At the beginning of the year I set myself a modest challenge: read 12 new (to me) books in 2015. I set myself a specific list of 14 books which would take me out of my comfort zone, and promised to review each one that I read. So how did I do?
In total, I finished and reviewed 13 books. I did make it part way through Donne’s Complete English Poems, but, as I explained a few months back, I find it hard to read poetry in a concentrated way, so I never finished. My favourite book was Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests, because I simply couldn’t put it down; it was gloriously tense, and I loved the ending. The Paying Guests narrowly edged out Stephen King’s On Writing, which was so much better than I anticipated. My most recommended book of the list was Amy Vansant’s Angeli, because it’s a fantastic romp, and the sequel came out this year.
Since I didn’t finish one of the books, you can probably guess my least favourite on the list. I should also mention that, while I did enjoy it, Marina Warner’s Alone of All Her Sex was the toughest read, as I read three other books between starting and finally finishing it (and I say that as someone who routinely reads academic texts for fun).
In case you were wondering, I have read more than 13 books this year. There were books that I wanted to re-read, and books which, genre-wise, wouldn’t take me out of my comfort zone, so didn’t make it into the challenge. According to Goodreads I’ve read 52 books this year – an average of 1 a week – which is a total I’m very happy with. I’m already plotting how to challenge myself in 2016, so you’ll hear more about reading challenges very soon.