The time has come for my 2016 favourites. Erm … yeah, I wasn’t going to do a favourites blog post at first, because I felt that I should have done that towards the end of 2015. However, I kept seeing favourites video’s on YouTube throughout the whole of January, so I finally decided to do a blog post myself. Here’s to the love of books!
I read a total of 63 books in 2015, so I figured I would choose 6 favourites – 10% of my reading total. Here they are!
The Secrets of the Wild Wood by Tonke Dragt
When I heard that Tonke Dragt’s books were translated into English, I was very eager to get my hands on the beautifully designed hardback editions. (You guys know by now that I’m a fan of harcover editions, right?) I really liked the first book, The Letter to the King, but I fell in love with the second book, The Secrets of the Wild Wood. Tonke Dragt was heavily influenced by Tolkien, and after reading the second and third book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I noticed her inspiration for the Man in Green in her books, but that didn’t lessen my appreciation for her work. Thumps up for Tonke!
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
October was a pretty good month for reading a) classics and b) my 2016 favourites. Three books I read that month are on my favourites list, amongst which is this dystopian classic by Aldous Huxley. I read Brave New World for university because I had to write an essay on a couple of modern theories that were used in this book. I ended up enjoying this one very much, but I think it really became a favourite because I kept thinking about this book in the following months. The society Huxley described is so sick … And it gives very good food for thought conserning our own society. I have yet to read 1984, but I’m looking forward to do so and compare the two. Read. This. Book.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
I had read the first book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy once or twice before, but last year I set my self the goal of finally reading the whole trilogy. So I again read The Fellowship of the Ring and fell in love with it all over again. I think at times Tolkien’s writing can be confusing because of the vastness of the concept of Middle Earth, and not really consistent, but his first book is by far the easiest book to read. The first one hundred pages especially are magisterial. If you enjoy fantasy and are willing to commit yourself to reading near a good thousand pages, I would highly, highly recommend the series. Many fantasy authors are indepted to Tolkien and after reading the LotR you’ll see why …
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
I love Jane Eyre – it’s one of my favourite classics and I’ve read it a few times now. I had heard of Wide Sargasso Sea, but had never bothered to pick it up. When I had to prepare a talk on modernity for university (yes, again!) I decided at the last possible moment to change my subject from Virginia Woolf to Jean Rhys’s most famous work. For those who are interested: I used this book to explain the theory of the ‘voice of the subaltern’ by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. I think it is a must read for everyone that loved Jane Eyre but is also willing to discover a different, subaltern take on the famous classic.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
I think I can safely say that I discovered the fantasy genre in 2015. Of course because of Tolkien’s work, but also because of Assassin’s Apprentice. I still can’t believe I haven’t picked up the second volume in the Farseer trilogy yet, but that will happen very soon. I feel like Robin Hobb is being rediscovered because of all the attention for her work on YouTube by BookTubers like Mercedes, Helene and Holly. Believe me, though: they are right. I think this is a great series for those who do not read a lot of fantasy or have read fantasy before and did not really like it. It is the perfect combination of a history-kind-of-novel (because of the medieval-like society) and fantasy.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
There had to be an Austen on this list, right? I’ve read almost every novel by her in 2015, except for Mansfield Park (which I’m currently reading, by the way). The two novels that surprised me the most were Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. I think I love them equally as much, but I chose to incorporate the latter in this list because I identify with Catherine the most. It is for everyone that enjoys history, gothic novels, a witty comentary on society and Austen in general. What I loved the most was that you really got to hear Austen’s own voice: right at the start of the novel, she keeps a plea (in her very own, distinctive way of course) for the importance of the novel. Got to love her!
That’s it for my favourites of 2015!
What are your favourites of 2015?