Monday, 28 December 2015

Best Books I Read This Year // 2015


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. 
That's probably a good way to tell you how 2015 went. As far as life goes, it was... difficult and confusing and downright depressing. But as far as books go? It was brilliant and heartbreaking and so, so rewarding.

According to Goodreads, I've read a total of 67 books this year. Those 67 books spanned a variety of authors, genres and ratings. Some were books I'd read and loved before. Some were books I couldn't even finish. And some were books that will stand the test of time - books that I'm sure I will read again and again in the years to come. 

This is a list of those books.
Self-Help

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17859574-how-to-fail-at-almost-everything-and-still-win-big?ac=1&from_search=1

This was one of the first books I read and reviewed in 2015. Damn, it's been a long time. But Scott Adams' philosophies - and jokes - have still stayed with me. I still read Dilbert comics occasionally, and I always try to create long-term systems instead of short-term goals. 

Humour

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10335308-is-everyone-hanging-out-without-me?ac=1&from_search=1

This book was not just funny and relatable, it was also very eye-opening. Mindy tells you the many truths of life in ways that will leave you rolling on the floor laughing (or at least grinning like a fool) and also wondering why you hadn't picked this book up sooner. Mindy's second book, Why Not Me? also released this year, and I definitely ought to read it in 2016. 

Science

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13058637-subliminal

4.5 stars out of 5
Man, this book was awesome. And also one of the first Psychology/Science books I've ever read and loved with all my heart. I learnt so many interesting things about the unconscious brain - most of which I've forgotten - so I really hope I can make time to give this one another read soon.
PS: Can you spot the subliminal message on the book cover? I didn't until just now!

Mystery


4.5 stars out of 5
I only finished this book yesterday - expect a review in 2016, Geeks - and I'm still suffering from a book hangover because I cannot imagine reading anything else ever. Damn it, it's the best Cormoran Strike novel yet! It's twisted and creepy and fascinating... it's an exploration of the human psyche. 

Literary Classic

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45032.Mansfield_Park


Mansfield Park is not my favourite Jane Austen novel, nor is Fanny my favourite Austen heroine (Pride and Prejudice/Elizabeth, obviously), but I could relate to this book so much, and it has such a special place in my heart. 
My next novel, Always You, is actually loosely based on Mansfield Park. It's still a work in progress, so I don't know how inspired it'll be, but... I shall keep you updated.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4671.The_Great_Gatsby

4 stars out of 5
I know it's supposed to be one book per category, but can you blame me? Mansfield Park and The Great Gatsby are both literary masterpieces. I can't pick one over the other!
The characters have more dimensions than a 4D ride in the local amusement park: from misunderstood to sadistic to unflinchingly hopeful to downright evil... The book is about the snazzy 20s era, the paradoxes of love, and the fact that people are usually bigger assholes than you'd imagine them to be. The movie is also a favourite of mine, so if you've read the book, make sure to catch the adaptation.

Children's Fiction

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24396876-the-thing-about-jellyfish?ac=1&from_search=1

This book should carry a warning: 'will cause a volcano of feelings and an avalanche of tears'. It definitely isn't your average children's book about fairies and makeup and monster trucks (um, I have no idea what today's children's books are about). From grief to hope to second chances, The Thing About Jellyfish is informative, heartfelt and so, so wonderful.

Suspense

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20359661-remember-me?from_search=true&search_version=service

The first book in this series had been a disappointment, but Remember Me was a terrifying delight. It was the perfect book to read in the middle of the night, and although I don't do that anymore (strict 10 p.m. bedtime, etcetera etcetera), I suppose I could bend my rules for the third book in the series, which comes out around my birthday in 2016. 

Young Adult

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18692431-everything-everything

The genre I read the most is young adult fiction, so you'd think I'd have a tough time picking the winner. But no book came close to Everything, Everything, which I love almost as much as my all-time favourite non-Harry-Potter book (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock), because it has the perfect combination of humour, tears, angst and the feels. Perfect.  

Romance

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25530076-anything-for-you

I read too many love stories in 2015, so this was a close call. But - come on - it's a Kristan Higgins novel. Of course it had to win. Anything For You, the last in the Blue Heron series, left me in tears and a dopey grin on my face. A lovely romance, in short.

 
So there you have it, Geeks! Those were the ten best books I read in 2015. And looking back, I've realised that no matter how bad your day, week, month or year goes, you will always have a good book to fall back on. And even though I have zero expectations from 2016, I have over 500 books to look forward to in the years to come.

What were your top reads of 2015? And what book are you currently reading? Are you planning to finish it before the new year? Let me know in the comments below - and don't forget to check back in on 31st December for my annual New Year's Eve post! See you then.

4 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read The Great Gatsby for a long, long time but none of my friends have it, nor do I find it in the library. I guess I'll have to buy it :)

    My top reads were:
    1. The Scion of Ikshvaku
    2. The Martian
    3. The Roll of the Dice
    4. The Empire of the Moghul series
    5. Pride and Prejudice
    6. Money Run
    7. Hit List
    8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
    9. Mockingjay

    Can't think of any more right now. This year, I mostly read historical/mythological fiction :)

    Anyway, can't wait for your New Year's Eve post! :)

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    Replies
    1. If you have a Kindle or an ebook reader on your phone, you can get The Great Gatsby for free online. It's a public domain book (most classics are), if I'm not mistaken. I got mine through the Aldiko ebook store for free.
      (Go to www.feedbooks.com - they have a whole collection of free classics!)

      I shall check out the books on your list - I've only read three of them. :)

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  2. Would definitely buy at least one book based on your suggestions :)

    However, I want you to provide me with a clear list.

    Alright, let me make it simple: Three books you would suggest anyone based on your overall readings since childhood. In case you're going to mention both fiction and non-fiction, tell six. (3-3)

    My reads?

    The richest man in Babylon, Think and grow rich (...because? Well, I read an Entrepreneur article that greatly influenced me. Rich dad poor dad was in the list too. Haha)

    Dolores Claiborne - Stephen King (This whole book is a continuous narrative...it just goes. The dialogues shall make you doubt whether King is a woman, because of the way he jotted down every word of Dolor...better find it for yourself. The next two in the queue are "On writing" and "The Shining")

    7 habits of highly effective people - Stephen Covey (Took me too long...genuine truth explained on the basis of some truthful fundamentals in life. Kind of okay. In this category, "power of now" by Eckhart Tolle might be the next read.)

    How to win friends and influence people (...it feels awkward to have a book with the title "How too.." sitting in the shelf. But had to read it since it's counted among the self-help classics. Overall, it ceases the rigidity of thoughts and helps in developing a flexible mindset. May God bless us, introverts.)

    "Surely you're joking mr.feynman" (*plans to read, forgets, comes back after 5 months to it, and feels guilt because the bookmark's still at the 11th page*sighs* Will start it again)

    Vedanta - voice of freedom - Swami Vivekananda. It make you spiritually independent by explaining "oneness" concisely. (I brought it because..ahem!...why did God create humans. Some books answer the questions..which if unanswered, can make you really mad.)

    Random: Read Oscar Wilde's short stories like "The Happy Prince," "The Giant" and others as well.

    However,

    If I had to suggest 'a book,' (glad you asked!) then it would be "Finding your strength in difficult times by David Viscott.

    To me, it's nothing less than holy. I had purchased it six years ago, have read it almost 8 times (yesterday too...a quick glance, and gifted it.[Thanks to Jeff Bezos for creating Amazon!])

    Go grab it.

    You probably won't read all of the above mentioned books, so rather buy the last one. You'll thank yourself for that.

    In case you're planning to read the rest of them, then Google for PDFs to save yourself some money.

    Would wait to get the list of your recommended books in response to this comment.

    A very happy new year as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Vishal! Some of them are on my Kindle shelf, as a matter of fact.

      Anyway, books I'd recommend to anyone...
      Fiction:
      - Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (no book has ever elicited more emotions from me)
      - The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (the book series that ensured my becoming a bookworm)
      - The Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (the book series that makes me wish I were a private detective)
      - (Bonus) Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (it's so much more than a love story!)

      Non-Fiction:
      - The Art of Work by Jeff Goins (though you might have already read this one?)
      - You Are a Badass (can't remember the name of the author, but it's a bright yellow book - check it out on Goodreads)
      - Subliminal, which I mentioned in the list above (psychology is the coolest)

      I would have included Te Secret, because it helped me figure some things out during one of my depressive episodes, but I don't agree with all of its teachings since some of them are a little too mystical. Still, it's a good read if you have high tolerance.

      Have a great 2016!

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What's on your mind, Geeks? Let me know! :)