December Book Reviews + My 2015 Year in Books!

I am so behind on all things book related here on the blog! Book reviews are something I’m going to continue writing, for relatively selfish reasons. I really like writing about books, but I don’t feel I’m that good at it. I feel like I have trouble articulating my thoughts on a book (especially if I like it…I go into fangirl mode of I LOVE IT SO GOOD YAY! which is great, but not exactly informative) and taking the time to put thought into my reviews helps with that!

First up, here’s what my reading year looked like for 2015. I’m such a sucker for an info graphic. I first saw this over on Natalie Patalie, and of course had to get my own from Goodreads! (Psst, if we’re not already, let’s be reading buddies there!)

Year In Books

I’m pretty happy with 47 books! Granted that number does include graphic novels/trade issues of comics that I read, but hey, it’s reading, so I guess it counts? Anyway, onto December reads.

9595620

Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Overall Rating:
enjoyable rating

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.” -via Goodreads

This is the third book in the Iron Druid Chronicles and so far it is my least favorite of the series. While the fun, playful fantasy aspects were still there and Atticus still had all his usual charm and wit, for some reason it just wasn’t working for me. The main plot was the weakest of the three so far, there were too many plot holes, and things felt really forced. But, it was a quick read, and I don’t feel like I wasted my time; just that of the three it’s definitely the least enjoyable at this point.

25733724

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie L. Winslow

Overall rating:
really like it rating

This essential companion book to the bestselling Classic Human Anatomy provides artists and art students with a deeper understanding of human anatomy and different types of motion, inspiring more realistic and energetic figurative art.” – via Goodreads

I can say without a doubt that this is a thoroughly comprehensive resource. It covers anatomy on a hugely in depth scale, and gives excellent examples of how the body moves. However, for me personally, it’s a bit too in depth to be all that useful for me. For one thing, it reads like a medical textbook. That alone can make combing through it a chore. I find it far more useful as a visual reference than one to read hoping to glean helpful information. It is filled with fantastic illustrations, all of which are great to flip through when looking for help with posing and figuring out how the body moves. If you are someone who is studying anatomy, or studying realism figure drawing, this is a great resource. For the casual artist, I think it’s more than you may be looking for.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

20980987

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Overall rating:
just outstanding rating

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.” -via Goodreads

I knew nothing about Amanda Palmer going into this book. I didn’t know her music, hadn’t seen her TED Talk; I’d simply heard of the book via the internet and when my BFF said it was good, I borrowed it. After reading it, I find Amanda to be such a beautiful person. I loved this book. It is easily one of my favorite books of 2015. I found how she writes and shares her experiences of simply interacting with other human beings so moving. She is brave is ways I don’t think I ever could be, just by being so vulnerable and trusting of others. I actually cried at the end of this book, entirely overwhelmed at the beautiful experiences she has with people. It made me think, which I always appreciate in a book, about how I choose to view people, and what can happen when we open up a little and allow ourselves to connect with a little vulnerability. All in all, a great read.

What were your favorite books of 2015? Any you’re really looking forward to this year?

 

  • B.

    I think The Martian and Girl on the Train are my two favorite books from last year~

    • Kay

      The Martian is one of mine as well…loved it. I haven yet to read the Girl on the Train but it’s on my list!

  • I really liked Station Eleven. I think it was my favorite read of 2015. Definitely have The Art of Asking on my list. I’ve heard so many great things about it!

    • Kay

      Station Eleven was wonderful. So not what I expected in such a good way.

  • I’ve been meaning to pick up Amanda Palmer’s book! She was one of Teenage-Me’s favorite artists, and I was always so impressed with her way of interacting with her fans, and fellow artists. Happy to hear you like this book, can’t wait to give it a read. And 47 books last year – yay, well done!

    • Kay

      Thank you! I’m so curious what people who have previous knowledge of her will think of the book! I can’t imagine it’ll change opinions all that much, but I wonder if you’ll love it more already being a fan of her music. If you do read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  • Sonya

    I really loved The Art of Asking. I think it was easily in my top five of last year, and I know I’ll be rereading it at some point in the future, too.

    • Kay

      Me too, it was such a beautiful book.

  • I’m so bad at writing about books that I want to improve my skills too this year. Somehow I never know what to say!

    • Kay

      I’m much the same way (though I think I’m getting better!). It can be hard to explain what you liked and didn’t sometimes!

  • I’ve been a lifelong fan of Amanda Palmer (starting at age 14) and i’m just now getting around to the book. I freaking LOVE it. I’m so glad it translates as well as it does to people who are unfamiliar with her. I was hoping it would translate, and it reads like it does, but it’s nice to see it confirmed! I want to buy it for everyone I know.

    • Kay

      SAME! I can’t really say just how much I loved this book. I found it so moving on so many levels.

  • Aaaahh your info graphic reminded me that I still need to order Ms. Marvel from the library! So many comics, so little time, hahah. Thanks for the shout out! <3

    • Kay

      So true! And you’re welcome! Ms. Marvel was so lovely…I want to get my hands on the other volumes at some point!

  • Emma

    I have so much on my to read list this year, I think I read about 10 books in full last year. Teenage me would be disgusted. Im definitely going to have to invest in Goodreads so I can keep on track of everything..

    • Kay

      Ah do it! Honestly, I don’t do much on there other than keep track of the books I want to read, and a way to keep track of what I have read. Plus, I enjoy seeing what my friends are reading as it often provides books to add to my to-read list!

  • I was totally looking at The Art of Asking the other day but didn’t know anything about it. Might have to pick it up now…

    • Kay

      I loved it so much more than I was expecting to!

  • gamerwife

    If I don’t count graphic novels I think I read two books last year. And they were both my Rainbow Rowell.

    • Kay

      I’ve only read one Rainbow Rowell novel (Fangirl) and I really enjoyed it! I just haven’t managed to get ahold of anymore, and by haven’t managed I really mean haven’t made the effort. I just have so much on my TBR shelf already…

      And I will stick to thinking graphic novels count. I’ll be continuing to count them in my reading numbers this year!

  • GeekyNikkiRVA

    Amanda Palmer sums up my college music collection. I REALLY need to pick up her book and you reminded me that I need to keep reading Ms. Marvel (I read issue one and liked it a lot).

    • Kay

      I really need to read more Ms. Marvel as well! And after reading The Art of Asking, I really want to check out her music.

  • Hola Kay, just read this because you pointed me to it. I also didn’t know Amanda, but really did not enjoy her book. Found it unbearable. This rarely happens! We recorded an episode about the book a few months ago and the good thing is… it did open up the conversation on ladies, asking, insecurities etc. You might enjoy that (even if it doesn’t talk about AP that much).

    • Kay

      I will have to check that ep out! You are the only person (not including myself) I know who’s read this book who didn’t know Amanda Palmer via music or something else before reading and yet we have completely different opinions on the book! I think that’s quite interesting…everyone I know who loved the book also loves her music and such and vice versa, the people I know who didn’t don’t like her music/her lifestyle etc. I find it interesting that two people with a blank slate can also have completely contrasting views. Maybe sometime we’ll chat about what we did/didn’t like about it! I always love hearing opinions on things, even if they don’t agree with my own. 🙂

      • Def listen to the ep, and of course. Would love to chat!

        More opinions here:
        The style of the book was very free form, a little indulgent in the feelings department, and a little quirky. All things are okay separately I think but together were difficult for me. I tried very hard to continue, even flipped around, but it just wasn’t working for me. Also, I am not afraid to ask. I am very nerve-y and tactless. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it? Or that I thought it would be a bit better structure or more self-help style? Parts of this book were interesting but not enough to push me through the other parts/presentation I really could not deal with.

        • Kay

          I can definitely understand that. When I started reading, I was also expecting more self-help, less memoir. And it is VERY self indulgent writing. I don’t know why, but I have such a soft spot for memoirs; I really enjoy reading about people’s/stranger’s lives! So when I realized that’s what this was, I actually liked it more because of that than if it had more of a self-help vibe.