So, 2015 as a reading year. Altogether, 60 books were read by me. That's 40 down on last year which I quite expected, nay, 'encouraged' to be honest. I was pleased to have got to 100 in 2014, first time ever, but had no intention of trying to do it again in 2015. 60 is a perfect number for me. It allowed me to do other things, such as spend much of the summer and autumn doing loads of lovely jigsaw puzzles. And what fun that was!
Looking at my 2015 shelf on Goodreads it seems the 60 books were very mixed indeed. 14 were non-fiction... that's a figure that could be *much* improved upon and I hope to do that in 2016. 23 were crime reads of one description or another, which goes to prove that murder mysteries have become my staple diet as regards reading. I kind of knew that but am actually quite surprised at the number... that's a 'third' of what I read. Other genres are represented... fantasy, science fiction, horror... but not as they have been in previous years. Interesting.
I usually pick 5 favourite books from both fiction and non-fiction so I'll stay with that as it works for me. Strangely these are not necessarily the books that got 5 stars on Goodreads (although most of them did) they're books that have stayed with me through the year for one reason or another.
1. Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Top-notch science fiction story.
2. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. 1860s Canada, a murder mystery, and travelling in the wilderness. What's not to like?
3. Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor. Brilliant crime yarn set in Ancient Rome. Loved the coastal, 'travelling' feel to this book. And it was nicely weird too.
4. The Violins of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Short little book about an island in the Caribbean and its inhabitants. The end justifies it being among my favourites from last year.
5.August Folly by Angela Thirkell. Gorgeous little 'family and friends in a village and what they got up to one summer' sort of story. Adored it.
Helliconia Winter by Brian W. Aldiss. Winter on another planet. Best instalment of this trilogy.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. 'Nuff said.
1. Mountains of the Mind by Robert MaCFarlane. Terrific book that's primarily about mountains but includes a lot, lot more.
2. Clear waters Rising by Nicholas Crane. The author's amazing ramble across Europe's mountains.
3. Agatha Christie: An Autobiography. Simply one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. Whether you like her books or not this should be a 'must read'. Wonderful.
4. The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson. An excellent book about this unique WW2 leader.
5. Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin. Trees, trees, trees, both in the UK and overseas.
Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles by Clare Balding. I see I didn't review this, which is a shame as it was quite delightful
To be honest there were very few books from 2015 that I didn't enjoy to a greater or lesser extent. These days if I'm not enjoying a book I tend to give up on it. As you get older you realise your time left to read is getting shorter and shorter and spending it reading book you're not liking is a waste of your precious time.
So, my favourite book of the year? I never find it easy to choose, especially when I'm trying to remember books I read half a year ago. You know a certain book had a tremendous affect on you but that fades over the months sometimes. Still, my choice for 2015 is a pretty obvious one really. It's this:
I can't praise Agatha Christie's autobiography highly enough. It was simply fascinating - like sitting down with a cup of tea and having a really long chat with her. I would recommend it to anyone whether you enjoy her books or not.
Happy New Year and I hope 2016 is a good reading year for you.