Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my "things I'm thankful for" list every year. It's hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for.
- Ilyon Chronicles, by Jaye L. Knight: I suppose I'm cheating by picking the series instead of just one book, but I can't just say one of them. I love Ilyon because they're more than just fantastic stories with amazing, relatable characters. They're deep, full of allegorical meaning. Basically, Ilyon is to me as a teenager/young adult what Narnia was to me as a child.
- Water Princess, Fire Prince, by Kendra E. Ardnek: This is a great story that I really enjoyed, but again, I'm thankful for it for more than just the story contained between the covers. WPFP brought friends together. I knew Kendra somewhat before beta reading this for her, but throughout that process we really started to get to know each other. Then fangirling over it prompted Amanda and me to get to know each other and become really good friends. I can't believe it's only been this year. What was my life like before Kendra and Amanda? Plus WPFP is fantastic on it's own merit.
- Bleak House, by Charles Dickens: Last semester in the orchestra, I had to drive 45 minutes both ways, alone, every week. That, as I quickly discovered, was way too much time for my brain to dredge up everything that was wrong in life. Bleak House (unabridged audio book) saved me from an hour and a half a week of my brain tormenting me. Instead, I plunged into intrigue and court cases and a murder mystery, terribly confused (still confused), but loving it just the same. And I got another classic under my belt!
- The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orzcy: Part of why I'm thankful for this book is similar to Bleak House. I was doing a lot of sewing, on a very difficult dress, and this book occupied my mind and kept me from going mad with frustration. Also, it's fantastic. But it also made me think. It was a timely read, er, listen. So much wrong can happen because of miscommunication, lack of communication. Communication is so important. Lack of it could cost you everything.
- Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins: This is a reread, but I'm going with it anyway, because it always impacts me. It's a difficult book to read, not for reading level, but because of all the death and things worse than death. But know what? That's what makes it so important. So many stories, and I'm guilty of writing them, even, gloss over the effects of war. Ignore the implications of killing people. Forget that it takes ten times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart. Mockingjay doesn't. Yes, war is sometimes necessary, but that still doesn't make it good. Killing people...it costs you everything you are. Morality still matters, even in the midst of war. No, things aren't going to ever be the same, it'll take awhile to rebuild, but things can eventually be better. There is still that dandelion in the spring, reminding you that life can be good again. Even if you do have to make a list of all the good things you've seen people do to be able to bear what you've been through, there are much worse games to play.
I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, today's the last day of the indie author Black Friday sale! There's literally something for everyone. Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!
What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?