Friday, 1 January 2016

My Reading Year & Top Ten Reads of 2015

First things first:


I hope everyone had an extremely enjoyable Christmas/festive season filled with food, fun and family. 

Today's post is essentially a 2015 Favourites post, but I thought I'd sum up my reading year quickly first, just in case you're interested! I read a total of 28 books this year, not including re-reading the whole Harry Potter series (another 7 books) and starting two others (A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley) which I didn't finish. I also got so near the end of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz that I could basically count it as 29 books read this year. Seriously, I've got about 6 pages to go... I also got about halfway through a couple of audiobooks, but I'm not really counting those.

So, am I happy with how this reading year has gone? 

My 'Best Nine' bookish photos on Instagram!

Sort of. Probably. I think I would've liked to have reached a slightly higher number (probably at least 50), but I suppose I did have finals this summer so it's kind of understandable. 

What I am super happy about, however, is how many of the following books have become favourites, not just for this year, but for all time too!

Without further ado, here is (in no particular order) my Top 10 list for 2015

1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The beautiful, honest and enlightening graphic memoir of Marjane Satrapi's life in Iran around the time of the Islamic Revolution, and her subsequent departure for Europe. Interesting, thoughtful, considered, heartfelt, open, poignant... Basically I can't find enough adjectives to give it adequate praise! Definitely give this a read if you haven't already.

2. The Beach by Alex Garland

A fun, fast-paced, intriguing read that I (almost literally) could not put down. I read this pretty much in one sitting and was completely hooked from start to finish. One that I will definitely re-read just to see what else I can glean from it.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir

This book probably hasn't escaped anybody's notice this year, what with the blockbuster film with Matt Damon and everything. But I thought I might as well add my recommendation in with all the others. I genuinely loved every minute of the scientific explanations and nerdy research that went into this book. I loved how, despite the plot having potential to be slow and methodical, I was constantly on the edge of my seat, fearing for Mark Watney's survival. Such a fun, entertaining read.

4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

This (along with another on this list) is my favourite read of the year. So poignant and heartfelt and tragic but also full of hope, this story is filled with female friendships and everything I could want from literary characters. I can't recommend this book enough!

5. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 

I'd forgotten how much I loved Amy Tan's writing, so this book took me off guard and I loved it way more than I thought I would (which was still a lot). Her stories are just so magical but heartbreaking, like punch-to-the-gut heartbreaking. The last book I read by her must have been over 3 years ago and it still haunts me. And this one is even better. Read it now!

6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A classic that I'd been meaning to read for so long... And it didn't disappoint! Not a lot I can say about this that hasn't already been said, but hey. I really liked it. 

7. Villette by Charlotte Bronte

I'm still chewing over what I really thought of this, but I do know that I loved it! It's such a weird reading experience, as the narration is so manipulative and the main character so intriguing. You feel like she's in control the whole time and only reveals to you what she wants you to see. Plus it's a great story and Charlotte Bronte's writing is flawless.

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is another, like To Kill a Mockingbird that I'd intended to read for such a long time but just never got round to it. I'll definitely be reading more by Fitzgerald - his writing is wonderfully atmospheric. This book reminded me a lot of Breakfast at Tiffany's, in the best possible way. I probably don't need to recommend this one either but I'm going to anyway!

9. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

This is the book, tied with The Color Purple, that takes the top spot for 2015. The writing is so wonderful, the story so poignant, and the characters so real, that I'll be thinking of this book for years to come. I didn't know a book could make me feel this way. Seriously, go and read this book now!

10. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

As I mentioned in the intro, I haven't actually finished this book yet (awkward)... But I've read enough of it to know how truly unique and different this book it. It has such a strong voice, and it's unlike anything I've experienced in literature before. I can't wait to read This is How You Lose Her (which I now own) sometime soon. Honestly, though, this was another book that took me by surprise. I hope you give it a try and love it as much as I did!

 So there you have it! My top ten reads of 2015! I truly loved this reading year, though I just wish I could've fit more in! :P

What was your favourite read(s) of 2015?  
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