2015: A Bookish Year In Review

In a midst of the ‘Best of 2015’ lists popping up left, right, and centre, I’m going to wrap-up my reading year rather than picking out my top 10. (I’m the most indecisive person ever so picking only 10 out of 75 would be a struggle!) I saw this kind of yearly review on Ashleigh’s blog (A Frolic Through Fiction) and I like this format a lot so here we go, with a helping hand from Goodreads, my 2015 reading went a little like this…

gr2015_jan1Utopia – Sir Thomas More (4/5, review)
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (3/5, review)
Northern Lights* – Philip Pullman (4/5, review)
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (4/5, review)
Richard III – William Shakespeare (3/5, review)
Fangirl* – Rainbow Rowell (4/5, review)
Tamburlaine – Christopher Marlowe (3/5)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince* – JK Rowling (4/5, review)

Read: 8 books | 2967 pages | 3 for fun, 5 for uni
Reviewed 7 out of 8 | Fav: Fangirl


Scarlet – Marissa Meyer (4/5, review)
The Witch of Edmonton – Thomas Dekker, John Ford, William Rowley (3/5)
Landline – Rainbow Rowell (4/5, review)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows* – JK Rowling (4/5)

Read: 4 books | 1487 pages | 3 for fun, 1 for uni
Reviewed 2 out of 4 | Fav: Deathly Hallows


The Casual Vacancy – JK Rowling (3.5/5, review)
The First and Second Parts of King Edward IV – Thomas Heywood (3.5/5)
Chew: Volume 1 – John Layman (4.5/5, review)
Chew: Volume 2 – John Layman (3/5)
Soulless – Gail Carriger (4/5, review)
Chew: Volume 3 – John Layman (4/5, review)

Read: 6 books | 1592 pages | 5 for fun, 1 for uni
Reviewed 4 out of 6 | Fav: Chew: Volume 1


Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate – Kamilla Elliott (4/5)
The Uses of History in Early Modern England – ed. by Paulina Kewes (3.5/5)
Reading History in Early Modern England – Daniel R. Woolf (2/5, review)
Renaissance Utopias and the Problem of History – Marina Leslie (2/5)
Utopia, Carnival, and Commonwealth in Renaissance England – Christopher Kendrick (2.5/5)
The Myth of the Golden Age in the Renaissance – Harry Levin (3/5)
The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon (5/5, review)
Directors and the New Musical Drama: British and American Musical Theatre in the 1980s and 90s – Miranda Lundskaer-Nielsen (2.5/5, review)
You’ve Got To Have A Dream – Ian Bradley (2/5)
The Mime Order – Samantha Shannon (4.5/5, review)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor (4/5, review)
We Were Liars – e. lockhart (4.5/5, review)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman (4/5, review)

Read: 13 books | 4321 pages | 5 for fun, 8 for uni
Reviewed 7 out of 13 | Fav: The Bone Season


A Game of Thrones – George RR Martin (4/5, review)
The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett (3.5/5, review)

Read: 2 books | 1043 pages | 2 for fun, 0 for uni
Reviewed 2 out of 2| Fav: A Game of Thrones


A Clash of Kings – George RR Martin (4/5, review)
Hark! A Vagrant – Kate Beaton (4/5, review)
A Certain Slant of Light – Laura Whitcomb (3.75/5, review)
Ghostwritten – David Mitchell (4/5, review)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz (4.5/5, review)

Read: 5 books | 2158 pages | 5 for fun, 0 for uni
Reviewed 5 out of 5 | Fav: Aristotle and Dante


The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (4.5/5, review)
The Bad Beginning* – Lemony Snicket (4/5, review)
The Reptile Room* – Lemony Snicket (3.75/5, review)
The Princess Diaries* – Meg Cabot (4/5, review)
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater (4.5/5, review)
The Wide Window* – Lemony Snicket (3.5/5, review)
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories – Marina Keegan (5/5, review)
A Darker Shade of Magic – VE Schwab (4/5, review)
Emotional Excess on the Shakespearean Stage: Passion’s Slaves – Bridget Escolme (4/5)
Laughing and Weeping in Early Modern Theatre – Matthew Steggle (3/5)
You – Caroline Kepnes (3.5/5, review)

Read: 11 books | 3071 pages | 9 for fun, 2 for uni
Reviewed 9 out of 11 | Fav: The Opposite of Loneliness and The Raven Boys


The Interestings – Meg Wolitzer (4/5)
The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater (5/5, review)
Armada – Ernest Cline (3.5/5, review)
The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen (4/5, review)

Read: 4 books | 1701 pages | 4 for fun
Reviewed 3 out of 4 | Fav: The Dream Thieves


Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater (5/5)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – e. lockhart (4.5/5)
An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir (4.75/5)
Viper Wine – Hermione Eyre (5/5, review)
Harry’s Last Stand: How the World My Generation Built is Falling Down, and What We Can Do to Save It – Harry Leslie Smith (4/5, review)

Read: 5 books | 1813 pages | 5 for fun
Reviewed 2 out of 5 | Fav: Viper Wine


Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo (3.75/5, review)
The Magicians – Lev Grossman (3.5/5, review)
Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo (4/5, review)
Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo (4.25/5)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness (3.5/5, review)

Read: 5 books | 1811 pages | 5 for fun
Reviewed 4 out of 5| Fav: Ruin and Rising


The Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan (4/5)
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (4/5)
#Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso (3.5/5)
The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith (4/5)
Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee (3/5)

Read: 5 books | 1924 pages | 5 for fun
Reviewed 0 out of 5| Fav: The Sword of Summer


Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig (5/5)
The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson (4/5)
Legend – Marie Lu (3.5/5)
The Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson (4/5)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone* – JK Rowling (4/5)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick (4/5)
Sally Heathcote: Suffragette – Mary M. Talbot, Bryan Talbot, Kate Charlesworth (3/5, review)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets* – JK Rowling (4/5)
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom – Yeonmi Park (5/5)

Read: 9 books | 3459 pages | 9 for fun
Reviewed 1 out of 9| Fav: Reasons To Stay Alive and In Order to Live

Overall Read: 77 books | 27, 347 pages

So April seems to have been the month I read the most in, but I can quickly identify the reason for that – essay deadlines. In April I had end-of-module essays due for my classes so a lot of the books I read that month were academic ones (i.e. Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate and Reading History in Early Modern England) and I’m sure I haven’t even properly recorded the amount of essays and chapters I actually read in that month. I also then rewarded myself for handing them in by getting around to reading a few books that had been constantly teasing me from my bookshelves whilst I was trying to write said essays. I’m glad I managed to restrain myself enough to use them as a reward after the work rather than just distracting myself with leisure reading (as I did in July, oops!).


I couldn’t possibly ever pick a favourite book of the year, it would be impossible for me, and the numerical indications aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of reading, but looking at the numbers I’m really pleased with how my reading year was, especially considering that in that time I also managed to complete my MA in Early Modern literature which (let’s be honest) could have killed off the free time as well as the desire to read for pleasure. Luckily that didn’t happen – and I still love reading. So I think we can generally consider this year a success instead of focusing on how many of my bookish resolutions I failed to meet – though if you want a laugh, here’s my wildly optimistic 2015 reading resolutions which I completely ignored after… well, January, to be honest!

Returning to the positives, I’m also pleased I managed to get to some non-fiction/memoirs this year – not a lot, mind you, and my heart is still firmly with fiction but I am glad I’ve branched out and tried some other things. Those I have read have been really good so maybe I’ll continue this trend into the new year. Likewise, I seem to be finding my way back into fantasy (specifically YA fantasy, though I’m sure that’s 90% Booktube’s fault) so perhaps this trend will continue into next year, although I do want to add more classics in the mix – perhaps this year will be the year I finally get to work on some of my longer “project books” since quite a lot of those are also classic literature.

As for some areas I’m not so pleased with the consistency of my reviewing is definitely something I want to make a concerted effort to correct in the new year. As can be seen from the breakdown above, I did really well with reviewing the books I read from April to July and I am 110% sure this was because even after I finished a book I was looking for ways to spend more time on it, i.e. waste time on it rather than just get back to my university work! I’m no longer in university (boo) so I don’t have this excuse. The main reason my reviewing became lax in the latter half of the year was simply because once I got out of the habit of it in September when I read things on holiday (and didn’t exactly have a computer nearby to promptly review what I read), I didn’t ever really pick it back up with any sense of urgency. And then, as I’m sure people know, if you don’t review it soon after you read it, you completely forget why you did/did not like it. So some books above I’m really ashamed not to have reviewed – The Interestings, for one, which was probably one of my favourite books of the year and a really apropos one as I was panicking about my future post-uni at the time I read it.

So, in 2016 I’d like a sense of consistency, I think. I’m going to start a reading journal and try to put all my thoughts in there as I read so let’s hope this aids me when it comes to writing a review at the end of a book. Likewise, I’m going to focus on putting my reviews on this blog first and then copying it over onto Goodreads as opposed to what I did this year – writing shorter reviews on Goodreads and then expanding them into their own blog posts if I could be bothered – which makes no sense, really, when I could just write one review intended for this blog and then shorten if (if needs be) for Goodreads or else just copy and paste. I really want to focus on making this blog something I’m more proud of – consistency and quality of content would be two main areas to work on, I think, and I can certainly alter my reading habits slightly to help facilitate this!

However next year pans out in terms of everything else, I just hope to maintain my enjoyment for reading and, above all, read what I want to read. So bye bye 2015, and here’s to 2016, let’s hope I find as many new favourites in the upcoming year as I have in the one we leave behind!

Happy New Year one and all!

3 responses to “2015: A Bookish Year In Review”

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