Saturday 2 January 2016

The Year That Was...

Where did it go?

I know we say that every year, but really, how can it be 2016? I'm still writing 2014 on occasion by mistake!

Fortunately goodreads kept track of some of my reading from 2015. However, goodreads is only as good as the person on the other end of the smart phone remembering to add all the books they actually read!

Instead I've had to spend ages trawling back through blogger to document my reading for 2015 - there must be a better way blogger!

My stats for 2015 are:

Books read and reviewed on Brona's Books: 112
Books reviewed on Four Seasons: 4

Of those 116 books, 39 were books written by Australian women for my Australian Women Writers challenge (link to the 2016 sign up here).
I consider this a BIG success! Almost half of that number were picture books, children and YA reads. 14 books were fiction (classic, verse, crime and contemporary) and 6 were non-fiction (mostly memoir).

I read 57 books in total from Australian authors, 20 of which were picture books.

82 of the 116 titles were books written by women.

45 of the 116 were 2015 publications, 18 were classics and 22 were non-fiction titles.

How to pick the highlights from amongst all of that!

Here goes...

My Best Australian Women's Writer for 2015:

Henry Handel Richardson's epic classic The Fortunes of Richard Mahony.
(with a special mention to The Anchoress and The Monkey's Mask for staying with me all year)

My Best Australian Male Writer for 2015:

Incredibly prolific, funny and on point all year.

My Best Australian Non-Fiction for 2015:

This one is almost too close to call, but I'm going to pick The Reef for re-igniting my passion to save this beautiful planet of ours before it's too late.
(special mention to You're Still Hot to Me for all those peri-menopausal women out there and their families who need a good laugh!)

My Best International Non-fiction for 2015:

Testament of Youth - if you haven't read this yet, make it your mission for 2016. You wont regret it, although it is infused with sadness and loss, you'll never forget it.
(A special shout-out to Tiny Beautiful Things for breaking my heart and putting it back together again and to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying for helping to clean out my wardrobe).

My Best International Fiction (Female) for 2015:

It's a tie this year!
Ru for introducing me to Vietnamese writing and My Brilliant Friend for being so brilliant.

My Best International Fiction (Male) for 2015:

My Best Classic Read for 2015:

Lay down misere to Germinal. I am now officially a Zoladdict!
(special mentions go to North and South for getting me hooked on Gaskell and to Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.)

My Best Reread for 2015:

My Best Picture Book for 2015:

This was not an easy pick, however Rivertime and Sad, the Dog stand out from the rest.
And they were both written by Australian women :-)

My Best Children's Book for 2015:

My Best Teen/YA (Australian) for 2015:

The winner is Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club for surprising me.

My Best Teen/YA (International) for 2015:

Marcus Sedgwick continues to impress me with The Ghosts of Heaven

Mr Books Best of 2015:

Mr Books continues to surprise and delight me with his diverse reading tastes.
These were the two books that sprang straight into his mind when I asked him for his favourite reads of the year. Undermajordomo Minor for its humour, lightness and unusual style which Mr Books found very appealing. The Signature of All Things for the writing and the memorable story.

One of the big successes and pluses for me in 2015 was the readalong.

I participated in at least five (off the top of my head).
I loved the dialogue that occurred - whether it was on our blogs, twitter or via google docs. It made my reading experience a much richer, more in depth one.

I'm trying to come up with a way of making it easier for those who want to or have recently read the same book to come together to share our thoughts.

The Classics Club and the Australian Women Writers both have searchable databases for me to find other reviews for the same books read by me, but there are a whole stack of books not covered by these two groups.
Goodreads has reviews for all listed books but their format doesn't necessarily encourage a conversation.

My resolution for 2016 is to find a way to link or connect the books I have read to those of you who have read the same book, with the aim of creating a discussion.

Maybe it's a simple as adding a linky to all my reviews so that others can leave their reviews (old and new) for me to check out?

I wonder?

Though for now,
Happy New Year and Happy Reading


  1. Anonymous2/1/16

    I also enjoyed a lot The Buried Giant.
    to discuss your books, have you tried leaving comments on Goodreads? and connect with those of your friends who have read the same book?
    my recap is here: Part 3 will be live tomorrow

    1. I haven't spent a lot of time interacting on goodreads, do will definitely look into this. I was hoping for something that was more blog-centric but maybe that's not feasible.

      Thanks for the input:-)

  2. Congratulations on a great year, and good wishes for the new :)

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  3. Looks like you had a great reading year! I love seeing stats and of course readers favorite lists because inevitably I end up adding more books to my list!

  4. Happy New Year, Brona. I am in awe of your 57 Aussie titles -- every year I try to do better but I will never match that total. Enjoy your reading in 2016 (it's definitely that year?)!

    1. The total looks less daunting/impressive when you factor in that 20 out of the 57 Aussie books were picture books! Still I was pleased to see how much good Aussie literature I had read last year :-)

  5. What a great year you've had. I enjoyed seeing your favourites. I'm intrigued about My Beautiful Friend, but when will I ever get time to read one book, let alone four? I have The Signature of All Things lurking in my TBR, I think I've only heard good things about it.

    1. Mr Books and I both loved it. I found one section a little heavy going ( in need of a good edit or something) but the rest was thoroughly entertaining :-)

      I hope you find time for all 5 books this year!

  6. Congrats on your book totals and picks. I would like to read the Ferrante books sometime in 2016. Thanks for your tips


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