Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book List 2015: A Summary

The 2015 Book List

By the Numbers:

Total # of entires: 202
# of rereads: 49

Fiction: 58
Non-Fiction: 24
Graphic novel entries: 94
Picture books: 17
Poetry: 4
Art: 4

# of Audio Books: 2

# of Terry Pratchett Books: 18


1.  Die Trying // Lee Child

2.  The Journey to the West, vol.1 // translator&editor: Anthony C. Yu

5.  The Strange Library // Haruki Murakami, translator: Ted Goossen

6.  A Really Short History of Nearly Everything // Bill Bryson

11.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH // Robert C. O’Brien

17.  A Monster Calls // Patrick Ness *

22.  Ballad of Mulan // translator: Xe Susane Moua

24.  Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them // J.K. Rowling

27.  Alif the Unseen // G. Willow Wilson

29.  Men at Arms // Terry Pratchett *

30.  Soul Music // Terry Pratchett *

33.  Ru // Kim Thuy, translator: Sheila Fischman

34.  The True Meaning of Smekday // Adam Rex

37.  Interesting Times // Terry Pratchett *

40.  Maskerade // Terry Pratchett *

49.  The Island of Dr. Moreau // H.G. Wells

51.  This is Not a Test // Courtney Summers

53.  Eleanor & Park // Rainbow Rowell

54.  Feet of Clay // Terry Pratchett *

63.  Machine Man // Max Barry

64.  Hogfather by. Terry Pratchett *

68.  Nation by. Terry Pratchett

69.  Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World // Haruki Murakami, translator: Alfred Birnbaum *

70.  Battle Royale // Koushun Takami, translator: Yuji Oniki

83.  A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction // Terry Pratchett

85.  Trigger Warning // Neil Gaiman

87.  To Kill a Mockingbird // Harper Lee

92.  Jingo // Terry Pratchett *

93.  Jurassic Park // Michael Crichton

95.  City of Thieves //  David Benioff

96.  The Toughest Indian in the World // Sherman Alexie

108.  Hello America // J.G. Ballard

111.  The Lost Continent // Terry Pratchett *

122.  The Neverending Story //  Michael Ende

123.  The Complete Lockpick Pornography // Joey Comeau *

124.  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan // Lisa See

125.  Go Set a Watchmen // Harper Lee

127.  One Bloody Thing After Another // Joey Comeau

130.  The Iron Giant // Ted Hughes

136.  High Rise // J.G. Ballard

137.  Carpe Jugulum // Terry Pratchett *

139.  The Fifth Elephant // Terry Pratchett *

140.  Bible Camp Bloodbath // Joey Comeau *

141.  The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved // Joey Comeau *

149.  John Dies at the End // David Wong *

151.  How To Build a Girl // Caitlin Moran

152.  The One and Only Ivan // K.A. Applegate

157.  Slasher Girls & Monster Boys // editor: April Genevieve Tuchoike

158.  Thief of Time // Terry Pratchett *

163.  Overqualified // Joey Comeau *

164.  Overqualifieder //Joey Comeau

165.  Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits // David Wong

166.  The Witch’s Boy // Kelly Barnhill

169.  The Truth // Terry Pratchett *

172.  The Last Hero // Terry Pratchett

183.  The World of Poo // Terry Pratchett

187.  The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents // Terry Pratchett *

190.  Lord of the Flies // William Golding *

Top 5 Favorites for Fiction
[rereads excluded]


Journey to the West
(Volume 1)
translated & edited by. Anthony C. Yu

“He strode right up to the tiger, crying, ‘Cursed beast! Where do you think you’re going?’ Crouching low, the tiger lay down on the dust and dared not move. Pilgrim Sun aimed the rod at its head, and one stroke caused its brain to burst out like ten thousand red petals of peach blossoms, and the teeth to fly out like so many pieces of white jade.”


Battle Royale
written by. Koushun Takami
translated by: Yuji Oniki

“Without any warning Kyoichi shot at Shogo. Shuya saw Shogo quickly duck. As he heard the explosion from the shotgun that Shogo still held in his kneeling position, sparks flew from the muzzle like a flamethrower, and the next moment Kyoichi’s right arm was gone. Bloody mist filled the air. Kyoichi gazed blankly at the half-sleeve of his school-uniform. The rest of his sleeve, from his elbow to the hand that was holding the gun, was now lying on the grass. Shogo quickly pumped the shotgun and loaded the next shot. A red plastic shell flew out to the side after spitting out its pellets.

‘AIEEEE!’ Kyoichi screamed like an animal as he suddenly realized what had happened. Shuya thought he would fall to his knees.

But he didn’t. The representative instead ran for his arm. He pried the gun loose from his right hand with his left hand. Like a one-man baton relay. Great. Shuya once again felt like he was watching a bad horror flick. Or better yet, reading a bad horror novel.

Damn, this was bad.”


To Kill a Mockingbird
by. Harper Lee

“Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra’s vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s lonely life. I suggested that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but Aunty said that one had to behave like a sunbeam, that I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year. She hurt my feelings and set my teeth permanently on edge, but when I asked Atticus about it, he said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go about my business, he didn’t mind me much the way I was.”


One Bloody Thing After Another
by. Joey Comeau

“Ann doesn’t say much at all. She’s been quiet, today.

‘Do you want to go on a date with me tonight, Ann?’

‘What?’ Ann doesn’t sit up, at least. Jackie was worried that she would sit up. Or just walk away.

‘We can do anything! The whole city is ours,’ Jackie says. ‘We can go to the carnival, or up to the tower. We can find the old abandoned subway lines underneath the city. Don’t go home. Come out on a date with me!’

Ann doesn’t say anything for a long time, lying with Jackie’s head resting warm on her stomach.

‘I don’t want to go home,’ Ann says.”


Island of Dr. Moreau
by. H.G. Wells

“But there are times when the little cloud spreads, until it obscures the sky. And those times I look around at my fellow men and I am reminded of some likeness of the beast-people, and I feel as though the animal is surging up in them. And I know they are neither wholly animal nor wholly man, but an unstable combination of both.”

Honorable Mention:
Die Trying by. Lee Child

Say what you will about it, but I gotta give props to any 500pg book I was able to knock out in a single day and have it not feel like a total slog. The Jack Reacher novels are nothing if not literary roller coaster rides.


3.  I Feel Bad About By Neck: and other thoughts on being a woman // Nora Ephron

9.  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: a memoir // Haruki Murakami, translator: Philip Gabriel

10.  Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation // Blake J. Harris

12.  Yes Please // Amy Poehler [audio]

13.  What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions // Randall Munroe

14.  Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology by. Cory O’Brien

15.  The Secret History of Wonder Woman // Jill Lepore

21.  King Kong Theory // Virginie Despentes, translator: Stéphanie Benson

23.  A Slip of the Keyboard // Terry Pratchett

25.  The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light // Paul Bogard

26.  The Best American Infographics 2014 // edited by: Gareth Cook

32.  Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal // Melanie Warner

39.  Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe // Tim Leong

67.  The Drunken Botanist // Amy Stewart

91.  Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson // Judy Oppenheimer

102.  Modern Romance // Aziz Ansari & Eric Klinenberg

107.  The American Plate: a culinary history in 100 bites // Libby H. O’Connell

110.  Sick in the Head: conversations about life and comedy // Judd Apatow

113.  Between the World and Me // Ta-Nahisi Coates

121.  I Must Say: my life as a humble comedy legend // Martin Short [audio]

138.  I’d Rather We Got Casinos: and other black thoughts // Larry Wilmore

160.  Carsick // John Waters

181.  Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons // Michael Witwer

182.  The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality // Julie Sondra Decker

Top 5 Favorites for Non-Fiction
[rereads excluded]


The End of Night:
Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
by. Paul Bogard

“It would be one thing if all this light were beneficial. But while some does good work—guiding our way, offering a sense of security, adding beauty to our nightscape—most is waste. The light we see in photos from space, from an airplane window, from our fourteenth-floor hotel room, is light allowed to shine into the sky, into our eyes, illuminating little of what it was meant to, and costing us dearly. In ways we have long understood, in others we are just beginning to understand, night’s natural darkness has always been invaluable for our health and the health of the natural world, and every living creature suffers from its loss.”


Console Wars:
Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
by. Blake J. Harris

“‘The new company mascot is ready, and he is sure to be a success.’

‘This is the hedgehog named Mr. Needlemouse?’

‘Ah, you have heard,’ Nakayama said, surprised. ‘We have made some changes, and his name is now Sonic.’

‘Okay,’ Kalinske said. ‘Well, when can I see him?’

‘I will send him over now,’ Nakayama said, and then barked orders in Japanese to someone on the other end. ‘He will enter through the fax. I will stay on the line to hear your reaction. You will be very pleased.’ Kalinske made his way over to the fax machine as it buzzed and huffed, printing out lines of what would be the company’s savior. ‘My guys here have already begun work on the game engine. They showed me an early version, and it is fast like nothing else.’

The fax machine stopped sputtering, and Kalinske picked up the sketch. ‘Ah,’ he said, trying not to sound repulsed. ‘Very interesting.’ Kalinske stared at the drawing trying to see in it what Nakayama saw, but it was no use. The hedgehog looked villainous and crude, complete with sharp fangs, a spiked collar, an electric guitar, and a human girlfriend whose cleavage made Barbie’s chest look flat. ‘I assume this is his girlfriend?’

‘Yes,’ Nakayama said. ‘That is Madonna.’”


What If?
Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
by. Randall Munroe

“They say there are no stupid questions. That’s obviously wrong...But it turns out that trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places.”


King Kong Theory
by. Virginie Despentes
translated by. Stéphanie Benson

“What women have endured is not only the history of men, but also their own specific oppression. Extraordinarily violent. Hence this simple suggestion: you can all go and get fucked, with your condescension toward us, your ridiculous shows of group strength, of limited protection, and your manipulative whining about how hard it is to be a guy around emancipated women. What is really hard is actually to be a woman and to have to listen to your shit.”


Between the World and Me
by. Ta-Nahisi Coates

“Americans deify democracy in a way that allows for a dim awareness that they have, from time to time, stood in defiance of their God. But democracy is a forgiving god and America’s heresies—torture, theft, enslavement—are so common among individuals and nations that none can declare themselves immune. In fact, Americans, in a real sense, have never betrayed their God. When Abraham Lincoln declared, in 1863, that the battle of Gettysburg must ensure ‘that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,’ he was not merely being aspirational; at the onset of the Civil War, the United States of America had one of the highest rates of suffrage in the world. The question is not whether Lincoln truly meant ‘government of the people’ but what our country has, throughout its history, taken the political term ‘people’ to actually mean. In 1863 it did not mean your mother or your grandmother, and it did not mean you or me. Thus America’s problem is not its betrayal of ‘government of the people,’ but the means by which ‘the people’ acquired their names.

This leads us to another equally important ideal, one that Americans implicitly accept but to which they make no conscious claim. Americans believe in the reality of ‘race’ as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism—the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them—inevitably follows from this inalterable condition. In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or the Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.
But race is the child of racism, not the father.”

Honorable Mention:
Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology by. Cory O’Brien

I have no idea what genre to put this one under. If you consider it a collection of myths? Fiction. If you consider it a commentary on myths? Nonfiction. So Id feel wrong listing as one of the Best of either. But whatever it is, it is wonderful and hilarious.

Graphic Novels                                          

4.  Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery
         98.  Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth

18.  Batman: Year One (deluxe)

19.  Yu-Gi-Oh: Duelist *

20. Avatar: The Rift

28.  Bokurano * [Ours]

35  Ms. Marvel, vol.1 *
       36.  Ms. Marvel, vol.2  
       88.  Ms. Marvel vol. 3
       186.  Ms. Marvel, vol. 4

41.  Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer

42.  Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond
     50.  Batman Beyond: 10,000 Clowns
     58.  Batman Beyond: Industrial Revolution
     59.  Batman Beyond: Batgirl Beyond

43.  Avengers, vol 1: Avengers World

44.  Lola

45.  Wolverine and the X-Men, Vol. 1
       46.  Wolverine and the X-Men, Vol. 
       56.  Wolverine and the X-Men, vol. 3
       57.  Wolverine and the X-Men, vol. 4
       65.  Wolverine and the X-Men, vol. 5
       66.  Wolverine and the X-Men, vol. 6
       73.  Wolverine and the X-Men, vol. 7
       75. Wolverine and the X-Men, vol. 8

47.  Thor: God of Thunder, vol. 1

48.  Hinterkind Vol 1: The Waking

52.  Bee and Puppycat, Vol. 1

55.  20 Century Boys & 21st Century Boys

60.  X-Men: Prelude to Schism
      61.  X-Men: Schism

62.  Yotsuba&: vol. 1-5 *

71.  Batwoman, vol.1: Hydrology  *
      72.  Batwoman, vol.2: To Drown the World
      80.  Batwoman: Elegy
      81.  Batwoman, vol.3: World’s Finest
      82.  Batwoman, vol.4: This Blood is Thick

74.  A Softer World, vol.1: truth and beauty bombs  *
     76.  A Softer World, vol.3:  *
     78.  A Softer World, vol.2: Second Best Isn’t So Bad  *
     79.  A Softer World, vol.4:  *

77.  Pretty Deadly, vol. 1: The Shrike

84.  X-Men: Days of Future Past *

86.  Wolverine and the X-Men, 1: Tomorrow Never Learns

90.  Watchmen *

94.  Rocket Girl, vol.1 : Times Square

99.  Scott Pilgrim, color edition, vol. 1
     100.  Scott Pilgrim, color edition, vol. 2
     103.  Scott Pilgrim, color edition, vol.3
     104.  Scott Pilgrim, color edition, vol.4
     105.  Scott Pilgrim, color edition, vol.5
     106.  Scott Pilgrim, color edition, vol.6

101.  Lumberjanes, vol. 1

109.  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
       185.  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol.2

112.  Far Side Gallery by. Gary Larson *

114.  Megatokyo, vol.1 *
     115.  Megatokyo, vol.2 *
     116.  Megatokyo, vol.3 *
     119.  Megatokyo, vol.4 *
     120.  Megatokyo, vol.5 *

118.  Step Aside, Pops by. Kate Beaton

126.  Beartato and the Perilous Danger

131.  Saga, vol. 1 *
     132.  Saga, vol. 2 *
     133.  Saga, vol. 3 *
     134.  Saga, vol. 4
     135.  Saga, vol. 5

146.  Deep Dark Fears

150.  This One Summer

153.  Hyperbole and a Half

154.  Baba Yaga’s Assistant

156.  The Undertaking of Lily Chen

159.  Bitch Planet, vol 1

162. Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake *

168.  The Wicked + The Divine, vol.1
       173.  The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 2

174.  Poorly Drawn Lines

175.  Sex Criminals, vol.1

176.  Hilda and the Troll
      177.  Hilda and the Midnight Giant *
      178.  Hilda and the Bird Parade
      179.  Hilda and the Black Hound

180.  Human Body Theater

184.  Soppy: a love story by. Philippa Rice

188.  Fun Home: a family tragicomic by. Alison Bechdel

191.  Akira, vol.1  by. Otomo Katsuhiro *
      192.  Akira, vol. 2 by. Otomo Katsuhiro *
      193.  Akira, vol. 3 by. Otomo Katsuhiro *
      194.  Akira, vol. 4 by. Otomo Katsuhiro *
      197.  Akira, vol. 5 by. Otomo Katsuhiro *

198.  Batgirl, vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside

200.  Gotham Academy, vol.1: Welcome to Gotham Academy

201.  Everything We Miss by. Luke Pearson

202.  One-Punch Man, Vol.1

Top 5 Favorites for Graphic Novels
[rereads excluded]

20th Century Boys / 21st Century Boys
by. Naoki Urasawa

When they were kids, a group of friends created a secret sci-fi story about the end of the world. Now they’re adults and have all gone their separate ways. But someone has started actually carrying out the nefarious deeds they described in their book and a villainous cult leader in a mask seems to be at the center of it all. With the world at stake these friends must reunite and put a stop to the horrors they were responsible for inventing all those years ago.

Hilda & the...
by. Luke Pearson

The stories of an adventurous young girl named Hilda and the mystical beings she has a knack for coming across.

Batman Beyond
written by. Adam Beechan

The cartoon Batman Beyond told the story of Gotham’s future: one where Bruce Wayne has finally gotten too old to effectively fight crime. Decades after Batman’s retirement, a grieving teenager with a need for justice named Terry McGinnis discovers his secret identity. McGinnis manages to convince Wayne to let him take up the cowl, but only with Wayne’s direct supervision.

The comic picks up where the show (and subsequent movie) left off.

Beartato and the Perilous Journey
by. Anthony Clark

The continuing exploits of best friends Reginald (a giant bird) and Beartato (a beartato) from the brilliant webcomic Nedroid Picture Diary.

This One Summer
by. Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

Rose and her parents are going to Awago beach like they do every summer. But unlike every other summer this trip is cursed with conflicts. People are growing up and others are growing apart.

Honorable Mention:
Hyperbole and a Half by. Allie Brosh

While I had never actually read this book until this year, Ive read Broshs stories many times on her blog, so I felt like it would be a little bit of a cheat to give it a top spot, but at the same time it really does deserve to be mentioned. Brosh is a natural storyteller and her works amalgamation of graphic novel/memoir/stand-up comedy creates a pitch-perfect book thats simultaneously hilarious and touching. Not to mention that a couple of her stories provide one of the most accurate accounts of what its like to have depression that I have ever come across.

Picture Books                               

7.  Hi, Koo! // Jon J. Muth

8.  Sparky! // Jenny Offill

89.  The Princess and the Pony // Kate Beaton

117.  The Little Gardener // Emily Hughes

129.  Rad American Women A-Z // Kate Schatz & Miriam Klein Stahl

142.  Zombie in Love  // Kelly DiPucchio & Scott Campbell

143.  Zombie in Love 2 + 1  // Kelly DiPucchio & Scott Campbell

144.  Dragons Love Tacos  // Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri

145.  Interstellar Cinderella  // Deborah Underwood & Meg Hunt

147.  This is Sadie  // Sara O'Leary & Julie Morstad

148.  Bug in a Vacuum  // Melanie Watt

155.  The Gashlycrumb Tinies  // Edward Gorey

161.  The Monster at the End of this Book * // Jon Stone & Michael Smollin

167.  Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too)  // Keith Negley

195.  Creaturepedia: welcome to the greatest show on earth // Adrienne Barman

196.  Secrets of the Apple Tree: A Shine-a-Light Book // Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner

199.  Goodnight Darth Vader // Jeffrey Brown

Top 3 Picture Books
[rereads excluded]

The Gashlycrumb Tinies
by. Edward Gorey

“I is for IDA who drowned in a lake
J is for JAMES who took lye by mistake
K is for KATE who was struck with an axe
L is for LEO who swallowed some tacks”


The Little Gardener
by. Emily Hughes

“This was the garden.
It didn’t look like much,
but it meant everything to its gardener.”

The Princess and the Pony
by. Kate Beaton

“In a kingdom of warriors,
the smallest warrior was Princess Pinecone.
And she was very excited for her birthday.”


16.  Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series #2 // Bryan Konietzko & Michael Dante DiMartino

31.  Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue // Bill Watterson

38.  Infographics Designers’ Sketchbooks // edited by. Steven Heller & Rick Landers

170.  Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo


97.  Incarnadine: poems // Mary Szybist

128.  Ask Me: 100 essential poems // William Stafford

171.  Citizen: An American Lyric // Claudia Rankine

189.  Felicity // Mary Oliver

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