2015 Booklist

The easy access to e-books is feeding my habit of reading many many books at once, some of which are real projects, like Moby-Dick.
  1. The Magicians
  2. The Magician King
  3. The Magician's Land - Lev Grossman. Excellent sci-fi/fantasy trilogy.
  4. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy - John Julius Norwich.
  5. Inverted World - Christopher Priest. At first I thought it was a 2015 book and I was annoyed at the gender traditionalism, but then I realized it's from 1974, and it turns out to be (rightly) considered a classic of British sci-fi.
  6. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society - Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. I've been wanting to read this for a long time, but I was expecting it to be dry and academic, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it supremely humane and engaging. I skipped the last chapter about how video games promote violent behavior, because the book is from 1995 and that idea has since been debunked by research.
  7. The Long Earth 
  8. The Long War 
  9. The Long Mars - Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter. Really excellent parallel-universe series. There's supposed to be 5, but I don't know what will happen with Pratchett dying recently.
  10. Ringworld - Larry Niven. A sci-fi classic from the 70s. In some ways it hasn't aged well, both in its technological premises, and the fact that the only female character is literally defined by her lack of agency.
  11. Inferno - Dan Brown. Actually a pretty solid book: better written and more interesting than The Da Vinci Code. I learned a ton about Dante.
  12. The Riddle of the Labyrinth - Margalit Fox. Amazing and fabulous book about the Linear B decipherment, using new research that illuminates the pivotal role of Alice Kober's work before her untimely death, which has (shocker) been erased from the story in favor of the man who finished the project, Michael Ventris. Also has tons of detail about the decipherment that I hadn't seen before.
  13. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown. Less stupid than The Da Vinci Code, way more stupid than Inferno. Interesting bits here were about social engineering and how we decide to trust people, and the fact that the character who's supposed to be guarding the key to Ancient Wisdom shows absolutely no wisdom at any stage of dealing with his son, and his prideful incompetence as a father not only invites destruction on his entire family (and drives the plot), but goes almost completely unremarked throughout the book.
  14. The Ringworld Engineers - Larry Niven. 1970s sci-fi, but written in 1986. You can sort of see the transition, but meh. I don't think we've lost anything by leaving the past behind us.
  15. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms 
  16. The Broken Kingdoms 
  17. The Kingdom of Gods - N.K. Jemisin. Holy shit! What an awesome trilogy, full of fun and atypical gender and race stuff, and what feels like a truly original universe.
  18. Embassytown - China Miéville. Sci-fi that I want to call "literary," but I don't want to sit down and figure out why. Really engaging and full of ideas about the nature of language.
  19. Redshirts - John Scalzi. Dialogue that would have made Douglas Adams proud. Ultimately fluffy, but fun.
  20. 2312 - Kim Stanley Robinson. Pretty cool, a world much like his Mars Trilogy, but more refined--no 4-page digressions into scientific exposition, for example.
  21. Iorich - Steven Brust. The second-newest of the reliably fun Vlad novels.
  22. The Dark Defiles - Richard K. Morgan. The author departs from his usual pattern of "2 graphic sex scenes, 1 graphic torture scene" per novel, and tightens up the writing considerably from the first books of the trilogy.
  23. The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham. England, 1957! They made it into a couple of movies, and Warren Ellis wrote the excellent free comic FreakAngels based on it. It's aged remarkably well, including a lesbian couple ("Miss Latterly and her inseparable companion, Miss Lamb"). Exceptions include a conversation drawing conclusions based on the insubstantial fossil record of human ancestry--it is no longer insubstantial--and a classical scientific model of race (Negroid, Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and The Rest of You People™).
  24. Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey. First book of the Expanse series, which I'm looking forward to reading.
  25. The Phoenix Project - Kevin Behr, George Spafford, Gene Kim. A surprisingly readable fable to explain some of the ideas around DevOps and how we need to modernize how companies do computers.
  26. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming - Mike Brown. Fluffy even by mass-market science standards, the almost-entirely-human story of how Pluto lost its status as the 9th planet.
  27. The Darwin Elevator - Jason M. Hough. Not sure how to label this one. It's quite skillfully written, the characters only have the slightest edge of cliché, and I'll be reading at least the next in the trilogy. And yet, I can't really call it "good."
  28. Cards of Grief - Jane Yolen. Weird? Short. Beautiful prose. Really interesting.
  29. Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke. Masterful! The sequels are complete shit.
  30. Some Kind of Fairy Tale - Graham Joyce.
  31. The Family Tree - Sheri S. Tepper.
  32. Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Wilson. Yes, that's actually the title. There's a sequel, even.
  33. Hammerjack
  34. Prodigal - Marc D. Giller. Like Robopocalypse and The Darwin Elevator, these two are a weird kind of B-grade sci-fi which is well-written and enjoyably readable, and yet...
  35. Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat - Bee Wilson.
  36. Amped - Daniel H. Wilson. I disliked the episodic narration of Robopocalypse, and with this book I wonder if it's a pathology of the author's. Nonetheless, interesting ideas, and entertaining enough.
  37. The 4% Universe - Richard Panek. The history of dark matter. Not bad, though the history of supernova discovery could have been cut by 2/3 and still been too long.
  38. The Dire Earth - Jason M. Hough. Prequel novella to the trilogy that starts with The Darwin Elevator.
  39. The Exodus Towers - Jason M. Hough. Super excited to be done with this trilogy.
  40. Blackout/All Clear - Connie Willis. Apparently, in 2060, scientists have mastered time travel, and are simultaneously unimaginative, blithering idiots. This book won the Nebula, Locus, and Hugo Awards for Best Novel, which makes me think those awards are not worth very much. I joined Goodreads just to rant about how bad this book is.
  41. The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen. Lot of interesting stuff going on here, not least of which are the numerous references to rape and child sex slavery as run-of-the-mill elements of a feudal society, even one built on the ruins of modernity.
  42. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Catherynne M. Valente. The wife and kid were enamored of this book; I'm not so sure.
  43. Inside Scientology - Janet Reitman. HOLY SHIT.
  44. The Bone Season 
  45. The Mime Order - Samantha Shannon. File under "not deep, but well-done." The author is a bit too enamored of made-up alternate-future language and doesn't do nearly enough to bring the reader along.
  46. The Long Utopia - Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter. The 4th book in a planned 5-book series, but probably the last, since Terry Pratchett's died. Not quite as awesome as the other 3.
  47. Isaac's Storm - A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History - Erik Larson. Turns out most of Galveston was destroyed by a hurricane in 1900. 
  48. The City and The City - China Miéville. The author seems to have a thing for overlapping/interstitial/bordering spaces. 
  49. The Galaxy Game - Karen Lord. Sequel to The Best of All Possible Worlds, the genre is apparently "social science fiction," and through that lens, it makes more sense.
  50. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth - Reza Aslan. As short as any discussion about the historical Jesus must be.
  51. Hawk - Steven Brust. The latest Vlad Taltos novel. He got his groove back. 
  52. The Murder At the Vicarage - Agatha Christie. Brilliantly written, soup to nuts. But it turns out I don't get joy from mystery novels.
  53. The Girl Who Fell Below Fairyland and Led the Revels There - Catherynne M. Valente. These books have the advantage of not being terribly interesting, and so are good bedtime reading.
  54. Caliban's War - James S.A. Corey. Book 2 of the Expanse series. After giving some thought to other things in life I'm willing to pay $10 for--2.5 trips to a coffee shop!-- I'm buying the last 4 which the library doesn't have.
  55. Abaddon's Gate
  56. Cibola Burn
  57. Nemesis Games - James S.A. Corey. *burp* I ate some books. They were good.
  58. A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas. What I really want are more Assassin books, but I'll forgive her for wanting to write about something else.
  59. The Obsidian Blade 
  60. The Cydonian Pyramid 
  61. The Klaatu Terminus - Pete Hautman. Uncomplicated YA sci-fi.
  62. Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi. Low-grade YA sci-fi. I may read the rest anyway.
  63. The Giver - Lois Lowry. High-grade YA sci-fi?
  64. The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen. 
  65. Seraphina - Rachel Hartman. Unambiguously good YA fantasy.
  66. Command & Control - Eric Schlosser. HOLY SHIT. It is literally the narrowest of luck that we've never had an accidental or unauthorized nuclear detonation. The book just keeps hitting you with one near-miss after another. 
  67. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan. Decent, not great.
  68. The Quantum Thief
  69. The Fractal Prince
  70. The Causal Angel - Hannu Rajaniemi. Kind of a shotgun word-salad of imaginative sci-fi.
  71. The Rise of Rome - Anthony Everitt.
  72. Across the Universe - Beth Revis. A YA mish-mash of bad science.
  73. The Neverending Story - Michael Ende. They were right to end the movie less than halfway through the book. That shit is dark.
  74. Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World - Thomas Cahill. Fun! I want to read the others in the author's series. 
  75. The Martian - Andy Weir. Excellent book! So much nerd.
  76. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell. Ponderous, yet I was compelled to finish it.

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