2015 Year of Books Read…… In review
Another year down and another 26 books read. Here as usual are the top five of the year with a few honorable mentions.
Revival By Stephen King
Stephen King is just a wonderful writer. I was engulfed in the story of this book from beginning to end. The problem is if I described the book from cover to cover for someone else, I don’t think it would sound interesting for the most part.
The plot was a bit different. This is written as an autobiography of a fictional character. So, we get major points in the characters life from early to late-ish. Some of it is important, some isn’t. But it was interesting regardless.
The characters are deep and rich and they change with age and experience. Some are better than others, some are easy to dislike. But they feel very real other than some of the same slang used from character to character that occasionally make you realize they were all written by the same person.
The writing is absolutely amazing. Kept me glued to the story.
While I was reading this I would tell people it isn’t really horror. And it really isn’t sci-fi. It is just fiction. Now that I am through the whole thing I guess it is horror. It definitely has many horror elements. But, I still think it doesn’t fit any genre very well.
I became interested in the story and the wandering life of the main character. I found myself wanting more and more information, but the book would always just hold a little back so I needed to get to that next part. I liked the characters and I became a little bit attached to them. I was a little sad when it ended.
I don’t have a lot of bad stuff to say about it. The only thing that really comes to mind is it felt like it the end was forced. I did not like the conclusion and it almost felt like something was left out. But it was still a great read.
Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America By Jeff Ryan
I have nothing bad to say about this book. I loved every second of it. But, be forewarned if you are not interested in the video game industry, specifically its history and how business deals were struck to build the industry, then you won’t like it.
It is hard to review a book like this. It is a description of moves that Nintendo made to build their business. The stories are interesting. The information is very well fleshed out. Nothing feels like it is left out. The book does read like a text book, but in essence, that’s what it is.
The only criticism I have is that there was an occasional opinion thrown in after a large segment of factual information. Those opinions didn’t seem to fit, but other than that it was great.
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life By Steve Martin
When you think of an auto-biography of a man who was made famous by wearing an arrow on his head, laughing at his own bad jokes, and dancing uncontrollably you assume it will be ridiculous and badly constructed. But the more you know about Steve Martin, the more you expect from his works. His dramatic writings, his acting career, his television credits… This book is the story of a man who aspired to be a master of his craft and accomplished nearly as much.
It is short, but entertaining. If you want to respect a man who you know as just some comedian, this book should accomplish that. The story is interesting although occasionally confusing due to the random flash forward or backward, but it is full of fun and enlightening experiences.
The writing is very good. Only noticed an odd sentence structure once or twice, but the grammar and vocabulary are very appropriate.
The biggest thing about this book is the appreciation it creates for the art of the stand up comic. When he discusses the philosophies behind an act and the psychology of timing and movement you get a quick glimpse into a complicated art that seems to be straightforward and simple. It also creates a full personality around the comic who before seemed very one dimensional.
Great book everyone should read.
Armada By Ernest Cline
Ernest Cline did it again. A fun book that is simply put a fantasy for a gamer. There is not a lot of imagination in the plot line of this one, but fun is the main takeaway from it.
Cline is a good writer. He writes in the way most people talk. Not a lot of big words or confusing sentences, just normal speech. He does have a tendency to restate things which can be annoying, it feels as though he assumes the reader is too stupid to understand what has happened so far, but it is forgivable.
The characters are rich, but typically immature. It helps that the book is written through the narration of an eighteen year old boy. Unfortunately, the adult characters also feel like teenagers as well. He has a habit of using the same speech patterns between characters making it feel obvious they are all characters from the same person’s mind. It is a small detail, but when every adult calls every teenager kid, son, or buddy it becomes evident that they are all one in the same.
The plot is tired. It has been done dozens of times, but at least the book recognizes that fact and uses it as a way to move the story forward. Just like in Ready Player One he uses pop culture references and eighties trivia as a way to link characters and move the story along. I was unhappy with the ending, but it was fun all the way up until.
Not as good as Ready Player One, but a good read for gamers or fans of his other book.
JOB: A Comedy of Justice By Robert A. Heinlein
I don’t know why it took me so long to give Robert Heinlein a try, but he was an amazing writer. This book is almost as much a masterpiece as was Stranger in a Strange Land, but it is not nearly as appealing to as many people.
As a pure work of literary merit this book is put together as well as anything else in the English language. I did not find myself feeling that he repeated painful sentence structures. I did not notice words being used that were far above the level of others around them. I did not see any issue with the dialogue or description. It is VERY WELL written.
The plot is outrageous and incredibly interesting. It seemed as though I was guessing as to what was really happening the entire time. I had theory after theory to match the main character’s theories at the same time. Even though I did not know where the story was going, I found myself fully enthralled the entire time.
I personally loved this book, but I feel many will not. The biggest issue is this is a very religious book. The last quarter or so of the book is so drenched in theology that if you have not read the Bible or at least spent years attending Bible study, I doubt you will get the full effect of many of the conversations. But, you need to be aware that on top of the very strong theology feel there is a lot of what many Christians would feel is outright blasphemy. For anyone who is willing to take the Bible and challenge the popular view of the stories and characters within will do fine with this book. But, if you are someone who is easily offended when people challenge your religious beliefs, then this book is not for you!
These are the best I read last year. But, as usual there were some good books that just weren’t quite the top five. So here are some honorable mentions.
The Fold By Peter Clines
Population Control: How Corporate Owners are Killing Us By Jim Marrs
The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery By Miguel Ruiz
The Entire Magic 2.0 Series By Scott Meyer