End of Year Book Survey 2015

After writer Leah Smith’s post on the End of Year Book Survey via Perpetual Page Turner, I had to have a wild stab at it myself. A few days into January isn’t too late, right?

2015 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 32. Not my best, but 2015 was a very busy year.
Number of Re-Reads: 1. Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics/Literary

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind. Rich language, dark humour and a new sense awoken. You all HAVE to read it.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I have friends who adore Clare, but I cannot fall into her books. Perhaps I began in the wrong place. Any Cassandra Clare fans, please convert me, tell me where to start.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I went into this story with many expectations that were soon forgotten. Rowell’s story is a sensitive, sweet and slightly nerdy take on beginning college for the first time. And there’s a little Simon Snow fan-fiction on the sidelines that is rather adorable.

The Stylist by Rosie Nixon4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
The Stylist by Rosie Nixon. Now, this isn’t out until 2016, but I got my hands on a proof copy from the charming crew at Mira Ink. I pushed this book because I know it will go down well with a few friends who adore Sex in the City. Nixon’s book is funny, quirky and will leave you laughing. A review will be coming soon…

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead was the best series I started (though I’m not sure I’ll continue). Vampires have been done to death, but the film was on Netflix and I gave it a go. It was entertaining enough (wine helped) and I soon checked the book out from the local library. A refreshing take in the YA genre and great themes on mental health and inner strength.

The best sequel was hands-down The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Not a new book, but new to me. Having been so taken by the artistry in Bryan Fuller’s series, I had to delve into the series. This was spectacular.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott LynchAnd an honourable mention to The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. Numerous friends forced The Lies of Locke Lamora on me and I fell in love with Lynch’s dirty humour and fantastical world. There were a few iffy moments in The Republic of Thieves, the third instalment in the series, but it left me satisfied.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Melinda Salisbury. Not only is her story The Sin Eater’s Daughter utterly compelling, with outstanding world-building, but the author seems like such a delight as well. I may be biased, as I read she’s a Slytherin and us snakes have to stick together.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. This was another proof from Mira Ink and it was creepy. I don’t like books with animal cruelty. Although I see why the author needed this device and it made the villain’s just desserts all the sweeter, it was upsetting.

The Selection Keira Cass8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Selection by Keira Cass. Some books aren’t challenging. They’re popcorn for the mind and The Selection was pure popcorn. It was fun, fast and page-turning. I want a film and I want it now, with pretty dresses and a lot of hair-pulling.

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t particularly like re-reads, unless it’s an old favourite. I could give Cassandra Clare another go, if I’m really feeling the need to punish myself (or rather, find why everyone loves her so much).

Perfume Patrick Suskind10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
If only I could use a cover of a book I haven’t read yet but will soon, argh! I’ll go for Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind. Look at the swirls!

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Simon Snow. Okay, I might be cheating here. Although he did not really feature in Rowell’s Fangirl, aside from in snippets of fan-fiction, his story (almost a parody of Harry Potter) was engaging and fun. I’m looking forward to reading Carry On, because a few people I know have loved it.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. Recommended to me by my flatmate, it was beautiful, even if it did feel flat at times. The characters were hard to reach, as though they were shrouded by the exotic landscape that they lived within.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
The Hours by Michael Cunningham. Because it’s won all these awards and has a film and people love it and I hated it. When a chair seemingly had a mental breakdown (everyone has them in this story, they’re very popular) I had to give up.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. What a twisted, dark and horrific story. Perhaps I missed the charming, delightful elements to it – it was deliciously warped.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

“I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he’s up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans – it all comes from the same place.” ― Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest was King Me by Roger Reeves (poetry). Longest was Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon, better-known as Outlander. Both – though very different – left me unfulfilled. And I’m still not sure how I got through 800+ pages of Gabaldon (all the sex prolly helped).

17. Book That Shocked You The Most. (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
The Republic of Thieves. I flailed and had no one to flail to. Locke, what are you – who are you?!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) (OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Anne Elliot/Frederick Wentworth from Austen’s Persuasion. I adored the book because it is set mostly in Bath and areas I am fond of, so it was a little like stepping home when I flipped a new page. Although, I can’t forget Baz/Simon from Rowell’s Fangirl… 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Goldfinger and James Bond from Ian Flemming’s Goldfinger. A greedy cheat and a secret agent rebounded splendidly off one another, play golf (for ages) and try to get the upper hand. Their dynamic really made the book, along with Flemming’s engaging writing.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones. It wasn’t the best, it lacked a good few somethings – I don’t quite know what. But the world built, the characters, the flawless writing. What talent – talent that is sorely missed.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Geek Girl by Holly Smale. Cute, fun and lol-worthy.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Yassen Gregorovich from Anthony Horowitz’s Russian Roulette. Because he oozes cool, even if I wasn’t too keen on how his story unravelled. This might be a super-weird crush, don’t judge.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
Rosie Nixon’s The Stylist.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

Monster CJ Skuse25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Monster by CJ Skuse. It put a smile on my face for the wrong reason, because the story demanded such bravery from the characters that I couldn’t help but cheer them on and feel what they felt.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace-Thackery. It almost made me cry in frustration. What utter twaddle.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Diana Wynne Jones’ Enchanted Glass, because it was her last and there will never be more.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
The Doll (and other short stories) by Daphne du Maurier. Trust du Maurier to be effortlessly creepy.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Hours by Michael Cunningham. I really, really didn’t like it.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? Hannibal by Thomas Harris
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? I’m cheating and going for a publisher: Mira Ink. I’ve been so impressed by the books they’re publishing lately and I’m really looking forward to what else they’ll produce.
3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Again, cheating, I’ve already read Nixon’s The Stylist but I’m excited to see how others will find it.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
Will Game of Thrones be finished yet?! I won’t read it, but I want to know the end via the television show (which, for me, does it better).
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? I’d like to smash my reading target, but while writing and editing myself, it’s a hard task to fit it all in. I’d like to read more books I enjoy, instead of long, dull classics (Makepeace Thackery, I’m looking at you) that were a battle.
6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
B.A. Paris Behind Closed Doors. It’ll make you think about that whole ‘Red Room of Pain’ scenario and a certain popular series a lot differently.


That bags-packed, Paper Towns, leave-it-all-behind urge

A morning spent with John Green’s Paper Towns.

When you’re younger, not-quite-grown, and a little hazy from cheap beer, you have these talks with nameless friends you’ll never see after graduation. They’re packed with half-baked ideas and notions about the world, youthful expectations and a churlish resentment for all the future holds. A fear that you’ll end up like your parents, who aren’t yet – in your mind – real people with real thoughts and real dreams.

Paper Towns by John Green is that talk. It’s that tipsy night, when you’re naive and foolish and assume it’s simple to change the world and not be unchanged by it.

We first meet Quentin and Margo, kids on bikes with grass-stained knees, when they find a dead body. Years later, gangly, awkward and hormone-driven, Margo vanishes. She leaves clues behind. No one really knows Margo, this ‘manic-pixie-dream-girl’, and all but Quentin want to find her, but he may not like it when he does.

Reading the story as an adult conjures those brittle, half-forgotten seventeen-year-old-moments. It’s true Young Adult fiction, recalling a time when there was less to worry about because people – adults – worried about it for you. It forces you to realise you’re closer to Captain Hook than Peter Pan. Perhaps growing up starts when you finally become friends with your parents, see them as human, when your life becomes little goals – solid job, mortgage, boyfriend, security.

All this I already knew and accepted, but John Green’s writing style drags it back, makes you pick at that scabbed-over little part of your mind, where the teenager used to be, to see if any ounce of Margo Roth Spiegelman is in there, bags packed, urging you to leave it all behind and plan an adventure.