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I've been a low energy participant at Lady Business this year. 2015 was a weird year for me; full of professional uncertainty and an increasingly scattered work schedule. It was not a year conducive to writing, reading or even keeping up with TV and film. In fact, I probably gave the impression (sometime around the Hugos debacle) that I'd thrown up my hands at the SFF community in frustration. And, while a lot of my silence was due to negotiating around work hours, it would not be entirely inaccurate to imagine me building an internet cave. I put a lot of the time I could have spent writing into self care this year which both kind of sucks and makes me feel like a smart grownup lady.

In the cave I built, I worked away quietly at reading more chromatic authors. I continued to read books by women. I made more of an effort to pick up graphic novels. I read 60 books, including graphic novels (yay, me). I actually read some non-fiction for once (three essays collections). Sure, I hardly wrote anything about any of these books, instead choosing to focus on dissecting short SFF fiction - an area few people were likely to start pitched fights over. I read a lot of short fiction.

However, I found many new favourites in my bookshelves, and while I may not have written long pieces about them I couldn't let the end of the year go by without taking the chance to make a list and highlight them. People love lists, I'm told. So, imagine me nudging these books to you across a table and saying 'Hey, you should read this.' This, by the way, is the British equivalent of cheerleading.

Favourites of 2015

These are my great literary loves of 2015. If I'd had more time you can bet I would have written thousands of words about each one of them. If you want to hear more about any of these books drop me a comment to unleash the words.

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Honour's Knight by Rachel Bach
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake
Ungodly by Kendare Blake
House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Sorceror to the Crown by Zen Cho
Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl
The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Wicked City by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Pleasantville by Attica Locke
A Local Habitation by Seanen Mcguire
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandell
Signal to Noise by Silvia-Moreno Garcia
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Country of Icecream Star by Sandra Newman
Storm, Vol. 1; Make it Rain by Gregory Pak, Victor Ibanez and Scott Hepburn
Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Thinkers of 2015

Every year, there are books that don't quite make my favourites list but that I still can't shake. This year, I wanted to share those with you too (partly in the hope that someone will read them and come work through what makes them linger in the mind for so long). While I may not have fallen quite as hard for these books as I did for the ones in the list above, I was still thoroughly impressed by them. These books could all be loosely labelled experimental, and I'm still thinking about both their subject matter and creative choices long after finishing them.

World War Z by Max Brooks
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
The Ship by Antonia Honeywell
The Bees by Laline Paul
Meatspace by Nikesh Shukla
How to Be Both by Ali Smith

Disappointments of 2015

It's not always love, love, love with me. Now we come to the books that I wasn't so thrilled with in 2015. Thankfully, there were only three books I wanted to moan about this year. Two of them had promise but ended up being problematic. One was just incredibly poorly written.

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Bird, Boy, Snow by Helen Oyeyemi
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Reading Stats - 2015

Finally, a quick look at my reading stats; partly to convince myself I did concentrate on reading this year. There were two areas I really wanted to focus on this year - continuing to read books by women, and reading more books by chromatic authors of all genders.

Race

I read 60 books in 2015.
27 were by chromatic authors.
31 were by white authors.
2 were written by a team featuring both chromatic and white authors.1

Gender

I read 60 books in 2015.
46 were written by women.
7 were written by men.
6 were written by a team featuring both male and female authors.2
0 were written by non-binary authors.

A pretty good year for my reading in terms of these statistics (although I could always read more books by chromatic people and women). I would still like to read more books by non-binary authors but I'm having difficulty finding these. Right now, I'm finding it much easier to search out short fiction by non-binary authors, especially in SFF. If anyone can point me to a recs site that focuses on novels by non-binary authors that would help. Recs lists are OK but long term sites with fresh content would probably help more, and so far I failed to find places like these on my own.

So, those were my favourite books this year. Feel free to let me know what yours were so I can hunt them down. Recs are love, after all!

12When it comes to books and graphic novels written by a team of writers, I've used the names that feature on the cover of the book or trade collection to determine which category they sit in. Consequently some books created by multiple authors may appear in a category for a single gender or race despite having been created by contributors who fit into other categories.

Date: 2015-12-28 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
Dear oh dear, the end of year best-of lists are so bad for my TBR spreadsheet. Making many additions now!

Date: 2015-12-29 09:30 pm (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
Ooo... I see my library has a copy of Antigoddess. Might need to give that a try.

Thanks for the recs!

Date: 2016-01-01 09:07 pm (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
Thanks for letting me know!

Date: 2016-01-03 01:52 pm (UTC)
litomnivore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] litomnivore
I like that you included your disappointments; I don't see that often on year end lists.

I'm really glad you took care of yourself this year. <3

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