Let’s just wipe a teensy bit of dust off of this blog here, shall we? Okay, so maybe it’s a little bit more than a teensy bit of dust, but with the arrival of the new year, I felt the strongest pull to write something before January 1st was over. Unfortunately this uncontrollable urge didn’t have a specific muse alongside it, but fortunately I always love writing about books and it seemed like the perfect time to recap my year of reading, something I haven’t done here since the beginning of 2012. So without further ado, let’s break it down a bit…
Reading challenge goal: 50 books
Total books read: 51 books! (see them all on Goodreads here)
I was thrilled to make my reading goal again this year. I know that a reading challenge isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that many people think it’s problematic for a variety of reasons (ie. it pushes you to plow through books without enjoying them, it makes you choose short books over long books, etc.), but I’m a goal-oriented person who loves to read as much as possible, so for me it makes perfect sense. I have been a bit wary to increase my goal past 50 for many years now, however, but for 2016 I’m finally taking the plunge and jumping up to 55 books. I’m excited to gently push myself towards choosing reading over playing silly games on my phone (I’m looking at you, stupidly addictive Frozen Free Fall), and with the new job I’m starting on January 4th (social media editor at Today’s Parent magazine — very excited!), I’ll now be taking the subway to and from work every day instead of the streetcar, which means I can finally read on my commute (streetcar-reading makes me nauseous).
To briefly highlight a few of my faves, here are the top 3 books I read this year, alongside my short Goodreads reviews:
I absolutely loved this novel. What a fantastically well woven story. Sure it relies on a lot of coincidences, but the way it all tied together was so beautiful and interesting that I didn’t even mind that a several of the plot points were rather convenient. I loved how while most post-apocalyptic stories usually just focus on the post- part, Station Eleven showed us the pre-, during, and post-apocalypse. The characters, too, were for the most part fantastic: I couldn’t get enough of Kirsten, Clark, Jeevan, and of course, the amazing Miranda. (Arthur was the only one who I couldn’t quite get behind, but alas.) Bonus points for being partially set in Toronto and having a strong Shakespearean bent! Highly recommended read.
Honourable mention: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Oh, how I love a beautifully crafted short book. A novel that can make me feel real, intense feelings in under 200 pages is a winner to me. It’s impossible to explain this story, told in snippets and abstracts, but it’s more than worth the short time it’ll take you to read it…and it’ll definitely linger in your mind long after you’re done.
I didn’t think I could love this book more than Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park…but I think that maybe I did. Fangirl was definitely the most fun book I’ve read so far this year, yet it also managed to pull at my heartstrings so well. Cath was a fantastic character and the Harry Potter fangirl in me connected so well with her. Such an entertaining read, and now I also can’t wait to read Rainbow Rowell’s next novel, Carry On, her version of Cath’s fanfiction!
And because I love stats, here’s a few key stats I pulled out from my 2015 reading list:
Female author: 20
Male author: 31
Canadian author: 13
Non-Canadian author: 38
Adult book: 19
YA/kids book: 9
Graphic novel: 23 (22 from the Fables series)
My stats this year surprised me somehow — I somehow forgot how many books I read from the Fables graphic novel series and its many spin-offs (and I still have half of the series to read this year!). For the uninitiated, Fables takes the classic fairy tale characters you know (and many you don’t) and turns them on their head. You could compare it to the TV show Once Upon a Time, but I think Fables is much more complex, twisted, and completely engaging. When the series opens, the fairy tale characters have all been forced into exile, living secretly in a small, magical part of New York City called Fabletown after being driven out of their homelands by an enemy known only as the Adversary. Things only get more complicated and fascinating from there, and although it’s definitely a big time investment to read this entire series (22 books in the original Fables series, 46 books in total including spin-offs and one-offs — I’m reading them in publication order, listed here), I’ve been loving the long journey I’m taking with these characters and highly recommend the series to any fairy tale lover.
Because I spent so much time with Fables this year, the number of female authors and of Canadian authors I read was startlingly low to me, and something I intend to focus more on in 2016. I also dabbled briefly into audiobooks at the beginning of the year which I’m still not sold on, but I can’t deny how fun it was to have Amy Poehler read to me on the TTC. As for e-books, I seem to have abandoned them completely after neglecting my e-reader for many, many months and then eventually giving it away to a friend mid-way through the year. Occasionally I still entertain the idea of downloading e-books on my phone to read in spare moments when I find myself without a paper book (ie. waiting in line, waiting for transit, etc.), but I haven’t committed to that plan yet. Maybe 2016 is finally that time…
What were some of your favourite reads in 2015? And what are your reading goals for 2016? Let me know in the comments!