Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The O’Funky Awards – AKA Books I Read in 2015

(Apologies to Marcelo Quinan for the horrible injustices I did to his beautiful photo.)

My goal: To recap the awesomeness I read in 2015. My brain’s goal: To procrastinate as much as possible.
So, basically my micro-recap of 2015 epically spiraled into "awards" because I could be procrastiworking on this blog post by making goofy graphics. Thanks for understanding. The struggle is real.
Apologies for the terrible formatting. Everything I wanted to do, Blogger said "NOT TODAAAAY." We may be breaking up.

Arranged in no particular order, here are just a few of the books I read in 2015!

I’m giving the Deadly Funny Award to Dirk McAwesome and the Giant Fire Breathing Space Ants  by Richard Junk because it is one of the funniest things I have ever read.

I read Dirk McAwesome in the gym and literally fell off the elliptical machine because I was laughing so hard. It is the epitome of ridiculous and I loved every minute of it. It purposefully takes every writing cliche and meta-joke to its most extreme, covers it in gold, and whispers, “My preciousssss.” #DED


For the awesome novels 
Beasts of Burdin and Hero Engine I’m bestowing upon Alexander Nader the MOAR NAO Award.  

Beasts of Burdin is detective noir + demons + much sass. It is utterly fascinating and I absolutely wanted to read MOAR. There is something about the characters, setting, and concept that is addicting. Luckily for us there are several books in the series, so go get your book crack!   

Hero Engine is a sweartacular superhero story with grit, heart, and realism. The main character, Jim, sees the supers as they are and not the shiny perfection that’s advertised. It’s a really fun read that’s fast paced and demanded my utter attention. It went places I didn’t expect it to go and I loved every second of it.

Deviltry: A Wanderlust Adventure by S.E. Lehenbauer receives the coveted I SHIP THAT Award. Reading this book brought back all the warm, fuzzy nerd feels of Firefly, but with a bit more sass. (Sass is my favorite word for January 2016. Hold onto your pretty floral bonnets!) No matter where the series takes us, I feel that Sally and her ship will always be my OTP. I ship it like Fedex. Unfortunately, this book is ever so temporarily unavailable. *tears*

The Bright Idea Award goes to J. Edward Paul for his stories The White Hand and The Trial of Tzithara

These two stories had very interesting and unusual sci-fi/fantasy concepts. Once, while reading The White Hand in the gym, I was surprised by the story and literally said outloud, "SAY WHAAAAT!" and scared the person next to me. True story. I loved those stories for their overall very intriguing concepts.

Zero Echo Shadow Prime by Peter Samet gets the Most Discussed Award! This was another book I read while in the gym. Every day on the commute home from the gym, my long-suffering husband had to listen to all my theories on what was happening in the book. The story kept me guessing and theorizing. It’s a really intricate plot with like 19 interconnecting pieces and universes. If I was to fall back on my English major word powers I'd say that it's discussing themes of personhood, individuality, and the definition of life through a complex sci-fi tale. 

I don’t even know how to categorize this award for Craig Johnson, so here’s a picture of some kitties having emotions. Craig Johnson gives me writer feels. It takes me forever to read one of his books because I savor every word and try to figure out how he makes the magic. I do exactly zero skimming and will re-read a page several times before I feel like I’m ready to move on. When I read his stuff I think “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.” Anyways, the Kitties Having Emotions Award goes to Craig Johnson for  The Cold Dish (book 1), Another Man's Moccasins (book 4), and The Dark Horse (book 5).

The Walt Longmire Series centers on Sheriff Longmire in Absaroka County, Wyoming, who is somehow both the last real cowboy in the West and a soft spoken, educated man of the world. This was my third time to read The Cold Dish! It’s just a thing of beauty with amazing characterization in every description. I’ll admit, I watched the Longmire TV series before I ever learned it was based on a book, so maybe that additional “connection” helps - but I was SOLD. 

Another Man's Moccasins set out to solve two parallel mysteries – one in Vietnam and one in present day Absaroka County – and it was performed seamlessly. Dang. It also explored Longmire’s own struggle with racism against the Vietnamese in really interesting ways. The Dark Horse took an interesting narrative twist by not telling the story chronologically, but - more than that - it effortlessly balanced solving the murder with solving the mystery that is “why does Walt, Walt?”
I’m giving James Dashner’s Maze Runner series the Just 5 More Minutes award because I couldn’t put the books down. I read the first two books in the series (The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials) in less than 12 hours over Christmas and refreshed the library website for straight up DAYS waiting to find out if my copy of the final book in the trilogy was available. 

I haven’t read the final book yet, but so far I’d say the Maze Runner series is like if the Hunger Games and Divergent had a well-adjusted child, all things considering. It's basically the most fun you can have watching teens get mutilated and die (I'm looking at YOU, Scorch Trials). I watched the movies before I read the books (again, I didn’t know there were books), so I had some preconceptions coming into reading the books. Movie 2 was only vaguely inspired by book 2, so that's a comfort if you don't like spoilers. I'm not sure why kids killing kids is such a popular thing, but there ya go.
This has been the 2015 (2016?) “O’Funkys.” Maybe next year I’ll give out the Golden Donut Awards or something. Roast me in the comments below, mmmkay?

[less than 3],

Rachel O’Funky
Funkytown, U.S.A.

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