December Monthly Recap
It’s time for our final monthly recap of 2015! Find out which books were favorites, which were duds, and which ones we are most looking forward to in 2016. We’ll end our wrap up with a calendar of book-related events/facts from the month of December and we’ll highlight our January content. We’ve also added a list of upcoming book releases for January 2016 (scroll to the end for the list).
One randomly selected follower (email or wordpress follower) will win a $10 amazon gift card. Scroll down to see if you are the winner. The prize is only awarded if you contact us with your email address so make sure to check these monthly recaps each month to see if you won! We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read in December and what you look forward to reading in January.
Jen: 2015 was a great year for literature and a very productive reading year for me. I set my goodreads goal at 125 books and I ended at over 170 books. Last week we listed our top ten books read in 2015. You can find both our lists here. And yesterday we posted our least favorite books.
Favorite book read in December: My favorite December read was Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter (review to come). I’d never read anything by Carter and I was pleasantly surprised – quirky, magical realism/fantasy with a feminist twist. Honorable mentions to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez (a re-read) and Did You Ever Have a Family by Billy Clegg.
Least favorite book read in December: A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. To be fair, I read the whole series over the course of the whole year but I finished the final volume in December. I know lots of people love this series and it is considered a classic but I found it very dull. As as portrait of a certain slice of society over time, it has merit but I find it rather dull to follow the lives of a bunch of rich white men whose lives consist mainly of attending a variety of society events. I did give it 3 stars overall because I could appreciate the quality of the writing and some of the other reasons why it is considered a masterpiece but my own personal enjoyment of the book was around a 2/5.
New Year’s Resolution (& January goals): I have three goals this year. One is to slow down my pace of reading. I read way too much last year and while this may seem like a good thing, it left me with less time to fully process books and enjoy them. So rather than getting overcommitted with reading challenges, I plan to spend more time and care selecting my books and writing up reviews. Second, I hope to read more books published in 2016. 1001 books will still be a central focus, but I want to read more current works. I will be reading an annual read The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin with my 1001 shelfari group along with some other 1001 books including House of Leaves, Anna Karenina, Cloudsplitter, and The Brothers Karamazov. Finally, I plan to try and clear out my physical TBR before buying new books.
Favorite book read in December: My favorite December read was Slade House by David Mitchell with honourable mention going to Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.
Least favorite book read in December: Hearing Secret Harmonies by Anthony Powell the last book in the Music of Time series. While it was a 3 star read, it was still a let down in terms of bringing things to a satisfactory conclusion.
New Year’s Resolution (& January goals): Unlike Jen, I failed to achieve my book goal. I aimed to read 120 books and ended up reading 101. So for next year I will modify my goal slightly and aim for 110. To be fair, I had a lot going on this year including starting a new job and refurbishing my entire house (only my bedroom left to paint now). Like Jen, I want to be more selective in my reading so I will be focusing on 1001 books, our scavenger hunt challenge, and my own personal challenge of reducing my physical TBR pile. Please note this means dead tree books and not the hundreds of unread kindle books I seem to be hoarding for no good reason.
January goal is to finally read Life After Life: A Novel. I know, I know I keep saying that but this time I really, really mean it!!
What can you look forward to on our blog in January? Our Winter Reading challenge. All items have been posted so it’s time to read! You can join it at any time this year. The first round of prizes will be given out at the end of March but anyone who completes all items by end of year will be eligible for one final prize (just make sure you sign up for item 25 before Jan 7). We hope you join in because it will be a fun scavenger hunt. You can read more about it here. We also will feature our recurring posts: Love it or Hate it, Read Around the World (Finland), Featured Author Ian McEwan, Kid’s Corner, and Terrible Reviews of Great Books. Finally, we’ll feature regular reviews of both non-list and 1001 list books.
For more on upcoming content you can always check out our event calendar — featured on our sidebar.
January 2016 book releases:
The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian. Release date: Jan 5
City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. Release date: Jan 5
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente. Release date: Jan 7
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. Release Date: Jan 12
Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa. Release Date: Jan 12
This Census-Taker by China Miéville. Release Date: Jan 12
The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates. Release Date: Jan 19
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britainby Bill Bryson Release Date: Jan 19
Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks. Release Date: Jan 26
All the Birds in the Skyby Charlie Jane Anders. Release Date: Jan 26
We want to hear from you. So what are your plans for 2016? Which books were your favorites and least favorites in December or in 2015?
The winner of our follower appreciation is a wordpress follower: ayunda! In order to claim the prize you need to reply to this post or email me (email@example.com) saying that you want to claim the prize! You must claim your prize before the end of the December otherwise it will go back into the pool for the next winner. Congrats, you win a $10 gift card to Amazon!
NOTE: winners are randomly selected from pool of either wordpress or email followers of this blog.
Happy New Year to all of you! May 2016 bring you many good reads. We appreciate all of our followers and readers and hope you have enjoyed reading the blog this year.
Happy New Year! I just posted my favorite reads of the year. I’m glad you liked Slade House! I’m looking forward to reading Did You Ever Have a Family.
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I saw your wrap up and liked it. Quite a few books you listed that I still have to read!
December has been a very successful month for me, thanks to the Winter Scavenger Hunt! I usually average 4 or 5 books per month, but this December I read 13 titles and am 3/4s of the way through a 14th! I cleared 5 titles from my TBR, discovered another author I’ll be reading more by (Neal Stephenson), read titles I never would have touched otherwise, and was blessed by Effi Briest (my favourite book this month). Plus I’ve had so much fun chatting with people through this blog.
My usual reading year is around 60 books. This year I might hit 80, if I can finish the Hiroshige book today. I started commuting on public transport to work this year, which has upped my book count considerably. I think Jen’s aim to slow read more is a good one. I’m a chain reader but I like to read slowly. It means books stay with me longer than if I speed read. I only write about Japanese literature on my blog, but I record my thoughts about pretty much everything I read on Library Thing. This is this year’s tally of books: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/missizicks&tag=read+in+2015&collection=-1
I’m looking forward to clearing more from my ex-tree and electronic book piles next month. And I’m going to rejoin the library so that I can complete item 12 of the scavenger hunt, but also because I want to read Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End tetralogy next year, and I’m hoping my local library will have it. I also plan to read Pat Barker’s WW1 trilogy over the course of the year, which is on my TBR.
Happy New Year!
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Wow, good for you! Glad you’ve had a good reading month! Happy New Year