The Giant 2015 Book Review

Christmas is around the corner, and 2015 is almost at an end. With 2016 very nearly upon us, I’ve set out to do the biggest review of multiple books that I’ve attempted on this blog. Every book – yes every book – that I’ve finished in 2015 will get a mention, a rating, and a couple of sentences to give you an idea of what it’s like. I’ve divided the books into groups of 10 based on the order I finished them in, so each post will have a variety of different books, and I’ll pick a highlight from each group of 10 to round it off. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe you’ll find something to spend a bit of your Christmas money on!

Confronting the Classics, by Mary Beard – 6/10 … an interesting book looking at recent studies and books in the field of Classics, and evaluating them in a scholarly way. Fairly accessible, but probably not for someone who hasn’t already got some knowledge in the field.

Green Lantern: The End (Graphic Novel)– 7/10 … the culmination of the first three volumes of Green Lantern New 52 series, this was an explosive, colourful book that rounds off an excellent trilogy of graphic novels.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams – 6/10 … honestly, I can’t remember much of what went on in this book, only that it was very bizarre, lightly amusing, but underwhelming overall.

You Say Potato, by Ben & David Crystal – 8/10 … this is a book all about accents and variations in the English language. It might not sound that exciting, but the Crystals are engaging authors, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Guardians Disassembled – 8/10 … again, I can’t really remember the full storyline of this book, but the Guardians of the Galaxy series pre-Secret Wars was fantastic on the whole, and a great starting point for newcomers to Marvel.

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman – 9/10 … possible Neil Gaiman’s most famous book, and deservedly so. This modern day epic was a fascinating look into the link between faith and collective consciousness, and beautifully captured the transition from the old world to the new, tech-dominated age in America.

The Time Traveller, by H G Wells – 7/10 … having studied the War of the Worlds at uni, I wanted to delve a bit deeper into Wells’ work. This short novella provided a great way of doing that, with an interesting story, and an intriguing look into the distant future of humanity.

The Author of Beltraffio, by Henry James – 5/10 … I’ve studied this novella twice at uni now, and although it is interesting in the context of its time, and for the perspective on 19th century aestheticism that it presents, it’s not really the most engaging story I’ve ever read.

The Wicked and the Divine (Graphic Novel) – 5/10 … for the right person, this graphic novel would be amazing. I’m not that person. What it is is a very clever window into fandom and pop culture, with the idea that pop stars today are incarnations of the pagan gods of ancient times.

Spellwright, by Blake Charlton – 8/10 … Blake Charlton, in this book, has created one of my favourite fantasy concepts. The magic of this world is based purely on language, and apart from being a source of awesome puns (like the death sentence that is literally a sentence of sharp letters placed around your heart), it is a brilliant metaphor for the way that language makes up the world we live in, right down to the four different blocks that make up DNA, C, G, A and T.

There’s your first ten. From this list, the stand out has to be Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, a stunning fantasy that puts modern America under the microscope.

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