And here we are again, my year end wrap up articles.
Queue Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”.
I say it every year, how did we get here already? The year just flies by. Anyway, the particulars: If you’ve read this year end round up before, you know I keep my book logs online in a Google Spreadsheet. I’ve been doing it since around 2009. Only “new to me” reads in 2015 are eligible, no re-reads.
This past year was an interesting year for my book/comics list. I really had an off year for books. It was really hard to get a good list of 5 books that I really enjoyed. This year as I combed through my list of books I realized I had been in a slump of “didn’t like” and “meh” books that I just didn’t feel comfortable forcing into this year’s “best” list.
Conversely, this was a phenomenal year for comics. I had SO MANY comics I read that I just LOVED that it became very hard for me to pare it down to only five. So, I think this year I’m going to cut the book list to maybe three and increase the comic list to 8. This would be a better representation of the good stuff I’ve read this year.
Looking at the log I see I read around 106 books and comics over the course of the year. That total includes books/comics I’ve read for the first time as well as any re-reads I did this year which I’ll do from time to time. Also, I see, after two years of reading 4 books released in the current year, I uptick to 5 books I read this year that were current releases. Wow. And none of them are going to make this list. One of them almost did, but, in the end, I decided no.
Here’s the list!
Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1987) by H. F. Saint – I read and reviewed this book for AWESOME-tober-fest this year. See my full review there. But this hands down makes my best of year list and looking at my book log, it’s probably the best book I read all year.
Troll Mountain (2014) by Matthew Reilly – Matthew Reilly is no stranger to my “best of” books list. His Scarecrow and James West Jr novels have both made it on here. I read this fantasy novel back in February for the second installment of High Fantasy Month. It was a serial novel in three parts, each part about 55 pages long. And it’s junior fantasy, aimed at a younger audience. But like I said in my review, I really enjoyed it. The story reminded me of L Frank Baum. Lots of fun and adventure, full of hope, believing in yourself and believing that good will triumph over evil. Definitely worth a read.
Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book 1) (2006) – Brandon Sanderson – I really had trouble picking this final spot. A few things could’ve gone here. Rick Riordan’s tenth Percy Jackson book, The Force Awakens novelization, Stephen King’s Needful Things or Brad Meltzer’s The Inner Circle. And I liked all of these choices but I didn’t love them. So, I flipped a coin and the first book in Sanderson’s fantasy series gets the nod. It’s a great piece of fantasy world building with a cleverly different system of magic. Like Troll Mountain, I reviewed it for the second High Fantasy Month back in February. I just felt that this book runs a little long. But I liked it and I plan on reading the second book, even if I’m hearing that the second book is even longer. And unnecessarily so.
Now, let’s move on to the comics I read this year that I LOVED. And there are lots of them.
Comic Books/Graphic Novels
Aquaman (The New 52) by Geoff Johns and Jeff Parker – I’m including all six of the currently released collections of this title. This first entry was probably the most relevatory comic I read all year. I’ve never been an Aquaman fan, even with the Peter David series and the hook hand/long hair iterations. I just didn’t like the character. However, I heard such good things about this take on Aquaman that I decided to read the first trade. The next thing I know, I’ve read all six of the trade paperback collections encompassing the first 40 issues or so plus annuals. Geoff Johns writes the first four collections and Jeff Parker takes over for the next two. And they are AWESOME. All of a sudden, I’m an Aquaman fan. I even dove into and read the entire side series, Aquaman and the Others, which is not as good, but still enjoyable to read. I can’t recommend this title enough. I think Cullen Bunn has taken over the writing from Jeff Parker as of issue 40 or so. I look forward to more adventures with the King of Atlantis.
Avengers vs. X-Men (2012) – This is the 12 issue maxi-series Marvel event from 2012. It launched the Marvel NOW! line of comics. It’s written by a murder’s row of my favorite comic writers; Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis, Johnathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker and Jason Aaron with lots of awesome art by John Romita Jr and Adam Kubert. The story is epic, it’s awesome, it’s everything you want in an Avengers vs X-men title. I loved it. And the conclusion of this entry leads directly into…