Hi guys! Welcome to the week after Christmas. It’s been such a hectic few days and not gonna lie, this year, I’m actually glad to see it over and done with. But, if you’re like me, you probably need some time to get over the holidays and get yourself back into real life. So I thought it would be fun if I helped you get over your festive hangover.
This year has been an amazing one especially when it comes to my reading. I beat my personal goals and read 114 books this year. So today I’m going to give you guys my top 5 books of 2015. These books are in no particular order.
The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.
I love historical fiction. I mean I love history in general but there’s just something so special about historical fiction that always makes me ugly cry about 10 times. This book was absolutely no exception. It’s about the Nazi’s which is my favourite thing to read about in terms of history and it follows two sisters who I thought were absolutely amazing. I was so inspired by their courage and just by their bravery and resilience. This book left me in absolute tears. It’s just amazing and if you need further proof as to why you should read this book then let me say this. The Nightingale won the Goodreads Choice award for historical fiction for 2015.
I did a full review of this book here.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Hunt
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
I have honestly never read a book about a learning disability. So when I picked this up, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I mean a lot of people like to write about things that they don’t really understand and it angers me to no end that these people fuel what I call disability myths.
This book however, was so different. It was written with such honesty and with so much raw emotion. The author didn’t know much more then I do about dyslexia. But what made this book stand out was the fact that the author experienced growing up with a learning disability. And that honestly changes everything.
Living with something and experiencing it is very different from reading every single thing out there about a learning disability. I loved how much of myself I saw in Ally. I grew up struggling so much in school and I believed that I was stupid for pretty much my entire primary and secondary school life. So reading about Ally’s struggle to learn to read and her desperate desire to catch up to her classmates just resounded so strongly with me.
I would honestly recommend this book to everyone because I think everyone needs to be aware of the struggles of some people. But specifically, I think kids that are struggling with a learning disability need to read this because it really helps you understand yourself and to see yourself in a better light.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.
As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.
If you don’t know how much I love this book by now then seriously. Where have you been? This book is funny and sad and happy and literally everything.
If you’ve seen the movie and liked it, you should know that it is nothing compared to the book. The book is so much funnier and sassy and its an emotional roller coaster to be quite honest.
If you saw the movie or read the book and hated it, leave now because I probably hate you.
I did a video review here.
Room by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
I discovered this book mainly because I heard that it was becoming a movie and the trailer really interested me.
From the get go, I knew this book was going to be amazing. I mean I’ve never read a book from the point of view of a five-year-old before. So it was certainly very interesting.
I loved how Emma played with being able to provide a very child-like view of extremely serious situation. It just made the story so much better I think.
I don’t really want to say too much because this was a very powerful book and I don’t think that I could do it justice. You just need to read this.
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.
This book was such a surprise. I remember it was a chilled out Sunday and I wanted a book that I could start and finish in the afternoon so I picked this up. And surprisingly, I was actually able to sit down for 3 hours straight and read this book cover to cover. I have never been able to do that before.
This book deals with such an important issue. Arranged marriages. It’s not something that is talked about a lot but thousands of girls get ‘sold’ to husbands everyday and we really should be talking about it.
This book is also rich with Pakistani culture and it was truly enjoyable.
Well there you have it. My top 5 books for 2015. I’m so excited that 2016 is about to start and I can’t wait to read more amazing books. So don’t forget to let me know what your favourite book(s) were in 2015 so we can all discover new books together. Till my next post my fellow readers!
P.S. Do you like my new blog signature and header? I designed it myself!