Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of the Year, 2015

Already time for the yearly roundup of some of the best reads this year. I always wait until the very last possible moment to post my list; you never know what you'll come across around Christmas! I like to give every book I've read this year a chance to appear on my favourites list. Somehow the very last day of the year seems to have come very quickly in 2015.

I also create a statistical summary each year, mostly for my own geekish pleasure. As I've said before, I don't think of reading as a competition -- I keep track of numbers and various stats for my own interest, not to prove anything.

So without further ado, here is my reading year in numbers:

Total Reading: 135


Female: 100
Male: 32
Nongendered (multiple authors): 3

Genre etc.

Fiction: 88
Non Fiction: 44
Poetry: 3

In translation: 

French (Quebecois):5
Norwegian: 1
Swedish: 1
Japanese: 1

My Own Books: 34
Library Books: 90

Review Copies: 11

Rereads: 2
E-reads: 9

Author who I read the most from: Susannah Kearsley (3)

2015's Weird Random Stat - number of books with animals in the title: 8

So, once again I read many more women authors than men; more library books than off of my own shelves; and an unfortunately low number of translations. I must try to increase the number of translations in the new year - I always enjoy them.

I still read twice as much fiction as non-fiction this year, but that non-fiction number is higher than usual for me. I found I was reading many craft and sewing books this year, which added to the total. All in all, though, a pretty normal year for my reading.


Best of the Year

These were some of my top reads this year, for their wonderful characters, or their style, or even for their unique take on the world. These are books that spoke to me in some way. Most of them are also backlist, excepting three 2015 Canadian titles.  

This is the first time I've ever had so many books on this year-end list that I haven't yet shared on the blog. It's been a slow year on the writing side of things!

So out of my Top Ten reads of the year, the first four I have already reviewed, but six more fantastic reads haven't yet been talked about here. Some of those reviews will be coming up shortly. For now, here is the list:


A Beauty by Connie Gault
An enjoyable story despite the unhappiness caused by main character Elena Huhtala, this novel set in southern Saskatchewan, among Scandinavian settlers, was a great read

Fairy Tale by Alice Thomas Ellis
Unexpected, sardonic, funny, and feminist, this was a total surprise, and I loved it.

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
Governor General's Award winner, this meditation on human happiness and consciousness was a beautiful, thoughtful, deep read

To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey
A gentle mystery with great characters and a puzzling set-up; loved the denouement

Unblogged as yet: 

The Girls from the Five Great Valleys by Elizabeth Savage
One of Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries titles, this story of Montana in the 30's through the eyes of five girls was fabulously told
Krane's Cafe by Cora Sandel 
A serendipitous discovery of this title led to one of the few translations I read this year, and this story of a wife & mother simply tired of her treatment by her family was worth it!

Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
An amazing book. Bernice (Birdie) Meetoos is on a quest to understand her past. Her dreams and visions are told in a fresh and powerful style which captivated me.

Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen
I finally read this classic short story collection. It's classic for a reason.
Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke 
A charming set of short stories that I picked up after watching the BBC's new production of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which I loved when I first read it some years ago. These stories are delightful.

Street of Riches by Gabrielle Roy
Roy is a Canadian must-read for me. I finally found a copy of this book & was well rewarded in this tale of young Christine's growing up in French St. Boniface, Manitoba.

I hope you've all enjoyed a fabulous reading year, and are looking forward to uncovering new treasures in 2016.


  1. Melwyk, I think you make good choices, reading-wise (and probably other-wise, too). Thank you for sharing some of your favorite books from the past year. I look to your blog for inspiration and ideas (of all sorts), and look forward to doing more of that in 2016. Have a safe and happy New Year's!

    1. Thanks Suko! Your regular visits are much appreciated; I'm glad you find it useful :)
      You have a great New Years as well!

  2. You had a great year from the looks of it. Lots of new titles for me to wonder about and take a look thanks. Here's to a wonderful 2016 for readers everywhere.

    1. Agree! I felt like it wasn't that great of a reading year, but when I looked back over it, there were many standouts. Always more to explore too, thank goodness for more reading time in 2016.

  3. We do have very similar reading tastes, don't we! Tillie Olson is a Nebraska author--she is from my own state, and I read one of her short stories this past year, too! I'm impressed by the number of library books--I tend to just drag them back and forth and leave them unread! I love Susanna Kearsley, too, though I think I didn't read any of her books this year--must rectify that. And there are a couple of books on your fave list that are on my to read list--the Gault and now the Alexis. I have several books by Cora Sandel--I have never seen her mentioned by bloggers, so very cool to find one of her books here--now must go check that one out. Happy New Year!

    1. Yes we do! I didn't realize Tillie Olsen was Nebraskan, but that makes sense. Wow, she's a great writer.

      I did read a lot of library books this year, and I think that was because of the much larger number of new releases that I read - though most of my faves were from the older books I did pick up. I hope you can find the 2 Canadian books, which were wonderful, and I'm going to be looking for more Cora Sandel myself!

      Happy New Year!

  4. A very good year! Your weird random stat cracked me up! had you noticed the trend during the year or just discover it at the end?

    Happy New Year!

    1. I discovered it at the end, when I was going through my list to determine my faves and all the numbers. I was like, huh, that's weird... ;) Thus the random stat.

      Happy New Year to you!

  5. WoW ... I am so impressed! 135 books :-D You are my hero. I love having this list at my finger tips!

    1. Ha, thanks Ev, but I only read this year, unlike SOME people who published a book... :)

  6. I love your weird random stat...totally made me laugh! What an awesome year of reading! Hope 2016 is even better. :)

    1. It was a great year, and a funny coincidence with all those animals in the titles of so many novels!

  7. Happy New Year! - so many books there to tempt, though I'm particularly reminded that I haven't read any Tey for a few years: must fix that.

    1. There are SO MANY to read :) Lots of great stuff coming up this year too


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