Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Reading Year 2015

Apparently I became too busy to review every book I read after summer (or just couldn't find the inspiration?). All I can say as an excuse is that I had a really great semester school-wise and ballet-wise. I also tried new things the university sport services offer and completely fell in love with combat (which isn't going to be available next semester... *cries*). Of course I wish reading and writing didn't have to suffer for it but it's evident I read 34 books less than last year and wrote... well it's harder to count since I did so much editing before this semester but I only wrote around 30 000 words of fiction this fall. And almost all of it during one weekend. Oh well.

I meant to continue reviewing books anyway, so now that the year is done I thought I'd just wrap it up with TOP 12 of 2015 (because I couldn't narrow it down to 10) in no particular order and including comics.

Musta Kuu (Black Moon)
Mia Vänskä

Why: Because it's horror where the horror isn't the point. It's just very good character driven fiction were everything is wrapped together with a horror string. You never know where the line between psychological and magical is, you can't be sure if it's people's traumas and personal problems or unnatural powers from the outside that cause everything.

Recommended if:
  • You'd like to read more horror but it's usually too plot driven for you
  • You like to explore and understand characters' personal problems
  • Horror-wise, you aren't afraid of a little bit of kitch
  • The atmosphere makes the horror for you, more than action does
  • (You can read Finnish ^^')

Not recommended if:
  • You need a complicated mystery in horror
  • You can't stand angsty characters
  • The Red Head cliché sends the book flying to the wall

The Book of Flying
Keith Miller

Why: Because its fairy tale -ish style inspired me to write some fairy tale inspired short stories I'd been thinking of for a while. The story itself was entertaining and had memorable moments, but what I really fell in love with was the writing style. It's like music. Definitely the kind of writing you forget consists of words at all.

Recommended if:
  • You love fairy tales
  • You like to have a lot of room for interpretation

Not recommended if:
  • Poetic style puts you off
  • You hate the episodic adventure structure

The Golem and the Djinni
Helene Wecker

Why: I loved the slow pace of the novel, I never wanted it to end. The way every side character's story was given enough time was great, it made even infodump work, everything was a pleasure to read. Still, the best part was the Golem and the Djinni's journeys in learning the human ways, down to every little detail.

Recommended if:
  • You love to wander in a book's world
  • You love to drown into many different characters' inner worlds
  • You generally like stories where something that is ordinary to you is seen, in detail, through the eyes of someone who is unfamiliar with it

Not recommended if:
  • You don't like the past to be revealed to you in flashback, bit by bit
  • You often think ”get on with the plot!” when you read

Kuroko no Basket
Fujimaki Tadatoshi

Why: The games. The characters. Because both are great and neither is compromized because they're essentially one. Because it's hard to find a story where everything, characters, plot, drama, comedy, seriousness and ridiculousness, is in such a perfect balance.

Recommended if:
  • You love sports manga with ridiculous abilities
  • You feel at home with borderline corny/cliché when it makes sense with the characters
  • You don't mind reading basically fantasy in reality disguise
  • You basically read for feels...

Not recommended if:
  • You read sports manga for the odd training methods more than for the games
  • You can't compromize the laws of physics
  • Happily Ever After puts you off

Toni Morrison

Why: It's tragic and I like it. 'nuff said. I mean, it's so well written I couldn't put it down even though I usually avoid too sad books because they will haunt me. Same happened with The Bluest Eye by the same author. It's distressing enough for the themes but not so exhausting I don't want to see it again. And that takes talent.

Recommended if:
  • You approach certain award winners with precaution because you're sensitive, but wish to read them anyway

Not recommended if:
  • You often want to jump into the book to scold the characters because you'd handle their lives so much better

Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

Why: At the beginning I was afraid I couldn't read it because the murder was so horrible, but I soon realized this book was full of hope, humor, understanding and authentic characters. I'm so glad I didn't give up on it, it's definitely in the top 3 of the year. It was just such a blissful read. I don't seem to have anything cohesive to say about it. You just have to read it to know.

Recommended if:
  • You'd like a different viewpoint on tragedy and loss
  • You're interested in the themes of thrillers/mysteries but don't often find the depth of human nature in them

Not recommended if:
  • Supernatural elements make you unable to take a book ”seriously”
  • You need a thriller type of conclusion to murder

Lumikki Trilogy
Salla Simukka

Why: I find it very connected with the classic fairy tales it's based on and with its genres' classics, and yet it's also completely able to stand on its own. Lumikki's (Finnish for Snow White) character is definitely the driving force and I would've liked to read so much more about her. The interaction with her subconscious is written unusually well.

Recommended if:
  • You like fairytale symbolism
  • The thrill of a thriller for you is in the character's psyche
  • You like to pick up the characters' personality from small cues and details

Not recommended if:
  • You read thrillers for what happens, not who it happens to
  • You need a complex mystery in the external world of the story
  • You don't enjoy filling in the blanks, character-wise or action-wise

The Quantum Thief Trilogy
Hannu Rajaniemi

Why: I don't expect a space opera type of story to have very well developed characters, so I was prejudiced against this book but oh my this one does. It doesn't fall short in anything, as far as I'm concerned. It has the perfect characters, plot, world building, societies and even all the technical details were super interesting to me. I suppose it's because everything was so well connected you couldn't get bored with one aspect of it if you didn't with another.

(Oh, I'm cheating a little here actually, I just bought the last book so I haven't read it yet...)
Recommended if:
  • You love complex and detailed world building but often find it getting in the way of the story
  • You like all your characters gray, and you like it obvious
  • You like the narration to give you clues on how to build your own world in the story, rather than having it describe everything in the exact way you're suppose to imagine it

Not recommended if:
  • Grand schemes and revelations put you off

The Stranger's Child
Alan Hollinghurst

Why: I often lose my interest for a while after every timeskip in books that have many, because I'm still hangovering the old characters when the new ones come into the picture. With this book everything was connected in so subtle ways every viewpoint was equally interesting from the start! I also found it very realistic how the characters' constructs of what happened were based on their idea of consistency but the truth was always scattered in all of them in ways they couldn't imagine.

Recommended if:
  • You love to explore the same thing from different angles to the point were it's probably ridiculous
  • You aren't inclined to lose your faith in the human race

Not recommended if:
  • It irritates you to know more than the characters
  • The idea that everyone is obsessed with an evening, a person, a comforting lie or some other detail for 500 pages makes you dizzy

Throne of Glass Series
Sarah J. Maas

Why: It's full of fantasy clichés, the plot is hardly ever surprising, the writing is often corny especially with all the adjectives and STILL, through the characters it all just makes sense. The characters are people you just really need to know because they are written so well that all the old tropes are interesting again. This is the best YA fantasy series I've read in years.

(Haven't read the latest book yet though.)

Recommended if:
  • You're often dissapointed with YA characters but wish you weren't/ often seem to pick up fantasy books where the too straight forward plot doesn't leave room for character developement
  • You love the style that effortlessly moves between serious and humorous (like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson)
  • You're sick of YA heroines without personality
  • You don't mind feeling like the author is trolling on the characters/ sarcastic narrative

Not recommended if:
  • You need to be surprised to enjoy the plot
  • You can't read cheesy scenes no matter how much sense they make
  • You think deus ex machina is to be avoided at all cost

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green, David Levithan

Why:”I'd pick you. Fuck it, I do pick you. I want you to come over to my house in twenty years with your dude and your adopted kids and I want our fucking kids to hang out and I want to, like, drink wine and talk about the Middle East or whatever the fuck we're gonna want to do when we're old. We've been friends too long to pick, but if we could, I'd pick you.”

Because feels.

Recommended if:
  • You want feels
  • The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska were too sad
  • You liked Boy Meets Boy

Not recommended if:
  • You don't buy it when everyone is happy and loves each other


Why: It was so interesting I read it so fast I hardly remember anything about it and I need to read it again to know why exactly it was so great.

Recommended if:
  • You already love the CLAMP-verse
  • You don't mind it when they crush everything you thought you could still believe in

Not recommended if:
  • You haven't read CLAMP before
  • You only like Card Captor Sakura or Magic Knight Rayearth type of CLAMP
  • CLAMP is already too confusing for you
  • Wounds you got from any other CLAMP series are still easy to open

That's it. ^^'

No comments:

Post a Comment