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Friday
Jan152016

Books Read 2015

My big reading accomplishment this year was finishing a fantasy series that I started in the early 90s. While I usually pick a favorite book, I'm stretching that definition a bit this year to include the entire series.

Book (Series) of the Year

My favorite book of the year was the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and (later) Brandon Sanderson. I cannot remember when I first started reading the Wheel of Time series, but it was probably in the early 90s. After I had caught up with the author, new books would come out every two years.

In 2007, before finishing the the story, the author died. Thankfully for millions of fans, he died with a copious collection of recordings and written notes. His widow, who was also his editor, brought in another author, Brandon Sanderson, to finish the final book. This last book was large enough that it had to split into three.

While all of this was happening, I decided to wait until the series was completed before continuing to invest in the story, and I finally picked it up again last year. Only one problem. There was almost a seven-year gap between my reading of book 11 and picking up book 12. The series was complicated, with hundreds of characters and what felt like a dozen plot threads. I was afraid that I had forgotten too many details to appreciate the remaining three books. But I didn't want to re-read 11 books to get caught up.

Enter The Wheel of Time Re-Read. Originally published as a blog, author Leigh Butler reread all the volumes in the series, providing a summary and commentary on each chapter. Although the writing style was a bit goofy at times, this summary was invaluable in refreshing my memory of the eleven enormous novels.

The central premise of the Wheel of Time is that history repeats itself in an endless cycle. The Dark One, an evil force, vies for control of the world with the Creator. A great hero from the past, Lews Therin Telamon, has been reborn in the body of Rand al'Thor. Rand, also called the Dragon Reborn, is prophesized to either save the world from the Dark One, or destroy it. The series of books documents the journey of Rand and his companions as they prepare for Tarmon Gai'don, the Last Battle.

If you like fantasy novels, and don't mind making a commitment to read literally over 10,000 pages (citation here, but I don't recommend reading the Wikipedia entry- too many spoilers), the Wheel of Time is one of the best series I've ever read.

The Complete List

Nonfiction

  1. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
  2. Pomodoro Technique Illustrated
  3. Tapas
  4. Major John Wesley Powell: The Story Behind the Scenery
  5. The No Asshole Rule
  6. Python Scripting for ArcGIS
  7. Rick Steves' France 2015
  8. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
  9. Genealogy of the Kings of France
  10. King Ludwig II: His Life, His End
  11. The Long Curve
  12. Saint-Malo
  13. Smart Power
  14. Centre Pompidou: The Collection of the National Museum of Modern Art
  15. Visit Guide Château de Chenonceau
  16. Fort La Latte
  17. Modeling Electric Distribution with GIS
  18. A World in HDR
  19. Rothko
  20. The Mont Saint-Michel
  21. Orsay Visitors Guide

eBooks

  1. The Workflow Book
  2. See the World
  3. The Visual Imagination
  4. Striking Landscapes
  5. Vision 365
  6. A Lesser Photographer
  7. Safari: Print & Process

Fiction

  1. Wheel of Time Reread: Books 1-4
  2. Wheel of Time Reread: Books 5-6
  3. Wheel of Time Reread: Books 7-9
  4. A Movable Feast
  5. A New Spring
  6. The Gathering Storm
  7. The Towers of Midnight
  8. What If?
  9. The Phantom Tollbooth
  10. A Memory of Light
  11. The War of the Ring
  12. The Wizard of Oz

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