5 January 2016

2015 Reading Challenge Recap & 2016 Reading Goals


2015 was a pretty good reading year for me. It's the first time I've ever signed up to the Goodreads reading challenge and as a result, I've read more in 2015 than any other year previously. I set myself a goal of 30 books and I just managed it, finishing my thirtieth read on 30th December. So, what did I read and how did they rate?

1. The Girl With The Glass Feet by Ali Shaw - ★★★
2. You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher - ★★★
3. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - ★★★★
4. The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide - ★★★
5. Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey - ★★★★★

Elizabeth Is MissingElizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Both a gripping mystery and a thoughtful look at the effects of dementia - Maud is a delightful heroine and Emma Healey does a wonderful job of weaving together sensitivity, poignancy, humour and suspense. A wonderful book.

6. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - ★★★★★
7. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor - ★★★★
8. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer - ★★★★
9. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - ★★★
10. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Theriault - ★★★

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely PostmanThe Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A quirky tale about a lonely postman trying to bring some meaning to his routine life. Not groundbreaking, but a gentle and enjoyable read with likeable characters and an interesting theme.

11. The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Andersen - ★★★★
12. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton - ★★★★
13. Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling - ★★★★★
14. Us by David Nicholls - ★★★★
15. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North - ★★★★★
16. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey - ★★★★
17. The Sun In Her Eyes by Paige Toon - ★★★★
18. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult - ★★★
19. All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman - ★★★
20. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - ★★★★★

BirdsongBirdsong by Sebastian Faulks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A tense and deeply affecting story of the atrocities of WW1, with an important message about the senseless nature of war. This book will stay with you long after you finish reading.

21. Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes - ★★
22. Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins - ★★★★★
23. Stardust by Neil Gaiman - ★★★★
24. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang - ★★★
25. The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton - ★★★★
26. Career Of Evil by Robert Galbraith - ★★★★★
27. A Faraway Smell of Lemon by Rachel Joyce - ★★
28. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - ★★★★
29. The Little World of Liz Climo by Liz Climo - ★★★★
30. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell - ★★★

Some Reading Stats for 2015:
9719 total pages read
1 non fiction book
18 books written by women / 12 by male authors
3 books translated from a foreign language
Longest read: Dreams of Gods and Monsters at 624 pages
Shortest book read: The Tinder Box and A Faraway Smell of Lemon, both at 64 pages

I'm pleased with the mixture of books I read this year, but I feel like I only just scraped my goal of 30 books. A couple of the books I've read were only tiny little ones and whilst I enjoy reading short stories and novellas, it does feel a little bit like I cheated! I would have liked to read 30 longer books as well as a couple of short ones to really feel like I reached a target.

As you can see, I've given 5 stars to a few books this year but if I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - I'm so glad I finally read it. I reviewed it in full here on the blog. Two others that stood out from the rest this year were We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler and Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey; both are very unique in their own different ways and will stay with me because of that.

I also wrote a full review of my lowest rated book of the year: Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes.

Reading Goals for 2016:
I've set my Goodreads challenge goal at 30 books again, but I'm interested to see if I can surpass it. For one reason or another I read less often in the first half of 2015 than the second. The addition of a whole lunch hour into my daily routine from June may be to thank for this, but I'm hoping to keep up a more consistent pace this year and this should hopefully mean I read more. I'm sure I'll still read some shorter books, especially the Penguin Little Black Classics as I was very lucky and received the boxed set of the full 80 piece collection for Christmas (more on that in my upcoming December haul), but I'm aiming to read these more as a filler between longer reads. A literary palate cleanser, if you will.

The longest book I read this year was 624 pages as I mentioned earlier, but this year I'd like to challenge myself to take on something really hefty. I've had my eye on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for a while so that's very likely to be my choice, but I'm open to recommendations too!

My final reading resolution is one that I've already made a start on, and that is to read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy. I know, I know! I absolutely should have read them before now. I did start Northern Lights when I was younger and I can't quite remember why I didn't finish it, but I'm making up for it this year. I also recently disappointed a good friend of mine by saying I've never read The Millennium Trilogy, but I might save that one for 2017!
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