Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 End-Of-Year Book Survey

Happy New Year's Eve, bookworms! This was an awesome year of reading for me. I read 80 books, gave 11 five-star ratings and 45 four- or four-and-a-half-star ratings, and ventured into audiobooks and a couple new genres. I thought today would be a fitting time to post my 2015 End-of-Year Book Survey, hosted each December by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. (All survey graphics are hers.)

Number of books read: 80
Number of re-reads: 2
Genre you read the most: Adult fiction.

1. Best book you read in 2015:
"Red Rising" by Pierce Brown.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t:
"The Little Paris Bookshop" by Nina George, "Etta and Otto and Russell and James" by Emma Hooper and "Fiercombe Manor" by Kate Riordan were books I was sure I was going to love, but they were all sadly disappointing.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read:
"Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline. For some reason I had it in my head that it was WWII fiction, but it definitely is not. It's set in 1929 and present day, and I learned a lot from this historical novel.

4. Book you encouraged the most people to read:
"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series-ender of 2015:
Started: I read and loved the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French ("In the Woods"), the Veronica Speedwell historical mystery series by Deanna Raybourn, ("A Curious Beginning") and the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache cozy-ish mysteries by Louise Penny ("Still Life").

Sequel: "The Mime Order" by Samantha Shannon, the second book in the Bone Season series. It was sooooo much better than book 1! I absolutely could not put it down!

Ender: Not a one. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

6. Favorite author you discovered in 2015:
Pierce Brown, author of "Red Rising" and "Golden Son." Ernest Cline, author of "Ready Player One" and "Armada." Deanna Raybourn, author of "A Curious Beginning." Tana French, author of "In the Woods."

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone:
"Red Rising" and "Ready Player One" are both sci-fi, a fairly new-to-me genre that I really hope to read more of in the future.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:
"Golden Son" by Pierce Brown and "The Mime Order" by Samantha Shannon -- both second books in their respective series.

9. Book you read in 2015 that you're most likely to re-read next year:
I'm going with re-read EVER, since I rarely re-read books. I can see myself reading the Red Rising trilogy again. And I listened to "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" on audiobook and it goes without saying that I'll be re-reading all the Harry Potters many more times! 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015:
Obviously I have a thing for color!


11. Most memorable character of 2015:
Vida Winter of "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. She's a mysterious author with a really screwed up childhood.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015:
"I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson. (Who would've ever thought I'd say this about a YA book?!)

13. Most thought-provoking/ life-changing book of 2015:
"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury (censorship and books), "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates (race), and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty (death).

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read:
"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. It's been on my to-read list for ages and I was sort of saving it for just the right time. I'm glad I waited because I ended up reading it on my birthday trip to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. It was chilly and rainy, we were surrounded by forest, and it totally enhanced the book's eerie, gothic atmosphere.

15. Favorite quote from a book you read in 2015:
"And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." -- Dumbledore, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

16.Shortest and longest books you read In 2015:
Shortest: "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" by Russell Brand -- 128 pages
Longest: "I Am Pilgrim" by Terry Hayes -- 612 pages

17. Book that shocked you the most:
"The Library at Mount Char" by Scott Hawkins falls under the "left me hanging with my mouth wide open category." "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins had a pretty good plot twist. The premise of "Our Endless Numbered Days" by Claire Fuller -- a survivalist dad dragging his young daughter out to the woods and convincing her they're the last two humans alive -- had me shocked, as did the ending.

18. Favorite romantic relationship of the year:
Marko and Alana from "Saga." Love these modern-day star-crossed lovers!

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year:
Jude and Noah, twins from "I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson.

20. Favorite book you read in 2015 by an author you’ve read previously:
"The Mime Order" by Samantha Shannon.

21. Best book you read in 2015 that you read based solely on a recommendation:
"Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015:
None, if you can believe it! I guess I didn't read a lot of romance-y stuff this year, and I had a lot of female protagonists.

23. Best 2015 debut you read:
"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal.

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year:
I've got three answers for this one in three different genres -- "Red Rising" and "Golden Son" by Pierce Brown take place on a futuristic dystopian Mars. "The Mime Order" by Samantha Shannon, book two of the Bone Season series, is set in a dystopian fantasy version of London. "Fives and Twenty-Fives," a novel by former Marine Michael Pitre, gives us a raw and gripping look at what it was like to be a soldier on the ground at the beginning of the Iraq war.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read:
"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal and "The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man" by W. Bruce Cameron.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015:
"Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. Alzheimer's is a terrible, heartbreaking disease.

27. Hidden gem of the year:
"Rubbernecker" by Belinda Bauer and "Boo" by Neil Smith, mysteries that feature narrators with Asperger's, and "The Fair Fight," which involves female boxing in the 1700s.

28. Most unique book you read in 2015:
"I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson (told in alternating perspectives by two twins, one of whom sees the world through an artist's eye), "Rubbernecker" by Belinda Bauer (a murder mystery told by a character with Asperger's), and "Boo" by Neil Smith (narrated by a dead 13-year-old trying to solve his own murder).

29. Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it):
"Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline made me mad about the way we treated parentless children a century ago, and about how they're still sometimes treated today. And "The Little Paris Bookshop" by Nina George made me mad because I despised one of the characters, Manon, and I really wanted to give the protagonist a good shake on the shoulders. Idiot!

30. Best non-fiction read:
"The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson.

31. Best book-based movie or show:
Gah, so many! I loooooved "The Martian" and "Mockingjay Part 2." As for shows, I was all about "Poldark" and "Grantchester," both historical fiction shows on PBS based on novels (and the main characters of both just so happen to be easy on the eyes).

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Lots! This year I really went in search of other bloggers with similar tastes as me (more adult than YA reads, for one thing). Here are just a few of my new favorites, in no particular order:
Gah, so many more!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
"The Fair Fight" by Anna Freeman and "Circling the Sun" by Paula McLain.

3. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa. I got an amazing box of goodies and I had such fun putting together the package for my partner. You can read all about it here. I'm already looking forward to next year!

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Not exactly a best moment, but one of my goals for the year was to write more personal posts. I'm proud of myself for finally sticking with my Monday Musings posts, where I chat about what I'm reading, knitting, watching, listening to, eating and more.

5. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Well, this is easy! The most challenging thing about my reading life is always that there are too many books and not enough time! As of this moment, my Goodreads to-read list contains 556 books. At 80 books a year, it'd take me 7 years to read everything!

6. Most popular post this year on your blog?
The Best Books I Read in 2015, no surprise there.

8. Post you wish got a little more love?
Halloween 2015: Bookish Pumpkin Carving. I carved a pretty awesome pumpkin this year AND dressed up as Hermione, complete with hand-knitted Gryffindor scarf.

7. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Instagram! I know, I'm totally behind the times here, but I finally expanded my social media horizons last spring. Instagram has a wonderful bookish community -- and a fabulous knitting one as well! (If you'd like to be Instagram buddies, you can find me @knittinglindsay.)

8. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
My reading goal for the year was 65 and I'm proud to say I read 80 books! Sadly, I failed miserably at my goals of reading at least one of my own books every month and reading all all the books on my 12 Books I Must Read in 2015 list (here). I only read 2 of them.

1. One book you didn’t get to in 2015 but will be your number 1 priority in 2016:
"All the Light You Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2016 (non-debut):
"Morningstar" by Pierce Brown, the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy. (Can you tell I really, really love these books?!)

3. 2016 debut you are most anticipating:
"Sleeping Giants" by Sylvain Neuvel. This sounds like the perfect book to cure my craving for some more brilliant sci-fi, a genre I'm a sorta-newbie to. I'm going to need something to read after the Red Rising trilogy is over!

4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2016:
Well, other than "Morningstar," we've got I'm excited for the next Bone Season book by Samantha Shannon and the second Veronica Speedwell mystery by Deanna Raybourn.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2016:
Read more classics, more backlist and more of my own books. (Hahahaha, yeah right.)


  1. I love this post! If I had another ounce of energy this week, I'd do one myself.

    1. It was soooooo much work. Next year I'll start working on it sooner!

  2. Wow!!! Very impressive!!! I keep track of books I’ve read on Good Reads (most of the time) but haven't checked how many I’ve read in the year. I am curious now but I am sure it’s not 80! Impressive! Love your list. :)

    1. Did you check how many you read? I think 80 may very well be the most I've ever read. It's due in large part to all my bookish friends at the library where I work! We're moving this spring and I'm sure my total won't be 80 again without all the encouragement/competition. (But who knows... we're moving back to Hawaii, which means lots of reading on the beach!)

  3. Happy New Year, Lindsay! I really enjoy these posts. :-) I have been hearing The Little Paris Bookshop is disappointing. I still will likely read it, but it keeps being pushed down my TBR pile. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ready Player One when I listened to it. I really need to read more by Deanna Raybourn and Tana French too. I cried and cried when I read Still Alice too. That was such a difficult book for me to read given my family's history with dementia and Alzheimer's.

    I am really looking forward to reading Sleeping Giants too. I hope we both end up liking it. I don't read a lot of science fiction either, but I want to start working on that this year.

    I am so glad to have met you too! I hope you have a wonderful 2016, Lindsay.

    1. I'm curious what you'll think of "The Little Paris Bookshop." I wanted to like it soooooo much, and some people really did love it. I hope you're one of them!

      It's funny how our reading tastes change and evolve... I'd never really been interested in sci-fi before, but now I find myself craving it! And things I used to read tons of, like chick-lit, barely appeal to me anymore.

      Happy 2016 to you too! :)

  4. Loved your wrap-up post! So glad you most anticipated read is All The Light You Cannot See. I loved that book. Looking forward to the next book in the Veronica Speedwell series. Happy New Year.

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