Reflecting on 2015: Reading

After doing that long End of Year Survey, I really don’t need to do this but I enjoy doing these reflection pieces, especially for my reading progress, so here I am with another.

The theme for 2015 was Improve and I did so in my blogging and reading. I smashed my Goodreads Reading Challenge by reading a whopping 57 books, which is a lot for me to read in a year, especially in a year that was super busy. Ten of the total were graphic novels and comics because since discovering Booktube, my interest in comics have grown. I also read a short story for my Book Riot Reading Challenge, which I plan to participate in again this year. The majority of authors I read were new to me and again this is because of Booktube. It’s one of the best bookish discoveries I made last year. I discovered so many new books and authors and my interest and love of reading and books have grown. The positive/negative backlash of that is that I bought too many books last year as well to quench my growing interest in new reading material. I feel so guilty about it that I refuse to count how many books I bought. Knowing it’s a lot is enough.

I kicked off the year reading magazines: Traditional Home’s 25th Anniversary issue, which has beautiful pictures of plantations; Scientific American MIND’s Winter 2015 special issue on genius and improving one’s brain power; a National Geographic special issue on personality and the first issue of its new history magazine, which I quite like. Those were all the magazines I managed to read this year, though I bought a few more. Apart from books, I spent much of 2015 reading articles online and blog posts.

The first book I read last year was Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven, fifth book in the Wheel of Time series. It was unnecessarily long like its predecessors and made me seriously consider giving up on the series. I followed that with The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. It was okay. I loved the illustrations but I didn’t expect the books to be so short; still, they reminded me of books I read as I child and I loved that.

I requested an ARC of Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, which was surprisingly good. It was the first book of hers I read and since it’s about habits, I expected to be bored. I wasn’t. I also requested and received an ARC of Rachel Hartman’s Shadow Scale, which concludes the Seraphina duology, so I read the prequel of the series, The Audition, which I thought was unneeded, and reread Seraphina, which I enjoyed more this time, before hopping to Shadow Scale, which I devoured. I enjoyed it but the ending wasn’t as I thought it would be.

In April, I braved the Klondike region with Buck in Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, then took a road trip with Mary Norris in her memoir Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. I continued with The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander by picking up the third book, The Castle of Llyr, then got, read, and treasured In Search of Lost Dragons by Élian Black’mor which is co-illustrated by Carine-M. It’s such a beautiful book.

May caught me with a science-fiction classic Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, which I was surprised to find I enjoyed, and a book I succumbed to reading because of fandom peer-pressure — Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas. I was surprised that I didn’t much like it. May was the month of new things. I went sky diving and I visited a comic book shop, where I allowed myself to be convinced to purchase volume 1 of Saga, Rat Queens, The Wicked + The Divine, and Infinite Spiral. They were all good but Saga and Rat Queens were my favorite. I then read Insurgent, second in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, but I disliked it so much that I refuse to read the final book. I ended May with a modernist novel, A Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu, which was interesting both in form and content.

Though I started June with Taran Wanderer, the fourth book of The Chronicles of Prydain series, it was really a month of new authors. I was attracted to the taboo relationship in Unteachable by Leah Raeder so I read it and I liked it. The cover of Julie Kagawa’s Talon beckoned at me so I bought it but I hated it. The sweet reviews I read about Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss enticed me and I enjoyed it. The narration of You by Caroline Kepnes tempted me and I succumbed to it. The mechanics of the Isle of Conclusion in Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth so interested me that I had to read it. It boggled my mind and left me wishing I’d read it when I was a child. I also read two graphic novels in that month: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, which wasn’t what I expected it to be, and volume 1 of Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi because I like his illustrations for the Harry Potter books.

Then came noisy July in which I finally gave in to the attractive cover of Sara Raasch’s book, Snow Like Ashes, and read it. I liked it but I often compared it to Throne of Glass because I discovered them at the same time and their authors’ names rhyme. July was family time and great (favorite) family members bought me an awesome gift — the Harry Potter box set with covers illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi :D. I immediately read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and fell in love with it all over again. I then requested (forgot that I did) and received an ARC of Billy Coffey’s Christian horror novel The Curse of Crow Hollow and loved it. Fangirl was next. It’s another fandom peer-pressure read I didn’t like as much as I thought I would. I ended the month with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I enjoyed more this time around; maybe because I love the cover.

August came to visit again and in it I read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews because I liked the preview of the movie. I enjoyed the book and somehow forgot to watch the movie. I then to decided to give up on Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto by Anneli Rufus because I couldn’t stand to continue reading it and read instead The Wife of His Youth, a short story by Charles Chesnutt, which I think is as timely today as it was back when it was written. Shadow and Bone was next. I read it out of curiosity. It was okay. And then there was a bout of comics — New Spring: the Graphic Novel, The Battle of Blood and Ink, and volume 2 of Saga and Rat Queens — which were all okay except for Saga, which was spectacular. Juniper Berry: A Tale of Terror and Temptation, a middle-grade novel by M.P. Kozlowsky was good and unsettling, and Jason and the Argonauts was a great classic to read aloud.

That’s a lot of books and I’m just at September in which I started with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and followed it with The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, which was great. I felt like a failure so I read Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning Into the Unknown by Pema Chödrön but I was so upset with the book that I gleaned nothing from it. I read it about a month later and appreciated it. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was next and it seems to have finally surpassed the first novel in my favors but A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin wasn’t as great as the first time :(. I was glad to finally read The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness but was disappointed that it’s not as great as I thought it would be.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, which I picked up somewhat randomly, was superb but She by H. Rider Haggard was a major bore. I requested and received an ARC of Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio, illus. by Will Staehle, which was fun and read the last of The Chronicles of Prydain book, The High King, which was disappointing, to say the least. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor was next and I enjoyed it immensely, and I ended the year on a sad note with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was good but Sirius.

And that’s my reading roundup for the year. Again you didn’t ask for it but I did it anyways because I wanted to.

I did a top ten favorites list for a Top Ten Tuesday post but here are my top five (rereads included).

Favorites of the bunch

Books

Comics

Articles

“Hope Is the Enemy” by Dasha Kiper (American Scholar)

“Melancholy” by Carina del Valle Schorske (The Point Magazine)

“Object Lesson: Why We Need Physical Books” by William Giraldi (The New Republic)

“Treasure Island Author Robert Louis Stevenson Was a Sickly Man with a Robust Imagination” by Danny Heitman (Humanities: the Magazine of the NEH)

Least liked
Best storytelling

A Clash of Kings

Harry Potter books

The Curse of Crow Hollow

You

Saga

Best writing

Jason and the Argonauts

A Clash of Kings

The Monstrumologist

Unteachable

She

Best illustrations

Books

In Search of Lost Dragons

Comics

The Wicked + The Divine

Awesome covers
Reading challenges hits

Goodreads

Goal: 30 Read: 57

Success or Fail

Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge

A self-improvement book: Better Than Before

A sci-fi novel: Journey to the Center of the Earth

A book originally published in another language: A Long Day’s Evening

A comic/graphic novel: Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own: The Curse of Crow Hollow

A book that someone else has recommended to you: Fangirl

A collection of short stories: “The Wife of His Youth” (it’s a short story; didn’t do collection)

A book published by an indie press: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye

A book published this year: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Success or Fail

Classics Club Reading Challenge

The Call of the Wild

Journey to the Center of the Earth

The Wife of His Youth

Jason and the Argonauts

She

Success or Fail

Reading plans for the new year: goals and challenges.
  • Read more books. I almost read 60 books in 2015 so my goal for 2016 is 60 books.
  • Read more comics/graphic novels.
  • Read more classics. My Classics Club challenge ends in 2017 and I haven’t even read half of the books on my list. I also need to stop adding books to the list.
  • Read horror books. I plan to do the Horror Reading Challenge (separate post on challenges to come).
  • Read Ancient Greek books. I plan to do the Ancient Greek challenge (ditto above).
  • Read books for the 2016 Book Riot Reading Challenge (same).
  • Read some Shakespeare. I was going to do a Shakespeare readalong but it’s cancelled so I’ll read them on my own.
  • Maybe read the Bible.
  • Read books on my shelves. I don’t plan to participate in a challenge for this.
  • Buy less books. I’ll probably do that read 5 books, buy 1 thing.
  • Keep better track of my reading to amuse myself later using this great spreadsheet.
What am I currently reading?

Shadowshaper

I’ll have to start over. I read a couple pages and got distracted. Haven’t picked it back up yet.

The World of Ice & Fire

Slow going. It’s so dry.

Wonderbook_Case_r2.indd

I really like this book but for the majority of the year, it was buried under mail on my bedside table so I forgot to pick it up.

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology

It’s a reference text. I read it between books and during reading slumps.

Here are all the books I read this year. I’m including these thumbnails for no good reason other than I like pictures.

Hope you have a wonderful year reading! 😀

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5 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2015: Reading

  1. Pingback: Weekend Reads #32: 2016 Reading Plans | Zezee with Books

  2. Woo hoo! What a great reading year for you! And I’m so glad that you’re joining the Greek challenge. I’m excited about it.

    The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my favourite all time books. I just love it.

    I’m going to concentrate on my Classics Club list too. I feel like I’m avoiding those longer and/or more challenging choices, so I need to force myself to read a few of those this year.

    I hope you have an even better reading year in 2016 than 2015. I’ll be interested to watch your books choices.

    Like

  3. Oh I really want to get into Jules Verne books but I’m scared of a reading slump. I’ve read very few classics in the past but would you still recommend it?
    Congrats on succeeding your book challenge! 🙂

    Like

    • I usually stay far from classics too but these days I’ve found that most of them aren’t as bad as I think they’ll be.
      Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was surprisingly good but I recommend that you find a good translation of it. I started with a free electronic copy but the writing there was clunky and it almost turned me off from the story. The Barnes & Noble classics copy I read was great. I recommend that. I don’t think it will put you in a slump.

      Liked by 1 person

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