I know it’s a bit late for one of these posts, but better late than never, right?
I read more books in 2015 than I think I have in any year my entire life. The majority of the books I read were part of series, but not always. The books that gripped me the most this year were part of a series, though, and one of them I can’t rate highly enough, but more on that in a minute.
Reading is a huge part of my life, and since committing to my novel I made a decision to read more, too. That and workshopping are the only ways my work will improve. This isn’t a complete list of everything I read this year — I have a reading journal but in the move it got lost for a few months — but it’s the ones that affected me the most.
Vampire Academy series — Richelle Mead
The last time a series affected me this much, it was Harry Potter. That’s the level of investment I have in this series, thanks to Silvia.
She came to visit us back in August, and one evening we decided to have a girly night. Flicking through Netflix, she hovered over a film called Vampire Academy. I wrinkled my nose. I don’t like vampire things. She insisted it was good, so we watched it. By the end of the film, I’d found the book on Amazon and read the opening chapter. By the next day, I owned the book.
With some help from Jury Duty, I finished the first two books in two or three weeks, and all six books within two months. I don’t tend to read a lot, so this was an insane reading pace for me. I read whenever I could: at lunchtime, as soon as I got in from work, and if it wasn’t for needing to eat, I probably would’ve kept reading until bedtime.
The relationship between Rose, the protagonist, and her best friend Lissa, is a lot like Silvia and me, and Lissa’s love interest is also a lot like Boyfriend. Not only that, but Rose’s impulsiveness means that you’re never quite sure what’s around the corner. Team that with Mead’s ability to pull at your heartstrings over and over, and you’ve got one of my favourite book series ever.
Warning: books 2 and 3 will emotionally destroy you.
Georgina Kincaid series (books 1 and 2) — Richelle Mead
Having finished Vampire Academy and knowing Silvia wanted to buy me the spin off series for Christmas, I settled on reading another Richelle Mead series to cure the book hangover I now had.
Reading this after Vampire Academy, it’s clear how Mead has evolved as a writer in the last decade. That doesn’t make this an any less interesting read, though, and I’m hoping to finish the series this year.
Rizzoli & Isles series (books 5, 6 and 7) — Tess Gerritsen
Every year, one of my friends buys me the next Rizzoli and Isles books. Last year was no exception. I find that I have to pace myself when reading Rizzoli & Isles, though. Gerritsen doesn’t shy away from graphic murder or autopsy scenes, and the first book of hers that I read (The Surgeon), left me feeling physically sick.
My favourite of the three was Keeping the Dead. I loved the Egyptian theme of it, and the hints of the paranormal.
And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie
Having recently started writing crime fiction, I asked Silvia for recommendations (something I’m now wary of due to how traumatised Vampire Academy has left me). This was one of the books that she suggested.
Agatha Christie is a genius storyteller, and the BBC did a fine job of adapting her story over Christmas. I’d like to reread this at some point, as it’s difficult to keep track of when the are so many characters.
Elizabeth is Missing — Emma Healey
I first heard about this in Mslexia. The concept of a story told from the perspective of a woman with dementia intrigued me, and I decided to check it out.
The narrator is in her eighties, and her dementia is slowly growing worse. Being so close to my nan — who’s in her eighties — and knowing someone who has a relative with dementia, this struck a chord with me. It’s a realistic portrayal of a terrible illness that will leave you haunted.
The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood
I’ve always wanted to read The Handmaid’s Tale, but never got around to it. When I saw it on the shelf in Five Leaves Bookshop I decided it was time to pick it up and give it a read.
The themes of women as objects and walking wombs is something that will always resonate. The ending no doubt annoyed some, but I see why she did it and feel that it was a clever way to end the story.
The Heart Goes Last — Margaret Atwood
This book left me feeling many things. It’s got the typical wit of Margaret Atwood, but feels like it’s lacking something compared to her others. The craziness of their situation could be played up far more, and much of the books seems to tell, rather than show, what happens. This leaves you with little affection for the protagonists.
Tonight the Summer’s Over — Rory Waterman
I didn’t read as much poetry as I would’ve liked last year. One collection I did read was by my former lecturer, Rory Waterman.
Posh — Laura Wade
Posh is my favourite play. It was also the first play I’d seen for a long time, and the Nottingham Playhouse did an amazing job of adapting it. After having seen it, I was desperate to read it and see what changes they’d made. It was pretty close to the print version. Unfortunately, the film version doesn’t do it nearly as much justice.
Someone Else’s Fairytale — E.M.Tippetts
I bought the first book in this series because it was free. The main character becomes friends with a famous actor, and given the similar themes between this and What Happens in New York, I decided to check it out. It’s not your typical protagonist-falls-in-love-with-a-celebrity though. It’s also a crime series, with the protagonist haunted by past events and making up for them by working as a forensic scientist.
What books did you read in 2015? What books are you planning to read in 2016? Let me know in the comments below!