Month: December 2015

What I read in 2015

This past year has been quite a change of pace for me, reading-wise. I’ve always enjoyed reading; trips to the library are one of my fondest memories of the period before my parents’ divorce, before we moved half way across the country and blah, blah, blah. Long story short this caused a lot of changes, but reading remained central to my life.

I’ve written about this before, but in my teens I decided at some point that I would read only classics or books that were award/best of the year-worthy. While this sounds great and like I would be a very well-read person, after 14-ish years of sticking to those principles I became very tired of restricting myself to certain sections of the bookstore, and reading nothing but what amounted to literary fiction for more than half my life.

This past year I started branching out in what I would read, meaning I read books that were published this year (which I hardly ever did before), I read fantasy, I read YA, and I even read a graphic novel or two. I discovered that  I actually enjoy fantasy and graphic novels, though I am very torn on the whole YA thing, both in its quality (very hit-or-miss) and in its designation. I mean, what is it, even, why do some things get called YA (Uprooted) and others don’t (All the Light We Cannot See) even though they both have teenaged main characters? However, I don’t think that any other genre is any more or less hit-or-miss when it comes to quality, so perhaps my inner book snob is just making excuses for why I wouldn’t make a blanket statement of approval for the genre.

While I’ve been branching out in what I read I am still retaining a sense that my time is limited, that I should stick to the style of books that I have always loved. In fact, I recently found myself thinking that I should re-read The House of Mirth because I feel that I need to remind myself of what I love, of what incredibly beautiful writing looks like. I’ve never thought this before, but I feel like it will reset my reading, set me back at zero in a way. A palate cleanser.

Has anyone else felt that way?

It’s not that Edith Wharton is objective or neutral or anything like that, but in returning to one of my top five favorite books of all time, I will be reminding myself of who I am as a reader and perhaps stop myself from wandering down some path of “oh shiny book!” and wasting my time with books that I never would have even considered reading 5 years ago.

Clearly I am on break from school now because this sort of thing should not take that much thought.

I have read a total of 68 books this year (at the time of this writing – I’d love to make it a round number but I only have a couple of days left in the year). My goal was 50, which was raised a few times from something like 30. Evidently, my habits changed and I surprised myself this year. I don’t see my momentum slowing down any time soon so I think I am going to set my goal pretty high for 2016, participate in Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge, and probably have to buy more bookshelves.

I’ll be making some posts about 2016 reading plans soon, but in the meantime I was curious – has anyone else suddenly found their reading habits and tastes have changed after feeling like they were established?

Passenger – Alexandra Bracken

Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication date: January 5th, 2016

Passenger is the story of 17-year-old Etta and her discovery of family secrets and her role in them. In the beginning of the book she is preparing for a performance (she plays violin) when something strange happens and she finds herself in 1770-something on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic. She has no idea what is going on and meets two people, Sophia and Nicholas, who know much more than she does. As she travels she learns about a family, the Ironwoods, who have a lot of control over people who can move through time (travelers). They want something from her, which ends up revealing some secrets about her mother and father. Etta, Sophia, and Nicholas have complicated relationships with the Ironwood family and each other, and at any moment it is difficult to know who to trust.

passenger

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Top 10 most anticipated books in 2016

This time last year I had no idea what books were coming out in 2015. I was so entrenched in my idea that books were an investment of my time, an investment that I didn’t want to waste, and so I felt that if a book wasn’t a classic or hadn’t won the Booker/National Book Award/Orange Prize/some other prestigious award, it probably wouldn’t be worth the risk of wasting my time. It was kinda weird and ultimately made me a huge book snob and miss out on a lot of really fun reading.

Well, times change, my friend, and I’m happy to say that I have expanded my horizons and now I am reading more than ever because I have stopped being such a dang book snob.

All this means that I actually do know some of the books coming out in the near-ish future and that some of them I am very very excited to see! The original Top Ten Tuesday category was for top ten books coming out in the first half of 2016 but I’m going to list any book I am excited for because as time goes I will inevitably discover more soon-to-be-published books that I can list in June.

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Mr. Splitfoot – Samantha Hunt

Mr. Splitfoot
Author: Samantha Hunt
Publication date: January 5th, 2016
Genre: Literary fiction with some supernatural elements

Mr. Splitfoot is the story of a woman, Ruth, and her niece, Cora. Ruth was put into foster care with her older sister Eleanor after their mother poured bleach on her face as a baby, leaving her scarred. Years later El has a child at 18, Cora, and is thrown out of the foster house. Fast-forward again and a grown Cora leaves her life behind and takes off with her now-speechless aunt Ruth, for reasons she doesn’t understand.

Splitfoot

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Top ten books I want for Christmas

Weeeee, another Top Ten Tuesday! TBH, part of the reason I had stopped doing these was because the topics weren’t grabbing me. But I feel like it’s back on track now! I also promise to start doing more non-meme posts in the very near future.

I own most of the books on my TBR because I have very little self-control when it comes to buying books, but there are quite a few that I have added recently that I haven’t had a chance to buy, and that I have literally asked for for Christmas. Here goes! In no particular order:

  1. Crooked Heart – Lissa Evans
  2. The Iremonger trilogy – Edward Carey
  3. The Search for WondLa – Tony DiTerlizzi
  4. Girl Waits With Gun – Amy Stewart
  5. Animals – Emma Jane Unsworth
  6. The Fox and the Star – Coralie Pickford-Smith. Have you guys seen this cover? So gorgeous.
  7. The Game of Love and Death – Martha Brockenbrough
  8. H is for Hawk – Helen MacDonald
  9. The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black
  10. Trouble is a Friend of Mine – Stephanie Tromly
  11. Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit
  12. Any book that would complete a series I partially own. This includes AllegiantMonsters of Men, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight (what can I say, I bought the final book in a trilogy I haven’t read because it was $4 for the hardback), or Ruin and Rising. 

Yeah, technically that was 16 books. *shrug*

And really, since I’ve gone completely off-track anyway, here are a few more I wouldn’t mind seeing.

  • Radiance: A Novel – Catherynne Valente
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
  • Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Graudin
  • Gold Fame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins

It’s really amazing how creative people are, there are no end to stories to tell and that makes us readers very lucky people.

Top ten books of 2015 + 5 I won’t read again

Look at this, I’m doing a Top Ten Tuesday!

This week its the top ten books of 2015, and I decided to make this based on books I read, not necessarily ones that were published this year. At the moment of writing this post I have read 61 books this year. That’s quite a bit to get through. I linked my reviews if possible, if you would like more detailed info.

I also decided that listing 5 books that I won’t read again from this year might be fun, so I’ll do that at the end.

These are in no particular order because that’s just asking too much. So here goes:

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End of the year TBR

Lately I haven’t really been making TBR lists because I just haven’t had the time to know that I will get through a large number of books in a short amount of time. Enter winter break!

I’m hoping to have my students’ papers graded and their grades finalized by mid-week, and after that I will be freeeeee… well, as free as I can be with my thesis and next semester’s planning and an independent study will allow me to be. But, this is the first time I have ever not had an hourly off-campus job over break, so I plan on taking advantage. Here are 5 books I plan on reading before the end of the year, and some others on top of that for the rest of break.

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