Friday, December 23, 2005

Best books of 2005

It's the end of the year, and it doesn't look like I'm going to get much reading done in the last few days (plus, my queue is strangely empty) , so I'm going to name the best books I read this year:

Best Book Overall

I think the book I learnt the most from was Climate Crash, which discusses abrupt climate change as the major theory for how Earth's climate behaves. The theory is non-intuitive, backed up by pretty solid evidence, and the book itself is well written. This book narrowly edged out Collapse, which is an important book as well, but not as surprising as Climate Crash for a cynic like me. Yeah, so societies of humans have always been short-sighted and ego and selfishness have brought down entire civilizations. Tell me something I didn't know about humans.

Best Fiction

I really have to say this was not a good year for fiction. I find that the best fiction I read was A Fire Upon The Deep, which unfortunately was a book I'd already read before and was revisiting. Is there not a lot of great new fiction out there, or am I missing something? For fiction I hadn't read before this year, I definitely enjoyed The John Varley Reader, which I found just packed full of great short stories. Salon nominated Never Let Me Go, but Ishiguro's style is so distant that I found myself distanced from the work as well. Even his best work, The Remains of the Day has that quality in it.

Best Graphic Novel

I didn't get in an Alan Moore graphic novel this year, so the best graphic novel goes to Flight Vol 1, but seriously, any Alan Moore graphic novel beats anything I read this year, so once again, I must be missing something. Maybe it's got to do with my refusing to buy any new books and M'Oak not publishing another volume of Thieves & Kings.
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