2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
3. Most surprising book of 2015?
11. Most memorable character in 2015?
I feel kind of bad that it’s taken me eleven questions to bring up We Have Always Lived in the Castle, because this book is perfect.
The character in question is Merricat Blackwood, the somewhat unreliable narrator of the novel. She buries precious objects in the ground to protect her and her sister, who was acquitted of the murder of the rest of the family, from the nearby villagers and has a ‘unique’ outlook on their situation. It’s written in such a way that you can’t tell whether Merricat is a little bit ‘off,’ or whether the problem is with the rest of the world.
Either way, she’s written beautifully.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
And thus it will do nicely for Question Twelve!
But oh, it’s so beautiful. And awful. And tragic. And wonderful. And ARRRGGH. Please read this.
13. Most thought-provoking/life changing book of 2015?
I wouldn’t exactly call Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science life-changing, but it’s definitely thought-provoking.
This is an informal, very accessible collection of several essays about the world of surgery and why things go wrong. More to the point, it’s about how difficult it is to actually prevent things from going wrong, when people need to train and experiments need to occur in the name of progress.
It really made me think about all the misconceptions constantly circulated by the less reputable newspapers and now they really don’t do a lot to aid medical advances.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
This could apply to a lot of the books on this list, but it’s probably to most relevant to the Outlander books. The first book, Cross Stitch, has been on and off my wishlist for quite literally years until I stumbled across a review of somebody I trusted and finally gave in.
Essentially I could have read this book years ago, and then I’d already know what happens by now!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
I’ve been a little remiss with my blogging this year, which means I haven’t been keeping notes and quotes of my books quite as diligently as normal.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy got me out of a tight spot earlier this year (and several times in previous years) so I’m going to leave you with a Douglas Adams quote because they’re always brilliant.
“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
16. Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Both my answers here feel like cheating as you can’t really count either as a normal book.
Longest: War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Shortest: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
17. Book that shocked you the most?
It sounds like a weird choice, but there was a plot twist revealed at one point that actually made me gasp out loud and reach for my phone to text Charlotte. What did we do before we had phones and couldn’t bother our friends with our incessant ramblings about books you’ve both read!?
I totally didn’t see it coming at all and I thought it was ingenious.
I think the repercussions of that twist could have been dealt with a little better in the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, but I really did enjoy the first unveiling.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR
I know I’m supposed to put Jamie and Claire from Outlander here, but I don’t like the way he treats her so I’m going to be stubborn and refrain. A lot of other people have put Celaena Sardothien and Rowan from Queen of Shadows, but I don’t like them either. God I’m fussy.
Unfortunately I can’t come up with any other options. I’m clearly a miserable old bint who’s going to die alone.
This time I am going to cite Queen of Shadows, but because of the friendship between Celaena and Lysandra, not the poncey elf dude. Their rivalry was based on a misunderstanding that is suddenly rectified, which makes their eventual reliance on each other all the more lovely. With added doses of sarcasm and snide comments, obviously.
They were always, always there for each other, despite their history.
20. Favourite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Woman in White is really the only option as it’s the only book whose author I’ve read before this year and that I actually liked. Still, it’s not just a choice out of desperation. It really does deserve to be on this list as it’s an amazing book.
I read The Moonstone a few years ago and liked it, but The Woman in White is somehow even better. It has the same clever changing perspective device as The Moonstone but it also has a creepy house and murderous plots. I want to track down the rest of Wilkie Collins’ books this year just because they’re so all-engrossing and deliciously atmospheric.
21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure.
Again, I’m short of options, but We Were Liars still definitely deserves this spot.
Bex’s super-enthusiastic review is quite literally the only reason I bought and immediately read this. I’d already looked past it hundreds of times in bookshops and dismissed it as another contemporary YA novel.
I’m really glad I trusted her recommendation though, becau
se this book is great. She’s my Book Twin for a reason 🙂
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
I don’t really go in for fictional crushes much. They all tend to be a bit too perfect. The two fictional men I did have a thing for have been written out of the series in the latest installment, about which I am not at all bitter. Damn it, Sarah J. Maas!
So who does that leave me with? Okay, it doesn’t. There’s literally nobody from 2015’s books that isn’t insane, old or just generally an arse. It says a lot that the closest contender is Hercule Poirot and let’s just not go there…
Best 2015 debut you read? Best book you reread in 2015?
I loved them all, but I’m going to have to go for The Prestige. This book is perfect and I just want to lick it. I can’t believe none of you have read it yet, which is an offence upon which I take much umbrage!
It’s amazing and I already can’t wait until my next reread. The film is also actually suprisingly good, although the ending is very different. Eh, High Jackman, I’ll cope.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I nearly gave this to Ready Player One, because there are so many different worlds in that book and they’re all vivid and all wonderful.
In fairness though, it really has to go to the Outlander books. Even when the characters are just sat around cleaning out their medicine cupboards, the world feels so damn real that you might as well just be there.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
This book made me so damn happy that I grinned almost the whole way through. Everytime somebody drove past in an Ecto-1 or drank a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, I’d start all over again.
It should really just have gigantic smiley faces plastered all over the damn thing, it’s that sort of book. I admit the cover looks a bit bleak, but I honestly can’t remember any book amusing me quite this much. It’s so perfect!
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is just awful. Awful awful awful. I mean, it’s amazing, but it’s heart-wrenching and sad and lovely and a million other different emotions.
I can’t remember if I actually cried, but it’s probably a safe bet. The other day I cried because I couldn’t quite reach my blanket, so it’s highly likely something like this set me off.
Sigh. Poor Constance and Merricat.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
This is a lovely little book about village life, but with a twist. It’s the kind of book you want to snuggle down in front of the fire with and muse on how nice people are really. It’s charming, but with some satirical little comments that renders it still relevant to 2015.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I know I seem to be using We Have Always Lived in the Castle for all of the more miserable questions, but it is a good book, I promise!
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
There’s actually a dint in my book from one of the times I slammed this down too hard.
It’s alternately boring and gross. It’s more of a collection of articles about how to go whaling in completely unnecessary detail. There’s an article about the different types of rope you need and two about the correct way to behead a whale… isn’t that useful?
I really don’t understand how this has become a classic.