Saturday, January 30, 2016

Quick Thoughts - My Favorite Longer Reads of 2015

So I've been loving running the Sippys. Want to know my favorite stories of 2015? Check out the Sippys (which sadly end tomorrow with the fifth and final category). But what about longer works? Novels and graphic novels and poetry chapbooks and…uh…other things? I figured today I would go through my favorite reads of 2015, which is to say my five-star rated reads that made it to my Goodreads (if you want to see all my 2015 reads, feel free).

DISCLAIMER! These are not things that necessarily came out in 2015. Some of these are older but new-to-me. Keeping up on new releases while also catching up on the near-infinite number of books I haven't read is a delicate game, and one that's a bit fraught thanks to ideas of canon and all. But I have a fair balance this year of things that are brand new and things that are contemporary but not new and things that are definitely not new. Anyway anyway, to the list!

I actually feel rather bad I hadn't read this one sooner, because I had intended to any number of times but…well, never did. And what the fuck was I thinking, because it is amazing. Deep and intense and troubling and this look at both a period of time in general but more than that the story of family and people and the relationship between father and son and between both men with the conspicuously absent mother/wife. And yeah, so glad that I've read this and definitely looking forward to tracking down the second volume.

I love the structure of this novel, the way that it's not linear and is basically a collection of texts. It's constructed with such care and mystery and power and the setting is amazing, a taste of a solar system from the dreams of the past, where each world is an unspoiled land for humans to exploit—I mean explore. The voices shine here and the different texts combine and complicate each other in an amazing and delightful fashion. One of the many books out in 2015 that I absolutely loved.

Speaking of 2015 books that I loved, this one came out fairly early in the year and it is amazingly fun, a bit of steam western with characters that feel real and alive and a setting that breathes a history that was and wasn't. It's great because it blends fantasy and research and it's quite surprising to find out which elements from the story are fabricated and which are pulled relatively whole from the actual past. And the plot is tight and the action amazing and it all just works.

I've been meaning to read this for a while and oh my GLOB! I was not disappointed. I'm a sucker for m/m romantic plots and this books weaves one into an epic science fiction with expert skill. The two leads are complex and the setting is amazing. The plot is sufficiently huge and brings up eugenics and diasporas and reconciliation and war and the supporting characters are great, too, the whole package a brilliant mix of science fiction action with character-driven moral and romantic complications. So good. I can't wait to get to the other books in the series (hopefully later this year).

This book is amazing and the setting and the complexity and fuck I just want to read this over and over again. The way that it plays with how language shapes culture and perception and how language can be used to try and be better is just great. And yes, there are still problems but that idea that being better is a process that's never over but that things can get better, can be more just and fair, is just yes, all the yes. The story touches on politics and sexuality and a sort of socialism and I just sort of love this book for the hope inside it, and also the sense of continual revolution and resistance.

Post apocalyptic dystopia with kickass bisexual characters sex in Brazil? Yes please! I don't think it's a surprise that some of the books on this list are typically lumped into YA, because YA is actually amazing at showing that dissatisfaction with the way things are, with being content with imperfect systems. And this novel is all about resistance and art and voice and age. It's about love and about sex and about growing up. And I love it with an unashamed passion. The setting is vibrant and the characters are great and I CRIED SO MUCH!!! Ahem. Sorry. Yes, definitely read this one.

So I liked Half-Resurrection Blues but I LOVED this book. It is amazing and comes out swinging and is basically a huge middle fiction to appropriation wrapped up in a bow of generational change and just basically everything that makes YA such fun and so valuable. There's just so many amazing characters and the magic flows into the setting into the art into everything and it's a great read, combining heritage and superheroics and magic and music and art and does it all with style.

And there you have it! Most of these I have actually reviewed (sometimes multiple times) and you can find my reviews by clicking on the author's tag either on the side bar or at the bottom of this post (added bonus is you can see my reviews of their other words that I've read recently as well). Anyway, there you have it, my favorite reads of 2015! Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur