Books Culture

My Favourite Books in 2015

At the beginning of this year I set myself 10 resolutions – one of them was to read 50 books in a year. I have failed. Or I will fail. I’m on 31 with just a couple weeks left of 2015 BUT this is the most I’ve ever read in a  year EVER. Also, I read A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons in 2015 which have A LOT of pages. Like a lot a lot. After spending three years at university only ever reading books for my course and not having any time to read for pleasure I have been in my element this year. Moving to London was a brilliant decision just because of the amount of time I spend on public transport and therefore the amount of time I spend reading.

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I am going to set myself the 50 book reading challenge again next year and hopefully I will improve on my number from this year! In the mean time I wanted to share with you my top 5 favourite books that I read this year. This is definitely not books published this year but ones I read so sorry if this isn’t relevant!

NUMBER 5: A DANCE WITH DRAGONS BY GEORGE. R. R. MARTIN

I am finally caught up with A Song of Ice and Fire! I love fantasy worlds and I got so addicted to Game of Thrones that I knew I had to read the books to fill the void between series. But now I’ve finished the (published) books too and so there is a big big void. Everyone always asks which is better: books or series, but I hate comparing. I love them both so much, they’re just different. The things I love about the books are all the extra detail and backstories. I have learnt a lot about the history of Westeros and Essos but what I really want to know is about The Doom of Valyria. Some natural disaster happened and destroyed Valyria and all their knowledge, recorded history and spells including how to make Valyrian steel. And as a history student it makes me so sad that a whole people’s history has just vanished!

NUMBER 4: IN ORDER TO LIVE BY YEONMI PARK

This book was unlike anything I’d ever read before. I knew very little about North Korea other than scary stuff you hear in the news, one TED talk and studying the Cold War when I was 17 years old. This book was a real eye-opener into the reality of the situation in North Korea. Yeonmi describes her life there and her escape – sometimes I thought what I was reading was a really traumatic novel but then I’d snap back and remember that this was real. It really happened to her and to so many other North Koreans. It’s a heavy read but so important and Yeonmi is such an inspiration – I was lucky enough to meet her at a Penguin vlogger event and she was so funny and sweet. I hope everyone reads her book and hears her story.

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NUMBER 3: ESSAYS IN LOVE BY ALAIN DE BOTTON

If you read my last blog post you’ll know that I’ve been obsessing over the meaning of love recently and this book is definitely one of the causes of my obsession. It’s a novel combined with the philosophy of love and it’s absolutely gripping and fascinating. You follow the story of a man who falls in love with a woman but as the reader you’re not invested in either person or the relationship so you can objectively see the crazy things that being in love can make a person do/think. It’s brutally honest and many times I felt like I was being punched in the stomach with words – which sounds horrible but it was in a good way.

NUMBER 2: THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS BY E. LOCKHART

Definitely my favourite YA novel I read this year. I met E. Lockhart and she signed my copy but that’s not the only reason why it’s one of my favourites. It’s basically a feminist book but without screaming FEMINISM. It’s accessible and funny and there were so many moments whilst reading it when I’d be clutching the book and yelling “YES YES YES!” and then doing a mini-fist bump in the air. People on the tube must have thought I was nuts. The dialogue between Frankie and other characters but especially her boyfriend is just so beautifully accurate and relatable but when you’re reading it as an outsider you pick up on the subtle things that are so messed up in relationships. This book just made me very excited and I want every teenager to read it. Also, everyone else. Why not.

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NUMBER 1: THE MARTIAN BY ANDY WEIR

This wasn’t even a hard decision. The Martian was absolutely my favourite book I read this year. I am obsessed. I speed read it because I wanted to see the film and it was the most gripping and tense but also lovable thing I’ve ever read. Mark Watney is such a great main character and thank god because you spend a lot of time with just him and his thoughts seeing as he’s stuck on Mars alone. It’s so funny, I actually laughed out loud whilst reading many times – “Gay probe coming to save me. Got it.” is a personal favourite of mine. Also, the science stuff in it was really cool! It was so well written that it was pretty easy to follow along even if you’re like me and know nothing about chemistry and physics. I love this book so much, when I was reading the final chapter I was so nervous and my heart was racing that I had to put it down for a few seconds to catch my breath and then carry on. READ IT. And then see the film.

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And that is my top 5 books of 2015! Have you read any of them? What did you think of them? What were your favourites? Let me know in the comments! If you want to keep up to date on what I’m reading I have a Goodreads page and you can add me there. Happy reading for 2016!

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4 Comments

  1. As I reflected to another friend who, like you, had but didn’t quite achieve a 50-book goal, it’s laudable just to have that goal. And 31 books is nothing to sniff at either! Keep in mind that people who read more than that might be (a) wizards, (b) speed-readers, or (c) like me, spend time reading that they might use on other things—like YouTube videos, in your case! So I think you’re striking a healthy balance.

    Always love hearing about your book recommendations. Some I’ve read or heard about elsewhere, but ones like In Order to Live, which I’m reading right now, I might not otherwise have learned about. Also, I try to keep up with YA, and you always have great UK YA recommendations.

    One book I finished recently that’s definitely a favourite is The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native Peoples in North America. It’s all about indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada, and it’s thought-provoking and eye-opening.

    I also re-read Fall On Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald. It’s historical fiction set around WWI and follows all the struggles and drama of a small family in Canada. It is both heartbreaking and strangely reassuring, and the characters are amazing.

    And if you want a Canadian YA recommendation, try Courtney Summers. I read Cracked Up to Be this fall and loved it. It’s about a girl who used to be at the top of her class and now is acting out because of a guilty secret she’s keeping. And everyone either wants to ignore her or “fix” her, instead of actually listening.

    (All links to my Goodreads reviews.)

  2. The Martian was wonderful! Thanks again for that recommendation! 🙂 Might I recommend you finish your 50 book challenge by reading some kids books for the holidays? Dr. Seuss books can be read in about 5-10 minutes (depending on how much laughing you do). You could read 19 books in a day. (It wouldn’t even be cheating… they really are books!) Lol. 🙂

    Regardless, I’m impressed you did so much reading this year! Here’s wishing you a proper success with your 50 books next year! : )

  3. I need to read Essays in Love! This year I’ve read a few great books – Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman and Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn were particular favourites!

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

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