I managed to eek out 39.5 books this year (I’m going to finish the one I’m currently reading before the end of the year, taking the total up to a solid 40). Here’s the top 5 that I read this year, in no particular order, and not including ones that I’ve reviewed in this blog.
5. Letters from An Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson
I read this one early in the year. I’ve read a lot of deGrasse Tyson’s work, listened to his podcast, etc. This is someone that I really admire. The correspondence between him and people from all walks of life with all different kinds of beliefs was incredibly interesting to read. It wasn’t science-heavy – it was much more personal. Sure, there was science discussed, but there were also things like God and religion touched on. He’s got very interesting points of views on a number of different topics. It’s definitely worth a read, fan of science or not.
4. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
I loved this book so, so much. I had read her debut work (The Night Circus) a number of years ago, and absolutely loved this one. I often wondered if the two books happen in the same universe. The worlds that she weaves are just absolutely beyond amazing. The language and the imagery set a beautiful background to a wonderful story. Some people like to try and force this book into the “fantasy” hole, but it’s much more than that. If you like world-building and a solid story, I highly recommend both of her books.
3. Morning Star by Pierce Brown
This is the third book in the Red Rising series, and if you’re a fan of fantasy or sci-fi I’d definitely give these books a go. As with the Morgenstern book, the world-building in this series is just insane. The depth to the universe that he’s created is probably in the same ballpark as the Game of Thrones universe. The backstory that he’s developed is beyond what most authors would ever hope to create. This is book three – there’s two more that are out that I still haven’t read, not to mention the ones that are still in the works. In some respects I feel as though Brown should be talked about in the same breath as Martin and Jordan, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this series.
2. Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman
If you know one thing about me, you should know that I love the works of Douglas Adams. In this book Neil Gaiman tells the story of Adams, and how his life intertwined with his stories. Before reading this I didn’t know much about the man behind the stories – just that other than the Hitchhiker series he had written a few episodes for Doctor Who (one of my other great loves). Gaiman keeps the tone light, and in some respects it seems like a meld between his writing style and Adams’s. It’s funny, heartwarming, sad, and almost absurd at different points and all at the same time, it seems.
1. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
This book is… not something that I’d normally be into. The murder-mystery kind of schtick generally isn’t my cup of tea. Except this time. This is a story of how your past can shape your future, in both good and bad ways. It’s a story of redemption, of watching someone get what they deserve even if it’s less than what you’d like. It’s written excellently, and despite taking place in an English courtroom you don’t need to go into it with a working knowledge of English law and how it’s practiced. It’s an amazing book. There’s a reason it’s on this list despite not being my preferred genre.
Honorable mentions: Mind Hunter, Sword and Pen, Four Dead Queens, American Princess, The Affiliate (and the second book in the series, The Bound), The Book of Lost Names, Columbine, Bad Blood, and Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies.
I guess that’s it for my top 5 books of the year. It’s been an interesting literary year for me. I read some really excellent books, as well as some absolute crap. I’m hoping to stay away from the crap next year, as much as possible. I tend to get little enjoyment out of it other than that they’re easy, stupid reads that don’t require much brainpower or thought. I might as well read Reddit – at least then I might learn something interesting.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I hope that you enjoyed this list and that I’ve piqued your interest into possibly picking up one of these books, or at least learning more about the.
Stay safe, friends!