“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015

“Best of 2015” Book Lists from several sources, including PASTE online zine’s “30 #Best” in #Fiction, #Nonfiction and #YA Fiction from 2015

I present only the lists, here, with titles and authors for fiction and a brief categorization for nonfiction. Go to the links to read each reviewer’s summary and opinions of each entry, below. I also present a few alternative lists and authors, just so you know some of what else is out there.

Read! Enjoy! Buy/borrow books! Write reviews!

(NOTE: PASTE also provides the 30 best cookbooks, 18 documentaries about writers, and more at http://www.pastemagazine.com/books )


30 Best Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[20 of 30 are male. Sigh.]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-30-best-fiction-books-of-2015.html
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 16, 2015
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
2. Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
3. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall
4. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
5. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
6. The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
7. The First Bad Man by Miranda July (short story collection)
8. So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano
9. You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
10. Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine
11. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
12. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (short story collection)
13. The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
14. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
15. The Incarnations by Susan Barker
16. The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
17. Sweetland by Michael Crummey
18. Suitcase City by Sterling Watson
19. Submission by Michel Houellebecq
20. Paradise City by Elizabeth Day
21. The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway
22. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
23. The Rocks by Peter Nichols
24. Girl at War by Sara Nović
25. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
26. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (short story collection)
27. Golden State by Stephanie Kegan
28. Morte by Robert Repino
29. A Poet of the Invisible World by Michael Golding
30. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Here are some other fiction lists “best of 2015” from different perspectives, which I appreciate enormously. Please go peruse these annotated lists at the links provided, below, to pick from each a few to read yourself! Ask your local library and bookstores to carry your favorites! Write reviews!

—-

“Top 10 Feminist Books of 2015” 12/23/15 by Kitty Lindsay from Ms. Magazine
Has a mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction with titles almost no one else lists (big surprise), with several written by some of feminism’s iconic leaders and award-winning authors (even has two male authors!), including:
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Fiction)
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (Autobiography; poetry) (a re-issue from 1969, commemorating her passing in 2015)
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood (Fiction; short story collection)
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Memoir)
Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey (Non-Fiction)
How To Grow Up by Michelle Tea (Memoir)
Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy (Non-Fiction)
Octavia’s Brood: Science-Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements Edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown (Science-Fiction Anthology; including authors Tananarive Due, LeVar Burton, Terry Bisson and essayists, activists, artists, filmmakers, journalists) ALSO, editor adrienne maree brown, “an independent science-fiction scholar and a social justice activist, has been chosen as the 2015-16 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellow. Brown lives in Detroit, Michigan…. The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship, now in its third year, is sponsored equally by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. The award supports travel for the purpose of research on, and work with, the papers of feminist science fiction authors housed in the Knight Library”; AND editor, Walidah Imarisha wins the Tiptree Award (named for feminist female author who wrote under the name “James Tiptree, Jr.,” in order to get published in the sci-fi world as a woman) and cash prize for 2015!
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer (Non-Fiction)
Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism by David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon (Non-Fiction)
http://msmagazine.com/blog/2015/12/23/your-holiday-reading-list-top-10-feminist-books-of-2015/

AND another “best of” list from Ms. Magazine: “15 Women Writers Every Badass Woman Should Read” by E. CE Miller on 12/14/15
Ths list includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and cross-genre feminist authors, some of whom appear on other lists, here, but several who do not. Enjoy!
http://www.bustle.com/articles/128770-15-women-writers-every-badass-woman-should-read

—-“55 Best Indie [Self-Published] Books of 2015,” 12/2/15, from Indie Reader‘s year of reviews. Their lists are divided into subgenres of fiction, including: Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Inspirational, Kids, Literary, Mystery/Thriller, Science-Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult (YA). They also have nonfiction (which includes poetry) in a separate list.
http://indiereader.com/2015/12/56-best-reviewed-self-pubbed-books-2015/

What’s fun about this self-pubbed list is that I am “friends” with one of the authors on social media sites! Mazel Tov to D. Hart St. Martin (Blooded, in YA).

AND, I now have an entirely new list of authors to invite to my online video talk show for 2016, CHANGES conversations between authors (see https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/ for past and upcoming shows and details about how to watch an Episode or how to be on one.

CHANGES Trailer Image_3

I resume my almost-weekly Wednesdays at 10 AM Eastern USA time one-hour live format on January 20 with returning guest, author John Howell.

Three other fiction lists:

—-“My Favorite African Science-Fiction and Fantasy (AfroSFF) Short Fiction of 2015″ by Wole Talabi, 11/28/15 https://wtalabi.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/my-favorite-african-science-fiction-and-fantasy-sff-short-fiction-of-2015/

AND

—-“Best Books 2015: Genre Fiction” on the Library Journal Reviews page, has several genres (African-American, Christian, Historical, Mystery, Romance, Thrillers, Women’s Fiction and Science-Fiction/Fantasy).
http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2015/11/best-of/best-books-2015-genre-fiction/

The African-American Fiction list by Rollie Welch includes:
Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Caught Up by Shannon Holmes
Playing for Keeps by Deborah Fletcher Mello
Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray
Stone Cold Liar: The Misadventures of Mink LaRue by Noire

The Science-Fiction/Fantasy Fiction list by Megan M. McArdle & Jessica E. Moyer includes Water Knife (see Paste‘s list), and:
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
Uprooted by Naomi Novi
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

AND

—-Entropy mag‘s “Best of 2015 Fiction Books” from 12/8/15 includes only one or two that overlap Paste’s list and is a much more multicultural/global (includes several translated-into-English novels) and fascinating group of 50 titles, plus one “Honorable Mention.”
http://entropymag.org/best-of-2015-best-fiction-books/

AND

—-Let’s get political, please! Here are lists created by The Guardian and The Observer‘s reviewers, which they endearingly call “2015’s master list” of books, from 12/11/15, subdivided into: Fiction [Thrillers, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Children’s, Graphic Novels (no one else remembered these, apparently!)]; non-Fiction [Sports, Food, Drink, two lists for Biographies, History, Nature, Politics, Music, Poetry, Architecture, Art, Photography, Science, Celebrity Memoirs]; and a few groups by odd categories [Paperbacks, Stocking-fillers (size-related? cost-related?), Novels].
http://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2015/dec/11/all-of-the-best-books-of-2015

You can also go cruise on Google for other “best of 2015” fiction lists, such as those from or by Small Presses, Independent Publishers, more Indie/ Self-Pubbed authors, Debuts, Flash Fiction, and on and on. Have fun! https://goo.gl/itQw0i

AND

—-Brain Pickings has several “best of 2015” lists. Here are links to two of them (Children’s, list of lists and All Books):
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/15/best-childrens-books-2015/
http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=13eb080d8a315477042e0d5b1&id=60eab78aa3&mc_cid=773f043fba&mc_eid=3da2b98925
https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/12/21/best-books-2015/?mc_cid=773f043fba&mc_eid=3da2b98925


Also from PASTE:

30 Best Young Adult (YA) Fiction of 2015
[only 4 male out of 30 writers here…hmmmm…]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-best-ya-books-of-2015-1.html
By Eric Smith | December 10, 2015
1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
3. Blood & Salt by Kim Liggett
4. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
5. Joyride by Anna Banks
6. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
7. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
8. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
9. An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
10. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
11. Winter by Marissa Meyer
12. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
13. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
14. My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
15. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
16. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
17. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
18. Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
19. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
20. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
21. Shutter by Courtney Alameda
22. Those Girls by Lauren Saft
23. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
24. Tracked by Jenny Martin
25. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
26. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
27. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
28. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
29. For the Record by Charlotte Huang
30. Half Wild by Sally Green

—-How about a YA list of the best of 2015 from the United Kingdom? 12/15/15 from Martin Chilton, Culture Editor of The Telegraph, Rebecca Hawkes and other reviewers/ contributors, offers 45 titles in this genre, with a few overlapping from the above list.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/young-adult-books/best-of-2015/

AND

—-Bustle‘s YA best fiction list from 12/10/15, Caitlin White
http://www.bustle.com/articles/116096-the-25-best-ya-books-of-2015

AND

—-Pop Crush‘s 10 best YA from 2015 posted on 12/7/15 by Emily Maas, here:
http://popcrush.com/10-best-young-adult-books-2015/

AND

My favorite, from an fantastic site that promotes excellence in girls and young women with daily info posts (subscribe!), MIGHTY GIRL, offers: “Top Read-Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls,” which gives you and your favorite child a lot of choices for spending time together. Become and share being inspired by the amazing achievements, courage, insight, smarts and talent of these MIGHTY girls and women! This site also reviews TV/films (by category), toys (by category, type and ages), music ((by category) and clothing. MIGHTY GIRL also provides an incredible list that they call their “Character Collection,” which you have to peruse, their “Best of…” lists of almost everything, and offers resources to educators and parents.

If you’re (your girls are) really into reading, join the MIGHTY GIRL Book Club!

There are 172 books on this list. Some are for younger, some are for older, many are for all ages. These books are selected from several decades and countries, but all are available in English (although many have been translated into several other languages and you can find those versions easily).

The left menu bar lets you sort the list by target age (88 are for younger and 73 are for teens), award-winners (National Book—12, literature [Newbery—39], civil rights [Coretta Scott King—2], Parents’ Choice—15, and others), and price (free to under $20, and over $20 [only 2], but don’t forget: most are in local libraries as well).

Many of the older books have been turned into films, TV specials and series, so you can share the stories together aloud, then go watch some on screen together.
http://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/top-read-alouds


30 Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from PASTE
[18 male authors for 17 of the books; a bit more balanced, gender-wise, here]
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/12/the-30-best-nonfiction-books-of-2015.html
By Frannie Jackson & Tyler R. Kane | December 23, 2015
1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates—memoir/current events
2. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein—music history/memoir
3. M Train by Patti Smith–memoir
4. Red Notice by Bill Browder—biography/social commentary/current events
5. Missoula by Jon Krakauer—social commentary/current events
6. The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper—music criticism collection
7. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell—history
8. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari—social commentary
9. The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander—memoir
10. Dead Wake by Erik Larson—history
11. One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad—biography/social commentary/current events
12. The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret—radio journalist’s collection
13. The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck—memoir/history
14. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson—memoir
15. Country Soul by Charles L. Hughes—history
16. Dime Stories by Tony Fitzpatrick—print journalist’s collection
17. We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War by Doug Bradley and Craig Werner—history
18. On the Move by Oliver Sacks—memoir
19. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello—autobiography
20. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough—biographies
21. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery—about octupi
22. Once in a Great City by David Maraniss—history
23. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson—poetry, philosophy, criticism, memoir
24. Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt—memoir
25. Madness in Civilization by Andrew Scull—history
26. Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso—essays/opinions
27. Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon—autobiography, of Sonic Youth founder/member
28. The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits—memoir
29. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald—about hawks
30. Gumption by Nick Offerman—profiles of 21 individuals

—-In case you want another set of opinions about Non-Fiction (but they duplicate many of Paste‘s), here you go:
EarlyWord‘s Best Non-Fiction of 2015 from 12/8/15
http://www.earlyword.com/2015/12/08/best-books-nonfiction-2015/

—-Also, several more lists from EarlyWord: http://www.earlyword.com/category/best-books-2015/


—-For those of you who haven’t caught up with your reading and don’t much care about being trendy or up-to-date but keep looking for good books to read, try this list from 5/22/15, by Nina Bashaur, posted on HuffPost Women:
“21 Books From The Last 5 Years That Every Woman Should Read” (but I would say every PERSON…).
[Oh, oh: I’ve only picked up 5 of these and actually read only 3. Sigh.]
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/19/recent-books-women-should-read_n_7314166.html

buy-books-and-feel-good

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Observations from a Master of #Timetravel: Guest Post by Devorah Fox

I am so pleased to welcome Devorah (Dee) Fox as my guest blogger today. Dee is a #fantasy/ #thriller #author and #columnist who was my guest on CHANGES conversations between authors for Episode 18.

Dee is a contributing writer to a new anthology about time travel releasing this month and has an interesting set of questions posed, below, regarding the distinctions (or not) among #Fantasy, Science-Fiction (#scifi) and general #fiction, with a discussion of #parallel/ #alternate #universes and multiple #timelines as well. Since I deal with many of these topics in my own writing, via The Spanners Series, http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners-2, we both welcome your comments, questions and experiences! Join the conversation, please!

For more information about how to reach Dee and know more about her writing, to become a guest on CHANGES or become a guest blogger on my site, see below this post.

Thanks for visiting!


Observations from a Master of #Timetravel

by Guest Blogger, Devorah Fox

A couple of years ago, I ruminated on what categorized a story a Fantasy as opposed to General Fiction. Fiction is about made-up stuff. That’s why it’s fiction and not nonfiction. I asked myself: is a work considered Fantasy simply by virtue of the degree to which the fiction is imaginative?

Although I am now on the fourth book in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam, labeled by me as an “epic Fantasy series,” I’m still not convinced that these stories belong in the Fantasy genre. It’s true that they are set in an imagined geography and in a period that is more “once upon a time” than an actual historic era. And yes, the hero battles dragons, sea monsters, and other mythical creatures. However, the life challenges that King Bewilliam faces are contemporary: career displacement and divorce in The Lost King; parenting in The King’s Ransom; the nature of leadership and the morality of war in The King’s Redress. So, are those stories Fantasy?

When I embarked on a short story for Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Time Travel Anthology, I found myself wondering about the difference between Fantasy and Science-Fiction. I’ve seen the comment that Science-Fiction explores the possible, albeit improbable, while Fantasy explores the impossible, but I wouldn’t agree. I don’t see a clear distinction between imagining a world that includes aliens versus one that includes werewolves.

mastersoftimecover
Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Time Travel Anthology

Ray Bradbury, whose work falls into both genres, suggested that Science-Fiction is a logical projection of the future. Science-Fiction takes as its departure point what we do know about reality, whereas Fantasy is based in invention.

I prefer to think that Fantasy explores what we don’t know about reality. At the risk of sounding metaphysical, there are planes of existence for which we cannot provide evidence using our five senses. Nevertheless, spiritualists and religious leaders encourage belief in the numinous. Fantasy embraces the supernatural and the paranormal, but notice that “natural” and “normal” are at its roots. I’d go even further and say that scientists are very imaginative and fantasize about what we don’t know…yet. What makes them Scientists is that they then seek to prove or disprove that, while Fantasists don’t seek proof.

Many a Fantasist has explored time travel as if it were possible. Even noted scientists take the idea seriously, according to a blog post by theoretical physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku. He wrote that a contemporary of Einstein, mathematician, Kurt Goedel, suggested that time is flexible: it speeds up and slows down. Also, time has whirlpools in which it could wrap itself into a circle. This would enable anyone walking along the direction of rotation to find themselves returned to the starting point but backwards in time.

Decades later, mathematician, Roy Kerr, proposed the concept of a rotating black hole. Dr. Michio Kaku explained it this way: “…[T]he black hole would not collapse to a point (as previously thought) but into a spinning ring (of neutrons). The ring would be circulating so rapidly that centrifugal force would keep the ring from collapsing under gravity. The ring, in turn, acts like the Looking Glass of Alice. Anyone walking through the ring would not die, but could pass through the ring into an alternate universe.”

Before we all run off and start building time machines, though, we should address some paradoxes. Take, for instance, this problem: if you go back in time and undo the circumstances that led to your birth, you would never come to be, much less be around to time travel. This is what’s known as the Grandfather Paradox, which results in an inconsistent causal loop. It puts “effect” ahead of “cause” instead of the other way around, as we commonly understand it. This paradox creates an infinite loop: you go back in time and kill your grandfather, thereby preventing your own birth, thereby preventing yourself from going back in time to kill your grandfather, thus your grandfather is never killed, which allows you to be born, so you can go back in time and kill your grandfather….

Let’s say, instead, that time is fixed, that even if occurrences of the past are changed, the future that they led to cannot be. For example, you travel back in time and kill your grandfather (poor Grandad. Whatever did he do to deserve all this antagonism?). To cover your actions, you replace him with someone else, but that man marries and somehow gives birth to your father, who has a child—–you–—so, you are born, after all.

Another possibility is that there are alternative and parallel universes. If this is so, you can travel back in time, kill your grandfather and thwart any offspring, including you. However, all you have done is alter one timeline. Others, including the one in which you do exist, continue unchanged. However, you (the homicidal maniac time-traveler), cannot return to that timeline.

Indeed, the protagonist of my story, “Turning the Tide,” doesn’t so much travel through time herself as she changes it. She reaches into the past to put two men she loves on different paths, effectively moving them into parallel universes, where they enjoy brighter futures.

It’s not hard for me to believe in parallel timelines. At any point in any of our lives, there are different tracks we can follow, deliberately or reactively. The Time Master in “Turning the Tide” knows that the consequence of her manipulation could be that she never meets the men she so loves. However, it’s also entirely possible that, even though their lives took different courses, one or both of them could still meet her. There are so many roads, with so many forks in them. Any one of them could intersect with another parallel timeline, just at a different point.

You’ll find both Fantasy and Science-Fiction at the heart of the stories in the newly-launched Masters of Time: A Sci-Fi and Time Travel Anthology Check it out: http://meet-the-time-masters.blogspot.com.

You can find about more about my epic Fantasy (or not) series, The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam: http://devorahfox.com and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006L9BJAO.

threeKBWbooks
The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam


Dee’s Links:

website: http://devorahfox.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/DevorahFoxAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006L9BJAO
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/devorahfox/videos

MOT links:

webpage: http://timeanthology.blogspot.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Masters-Time-Science-Fiction-Anthology/dp/1514173727
Trailer: http://youtu.be/PovabW4fyjQ
Apple iBooks/iTunes: http://apple.co/1bp77vK
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1K3ggGi
Barnes & Noble/ nook: http://bit.ly/1Kkkr0C

Devorah actual
Devorah (Dee) Fox


Dee Fox was also my guest on CHANGES conversations between authors, an almost-weekly, Google+/Youtube video chat show, on Episode 18. Watch conversations with my previous CHANGES guests any time: http://goo.gl/eX0D8T

OPENINGS occur frequently! #Authors, especially those in sci-fi/speculative fiction and who blog, learn more about and get yourself on CHANGES, and
#Readers, recommend an #author to be scheduled as a guest: http://goo.gl/1dbkZV


If you’d like to be a Guest Blogger, please visit my Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame and learn what’s involved.

Thanks for visiting, commenting, following, and enjoying this site! http://www.sallyember.com