In 2015, I read 25 books (reaching my formal goal of 25 books and falling short of reaching my informal goal of 26 books – ah, well). Thankfully, a lot of the books I read were Very Good (and even Excellent), so this is going to be less of a round-up and more of a suggestion post.
The Martian (Andy Weir) – A memorable book (even though the protagonist annoyed the hell out of me) and an excellent film (the protagonist annoyed me much less in the film, although the film had less fun-scientific bits).
Wild (Cheryl Strayed) – A beautiful story, which made me cry, and a beautiful film, which made me cry.
By the Pricking of my Thumbs – I read this with my friend Anna, as our first read of our informal book club, and it was clever as always. Very Christie.
Crooked House – Very weird, but recommended.
Parker Pyne Investigates – Short stories, each with their twists and turns – loved it as a whole.
They Came to Baghdad – Meh. (Further discussed below.)
Frankenstein (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) (the original 1818 text) – I read this for a class I took at the University of Luxembourg, and it was so unlike the general impression of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster that I had gotten from pop culture… Highly recommended.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson) – This was a re-read, but it had been about 10 years since I had read it originally. Love this story (again, read it for my gothic literature class).
A Slip Under the Microscope (H.G. Wells) – Two stories by H.G. Wells – interesting reads. ‘The Door in the Wall’ was definitely a cool story.
The Old Nurse’s Story (Elizabeth Gaskell) – Two stories by Elizabeth Gaskell, nothing special, but pleasantly creepy.
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE (AKA MY QUEEN)
We Should All Be Feminists – Compulsory reading for everyone.
Purple Hibiscus – My first Adichie novel. Beautiful, painful, sad.
Americanah – An absolute masterpiece. The writing, the story, the weaving of all the plot lines and themes… Amazing.
An Atlas for Countries that Don’t Exist (Nick Middleton) – My boyfriend gave me this atlas for our anniversary last year, and it’s so beautiful and perfect for a history-and-map buff like me.
Atlas of Remote Islands (Judith Schalansky) – Also given to me by my boyfriend, but it was one of my birthday presents from him. A fantastic collection of islands (I LOVE islands) which has fuelled my wanderlust.
A Tale for the Time Being (Ruth Ozeki) – I had been meaning to read this for a few years, and it didn’t disappoint, but was a little… weird.
A Move Abroad (Ian McEwan) – Such an odd McEwan, but loved it nonetheless.
The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins) – The hype around this book was quite something, and I enjoyed it, although the concept of warped memories scares me, and I don’t think I love seeing that in fiction that much (same with We Were Liars).
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler) – Recommended by my boyfriend (and the rest of the world). Very strange, but a great read. I thought it was going in a massively different direction.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling) – I don’t know much about Mindy Kaling, and while I had some Feminist Issues with this book, I still really enjoyed it.
The Secret History (Donna Tartt) – A beautiful book, but still verged on being too wordy, too long, and too heavy for me.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman) – My first Gaiman. I thought I’d love it. I was rolling my eyes and skim-reading most of it, although some parts were very good. Maybe I’ll give Gaiman another go.
They Came to Baghdad (Agatha Christie) – I had such high hopes for this, but it took me ages to finish it, and although in retrospect it was quite a good story, I didn’t really enjoy reading it so much. My least favourite Christie so far.
The Innocents (Francesca Segal) – I REALLY DID NOT ENJOY this book. The story made me uncomfortable. Not recommended at all.
MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2015
A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) – Mistry is quickly becoming one of my most favourite authors. The story was beautiful and quite Dickensian in length and pace, but I couldn’t put it down (even though it’s over 600 pages long).
Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) – As discussed above. Wow. This was so well-crafted, so poignant, so important, so beautiful. Adichie is definitely one of my most favourite authors now. She can write.
Wild (Cheryl Strayed) – As explained above, this book is really well-written and made me cry.
Yes Please (Amy Poehler) – I actually listened to the audiobook of this book, and while some of it wasn’t too interesting to me, most of it really hit home, or taught me things about life, and the final story she recites just made me laugh and cry while on a bus in rainy Luxembourg, so I had to bump it up to one of my favourite books of 2015.
Atlas of Remote Islands (Judith Schalansky) – Definitely one of my favourite books of 2015. The book was beautiful, and its contents were magical.
Any comments about these books? Or any recommendations?