Once again, it’s time to look back over the year’s reading, and see how things went. For me, I had a pretty good reading year, if a little hurried in places. I read a bit more than I wanted, but I also found some real gems, so it all evened out. As usual, I’m participating in the end-of-year book survey from Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner, with an additional section at the end for my 2015 book stats! Also as usual, I apologize in advance for the super-long post!
1. Best Book(s) You Read In 2015?
There were six “best” books this year plus three runners up – much higher than usual for me – and I can’t narrow it down to fewer at this point. In order of when I read them, with the three runners up on the bottom:
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson – didn’t live up to the first book in the trilogy
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson – I didn’t enjoy the first book of this series as much, so I was surprised by how fantastic this one was!
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Um, is there any doubt here? The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Started: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Sequel: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud
Ended: Winter by Marissa Meyer
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
I can’t name one specifically. I read so many new-to-me authors this year, and many of them only have a single book out. Too early to say if any of them will become favorites.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Once again, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I think this is the first self-help book I’ve ever read. I usually avoid the genre like the plague.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith. I discovered how wonderful the audio of this series is, and I listened to this 17.5-hr audiobook is under two days…
9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
None in particular, unless it’s to catch up on a series.
11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Winter (from Winter by Marissa Meyer). She was amazing.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2015?
This is again a very difficult thing to narrow down. I read some really life-changing and/or thought-provoking nonfiction this year. Rather than reiterate my favorite nonfictions for the year, though, I’m going to give this one to Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Prophecy Tarot instruction manual (Illuminating the Prophecy). I’ve studied tarot for years, but only after reading Stiefvater’s book did it actually become clear and easily readable. Transformed my tarot-reading completely!
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Middlemarch by George Eliot – so many people told me I wouldn’t like it, but I really did!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
There were several really good quotes from some of my nonfiction reads this year, but really, it all comes down to Agatha in Carry On: “And this is exactly the sort of thing I’m sick of. Like, just use some tape. Why come up with a spell for sticking paper to the wall? Tape. Exists.”
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Longest Book: Winter (823 pgs)
Shortest Book: Queen Mab (56 pgs)
Longest Audio: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; Middlemarch (tied – 32 hrs each)
Shortest Audio: Fat Girl Walking (6.5 hrs)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, because the twist was not the twist I was expecting, and The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, because OMG THERE’S A FOURTH BOOK I HAVE TO WAIT FOR A FOURTH BOOK??? I was not expecting that.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR?
Simon and Baz.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
The Quick – Lauren Owen
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
None this year, I don’t think. Can I say I have a fangirl crush on Brittany Gibbons (Fat Girl Walking)?
23. Best 2015 debut you read?
I read nine 2015 debuts this year, five of which were nonfiction (including three listed under #1). Other than the nonfiction favorites, the best 2015 debut would be The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh had some of the most fascinating worldbuilding I’ve ever read.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Carry On; Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (both of which I read twice this year)
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
Well, the Raven’s Prophecy Tarot by Maggie Stiefvater didn’t make me cry directly, but because of it, because of the way it helped me to understand tarot far better than I used to, I ended up sobbing over several tarot spreads. Also, two psychological nonfiction books (The Body Keeps the Score and Elena Vanishing) caused quite a lot of weeping.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Firstborn by Lorie Ann Grover – more people need to read this one!!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Elena Vanishing by Elena and Clare Dunkle
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, and S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst – both had incredible formatting and non-linear staging, and were fun mental gymnastics!
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Both Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova and Her by Harriet Lane started with such promise, and then ran into issues that really made me angry. Both were kinda ruined for me.
Rather than answering questions, let me just say this: I have 28 books on my priorities list for 2016, between upcoming releases and books on my TBR/to-investigate lists. Of those, 12 are guaranteed reads (even if they don’t get read this year). I look forward to either reading or culling those books, and otherwise, I plan to read languidly this year. Indulge in rereads and longer reads and slow audiobooks. I want to be pickier than usual when it comes to adding books to my to-investigate and to-read lists. There were too many books this year (more than 20!) that I barely remember, that I read just to read. I got out of that habit a few years back, and allowed myself to fall back into it this year! I’d rather not continue that going forward.
Note: My stats are a bit more extensive than the ones from Jamie’s survey.
Total books: 71
New reads: 67
Abandoned (after at least 50%): 9
I read a bit more than I wanted to this year, up from last year’s 53, but given how many wonderful reads I got from it, I’m okay with that!
Fiction: 47 (27 speculative, 20 realistic)
Anthologies: 4 (3 fic, 1 nonfic)
My nonfiction is waaaaay up from previous years, coming in at 27% for the year. I also read a lot more balanced between speculative and realistic fiction than I have for the last few years. My plays and poetry counts are pathetic, though, ha! I love how high that audio count is!! Nearly a third of my reads were on audio, and I hope to keep that number rising! Audio = exercise!! (Or, at least, it should. Get walking, Manda!)
These are about standard for me at this point, I think, though I have a feeling my classics might increase in the near future. I’m feeling a potential mood shift. Maybe.
By men: 12
By women: 58
By both: 1
New to me authors: 44 of 64
Most read authors: Maggie Stievfater, with seven books (four new, three rereads). Other than her, I only read more than one book from four authors this year: Brandon Sanderson, Rae Carson, Rainbow Rowell, and Marissa Meyer (two each).
Shortest Title: S
Longest Title: Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It
Books with Subtitles: 17
Chunksters (450+ pages): 7
In translation: 1 (Japanese)
I love that my shortest title has a single letter in it, whereas my longest has 16 words. Ha! Another fun fact: Without planning it or trying for this in any way, I read titles that began with every letter of the alphabet except K, X, Y, and Z.
Best Book-related Discovery: Psychological nonfiction. Enough said.