2015 Favorite Reads
As before, 2015 refers to the time I read the book, not necessarily when the book was originally released. Also, it should be noted I am a notoriously slow reader, so that this list of five represents about the top 15% of my reads for the year.
I surprised myself by adding this to my top five list, since upon review I only awarded it 4/5 stars and stand by that. The reason for the less-than-perfect rating was due wholly to the fact that there was a lot of repetition of information in this enriching non-fiction read. My belief is that the author envisioned it being sectioned out for use in academia. However, there’s not too much to challenge the background knowledge of a non-academic here. Cooney did a great service to this peculiar era in history, a moment in which the balance of a country rested in the hands of one who, by its own traditions and beliefs, was unfit for to rule. A stunning look into the customs of Ancient Egyptian religion and the reign of a monarch whose legacy is only beginning to reemerge after a campaign to smite her existence from the historical record by her own descendants.
You may have seen the film version of this that came out in the fall. As always, it doesn’t do the book justice (and I really enjoyed the movie). This was one of those books that, once I got a little into it, I became obsessed with finishing it. The story behind how it came into print is almost as exciting as the book itself. I also reviewed this one on my podcast, Audific. You can listen to that review here.
I decided I was going to limit each author to one book on this list, or otherwise all the books might be by Elizabeth Hunter. I read five Hunter books this year, but the reason I went with this one was because of the brilliance with which it wrapped up a trilogy with some very complex mythology behind it. As usual, the writing is exquisite, the voice unique, and the characters some of the best crafted. What I also admired in the Irin series is how much the locations became more than just background. Be it Scandinavia, Istanbul or Venice, the plot interacts in a way with its environment that could only be done but an author of such renown as Elizabeth Hunter. Be sure to check out the audiobook adaptations of this series as well, read to perfection by Zachary Webber.
Speaking of Elizabeth Hunter, she, among others, have been urging me for sometime to check out the works of Grace Draven. This did not disappoint. This was another obsession book. A read-it-until-five-AM, sleep-an-hour, then-struggle-through-the-working-day-but-it-was-worth-it book. The world building in this one is right up with the likes of LeGuin, with some sensual sizzle that still shakes the shanty of a romance lover.
First, let me say that if you’re going to read this book, I require you to listen to the audiobook. Despite the fact that this book is a memoir and essay collection by one of the country’s leading comediennes, there’s a lot of poignant moments and observations on life, love, loss, lessons, and learning to just let go and just get going. Yes, there is plenty of comedy too, and the “guest” voices that occasionally show up to read a few lines (i.e. Kathleen Turner or Patrick Stewart) or even a whole chapter (Seth Meyers), enrich the prose with a bit of stardust.