Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This One Goes to 11: Favorite Books Read in 2015


As a follow-up to my Books Read, 2015 list, here's a list of my favorite 11 books in two categories read last year, in no particular order. 

FICTION
  • Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  • Lirael by Garth Nix (These are the final two books of Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy. Technically YA novels, I was impressed by the characterization, world-building, and interesting take on death.)
  • Dreams of Dark and Light: The Great Short Fiction of Tanith Lee (Lee died in 2015. She was a master of strange, dark fantasy and science fiction.)
  • Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre (An almost psychedelic, woman-centric apocalyptic SF classic.)
  • Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey (Preceded by Banewreaker, this is the conclusion of Carey's Sundering Duology, which is essentially a morally ambivalent retelling of Tolkien from the point of view of the villains.)
  • Mort(e) by Robert Repino (Incredibly original, emotionally powerful story of animals declaring war on humanity and the adventures of one really badass cat.)
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy byJeff VanderMeer (Brilliant yet hard to describe. Maybe John Le Carre meets H.P. Lovecraft with a dash of Jules Verne?)
  • The Woman Who Loved the Moon and Other Stories by Elizabeth A. Lynn (Dreamy, slightly surreal stories from an author who sadly no longer writes.)
  • The Word for World is Forest by Ursula Le Guin (Radical political SF from a true legend.)

NONFICTION
  • Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World by Trevor Paglen
  • Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn
  • Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
  • The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson (These four books are all excellent primers on modern U.S. history and foreign policy. The books by Paglen and Cockburn are especially relevant to current events.))
  • In Search of the Warrior Spirit: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Military by Richard Strozzi-Heckler (Interesting study of what happens when Aikido principles are introduced to hyper-macho military units.)
  • Ki in Daily Life by Koichi Tohei (Great life lessons from the founder of Ki Aikido.) 
  • Kill The Body And The Head Will Die: A Closer Look at Women, Violence, and Aggression by Rene Denfeld (Interesting, controversial study of violence in women from a writer and amateur boxer.)
  • Living with Nietzsche: What the Great "Immoralist" Has to Teach Us by Robert C. Solomon (One of the best books on understanding and appreciating this great philosopher.)
  • Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky (Strong rebuttal to the idea that war and violence is ever necessary. I still don't know how much I agree or disagree with the author, but he sure made me think.)
  • Path Notes of an American Ninja Master by Glenn Morris (The esoteric, at times rather weird story of one man's experiences in the martial arts and life in general.)
  • Wolf by Garry Marvin (Short history of an unjustly vilified animal.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Books Read, 2015

I love reading. I've loved reading ever since I was a kid. And since I don't watch television, reading is my go-to form of entertainment and enlightenment. 

A couple of years ago I decided to log every book I read and then compile a master list at the end of the year. In the past, I haven't posted the list because I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested. However, some people have told me they would be interested, so without further ado, here's my Master Reading List for 2015, in alphabetical order by title...