200 Books in 2015 – Goodreads Reading Challenge

One of my favourite features with Goodreads is that they allow you to set a number of books to read in the year, and keeps track of it for you. Last year, while I was finishing university for two of the terms, I set it at 75 books. Obviously as an English Literature student, I read tons. Then I graduated, and I read about a hundred books in the four months afterwards, all trashy, cozy murder mysteries. For 2015 I set it at 200 books. I was way ahead for a while, but then once I started working full-time again, I fell back.
Here’s the link to my reading challenge.
I decided to include 10 of my favourite books or series that I read this past year.

One of my favourite reading spots: the back deck at the cottage

Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
I like backpacking, but not that much. I prefer to do my outtripping in a canoe with brief portages carrying all my belongings. I’ve also never been interested in doing a pilgrimage, but this book inspired me. Before I got it from the library, all I knew was that Reese Witherspoon is very dirty in the book trailer and hikes somewhere. Now I’m all raring to go for this summer and hiking some of the Bruce Peninsula Trail with Nic (certainly not for 3 months though).

The Girl of Fire and Thorns” by Rae Carson
This book features a princess who has the “Godstone” in her navel, literally a stone that demonstrates she is going to fulfill their god’s purpose on earth. She also gets married real young to a foreign king, and faces a revolution. During the book she is transformed from a chubby, sad girl into a leader (and of course has muscle, because we couldn’t love a princess who was chubby) and makes friends with enemies.

The Assassin’s Curse” by Cassandra Rose Clark
Ananna is a pirate in a world where the landlubbers are the rich people, and all the rest live on ships. When she attempts to escape an arranged marriage, she is hunted down by an assassin. Ananna is also a badass, and has some magic. It’s a fun series.

The Anatomist’s Wife” by Anna Lee Huber
One of the more interesting cozy murder mystery series I started this year was about an artist whose dead husband was an anatomist. She did a lot of his anatomy drawings, so she is able to figure out a lot of things about the murders she encounters. It’s a really cool look into Scottish society in the 1830s, and Kiera Darby is a very strong character.

The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski 
Another medieval-ish period book, set in a colonized country. The main character, Kestrel, is expected to become a soldier at 18 or be married. She would prefer to play piano, which her society looks down on. She buys a slave, who turns out to be part of the revolution of the colonized people.

Falling Kingdoms” by Morgan Rhodes
This book involves princes and princesses, sorcerers, armies, and lots of fun characters. One of the few times I actually appreciated reading different perspectives in the same novel.

Scene of the Climb” by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley
For some reason, most cozy murder mysteries feature women in their mid-thirties or up, but never young women, which is often frustrating for me. This series is different! She’s recently graduated with a journalism degree, and ends up working for an adventure magazine- because she lied about her outdoor experience. It’s a fun book, and I’m excited to read the next one.

Deja Dead” and other Bones books by Kathy Reichs
I wasn’t sure if I should include this series, because of the 10 I’ve read so far, they go up and down in goodness. I was expecting it to be a closer relation to the Bones TV show than it was. On TV, Bones is semi-autistic, works at the Smithsonian as a forensic anthropologist, and has never been married or has kids. In the original book series, she works in Montreal and Charlotte, and travels all over working. She also has a daughter from her first marriage who is in university. Sometimes the books are incredibly creepy and I can’t go to sleep after reading them, other ones I get so bored and can’t wait to finish. Check it out if you want.

Lady Chatterly’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence
This is one of the few “serious” books I read this year (I mostly focused on re-setting my brain after being a Serious English Literature Student by reading cozy murder mysteries). One of my professors recommended it as a very salacious novel, and it was. Constance is in a loveless marriage, and has an affair with the gamekeeper. The book was banned for a long time for its descriptions.

Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
One of my friends told me that she was shocked I hadn’t read the Ender series, so I dove in. The first book involves young geniuses who play war games all day in a space station to train them to kill the “buggers,” the invading aliens. The series deals with very heavy topics including xenophobia and colonialism.

What were your favourite books in 2015?

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