Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Year In books 2015

Hello, it's that time of year again. The end of the year in fact, when it's time to round up those book lists and reveal my year in books.

It's been a varied year, a year of firsts and seconds and final parts and farewells and classics and re-reads. January 2015 saw my first book ever read on the kindle, which subsequently led me to pilfer Andrea's kindle, whilst he bought a new one. I know, I thought I would never be corrupted into it but when you have shit all book shelf space, a kindle comes in handy. And especially when you read copious amounts of trilogies and series, it's good to have a virtual book shelf where they can sit quite happily but take up little space and they don't weigh a tonne. This year also saw my first audio book and I managed to smash my intended 100 books read in a year. So here goes nothing. 2015, my year in books:

January

  1. A Clockwork Orange: Anthony Burgess
  2. The Bane Chronicles: Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson
  3. Animal Farm: George Orwell
  4. Earwig and the Witch: Diana Wynne Jones
  5. Half a Creature from the Sea: David Almond
  6. Cold Spell: Jackson Pearce
  7. Coming up for Air: George Orwell
  8. The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1): Marie Rutkoski (1st book on the Kindle, ever!)
  9. The Monster of Billy Dean: David Almond
  10. 1984: George Orwell
Wow, what a start to the year. This list included 7 from the library, one borrowed, one gift and my first Kindle purchase. Obviously, there are quite a few classics in there. Finally I got around to the dystopian terror that is 1984. I also finally delved into the wondrous mind of David Almond. I think choosing a favourite of the month is horrendously tricky here, so I'm going to go for two favourites: 1984. I mean, wow. Not much more to say on the subject other than this is shit scary. And the YA wonder that is Marie Rutkoski's debut, the Winner's Curse. This book has everything and is incredibly written. You do not put this book down lightly. 

February
  1. Rosehead: Ksenia Anske (Kindle)
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: J.K Rowling. (A re-read. Obviously.)
  3. The Castle of Otranto: Horace Walpole
  4. All Our Names: Dinaw Mengestu
  5. Love Hurts: Malorie Blackman and others
  6. Heart Shaped Box: Joe Hill
  7. Insurgent (Divergent #2): Veronica Roth
  8. Siege and Storm (Grisha #2): Leigh Bardugo
  9. The Darkest Part of the Forest: Holly Black
Another varied month with four from the library, three treats to myself and one re-read to mark Harry Potter Reading Night. February 2015 was about the second books in two trilogies I was reading. It was about exploring new horror writers and supporting a fellow writer whom I'd been following on twitter for some time. I had also been to the Love Hurts event at Waterstones Piccadilly to see Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, James Dawson and others speak about the YA compilation book of the same name. Again, choosing a favourite is tricky, but I think my first foray into Joe Hill's writing wins this month. A great book, so well written. I look forward to reading more. 

March
  1. Trust Me: Malorie Blackman
  2. The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter #1): Melinda Salisbury (Kindle)
  3. Shadow Forest: Matt Haig
  4. Half a King (Shattered Sea #1): Joe Abercrombie
  5. The Enormous Crocodile: Roald Dahl
  6. The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2): Marie Rutkoski (kindle)
  7. All Fall Down: Ally Carter
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: J.K Rowling (Re-read of course.)
  9. The Boy who Climbed into the Moon: David Almond
  10. Damned: Chuck Palahniuk
  11. Silver Lining's Playbook: Matthew Quick
  12. Skin and other stories: Roald Dahl
  13. My Friend's a Gris-Kwok: Malorie Blackman
This was a great month in terms of YA and Children's books read. Another great haul from the library and two books on the Kindle this month. Joe Abercrombie's Half a King is an outstanding book, and was closely followed by The Winner's Crime and The Sin Eater's Daughter in terms of my favourites, but I think he definitely deserved the title of best book of March. He doesn't so much insert you in his fantasy world, he drowns you in it. And what's more, you're quite happy about that. Highly recommended. 

April
  1. Shift (Shifter Series #1): Kim Curran (Kindle)
  2. Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson #1): Rick Riordan
  3. There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom: Louis Sacher
  4. Only Ever Yours: Louise O'Neill
  5. Room: Emma Donoghue
  6. Just After Sunset: Stephen King
  7. Control (Shifter Series #2): Kim Curran (Kindle)
  8. This Book is Gay: James Dawson
  9. Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest: Amos Oz
  10. Where Angels Dare to Tread: E.M Forester
April was a fab month as Kim Curran's Shifter series was released at the end of March all in one go, which meant some fab shifting treats throughout April and May. I treated myself to Louise O'Neill's award winning and absolutely terrifying book, Only Ever Yours, and I got another fantastic haul from the library. You may be small Kentish Town Library, but you're pretty mighty too. The hands down winner of best book this month though, was the incredible: Room by Emma Donoghue. It was one of those books I'd been meaning to read since it came out, and boy am I glad I did. This book is written so carefully and beautifully, the plight of its characters weigh heavy on you and you cannot stop reading. I hope they get the film right because the book is amazing!

May
  1. Rock Wars (Rock Wars #1): Robert Muchamore
  2. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha: Roddy Doyle
  3. Delete (Shifter Series #3): Kim Curran (Kindle)
  4. Moral Disorder: Margaret Atwood
  5. The First 15 Lives of Harry August: Claire North
  6. How I Live Now: Meg Rosoff (Kindle)
  7. Trouble: Non Pratt (Kindle)
  8. Grasshopper Jungle: Andrew Smith (Kindle)
  9. Brokeback Mountain: Annie Proux
  10. Poldark - Ross Poldark (#1): Winston Graham
Lots of treats this month in the way of a Kindle hoard of YA gems, a continuation of my slight Margaret Atwood obsession, the culmination of Kim Curran's Shifter series, and some great finds in the library. This month's favourite title had to be Grasshopper Jungle. This is utterly bonkers, funny, gross, diverse and full of fabulous characters and carnage. Wicked book. 

June
  1. Tell All: Chuck Palahniuk
  2. Tinder: Sally Gardner
  3. Night Shift: Stephen King
  4. Rebel Heart (Dustlands #2) Moira Young (Kindle)
  5. Pygmy: Chuck Palahniuk
  6. Manifesto on how to be Interesting: Holly Bourne (Kindle)
  7. Born Weird: Andrew Kaufman
  8. Heap House: Edward Carey
Definitely a treat month as I finally got around to organising my Reading Spa Christmas present from my wonderful friends, and I came away with six books from there, two of which are the last two on June's list. More treats on the Kindle and from the library, and this month Chuck Palahniuk takes the favourite book award for his Hollywood Tell All. A deliciously sneaky look at the Hollywood underbelly and what happens under all that fame and make up. 

July
  1. Dreams and Shadows: C. Robert Cargill
  2. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Ransom Riggs
  3. The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam #2): Margaret Atwood
  4. Raging Star (Dustlands #3): Moira Young (Kindle)
  5. Gone with the Wind: Margaret Mitchell
Not quite as extensive this month, but to be fair, Gone with the Wind took two of the four weeks of this month, to get through. Another two this month were from my Reading Spa, there was a Kindle treat to finish the Dustlands Trilogy and two absolute stonkers from the library. Hard to pick a favourite, but I think for its sheer epic nature, tiny print and over a thousand pages, I'd have to go for Gone with the Wind and the joy that is Scarlett O'Hara. What a great literary character.  

August
  1. Stone Mattresses: Margaret Atwood
  2. Live and Let Die: Ian Fleming
  3. Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3): Leigh Bardugo
  4. Department 19 (Department 19 #1): Will Hill
  5. We all Looked Up: Tommy Wallach (Kindle)
  6. California: Edan Lepucki
  7. The Girl with all the Gifts: M.R. Carey
  8. The Rest of us Just Live Here: Patrick Ness
This month saw my first Bond novel, some quality YA and more Margaret Atwood - of course. But winning the favourite book of the month had to be Patrick Ness. I ate that book for breakfast, lunch and tea. Plus, I love that guy! His words can do no wrong for me. A fabulous book. 

September
  1. Sabriel (Abhorsen #1): Garth Nix (Kindle)
  2. Fluent in 3 Months: Benny Lewis
  3. Ready Player One: Ernest Cline (Audiobook)
  4. Gone (The Gone Series #1): Michael Grant (Kindle)
  5. The Blind Assassin: Margaret Atwood
  6. Apple and Rain: Sarah Crossan
  7. Over to You: Roald Dahl
  8. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3): Laini Taylor
September was definitely a good haul in terms of library books. It also saw the beginnings of some series, the end of another and my first ever audiobook. Oh, and a non-fiction book - I know, almost unheard of - that may one day help in my approach to learning Italian. The Blind Assassin gets the best book award of this month, because let's face it, it's amazing and it's written by an absolute legend. 

October
  1. The Library of Unrequited Love: Sophie Divry
  2. The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me: Roald Dahl
  3. Prisoner of Azkaban: J.K Rowling (Re-read)
  4. Factotum: Charles Buckowski
  5. The Haunting of Hill House: Shirley Jackson
  6. Kill Your Friends: John Niven
  7. Astray: Emma Donoghue
  8. Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam #1): Margaret Atwood
I hadn't realised earlier in the year when I read Year of the Flood, that I was actually reading a trilogy out of sequence. But the way they are written means they are completely stand alone novels and they work singularly as well as they do together. It did not hamper my understanding or enjoyment of the series by reading them out of order, and Ms Atwood once again wins best book of the month, for her epic dystopian world. 

November
  1. The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed out the Window: Jonas Jonasson
  2. Revival: Stephen King
  3. Uprooted: Naomi Novik (Kindle)
  4. Half a World (Shattered Sea #2): Joe Abercrombie
  5. Odd Apocalypse (Odd Thomas #5): Dean Koontz
  6. Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones #3): Helen Fielding
  7. Red Queen (Red Queen #1): Victoria Aveyard (Kindle)
Some new authors for me this month, and some golden oldies too. I'm never too far from a Stephen King novel and reading Bridget Jones took me back to my teens. I'm slowly getting through the Odd Thomas series and still treating myself to a couple of Kindle books a month. Joe Abercrombie wins again as book of the month. Once again he drowned me in his shattered sea barely giving me a second to bob up for air. I need book 3 in my life. 

December
  1. Cat's Eyes: Margaret Atwood
  2. Lady of the Shades: Darren Shan
  3. The Incident of the Dog in the Night Time: Mark Haddon
  4. Blood and Ink: Stephen Davis
  5. Lorali: Laura Dockill (Kindle)
  6. Winter's Bone: Daniel Woodrell (Kindle)
  7. My Name is Mina: David Almond (Kindle)
  8. The Bell Jar: Sylvia Plath
  9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith
What a month of literature to finish on. Such a variety and some absolute classics. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading The Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and the Bell Jar, long overdue. This was a tricky month to pick a favourite but in the end David Almond's wonderful creation: Mina, had to win. 

The final tally for the year was 105 books! Whoop! I smashed my intended 100 books. 2015 was a great year in books. And I can't wait to see what 2016 has me reading. 

Happy New Year everyone! 

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