Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Reading Summary

I really didn't read (and review) as many books in 2015 as I have in previous recent years, and I didn't read as many books that I would describe as outstanding or must-read. I did spend more time listening to many inspiring TED Talks and online audios this year which might have contributed to the decrease in books read this year. I also did read a few other non-fiction books throughout the year but didn't include them in my book review blog. Hopefully in 2016 I will fit in more time for reading and beat 2015's effort of 19 books read and reviewed.

For the 3rd year in a row I took part in the Aussie Author Challenge hosted by Jo from the Booklover Book Reviews blog. This year I completed the "Wallaroo" level (read and review 6 books by Aussie Authors) whereas in the previous years I have completed the "Kangaroo" level (read and review 12 books by Aussie authors). It's such a fun challenge, a great way to discover and enjoy new Aussie authors and books that you might not have thought to read otherwise. I definitely recommend taking part, or at least check out some of the reviews posted by other participants if you would like to read a few more Aussie books in 2016. My favourite Aussie book I read as part of the challenge in 2015 was "Past the Shallows" by Favel Parrett.

Books read and reviewed for the Aussie Author Challenge 2015 (Wallaroo level):
"Past the Shallows" by Favel Parrett
"Three Dog Night" by Peter Goldsworthy
"Eucalyptus" by Murray Bail
"The Red Thread" by Nicholas Jose
"The Boat" by Nam Le
"The Lost Dog" by Michelle de Krester
"Mindfulness for life" by Stephen McKenzie & Craig Hassed

Other (non-Australian) books I really enjoyed in 2015 were "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver, "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Heminsley and "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery.

Non-Australian books read and reviewed in 2015:
"We are all completely beside ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler (USA)
"The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis (USA)
"Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Heminsley (UK)
"The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver (USA)
"The sense of an ending" by Julian Barnes (UK)
"The virgin blue" by Tracy Chevalier (UK/USA)
"The elegance of the hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery (France)
"The second prison" by Ronan Bennett (UK)
"The tiny wife" by Andrew Kaufman (Canada)
"The catcher in the rye" by JD Salinger (USA)
"What I know for sure" by Oprah Winfrey (USA)
"The life-changing magic of tidying" by Marie Kondo (Japan)

Happy New Year everyone and I hope you all have a wonderful 2016 and get time to read lots of awesome, imaginative and exciting books! :-)

"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman

"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman
Started reading on my kindle: 13th December 2015.
Finished: 28th January 2016
My score: 6.5/10

I really liked some of the ideas behind this book and thought it was really imaginative, but I also found it quite dark and a bit depressing.

"The catcher in the rye" by J.D. Salinger

I started reading this book on my kindle on a long haul flight from Sydney - Dallas, USA. I chose to read it 1) because it is set in New York and I was going to be lucky enough to spend a few days in New York later that month and wanted to read a novel set in that beautiful city, and 2) because it's a classic. Even though this book is a "classic" and is often studied at school, in my personal opinion it is poorly written and boring. The main character is unlikable, the plot goes nowhere really, the language used is repetitive...when I posted on Facebook that I was reading this book, all the comments my friends made were about how much they had disliked this book too, so I definitely would not recommend anyone waste time reading it.

However, if you are also looking to read a good book set in New York, I did stop off at one of my favourite shops in New York: The Housing Works Bookstore Cafe,  and asked the staff for some recommendations. They were very helpful and friendly as always and suggested the following authors and books:

- O.Henry
- Joseph Mitchell
- Edith Wharton 'New York Stories'
- Colm Toibin "Brooklyn"

I found a copy of Colm Toibin's "Brooklyn" and bought that, but haven't read it yet. The staff told me it was coming out as a film soon too. Does anyone else have any recommendations of good novels set in New York that they would like to share?

"The catcher in the rye" by J.D. Salinger
Started: 3rd December 2015
Finished: 13th December 2015
My score: 1/10