It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
That's probably a good way to tell you how 2015 went. As far as life goes, it was... difficult and confusing and downright depressing. But as far as books go? It was brilliant and heartbreaking and so, so rewarding.
According to Goodreads, I've read a total of 67 books this year. Those 67 books spanned a variety of authors, genres and ratings. Some were books I'd read and loved before. Some were books I couldn't even finish. And some were books that will stand the test of time - books that I'm sure I will read again and again in the years to come.
This is a list of those books.
This was one of the first books I read and reviewed in 2015. Damn, it's been a long time. But Scott Adams' philosophies - and jokes - have still stayed with me. I still read Dilbert comics occasionally, and I always try to create long-term systems instead of short-term goals.
This book was not just funny and relatable, it was also very eye-opening. Mindy tells you the many truths of life in ways that will leave you rolling on the floor laughing (or at least grinning like a fool) and also wondering why you hadn't picked this book up sooner. Mindy's second book, Why Not Me? also released this year, and I definitely ought to read it in 2016.
4.5 stars out of 5
Man, this book was awesome. And also one of the first Psychology/Science books I've ever read and loved with all my heart. I learnt so many interesting things about the unconscious brain - most of which I've forgotten - so I really hope I can make time to give this one another read soon.PS: Can you spot the subliminal message on the book cover? I didn't until just now!
4.5 stars out of 5
I only finished this book yesterday - expect a review in 2016, Geeks - and I'm still suffering from a book hangover because I cannot imagine reading anything else ever. Damn it, it's the best Cormoran Strike novel yet! It's twisted and creepy and fascinating... it's an exploration of the human psyche.
Mansfield Park is not my favourite Jane Austen novel, nor is Fanny my favourite Austen heroine (Pride and Prejudice/Elizabeth, obviously), but I could relate to this book so much, and it has such a special place in my heart.
My next novel, Always You, is actually loosely based on Mansfield Park. It's still a work in progress, so I don't know how inspired it'll be, but... I shall keep you updated.
4 stars out of 5
I know it's supposed to be one book per category, but can you blame me? Mansfield Park and The Great Gatsby are both literary masterpieces. I can't pick one over the other!
The characters have more dimensions than a 4D ride in the local amusement park: from misunderstood to sadistic to unflinchingly hopeful to downright evil... The book is about the snazzy 20s era, the paradoxes of love, and the fact that people are usually bigger assholes than you'd imagine them to be. The movie is also a favourite of mine, so if you've read the book, make sure to catch the adaptation.
This book should carry a warning: 'will cause a volcano of feelings and an avalanche of tears'. It definitely isn't your average children's book about fairies and makeup and monster trucks (um, I have no idea what today's children's books are about). From grief to hope to second chances, The Thing About Jellyfish is informative, heartfelt and so, so wonderful.
The first book in this series had been a disappointment, but Remember Me was a terrifying delight. It was the perfect book to read in the middle of the night, and although I don't do that anymore (strict 10 p.m. bedtime, etcetera etcetera), I suppose I could bend my rules for the third book in the series, which comes out around my birthday in 2016.
The genre I read the most is young adult fiction, so you'd think I'd have a tough time picking the winner. But no book came close to Everything, Everything, which I love almost as much as my all-time favourite non-Harry-Potter book (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock), because it has the perfect combination of humour, tears, angst and the feels. Perfect.
I read too many love stories in 2015, so this was a close call. But - come on - it's a Kristan Higgins novel. Of course it had to win. Anything For You, the last in the Blue Heron series, left me in tears and a dopey grin on my face. A lovely romance, in short.
So there you have it, Geeks! Those were the ten best books I read in 2015. And looking back, I've realised that no matter how bad your day, week, month or year goes, you will always have a good book to fall back on. And even though I have zero expectations from 2016, I have over 500 books to look forward to in the years to come.
What were your top reads of 2015? And what book are you currently reading? Are you planning to finish it before the new year? Let me know in the comments below - and don't forget to check back in on 31st December for my annual New Year's Eve post! See you then.