Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015 (from The Broke and the Bookish )
2015 was a really good year for me in terms of great books, new and old. Which is good, because in nearly every other way my 2015 was a big pile of suck.
Since I don’t usually read a lot of front list titles in a given year, I’m going with books that are new to me rather than just new in 2015. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing all of these, but I’ve linked to the reviews of any that I have done. I always struggle the most with reviewing books I really, really like, so I guess I’m not surprised I haven’t written anything about half of these. These titles also seem to repeat on many of my lists of “best” books, so sorry if it’s old news.
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. I love Felicia Day (and not just because some really, really nice people have told me I look like her), but I was a little skeptical as to whether her voice could carry a whole book. It totally can! Her writing is very much a reflection of her personality (as I understand it through her work): enthusiastic, honest, and self-deprecating. And all of the inside-baseball on her career is fascinating.
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. One of the most refreshing comics I’ve read in a long time. Not only is Kamala Khan not like your typical female superhero, but her family is legitimately involved in her life, not just a device to make things more complicated when the story needs it. I’ve only read the first two trade volumes, but I plan on sticking with it.
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick. This is a gut-punch comic book. If you care about feminism, or just like to see kick-ass ladies, well, kicking ass, this is the place. Review: Bitch Planet
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. This is the book that made me a Cheryl Strayed fan. Her advice is so sharp, and her writing so beautiful, and she knows exactly how to tackle the big questions without being the least bit preachy. Review: Tiny Beautiful Things
On the Origin of Superheroes by Chris Gavaler. This book goes beyond comic book superhero origin stories- it goes waaaay back to discover the literary and historical seeds that were planted to allow superheroes to exist at all. And Gavaler has a very fun way of approaching the subject, so don’t let the fact that it comes from an academic press fool you into thinking it’s boring.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. It would be very easy for me to include this and Lumberjanes on the same list, but if I have to choose just one Noelle Stevenson project for my list, I have to go with Nimona. It is a much deeper and more emotional story than it first appears, and I loved it.
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe. This is my favorite comic series right now, hands down. It has all of the things I want most: a cast of ladies that are both tough and complicated, D&D flavor with lots of humor, sly anachronisms, complicated backstories, diverse romance, the list goes on. Review: Vol. 1: Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery Vol. 2: Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth
Searching for Jane Austen by Emily Auerbach. A second book from an academic press makes my list (which isn’t surprising, I actually really love academic books). This one tackles one of my favorite hobbyhorse topics: the true nature of Jane Austen and her writing vs. what her family and the culture at large have cultivated about her. It’s sharp, well-researched, and not afraid to shake up the lit crit status quo.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. This book. What can I say about this book? It is amazing. It covers a huge range of topics, including race in entertainment and academia, the joys of Scrabble, cultural criticism, and, of course, feminism- both of the personal and larger social variety. If you have ever felt that your love of a problematic film, book, TV show, etc. somehow made you unable to declare yourself a feminist, you should read this. Review: Bad Feminist
Uprooted by Naomi Novik. One of the first books I read this year, and the first I’d ever read by Novik. I think what I loved best was that it used well-worn fantasy tropes to its advantage rather than just recycling them, and also focused more on female friendship and less on heroism and romance. Review: Uprooted