2015 in numbers:
- Total number of books read: 113 (maybe I'll add one more to that before the year's out: TBC)
- 56 by women, 51 by men, 6 by various authors
- 15 books originally published in a language other than English (I could've done way better here)
- 75 adult novels, 28 short stories or collections of short stories, 7 non-fiction, 2 YA novels and 1 graphic novel
- 1 book published in 2016, 62 from 2015, 11 from 2014, 7 from 2013, 2 from 2010, 10 from the 2000s, 3 from the 1990s, 2 from the 80s, 1 from the 60s, 3 from the 50s, 2 from the 40s, 1 from the 30s, 1 from the 20s, 2 from the 10s, 1 from the 1900s, and 4 from the 19th century
- 7 books longer than 500 pages, of which the longest was Garth Risk Hallberg's City on Fire at 960 pages
- The most liked review of those I posted on Goodreads was The Lake House by Kate Morton
- The most viewed post on this blog was my review of Day Four by Sarah Lotz
- My Goodreads ratings break down as follows... 15 5-star books, 58 4-star books, 32 3-star books, 4 2-star books and 4 not rated. That works out as an average rating of 3.77, much better than 2014 which had an average of 3.52.
This was a better reading year than 2014, I think. In 2014, I had a whole post's worth of Worst Books, but this year there's no need for that - no need for extended rants, anyway. Every year I get better at abandoning books I'm not enjoying; I gave ZERO 1-star ratings this year.
I did find, though, that some of my most-anticipated books, often by authors whose previous work I've loved, were the most disappointing. This applies (to various extents) to Scarlett Thomas (The Seed Collectors, probably the most disappointing book of my life, let alone 2015), Sarah Lotz (Day Four), Louise Welsh (Death is a Welcome Guest), Kate Morton (The Lake House), and William Boyd (Sweet Caress, also my least favourite title of the year). In some cases, I think my unreasonable, sky-high expectations were the issue, although that doesn't stop me being equally excited about certain 2016 books...
Counteracting that bit of negativity, I read some really great debuts by authors I will be keen to follow in the future - Tasha Kavanagh (Things We Have in Common), Alex Hourston (In My House), Catie Disabato (The Ghost Network), Catriona Ward (Rawblood), and Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney), among others.
- Other great new-to-me discoveries: Lindsay Hunter (Don't Kiss Me and Daddy's), Hugo Wilcken (The Reflection), Damon Galgut (The Good Doctor).
- Good thrillers and mysteries read this year: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell, The Minotaur by Barbara Vine, The Blue by Lucy Clarke, The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle, The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas.
- Good ghost stories read this year: Rawblood by Catriona Ward, Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand, Slade House by David Mitchell, The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, Curious Tales' short story collections.
- Most memorable characters: Nora (The Woman Upstairs), Katherine (Idiopathy), Yasmin (Things We Have in Common), Anna (Hausfrau).
- Most heartbreaking sequence in a book: Val's reality TV experience in Number 11.
- Best short story: 'The November Story' from Rebecca Makkai's collection Music for Wartime.
- Best Penguin Little Black Classic: The Meek One by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
- Most unique: Bus Station: Unbound by Jenn Ashworth and Richard Hirst, an online-only 'choose your own adventure' experience.
- Special achievement award for book I found ridiculous yet somehow moving and actually ended up rereading later in the year because it had got into my head that much and made me feel like a teenager again: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer.
- Cosiest story about murder: The Killing of Polly Carter by Robert Thorogood.
- Most annoying main character: Grace from Rebecca Scherm's Unbecoming.
- The Miniaturist award for most overrated book of the year: The Girl on the Train, inevitably.
- Books I really wanted to read this year, but didn't get round to: The ubiquitous A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman, Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, and Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth (which was also on my 'didn't get round to reading in 2014' list. Seriously need to do something about this.)
And finally, some reading resolutions for 2016:
- Read more books I already own. I was looking through my Goodreads shelves the other day and was reminded of how many books there've been this year that I've been convinced I'll read 'next' that have been pushed down the list again and again. I'm also slightly embarrassed by how heavily my 2015 reading stats are weighted towards brand-new books...
- Read more non-fiction. This has been an aim for a while, to be honest, and I did slightly better at it this year (I only read 3 non-fiction books in 2014), but I still need to work on it.
- No more ratings. This doesn't apply to Goodreads, where star ratings are almost compulsory, but I'm going to stop giving books marks out of 10 on my blog, and just concentrate on what I loved (and, if necessary, what I didn't love) about them.
- Credit translators. I've definitely been guilty of writing about translated fiction without mentioning who the translator is. From now on I'm going to make sure I always credit them.
And that just about wraps it up for 2015. Now, on to the many books I'm looking forward to in 2016...