It’s around about that time where we feel reflective of the year that has been while also starting to plan and look forward to all that is to come in the new year ahead. I thought it would be a good time to browse my bookshelf and pick out my most-loved books of 2015.
I managed to read 39 books this year (inclusive of re-reads, graphic novels & short story collections) and although I didn’t quite reach my GoodReads reading challenge target of reading 50 books, I’m happy with my effort. I’m not the fastest of readers, and although I often wish I could smash out a book a day, I’ve come to accept that that’s just not how I roll. So I make sure to choose my books wisely and enjoy the literary ride, however long it may take me to reach my destination.
Here’s a little spiel about my top five favourite books I read during 2015:
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Not pictured above due to my excessive need to shove this book into people’s hands and yell ‘YOU MUST READ THIS!’)
Set in New York, four college friends, humanity, heartbreak, friendship and lengthy character development – need I say more? This is exactly the kind of book I like to get around.
A Little Life lends us a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the lives of four friends spanning from their early twenties to their mid-fifties. As a reader, I felt completely wrapped up in and connected to each one of these amazingly-written characters, it’s safe to say I was addicted to reading this novel. The story made me simultaneously cringe when reading about the horrendous abuse faced by our main character, Jude, while also feeling so full of love and compassion toward the bonds of friendship existent between the pages of this book. I’ve written a full review of this work on my Instagram page which you can check out at @lillytales.
NW by Zadie Smith
This was my very first Zadie Smith experience! And can I just say, I’m in love.
After reading many fantastic things about Smith and her books, I decided to buy NW from Daunt Books while I was in London as a bit of a ‘when in Rome…’ purchase. I’ve always been really intrigued by and drawn towards British youth/street culture and the grimy, raw stories that come from that landscape. NW follows the lives of four local Londoners, all who live geographically close to one another but experience life in extremely different ways.
With intersecting plot lines and an urban landscape which is as much as character as any, NW is a subtly disturbing novel about diversity, privilege, expectations and choices. This is a novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading the last page. Read my full review at here.
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
The First Bad Man is as if Bridget Jones & Hannah Horvath from Girls had a baby. This book is all about Cheryl, a highly-strung, middle-aged woman who often gets confused between what she thinks is real and what is actually happening. Told throughout a series of hilarious events (one of which includes Cheryl believing that her and her co-worker have been making love throughout several lifetimes, but can’t understand why they’re yet to consummate in this one), The First Bad Man takes the reader on a journey into Cheryl’s mind as she aims to figure out how to love and be loved. Miranda July pieces together a magnificent story which manages to be hilarious while also questioning the meaning of life. Read my full review here.
Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman
I absolutely flew through this collection of short stories by Abigail Ulman, it was so enjoyable! Each short story hones in on the life of a female character at a different age and stage of her life. From teenage crushes to falling in and out of love, to moving out internationally and navigating an adult world, a diverse platter of experiences is explored in Hot Little Hands and the way it’s structured and presented is fabulous. I’m not sure if it’s because Ulman is also from Australia, but I found this book to be so truly relatable. It just got me, right in the feels.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or worried when I received a copy of the next installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series written by David Lagercrantz, but I must say, after reading The Girl in the Spider’s Web, I felt as though I should give a huge applause to David Lagercrantz for pulling it off! This novel was truly gripping.
Lisbeth Salander, a.k.a the girl with the dragon tattoo is yet again doing what she does best – using her skills as a hacker to bring about justice and expose corrupt authority figures. This time, it’s a complex cyber-web of criminals and gangsters who are not only trying to gain information but they’re willing to kill to protect themselves. The combination of Salander & Mikael Blomkvist is always a favourite of mine and I’ve written a full review of this book on @lillytales.
So there we are, another reading year down! I’d love to hear about the books you loved reading this year and how many you managed to read in the comments below. As always, happy reading and a very Happy New Year! x