belong to a group can do to both individuals and societies.”

  • Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi: “Of course, the heartbreaking thing is that in the context of this novel, in the context of our world, and in the context of Mary’s life — she had a father who quizzed her daily on a folder full of newspaper clippings filled with violence against women — trust is almost too much to ask. Fear is an entirely appropriate response to a hostile environment, and this story never frames it as anything but. Being able to surmount that to the best of your ability, especially in a world filled with endemic gendered violence, is moving and miraculous. In this sense, Mr Fox does something I love, and which some of my all-time favourite novels do (from To the Lighthouse to The Brides of Rollrock Island): it look at how stereotypical gender roles can be an obstacle to real intimacy between people. Developing equal, trusting, and satisfying relationships requires work for many reasons, one of which is that it often requires you to undo layers upon layers of narratives that naturalise violence and fear.”

  • The Just City and The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton: “[This is] a novel of ideas where the characters feel like real people, and it’s one that’s very much concerned with the gap between idealism and the practical implications of living on a day to day basis with what seem to some like just principles in the abstract. However, it’s neither a cynical work nor one that’s defeatist or dismissive of the impulse to build a fairer society. The Just City turns out to be a horrifying place on many levels, but the novel addresses this with a willingness to ask honest and tough questions about what people who for the most part genuinely want to create a better world can get wrong, rather than by scoffing at the impulse altogether.”

  • About a Girl by Sarah McCarry: “In About a Girl, Tally loves Maddie, and that simple fact raises the amazing possibility that perhaps girls can be loved without always being required to give in or excise part of themselves. This is harder than it should be in a world that is what it is, but we desperately need stories that remind us that it can be done: that we get to be human and prickly and messy too without moving beyond the reach of emotional ties. Between this and Nimona, I declare 2015 an excellent year for stories about monstrous girls. May there be many more.”

  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson: “The world of Lumberjanes takes it for granted that girls and women are human beings, with all the complications and infinite variations inherent to that — a fact that shouldn’t be worthy of note, but still is in our cultural landscape. Again, the power in numbers principle applies: in a series with such a large cast of girls and woman, none of them has to carry the weight of representing their gender as a whole. Whatever they like, whatever they do, whatever they excel or fail at is allowed to belong to them alone.”

  • Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo:Mr Loverman does nuance right — it never uses it as a free pass, but it presents it as another layer that adds to our understanding. Barry, like so many human beings, contains multitudes, and this is a novel that does justice to them all. By the end I genuinely wished him well, and I appreciated that the story didn’t require me to minimise the hurt he caused others to do that. That’s the thing about equal rights: they’re not rewards for being an unfailingly good person but basic points of deparure. I never stopped wanting a safe world for Barry, even if I couldn’t always like him.”

  • The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett: “Tiffany Aching knows she has some big shoes to fill, and through the novel we watch her find her way with the help of the mentorship of remarkable women — of a whole community of women. Yet, crucially, it’s her own way that she has to find, rather than a way to emulate the two people who shaped her the most: Granny Aching and Granny Weatherwax. There isn’t a single path to living a good life, and here we watch Tiffany move closer to figuring out what her particular path might be. The Shepherd’s Crown is very much a reflection on what it means to live fully, which eventually settles on “leaving the world a little better than you found it”. It moves me to think it was written by a man who knew he was dying — I hope he knew that he did leave the world better, in so many ways.”

  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness:The Rest of Us Just Live Here is about the richness and complexity of the narratives happening at the edges of what we’re conditioned to give our attention to, be it high-stakes reality-collapsing scenarios or simply our own troubles and concerns. Everyone, we’re reminded, is the hero of their own story. The novel’s structure highlights this very noticeably, but there’s more to it than form: there’s the story Mike doesn’t see, for example, because he’s so wrapped up in his own. This oversight is all too human, but it has consequences for one of the most important emotional ties in his life. I’d say this alignment between theme and structure is cleverly done, but I worry that makes the novel sound sterile when in reality it is full of heart.”

  • Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa: “I found Fans of the Impossible Life very moving in ways I’m not sure I can properly articulate. Kate Scelsa’s writing is astonishing, and she fills her novel with hope: with the possibility of finding your way back to love across layers of hurt that do their best to isolate you. The hope and love which form the heart of this book are not facile — human connections are not shown to be an instant magical cure for whatever complications hit us. Still, there’s a power to them that makes them worth fighting for, and there’s nothing cheap about the solace that love and community can bring. I wanted that so much for Mira, Jeremy and Sebby, and the novel left me feeling that perhaps it was possible after all.”

  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: This book made for perfect comfort reading: it introduces us to a story and a world that were instantly familiar and yet also completely new in exciting ways, and to a cast of characters you root for from the very start, and whose every moment in each other’s company is a delight. Carry On is Rowell’s take on Simon and Baz’s story, which we were first introduced to in Fangirl, and it’s everything I wanted it to be and more: a romance, a novel full of friendship and humour and care, and a chosen one narrative that deftly interrogates its own premises. I loved it.

  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson:I’ll Give You the Sun is also about creativity and how it helps us construct meaning, about how our life stories contain infinite angles and accommodate multiple truths, and about how art can be a way to express them. I particularly appreciated that the twins’ mother was never demonised, even though that’s often the case for women who leave their marriages. She was a person with her own life, she loved her children, and she fell in love with another man. Much like One Crazy Summer, I’ll Give You the Sun gives her space to be a human being as well as a mother, it gives Noah and Jude space to be upset, and it acknowledges that situations where people get hurt don’t require a bad guy. Hearts are fragile and get bruised even when people do their best, but patience and love get us through the rough patches.”

  • Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia: “Rita Williams-Garcia’s three Gaither sisters novels are without doubt among the best historical children’s fiction I have ever read. Together they paint a thoughtful, generous and nuanced portrait of the years around the Civil Rights movement through the eyes of a smart, complicated girl.”

  • Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick et al: I’m cheating slightly here, as I read several of DeConnick’s Captain Marvel trade paperbacks this year and can’t really pick a favourite, but I trust that you’ll forgive me: “You see, Carol is my favourite (though it’s possible that this actually means Kelly Sue DeConnick is my favourite). The character moments in her stories are the most satisfying I’ve come across so far. I love the scene in Down when Carol is arranging to take her friend Tracy (who we know has cancer) to the doctor, but when she gets there we realise Tracy came along because Carol herself was asked to bring a family member for support. I love her relationship with Kit Renner, her six-year-old neighbour and Captain Marvel’s biggest fan. I love that one of her priorities is taking her cat Chewie for her annual check-up — and when everything explodes, to keep her safe. I love that there are so many women in Carol’s stories, and that her relationships with them matter.”

  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge: “I’d say that The Lie Tree is not like Hardinge’s other novels, but then again her other novels are not necessarily much like one another either — her versatility is one of the things I love about her work. Still, what struck me about The Lie Tree was first of all the fact that the fantastic elements are so subtle. They’re present, but this novel belongs more to a Victorian-Gothic-with-clear-social-subtext tradition which put me in mind of the likes of Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Secondly, of all of Hardinge’s novels to date it’s probably the one most overtly engaged with feminism, which needless to say I loved. The sensibility was always there in her work, but The Lie Tree tackles sexism head on.”

  • Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: “This is only one of the many ways in which Noelle Stevenson subverts dominant narratives in Nimona: the most central ones have of course to do with Nimona herself. First of all, there’s the fact that this story is very much about her. She introduces herself to Ballister as his sidekick, but, well, there’s an important hint in the comic’s title. The two go on to develop a respectful collaboration that doesn’t erase her, and as the story progresses we learn more about Nimona’s past. Although her relationship with Ballister is central to the story, Nimona’s life is never portrayed only in terms of how it affects him. His care for her gives heart to the narrative, but readers aren’t invited to emphatize with Nimona solely in light of this care.”

  • The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: This book had all the thoughtfulness and depth of feeling I’ve come to expect from Erin Bow. The Scorpion Rules is a science fiction story about a group of teenagers who have been held hostage by a powerful AI named Tallis all their lives, and who know they’ll die if their respective nations ever enter a war. It’s also a story about resisting abstraction and its dehumanising power: a lot of The Scorpion Rules is difficult to read, because it explores the physicality of torture in a way few books do; however, Greta’s pain isn’t presented as grit for its own sake. Instead, it’s a reminder that carelessness and cruelty and death hurt real human beings. Talis forgets; the story doesn't allow the reader to. Add to this the lovely, complex relationships between Greta and Da-Xia and Eli├ín and of course I fell hard for this novel.

  • A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle: The last novel I finished in 2015 couldn’t have been more perfect. Like I’ll Give You the Sun, it’s about love and death and making sense of life in the face of its transience; it’s a deeply felt novel that tackles the questions it asks with an openness that immediately won me over. Vicky Austin, the fifteen-year-old narrator, considers grief and joy and despair over the course of a summer when her beloved grandfather is dying of leukaemia, and when death seems to be everywhere she looks. I’ve loved A Wrinkle in Time for a long time and I really enjoyed The Young Unicorns when I read it last year, but A Ring of Endless Light is the first book that made me feel that L’Engle could become one of my favourite authors.

  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik: “Lastly, I want to say that I think Liz Bourke put it perfectly by saying that Uprooted is “a generous book, and a kind one” that “holds out hope both to its characters and to its readers even in its moments of horror”. Perhaps my recent craving for hope in my fiction and non-fiction leads me to see everywhere I look, but this seems to me another story that hints at a world where we can survive by looking after each other.”

  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby:Bone Gap was too vivid a reminder of experiences I haven’t felt ready to discuss in public, which made it hard to read at times — but this is also what makes it an amazing novel. It tackles sexism and objectification and rape culture head on, and it illuminates the continuity of abuse. Major incidents like Roza’s abduction and everyday episodes of harassment like the ones a younger Roza or Petey experience exist as part of a continuum, of a cycle where the acceptability of the latter makes the former all the more likely. There are layers and layers of assumptions and normalised cultural mores that make it possible for a man to believe that he can “make” Roza love him.”


  • The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison: This book meant a lot to me this year — it helped me articulate several thoughts about what I value in art, and about gender, and what I put out there in the world. It helped me make sense of the whole business of being a person alive in the world, which is one of the best things a piece of writing can do. “Jamison is interested in the limits of empathy as well as in its possibilities, and this is a central part of what gives her essays their depth. How do you continue to attempt understanding, even when you know that most of the time the end result will be imperfect at best, and that real human beings have been and continued to be hurt by faulty attempts? How do you make sure you truly hear others over the sound of your own anxiety about this? How do you resist dehumanisation, when everything about the world we live in encourages it?”

  • Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit: Another book that shaped my year profoundly: I read it in January and it kind of set the tone for the months to come. 2015 was very much about trying to put aside a sense of entrapment and hopelessness that is as personal as it is political, and I don’t think I could have done it without Solnit’s words. “[This book] is about how to keep despair at bay when the world seems to be changing at a much slower pace than we’d like; about the vulnerability inherent to hope and to opening ourselves up to the possibility of failure; about how not to lose heart when the things you pour your time and energy into don’t seem to amount to anything much. In short, it’s about questions close to my heart, which made it a necessary book for me at this point in time. It gave me hope in the way only books that are frank about how dire things can be ever really manage, because it feels like that hope is coming from an honest place.”

  • You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Howard Zinn: “I enjoy reading Zinn because he gives me hope. And crucially, the kind of hope his writing conveys is one that I can get behind. It’s not based on a Pollyannaish approach to the world, but on a clear-sighted understanding of how unfair it is, how rigged in favour of the few and against the many, how deeply out of balance. And yet, even as he acknowledges this, Zinn reminds us that we’re not powerless, even if thousands of factors conspire to make us feel that way. The hope he offers is not passive — it’s not about keeping our chins up and smiling through hard times until things just happen to get better, but about dragging the world towards greater equality in whatever ways are available to us.”

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Angela Davis says that “one obvious element of racism consists of the learned capacity to ignore individuality at the expense of the generic”, and this is an idea Between the World and Me returns to time and again. In his letter to his son about what it means to be a black man in America, Coates reminds us that the people hurt by racism are individuals; that the lives destroyed by slavery where each and every one of them irreplaceable; that nothing in the world could ever erase that enormous human cost; that this seems to be beyond imagining but we owe it to ourselves and to each other to imagine it. It’s a seemingly obvious thought, but it’s one the world has looked away from for too long. Everything about Between the World and Me is irreducibly human — from the story of Prince Jones, a young man Coates befriended in college and who was shot by the police, to the moment when a white woman pushes his four-year-old son as they’re leaving a screening of Howl’s Moving Castle and he realises his protective anger could endanger them both — and that’s what gives it its power.

  • Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness by Miya Tokumitsu: More on this one in January, probably, because I’m still thinking about it. Tokumitsu’s sharp, smart book is about “our myths about what motivates us to work”, and how they encourage people into a psychological place that just so happens to serve the interests of businesses, to discourage any sort of organised struggle for labour rights, and to leave workers vulnerable to exploitation. “When passion becomes the socially accepted motivation for working, talk of wages or reasonable scheduling becomes crass.” Tokumitsu exposes the pitfalls and disingenuousness of the “do what you love” ethos, and argues that we can and should be aiming for a world where human beings are allowed an identity beyond their usefulness to the labour market, and where work-life balance is not a thing of the past.

  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande:Being Mortal is a questioning book. It’s also both compassionate and intellectually humble: for all his specialised knowledge and practical experience, Gawande never writes as someone who has all the answers and can bypass people’s will to determine what’s best for them — in fact, this is a model he rejects outright. On the other hand, he also has complicated feelings about the model modern doctors tend to follow instead: one where they give patients information about alternative options and then leave them to make a decision. Information is crucial and it’s something patients and their families should have, but processing it in a highly emotionally charged situation is not always something human beings are able to do. This means they need openness and support, but this is difficult for doctors to provide when they don’t necessarily know how to confront mortality themselves.”

  • 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang: “Chang challenges the narrative of inevitability and destroys the illusion of “neutrality” about the contemporary world. Some of the ideas he addresses include the myth of the meritocracy (“We should reject the myth that we all get paid according to our individual worth, if we are to build a truly just society”), trickle-down economics, the “capitalist folklore” of the lone genius entrepreneur (“Even exceptional individuals like Edison and Gates have become what they have only because they were supported by a whole host of collective institutions”), and — perhaps my favourite section — the idea that material self-gain is the only reliable human motivator.”

  • Becoming Unbecoming by Una:Becoming Unbecoming is written with sensitivity, compassion, and insight. Una’s greatest strength is in joining the dots between the personal and the political: she makes links between systemic issues and individual experiences in a way that is both touchingly human and crucial to a political understanding of violence against women. I was particularly moved by the panel where Una explains how much lonelier and more hurtful her teenage years were because the feminist boom of the 70s didn’t reach her. “Becoming a woman”, she says, “is hard work made harder without a little f word.” Although my understanding of the kind of trauma Una describes is imperfect at best, the sentiment rang familiar all the same. So many of my teenage experiences would have been infinitely easier to navigate if only I had known that they were part of a pattern that stretches throughout history.”

  • The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills by David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu:The Body Economic was difficult to read. It’s a very useful book in the same way as Ha-Joon Chang’s, but it leaves no room for the distance of abstraction: it’s a constant reminder of what austerity means and what it costs. While there’s comfort to be found in the fact that history provides useful lessons, and in the knowledge that as the evidence mounts, more and more people will add their voice to the chorus demanding that we change course, the fact remains that in the past few years we have seen countless entirely avoidable deaths. There have been so many irreversible losses, so many people who paid with their lives, and even if the world were to start changing tomorrow nothing would bring them back.”

  • The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Davis: I’d never read Angela Davis until I picked up this collection of essays and speeches, and when I put it down I was in awe. The Meaning of Freedom tackles themes such as race inequality in the criminal justice system, justice for lgbtq communities, neoliberalism, economic justice, democracy and social change, and much more. Davis is one of the most impressive structural thinkers I’ve ever come across, pointing out the links between different forms of injustice and always going for solutions that don’t leave anyone behind. I know I’ll be reading a lot more of her work in 2016.

    Honourable mentions: Greenglass House, The Darkest Part of the Forest, Rat Queens, The Crossover, Get in Trouble, The People in the Trees, Binny in Secret, Persona, Jem and the Holograms, Of Sorrow and Such, Deep Secret, The Lola Quartet, Sorcerer to the Crown, Bitch Planet, Phoebe and her Unicorn, Infandous, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.


    As per usual, I’ll start with a disclaimer about my stats: my reading spreadsheet fills me with nerdy joy, and over the years it has proved a very useful tool when it comes to making sure my reading is taking me where I want it to take me, and correcting my course when it turns out it’s not. There’s nothing like instant feedback to encourage deliberation. I’m less thrilled about the fact that numbers seem to inevitably open the door to comparisons, though: reading is not a competitive sport, and the only numbers I measure myself up against are my own from previous years. This isn’t so I can beat any sort of previous reading record, but because I’m interested in how the pattern of my reading fluctuates over time and is influenced by the circumstances of my life.

    As I put it previously, “I absolutely don’t buy into the idea that numbers say anything at all about how committed a reader you are, or about your other hobbies, or the state of your social life. If you enjoy reading, you’re a reader. There’s no secret club you’re initiated into once you cross a certain numeric threshold, and there’s no magic balance that makes your reading healthy as opposed to dangerously reclusive. All this to say: numbers are fun, but only if we don’t take them more seriously than they merit.”

    Here they go — as always, the categories don’t add up to 100% because several of them overlap:

    Total books read: 150 (9% down from last year, which is understandable considering there was a period of five weeks during which I didn’t read a single page. Not that I’m complaining — I loved those five weeks.)
    Novels: 69 (46%)
    Short Story Collections and Anthologies: 3 (2%)
    Comics aka Graphic Novels: 59 (39%)
    Non-Fiction: 22 (15%)
    Poetry: 1 (0.3%)
    By Women: 103 (69% — I’ll be fine with this for as long as the world continues not to be a level playing field.)
    By Men: 34 (23%)
    By Men and Women: 13 (8%)
    By People of Colour: 46 (31% — Better than in previous years, still room for improvement.)
    By lgbtq authors: 20 (13% — Likewise.)
    By new to me authors (fiction only): 25 (19%)
    From my TBR pile: 45 (30%)
    E-books: 28 (19%)
    Library Books: 40 (27%)
    New Releases: 64 (43%)
    Favourite writers discovered this year: Jandy Nelson, Noelle Stevenson, and Leslie Jamison.
    Least favourite book of the year: Probably The Sculptor by Scott McCloud.
    Best reading month: March (19 books)
    Worst reading month: October (5 books)

    What about you? What was your reading year like?

    1. So many amazing books! 2015 really was a great year for reading even though I didn't read many recent books and I only started reading a lot and blogging again mid year.
      Yay for Angela Davis, I have this one still to read, you definitely need to read everything else by her, she's so fantastic :)
      I love all the amazing comics, too, things are looking up! I just wish it was easier to get access to them, but I guess I'll just have to buy some single issues.
      I read a good amount of poc lit this year, but will do the poc challenge for 2016 to support this and dammit I just love that we get to be main characters, too. Did horrible on reading more queer lit, that's a thing I'll be working on.
      Have a wonderful start to the new year, Ana! :)

      1. I've been resisting buying single issues, but I splurged on so many TBPs last year. And I know the same will happen again - so much great stuff coming. It's a good time to be alive \o/

    2. There is definitely a theme to your reading this year! I would say most of my non-fiction reads were around race in America, and how we have approached it through history. Actually, that has been where my non-fiction reads have gone for a few years now. I think I just keep trying to understand how we got to where we are now, and how we can move forward from here. I don't know what the answer is.

      I definitely plan to read Solnit in 2016 - I hadn't heard of this book by her, but I do like the premise.

      Congrats on a great reading year and here's hoping for another in 2016!

      1. I think a lot of my reading is about engaging with questions anyway even if I can't see an answer, and not turning away from them. That probably sounds insufferable and pretentious, but I trust that you know what I mean :P Anyway, I get so many great non-fiction recs from you. Thank you for that.

    3. Aw you didn't like The Sculptor? That was one of my favorites, even though it was excessively cynical.

      1. Yeah, it was a bit that, and also the fact that it hit on so many story patterns that have started to bother me commutatively. It's not each individual but the pattern that grates. I could see how it was a beautiful book in many ways, but it caught me at a bad time.

    4. I haven't summed up my reading year yet. Still finishing the last book. I loved what you said in a couple places about how changes in one's life affect the amount of reading done. I have been visiting my favorite blogs over the past days reading the bloggers reading year posts. It may be that there is no secret club for voracious readers but it is a wonderful club to belong to, so rich and so much understanding about what reading means to us. IRL, people razz me about how much I read and that gets old sometimes. Thanks for your year in review, for your thoughtful reviews, and for being someone who wants to make a difference. My year end post will go live hopefully on New Year's Day.

      1. It *is* wonderful! It's honestly hard to imagine my life without the reading community I've found online. Happy New Year, and thank you so much for the kind words <3

    5. Oh, you never wrote about the Sculptor! I know you generally prefer to write about books you loved, but I'd be super interested to hear your thoughts about The Sculptor anyway. I don't think I ever did a review of it? IIRC I was having a hard time pinning down what I thought of it.

      Of course I added most of these books to my TBR spreadsheet when you initially reviewed them, but I'm tossing the Ha-Joon Chang book on there as well now. I shall learn about economics! Plus I am always wanting to read more nonfiction by authors of color.


        It was mostly that I also felt my thoughts were only half-formed and I didn't have the energy to work through them, plus attempting to do so was kind of getting me down. It's just... to me it was too close to your usual "lady dies; man Learns Something and Creates Great Art" narrative, even though there are a couple of things that are different (I mean, I know he dies too). If I read it generously I can see how it tries to engage with those dynamics, but to me it didn't really succeed. Also, I was uneasy about the pregnancy storyline and how it was presented as something that healed Meg. IDK, maybe this is unfair and it's been long enough that I can't remember enough details to back it up properly, but it made me uncomfortable at the time.

        Ha-Joon Chang is an awesome writer and I'm excited for you to read him! My reading about economics last year affected me in a similar way as first starting to read about feminism a decade ago. I know that's a pretty huge thing to say, but it's actually true.

    6. I am pleased to see you had a great reading year in 2015 - you have read a seriously impressive amount and in varying forms. My reading was up a little this year but not quite to my highest level. Happy reading in 2016 :-)

    7. A most excellent reading year! I must thank you for all the wonderful comics and graphic novels you introduced me to this year. I suspect it will continue into next year as Nimona is waiting for me to pick up at the library and Squirrel Girl should be my turn in a few weeks :)

      Happy New Year!

      1. Hooray! I hope you enjoy them both. The second volume of Squirrel Girl is on its way to me at the moment - I can't wait.

    8. What a great reading year! I was happy to finally read some non-fiction and hope that trend continues this year. Here's to fabulous books in 2016!

      1. Thank you, Iliana! Happy 2016 to you too, reading-wise and in general.

    9. We overlapped a little bit. Great group of books.

      1. It was such a great year. I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us.

    10. Looks like you had a fantastic reading year! I absolutely love Kelly Sue DeConnick's work. Her Captain Marvel is so fantastic. I really need to catch-up on that one. I got a little behind.

      Lumberjanes was a lot of fun and another one I need to catch-up on. I've only read the first collection so far.

      I keep seeing fabulous things about Uprooted and The Rest of Us Just Live here. I'm definitely going to have to check those two out soon. I hope you have a wonderful 2016!

      1. I caught up over the holidays and it was so great. Many tears at the end of Vol 3. Happy 2016 to you too, and happy reading!

    11. Wow, you had a fabulous year. <3

      I had a good one as well, but I do want to make 2016 the first year that I actually track these things and generate stats.

      1. I find that they're very useful for self-correcting I'm not necessarily very good at telling how I'm doing at a glance, but thankfully I can rely on my trusty nerdy spreadsheet. Happy reading in 2016, friend <3

    12. Feliz Ano Novo Ana! Great list and one I'll definitely use to increase the wish-list. Confession: I'm afraid to pick up Shadow Scale because I read so many bad reviews, but yours gives me hope (hopefully I'll a similar one for Go Set A Watchman...). My vary late book blogger Secret Santa just sent me Uprooted and I'm really looking forward to it.


    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.