I’m a slow reader. When firing on all cylinders I can probably get through an average-sized novel in three weeks, but usually it takes me a month or more to finish a book. As such, looking over my list of books read in 2015 (thanks, Goodreads, for keeping track!), I was sad and ashamed that last year I read only seven books. I hope to do better in 2016.
But, some of the books I did plow through were great, and because I spent a few months last year whining about a certain vampire novel, I’d like to take a few sentences here to share my favorites of 2015.
The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
If you and I talked about good books recently, I probably shouted, “Have you read The Southern Reach Trilogy?” into your frightened face. And I’m not sorry. The Southern Reach Trilogy is good. Very good. And I just finished the last book today. I could tell you the entire plot of the three books: Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance, but that would ruin the weirdness of this story.
In broad terms, this is about a strange bit of land where strange things occur, and a government’s feeble attempts at understanding A) what happened there B) why did it happen and C) where did all the rabbits go?
Each book in the trilogy, which has now been collected in a single volume, has a different overall feeling. The first book is similar to the show Lost crossed with H.P. Lovecraft’s genre of Weird Fiction. The second book, to me anyway, reads like a Coen Brother’s film that mixes corporate/conspiratorial satire with rich paranoia. And the third book brings it all home by answering questions you didn’t even think to ask.
Some may criticize the books for being slow-paced, and that’s fair. But I loved the slow burn of these book. It might not be for everyone, but for those who are tired of the same old stories being told again and again, here is something new and weird.
Also, Alex Garland, the director who made the fascinating movie Ex-Machina, is directing the movie version of the first book. So…be cool and read the book first.
The Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
I read this in January of last year and it still haunts me. The story of a young man who copes with tragedy by creating a mail-order role playing game is a strange, dark mystery that slowly reveals itself. This isn’t a happy story, and after finishing it, you’ll probably need a hug and cup of tea. But it’s so beautifully written by Darnielle, who also fronts the lyrically masterful Mountain Goats band, that even when it’s sad and lonely, the book is a page-turner. Again, do not read this if you’re feeling sad.
And that’s all. Other books I read last year include Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which was interesting, and The Tenth of December by George Saunders because if you don’t read that, everyone calls you a stupid head. (I thought it was okay.) The other books I read in 2015 are rather forgettable.
Next up, I want to read The Phantom Tollbooth, because I’ve never read it. And I hope to get the Chronicles of Narnia blog started soon.
What were some of your favorite books from last year? Tell me in the non-existant comment section below!
This blog is brought to you by PowerPencils.com! Order a set of magic pencils and then order the world to cower at your throne!!!