2015 End of the Year Book Survey

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It’s almost 2016, the perfect time to take a bookish survey. I love these because they make me think about all the books I've read over the past 12 months, especially ones I may have forgotten about from the beginning of the year. 

Any books I reread this year are not eligible for this list, but I will say that this was a big rereading year for me. Being pregnant made reading more difficult because I was so tired! I found myself returning to old favorites like Lord of the Rings, Rebecca, Emma, the Harry Potter series, Empire Falls and others. It was such a treat. I also don’t limit myself to one book per answer if there are two or three that really fit perfectly.

Number of Books You Read: 164 
Number of Pages You Read: 53,043
Number of Re-Reads: 17 
Genre You Read The Most From: Literary Fiction  
Percentage of Female Authors: 56% 
Percentage of Library Books: 50% 
Percentage of New to Me Authors: 50% 
Percentage of Nonfiction: 28%

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
Classics — A Girl of the Limberlost, Tess of the D'Urbervilles 
Historical Fiction — The Nightingale 
Mystery —Career of Evil, The Stepford Wives 
Literary Fiction —Go Set a Watchman 
Nonfiction — Dead Wake, Tiny Beautiful Things, and The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio 
Fantasy —The Invasion of the Tearling, Salem’s Lot 
Play — Inherit the Wind 
Science Fiction — Station Eleven 
YA — The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Pollyanna, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry 
Graphic Novel — The Marvels and Out on the Wire

2. Book You Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Master and Commander, meh, I’ve heard it gets better so I might give the next book in the series a shot. 

3. Most surprising book you read?  
Kafka on the Shore, my first Murakami book was so readable and I was expecting something much more intimidating.  

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read? 
Station Eleven and Tiny Beautiful Things, both are wonderful! 

5. Best series you started in 2015? / Best series ender? 
Erika Johansen’s Tearling series / Sisterhood Everlasting 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? 
Jojo Moyes and Ira Levin

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read? 
I read a few pregnancy/kid books this year, definitely out of my comfort zone, but I’m Pregnant was really helpful, Why Have Kids? and Bringing Up Bébé were both really interesting as well. 

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? 
Salem’s Lot, might have put it in the freezer. 

9. Book You Read That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read in 2016? 
Station Eleven

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

 All The Light We Cannot See and As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

11. Most memorable character of 2015? 
Elnora from A Girl of the Limberlost, so fierce an intelligent, I just loved her. 

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? 
Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Hardy gets me every time.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? 
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, both made me seriously rethink the amount of stuff that is in our house. 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, can’t believe I didn’t read this when I was young.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? 
“I was born for a storm and a calm does not suit me.” – American Lion

“There is a mystery in silence that can never be matched by mere words. Silence is power.” - As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

“Certain phrases fascinate me with their subtle implications.” - Bonjour Tristesse

“This is why they call it the heartland. In the summer, the fields on either side of Mrs. Colonel’s house glowed a brilliant green, rippling in the wind. The air stretched above like miles of blue canvas, and Mrs. Colonel pictured a center pole rising up from Indianapolis’s Monument Circle to hold up the endless sky.” – The Circus in Winter

"When Death is as close as he was then, the sharp agony of fear is not there; the thing is too overwhelming and stunning for that." – Dead Wake

“That's how you know you love someone, I guess, when you can't experience anything without wishing the other person were there to see it, too.” – The Descendants

"As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he'll look for his lessons." – Got Set a Watchman

“I’m sorry if I offend you. But I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.” – Inherit the Wind

“There’s something wonderful about drinking in the afternoon. A not-too-cold pint, absolutely alone at the bar.” – Medium Raw

“Monotony collapses time, novelty unfolds it.” – Moonwalking with Einstein

“People live through such pain only once. Pain comes again—but it finds a tougher surface.” – The Song of the Lark

“This world's a city full of straying streets, and death's the market-place where each one meets.” – The Two Noble Kinsmen

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse – 27 (A Flavia de Luce  Short Story) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 870 

17. Book That Shocked You The Most? 
The Silent Land and We Were Liars 

18. One True Pairing (a couple that you ship)? 
Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott from Robert Galbraith’s series

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of The Year? 
Kelsea Raleigh Glynn and the Mace from the Tearling series

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From an Author You’ve Read Previously? 
Love and Freindship, I always love Austen, but I wasn’t expecting much from her juvenilia. Turns out it's hilarious! 

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else? 
Me Before You, I was expecting cheesy chick lit. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? 
Henry from Shotgun Lovesongs (And even though it’s a reread, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings)

23. Best 2015 debut you read? 
The Nightingale, beautiful WWII story about sisters.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? 
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? 
As You Wish, a memoir about the making of The Princess Bride. 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015? 
The Nightingale, I didn’t cry, but it was heartbreaking.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? 
The Circus in Winter, I read this because it’s set in Indiana, but I really enjoyed it! 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? 
Me Before You

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015? 
The Marvels and Kafka on the Shore, the first because it’s half text only and half graphic novel illustrations, the second because it’s Murakami and that’s all the explanation you need.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t mean you didn’t like it)?
Tess of the D'Urbervilles, I was so mad at both of the men in the book; Alec because he’s awful and Angel because he’s so hypocritical.

1. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015? 
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. These weren’t my most popular reviews, but I loved reviewing them! They were rereads and I never reviewed them the first time around. 
2. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? 
A Day in the Life and Baby Registries 

3. Best bookish event that you participated in? 
I loved co-hosting the Salem’s Lot readalong and participating in the spring and fall Dewey Readathons

4. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? 
Being pregnant! It's been hard to concentrate on certain books and harder to get reviews written because I was so tired. 

5. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? 
LibraryThing finally has an app! 

6.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? 
I completed the Back to the Classics Challenge and the TBR Challenge. I also knocked some books off my lists for the Classics Club, Reading the States, and my Shakespeare Project

With a newborn baby due in January I'm not tackling any challenges next year. My plan is just to read whatever I want whenever I can! It will probably be a very different reading year (with a lot more children's books), but that's ok!

Back to the Classics 2015 Wrap Up

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I didn't complete all the books on my Back to the Classics Challenge list, but I got through eight (one entry)! The challenge is hosted by Karen of Books and Chocolate. Below are all of the categories along with the books I finished. You can see the complete list of details in Karen's post here. 

 1. A Classic by a Woman Author: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (1915)
2.  A Classic in Translation: Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan (1954) 
3.  A Very Long Classic Novel: Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891) 
4. A Classic with a Person's Name in the Title: Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis (1955)   
5.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)  
6.  A Forgotten Classic: A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (1909) 
7.  A Classic Children's Book: Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter (1913)  
8.  A Classic Play: Richard II by William Shakespeare (1623)

2015 TBR Pile Challenge Complete!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Adam, the Roof Beam Reader hosted the TBR Pile Challenge again this year and despite the craziness of the past few months, I actually completed it! Here's the link to my original post.
The goal was to read 12 books from your “to be read” pile within 12 months. Each of the 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile. 

There were two on my main list that I didn't get to, but I read both of my alternates. I found a new favorite, A Girl of the Limberlost, tried Haruki Murakami for the first time, and read a good book set in my home state, The Circus in Winter. It was definitely a successful challenge.

Here’s my list:

1) Gulliver's Travels (Done)
    by Jonathan Swift 

2) A Girl of the Limberlost (Done)
    by Gene Stratton-Porter 
3) The Ghost Map (Done)
    by Steven Johnson 
4) Tess of the D'urbervilles (Done)
    by Thomas Hardy 
5) Asterios Polyp (Done)
    by David Mazzucchelli 
6) Master and Commander (Done)
    by Patrick O'Brian 
7) Kafka on the Shore (Done)
    by Haruki Murakami 
8) The Night Watch (Done)
   by Sarah Waters 
9) Light in August  
    by William Faulkner 
10) The Circus in Winter (Done)
    by Cathy Day 
11) Inherit the Wind (Done)
    by Jerome Lawrence 
12) On the Beach  
    by Nevil Shute


1) A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Done)
     by Laurie R. King 
2) A Quiet Storm (Done)
     by Rachel Howzell Hall

On Dropping the Ball

Friday, November 20, 2015

Yes, this is one of THOSE posts. The ones where a blogger talks about struggling with priorities and trying to find balance. Sorry in advance. 

I started this blog six years ago and this is the 1,458th post. In that time I've reviewed books, participated in more than a dozen readalongs and nine Dewey Readathons, and most importantly made friends with so many other amazing bloggers. 

In May, the Huz and I found out we were expecting our first little one. Since then life has felt like a whirlwind of fatigue, excitement, and a million other things. In addition to preparing things like the nursery, we've been attending birthing classes, getting life insurance, creating wills, and researching all of the things you're supposed to know before caring for another human being. 

The Huz has switched jobs and is now working two different ones full time. I'm working full time and my office has gone from a staff of 14 to 8 in the span of one year. Needless to say things have been a bit crazy this year. While I've still been reading a lot, I have barely been reviewing. I have been keeping up with my Classics Club duties, but even that has been a struggle.

So I've decided to give myself a bit of a break. I've never taken a break from this blog and I never really planned to. But I know that right now I have so much stuff hanging over my head and I feel like I'm constantly trying to find a way to get through it all. This is new to me. I've never felt like this before and I'm finally realizing that it's ok to put a couple things on hold for a little while instead of constantly feeling like I'm dropping the ball. 

Life doesn't stop when you get pregnant or have a kiddo, but it certainly does get a bit more complicated. I hope that as I find my new balance I'll be able to be back at blogging regularly in the not too distant future. Until then, I hope you all will understand my sporadic posting. Thanks to all of you!

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