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1.04.2016

2015 In Review - Books

I thought I'd take this week to recap a bit of 2015. My own little "Best Of", if you will. First off, books!!

As you probably know by now, I attempted to complete the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge. The goal was 52 books in a year. Now, I consider myself a bookworm. I really love to read, but I'm also a mom of two, have a full-time job, and write this little 'ole blog in my spare time too. So, you know, I'm busy. I track all the books I read on Goodreads, and my combined total of books read for 2011 through 2014 was 51 books. So, basically, I was attempting to read more books in one year than I had read in the last four years combined!

And you know what?

I FREAKING DID IT!!! 

(Are you picturing me doing a crazy happy dance here, because that's literally happening as I type)

Seriously, here's what I read...
1 - A book with more than 500 pages.  Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

2 - A classic romance. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3 - A book that became a movie. The Giver by Lois Lowry

4 - A book published this year. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

5 - A book with a number in the title. Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

6 - A book written by someone under 30. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

7 - A book with nonhuman characters. Animal Farm by George Orwell

8 - A funny book. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

9 - A book by a female author. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

10 - A mystery or thriller. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

11 - A book with a one-word title. Snobs by Julian Fellowes

12 - A book of short stories. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
13 - A book set in a different country. At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen


15 - A popular author's first book. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancey

16 - A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet. Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon

17 - A book a friend recommended. Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick

18 - A Pulitzer Prize winning book. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

19 - A book based on a true story. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

20 - A book on the bottom of your to-read list. Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas

21 - A book your mom loves. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

22 - A book that scares you. The Shining by Stephen King

23 - A book more than 100 years old. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

24 - A book based entirely on its cover. The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
25 - A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

26 - A Memoir. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

27 - A book you can finish in a day. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

28 - A book with antonyms in the title. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 

29 - A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

30 - A book that came out the year you were born. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 

31 - A book with bad reviews. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

32, 33, and 34 - A trilogy. Matched, Crossed, and Reached by Ally Condie

35 - A book from your childhood. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

36 - A book with a love triangle. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
37 - A book set in the future. Son by Lois Lowry

38 - A book set in high school. Paper Towns by John Green

39 - A book with a color in the title. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

40 - A book that made you cry. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

41 - A book with magic. Messenger by Lois Lowry

42 - A graphic novel. The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman

43 - A book by an author you've never read before. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

44 - A book you own but have never read. Women, Work, & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense 
& Sensibility by Mireille Guiliano

45 - A book that takes place in your hometown. Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

46 - A book that was originally published in a different language. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

47 - A book set in Christmas. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

48 - A book written by an author with your same initials. Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman

49 - A play. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

50 - A banned book. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

51 - A book based on or turned into a TV show. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling


There you have it! I think I hit a pretty good mix of books too - a few classics, some young adult fiction, a couple non-fiction, and a whole lot of novels.

As far as the challenge...it started off really fun, but then got to the point where I was cranking them out so fast I wasn't really enjoying the pleasure of reading very much. It started to feel like work! As a result, I'm totally burnt out on reading right now, and it will probably be some time before I pick up a book again. I need to decompress a little bit, ya know? In the meantime, I have a stack of magazines with my name on them (don't judge - it's a totally a different kind of reading!) I'm sure I'll get back to my books soon enough, but definitely no official challenge for this year. (If you're interested though, Pop Sugar has their 2016 Reading Challenge online here.) I'm glad I did it though. I really needed a "win" in my life. It's been a long time since I set my mind to do something, and then actually did it; and I forgot how good that feels. It's got me wondering what else I can actually do if I really put my mind to it. I think that's a really great mentality to have (especially at the start of a new year), so for that, I'm especially glad I did this challenge. 

So, what was the best book I read in 2015? It was super hard to pick just one, so I'm picking a favorite non-fiction and fiction book (not counting the classics of course, because nothing can compete with those).

Drum roll please!

My 2015 favorite books of the year were...
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering by Marie Kondo

and

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Both of them sort of blew my mind. READ THEM NOW!!!

P.S. The links above will take you to my review of the book here on the blog. I did not get to review them all yet, but will update this post with the links when I do.

P.P.S. In case you were wondering, the above order is not chronological, but coincides with the order the challenge list was presented in.

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