A year ago I finally worked up the motivation after having toyed with the idea of starting a blog for months and wrote my first post upon reading and subsequently being inspired by The Martian. Within this first year, I’ve posted over 90 entries with approximately 85 books in all and as of three days ago broke 500 followers. I’m excited to find out which new books, or perhaps better stated, worlds I will discover in the upcoming year! I’ve been blessed to go on many amazing adventures over the past year, e.g. New Orleans, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Mt. Rainier, Glacier National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Voyageurs National Park, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. After the overwhelming positive response I have received upon posted about my last two trips, I have decided to continue posting blogs regarding my traveling as I have a trip to Zion National Park and Chicago in the works. Another goal for the next year involves a reread of A Song of Fire and Ice along side a detailed analysis of many of George R. R. Martin’s delicately detailed and weaved clues. I’m almost done with the Game of Thrones (Book 1), so be looking forward to my first post! With that being said, I decided to take a gander back through my posts and recount my top 10 books from this past year, however it was impossible to keep to ten, so I’ve added a few additional honorable mentions too!
Top 10 Books from this Past Year
- I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
It has been a long time since I have felt as moved by a book as I have by I’ll Give You the Sun. Nelson was able to not only express the characters’ complex emotions through traditional mechanisms, but to further these emotions by creating vivid imagery with Noah’s Invisible Museum and Jude’s Bible thumping. Put this book on the top of your reading lists now! You won’t be disappointed!
- The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
While not an ‘easy read,’ The Country of Ice Cream Star is a truly original and creative narration that is written in an eloquently, unique dialect of the futuristic ‘Nited States’. I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t seen more blog posts regarding this book. Hopefully, I’ll be able to inspire you to pick up this fascinating read!
- Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The world and characters in Name of the Wind are all developed to an exorbitant detail, which satisfies my analytical brain, which is often my main grievance upon critiquing books. Kvothe’s adventures, or perhaps better stated as troubles, are frequent and each one more amazing than the previous, often leaving the reader on the edge of their seat.
- Seveneves by Neil Stephenson
In Seveneves, Neil Stephenson taps into the apocalyptic fear expressed in many, many Hollywood films. Stephenson weaves a tale of human ingenuity put to the ultimate test of self-preservation. The result is an unbearably, suspenseful, edge of your seat race against the odds and an ever ticking clock. This futuristic world created by Stephenson, was wonderful, brilliant, magical, creative, and a true work of art. I’m surprised as with The Country of Ice Cream Star that I haven’t seen more people raving about this book. Perhaps the length proves to be a bit daunting.
- Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The Devil in the White City is a wonderfully delightful read highlighting the development of the Chicago World Fair along side the emergence of serial killer. Read this book before everyone is talking about Leo starring in the upcoming movie! Let’s hope that the movie adaption doesn’t move along the same lines and Monuments Men!
- Sleeping Giant by Sylvian Neuvel
Sleeping Giants is a must read due to Neuvel bridging the often literarily neglected bridge between extraterrestrial, science fiction technology and the potential real-life political attitudes subsequent repercussions. The tale is weaved through the unique context of interviews, memos, and personal logs. Neuvel elegantly portrays personalities, mannerisms, and attitudes of the main characters in the minimalist nature of an interview. He even mentions my beloved Detroit Lions! Trust me and get ahead of the pack here. Sleeping Giants is a must read!
- The Martian by Andy Weir
Wier does a masterful job navigating the reader through this heavily scientific, technical material, while managing to not lose the reader’s interest. Despite the seemingly impossible situations, Watney’s dialogue offers refreshing humor to counteract the gloom and doom of his condition. Overall, The Martian was a refreshing, unique enjoyable novel that readers will love diving into. You won’t be disappointed!
3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Overall, I couldn’t put down this book, having finishing it in one day. I found the concept fascinating that I became lost in a book, about people getting lost in a virtual universe, in which, they zone completely out while playing various video games during the treasure hunt, therefore, a game, within a game, within a book. The result is a highly entertaining obsession of pop culture from the 80s in a high tech world with a suspenseful race to the end. Be ready to get lost within the book, following people who get lost within a game while playing games!
2. Queen of the Tearling Series by Erika Johansen
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is the tale of a young girl, Kelsea, who is thrust into the role of Queen on her 19th Birthday. However, she must first survive the harrowing journey to her castle, assassins, and her traitorous Uncle Regent, all while trying to heal her fractured land. Read Queen of the Tearling before word gets wide spread about the movie starring Emma Watson and this amazing series in general!
- Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown
The Red Rising series quickly became one of my favorite series of all time. If youre a regular at all to my blog or know me in real life, you’re probably sick of me talking about how great Red Rising is and encouraging you to pick it up immediately. Brown skillfully weaves a tale, that throughout the series is filled with one plot twist after another that keeps the reader on their toes, better yet, he manages to keep a current of humor bubbling on the surface throughout that often made me laugh out loud. There is no sophomore slump and the final book of the trilogy is the perfect ending to this wonderful series! Shall I ask again, have you read Red Rising yet?
The Magician’s Series by Lev Grossman
The Magicians is a wonderfully constructed world, harboring similarities of Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. While I was not necessarily a huge fan of this first book in the series, the series as a whole is fits together seamlessly, with many of the mysteries surrounding the first book not being solved until the final one.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
As a chemist, I found the background of the scientists extremely intriguing, especially when considering the names that history made infamous, alongside the numerous, brilliant individuals which science and history consequently forgot. Overall, Bryson succeeded in reinvigorated curiosity and a general amazement in science, and the universe/world/history to a level resembling one of my youth. Every person should read A Short History of Nearly Everything at least once, if not twice!