My 2016 Reading Recap

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This year has certainly been a rollercoaster: in addition to this crazy presidential election, I’ve suffered the lows of two job transitions, but I’ve also experienced the high of moving in with my amazing boyfriend. However, when you average all the peaks and valleys, what you’re left with is a state that is somewhere in the middle, and my year in books was no exception.

2016’s reading recap can best be defined as “meh.” Although there were a few knockout novels, for the most part, I was disappointed. Super-popular stories like American Gods and Me Before You were just okay, and ones that were supposed to disrupt their respected genres were flat-out terrible. Some authors I’ve read before were consistently good, but others like Rainbow Rowell ranged from amazing to mediocre.

Here are my 2016 reading stats according to Goodreads:

  • 20 books read, totaling 6,482 pages
  • Shortest book: The Tales of the Peculiar (160 pages)
  • Longest book: American Gods (635 pages)
  • Average rating: 3.6 stars

And here is my master list of books, ranked from best to worst. Consider this my public service: reading lackluster stories so you don’t have to!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Rating: 4 out of 5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Rating: 3 out of 5

Rating: 2 out of 5

I have two books left to review, which I hope to get around to during my three-day weekend. I’m also still adding new books to my to-read list for 2017, so let me know what your favorites were this year and which ones I should avoid!

Happy New Year!

XOXO, Book Club Babe

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My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s natural to get nostalgic over everything that’s happened during the year. Between changing jobs and relocating, to starting my own real-life book club and adopting my two kittens, the past 12 months have been a crazy rollercoaster ride!

If your life has been equally eventful, there’s a chance that you’ve missed a blog or two on Book Club Babe. That’s okay, though, because today I’m sharing the top ten most-viewed posts from 2015!

*Drumroll please!*

  1. Book Review: Frankenstein. I’m guessing there are a lot of high school and college students out there who stumbled on my review while doing homework. That, or the latest movie adaptation with Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy is inciting renewed interest in this classic!
  2. Top 10 things I HATE when it comes to romances in books. Lack of racial diversity? No secondary characters? Really bad sex? Don’t get me started on all these romance novel faux-pas!
  3. Top 10 Quotes from my Favorite Books. My life’s mantra can be summed up by Gandalf the Grey: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
  4. Why I HATE Jonathan Franzen. Move over, Nicholas Sparks! There’s another author who sparked my vitriol this year!
  5. Book Review: The Buried Giant. There were high expectations for Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel in a decade, and I was not disappointed. Not to mention, getting my copy signed by the literary genius himself has to be one of the highlights of my entire life, let alone this year!
  6. Never Forget 1915: Commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, a historical tragedy which deeply affected my ancestors and influenced my culture. Every year I educate my readers about Turkey’s massacre of 1.5 million Armenians during WWI and remind them that to this day, the U.S. does not formally recognize this event as a genocide, because it cares more about military alliances than supporting the survivors. Shame on America.
  7. I’m a New Mother of Twins! A surprising number of people were fooled by my clickbait, in which I introduced Lyra and Pippin, my adorable fur babies. The kitties are now eight months old and although they drive me insane at times, I still love them more than most people.
  8. Movie Review: Fifty Shades of Grey. No one was shocked to find out that the film sucked just as bad as the book, but at least the soundtrack was awesome!
  9. Top 10 All-Time Favorite Books Since I Started Blogging. I’ve been blogging for over four years now, and these are my favorite books during that time.
  10. Top 10 Book-Related Problems I Have. Not enough money, not enough time, not enough shelf space. Story of my life, and of avid readers everywhere!

I hope you enjoyed my blog this year, and feel free to share your thoughts of what kinds of posts you’d like to see more of in 2016! More rants? More top ten lists? More cat pics? Book Club Babe is here to serve you!

My 2013 Recap!

Well, another year has ended, and I’m always amazed by just how fast time flies by. Although working full-time has slowed my ability to post as regularly as I did when I first started this blog, I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished. I even made the decision to read less books so that I could be involved in NaNoWriMo for the first time, which was a great experience that has encouraged me to devote more time to my writing.

All in all, I read 15 novels, totaling 4,635 pages, ranging from young adult romance to WWII satire to mythological comedy. I’ve ordered them from best to worst, so click on the links for my reviews and add some to your 2014 reading list!

Image via Goodreads

5 out of 5
1. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (2011)
2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (2012)

4.5 out of 5
3. Every Day by David Levithan (2013)
4. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (2003)
5. Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent (2013)

4 out of 5
6. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (2005)

3.5 out of 5
7. Awaken by Meg Cabot (2013)
8. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman (2013)
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
10. Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien (2013)

3 out of 5
11. Gilded Age by Claire McMillan (2012)
12. My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2007)

2 out of 5
13. Jinx by Meg Cabot (2007)
14. Nerds Like It Hot by Vicki Lewis Thompson (2006)
15. Pop Kids by Davey Havok (2013)

I also watched four movies related to books in some way, whether the film adapted the novel or vice versa. There’s many others I missed out on this year, so I foresee a few much-needed movie nights in the new year!

Image via Geek Tyrant

4.5 out of 5
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

4 out of 5
3. The Great Gatsby (2013)
4. Some Like It Hot (1959)

So what were your favorite novels and movies of 2013? And how will you be celebrating NYE…with a bang or just a good book?

My 2012 Recap!

2012 has been one of the most fantastically significant years of my life yet: I graduated with my Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism, nailed a full-time marketing job at a super-computing company in the Bay Area, settled into my own apartment (twice!), and met more people and explored more places than ever before (including three getaways to Vegas and a two-week vacation in Tokyo). I feel like all my hard work and determination is paying off, as I’m adjusting to life as an independent adult with a flourishing career and a bright future ahead. I’m so excited to see what 2013 will hold!

This year I also upped the ante on my reading goal, from 20 to 25 books. With everyone going on that I listed above, it was a struggle to keep up, but I managed to finish in the nick of time. According to Goodreads, I read over 7,500 pages in 2012, the longest novel of which being I, Claudius at 468 pages. (Although, to be honest, “read” is defined loosely, since four were audiobooks). Most were contemporary fiction, but I also made room for a handful of classics.

To recap, here’s the list of the 25 books I read this year, sorted from highest to lowest rated:

A heartbreaking must-read

5 out of 5
1.  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)
2.  I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (2012)
3.  Bossypants by Tina Fey (2011)
4.  The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (2011)

4.5 out of 5
5.  Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
6.  The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (2012)

4 out of 5
7.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011)
8.  Underworld by Meg Cabot (2012)
9.  Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer (2012)
10.  The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss (2012)
11.   Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (2011)
12.  Something About You by Julie James (2010)
13.  The Innocents by Francesca Segal (2012)
14.  Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (2010)
15.  Secrets of a Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison (2008)

3.5 out of 5
16.  Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon (2012)
17.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
18.  Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (2007)

3 out of 5
19.  The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
20.  My Week with Marilyn by Colin Clark (Published in 2000, Based on events in 1956)
21.  I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)

2.5 out of 5
22.  Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell (2011)

2 out of 5
23.  Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1933)
24.  Crossed by Ally Condie (2011)
25.  The Trial by Franz Kafka (1924)

I also watched seven movies based off books or literary themes, five of which I personally read before seeing either in theaters or on DVD.

Again, they’re listed from highest to lowest rated:

Worth the wait!

4.5 out of 5
1.  “The Hobbit” (2012)
2.  “The Secret World of Arrietty” (2010 Japan, 2012 USA)
3.  “The Hunger Games” (2012)

4 out of 5
4.  “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012)
5.  “My Week with Marilyn” (2011)

3 out of 5
6.  “Midnight in Paris” (2011)

1 out of 5
7.  “Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1” (2011)

Although I didn’t accomplish as much as some book bloggers, I’m proud of this list because its diversity. I’ve experienced stories about everything from Roman emperors to famous celebrities, from corrupt farm animals to kids with special powers, from the Armenian genocide to the ancient Greek underworld. Sure, there were a few duds, but I also found tales that will remain at the top of my recommendations.

I hope my recap gives you some ideas for what to add to your own lists in 2013, and I wish you all a very happy new year! Here’s to 365 more days of books and blogging!

Love, Book Club Babe