I thought I’d take a look back at my reading habits last year and what I read. There were fewer books than in previous years, but I did manage to read more from my To Be Read pile. I tackled a few books that weren’t interesting enough to keep me glued to the pages, but had enough about them to persuade me to continue with them. They did not get read quickly so I found myself reading less.
I didn’t stray much out of my comfort zone apart from those few books so mostly read authors that I already knew that I liked. The problem with those was lack of reading time, partly because of how much time I spent gardening last year, and partly because of starting a new job in September. Also, the library has not been getting any new books in due to budget cuts, so I’ve read my own books which have no deadline. Picking up five books from the library and knowing they need to be returned within four weeks is excellent for making you focus on them.
In December I managed just two books, although I did have three on the go for most of the month, none of which were finished before the end of the year.
I started using Goodreads more seriously as I like the website and enjoy seeing reviews and comments by other people who’ve read the books. I also like seeing what my friends are reading and being able to share recommendations with them. I love the year in review thing they do too.
I’ve found a way of getting more reading time, which has worked very well for the past two weeks. I have up to a couple of hours of dead time, sitting on a bus to and from work. I can’t read a book on the bus as it makes me travel sick, but I can listen to one. I joined Audible and got the latest Lee Child, which I’ve been dying to read, and have enjoyed listening to that on the bus. It makes the journey go so much quicker and I’ve noticed that I get a lot more from the book. When I read paperbacks or on the Kindle, I do read quite quickly and may miss a lot of the details. With an audio book, you can’t do that so I’ve had a different experience. Audio also works great while I’m doing a bit of cross stitch in the evening, so I no longer have to decide between crafting and reading. Bonus!
One of the authors that I read the most last year was Cassandra Clare. I finished reading The Mortal Instruments series, moved straight on to The Infernal Devices and then read all The Shadowhunter Academy stories, as they came out. I do like it when I can read a series straight through, especially when they’re as good as these.
I started the year by catching up on all the Rizzoli and Isles books by Tess Gerritsen. The books are much grittier than the TV series, but I enjoy both.
Some of my favourite authors had books out. I loved the latest ones by Sarah Waters (The paying guests) and Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch), but one of the best reads of the year for me was the new book by Kate Atkinson (A god in ruins). That was a follow on from Life after life, which has to be in my all time top ten. A god in ruins didn’t have the same impact as Life after life, but I loved revisiting the same characters and it was another excellent read from Kate Atkinson.
Kazuo Ishiguro had a new book out too (The buried giant) and although I liked it, it’s not one of my favourites by him. Alan Bradley had another book out in the Flavia de Luce series, which I’d been waiting for impatiently. I don’t think it was as good as earlier books, mainly because it was in a different setting and so missing all the familiar characters apart from Flavia herself. It was still good though and I’m now waiting for book #8.
I read a few non-fiction books, mostly on the Kindle. The best of those was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It was well written, interesting and entertaining. I’d quite like to see the film. I also really enjoyed Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood. I like reading Hemingway and was interested in his life, having visited his house in Key West. This book gave a different viewpoint of him and was an excellent read.
I read a few books by authors I hadn’t come across before, mostly due to publisher’s emails or reviews on websites. One of the best of those was Bird Box by Josh Malerman. It was very different, and one of those books that keep you reading until late. I also read Girl on a train by Paula Hawkins, which was another gripping book.
One of my favourites of the year was another new author, Clare North. I spotted a mention of a book called The first fifteen years of Harry August and thought it sounded intriguing. It was, and I loved it.
I discovered the Sherlock Holmes books by Laurie R. King, after a recommendation from Tree, and read three of those. I’m sure I’ll read more of them this year.
I read a couple more by Donna Andrews. Her books are always so funny and entertaining. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of her birdy puns.
I finally got around to finishing off the Dana Stabenow books on my Kindle. I’ve tried to make the Kate Shugak series last, as they’re so very good and I didn’t want to run out. Sadly, I’ve now read book 20 and have to wait for the author to write the next one. It finished on a real cliff-hanger too. So frustrating!
I also read the last two of my Iain Banks stash and am very saddened that there will be no more. He was one of my favourite authors, with his book The wasp factory being in my all time top ten.
(I should mention that my top ten may have more than ten books in it, but I love them all so much that I can’t bear to relegate any of them.)
So, not a bad year. I’ve read some great books, found some new authors and have discovered a new way of enjoying books. I’m looking forward to seeing what literary delights 2016 has in store for me.
Happy New Year!