I read 30 books last year, meeting my goal with a few hours to spare (what, doesn’t everyone sit and read on New Year’s Eve?)
Most of them were 3 and 4 star books, I even had one (gasp) 2 star that was lucky I even finished it at all. In fact, it seems to be my pattern that it takes me a whole year worth of vigorous reading before I get 6 that I can honestly say were 5-star reads. Let’s just make it a tradition then, I’ll be back next January with 6 more books to devour!
Although, seeing as I just got a Kindle for Christmas (thanks, Mom!) my book-count may increase dramatically this year. I’m especially looking forward to not having to lug a brick of a book on trips, but I can see how it makes reading so much easier (I’ve been carrying it back and forth with me as I go back to the bedroom to hang out with gimpy cat). It’s perfect for lazy-bones Lindsay, seeing as I can check out books from the library without ever actually going to library (read: not having to put on real pants).
Although, I do have to admit that I miss the subtleties of a well-designed book. The Kindle’s generic font, as nice as it is, isn’t quite the same… especially for books with unique formatting that plays a part of the storytelling itself. Case in point, I just started The Book Thief on the Kindle, and am tempted to check out the physical version instead to experience the typography as the author and designer intended.
(And as always, know that there are affiliate links in this post. Click if you want, or don’t. Just know that by doing so, you’re only supporting my ravenous reading habit.)
The Historian – This was, I can honestly say, the best book I read all year. It is a very large book, and I almost didn’t start it for that reason, but I’m glad I did, because I plowed through that thing like it was Harry Potter. I love books that intertwine mysteries and conspiracy (and a little bit of sci-fi/fantasy) into real history. It reminded me a lot of The Lost Sisterhood from last year’s book post, but with added vampires in the mix. What I loved most about this book were the layers of history, the stories told through letters over three generations, that ultimately uncovered the truth to one of history’s greatest mysteries.
The Nightingale – Wow, this one was intense, centered around two sisters trying to survive during the Nazi invasion of France. It was eye-opening in ways I never knew, and it had me absolutely bawling at the end. I’m not usually one for historical war fiction, but this book, with its strong female characters, stole my heart.
Wonder – All. The. Feels. What a brilliant, brilliant book, written from the perspective of a young boy with a facial deformity and those closest to him. It’s one of those books that really makes you think hard about yourself and want to be a better person. August just has a way of doing that to people, I guess. He is not a character you will forget any time soon.
The Bone Season – Surprise surprise, another book about a dystopian society and people with special powers. I did feel as if the fantasy lexicon could have been simplified… some of the story got lost in the complexity of the made-up words and organizational structures, but it definitely got easier to understand by the second book in the trilogy (which, admittedly, wasn’t quite as good as the first, but I’m still anxiously awaiting the final book to see how it all ends).
The Girl on the Train – Engaging and unexpected. People compare this book to Gone Girl but I have to say, it’s way better. GG made me mad (and no, I have NOT seen the movie), mainly because the narrator isn’t some idiotic husband. Ok, so maybe it’s an alcoholic peeping-tammy of a woman who shoves herself into a situation that’s truly none of her business. Ok, so maybe I don’t like her any more than Mr. Gone, but I still enjoyed this book far more.
All the Light we Cannot See – For someone who doesn’t like war fiction, to have two on one list is a record (let alone two WWII-occupied-France books). But this one stood out to me, a tale of two very different people on different sides of a conflict, brought together in unexpected circumstances. I appreciated how it humanized the enemy, a hard feat to accomplish in a novel, showing that there are good people involved on both sides of any conflict.
And not that you need any more books to add to your own wishlist (my own “To-Read” list just gets longer and longer) but this compilation of the best books of 2015 on NPR is a gold mine. (Although I wish they’d add a straight up “Fiction” filter. I’m not so particular on the genre but pretty much exclusively enjoy reading fiction.)