I keep a list of the books I’ve read – for the past 40 years. Okay, the first seven years of that were sporadic, and there have been gaps since (somehow I lost everything from June 2008 to April 2009). But I list over 3100 books I’ve read in that time. For 2014 and 2015, I read 80 books each year, of length from short novellas through doorstopper sagas.
About five years ago, I started to assign a rating of 1 to 5 to each book. I would have been one of those teachers who never gave an A+. In five years, only three books got a 5 from me, and none of those was within the past two years. Most books are a 3 or 3.5. I also have the occasional DNF – Did Not Finish, the books I just wouldn’t waste any more of my time on. Remember, this reflects my reading tastes – YMMV.
These are books I read in 2015, not necessarily published this year. Although, looking at the list, I think all but one were released within the past two years.
Three books in 2015 got a 4.5 from me, all fiction. (I had only two 4.5s in 2014.) Their deep characters and emotional impact made me think, made me reread them many times.
Dark Horse is science fiction with a small bit of romance. Radiance is fantasy romance. Both have intense and absorbing main characters and excellent worldbuilding — that’s what hooks me.
Actually, both of these could have inched up toward a 5 except that they needed much better copyediting/proofreading. Frequent text errors (wrong words, misspellings, missing words, grammatical errors) drive me crazy and pull me out of a story.
The third I just finished this week. I’d gotten it from the library, but now I will be buying a copy, since I know it’s a “keeper” I’ll want to reread. Uprooted by Naomi Novik, an incredible and complex fantasy set in an intriguing medieval-ish world of magic. To quote the press: Named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.
I did have over a dozen 4-rated books for the year. I recommend all of these to your reading pleasure.
A Plague of Unicorns – Jane Yolen (juvenile fantasy)
Archangel’s Enigma – Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter series)
Beast Charming – Jenniffer Wardell (fantasy sweet romance)
Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble – Marilyn Johnson (nonfiction)
Midnight Crossroads – Charlaine Harris (paranormal mystery)
Midnight’s Kiss – Thea Harrison (paranormal; Elder Races series)
Minding the Manor – Mollie Moran (nonfiction, memoir)
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari (nonfiction)
Ridiculous – DL Carter (Regency romance)
Rock Hard – Nalini Singh (contemporary romance)
Sweep in Peace – Ilona Andrews (paranormal/urban fantasy)
The Luckiest Lady in London – Sherry Thomas (Victorian romance)
The Unleashing – Shelley Laurenston (paranormal romance)
Oh BTW, you can see hundreds of Best Books lists, from publishing industry sources, major media and reviewers, bloggers — go to largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2015/11/online_best_of_15.html .
I’m always looking for recommendations for great books that will fit my tastes.