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31 December 2015

Reading in 2015

It's that time of year again! Time to wrap things up and look back fondly (or not so fondly) on all the books that spent some time in front of my eyeballs over the last 12 months.

Did I meet my Goodreads goal of 80 books? Nope!

I only (!) read 70 books this year. That's still kind of a lot, so I'm not too upset about missing the goal.

Here's the breakdown from the Goodreads "My Year in Books" feature:

This survey is from Perpetual Page Turner. I only (!) answered the first 30 questions, though. I linked the reviews for the ones that I wrote about here on the blog.

1. Best book

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

It was WAY TOO HARD to choose! I read a lot of very good, seriously amazing books this year. This one gets the "best" award because it was just overall fantastic, but there were several other titles that I considered for the top spot on this list.

2. Most disappointing

The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

3. Most surprising

Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

4. Most recommended

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

This was the chosen title for Gulf Coast Reads, a Houston-area book club managed by the Harris County Public Libraries. The author and area librarians (ehem, myself included to some extent) did quite a lot of work to put on some truly fantastic programs related to the subject of this book: the 1900 Storm in Galveston, TX.

5. Best series

Prudence by Gail Carriger

I got to see the author speak and get a copy of the first book in this new paranormal steampunk series at Murder By The Book (a great little indie bookshop in Houston) several months ago.

6. Favorite new author

Peter Mayel, author of A Year in Provence, etc.

Well, he's new to me!

7. Out of comfort zone

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

8. Most thrilling

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

9. Most likely to re-read

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

10. Favorite cover

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

This was a tough one to decide, as several of the books I read this year had simply wonderful covers (even the ones with the less-than-wonderful content). Close runners-up have to be A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, A Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán, and The Only Woman in the Room by Eileen Pollack.

11. Most memorable character

Agnieszka from Uprooted by Naomi Novik

12. Most beautifully written

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Does this count as "cheating" because it's a graphic novel? I don't care. It was beautifully done and creepy as hell.

13. Biggest impact

A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett, my favorite author and beloved around the world for his hilarious/insightful Discworld series, died while I was reading this collection of some of his nonfiction stuff.

14. Waited too long to read

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I still can't believe I was such a chicken about this book!

15. Favorite quote

What makes the desert beautiful, the little prince said, is that it hides a well somewhere....

Ce qui embellit le désert, dit le petit prince, c'est qu'il cache un puits quelque part....

- The Little Prince, Chapter XXIV, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

16. Shortest and longest

Shortest - Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 98 p.
Longest - The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 1276 p.

I read some real whoppers this year, including The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, which both broke 1,000 pages!

17. Most shocking

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

I was absolutely NOT prepared for the ending.

18. Favorite romantic relationship

Cadie and Noah in The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Even though the main character, Cadie acts like a complete idiot several times in this book, I really appreciated the way her relationship with Noah was handled: sex-positive and sexy, but with a realistic dose of awkwardness that goes with that kind of not-quite-but-maybe-someday love that you'd expect of a young summer romance.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship

Victor, Mitch, and Sydney from Vicious by V.E. Schwab

This is basically a book about terrible people doing terrible things, but this little rag-tag trio made me feel like rooting for the "bad guys" wasn't such a bad thing.

20. Favorite title from a tried-n-true author

The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

21. Best based only on rec from another reader

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

22. Fictional crush

I don't really develop crushes on book characters!

23. Best debut

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

24. Most vivid imagery or world

The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

25. Most fun to read

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

26. Brought on the tears

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

27. Best overlooked or unsung

The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas

This was a tough one! But I do wish that more folks got into this series, if only because I don't have anyone else to fangirl with over it.

28. Most soul-crushing

I don't even know what this means??? Perhaps I do not have enough of a soul left to crush.

29. Most unique

Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The publishers did not expect to have such a huge demand for this title and it was basically impossible to get a hold of a copy for a while after its initial print run. It's basically LIW's memoirs, heavily annotated and generously illustrated.

30. Most anger-inducing

The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig

Wow, what a note to end on. I got a little rage-frothy over a few of the books I read this year. The only 1-star I gave out on Goodreads went to House of Havoc by Marni Jameson (a home organization/decorating book, nominally) because it was a sexist, useless waste of time. Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby made me sad-mad (see "Brought on the tears" above). And The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel and Galileo's Middle Finger by Alice Dreger got my social justice dander up, too. But I guess in the end I'm just most likely to bust a a blood vessel over a book about mid-century feminism / women's health issues.

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So, that's been my year. Thoughts from the peanut gallery?

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