Yesterday was about writing, today’s about reading. And counting. Like every year, I let my inner nerd come out to indulge in a flurry of stats.
Because you probably don’t share my enthusiasm about how many books of a particular country I’ve read last year, I’ll keep it brief. Or so I hope. And I’ll hold the charts and pies, I promise. I’m not that bad.
In 2015, I read 74 books, which is a lot more than in 2014 and even the year before. I think it’s because I read a lot more graphic novels and manga that I tend to read way too fast. I read 11 of them and I got still a few more for 2016 among my Xmas presents!
Strictly half the books I read were written by female authors. Like the years before, I read 16 mysteries and 14 non-fiction books, which means that my proportion of fiction increased quite a bit. I’ve read 20 books on my Kindle, 7 on audiobooks, which leaves a very large part to traditional paper-and-ink, but among those most come from libraries, which means that I didn’t fill our already-full bookshelves that much.
Among all those it was both easy and tough to name the most memorable ones. I’ve come down to 5 books across all categories:
In non-fiction, if you’re in the mood for learning a lot of fascinating trivia, I’d recommend The Victorian City: everyday life in Dickens’ London by Judith Flanders. Judith Flanders’ style makes you see the life and the people as they used to be in Victorian times, and that’s priceless.
In non-fiction, if you’d rather hear about the heart-wrenching memoir of a woman who has survived the Gulag and yet isn’t totally depressing, you should pick up Evguenia Ginzburg’s book Into the Whirlwind (in the gorgeous Persephone edition if possible!)
In mysteries, if you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller and a ticket to exotic locations, look no further than Cambodia Noir by Nick Seeley. I enjoyed every minute of it, even if it is not for the faint of heart.
In fiction, I’ve been swept off my feet by the tale of a Hasidic family from the Holocaust to today’s New York in “I am Forbidden” by Anouk Markovits.
Equally emotional, but in a whole different way, I still need to review “Station Eleven” by Emily St John Mandel and I’ve read it at the end of the year but it still made it easily into this top 5 list. I’ve loved it all the more that I was ready to put it aside if it was too hard, too anxiety-inducing or too depressing. For once, it was totally worth the hype! (and I’m not saying this ever, normally).
All these 5 books will make you travel in different times and/or different countries and see the struggles of different people in those circumstances. I don’t make grand plans for 2016 books, but I hope they will make me travel again!