2015: The Good

This year I read 148 books! Here are the ones I rated five stars on GoodReads.

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

This was my favorite book I read this year!!! A great mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Kung Fu movies, I learned a lot about Chinese folklore in this historical fiction-fantasy-adventure. Set in 1800s Chinatown, this book follows Li-lin, a Daoist priestess who can see into the spirit world as she tries to save her city from the vengeful ravages of a man-made monster.

Lumberjanes Volumes 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes Volumes 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

These graphic novels are awesome! The Lumberjanes are like more badass girl scouts who must survive a summer camp in a forest full of mythical monsters. Also, friendship bracelets!!

Illuminae by Alice Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Alice Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This book fucked me up. It’s a sci-fi/horror/epistolary/adventure of badassness.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

This memoir tells the story of Nicole, a transgender girl, and her family’s experiences as she grew up. It’s a really interesting portrait, not just of a transgender individual, but of the family and community around her and how they react and are affected by her transformation.

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti

This book talks about one book per short chapter, a personal essay about it followed by a recipe. I liked the essays so much, because they mirrored some of my experiences with certain books (Anne of Green Gables) and otherwise just spoke to growing up as a reader and how books can affect your life. Plus delicious food!

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

I learned a lot from this book!!! There were plenty of rad American women I’d never heard of.

The Wacky and Wonderful World Through Numbers by Steve Martin

The Wacky and Wonderful World Through Numbers by Steve Martin

This was a fun, interesting book that anyone who likes statistics or world records would enjoy!

Dietland by Sarai Walker

Dietland by Sarai Walker

THIS BOOK. I loved its message of militant body positivity and feminism, and all the different variations of each. It’s so rare to have a fat lady protagonist who doesn’t end the book living happily ever after by losing weight. I found this book really inspiring, especially when the main character muses that being fat is kind of a super power in that it shows you how people really are. The people who are jerks to her may have hid their inner jerkiness if she were pretty, but she knows their reactions to her are their genuine selves, good or bad. I think about that a lot.

The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits

The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits

This was like a cross between a diary and a series of personal essays on many different subjects. I really like Heidi Julavits’ voice and sense of humor.

Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

I don’t know if I could ever live in a tiny house myself (especially not with Steven and Olivia), but it was so interesting seeing the different creative ways people packed what they needed into such a small frame.

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

This is a travelogue graphic novel about a pretty epic trip through Europe. I’ve read a few of Knisley’s graphic novels, and I really enjoy her art style and down-to-earth writing.

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

This is definitely non-fiction that reads like a thriller. I learned a lot about the beginnings of Hollywood, and wanting to find out THE TRUTH about the killer made me keep reading.

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

I’m kind of obsessed with polar anything. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Florida, so all that ice is fascinating and alien. This was another non-fiction book that read like a novel. Gripping and exciting and tragic.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I don’t remember a ton about this book besides that it was about a teen boy coming to terms with his sexual identity and that it was funny.

The Incarnations by Susan Barker

The Incarnations by Susan Barker

This book was pretty baller, especially if you’re already a fan of David Mitchell or Edward Rutherford. It follows a taxi driver in Beijing who keeps receiving mysterious letters about his past lives in different eras of Chinese history.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

I honestly remember nothing about this book besides this quote: “the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, ‘He’s trying to kill me!'” and that it was funny and sad and true.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This was a graphic novel about a girl teetering between child and adult and her summer at her parents’ beach cabin, where they go every year. It’s really telling how her interactions with their normal family traditions and friends are changing as she grows up. Plus the art style was pretty.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

This one was spooky! Set in a remote town in the woods that has a history of strange disappearances and brutal killings, it ended up being more mystery than horror for me, but still an addictive read.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon vols 1-12 by Naoko Takeuchi

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon vols 1-12 by Naoko Takeuchi

I read all the Sailor Moon graphic novels this year, and they were all rad as hell.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Elsa’s eccentric grandmother dies and leaves her with a bunch of letters to give to different people, leading her to discover family secrets and who her grandmother was before she became a grandmother as well as the inspirations for a lot of her grandmother’s fairy tales.

Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich

Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich

This picture book is SUPER CUTE! Mister Bud has his whole routine down from Greeting and Wag time to Watching at the Door time, until new dog Zorro comes along.

Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich

Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich

The sequel to above, when Mister Bud has to wear the cone :-(

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939

This book was really interesting and definitely shows that people have been challenging conventional ideas about relationships long before now.

How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate by Wendy Moore

How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain’s Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate by Wendy Moore

This is a super weird true story about a dude who swallowed too much philosophy and decided that women were ruined by society and his only hope of finding a good wife was to get an orphan girl and train her in enlightened philosophy. Obvs it did not go as planned.

Paris by Edward Rutherford

Paris by Edward Rutherford

Edward Rutherford continues to be my favorite way to learn history ever.

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shereen El Feki

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shereen El Feki

This book was a super interesting look about marriage, dating, and sex in the Arab world, where traditions and technology and Western ideas are all mixing together.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

A beautifully written mix of advice and personal essay.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

This YA novel was super great. The world-building was phenomenal, and the main character is clever and badass. Liyana was raised to be a vessel of a goddess who will come and inhabit her body, helping her desert tribe to survive the drought. But then the goddess doesn’t come. Her tribe casts her out, and she must solve the mystery of what’s happened to the gods, because hers isn’t the only one who’s disappeared.

Eat My Globe: One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything by Simon Majumdar

Eat My Globe: One Year to Go Everywhere and Eat Everything by Simon Majumdar

You know Steven and I love any kind of international food, so this book was a great one for us to read together.

Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky

Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky

Each page is about a different remote island, with facts and stories about them written up in language that’s almost poetry.

Previously: 2014 The Good
Next: 2015 The Bad

One response to “2015: The Good”

  1. Alana got me The Girl with Ghost Eyes for Christmas! Glad to know the next novel I read will be better than CHARMED.

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