Favorite Books of 2015

                                            I read 123 books in 2015.
That’s a little above my annual goal of 104, two per week, and it’s about the same as I read last year. I read a lot of old stuff, and my tastes are eclectic, so this looks like an odd list, and I guess it is. But acording to the little numerical ratings I stick in my list of books I read, here were the favorites of the year.

I mostly read novels, and there were a lot that I liked almost as much as these, but according to my rating, these nine were the favorites (listed in no particular order):

  • Blowback by Bill Pronzini, mystery (Nameless)
  • The Zebra-Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald, mystery (Archer)
  • Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan, fantasy (Lady Trent)
  • The Human Division and The End of All Things by John Scalzi, science fiction, (Old Man’s War series)
  • A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias, science fiction
  • One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, fantasy
  • Poor Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston, mystery
  • Behind That Curtain by Earl Derr Biggers, mystery (Chan)
  • Spike of Swift River by Jack O’Brien, adventure

Short Stories: I read 280 short stories in 2015.
That’s an amazing number for me, easily three times my usual short form reading. I know people who read one or more a day, but for me this is exceptional.

My short story reading was weighted heavily to Sherlock Holmes, canon and pastiche, especially during the second half of the year, which explains three of these five. I did read non-mystery short stories during the year, but none of those books made the top of the list which these did. Again, in no particular order.

  • Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, mystery
  • Complete Miss Marple Stories by Agatha Christie, mystery
  • Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures by Mike Ashley, mystery
  • MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part 1 edited by David Marcum, mystery
  • Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook: Thirteen Tales from the Railway Detective  by Edward Marston (Keith Miles), mystery

Art & Illustration
I love art books, but rarely treat myself to them; they’re expensive and occasionally disappointing. These two were not, they were excellent.

  • The Art of Mouse Guard 2005-2015    David Peterson
  • The Art of Robert E. McGinnis    Robert McGinnis & Art Scott

It was a very good year.


About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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24 Responses to Favorite Books of 2015

  1. Steve Lewis says:

    That’s a great list of books and stories. Think you can do better next year? Have a wonderful time trying!

    • Richard says:

      Yes. Yes I will. Maybe not in number, but I’ll read as many things I like or more. I’m getting picky about what I read, and I’m going to try to catch up on series I like but am behind on.

  2. Jerry House says:

    “It was a very good year.”

    And I sincerely hope an even better one coming up for you and Barbara. Enjoy 2016, Richard!

    • Richard says:

      Thanks, Jerry, same at you. I’m going to be reading more Pronzini and Ross Macdonald in 2016.

      By the way, I checked my shelf and I do have CAVES OF FEAR. I’ll read it soon.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Great list. Yes I’ve read more stories but that is an impressive total. I’ll add up my totals for the year later. I know Jackie is pleased to have read 80 books this year for the first time since she topped 100 in 2008. Looks like I will top out at 138. This is disappointing, as (while 200 is my goal) I try and reach at least 150. I think the 780 or so short stories brought the book total down, as did my problem finding something I really wanted to read at a couple of times this year.

    Have a great New Year.

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      OK, I finished #139. And short story #789.

      • Richard says:

        What, you just finished another? Heh. That’s a good total, I think, and a lot of stories.

        By the way, don’t know what your weather is there, but we’re going to have freezing fog by midnight, temps in 20s. I’ll probably be in bed by 10:30.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff, I kept a list of short stories I read for the first time, and when I did a count I was really surprised. As I said, a lot of Holmes stories and more to come, but others as well. I had two periods when I was “off” novels and read just stories. The thicker the book, the longer it takes, and you read some thick short story collections, I think.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’ll add that we saw 11 plays this year, 10 concerts (including tonight’s), and 14 movies.

    • Richard says:

      All zeros in those categories for me, not counting movies watched at home, or are you counting those?

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        No, only the ones in the theater, most of which were in Florida.

        It’s a lot colder here lately but not like you. We should be about 40 and dry at midnight. I will drive a couple of miles and then take the subway one stop to the arena. That will help coming back as Jackie doesn’t want to walk home from our subway stop and if we wait for a bus after midnight on New Year’s it could take forever.

        I did read a half dozen or so stories to finish James Holding’s THE LIBRARY FUZZ MEGAPACK today.

  5. Redhead says:

    you read like 10 times as much as I did this year, and all good stuff! I am jealous.

  6. Yes, 2015 was a very good year for books. I don’t have precise statistics but I bought a little over 1000 books this year. Most of the books came from thrift stores and Library Book Sales. It’s amazing the number of great books you can buy for less than a dollar!

    • Jeff Meyerson says:

      Yikes! That is a lot of books, even for you. A quick look back and it looks like I got 84 books this year. Probably half of them were free from PaperbackSwap.com. Jackie got a lot, probably more than I did. Of course, that doesn’t count the Kindle books.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t keep stats on books bought, and I’m not sure how I could recreate such a list or count. I’d guess – purely sky-gazing here – I bought in the neighborhood of 40 plus a few Kindle ebooks. I do know that book buying declined as the year went on, and there were only a handful over the last three months.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    OK, checked. I seem to have downloaded 57 Kindle books this year (plus 11 for Jackie). Some were only a single story. Most were free or very cheap.

    From PaperbackSwap, it was 32 books for me and 57 for Jackie.

  8. It was a very good year! I bought that same McGinnis art book but haven’t taken the time to sit down and enjoy it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the Mouseguard book. His art is really wonderful.

    I bought A Darkling Sea when it came out, but haven’t taken the time to read it.

    You did read a ton of short stories this year. I was surprised by how many collection I had read, as it certainly wasn’t intentional. I only read one Holmes short story, which was in the Gaiman collection Trigger Warning, and it was one of my favorites from the collection. I’m looking forward to the new Sherlock special that is on tomorrow night.

  9. Brings a smile to my face just to hear about other readers enjoying their reading. Sounds like an awesome reading year!

  10. Good number and a great choice of books, Richard. I will be reading some Ross Macdonald this year and some nonfiction too. I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

  11. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I guess this might be the place to list some stats.

    I read 139 books last year. 18 were non-fiction I read the incredible-sounding total of 789 short stories (a total of 50 collections, plus others read in magazines, etc.). Previous year’s totals were 163 books (15 non fiction) and 760 stories (in 52 collections). I meant to go back and see which authors would lead the “most stories” list but with so many…I haven’t even started that.

    Totals later.

    • Richard says:

      Wow, very cool. I always enjoy the stats you share, Jeff. By the way, I don’t know what your weather is, but here it’s 27 and snowing.

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Actually, today is a lot nicer than expected. It is 47 and sunny. The cold will be here tomorrow and Tuesday. We’re stocking up so we don’t have to leave the house.

  12. Jeff Meyerson says:

    OK, we’re home. The wind picked up and it is a lot cooler out now.

    Here is the breakdown of genres read (with short story collections in ( ) ):

    mystery 78 (28)
    sf 17 (10) I would have sworn I’d read more science fiction this year. Last year, 23.
    fiction 7 (4)
    fantasy 4 (3)
    ya 7 (0)
    western 4 (3)
    horror 3 (3)
    screenplay 1

    It is actually 51 collections, not 50.

    Favorites (more or less) in order of reading:

    Olen Steinhauer, ALL THE OLD KNIVES
    Patricia Abbott, CONCRETE ANGEL
    Wallace Stroby, RUN YOU DOWN
    Joe R. Lansdale, PARADISE SKY
    William Kent Krueger, ORDINARY GRACE
    Michael Connelly, THE CROSSING
    Stephen King, THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS (stories)

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