2015: My Year in Books

After surpassing my initial goal of 2014, I decided to set myself a bigger target for 2015 - to read 25 books. Not a terribly ambitious target, nor a small one, but one I had hoped to reach again. Sadly, though, I missed my goal by 1(!!) and I am 100% confident that some rather large books were to blame (I'm looking at you again, Game of Thrones) - those 1000+ pages should really count as 2-3 books!

My most favourite reads of 2015 were...
  • My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke: this isn't much of a secret but - Dick Van Dyke is my absolute favourite famous person in the world, ever. I have little desire to meet celebrities but if I ever got to meet Dick it would be a dream come true! His book is so wonderfully written and full of great stories and photos from his past - I defy anyone not to love him too after they read it!
  • The Bees by Laline Paull: I had this on my "to read" list for the longest time and finally picked up a copy this summer. Needless to say it didn't take me long to finish as I was so engrossed by it! It is unusual and insightful - you learn all about the world of bees (those fascinating little things), and the way Paull humanises them provides a real shock!
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: I love learning through reading and the more unusual the content, the better! I also have a morbid fascination with learning gross facts, so a book all about death and what can/does happen with your body after you die was right up my street! Mary Roach instantly joined the ranks of my favourite writers after reading this book.
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach: another from Mary Roach! Learning about our universe, space travel and all the unusual research that goes in to it is another area I'm interested in, and this book goes very much behind the scenes of it all! There is a whole chapter about how astronauts poop in zero gravity, and how NASA developed solutions to help (something you didn't realise you were curious about before...).
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield: more space travel/astronaut reading for me. Chris Hadfield is one of the world's most accomplished astronauts, and is incredibly inspirational - he always knew he wanted to go to space and worked hard to get there! His writing is wonderful and you can just tell from the way he writes that he's one hell of a nice guy (he's Canadian).
Also worth noting, the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin. In 2015 I both read the remaining 4 books and watched all of the TV episodes, and I have to say the books are significantly better! Don't get me wrong, I love watching Jon Snow (Kit Harrington...) do his thing as much as the next person, but the story as written on paper is a lot more interesting.

My least favourite read of 2015 was...
  • Too Much Information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think by Dave Gorman: don't get me wrong, I really like Dave Gorman. I've read all his books, watched all his documentaries, seen him perform live on a number of occasions and even met him once. But this book just felt like one big Debbie Downer. Sure, most of the things he talks about are how a lot of people feel and his complaints are valid, but this just felt too "grumpy" for my taste.

For 2016 I want to focus on more of the chunkier, more time-consuming books on my shelves, and thus I'm setting myself a smaller target of 20 books. You can follow my progress through Goodreads here.

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Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? Let me know - I'd love to follow yours too!

L-R: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, Franny and Zooey by J.D.Sallinger, A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke, A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin, Capital by John Lanchester, A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, The Bees by Laline Paull, Too Much Information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think by Dave Gorman, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Shining by Stephen King, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth, Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

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