Life Adventures
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A Bloggers Year in Books (so far).


I have just finished my latest read which was ‘Half Broke Horses’ by Jeanette Walls, it took me a monumental time to read as I started it while we were on vacation and every time a another book came into the library I wanted to read, I put done ‘Half Broke Horses’ to read the new book. The crazy reasoning behind this is that I own ‘Half Broke Horses’ and the books from the library are usually on a two week loan which is quite the deadline for this slow reader.   The thing was, I kept starting new books and putting this one down, but a week later I would ditch the new read and carry on with ‘Horses.  In this time, I started ‘The Library at Mount Char’ by Scott Hawkins which I gave up on because it was just too darn odd and violent for me.  Odd I can easily deal with, I even like odd, but with violence, not so much.  So back to ‘HBH’ I went.  Then I started ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ by Claire Fuller which I quite liked and I think I will go back to.  I stopped reading this one because ‘All Together Now’ by Gillian Hornby came into the library and I wanted to read it because I really liked her previous book ‘The Hive’ which was hilarious.  Unfortunately this new book did not catch my attention and I returned it to the library less than half read.

I know, why on earth am I writing a post about the books I half read, when surely I should be telling you about the books I actually read from one end to the other.  Did I read any books from one end to the other?  I am sure you are wondering!

I did make it all the way through ‘Half Broke Horses’ which was in turns historic, insightful, funny and moving.  A great summer book.

The book which I brought into 2015 from 2014 was ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir.  I stormed through this book (which is not at all my reading style, I am normally more of a snail reader!), it is compelling from beginning to end.  I read somewhere that it was scientifically researched and as accurate as possible from that point of view and honestly I did wonder how this would affect the book’s read.  It only enhanced the story and flow of the book for me.  I am looking forward to seeing the movie and as I was reading it I thought to myself that it would make a great film.

‘Ella and Otto and Russell and James’ by Emma Hooper is a character driven book and totally my kind of read, I loved all of the characters in the book and found it very thoughtful.  A complete difference to ‘The Martian’, but in a good way.  It has a lovely cover too!

Everyone was reading this book in the Spring, so I got it from the library with the dreaded two week deadline, ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins.  Probably one of the most popular books this year and one I read quite quickly (no choice there!), but I didn’t love.  This is unusual for me, if I don’t completely love a book, it goes to the side to make way for the next one on the list and yes, I have a list!  I didn’t hate it, but I really didn’t like any of the characters, they frankly got on my nerves!  I liked that it was set in England and that was about it.  So what magic did the author use to keep me reading?  I don’t know, maybe peer pressure and the fact that everyone kept telling me how great it is.  A touch of fear of missing out maybe?  Not my favourite.

‘The Mirror World of Melody Black’ by Gavin Extence is completely my kind of book, great characters and a good story to hold them together. I loved Gavin Extence’s previous book ‘The Universe Versus Alex Woods’ which was such a great read.  This new book did not disappoint and I would put it in the same boat at ‘The Rosie Project’ and ‘The Rosie Effect’ by Graeme Simsion both of which I also enjoyed.  A little bit quirky with a big pinch of life and great people to read about.

The book which took me up to ‘Half Broke Horses’ was ‘The Gracekeepers’ by Kirsty Logan.  I bought this one to take on holiday running the risk that I would not like it, but I did!  Another quirky little number with a great combination of characters to love and to loath and plenty in between.  Another gorgeous cover and a very imaginative story which flows beautifully. I left Gracekeepers in the cottage we stayed in on Cape Cod and I took ‘Horses to read.  A reasonable deal I think, and hopefully lots of people have enjoyed ‘The Gracekeepers’ since I left it on the Cape.

Do you read lots of books or just a few?  Speed-reader?  I wish!

I must admit, I thought I had read way more than this in 2015, but when I looked back (yes, I write them in the diary), I realized that many books I was convinced I had read this year, I had actually read in 2014 or even 2013.  Just shows what a terrible memory I have and why I have to write it all down!

Some of the books I want to read this year are ‘Church of Marvels’ by Leslie Parry (I am about to start this one), ‘The Illuminations’ by Andrew O’Hagan, ‘A Man came out of a Door in the Mountain’ by Adrianne Harun and ‘A Steady Running of the Hour’ by Justin Go. I wonder how many of these I will make it through.

Here are some other fab blogs to check out and see what they have been reading this year.

The Lovely Jumble

Bird and Fox

Nanjing Nian

Blink Blackburn

She Who Rambles

One Small Life

Saint Cardigan

Lisa Berson

Tread Kindly

The Magpie Diaries

The Hipsterette

Happy reading!

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I live in St Louis, MO, but I am originally from Lincoln, Great Britain. My family and I have lived in the Mid West for over 15 years now. My blog is where I blog and chat about all kinds of creative stuff.


  1. Phew! What a list! I love hearing about the books you couldn’t get into as well as the ones you finished, Clare. I think that’s totally normal. I have been reading The Man Who Loved Children but as soon as I found the new Marakami one, bam, the first one got put down for a few days while I read the one I was more excited by. The Girl on The Train…I started it, and I got a bit scared, I could tell that something awful was going to happen and to be honest, anything involving a young woman being raped or murdered I just cannot deal with, so I stopped reading it. From your luke-warm review, I think I won’t go back to it! I’ve added lots of your books to my Goodreads to-read list so I don’t forget them. Thank you for sharing! That’s nice that you left The Gatekeepers at the cottage in Cape Cod. I love passing on books. Sometimes I just leave them on the seat on the tram once I’m done, hoping some nice person will pick them up. I’m also like you in that I can’t remember what year I read books…at least in China, I can look at my very small book shelf and see what’s there and know that I MUST have read that this year, or else why would it be in China with me?! xx

    • This was a fun post to write wasn’t it! I have been reading everyone else and writing down books as I go! I love that you leave them on the tram. It is hard to keep track of books read when they are mainly from the library too.

  2. A pretty impressive list, well done. “The Illuminations” was one of my book club lists – its a worthwhile read and deep. The war segments are confronting. Good but not a light-hearted one.

  3. I have had Girl on The Train on my bedside table ready to read for months but can’t bring myself to get into yet. The cover reminds me too much of Gone Girl which took me ages to get into. I read fast but slowed down a lot since having my kids….trying to get back on track. I haven’t heard of your other books, but will check them out xx

    • I tried and tried to read Gone Girl but didn’t like it at all. The Girl on the Train is a very easy read, but almost so full of drama, it is exhausting and not in a good way, almost contrived. I love it when we find new books to read!

  4. I love reading that you’re a library borrower too. I too often put aside my own books to read my borrowed ones but my library will do extensions which is sometimes needed if I’ve been a bit slack ( or forgotten the due back date!)

    • I am pleased I am not the only one juggling library books! Most books can be renewed, but if there is a line of people waiting to borrow a book (usually new publications), we can’t renew, hence the tight deadline. I have been known to read a book as far as I can, make a note of the page I am on, take it back to the library and get back in line to borrow it again to finish!

  5. I have read The Girl on The Train and enjoyed it but did feel like something was off – and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I didn’t really like any of the characters! I found the main character to be quite frustrating, actually. Still glad I read it though. Ella and Otto and Russell and James has been on my list for a while now. So long, in fact, I had forgotten about it! You’ve given me a timely reminder to bring it to the fore. Great post, Clare, and thanks for your suggestions! Happy reading 🙂

    • Isn’t it funny how such a popular book is one that we didn’t like! You must read Ella and Otto… it is so good. I have had so many great book recommendations from these posts!

    • I only read at night and then I get tired after about 5 pages!! Sometimes the deadline is a good thing, gets me reading more.

  6. Pingback: A Blogger's Year in Books (So Far) - birdandfox

  7. I had to laugh while reading this Clare as I have the same logic as you when it comes to library book deadlines versus books that I own. It does make for a rather disjointed reading experience though doesn’t it? It’s interesting what you say about ‘Girl on the Train’ – I also wanted to read that because it was going to be part of a bookclub thing on a women’s chat show I watch sometimes, and sounded gripping, but when I went to the library to order it there was a 30+ waiting list and so I knew I’d never get it in time. I might try again next time I’m at the library because the premise of the story definitely piqued my interest – I’ll let you know how I get on! xx

    • It is a fast paced read, but when I got to the end I wondered what all the fuss was about! I will often order a book from the library and there are up to 100 people in front of me, then of course it comes to my library along with another book or two which I really want to read. I have never mastered reading two books at once, unless one is non fiction and then I might manage.

  8. Wowee! This is a great list. So many recommendations in here. I have seen The Martian at work (the library) a lot but never thought to pick up so I might have to give that one a go. Thanks for playing along. 🙂

    • I don’t know how I ended up reading The Martian, as it is not the type of book I would pick up normally, but I am pleased I did! Thanks for organizing us all, especially across the globe!

  9. I am checking out your picks now! I am reading The Martian right now (continuing my habit of trying to get the book in before I see the movie, lol). I am also finding it to be a very engaging story!

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