Best of 2015 – Top Five-ish (books, films, TV, shows, meals, and moments)

Now that I’m firmly in 2016, I can finalise my “Best of 2015” list—and I’m glad I waited, because there were some wonderful last-minute additions! Here are some of my favourite books, films, TV shows, shows, meals, and moments from 2015:

Books

Since I only read 37 “funfunfun” (i.e. non-academic/work-related) books this year, it wasn’t too difficult to choose my top five. I’m particularly glad I did my three reading challenges, because I wouldn’t have discovered some of these otherwise! I’ve included the “overall” reason I’ve picked these books, but do please click on the titles to read the full “review”. These are listed alphabetically, because I’m indecisive enough as is. ;)

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Books from July to December (Music, comedy, erotica, Russian greats)

Yup, this post is looooong overdue. Over these past few months, I’ve read the following funfunfun books:

18. Vikram Seth – An Equal Music (11 July)
19. Stephen Fry – The Liar (2 Aug)
20. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – The Communist Manifesto (3 Aug)
21. Leo Tolstoy – Resurrection (7 Aug)
22. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Netochka Nezvanova (9 Sept)
23. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees (18 Sept)
24. Kit Rocha – Beyond Shame (30 Nov)
25. Miles Jupp – In and Out of the Kitchen (3 Dec)
26. James A. Grymes – Violins of Hope (6 Dec)
27. Euripides – Electra and Other Plays (7 Dec)

An eclectic selection, perhaps, but books are books are books. ♥

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April to July(-ish): 8 funfunfun books

It seems real life has gotten in the way of reading and “reviewing” again… And so, here’s what I’ve read since March (I know, I know–but better late than never!):

10. Marian Keyes – Watermelon (25 April)
11. Roberto Bolaño – Antwerp (25 April)
12. Cicero – On the Good Life (trans. Michael Grant; Penguin) (3 June)
13. Lois Lowry – Messenger (5 June)
14. Ruth Ozeki – A Tale For the Time Being (12 June)
15. Sarah Quigley – The Conductor (27 June)
16. Anne Bishop – Murder of Crows (28 June)
17. Evelyn Waugh – A Handful of Dust (3 July)

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March books: Rebecca and Cranford

March was a pretty crazy month for me, with teaching classes, some hard-core PhD writing, and quite a bit of work for Regency Love, so I only managed two books. Two wonderful books, though, so I’m not complaining!

8. Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca (7 March)

08-rebeccaBlurb: Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

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February books

February turned out to be a lot busier than anticipated, primarily due to a teaching position I was offered at the university that was very, very last-minute. But yay, I managed to squeeze in four books during my (sometimes sleepy) bedtime reading!

4. Alexander Pushkin – The Queen of Spades and Other Stories (trans. Rosemary Edmonds; Penguin) (8 Feb)
5. Joanna Briscoe – You (17 Feb)
6. Jennifer E. Smith – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (22 Feb)
7. Vladimir Nabokov – Despair (28 Feb)

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Reviews: January classics (Nesbit, Gaskell, Aeschylus)

January wasn’t anywhere near as booktastic as I would’ve liked, but the three I’d finished were all very enjoyable. I had decided to start working on the Classics Reading challenge first, and now I’m finding it hard to put down those lovely old books!

1. E. Nesbit – The Story of the Treasure Seekers (3 Jan)
2. Elizabeth Gaskell – Mary Barton (16 Jan)
3. Aeschylus – Prometheus Bound, The Suppliants, Seven Against Thebes, The Persians (trans. Philip Vellacott) (31 Jan)

As always, I’ve included cover images of the version I’d picked up. Some of them were a little difficult to find, so please pardon the poor image quality!

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Reviews: July to October, with quite a bit of YA (and some “classics”)

Hihihihiii from Belfast! I know it’s been aaaaaages since I’ve posted, but things have been rather hectic with the move from Sydney back to the UK. In addition, I had quite a few writing projects going on during August (hence no books were read then!), and I’m now back to my PhD, which comes with its own set of eyeball-killing books… Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading over the last few months–some amazing titles, and some awful ones (unfortunately).

39. Lauren Oliver – Delirium (2 July)
40. Elizabeth Harrower – In Certain Circles (17 July)
41. Alice Munro – Dear Life (31 July)
42. Kim Harrison — Dead Witch Walking (12 September)
43. Natsume Soseki – Kokoro (trans. Meredith McKinney) (14 September)
44. Lois Lowry – Gathering Blue (20 September)
45. Lauren Willig – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (28 September)
46. Classical Literary Criticism (3 Oct)
47. Cath Crowley – Graffiti Moon (4 Oct)
48. Anne Bishop – Written in Red (10 Oct)
49. Claudia Carroll – A Very Accidental Love Story (25 Oct)

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Reviews: Fall On Your Knees and The Hours

Happy Australian Financial New Year! On this monumental day, we have reviews of the two books I’ve been enjoying over the last two weeks or so!

37. Ann-Marie MacDonald – Fall On Your Knees (26 June)

I don’t remember when I got my copy, but I think I purchased it after hearing about it on Oprah’s Book Club over a decade ago. Anyway, I finally picked it up, and…wow.

37 - Fall On Your Knees

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Reviews: A little semi-mid-June update (with 3 YA books!)

I’ve been sitting on this update for aaaaaages, and, it being a Sunday evening, thought it’ll be a good idea to post this before a new week begins. I’m the lead (read: only) writer for Regency Love, a Regency-set iOS game/interactive novel, and have been working on new content for the app. It’s great fun, but significantly cuts down my reading time!

30. Gabrielle Zevin – The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry (19 May)
32. Amanda Hocking – Wake (1 June)
33. Annie Proulx – The Shipping News (7 June)
34. Jo Riccioni – The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store (15 June)
35. Lois Lowry – The Giver (18 June)
36. Aeschylus – The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides (trans. Robert Fagles) (19 June)

(In case you’re wondering, 31 was The Theban Plays, about which I’ve already posted.)


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Ancient May-hem: Finishing Aristotle’s Ethics

I finished the Nichomachean Ethics over the weekend, and have continued to process it throughout the week. It’s just such a tremendous work, and I can see myself revisiting it quite regularly in the future. I’ve already recommended it to a whole bunch of my friends, and I hope they—and you—will give it a go, because it’s really quite eye opening!

So, after the stunning introduction in Book I, Aristotle goes on to talk about the virtues of character and virtues of thought, and gives a very good idea of what each is and does.

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