Better Late Than Never: 2015 in Review

You may have noticed that it’s 2016 now and therefore a post about 2015 probably should have already gone up. But I was away (with very limited internet access) and then I was lazy and so focused on reading X number of books to get to 150 that the review post, an obligatory part of blogging, was forgotten.

Until now.

Personally, 2015 was great. Until I got back from my dream honeymoon and then it was all rather challenging. Nothing that a fresh perspective in a new year can’t fix though right?

Reading wise, 2015 was decent. I discovered that I love John Steinbeck, that I am capable of enjoying science fiction (thanks to The Martian and Armada), and Chelsey @ Chels and a Book was totally right about Nick Hornby and I must read more. And thanks to Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, I managed to read 150 books this year.

That’s a lot of reading and a lot of books that could make it on my list of favourites. I don’t think that I’m going to do a numbered list. But here are some of the books that got me thinking, left me heartbroken, or made me want to tell everyone I know about it.

(Caveat: these are books I read this year, not necessarily books that were published this year. And they are in the order that I read them because I’m looking at my 50 Book Pledge list as I go.)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. As the year went by I feel like people started to judge this one a little harshly, perhaps unwilling to be persuaded by the reaction of the masses that this was an addictive, roller coaster read. Comparisons to Gone Girl were so unfair – both are equally able to stand on their own. I loved this one and loved it even harder when I got to see Paula Hawkins in conversation with Elaine Lui, aka Lainey Gossip, at the VanWriter’s Fest. If you haven’t already read this, please give it a chance.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This book was unlike anything I’d ever read before. Totally creepy, completely spell-binding. You should totally read it but do yourself a favour and get the paperback. That hardcover is heavy.

A History of Loneliness by John Boyne. Should possibly be required reading. This book made me so, so angry and left me devastated in it’s wake.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. Those of you that have been around for a while know of my absolute devotion to Crazy Rich Asians. I had high hopes for the sequel and Kwan more than delivered. China Rich Girlfriend is funnier and more over-the-top and you all need to get on this bandwagon already.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson. Not sure Larson will ever write something that I don’t completely love. His novelistic non-fiction is just what the doctor ordered for those of you that think non-fiction isn’t for you.

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum. I think this is the book most capable of dividing your book club into warring factions; people either loved or hated this book. I was in the former camp. Essbaum’s lyrical prose was a delight to read and the story of an expat wife and mother struggling in her new reality was really so good.

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. Beautiful, clever and ultimately doomed, the daughters of Nicholas II never had a chance.

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid. I read it thanks to Canada Reads and now I want the whole world to read it. Have tissues on hand.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Probably one of the books I recommended the most this year. It’s perfect for beach reading, reading palate cleansing, and for when you just want something delicious. I ended up reading a lot of Moriarty this year because of this one. Don’t let the chick-lit style covers dissuade you – Moriarty has a lot to say.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Glad I finally read this. Sad it took me this long – I could have already embarked on a re-read by now!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. OMG just read this already!

Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adiche. I was blown away by the force of her prose. Everything about this book was perfection. I also read and loved We Are All Feminists this year and am seriously considering gifting it to every woman I know and love.

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. I thought that I would have to give up on Gregory after a few of her efforts fell short for me. But The King’s Curse was everything that I’ve come to love and expect from her. And then some. This one stands alone – if you haven’t read any of her work before, you could totally read this one first.

Unfinished Business: Men, Women, Work and Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter. I had two copies of this book and have since leant them out because this is such an important book. Talking about the importance of care, whether for our parents or our children, and how it needs to not only be shared by men and women equally but also needs to be taken into account by workplaces so that people don’t have to choose between work and family.

The Martian by Andy Weir. I put off reading this book forever. My husband finally forced me to because he wanted to see the movie. I hate science fiction. I loved this book. Well played Andy Weir, well played.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. The weirdest, most violent, greatest book. It’s seriously bizarre. But so, so good.

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead. Books like this, about the sacrifices and the fight of the men and women during WWII, are so important for us to read. To keep their stories in our minds so that we don’t allow the same things to happen. Well-written, meticulously researched, totally devastating, if you come across it, read it.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. You’ve heard it all before. Join us. Don’t be put off by Lotto’s half. The pay-off comes when you read about Mathilde.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. A story about a teenaged girl struggling with mental illness but refusing to allow it to define who she is? Incredibly important to read and handled with aplomb by the genius of Kinsella.

The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie. I plan to put up a little review soon but this one is so good! It’s the first in a planned trilogy about the mistresses of Louis XV. Books 2 and 3 are set to be released in 2016!

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning. At just 194 pages, this is the perfect non-fiction book for the reader that loves books and thinks they dislike non-fiction!

Someone to Watch Over Me by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Billed as Iceland’s answer to Stieg Larsson, this book more than lived up to the hype. Exploring ideas of ability and society’s role in caring for those who can’t always care for themselves, this was more than just a run-of-the-mill murder mystery.

Did you stick it out? Good for you. That was seriously so indulgent of me. Twenty-two books for the year. If I was the kind of blogger that was on top of sh*t, I could have got a few posts out of that and not overwhelmed you, dear reader.

Goal for 2016?

Here’s to more great books this year!

belle

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20 thoughts on “Better Late Than Never: 2015 in Review

  1. I liked this format. Books you’re still thinking about rather than “best. ” Though I disagree with you about Crazy Rich Asians – see my overrated books of 2015 list *ducks*

      • Oh It’s on! Lol I saw your previous one and thought you were replying here. But for real, Nicholas & Rachel are boring! Everyone around then is a different story… but I didn’t care if they got together or not.

      • They were almost not the point. Rachel was like a foil for the over the top relatives Nicholas was trying to distance himself from. They aren’t really the point – everything happens around them. Her basic-ness is enough to get him disowned. The thing is these people exist! Kwan has said that he’s based them on real people. So juicy! How can you not have enjoyed it?!? Totally parking lot worthy.

  2. So many good books! I love that you included 22 – I kind of did that last year, but this year I felt too overwhelmed by all the good books I read. I really had a great reading year. Not as great as you, though, at 150! 🙂
    I just ordered When Books Went to War with my Xmas Indigo gift card – books and war put together!

  3. You’ve reminded me to by Americanah, now that it has come down in price (I am a bad library goer, before you ask) and I was drawn to A History of Loneliness, but now that I have read the blurb, I don’t think I can go through with it. Makes me feel sad just reading the blurb :-/

    • Yeah A History of Loneliness is probably not for everyone. It’s not graphic if that’s what you are worried about. But obviously what happens, what is alluded to is horrific and it’s hard to read about nothing being done when you know that that’s exactly what happened in real life.
      But definitely get Americanah!

  4. Pingback: Weeks 17-19: Ho Ho Holy Hell the Holidays Make Me Lazy | The Book-A-Week Project

  5. Ooh, I liked Night Film, too. Great list of books…and congrats on reaching 150 books; that’s awesome! How is 2016 going to ever top that? 🙂

  6. 150 books. You are basically my hero. I follow your blog religiously and somehow some of these books have slipped past me! I see a lot of my favourites in here, and some I can’t wait to read myself! What an amazing year for you :).

  7. I just gave The Girl on the Train to a friend and she read it in two days – she has three kids 4 and under, so I’d say she enjoyed it. Movie comes in October I think! My goal is to not let my life overwhelm my reading! I feel in a funk if I don’t get reading time.

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