The Books I Read in 2015

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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.

BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATIONS

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.

AGATHA CHRISTIE

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.)

GOTHIC

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.

ATLASES

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.

MISCELLANEOUS

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.

DISAPPOINTMENTS/”MEH”

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?

8 thoughts on “The Books I Read in 2015

  1. My little luxury

    Oh wow Claire! 25 books… I only read 2 and they were both about blogging. I wish I had the peace of mind again to read books. I miss it. Nice list, I will make it my goal of 2016 to at least read one of the books that you suggested. ;-)

    Reply
    1. clairebonello Post author

      Reading requires some effort, but it’s great fun! Think of it as watching a movie or a TV series… then it’s easier (at least for me) to make time for it. :) Hope you like the books you read in 2016 ;)

      Reply
  2. merlanne

    Nice choice and good advice for the following books I want to read. And it reminds me to read once again Agatha Christie, who’s books I loved when I was young(er).

    Reply
    1. clairebonello Post author

      YES, Agatha Christie books are super fun (and usually very easy reads, so your brain doesn’t have to work too much). :)

      Reply
  3. swayte

    Ahhh how can you not love the protagonist in The Martian!! I loved his dry wit and the fact that he just kept on going despite all the odds. Awesome book – made me cry tears of joy at the end. Have yet to see the film but it’s definitely on my list!

    Reply
    1. clairebonello Post author

      HAHAHA – I know, I know. Most people agree with you wholeheartedly about the protagonist in The Martian, and I liked him in the film, but in the book I kind of just wanted to punch him, constantly :P I guess he was more humanised in the film, so I could bear it :P The film is fantastic, and it’s a pity you probably won’t be able to see it at the cinema – I watched it in 3D (the only option I had), and it was MINDBLOWINGLY good.

      Reply
  4. Ankie

    Have read some of these books as well, but a few others, I have never heard of! Thank you for giving me new reading recommendations. Although I probably won’t be able to read them until my postgraduate dissertation has been handed in, I’ll probably come back to this list later in the year!

    xx
    Ankie

    Reply
    1. clairebonello Post author

      Thanks, Ankie, and you’re very welcome. :) Best of luck with your postgraduate dissertation!! I know how stressful that can be… I have a couple of blog series that might interest you then – one while I was writing my MA dissertation (http://clairebonello.com/category/ma-dissertation-progress/) and the other while I was writing my Doctor of Laws thesis (http://clairebonello.com/category/doctor-of-laws-thesis-progress/) – stressful times! But very rewarding :) xx

      Reply

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