In the past couple years I've tried to read 100 new to me books during the year. I succeeded in 2014, but I only made it to 80 in 2015. Which is still great, don't get me wrong! I've set the goal to 100 again for 2016, we'll see what happens.
Instead of telling you about everything I read, I thought I would just give you the top five. In no particular order:
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff This book is on lots of year in best of lists and I agree. I added it to my list after seeing it at the Southern Festival of Books in the fall but only just got it from the library last week. The waiting list was long! It is the story of two people in a marriage that people find enviable, and it follows them from first infatuation until death. Like in life, you find out nothing is what it seems on the outside, and no one can really know what is going on in a marriage from the outside, or even from the inside. I liked the writing style and the way things were revealed. Some people compare it to Gone Girl because the narrator switches about halfway through, but it isn't a story of murder and obsession like that one is. Highly recommend!
2. The Magicians by Lev Grossman Someone at work told me about these because of my love of Harry Potter. I had someone never heard of this series before. It follows Quentin Coldwater who gets admitted to a secret wizard college when he turns 18. It is much darker and more adult than the Harry Potter series. I loved all three of the books in this series.
3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr I read this one at the beginning of the year and it has stuck with me. It is set during World War Two and follows two very different people. One a young blind French girl whose father works for the Museum of Natural History in Paris, one an orphan boy born in Germany. The narrative switches between their stories until they intersect, but not in the way you expect. I really enjoyed the different perspective on WW2 than you usually see, and this book was beautifully written. I will probably read it again.
4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik If you are a fan of fantasy and books with magic, you have got to read this! The story is about a valley where one girl is taken every ten years to live with "The Dragon", a wizard. As you can probably guess the protagonist gets picked and goes to the Dragon's tower. It starts like this: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”I loved the mythology of this book and the characters and was kind of disappointed that it is a stand alone and not part of a series.
5. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell I love everything by Rainbow Rowell, and this novel is my favorite. This is the story that is talked about in the book Fangirl (one of my favorites from last year, read that one too!) fleshed out. It is the last book in a series of Harry Potter like (sense a theme? haha) books. Even though you haven't read the rest of the story, the way it is written makes it easy to follow. Here is part of the blurb from the jacket: "Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters." The story relates in some ways to Harry Potter but is very different. This book felt like it was custom made for me! Another I will reread for sure.
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