Best Books of 2015 || Blogmas Day 15

Somewhat adapted from today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic I want to discuss the best books I’ve read in the year of 2015! This year has been an incredible reading year for me, while not many of these will be a surprise to those of you who have followed my blog over the year I want to just share these books and hopefully inspire one of you to read them.

My love of classics grew exponentially this year and I’m really no longer scared of the epic classic that spans over 800 pages. I started the year reading The Old Curiosity Shop – it was my first Dickens and even now, a year on nearly, it’s still as clear in my mind.

Another epic classic but a bit shorter at just over 600 pages is Moby Dick. It’s one I am so glad I read although it was difficult in parts; I felt I got something out of it. I’m not certain this book would be for everyone but I implore you to just try it because I was dubious about it too but I ended up loving it.

One that will come as no surprise is the epic of all epics, The Count of Monte Cristo, is on this list. This book took me by surprise in the best possible way and I cannot wait to read more Dumas next year. I implore anyone to read this book, I absolutely devoured it and even at over 1200 pages it really didn’t feel very long. That book is a masterpiece and I would really suggest to anyone to give it a try because I really think it has a little bit of something for everyone!

Slightly shorter is The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. This is the best in the MaddAddam trilogy, in my opinion at least! I couldn’t put this book down and the world that she created was incredible. This was the book I connected with most in the series and I think that this and Oryx and Crake can be read in either order as they are essentially the same story through different eyes. The less I say about MaddAddam the better!

Orlando I read twice in a handful of days. I finished it and went right back to the start. This book connected with me on some emotional level I didn’t know I had. I loved Virginia Woolf already but this only solidified that and put her up there as one of my favourite authors. Woolf can be hard to get in to, but I encourage everyone to try because her work is beautiful. If you want a good place to start, try Flush!

Finally, the only new release of the year, is A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan. This is the best short story collection I’ve read in a long time, maybe ever. Each story is linked beautifully by the thread that they’re being told to an unborn child by their mothers. I could easily have read this in one sitting. It’s really hard to find right now as it was a limited run by a small publisher in Scotland but I believe the paperback will be available next year!

So there we have it – my favourite books of 2015, or my stand out books at the very least! Tomorrow is a top 5 Wednesday and Thursday will be a review all being well. If you have any ideas I’d like to have some inspiration because I’m really running out of them…!

Reading Resolutions 2014/15

So, as I work on an academic timetable/year I’m starting my reading resolutions from September 1st. One, I’m more likely to stick to them and two, I’m determined to not let reading fall behind this coming year at uni. For most people, these probably aren’t all that ambitious, but when I only read about 12 books through 8 months at uni I feel I ought to try and do at least something.

  1. Do a monthly TBR – I think this is doable, I can base the next month on the previous month and it will also focus my reading a little more. There’ll not be any indecisiveness over which book to pick next, which I think will help a lot.
  2. Read ONE Penguin English Library classic a month (or any variation thereof, including my other pretty Penguin editions) – I love classics and I read so very few now. I’ve got several on my shelf, and a couple I plan on investing in so I want to set a goal to read them and not allow them to stagnate! There are a couple of sub-goals:
    1. Persevere with Jane Austen – This is a goal for the long term. I want to revisit Jane Austen. I think this time I may try and watch the adaptations first to get a better grasp on the story as a whole before throwing myself in to the books. I didn’t enjoy them while I was at school and even now I don’t enjoy them as such. The only Austen I have enjoyed was Persausion – but I saw the movie first!
    2. Start reading Dickens – I can shamefully announce I have read only A Christmas Carol. Nothing else. This is something I want to try again. I’m going to aim for 3 in the next year! Maybe as with the Austen plan, I shall watch adaptations first!
  3. Revisit books from school – and just authors that I explored at school; I’m not going to aim too high over the next year
    1. Shakespeare – I’d like to get back in to Shakespeare, MacBeth is one of my favourite plays and I just love Shakespeare so I’m going to aim to read 2 or 3 of his plays.
    2. John Steinbeck – I really enjoyed Of Mice and Men and I’ve heard great things from many people about his other works. Hoping to read East of Eden and maybe Grapes of Wrath.
    3. George Orwell – I read an extract of Animal Farm. Not even the whole novel.  My sister adores Orwell so I’m wanting to read at least Animal Farm and 1984.
  4. Participate in readalongs & readathons – This is quite a new concept for me, but I’m going to try it out as I really enjoyed the Classical Literature Readalong this August!
  5. Read as many book club books as I can – I’m part of a book club and hardly ever read the books. This has to change! I’ve bought Septembers book for my kindle to take on holiday with me, and I am going to read it. A post about this book club will follow mid-month as it’s more than just a reading group! A year-long read-a-thon/challenge is going on again this year starting on September 1st so I’m going to be making a post about that at some point!
  6. Review – I’ve really enjoyed reviewing books this summer, I want to keep on top of that! So I’m going to aim to write one or two long reviews a month and then anything more is a bonus. I’ll endeavour to write at least 250 words for every book I read though and maybe put them in a monthly overview around the end of the month.
  7. Non-Fiction – I’m going to aim for at least 6 non-fiction books this year – cover to cover opposed to just the suggested chapter of my textbook. I do love a good popular science book or a biography so I’m going to aim for more!

I think that’s everything for now! If anyone wants to suggest books to me that fit in to any of the specific categories I’ve mentioned, or wants to throw a good movie adaptation at me, please do!