My 10 fave books of 2015 and 5 I’m anxiously awaiting in 2016

books stack_0

Heaven is a stack of good books! And a glass of wine!

 

Some people get excited about new handbags or shoes or guys with tattoos. I am such a book nerd. I get more excited about books. Though if you give me a hottie lumbersexual reading Garcia Marquez or some novel that I am also reading, well, I might get excited about that.

Anyway, I read a little over 50 books in 2015, so I thought I’d share with you ten of them that resonated with me.

  1. Haunted by Christina C. Jones
  2. Addicted Allison by Noelle Black
  3. Kilted for Pleasure by Melissa Blue
  4. Maldeamores by Mara White
  5. Love Is by Tia Kelly
  6. Falling Stars by Xio Axelrod
  7. Ivy’s League by Nia Forrester
  8. Coming Down by Carrie Elks
  9. Brunch at Ruby’s by D.L. White
  10. In the Nothing by Nia Forrester
young black girl excited

Yes, I am just as excited as this little cutie! Photo credit: forharriet.com

And which titles am I anxiously awaiting? You know there are more than five I can’t wait to read, but these are five that I am super excited about. 🙂

  1. Starlight by Xio Axelrod
  2. When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson
  3. City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
  4. Lily in the Middle by Nina Perez
  5. Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones

So tell me: which titles are you anxiously awaiting in 2016? And which were your favorites of 2015?

A girl’s gotta read… my 2015 TBR list…definitely a work in progress.

Happy New YearIn a few days, the clock will strike midnight and suddenly it’ll be a new year. 2015. Eek! Actually, I am not really afraid of the coming year. Since I gave up the practice of making resolutions, my life has been so much calmer.

The only thing I’ve decided I’ll do (besides write more) is take part in the 2015 Read Harder Challenge. I figure I need to be nudged out of my usual reading comfort zone every now and again.

Now, mind you, I usually forget about these challenges about a month into them, but I am going to see if this one sticks. I did tell myself a few years ago that I should read more non-fiction and since I’ve got an idea for a historical novel, I could always say it’s part of my research. 😉

So what’s this challenge? You have to read books that fit within certain boundaries. So here’s what I *think* I’ll be reading in 2015…

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25 – (still working on this one…)

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65 – God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (coming April 2015)

A collection of short stories God’s Gym by John Edgar Wideman

A book published by an indie press – Gravity by Raven St. Pierre

A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQGiovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own  The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin (coming in October 2015)

A book that takes place in Asia Salaam, Paris by Kavita Daswani

A book by an author from Africa The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

A microhistory A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-89 by Frederic Morton (not sure if this is a microhistory but it sounds intriguing)

A YA novel – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A sci-fi novelHalf Way Home by Hugh Howey

A romance novel Fat Girl by Leigh Carron 

A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade – Just Kids by Patti Smith

A book that is a retelling of a classic story – Entwined by Heather Dixon

An audiobookHome by Toni Morrison

A collection of poetry North: Poems by Seamus Heaney

A book that someone else has recommended to you – ‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma (recommended by Urenna Sanders–thanks!)

A book that was originally published in another language – The History of Danish Dreams by Peter Hoeg

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind –The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin, Ben Avery & Mike S. Miller

A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure – Easy Virtue by Mia Asher

A book published before 1850 Love by Stendhal

A book published this year – Chasing Moments by Tia Kelly (coming in February 2015)

A self-improvement book Revision & Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell

Sorry for the radio silence…

First, let me apologize for the radio silence. I have been a bit busy the last few weeks–lots to do at work, trying to finish a few projects before I go away on Thursday morning. Plus, I was experiencing that weird phenomenon called “vårtrötthet” or “Spring Fatigue”. I don’t know if anyone else in the world experiences this but in Scandinavia it seems like it’s the norm.  When spring comes, after so many months of cold and darkness, we feel worn out by the light and the warmth (well, it’s not that warm yet but it’s warmer than it was). I have felt like a zombie. Which I guess is fitting since I’ve been watching a lot of “The Walking Dead” and reading Deborah Harkness’s  A Discovery of Witches and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.

I finished reading A Discovery of Witches a few days ago and really enjoyed the world Deborah Harkness has created. Imagine a world where everything is perfectly normal on the surface–it’s just that normal humans have no clue they’re sharing space with witches, daemons and vampires. Enter into this world Diana Bishop, the last of the infamous Bishop witches. Diana has tried to live a life without magic since the death of her parents, but magic refuses to remain dormant within her. One day while doing research at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, Deborah finds a bewitched book on alchemy that’s been missing for centuries. Her finding the book triggers intrigues all connected with the importance of this book–which could explain the very origin of otherworldly creatures–and it leads Diana to Mattew, a vampire who isn’t all he appears to be. The story is fast-paced and intricate, with a nice romantic touch for those of us who like that sort of thing. I love how Harkness describes daemons as creative geniuses with a wild, unpredictable passionate nature. One daemon in particular plays a small role in the book but those glimpses the reader gets of him are enough to prick curiosity. I have a feeling he will be there in a bigger role in the sequel, which is due out in 2012. Be prepared: A Discovery of Witches is part of a trilogy.

The Passage is of a much darker nature. Steeped in the paranoia of the near-future, Justin Cronin’s 962-page novel deals with the collapse of society following a government experiment gone wrong. Three characters become interconnected in ways that no one can predict: Amy, a six-year-old girl who’s been abandoned by her mother; Anthony Carter, a prisoner on Death Row who is trying to figure out what really happened on the day that led to his imprisonment; and FBI Agent Wolgast, who is  bound to Anthony and Amy via Project Noah and a strange feeling that something ominous is coming. And he’s right–there is something awful and insidious on its way and Amy is the only one who can stop it. This is the second novel by Cronin that I’ve read, the first being Mary and O’Neil which had a completely different feel but was equally engulfing. The language is lyrical and yet spare. And there are moments when The Passage feels so cinematic you’ll feel like you’re watching an apocalyptic epic.  Intrigued? You should be…and don’t be put off by the length of the book–you’ll be hooked from the first page…

That’s it for now. On Thursday I am off to Matera, Italy for a writer retreat at Locanda di San Martino. Four days of writing and creativity in southern Italy…that’s exactly what I need to get rid of this Spring Malaise. I was in Matera two years ago for the Women’s Fiction Festival and fell in love with the city. I am looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces and being in the company of writers again. Many thanks to Elizabeth Jennings for organizing the “Brainstorming at the Spa” retreat.