Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Ten Favorite Books of 2015


I did a post like this last year, and it was a lot of fun, so I thought hey, why not do another?  I reviewed 45 books this year, by my very casual count, and I read probably 4 or 5 others that I never reviewed (two that I do intend to review soon, just haven't gotten to them yet).  I'm once again astonished by that number, especially since for the last couple months, I've barely read anything other than Hamlet, or so it feels. 

Anyway,  like last year, I'm breaking it into new-to-me and re-reads.

New to Me

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery -- I was blindsided by how much I loved this book.  I made my mom read it this week while she was visiting me.  

Dear Enemy by Jean Webster -- I was also shocked to discover I liked this better than Daddy-Long-Legs, which made last year's list of favorites.

A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz -- so many amazing insights into Austen's books.  I want to re-read this one in a few years while also reading through all Austen's novels.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle -- I can't believe it took me this long to finally decide to read this book.  A pure and lovely delight.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell -- despite the rushed ending, it is a gorgeous, complex story filled with amazing characters.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd -- at one point, my son and I were sitting on the swing in our backyard, him reading the first pages while I was reading the last ones.  He loves it like I do, and we gave it to a friend for Christmas too.


Re-reads

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum -- simply a superb spy story.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows -- funny and poignant and charming.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare -- do I have to talk again about how much I adore this play?  Probably not.

Persuasion by Jane Austen  -- I loved participating in Heidi's read-along for this, my favorite Jane Austen novel.

29 comments:

  1. I'm SO glad you loved the Blue Castle so!!! :-D

    I have to thank YOU for recommending "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" to me - I loved it; and it definitely made to my favourite list. :-)

    ~ Naomi

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    1. Naomi, I'm so glad you loved TGLAPPPS! That makes me grin :-D

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  2. I can't wait to read North and South! Peruasion is soooo good! And I'll have to look into the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Happy New Year!!

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    1. Ashley, I hope you dig N&S and TGLAPPPS. Happy New Year to you too!

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  3. You've given me quite a few ideas about what authors/titles I might add to my 2016 game plan (e.g., A Jane Austen Education sounds particularly worthwhile). Thanks for your posting. r/ Charles @ http://invitationtotheclassics.blogspot.com/

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    1. Charles, A Jane Austen Education is excellent! But your blog address doesn't work, I'm afraid. Anyway, hope you enjoy AJAE :-)

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  4. Hamlet...imagine that. Very nice!

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  5. I'd love to read that Austen book. Happy New Year, you!

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    1. Jillian, I hope you can find it, because it is GREAT! Happy New Year to you too :-)

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  6. A Jane Austen Education sounds interesting. I read your review and I loved some of the quotes you used.

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    1. Jennifer, it is very cool and thought-provoking. You can get it new for $10 or used for a penny on Amazon. Like I said in my review, those were only SOME of the quotes I loved in it!

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  7. I had a similar reaction to Dear Enemy, and also The Blue Castle—I'd seen so many people gush over that one that I wondered if it would live up to expectation, but I did really enjoy it!

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    1. P.S. - I love your new header; it's perfect for the blog title. Monument Valley!

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    2. Elisabeth, yes, sometimes things get so hyped that I worry they won't be as good as I'm hoping, but sometimes... they are!

      And thanks, I'm totally loving this new look. Wanted to go western for the upcoming Shane read-along, and what else but Monumement Valley???

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  8. I've read Blue Castle and Dear Enemy this year as well, and loved them! North and South is one of my all time favorite (the BBC mini-series and the novel). This is a great blog. Will explore. :) (Are you on Goodreads?)

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    1. N, how cool! Yes, the 2004 BBC movie of N&S is amazing -- it's near the top of my list of new-to-me movies I watched this year too. And welcome to my blog :-) I'm technically on GoodReads, but I really don't do anything there because I have my hands full with two active blogs.

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  9. Love Robin Hood by Pyle. It is fun reading.

    So many people (lately) are reading North and South and giving rave reviews. I cannot wait to read it. (I was inspired to do so b/c of the film.)

    My husband is curious about reading The Bourne trilogy, but he is curious if the books are as good as the movies. Have you seen the movies?

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    1. Ruth, I was inspired to read North and South because of the film too. And I was inspired to watch the film because of a friend, who loved Richard Armitage as Thorin in The Hobbit movies, started watching his other movies, and told me, "YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS!!!!"

      As for the Bourne books, they are VERY different from the movies as far as the plot goes. As I said in my review, the only real similarity is the idea of a trained assassin with amnesia who starts out the story riddled with bullets and floating in the ocean. I adore the Matt Damon movies, and I also love the first 3 books, the ones actually written by Robert Ludlum. I think they're equally good, but completely different as far as plots go.

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  10. I really need to finish Pyle's Merry Adventures!!! And I'm also kind of interested in the Bourne books…weird, since they are very muchly NOT my genre, but they seem interesting. How "frightening" are they? ;P

    Happy New Year, Hamlette! :D

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    1. Olivia, yes! Finish it!

      The Bourne books aren't frightening. They're suspenseful, but not scary, if that makes sense? I mean, they're intense and exciting and you're on the edge of your seat wondering how he's going to get out of yet another Volatile Situation, but they're not creepy or gory. Does that help? Like I mentioned in my full review, though, there IS a rape. It's not graphic, but it's not skippable either because it is HUGELY important to the plot.

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  11. I need to read Blue Castle. Everyone seems to like it... Would you call it an easy read? After looking at my school schedule, I think I'll need some easy reads to balance the weight of school and finally reading Les Miserables.

    Is Dear Enemy the sequel to Daddy Long Legs?

    Is the new blog look for Shane? I just got the book from the library and I can't wait for the read-a-long. :)

    Btw. Happy New Year! :)

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    1. Ekaterina, yeah, The Blue Castle is easy and fast. Not at all deep or difficult!

      And yes, Dear Enemy is a sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs.

      And yes! New blog look for Shane :-) Looking forward to starting it next week!!! (My header is actually a shot from The Lone Ranger, though. I needed something western with precipices...)

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  12. An L. M. Montgomery book I've never read before? Never even heard of! You can bet it is going on my "to-read in 2016" list.

    I love North and South, and I also really love the BBC mini-series (Ah, richard Armitage...be still my heart!)

    I have never read Persuasion, but it is on this year's list. I'm wanting to re-read other Austen novels, so the time seems right for reading this one for the first time. Like you with The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, I can't believe I haven't read that one yet.

    Another of the "I can't believe I haven't read this one yet" that I hope to get to this year is Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Black Arrow."

    Have a great day,
    Patti

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    1. Patti, get The Blue Castle ASAP! It is delicious.

      I read The Black Arrow a couple years ago and enjoyed it a lot. When my son is a little older, I think he'll really love it, as his favorite books right now involve knights and quests and so on.

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  13. What a great list! Glad to hear you liked North and South and The Blue Castle so much. I only discovered The Blue Castle last year myself and thought it kind of amazing! And thanks to you I discovered The Guernsey etc (title too long to type) this year, which I absolutely loved!

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    1. Birdie, yes, I tend to condense it to "The Guernsey... Society" or TGLAPPPS. Very unwieldy otherwise. Glad you loved it!

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  14. What a great list! Of course you know I love seeing N&S on it. I am SO pleased you discovered that book/miniseries this year and loved them! :) And three cheers for Dear Enemy and A Snicker of Magic! And Persuasion. :D Also related, I have GOT to read The Blue Castle and Guernsey this year. *nods* Yep, those are definitely top priority!

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    1. Kara, I'm glad you like it :-) YOU are directly responsible for me reading Snicker, you know!

      And yes, you must read them. MUST.

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