2015 in Reading and Blogging: an End of Year Survey

2015-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984Thanks to The Perpetual Page Turner for this end-of-2015 survey!  It’s long, so I’ve cut out some of the questions (in case you’re confused by the numbering).

Number of Books Read: 80 (reviewed: 64)
Genre You Read The Most:
contemporary or near-contemporary fiction. The rest of my reading is pretty spread out across fantasy, historical fiction, and science fiction.

Best in Books

  1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

Always hard to pick one, but Everything I Never Told You. This book is thought-provoking and beautiful and sad, and is, amazingly, Celeste Ng’s first novel.everything

  1. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, because I LOVED How to Be a Woman. I was also disappointed by The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende and The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.

  1. Most surprising book?

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This was such a strange, complicated book and it went in directions I didn’t expect.time being

  1. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I’m sure this book isn’t for everyone, but it has touched so many people, and I find myself talking about Lawson all the time.happy

  1. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Best series starter: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. I’m also really enjoying Rachel Aaron’s Nice Dragons series.  Two other good sequels were The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson.

  1. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Chimamanda Ngozi Idichie, who wrote Americanah. I can’t wait to read more by this author. Also Belinda Bauer. See this list for others.

  1. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Redeployment by Phil Klay, which is about military service in Iraq and Afghanistan. A really powerful book that we should all read.  I also recommend Cristina Henriquez’ The Book of Unknown Americans, for a view of what life in America is like for immigrants.  redeployment

  1. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read two books by Belinda Bauer, Rubbernecker and The Shut Eye. Both were books I wanted to read in one sitting, which is rare for me (I like to stretch books out).

  1. Most memorable character of 2015?

Constance Kopp in Girl Waits with Gun. Also Nao in A Tale for the Time Being.girl with gun

  1. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

 Everything I Never Told You

  1. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jacksoncastle

  1. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Us by David Nicholls and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolverus

  1. Best 2015 debut you read?

Everything I Never Told You is a debut novel although it actually came out last year. Two first novels I really liked this year were Girl at War by Sara Novic and The Constable’s Tale by Donald Smith.

  1. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisinaeronaut

  1. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I’m a big fan of Rebecca Burns, an author you probably haven’t heard of.  The Settling Earth is a book of related short stories that describe the experience of settlers in 1800’s New Zealand. 

  1. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, a book of essays by writers about why they chose not to have children. I wish everyone would read this book.

  1. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Humans by Matt Haig, which I found maddening because the story made sense and also because it got really preachy.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

  1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

Two recent favorites are The Readers Room and Booker Talk.  Both are smart, interesting blogs that focus more on literary fiction.

  1. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed and Furiously Happy, because I connected so personally with those two books. I also really enjoy reviewing classics (the lit major in me) so The House of Mirth is another one I’m proud of.selfish

  1. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I really liked this post about the things we don’t say on our blogs.

  1. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

My favorite was R.I.P. X, a Halloween event. I also really enjoyed the Book Blogger Discussion Challenge.

  1. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

This isn’t very exciting but I really got organized this year.  I plan most of my posts each month, and I put reminders on my calendar each month to do things like post Goodreads reviews, respond to review requests, and update my Review Directory.  There’s so much more to book blogging than just reading and reviewing.

  1. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

A couple of times this year I felt overwhelmed by reading commitments. I think I was pushing myself too hard to complete challenges and read review requests, instead of just reading for enjoyment. I had to take a step back and read something just for fun.

  1. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Still my review of The Kitchen House, which I don’t get.

  1. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I wish book reviews got more love in general! I’d also love to see more signups for my book giveaway.

  1. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Overdrive, which provides ebooks from my library — although I think it’s really last year’s discovery. This year I’m super-happy with the family-share feature on the Kindle, so my husband and I can share books.

  1. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

See my challenge wrap-up here.

Looking Ahead

  1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Where should I start? I didn’t read many of the “best of 2015” books.  I need to finish The Turner House.  I’ve also got Fates and Furies, A God in Ruins, The Shore, and City on Fire on hold at the library.

  1. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

I really want to learn to create my own graphics, at least relatively simple ones. I’m getting tired of just copying clip art from the web.  I’m also working on using Twitter more effectively.

  1. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer.  I don’t read a lot of modern thriller/mysteries but I love her writing.

  11 comments for “2015 in Reading and Blogging: an End of Year Survey

  1. December 29, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Love this post! So many thoughts!
    1) I really need to read Furiously Happy. I got it for my mother, but have yet to get my hands on a copy to read.
    2) I went and read your post on things we don’t say on our blogs, and thought it was a great discussion. Because I started out as a blog where I posted nerdy things, and do not consider myself a book blogger, though I do review books, I feel freer to discuss personal things. My husband doesn’t mind when I talk about him (and I do ask him before I post something explicitly about him), so maybe that helps. Also, I’ve found a lot of positive responses to being open and willingly to express who I am, which is great! I personally love the little details that give context to why someone did or did not like something, so I enjoy the expression of who people are in what they review. I could go on and on! Like I said, great discussion.
    3) One thing I utilize in creating my own banners I guess, is PicMonkey. It has cool fonts and “stickers” and I use it when I feel I need a banner to read something specific that I wont be able to find clip art on.

    • December 29, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks for the great comments! I’ve heard of PicMonkey and will check it out.

  2. December 29, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Ah Furiously Happy. Could not stop laughing

    • December 29, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      I know! I really want everyone to read her book.

  3. Marci
    December 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Love this! I don’t post on your blog because I am dashing out to pick up your lastest recommendation. You have introduced me to so many fab authors. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • December 29, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      That’s so nice to hear! Let me know what you liked.

  4. December 30, 2015 at 2:29 am

    I’m adding Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed to my Goodreads TBR. The topic is an almost taboo one in my family.

  5. evaallbooksconsidered
    December 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I’m definitely going to add Everything I Never Told You to my TBR! Not sure how I missed that one but it sounds great! I still need to read Furiously Happy! Great year in books!

    My 2015 Survey!

  6. showthisbooksomelove
    December 31, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    A Tale for the Time Being certainly was a strange book! I remember reading it and thinking, what direction is this actually going in? It kept going back and forth and I liked the juxtaposition but sometimes it felt really weird and surreal. Haven’t heard anything about it from anyone else yet. Looking forward to Everything I Never Told You and Furiously Happy – this is the first I’ve heard of Furiously Happy.

    • January 3, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Thanks for commenting! Time Being was definitely a strange book but I loved the main character. If you read Furiously Happy, I hope you love it!

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