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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

2015 Reading Round-Up

2015 was some kind of record for me.  I don't think I have ever read so many books in a year!  I even read 93% of the books that I intended to read, which is quite acceptable.


Without further ado, here are the stats and the awards:


Total books read in 2015: 155


Total number of pages: 53.768


Number of books read for my science fiction & fantasy reading project: 47


Nonfiction: 27


Written by women: 70


Shortest book: Follow Your Gut, non-fiction at 120 pages. Only worthy of remark because of its shortness.


Longest book: Goddess save me, Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard (or as I like to think of him, Elron). This door-stop weighed in at 1066 pages and I wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t been stuck at home with a nasty cold and nothing better to do.


Highest rated book of my science fiction/fantasy reading project: The Many Colored Land by Julian May. Loved the Pliocene animals, the idea of going one-way back into the past, and the surprise of being greeted by unknown aliens when the travelers got there.


Best re-telling of a classic: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson (re-telling Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale). I love Shakespeare and I love good writing—I am eagerly awaiting more volumes of the Hogarth Shakespeare series as they become available.


Favourite new author discovered in 2015: Tana French—I thoroughly enjoyed Into the Woods and am looking forward to reading The Likeness. I have always enjoyed murder mysteries and police procedurals, but damn this woman can write! Excellent writing + a favourite genre = very happy reader.


Best translation: And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucer. So well translated, I didn’t feel like it was a translation. Plus a fabulous story about the restrictions of age and the desire for freedom.


Classics that I can’t believe I haven’t read before: Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely. Chandler’s writing is gorgeous—dialog to die for and such atmosphere!


Most powerful depiction of real life: Under the Visible Life by Kim Echlin. Mesmerizing in its depiction of the intertwined lives of two women involved in the music scene, their struggles and their triumphs.


Post-apocalyptic with a sense of humour: Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle. Want to laugh a bit about everything that’s wrong with our world? And end on an upbeat note? Then Turtle is for you!


Best book about a subject I usually avoid: Because it’s a book about WWII and I don’t read those. The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys. But being transported by nature—who can resist?


Most appropriate to my profession: Aislinn Hunter’s The World Before Us. Working in libraries/museums as I do, this book charmed me. Finding redemption through research? Bien sûr!


Best imaginative invention of a species: The Aeslin mice of the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. They charmed me in Discount Armageddon, Midnight Blue-Light Special, and Half-Off Ragnarok. What woman wouldn’t want her own colony of cheeky mice to worship her as a goddess? Every man, after his first night at a woman’s house, should have to face an army of mice!


Books which charmed me despite my cranky no-romance rules: Lisa Shearin won me over to the side of romance by spicing it up with plenty of vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural critters. After reading The Grendel Affair and The Dragon Conspiracy, I am waiting with bated breath for the third installment of the SPI Files.


Best series by a beloved author: I love Guy Gavriel Kay’s work and could hardly put down the Finovar Tapestry series. Yes, it is another Lord of the Rings clone, but Kay writes so well that I forgave him that sin. And yes, I cried at several points during the last book.


Book I regret reading: The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy. I read this purely because it was on the Modern Library 100 list. I didn’t find it funny or redeeming in any way. Blah!