Monday, January 04, 2016

Books Read: December 2015

The beginning of a new month brings with it the opportunity to look back at the month gone by and to give one last glance at what I most recently read. The below listed books are what I read during the month of December. Let's see how I closed out the year, shall we?

1. Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie
2. Dear Mr. You, by Mary Louise Parker
3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
4. Fool's Quest, by Robin Hobb
5. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
6. Gemini Cell, by Myke Cole
7. Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds
8. Extremes, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
9. The Wheel of Time Companion, by Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, Maria Simons

Best Book of the Month: I am so happy all of the hype over Uprooted was justified, because after 7+ months of folks talking about it, I was nervous. Uprooted is so good, people. It plays with fairy tale tropes, while feeling both like a fairy tale and a novel for adults.

Disappointment of the Month: The Wheel of Time Companion had such an opportunity to be something truly special for fans of The Wheel of Time, and after The World of Ice and Fire last year showing how to make a high quality fantasy "guide / compendium", I think our expectations were high. Turns out that this is a very comprehensive encyclopedia, but it contains very little that was not already included in the books themselves. I would have preferred and expected some glimpses into the future (what happened with Mat in Seanchan, what about Elayne and Aviendha and their children?). This was dry and frequently dull.

Discovery of the Month: If I hadn't read Uprooted this month, The Fifth Season would have easily been my #1 book and even here, it's so damn close. The Fifth Season was a revelation and I was surprised each time one of the three storylines finally merged with others.

Worth Noting: Slow Bullets. Reynolds has written an excellent novella. One worth remembering at awards time.

Gender Breakdown: I'm not sure how to quantify The Wheel of Time Companion but I am categorizing it as male authored since Robert Jordan's name is first on the cover (though there is an even split of credited authors).So, with that, 6 of the 9 books I read in December were written by women. This brings my final total to 75 out of 128, or 58.59% of the books I read in 2015 were female authored. I'll have a lot more to say about this in a future article,  but suffice it to say for now that my goal was achieved. Hurrah.

Previous Months:


Kendall said...

I'm confused; so you read The Fifth Season this month? It's not in your list (or your count of 6/9 books by women), but you say it's close to being your discovery of the month. ???

I just got Uprooted in the mail recently, but I liked the sample a lot. I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing!

Joe said...

Good catch.

I finished The Fifth Season on Jan 1, so even though I read 90% of the book in December, I only count the month finished.

But - I think when I drafted that up, I expected to finish the book on the 31st and then would just add it to the list.

Kendall said...

Ah! Makes sense, thanks.