Isn't it a little late to be doing one of these types of posts? It's February now and 2015 is over a month behind us. I'm going to use the excuse that January was a little crazy at our house, plus I can argue that by February, the novelty of winter has worn off and we all need good books to perk up those stir-crazy stuck-in-the-house days.
I'm going to start with a few of the reading highlights (and lowlights) from 2015 and then move onto a few thoughts about my reading plans for 2016.
In 2015, I read 57 books, 30 of which were non-fiction. I love a good memoir. This year I gravitated toward food memoirs like Bread and Wineby Shauna Nequist, A Homemade Lifeby Molly Wizenberg, Life From Scratchby Sasha Martin and a few others.
I also read medical memoirs like The Real Doctor Will See You Shortlyby Matt McCarthy, The Nursesby Alexandra Robbins, and Five Days at Memorialby Sheri Fink.
I also read The Night Shift (review here) for Sisters Book Challenge. Unfortunately Kati and I only read 3-4 books each, then got busy (or in my case, got morning sickness) and dropped the challenge.
I read Sense and Sensibility in March and expected it to be tough, but it didn't hold a candle to The Last of the Mohicansby James Fennimore Cooper. I loved the story and plot-line when I read it in high school, but when I reread it in November, I struggled through the entire book!
I've been waiting for a new book by Kate Mortonfor over a year! Originally, The Lake Housewas scheduled for release in April, then it was moved to October. More waiting. My library hold finally came ready in November. I've been thoroughly engaged by every one of Kate Morton's previous titles so I was not intimidated by the 500+ pages, and I devoured the book. I had heard that it was her best yet, but The Secret Keeperstill holds that distinction for me.
I am not one to jump on trends and truthfully, this series of books didn't appeal to me anyway, but in May, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I read The Hunger Games Trilogyby Suzanne Collins when I was in the throes of morning sickness so it probably wasn't the best time to form an opinion. (Too much reading made me nauseous, plus being sick made me grumpy and weepy.) The books were well-written and the story was interesting, but I am glad it was only a 3-book series. I also watched the first movie but was not intrigued enough the finish the rest.
Best Juvenile or YA
I read The War that Saved My Lifeby Kimberly Brubaker Bradley in August. It follows the story of a young girl and her brother who go to live in the country to escape the Blitz during World War II. They find themselves assigned to live with a woman who doesn't want them, but that very woman ends up teaching them valuable lessons about love, perseverance, and responsibility. I loved this book!
What's All the Hype?
I said I don't care for trends, but I did read two books this year that had a buzz surrounding them. In May, I read All the Light We Cannot Seeby Anthony Doerr. I had only heard good about this book, but I wasn't impressed. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it didn't. Perhaps it was a case of my expectations being too high.
Then I read Go Set a Watchmanby Harper Lee in August. Everyone is right. It is no To Kill a Mockingbird, but I didn't hate the story. I went into the book knowing the characters were going to be written from a different perspective, but I found it interesting to get a glimpse into Harper Lee's original ideas.
Since the beginning of the year, and especially since Macie was born, I'm finding that reading is falling from my priority list. Midway through January I had not completed one book, though I ended up finishing three by month's end. Last week I had to return a book to the library that I hadn't finished but had reached its three-week limit. It's a little distressing to me, but Brian reminds me I'll have more time for reading in another season.
For now I'm focusing on a few things. I'm reading with my kids. Macie has fallen into a sort-of regular afternoon naptime routine. The rest of us are using the quiet time to make hot chocolate and share books on the couch. I'm reading magazines. Short bursts of reading are manageable to me with a nursing baby. I'm dedicating the year to reading for pleasure. This is not the year to tackle hefty classics or challenge myself intellectually. If I stretch myself to read outside of my comfort zone, I'll never read a thing. I'm letting myself read only the books that interest me on a very basic level-- books that seem fun-- and I'm okay with that.