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That Book Girl – a 2015 Reading Recap

In 2015, I noticed that books and reading had become a fixture of my personality… well at least to my friends and acquaintances. It’s not a terrible thing to be known as the book person. I’ve always thought of it as that I like to learn new stuff. You won’t find me crafting Christmas ornaments out of books anytime soon. But, you will see that stuff on my Facebook profile page because my friends like to make sure I’ve seen it… just in case. I don’t know if this worked as a lead-in but I’m going to further perpetuate my own stereotype and talk about the best and worst of what I read in 2015.

JenAniston

I started gathering some statistics in 2014 because I’m an avid GoodReads user and they gather stats for me. It’s also useful to monitor what I’m learning year to year. I almost didn’t post this at all after reading On Manifestos over at Reading in Bed. Laura (the writer of Reading in Bed) destroyed reading manifestos. I commented on the post about my reluctance to share my recap, the good and bad. Laura encouraged me to write it anyways, especially the bad. I’m not sure if it serves the writer or the reader to share negative reviews but I know that I like reading them (har har!). Blogging is self-indulgent and I’ve been writing here for four years so I’m finally going to embrace the indulgence of it all and write it all out (#zerofucksgiven).

Donna Treat Yo Self

Top Books of 2015

  1. Blood, Bones, & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
  2. Curious by Ian Leslie
  3. Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything? by Timothy Caulfield
  4. It’s What I Do: A photographer’s life of love and war by Lynsey Adario (I highly recommend that you add her Instagram to your feed)
  5. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Worst Books of 2015

  1. Leave Your Mark: Land your dream job. Kill it in your career. Rock social media by Aliza Licht
    If this is the sort of advice that university students and young professionals are picking up on the regular, I need to make a business book/professional development list for my next blog post. This is what I imagine The Devil Wears Prada would be like if it was made into a self-help book. Put your best foot(wear) forward, work your bag off, get noticed by bigwigs, and repeat. It did contain some practical tips for cover letters, but the overarching message was “No one reads cover letters anyways because most jobs are secured through network,” which I agree with. The social media section of this book was pretty useless. I found it to be a rehash of how pioneering Licht was and felt it mostly consisted of “oops, turns out tweeting under a pseudonym skyrocketed my career because of wicked timing.” Snore.
    Boo Sleeps
  2. The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
    Sigh, this was a book club title that I pushed myself through. Phillipa Gregory is one of the premier historical fiction writers and her research is impeccable. This is the first book of a series about the War of the Roses in England during the 1400’s. I quickly grew tired of the love story between King Edward IV and our ‘heroine’, the complicated Queen Elizabeth Woodville. The characters were reflective of the social norms of the time but that also made it depressing. Women, we’ve come a long long way. Actually, so have the men. So bravo for the journey towards equality. I noticed quite a bit of repetition in Gregory’s writing style, although I think that might have been on purpose, as it’s quite hard to keep all of the characters, marriages, backstabbing, and untimely deaths straight. It was a little too overdone and it broke up my reading flow.

The Numbers

  • Books read: 36
  • Pages: 10,063 (I never would have taken the time to figure this out, GoodReads did it for me)
  • Average Rating: 3.6 stars
  • 61% Female
  • 38% Male
  • 64% Non Fiction
  • 36% Fiction
  • 13% Book Club
  • 13% Audiobook

Overall, I read more women writers compared to 2014. I also amped up my non-fiction titles and I fell in love with audiobooks since I spend about 6 hours a week in my car commuting to work.

2016 Goals

  • The Flemish cover of The Hunger Games45 Books in 2016 (ACK!)
  • Read translated works from countries I want to travel to:
    • Israel
    • Burma
    • Cuba
    • Japan
    • China
    • Russia
    • Rwanda
    • Argentina
    • Chile
  • Listen to Harry Potter series by JK Rowling in Dutch/Flemish audiobooks for commute. Or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’m hoping to blog about this challenge because my hard won Flemish skills are slipping into the dark abyss of my mind.
  • Improve my writing by paying attention to the techniques writers use and really identify what stylistic qualities I admire in my favourite writers.
  • Read more actively in books that I own. I’m gonna mark those babies up with post-its! I’ll write in the margins! Highlight passages! Ahh, the humanity of a spoiled book!

Happy 2016 fellow book folks!



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