RogerBW's Blog

2015 in Books 30 December 2015

In 2015 I read 132 books, on a par with recent years but lower than I really like.

Still, one of them was A Distant Mirror which took a fair old while to get through. It wasn't even my favourite non-fiction book of the year: that was The Box, and I gather an updated edition is expected in 2016.

I've been trying to read a significant number of potential Best Novel Hugo nominees rather than wait until nominations are done. So far Ancillary Mercy is still at the top of my list, though Dark Orbit and Archivist Wasp (review coming soon) run it pretty close. Red Equinox and Sorcerer to the Crown are Hugo-eligible, and pretty good, but flawed.

In SF not eligible for the Hugo, I enjoyed Mike Shepherd's Mutineer (though the others haven't yet been as good) and Janet Edwards' Earth Girl. Sean McMullen's Souls in the Great Machine was mixed but surprisingly decent. On the fantasy side, Dru Pagliasotti's Clockwork Heart was excellent, and of course the Hugo-nominated The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. Fantasy tropes aren't often my thing, but books that slide them a bit sideways can work well for me.

In mystery James Oswald's Inspector McLean series is the one that comes to fondest memory, while there were no real stand-outs among the few works of military fiction.

Mostly I finish the books that I start. There's just one I gave up on this year, though it was enough to put me off the rest of the series: Doubleblind, Ann Aguirre (and Killbox, Endgame, Aftermath): the first one was pretty good, the second one was sort of OK-ish, but the third one just rubbed me wrong from the outset, and since there was clearly going to be an ongoing theme of the One True Couple feeling really bad about not being able to be together I dropped the series here. Grimspace is a pretty decent self-contained story; I don't think it's worth going on from there.

See also:
Grimspace, Ann Aguirre
A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman
Souls in the Great Machine, Sean McMullen
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
Clockwork Heart, Dru Pagliassotti
Mutineer, Mike Shepherd
Red Equinox, Douglas Wynne
Earth Girl, Janet Edwards
The Box, Marc Levinson
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie
Dark Orbit, Carolyn Ives Gilman
Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho


  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 02:04pm on 30 December 2015

    I'm in awe of how many books you've managed to read this year.

  2. Posted by Dr Bob at 04:34pm on 30 December 2015

    131 - wow! 88 for me, plus three I didn't finish. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky was my favourite of the year.

    My list is here, with comments on some, and the reasons for abandoning the ones I gave up on: http://eledonecirrhosa.livejournal.com/96578.html

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 07:14pm on 30 December 2015

    My last book of the year (probably) was Tchaikovsky's Guns of the Dawn, which was very good at some things and very bad at others (review to follow). I'll keep an eye out for Children of Time.

    I've been reading vastly more since I got a Kobo a few years ago; it's just that bit slimmer than a paperback that I have it with me pretty much all the time. Also, twenty of this year's titles were audiobooks, of which I get through about 2½ hours a week on the way to and from Cambridge gaming sessions.

  4. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:00am on 31 December 2015

    I'm not convinced I've read 131 books in my entire life. Certainly I haven't read that many fiction books in total. If I include factual stuff like Haynes manuals on Saturn 5 or Vulcan bombers, role playing rule books (probably comes to 131 all on its own) or education text books I have. But not fiction.

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