2015 Reading Review

At the beginning of this year, I set myself a reading goal. I’d never done that before, but I’m so glad that I did this time. My aim for 2015 was to read 40 new books – because I’ve always had a problem with being more comfortable rereading things. It was unusual for me to read a book that I wouldn’t reread in the future – even set books for my education. Which is all well and good, if I wanted to stay that way, but this year I wanted to break that cycle and open myself up to more new reading experiences. 

The total number of books I’ve managed to read in the year is sort of irrelevant at this end of it, because those other goals which motivated my resolution were actually more important – and I feel I have met them! I’ve discovered some new favourites, as well as some books I absolutely adored reading probably just the once. I’ve learned something about my relationship with fiction as well, and the ‘necessity’ of re-reading to how I consider and develop my ideas about a text. Some of the books on my top ten this year I have reread since, but others I haven’t, and I’m more comfortable with that than I might have been previously.

I am a bit behind on blogging every new book I’ve read this year, but I’ve got a schedule worked out and I’m hoping to have reviewed all the books I read in 2015 by the end of January 2016! Blogging-wise, I’m glad to have written at least one blog post a month this year – even if that post was an apology for disappearing for a while! I’m still working on blogging more regularly, but I’m getting there, and enjoying it more and more – which is actually the only reason I do it!

For the full list of thirty-six books I’ve read this year, you can see the end of this post. For starters though, let’s talk about the bests and worsts!

Without a doubt, the worst read of the year for me, which you can probably guess if you read my review, was The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. Not because it was badly written, had boring characters or anything of the like – but because it made me so incredibly cross. I hated how the narrative treated its characters, I hated how all the promotional material talked about the plot, and reading it left me feeling genuinely upset. I enjoyed reading it up to a point but was so disappointed and cross with how it turned out that I couldn’t name anything else here. It stands out like a sore thumb to me for all the wrong reasons. I recently looked back over my notes for that review, and there were a lot of things which bugged me that I didn’t even write about…! While it’s an enjoyable tale, it sells itself as whimsical, which by the end it is emphatically not. 

On the positive side of things – because we’d all rather talk about books we loved than ones we hated – these were my top ten reads of 2015. I don’t usually do an ‘out of ten’ score with my reviews, but just for once I’ve given it a go – partly because it helped me decide which to put where in a list! Honestly though, I’ve had to give up ‘tinkering’ with the order, because it’s so difficult to rate them against each other, being so different. Obviously – this is what I enjoyed most, and these are all fantastic books, for very varied reasons!

10 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Read in June; YA Fiction & Romance; 8/10 Review

Why I loved it: Cute and cheerful, made me smile & feel nostalgic

9 Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

Read in November; YA Fiction; 8/10 Review

Why I loved it: Honest and intelligent

8 The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Read in August; Historical Fiction; 8/10 Review

Why I loved it: Beautifully imagined

7 100 Poems by Jen Campbell

Read in November; Poetry; 9/10 

Why I loved it: Tangible imagery

6 The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson

Read in September; Dystopian & Literary Fiction; 9/10 Review

Why I loved it: Fantastic characters & imagination

5 The World’s Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus

Read in November; Poetry; 9/10 

Why I loved it: Intelligently and humorously written

4 The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Read in September & October; Dystopian & Literary Fiction; 9/10 Review

Why I loved it: Beautiful writing

3 Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Read in January; Post-apocalyptic; 9/10 Review

Why I loved it: Wonderfully cohesive plot & characters

2 The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman

Read in August; Magical realism & fable; 10/10 Review

Why I loved it: Beautifully imaginative

 

And My Top Read of the Year…

1 I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Read in April; YA Fiction; 10/10 Review

Why I loved it: I can’t put into this few words!

 

All New Reads in 2015

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Very Good Lives by JK Rowling

All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

the first person and other stories by Ali Smith

The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

Anna and the French Kiss

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Isla and the Happily Ever After all by Stephanie Perkins

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

Every Woman for Herself by Trisha Ashley

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (review pending)

Playing House by Katherine Stansfield (review pending)

The World’s Two Smallest Humans by Julia Copus (review pending)

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Us by David Nicholls

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (review pending)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (review pending)

100 Poems by Jen Campbell (review pending)

Forged in the Fire by Ann Turnbull (review pending)

Seeking Eden by Ann Turnbull (review pending)

A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley (review pending)

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (review pending)

36 total

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