Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Reading summary

2015 reaches it's end and here I am ... *dusts off the blog* ... to jot down my reading for this year. 

It's been a good year for reading for me.  I am confident that this is due to my commute into town being so long that I spent much of the time on the ferry reading a book.  Also, the ability to read during lunchtime helps.  Now that I'm working closer to home and no longer using public transport as much, that will change though.

Number of books read: 90
I'm impressed!  This is the most I've read since I joined GoodReads.  I abandoned one book, Gone Girl.  I really couldn't find any reason to continue with it.

Number of non-fiction books: 28
Number of fiction books: 62

Number of poetry books: 1

As always, there were a few books not counted in the GoodReads statistics.  I re-read at least 2 Connie Willis books that I can remember. 

Stand out books this year

Do no harm by Henry Marsh
This is Marsh's memoir about his life as a brain surgeon.  I also watched the documentary associated with the book.  This one stood out for me because of the candid nature of his tale, the challenges that a person in his position faces and the weight of responsibility that patients place upon him, his skills and judgement.  It also made me think more deeply about the nature of humanity.

The Martian by Andy Weir
I enjoyed this book as true escapism, funny narrative and gripping story.  Nothing deeper than that!

The secret chord by Geraldine Brooks & Game of queens by India Edgehill
These two books stand out for similar reasons.  They are retold tales of Biblical characters that in scripture are role models for many in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Brooks chose to write about David's life - I found it an engaging story which did actually flesh out what makes for pretty dry reading in the Bible.  Edgehill's story of Esther certainly enlivened the Biblical telling - the latter is of course told from a patriarchal view, whereas the fiction is mostly from a women's point of view.  Both stories are great reads.

The life and times of Auckland by Gordan McLauchlan
While this isn't the most exciting of reads, I found the history of my home town very relevant to the challenges it faces even today.  If you are an Aucklander, I'd recommend you read this one.  As it happened, I was reading this in September when the 175th anniversary of Hobson's purchase of the land from Te Kawau (Orakei tribal chieftain) occurred. It was particularly poignant to attend the small ceremony that took place in Emily Place to commemorate this.  I later read Tessa Duder's biography of Sarah Mathew, who was present at the event.

Most disturbing books

The blue between sky and water by Susan Abulhawa
The perspectives in this story are rarely seen portrayed in the media.

Pandemic by James Barrington
The premise this book is based on is pretty much enough to keep you awake at night.

Books that made me laugh (and also cry)

A spot of bother by Mark Haddon
The Rosie project by Graham Simsion (and the sequel, The Rosie effect)

Heading into 2016, my "To-read" list has not got any shorter!

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