I honestly forgot to do a blog post like this with my 2014 in books, so I decided to write one today. I’ll quickly brush on 2014 saying that although I originally challenged myself to read 40 books, I was happy for the tiny win of reading a book more than the 20 I downgraded my reading challenge to, and made it to 21.
Looking back, I notice that half the books I read are from the “Pretty Little Liars” book series, which I honestly didn’t like that much (this is one of those very few times where the TV show is far better than the books, I think). I probably should’ve just stopped reading them, but it doesn’t matter now.
I also read quite a few cooking/baking related books, even though I didn’t have too much time for experimenting in the kitchen. Reading such short reads does fit in well with how much time (or rather how little, given a lot of over time at work) I had on my hand for simply reading.
The total of pages read in 2014 goes up to 5442, of which the longest book I read was Harlequin Holiday Collection: Four Classic Seasonal Novellas, by Debra Webb at 485 pages.
My two very favorite reads of 2014 are:
- Paris Letters, by Janice Macleod – I started reading this book in September, but put it aside to read when I had more time, so ended up really reading it in December. It has just the right amount of humor, romance, and adventure. Paris Letters made me feel happiness and hope, it gave me inspiration, encouragement and advice. Reading this book when I did helped me immensely in the sense that I liked my job as quality assurance tester, but was already thinking of leaving the firm I was with and finding a better-paying job. Janice’s story, and my boyfriend’s nudging, really inspired me to go beyond wanting this and actually taking steps toward it, starting to learn a bit more and build my CV towards a better job.
It also “worked” – I am now technical author, which to me translates to “I get paid to write and do some traveling, too”. Nothing short of a dream come true!
- Let it snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle – An anthology of three short stories, all tied together by a thread, that are sure to make you smile and will warm your heart during the holiday season. The three narrations fit so seamlessly together without losing their individual flavor. I loved every one of the stories in there! It is one of those reads that just makes you want to snuggle up on your couch, a hot cocoa or tea in hand and wish you had a fireplace to read by!
Below is a print screen of all the titles I’ve read in 2014.
In 2015, I started out way too optimistic again, on the just-for-fun reading train. I challenged myself to read 20 books, and ended up downgrading/finishing only 10. I kept putting off reading for fun, and ended up stressing out about finishing my 2015 reading challenge.
On the other hand, I’ve read more than 50 training manuals which I also edited/re-branded for work, and which I cannot add to my reading challenge since they’re used in-house by the client.
I finished a few books that I started reading a long time ago, and which I kept putting off reading. I am really happy to get these off my TBR list! It was also nice to read while I traveled to/from London for work, I’d definitely rather read since I can’t sleep while on a plane.
The total page count only comes to 1819, with the longest book being Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain at 352 pages.
My three top favorite reads of 2015 are:
- Pies & Peril, by Janel Gradowski – I found the plot easy to follow, and it kept me guessing about who the killer was. The timing for me to re-read this book was perfect as my boyfriend and I have been watching an old murder mystery series last year.
- Buckingham Palace: Official Souvenir Guide, by Royal Collection Publications – Purchased this when I visited Buckingham Palace in August 2015, and it provided the best “tour” when I read it at home and talked about the Palace to my friends and family. I love it!
- E-guide: 52 Weeks, 52 Ways to Love Your (Wild) Self, by Judy Clement Wall – This surely doesn’t come as a surprise, as I went through the exercises in the 52-52 guide this past year and shared with you my thoughts about them every week of 2015! I love love love this e-guide! Even though I try to be mindful of what I need, I put everyone else first far too many times. So this is such a beautiful reminder that I need to be better about loving myself, first.
Below is a print screen of all the titles I’ve read last year. Take a look, and check out the list itself on Goodreads. Who knows, you might see something you’d also like to read.
My friend Trisha shared a link last week about a reading challenge she’s trying since she also wants to read more, and not just work/study stuff. I’ll share The 2016 Reading Challenge here in case anyone else is interested. I really liked the idea, especially the fact that it gives one a lot of room to tailor it to their own taste. As Anne, from Modern Mrs. Darcy phrased it, “read 12 books in 12 different categories in 12 months. It’s simple and doable, but it provides the structure you need to approach your reading list with intention in 2016.”
Now, please let me know in the comments below how many books you’ve read this past year? And what are your favorite reads for 2015 (or previous years)?
Since I haven’t read nearly as much for fun as I would’ve liked last year, I decided to challenge myself to read 20 books in 2016. And I totally plan to update this with higher numbers over the course of the year! So, don’t hold back, I always love a good book recommendation!
Here’s to a great 2016, filled with lots of reading!