Sunday 3 January 2016

Books read in 2015

Well, that was a year that flew past. I know they say that time speeds up as you get older but that was ridiculous. I have a feeling this coming year will do exactly the same... which is a scary thought really. Never mind.

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.

Honorable mentions:

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.

Honourable mention:

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.



DesLily said...

I could not choose a favorite book... but if I come across Agatha's at a thrift store I will grab it lol

Val said...

Happy New Year !

Nan said...

I learned from Lewis (of course) that it is pronounced Goddy not Gow (as in cow)dy. I've lived my whole life thinking it was the latter. When I took Latin and we sang Gaudeamus Igatur I learned it as Gow.

Kay said...

I really want to make this the year I read the Christie autobiography. I already own it on my Kindle, so it will fit with my 'read my own shelves' quest. Can't believe I haven't read it yet, but your recommendation spurs me forward. Thanks!!

TracyK said...

Nice and varied list. I wish I read that many non-fiction books. I do plan to read the Christie autobiography someday.

BooksPlease said...

I expect you'll know that I agree with you about Agatha Christie's autobiography - it is superb! And also Boris's book on Churchill - he writes so well. I saw a TV programme he did a few years ago on the Roam Empire and comparing it to the EU which impressed me and I think there was a book too.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you read this year!

Cath said...

Pat: Yes, do grab it. She chats away and a lot of what she says is so right and so interesting, not just about her life, but the world. And it's still relevant today.

Val: Happy New Year to you too!

Nan: Oh, now that's very interesting. I watch Lewis and must have heard that but forgotten it, because I think of it as 'Gaw'dy or 'Gow'dy night. I must try to remember 'Goddy'.

Kay: I hope you get around to the Christie autobiography, but I know how it is when these books sit a long while on the shelf. The fact that they are 'yours' makes you think you can read them when you like so there's no urgency.

Tracy: I'd like to read more non-fiction tbh, but they require slightly more effort so I don't to get to as many as I would like.

Margaret: I do know that, yes. Boris's Churchill book was about as entertaining a non-fiction as I've ever read. I should have expected it given his personality, but I didn't. I missed his Roman Empire series but am aware of the book and plan to read that this year if I can. I also have a book of his essays which I think should prove interesting.

BooksPlease said...

Boris's Churchill book surprised me. I don't know what I expected but it has made me keen to read more of his books. I see I wrote it was about the 'Roam'Empire! LOL! I'm struggling with an awful cold right now!!! I'd like to read that book on the 'Roman' Empire this year too.

Cath said...

Margaret: I definitely want to read more of his books too and that Roman one will be next I think. I do hope your cold is soon better.