End of the Year Bookish Survey

reading-stats-2015-1024x278

Number Of Books You Read: 48
Number of Re-Reads: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult (26)best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? Not including rereads (which rules out Harry Potter and Persuasion), I’d have to say The Martian.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Legend by Marie Lu. I really didn’t connect with this book at all.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith since her books tend to be hits or misses for me.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015? Either The Martian or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

5. Best series you started in 2015? I finally started The Lunar Chronicles (still waiting to read Winter)!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? Emery Lord!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I don’t typically read those types of supernatural novels, so I was surprised at how quickly I got into this one.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? It’s not action-packed, but the book I had the hardest time putting down was Me Before You.

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Persuasion or Open Road Summer.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? I really love this new edition of Anne of Avonlea.

11. Most memorable character of 2015? Mark Watney from The Martian.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? Again, Me Before You.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? Cinder by Marissa Meyer or The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? “You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.” – The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I read this book early in the year and this quote stuck with me for a few months. I would recite it to myself whenever I was going through a scary or challenging situation.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? Shortest: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde; Longest: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most: Me Before You.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR: Aidan and Clare from Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between ALTHOUGH Matt and Reagan from Open Road Summer are also up there!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff’s brotherly jests and rivalry in The Importance of Being Earnest was really fun to read.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (previously read North and South).

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: The Martian! I read so many good reviews last year and in 2014 that this quickly became a Must-Read for me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? Probably Thorne from Cress. He’s like a cross between Flynn Rider and Han Solo <3

23. Best 2015 debut you read? I didn’t read any 2015 debuts (I don’t usually read debuts until at least a year later, like Open Road Summer for example).

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Probably the futuristic sci-fi world in The Lunar Chronicles.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014? I cried about three times during the last few chapters of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014? The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman was pretty unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t like this book, even though I know it’s a classic sci-fi novel that a lot of readers enjoy. I enjoyed the world building and some of the more action-packed chapters, but I felt like this book would never end and maybe it was the narrator (I listened to the audiobook version), but by the end I was so annoyed and ready to be done with Ender’s Game.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? I made a new online friend this year whom I was actually able to meet a few months ago! I really enjoy reading Alise’s reviews on Read.Write.Repeat and I’m so happy to be friends with another NC blogger :)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? Probably my review for Wives and Daughters because it includes a clip of the ending to the miniseries :)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? Where I’ve Been, where I discussed depression and pregnancy. It was a post that took me months to contemplate and write, but it meant so much to receive support and encouragement from my friends and readers.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Broke and the Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa event is one of my favorite bookish events!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014? Getting over my months-long reading slump. I went THREE MONTHS without reading a book or writing a review. It was one of the most depressing times of my life, and it’s mostly attributed to early pregnancy hormones.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I’d Want With Me On a Desert Island

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? This post about Classic Alice, a literary-inspired web series.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Fandom bookmarks and jewelry! This year I’m also contemplating signing up for an OwlCrate or Fandom of the Month Club subscription.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I didn’t set any reading challenges for 2015, but I was able to read almost 50 books, which is impressive considering I went through a 3-month reading drought.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? I just started reading Winter by Marissa Meyer so I can finally finish The Lunar Chronicles series.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I think Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira. It’s been on my To-Read list for a couple of months now.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? Read and review all the ARCs that have been piling up on my Kindle. It’s a weight on my shoulders and I feel like I can’t enjoy books that I’ve purchased until I review the ones I needed to last year.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: I haven’t read any 2016 releases yet! Any recommendations for me?

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January Highlights

It’s hard to believe February is upon us. January didn’t necessarily fly by for me, but a lot of things happened in my life and I know February is going to be just as eventful.

So here’s what I was up to last month!

I read 12 books!

Lonely Postman IMG_0063 from-the-15th-district mac amostinconvenientmarriage
princess diaries princess in the spotlight earnest soulprint Legend
                                             mara dyer theevolutionofmaradyer

This was a huge surprise for me, because last month I was all upset that I couldn’t find enough time to read as often as I did before finding a full-time job.

Most Popular Post

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Reads – I had so much fun chatting with other bloggers about these books! Tuesday’s posts always bring the best conversations :)

What I Watched

Gilmore Girls – Ok, HUGE surprise to everyone: my dad has gotten hooked on Gilmore Girls. My mom and I started watching the show back in September, but we’ve been taking our time. And this month we started watching it again and my dad watched one episode with us and was completely pulled in. So much so that he’s gotten upset when we watched episodes without him. I feel like I’m in some alternate universe where my dad, whose favorite shows are The Walking Dead and Forensic Files, suddenly enjoys Gilmore Girls. But hey, I’ll take it!

East & West Vlog – A new YouTube series based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. It’s just starting, but I really enjoy the actress who plays Margaret (also, she goes by Maggie!). I’m looking forward to seeing what the creators have in store for this one.

The Writing Majors – Another new YouTube series, but this one is really unique! It imagines Jane Austen, Emily Dickenson, and Oscar Wilde as grad school roommates. The actors are incredible and the episodes so far have been very enjoyable.

What I Listened To

This month I really dived into audiobooks! With my long commute, I’ve been trying to use the time for books, and it’s only taken me a couple of months to really get adjusted to listening to audiobooks. It’s amazing how weak my listening skills have become over the years. I have to really concentrate to actively listen, but I think it’s a good exercise :)

I also listened to Serial! For those who know me, when I discover something I love, I completely binge watch/read/listen. So, I listened to the first Serial podcast on my way to work last Friday, and I finished it just after midnight on Saturday. I HAD to know how it ended. The story-telling was so captivating that it’s hard to stop listening.

January Highlights

  • Watching Gilmore Girls with my family!
  • Starting to find my feet in my new job – things are finally starting to make sense!
  • Having deep conversations (or just really interesting conversations) with fellow bloggers! Meeting and conversing with other readers and bloggers is my favorite part about having a blog :)
  • Feeling more “adult” – This month we bought a car and paid off more bills, and I also just did a lot more “adult” things, like wine-tasting and making more independent decisions.

January Challenges

  • Although we moved back to the States at the end of August, we’re still transitioning. We’ve had to make big decisions about our future, and although I can’t reveal them yet, I am excited about them & about sharing them with the blogosphere in a month or two :) (and before anyone speculates, NO, it’s not about a baby).
  • Trying to multitask less. I read this blog post from I’d Rather Be Reading about singletasking, and it really helped me grasp how attached I am to multitasking. If I’m not doing two or more things at a time, I literally feel like I’m wasting time. So I’ve been actively trying to only do one thing at a time sometimes, for instance, while I’m eating. Lunch time at work is a great time for me to just take a step away from the computer or my phone or even from reading. It gives me a half hour of reflection time instead, and it’s also nice to detach from technology, too.
  • I almost forgot this one: we bought a new car!New Car

In February I’m Looking Forward To

  • Crossing off as many things from my 25 Things List as possible! I feel so behind, but some of those things I’ve known for a while I won’t be able to do (like visit England), and that’s ok. I made this list thinking we would still be in France and hopping on a train to the UK was easy to achieve. Instead I’m trying to enjoy the bucket list items I am able to cross off. Right now I’m crocheting myself a nice afghan :)

February To Be Read

MTLGTM IMG_0061 athousandpiecesofyou

I’m still getting through My True Love Gave To Me for my book club (our next read is A Thousand Pieces of You which I’m stoked about!). I’ve also started the last book in the Mara Dyer series, but I’m sad for it to be over so I’ve been taking my time.

What were some of your highlights from January? Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading this month?

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault

Lonely Postman

“Bilodo lived vicariously. To the dullness of real life he preferred his infinitely more colourful, more thrilling, interior serial drama. And of all the clandestine letters that constituted this fascinating little virtual world, none mobilized or enchanted him more than the ones from Ségolène.”

 

 

 

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault
Published January 1, 2015 by Hesperus Press
Adult Fiction
Format: e-book; 128 pages
Also By This Author: The Iguana
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Bilodo lives a solitary daily life, routinely completing his postal rounds every day and returning to his empty Montreal apartment. But he has found a way to break the cycle—Bilodo has taken to stealing people’s mail, steaming open the envelopes, and reading the letters inside. And so it is he comes across Ségolène’s letters. She is corresponding with Gaston, a master poet, and their letters are each composed of only three lines. They are writing each other haikus. The simplicity and elegance of their poems move Bilodo and he begins to fall in love with her. But one day, out on his round, he witnesses a terrible and tragic accident. Just as Gaston is walking up to the post-box to mail his next haiku to Ségolène, he is hit by a car and dies on the side of the road. And so Bilodo makes an extraordinary decision—he will impersonate Gaston and continue to write to Ségolène under this guise. But how long can the deception continue for? Denis Thériault weaves a passionate and elegant tale, comic and tragic with a love story at its heart.

Thoughts:

From the moment I saw this book cover I knew that The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman was going to be an interesting novel. It’s a very short book (you can easily read it from cover to cover in one sitting) and I often prefer shorter works because everything is condensed. It’s like a can of soup before you add water to it; the flavor is more intense, the mixture is thicker, and you can’t see straight to the bottom of it until it’s been diluted. Thériault’s novel is like that. Every scene is important and each sentence is filled with beautiful thoughts that can’t be fully realized until you’ve read through the very last page.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman is a beautifully told story about a very awkward and idealistic postman who lives vicariously through the letters he steals. At first I was hesitant about trusting Bilodo as a narrator. Not only does he steal and read people’s mail, he makes copies of his favorite letters and he’s even fallen in love with one of the writers. However, Bilodo is not a stalker and after a while I realized he isn’t even dangerous; he’s just peculiar. As the novel progresses, Bilodo’s lonely life becomes more and more suspenseful. I felt such a wide range of emotions while reading this book: thrill, confusion, anger, fear, sadness, and even embarrassment.

Although the novel inflicts suspense on the reader, it is not plot-driven. For me, the book became more intense and more suspenseful as Bilodo slowly and irreversibly loses his identity and becomes more detached from society. The deep themes and character development in this novel are what really made me enjoy the book.

Read This Book If…:

…you enjoy poetry (many conversations in this book are told through haiku).
…you like the challenge of reading a book with an unreliable and even unlikable narrator.
…you love short, yet intense and powerful novels.
…you’re a fan of cross-cultural literature (The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman focuses on the languages and cultures of French Canada, Japan, and Guadeloupe).
…you’re longing for a book that speaks to you about love, life, and identity.

“So this was how we departed this world, Bilodo reflected: by accident, without making waves or leaving a lingering trail, like a swallow flashing across the sky, and as quickly forgotten as a squirrel inadvertently run over on the road.”

Final Musings:

Even though some people might be “creeped out” by Bilodo, I set those feelings aside so I could better focus on the major themes of the novel. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman tells the beautifully tragic story of an overly idealistic man. Several instances in this novel made me reflect inwardly about the dangers of being too idealistic, but at the same time the novel as a whole reminded me of the importance of having dreams and wishes. At the end of the novel there is a Q&A with the author, and this is how he described the story of Bilodo:

“In my view, it is an intimist tale on the themes of loneliness, dreams, and imagination.” – Denis Thériault

I highly recommend this book to mature readers looking for a character- or theme-driven novel. Warning: there are one or two chapters with sexual imagery, which is why I say “mature” readers, but this imagery is depicted through the use of haiku, and it’s not necessarily crude.

If you do decide to add this book to your collection, please let me know what you think after reading it! It’s definitely a novel that requires some digestion afterwards, and I’ve been longing to have a discussion about it with someone!