I read a lot of books in 2015 of which some I didn’t like and of which others I enjoyed enormously. Some I enjoyed so much I’m putting them in today’s blogpost, which is my 2015 bookish gift guide.
I’ve scrolled through all of the books I’ve read this year and picked my favourite books to put in this bookish gift guide. Although I’ve read all of these books in the past year, not all of them were published in the last year though, some have been around for quite some time. Also, this guide is personal, if you want to read more reviews before you make a decision about a book, you can always check the Goodreads page of that book.
Graphic novels & comics
I’ve mentioned Locke & Key a couple of times on the blog this year. I had a difficult relation with the series. At first I thought it wouldn’t be something I’d like. Than, after reading the first volume I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series. After I read the fifth volume I was a bit apprehensive of reading the last volume, because how could this series be so good and end in a satisfying way? It did end in a completely satisfying way, it was even better than I’d hoped. Awesome series, but know that it’s violent and gruesome at some points.
I wrote a complete review about Nimona, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find this comic in this gift guide. I really liked everything about Nimona, but mostly just how quirky the book is. This is an excellent book to give to anyone who likes shape-changers, knights, good vs. evil and lot’s of sarcasm.
Seconds is a graphic novel that is the perfect gift for all those people in your life that are “in between”. Where you’re figuring out what you want in your life and nothing is really going like it should. I’ve already mentioned Seconds earlier this year, in my post about four books I really, really like. The other books mentioned in that post are all excellent gift ideas!
Rat Queens has the most kick ass bunch of main character’s I’ve read about all year. Even better: they’re kick as female characters. They’re also really messed up, have social and personal problems and they’re all so different from each other. Reading this was a delight and I’m hoping the second volume can keep up. Otherwise I’ll just be re-reading volume one and mourn about what could’ve been. Note: this series is drenched in gore ^-^
Last year I worked on my CREARES, an individual project for which I needed to work together with a mentor. I found Peter Goes online, contacted him and thanked my lucky stars the following months for him helping me. On one of our meetings in March he showed a piece of a book he was working on. The book got bought for translation before it was even finished and I can only nod approvingly, because Peter made a little gem of a book. Timeline (or Tijdlijn in Dutch) tells the complete tale of our history and the history of our planet in an awesome illustration style. I think this is the ideal Christmas gifts for everyone between 10 years and whatever age you still can read or enjoy quirky illustrations of dinosaurs, knights, vikings and everything else we came up with the past couple of thousand years.
Another illustrated gem I read this year was A Monster Calls. It’s a short book and it tells the heartbreaking story of a boy who’s in denial about his mother’s disease. One night a monster appears at his window. Although you can buy the book without illustrations, I’d recommend buying the edition with illustrations by Jim Kay, because they add so much atmosphere to the book. The illustrator illustrated the new Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone edition. Another book I really recommend, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s Harry Potter and it has some of the most wonderful illustrations I’ve seen all year.
Short Story Collections
Maybe I’m easily impressed, because I never really read short story collections before this year, but I’ve read two this year and I liked them both enough to add them to this list. First I read Unnatural Creatures, a collection of stories curated by Neil Gaiman. The stories ranges from strange magical realism-like tales, to more eerily and creepy stories. All tell about strange mythical and magical creatures though and although I didn’t love each and every story, there lot’s of tales I still think about fondly, months after I’ve read the book.
The other short story collection I’ve read was A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan. This books tells the story of two woman who’re expecting a baby and who tell their future child stories about loss and love. The stories were really strange with lot’s of magical realism elements. I felt like I was reading some sort of book with fairy tales.
I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books this year. My first non-fiction recommendation is the The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I listened to Palmer’s book as an audio book and I loved this version. Palmer narrates the book herself and puts a lot of personal extras and musical intermezzo’s in. The downside is that you can’t watch the photos that are in the book. Either way, the content of the book will inspire and touch you in ways you never thought a memoir would do.
My other non-fiction recommendation is Shoot! bij Anki Wijnen. Anki blogs at Zilverblauw and put everything she knows about photography in an extremely pretty book. I can swoon about the design of the book for ages, but that’s not the only good thing about the book. The information about photography is very easy to understand, it inspires and it motivates to get better at photography. I haven’t finished the book completely and yet, I’ve put a lot more effort in my photos since I’ve started reading it.
For the last part of this bookish gift guide I’m going to recommend some fiction books. Although I’ve read a lot of books this year, I find in looking back, that a lot of the fiction I read was quite mediocre. I have only four fiction books I want to recommend.
First off, we have Uprooted (in Dutch it’s called Ontworteld) I loved this book almost instantly! The world building, the characters, the writing style. It all suited me perfectly! If you know someone who likes fast paced books about magic, dark woods that want to consume people and Eastern-European folklore, then you’ve found the perfect gift.
Another book I really enjoyed this year was John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. The main character of this sci-fi novel is a 75-year old who signs up for an intergalactic army. Although the premise might sound a bit dark, the story isn’t. It is written with lot’s of humour and I absolutely loved the main character.
I was already a bit spoiled when I started reading The Girl with all the Gifts (Het Meisje met alle Gaven in Dutch) by M.R. Carrey, but I still enjoyed this book a lot. I’ve once heard it described as “if Matilda and The Walking Dead had a bookbaby” and that’s about as accurate as a description can be.
Although Flowers for Algernon is my last recommendation, it’s certainly not the least. It was the Boy who recommended this novel to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story is about a mentally disabled man who participates in an experiment to increase his IQ. What follows is an insight into the main characters mind while he undergoes the change and an insight in how mentally disabled people are treated in our society.
So, that’s it for my bookish gift guide for 2015. Do you give books as gifts? Which book you’ve read in 2015 would you recommend as a gift?