7 Jul 2015

Reading Wrap-Up: January-June 2015

Most of you probably know that I read quite a lot, whether it be for uni or leisure. I also like talking and reading about books; I've become somewhat addicted to book hauls and reviews over the years, because I apparently need more books to add to the hundreds I already own. As I'm quite interested in other people's reading wrap-ups, I thought I'd do one of my own. Maybe it'll become a regular thing.

Six months is quite a long time to leave between them, but I go through different periods of reading a lot because I feel quite relaxed, only reading things for uni, or not really reading that much at all because I'm stressed out and I don't feel like I have time. I think that only doing wrap-ups a couple of times during the year allows me to collect a decent amount of diverse books in my read pile, so these posts actually seem worthwhile.

In this wrap-up I've written a list of all the books I've read (including comics and the like) over the past six months, and my rating. I feel like I'm quite generous with ratings, and give them out based on what I'm into at the time and how much I enjoyed not only the story and writing, but the values of the books I read, considering I have to keep these in mind for class as well. Two and a half is the lowest score I've given, and I gave one five. I'd say that I wouldn't really recommend anything with three or lower, three and a half is "good", four is "great", four and a half is "amazing please read" and five is "as close to perfect as anything is gonna get".

I've also picked my top five favourite books from the list to write a little something about. Hopefully it'll inspire some of you to read them!

Books I've Read:

Dancing on Coral - Glenda Adams ★★½
Tirra Lirra by the River - Jessica Anderson ★★★
The Dreamers - Jack Davis (play) ★★★
The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides ★★★★
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn ★★★½
Manhattan Dreaming - Anita Heiss ★★½
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling ★★★½
Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil - Derek Landy ★★★★
Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer - Derek Landy ★★★★
Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of the Wicked - Derek Landy ★★★½
The Maleficent Seven - Derek Landy ★★★★
Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men - Derek Landy ★★★★
Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light - Derek Landy ★★★★★
Skulduggery Pleasant: Armageddon Outta Here - Derek Landy ★★★★
How To Be A Woman - Caitlin Moran ★★★★½
Are Men Obsolete? The Munk Debate on Gender ★★½
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins ★★★★
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath ★★★½
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick ★★★½
Coonardoo - Katharine Susannah Prichard ★★★
Insurgent - Veronica Roth ★★★★
Allegiant - Veronica Roth ★★★★
Tales from Outer Suburbia - Shaun Tan ★★★★½
Saga Vol. 1 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples ★★★★
Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick - Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky ★★★★
Sex Criminals Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop - Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky ★★★★
The Wicked + the Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson ★★★★½
美少女戦士セーラームーン完全版1- 武内直子 (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Complete Edition #1 - Naoko Takeuchi) ★★★½

My Top 5:

5 - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

The first thing I have to say about this book is "don't knock it till you've tried it". I know that quite a few bookish sorts have read and really enjoyed Stephanie Perkins' novels, but, as with all things aimed at a relatively young female audience, its probably not regarded super highly in all circles (unfortunately). Even I have a tiny voice in my head that says "are you seriously going to read this when you could be reading Jane Eyre/Emma/To Kill A Mockingbird/other highly acclaimed classic?" Yes. Yes I am.

I'm a pretty big fan of romantic mush, especially when it's well-written and believable and the characters are likeable. And that's exactly what this book is. It's just an easy read that will make you feel all fluffy inside. You may also pick up a few words in French as a bonus.

4 - The Wicked + the Divine Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson

I've read more comics over the first part of this year than I have during the entirety of the rest of my life. I'm obviously not a comic expert, but I've dipped my toe, and I plan to keep on immersing myself. I'd heard of The Wicked + the Divine through Image Comics (who also publish Sex Criminals), and because it is written by the same wonderful people that put together 2013's Young Avengers, which I read and enjoyed.

It's about a group of gods that get sent to Earth as young people and are treated like celebrities, and the drama that follows. I've been getting a lot more into Greek mythology and such, so the idea of gods in a modern age is pretty damn appealing. McKelvie's art style is also really beautiful, so just flipping through it is a pleasant experience. I've gone out and bought the second volume now which I'm super excited to read!

3 - How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

This book is really a feminist staple. It should just be required reading, really. Moran covers so much in this book: sexism, puberty, motherhood, abortion and relationships to name a few, in such a funny yet genuine way. You'll feel like you've learnt a lot by the time you've finished. Give it to your family, your friends, strangers in a book store, just go nuts. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

2 - Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

This is one that I had to read for class, and it was the best book on the set list by far. Shaun Tan has quite the following, and it's so easy to understand why. Tales from Outer Suburbia is just that, a collection of short, illustrated stories set in the Australian suburbs. Some of Tan's illustrations are so beautiful and his stories so touching that I actually audibly gasped upon turning some of the pages.

It's by no means a very long or difficult read, but I devoured this in one sitting. There's no doubt I'm gonna purchase all of his other books at some point.

1 - Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy

Seven years after the first book was released, the SP series has been wrapped up. I only started reading it in 2013, but I've now read all the books twice (in the space of a year, no less), and this series has become hard for me to say goodbye to. BUT I can say with confidence that Derek Landy ended it in the most perfect way possible.

The series took a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes a happy ending seemed extremely unlikely (nigh on impossible), but he did it. I was so happy after finishing this book that I had to make an effort to calm myself down. It's one of the very few books I've read over my life that I can say I wouldn't change a thing about. So, if you've not yet read the Skulduggery Pleasant series, I urge you to do so. And now that I've finished it, maybe I'll stop blabbing on about it once every couple of months. Maybe.


So that was my reading wrap-up for the first half of 2015! I will of course keep reading throughout the rest of the year, and maybe I'll do another one of these. Let me know if you enjoyed it, and tell me your opinions on any of the books I've listed or your own favourite books so far this year!


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