My 2015 Bookshelf

You're acquainted with that gig we do each December/January, when we all post lists of the books we've read during the last year.  It's tradition.  I walked into the sunroom to pick up my book-log moleskin notebook and jot down the latest book I finished, and the tradition came back to me.  So here I am, writing up a post of the books I've read this past year.
the purge
Before I get into that, I have to admit I did a thing recently that I never thought I would do, that most book bloggers will instinctively consider anathema.  I got rid of books.  Lots and lots of books.  I sorted and cleaned my shelves.  I still have quite a chunk of books left, but an even larger mountain of books are sitting in my garage in boxes, waiting to be carted off to Goodwill.  I had so many books, it was pinching my nerves.  They were ugly and messy and made me feel guilty when I looked at them.  I hadn't read most of them - many of them, I honestly didn't feel like reading at all.  So I pulled them all off the shelves, I sorted through them, and I kept only the ones that I loved, only the ones I actually, seriously wanted to read (not the ones I had told myself, "well...I'll read it some day"), and the books I knew I wanted my children to read.  That was it.  That constitutes a large collection still, but much slimmer and more manageable than the zoo I had before.  Phew.
the list
The Tulip by Pavord (1/3/15) - a massive, beautiful book on the history of the tulip. yes, I read a gigantic book on a flower.

Assurance by J.C. Ryle (1/7/15) - a little booklet on just that, the assurance of salvation. I love J.C. Ryle's work.

50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know by West  (1/7/15) - a little book on feminine etiquette. got this as a Christmas present from my parents last year.

A Year In Provence by Mayle (1/20/15) - a funny culinary journey through 365 English days in a French land.

First Principles of Verse by Hillyer (2/12/15) - a small book I picked up at random, but which proved to be a gem of instruction.

Jane Eyre by C. Bronte (3/-/15) - this doesn't need any introduction.

Villette by C. Bronte (7/-/15) - another of Charlotte's, a beautiful, personal fiction of an English girl in France. Ask Katie for details. XD

Wuthering Heights by E. Bronte (7/-/15) - I read a lot of Bronte this year.

Rebecca by du Maurier (8/3/15) - phew! what a tense, tense read.

For All the Tea in China by Rose (9/12/15) - an account of Robert Fortune, the man who stole tea plants from the insular world of China and broke the Oriental monopoly on the world's favourite drink.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by A. Bronte (??) - arguably my favourite Bronte novel thus far, with Jane Eyre being close.

Agnes Grey by A. Bronte (10/3/15) - not as strong a novel as Anne's latter work, but that's understandable. still, enjoyable!

Face Paint by Eldridge (10/22/15) - ever since hearing that my favourite makeup artist was publishing a book on the history of makeup, I was on pins and needles to get it. it did not disappoint! what a lovely, insightful, inspiring read it turned out to be!

Black Spring by Croogan* my bad, it's Crogan, I just miswrote it (11/17/15) - this novel was recommended to me by Mirriam; it's a fantastical twist on Wuthering Heights, and I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed it more than the original. I felt that Croogan took some of the holes or poorly answered aspects of Emily's work, and fleshed them out, made them even more poignant, or put them in a garb they should have had. perhaps Emily should have written fantasy instead. it might have suited her tastes better.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Kondo (11/25/15) - one of the most delightful, inspiring books I've read this year, this simple, drastic approach to decluttering (and staying decluttered!) has helped me shift loads off my life.

The Little Book of Skincare by Cho (12/28/15) - yes, more Asians! I absolutely love Korean skincare and if you let me loose in one of their department stores, I would be happily lost forever. their fabled ten-step routine is legendary and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a front-row seat via this book, getting to know the Korean way of skincare in wonderful, accessible detail.
the current
The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Schiff. I saw this endorsed by historian/author Robert K. Massie, whose books my father owns many if not all of, so I grabbed this book off the B&N shelf without a second thought.  so far, so good!

how about you? what did you read this year?

5 ripostes:

  1. I used to be super-resistant to the idea of getting rid of books—any books. But over the last couple of years, my mom has been reading a lot of books and blogs on minimalism and decluttering (one of them was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in fact) and sharing the ideas with the rest of us, and we've simplified so many aspects of our home and lives as a result. Even I (a scrimper and saver, if not exactly a hoarder, by nature) have reached the same point you have: being able to sift my books down to absolute favorites and those I know I'll re-read and get more use out of. The idea of getting rid of books still stings a little in principle, but I do love the feeling of being decluttered and organized.

    I've read all the Brontes you mention except The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Jane Eyre (which I re-read this year) is definitely my favorite; didn't really like Wuthering Heights; remember liking Villette but it's been so long I don't remember it clearly—would like to re-read it one of these days.

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  2. One word: Rebecca. Except it's not really a word. But still.

    This was not the year for Bronte for me, but I'm excited by the number you shot through! Five in seven(ish) months is none too shabby. Good show all around! And now I have to do a list myself. XD

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  3. I love book posts. I collect them really, for when I have the time to sort through and pick what I want to add to my own burgeoning list. I too did a purge which I think my sisters my have considered sacrilege (possibly because I sold them) a couple years ago. I want to stick to buying hardbacks or sturdy paperbacks in excellent and books that I love (I mostly had been doing that or I liked what I had). One new thing that I would like to do this year is make a permanent library shelf since I usually constantly have 30 or more books out from our library.
    I finished up all the Bronte novels a few years ago and reread the two most famous this year. You must read Shirley, especially if you enjoy North and South.

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  4. Oh, Jenny! That's a nice looking reading list - and so many rich, great books! For a thing, yay for Bronte! I loved "Jane Eyre" so much, and reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall this year as well, I concur that it was a powerful, powerful book, and quite hauntingly beautiful as well - I just loved Helen so much. She's such a strong woman, but I especially loved her courage found through her faith in God.

    And Rebecca - Oh my goodness, I read Daphne du Maurier's novel this year as well and I can't seem to get that novel out of my head; SOOO intense, but good too! And the writing style is so beautiful. Have you seen the Jeremy Brett and Johanna David adaption on youtube?

    I want to read the rest of the Bronte sisters in 2016, like Wuthering Heights, The Professor, Shirley, Agnes Grey, and Villette - fingers crossed!
    A great reading year for you, Jenny! Happy New Year!! :D

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