My Year in Reading for 2015

~January~

1. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
2. The Secret Place by Tana French
3. The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber
4. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata

~February~

5. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Booker long list)
6. A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean
7. One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore
8. Mah Jongg: The Art of The Game by Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain
9. Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi (Strega Prize)
10. The Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
11. I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti (Strega Prize)

~March~

12. Don’t Move by Margaret Mazzantini (Strega Prize)
13. The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly
14. A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
15. The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
16. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
17. The End of Days by Jenny Erpendeck (IFFP short list/winner)
18. F a novel by Daniel Kehlmann (IFFP short list)
19. In The Beginning Was The Sea by Tomas Gonzalez (IFFP short list)
20. While The Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier (IFFP short list)
21. The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov (IFFP long list)

~April~

22. Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (IFFP long list)
23. Circling The Sun by Paula McLain
24. The Ravens by Tomas Bannerhed (IFFP long list)
25. Bloodlines by Marcello Fois (IFFP long list)

~May~

26. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Newbery Award, 2013)
27.  Little, Big by John Crowley (World Fantasy Award, 1982)
28. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
29. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World by Haruki Murakami (Japanese Lit Challenge 9)
30. Contempt by Alberto Moravia
31. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

~June~

32. Taking Pity by David Mark
33. Reader for Hire by Raymond Jean
34. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
35. Faithful Place by Tana French
36. Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt
37. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
38. Naomi by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japanese Lit Challenge 9)

~July~

39. Scarlet and Black by Stendhal (Paris in July)
40. Murder on the Ile Sordou by M. L. Longworth (Paris in July)
41. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
42. Coloring Flower Mandalas by Wendy Piersall
43. A Heart So White by Javier Marias (Spanish Lit Month)
44. The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa (Spanish Lit Month)
45. Severina by Rodrigo Rey Rosa  (Spanish Lit Month)

~August~

46. Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy (Booker long list)
47. The Green Road by Anne Enright (Booker long list)
48. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Booker long list)
49. The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan (Booker long list)
50. Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Booker long list)

~September~

51. The Likeness by Tana French
52. Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg (Booker long list)
53. Stars Go Blue by Laura Pritchett
54. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
55. The Quick by Lauren Owen
56. The Fisherman by Chigozi Obiama
57. After You by JoJo Moyes

~October~

58. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
59. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
60. The Courtesan by Alexandra Curry
61. Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell

~November~

62. Benediction by Kent Haruf
63. Three Truths and a Lie by Lisa Gardner
64. Heidi by Joanna Spyri
65. Slade House by David Mitchell
66. Like Family by Paolo Giordano
67. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
68. The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura

~December~

69. Emma by Jane Austen
70. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
71. The Widow by Fiona Barton

Although it is only December 26, I cannot imagine that I will complete another book before January 1. And so the grand total for the year is 71 books, broken down into these statistics :

  • 69% were books in translation
  • 20% were mysteries or thrillers
  • 17% were classics
  • 11%  were for the Shadow Jury for the IFFP (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize)
  • 8% were for the Shadow Jury for the Man Booker prize
  • 4% were for the Japanese Literature Challenge 9
  • 4% were for Spanish Lit Month
  • 2% were for Paris in July
  • 2% were for German Lit Month
  • 7% were children’s
  • 2% were nonfiction

Ten Personal Favorites for 2015:

  • The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
  • Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi
  • Don’t Move by Margaret Mazzantini
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck
  • The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov
  • Little, Big by John Crowley
  • Naomi by Junichuro Tanizaki
  • A Heart so White by Javier Marias
  • Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Honorable mention to:

  • The Secret Place by Tana French
  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

Special thanks to:

Finally, it is with a grateful heart that I thank each of you who took the time to read the posts I’ve written, leave a comment or two, and share in the love of literature with me. It is you, my fellow bibliophiles, who enrich my reading life immeasurably. Already, I’m looking forward to the books we will share in 2016!

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55 comments

    1. Flo, how nice to hear from you again! I think you’re the only other person I know who’s read Quiet Chaos, which still occupies my memory quite clearly. Those Strega Award winners…wow! They create quite an impact for me.

      I wish you great discoveries, too, especially French one’s! xo

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      1. Have you seen the Quiet Chaos movie? I haven’t but I’m looking forward the sequel that will be published in France in January (Terre Rare in Italian – Terres rares in French).
        I’m afraid I don’t read a lot of French literature :/ In my best reads for 2015, there is only one French novel plus a novella by Victor Hugo.
        I read very few Italian lit but in 2016 I’ve decided to read The Leopard by Lampedusa which has been on my shelves for years (a Strega winner too).
        I’m following your blog but 2015 has been quite a year. I’ll try to come and comment more often in 2016.

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        1. Oh, Flo, please don’t feel I was in any way critical of comments; in 2015 I have been the worst commenter in all my 9 years of blogging. Some years are like that, and I hope that 2016 goes more smoothly for both of us.

          I have not seen the film for Quiet Chaos, nor did I know there was a sequel. Some day I’d like to read all the Strega prize winners, but maybe I’ve said that already. 😉

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          1. Don’t worry, I dont’ feel you were critical 😉
            It would be an idea, reading all the Strega winners, but I’m so ignorant in this field that it would take me the rest of my life! It still is a good way to have reading ideas.

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    1. I tend to read in obscure little places, not literally, but within books off the beaten path. Classical, translated, they’re my favorite genres, and often people haven’t read many of the same. That’s one of the benefits of blogging though, how it has opened my eyes to all kinds of new books and authors. Happy reading in 2016, it was a pleasure to blog with you in 2015!

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  1. Great analysis of another great years reading & look what you’ve achieved with the challenges & jury duty . Looking forward to what you’ll rise to in 2016

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    1. Well, my jury duty (love your turn of phrase!) has been well worth the time spent for both the IFFP and the Booker, even though the later prize did not pick my personal favorite. 😉 Still, I haven’t read any poetry all these years, and I’m surprised you still visit me as faithfully as you do with that genre so lacking in my blog. But, thank you, Parrish Lantern, for being my friend for so many years.

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  2. What a terrific reading and blogging year you’ve had. I like this recap idea (I may borrow it 🙂
    I keep hearing amazing things about Faber’s book & was very interested to see it top your best of the year list too.
    Happy new year – I look forward to reading with you again in 2016 xo

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    1. One of the things that categorizes a book as a favorite for me is if I can’t forget it, and that is so true for Faber’s novel. Plus, I love how he brought in Christianity accurately into this novel. It was an unusual and wonderful read to me. I hope you do find bits to use in your own post! Happy reading, Brona, as we move on into 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a perfect way to organize your reading year! I’ve only read a handful of books from your list, so I will keep it in mind when I need ideas. I hope your Christmas was beautiful, Bellezza.

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    1. I’m not sure how perfect it is, but I thank you for the compliment all the same, sweet Suko. I hope your Christmas was good, too, and I want to thank you for your faithful, consistent commenting over here for many years.

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    1. I’ve wanted to read Makioka Sisters for so long! Maybe I’ll get to it in 2016. Naomi is not so long, and very intriguing. Thank you for including me in the Trollope read this year. Even though I arrived late, it was a special thing to read with you and Audrey and Lisa.

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    1. How nice to have “met” you and read your blog this year. You have such insightful posts from which I always come away considering something new. Glad we could read Emma together, and I look forward to more shared books in 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The IFFP is such an exciting list to read from! The long list is announced in March, and you can be sure I’ll blog about it the night it comes out. Even though I don’t always agree with the title which has won, reading the 12 or so books is always an enormous highlight of my reading year.

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  4. Loved your post, Bellezza! So nice to see Margaret Mazzantini’s book in your favourites list! I have wanted to read that book for a while 🙂 I am reading Hanya Yanahigara’s book slowly and it is really beautiful. So nice that on your favourites list too. You have had a wonderful reading year. Congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2016!

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    1. Oh, I’m glad you know of Margaret Mazzantini! I would love to read through all the Strega Prize winners in my lifetime, because they are such powerful books evoking such strong emotion. Well, in me anyway.

      A Little Life is not an easy read, in time or in content, by any means. But it was just too powerful, despite the flaws some readers point out, to not make my list. I think it’s a book not to be missed, whether one “likes” it or not.

      Thanks for taking time to comment here, Vishy, and always leave such kind thoughts. xoxo

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    1. Before I started blogging I didn’t really read books in translation except for the “expected” classics such as Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. But, now they have become an important part of my reading life. I hope that you’ll find some you like in 2016 because they are so enriching to one’s understanding and sympathies. In my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Bill Clegg book was quite an interesting one, so beautifully woven together (and written). It’s been a pleasure to blog with you his month, Laurie. Thank you for reading Emma with me and leaving comments here. Looking forward to your favorites list!

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  5. Always a pleasure to read with you and to read about what you have read on your own! We share the Marias love here this year and while not the same Erpenbeck title, a title by her just the same. Also agree that Sleeping on Jupiter was a very special book. A lovely surprise! Hope to be reading with you again next year! More Booker fun? 🙂

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    1. More Booker fun for sure! I loved loved loved that part of my reading year, even though I didn’t finish the list. You’ll give me a second chance, though, right? I promise to better, especially if my life isn’t turned upside down at the same time by an unexpected car accident with my son.

      I’m not surprised we have several similar favorites in author or title. You are an important and special blogging friend to me, Frances.

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  6. You are one of the most well-read individuals I know! I haven’t read anything from your personal favorites, but I have hopes of reading A Little Life sometime in 2016. I’m currently listening to The Secret Place (Tana French) and have to confess that it isn’t doing much for me. I loved her previous mysteries (especially The Likeness and Faithful Place), but this one is falling flat. Did you love it? (I guess I could click over and read your review…) A Spool of Blue Thread (Anne Tyler) was another disappointment. I did enjoy The Girl on the Train (Hawkins) and The Rosie Project (Simsion) and I’ll bet I’d thoroughly enjoy the book on Mah Jong. I wish I could play with you! My poor set from Hong Kong hasn’t been touched in several years. 😦 Oh, and I loved The Good Earth (Buck)! I’m currently reading Did You Ever Have a Family and I’m hoping the various threads come together pretty soon. I’m having a little difficulty staying engaged.

    Here’s to another wonderful year of great books. And again, thank you for sending me that gorgeous copy of Like Family. I can hardly wait to start it after we return from Oregon.

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    1. Be brave when you open A Little Life; it’s heartbreaking! But, in my opinion, so worth it.

      Tana French’s The Secret Place was a book I loved! In fact, I almost put it in my top ten list. I thought she was absolutely masterful in creating the dialogue and drama of teenage girls in such a well written plot. Maybe something is lost in the audio? I don’t know, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t like reading it from the printed page.

      A Spool of Blue Thread was so good…until the end. Why Tyler went on after a perfectly good ending is beyond me.

      I’d love to play Mah Jong with you! And cook with you, cycle with you, share a cuppa on the porch. Someday, I hope.

      You’re so welcome for Like Family. While it didn’t make my top ten, there are lovely things about that book. I saw a photo of Oregon and it looks so lovely. Glad you are there, you good traveler!

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      1. Thanks for the warning about A Little Life. I’ve heard it’s tragic, but also well done, so I feel like I can’t miss it.

        I’ve decided to stop listening to The Secret Place. I’ll get the book at work when I return and pick up from where I left off (or maybe start with the last chapter I already read). I really hate to miss out on a great book simply because the audio fails to engage me.

        Yes, someday we’ll sit in a cabin and play Mah Jong, followed by a long walk and a cuppa on the porch/deck. Maybe we’ll be two old widows living together out in the woods somewhere, paddling our canoes or riding our bikes (to work off the chocolate and red wine) and reading a book a day. Or you can just come and visit me in Oregon someday!

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  7. 71 books read. averages 6 books a month. Impressive. I have read Death in Venice, The Red and the Black & The Illuminations.
    I’m still at the beginning of Emma and starting Secret History. What’s waiting for January?

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    1. Is that The Secret History by Donna Tartt? I love that book! I’ve read it at least three times, weird, but that’s how much I enjoy it.

      For 2016 is the Two Serious Ladies read along, which perhaps you may find time for? Also, I look forward to the IFFP long list usually announced in March, and reading many more classics. And for you?

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    1. Little, Big is such an odd book; quite mysterious and ethereal and yet such a charming story at the same time. But sometimes it’s just not the right timing for a certain book.

      Thank you for hosting me on your blog I. 2015. That was quite an honor.

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  8. What a fabulous reading year – I’m so impressed by all he works in translation! I have some of your favorites on my TBR list and one that is high on the list is After You by Jojo Moyes. I’m almost hesitant to start it because I loved the first book so much. All the best in 2016!

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    1. You may have trouble finding some of these titles, dear Heidi, as what I read is often far from the beaten path. But, hopefully your library is better than mine, and you won’t have to order them (or beg the publisher for a copy).

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  9. Love your list of favourites, great for looking at translated titles I want to read, The Dead Lake is one of my favourite Peirene Books, it’s really stayed with me.

    I’m looking forward to rereading your reviews of favourites and adding to my list. And to following your reading in 2016.

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