2014 In Review: A Personal and Bookish Round Up!

New Years 2015

Happy New Year everyone! I hope wherever you are, whether it’s at a party, the pub with friends or at home in your dressing gown watching TV or film marathons (all equally great options) that you are enjoying a relaxing, entertaining night and you’re starting the New Year as you intend to go on! Let’s hope we all make 2015 a great one!

2014 seems to have whizzed by but it’s been a pretty good year for the most part. I passed my second year of university and started my final year, which has included some really great grades and plenty of fun impromptu cocktail and movie nights with my housemates. I went to the Isle of Wight festival to enjoy some great music and learnt how to bartend, and I also had some fun days out like Go Karting, Archery and visiting the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour (which I keep meaning and failing to blog about). Overall, I’m in a much happier and positive place than I was a year ago, which is awesome! 🙂

It’s also been a pretty good bookish year for me too, I read 31 books (11432 pages), just beating last years target of 30 books (and 10531 pages) ohh yeah! Yes, I am a very slow reader *don’t judge me*. I also gave out five, five star ratings and particularly read a lot of great contemporary books this year which is very unusual for me!

So without further ado, here are the lucky books that are receiving notable bookish awards from me this year!

New Years Banner BluePicture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

The Most Unique Writing Style Award. Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff This book was so unique and beautiful. It’s plot and characters felt so refreshing, but most memorable of all was the writing which banished the use of speech marks. It had a brilliant effect making me as the reader feel completely rooted inside the main character’s head, more than I have with any other book before. Picture Me Gone was a contemplative, thoughtful and mysterious YA read!A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The Best Fantasy Novel Award. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin I read a few fantasy books this year, but all paled in comparison to the mighty brick of a book A Game of Thrones. The thought and detail that went into this novel’s worldbuilding was astounding. The plot was constantly fast paced and gripping due to bloodthirsty battles and constant betrayals and there was a wide array of flawed, memorable characters on every page. If you’re a fan of fantasy novels this one is a must read!Trouble by Non Pratt 3

The Causing You to Harass People because it’s so Freakin’ Good Award. Trouble by Non PrattThis was probably my favourite five star read of 2014, and that’s saying a lot because normally I couldn’t possibly choose! Trouble was a smart, realistic and laugh out loud funny read with wonderfully flawed sarky characters that had me simultaneous beaming and crying my eyes out. That takes skill people, that takes skill.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The T
ruly Timeless Story Award. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeIf you can believe it, it took me until 2014 to pick up this much loved classic and I really wish I had picked it up sooner, because it shot straight onto my favourites list! It was a beautiful and deeply moving novel that used memorable characters to both highlight the horrors of racism and prejudice while also showing how selfless and honorable human beings can be. It was a thought provoking and heartwarming book and I won’t forget it any time Revealed by P.C. and Kristin Castsoon!

The I Will Crush You With My Anger Award. All the House of Night books by P.C. and Kristin Cast I readThese books infuriate me like no others, and I mean that in the best possible way Cast ladies because despite constantly feeling the urge to rip out my own hair while reading them, you’ve still kept me reading until the very end, dammit. Thanks for fulfilling my reader angst quota for the year, guys!
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The It’s Weird but Good Award. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – I have yet to review this one but this novel was one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. It was amazing but in the most bizarre way. It’s a novel full of crazy ideas set in a weird dystopian world where everything seems as if it has been turned upside down and words have lost their meaning. I’m looking forward to reviewing this one!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Biggest AWWHHH Factor Award. Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl, a story about a nerdy girl named Cath who moves to university but has anxiety problems and an obsession with Simon Snow fanfiction was one of the cutest novels I read this year. I was literally in love with the main romantic interest Levi on a disturbing level and often found myself grinning like an idiot whenever the two main characters interacted. It’s a novel about the struggle of growing up and becoming your own person and was a perfect feel good book worthy of many OOOOHHHH and AWWHHS!

~ * ~

So now that’s the book highlights over and done with, onto the resolutions!

How did I do with my 2014 resolutions? Super well as it turns out, I am well chuffed! I completed all of my personal resolutions to varying degrees, I successfully cut down my use of annoying, petty words like ‘really’, and ‘very’ that were littering my writing. Don’t get me wrong I’m still guilty of using them but not as much as I used to! I also semi-achieved my aim to not get stressed out as much and keep things in perspective, at least towards the second half of 2014. Finally I said yes to more things (within reason) that I normally probably would have bypassed because they were a little scary or anxiety inducing, and you know what? All the things I did say yes to turned out really well, so hopefully I can keep this up!

I was also reasonably successful with my book resolutions. I read the books I wanted to read and tried really hard to complete some of the series I had started ages ago and left hanging (finishing 3 in total, huzzar!). However I also started 3 new ones… whoops. BUT I still made good general progress because 17 of the books I read this year were from series (which probably made the reviews pretty boring for you guys but YAY FOR CATCHING UP)! I also surpassed my goal to read 4 books from The Rory Gilmore Challenge, some of which were classics too (I picked up The Lovely Bones, To Kill a Mockingbird, Stuart Little, Fahrenheit 451 and Atonement). The only resolution I failed at was letting go of books I was not enjoying, because I am still trudging through the House of Night series which I seem incapable of abandoning despite my dislike for it!

So since I did so well, I guess it’s time to make some new resolutions for 2015!

personal resolutions banner

1.) Graduate. GULP. 2015 is the year (unless something goes horribly wrong) that I should be completing my final year of university and possibly walking away from education for the last time. This means I’m aiming to work especially hard this year on my assignments, exams and dissertation so that I will *fingers crossed* get a 2:1. A first (the top grade you can get) would be amazing, but a 2:1 would still make me ecstatic beyond belief because there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t ever make it this far, and I am so proud of myself for being so damn determined and stubborn!

2.) Get a job. And when I say get a job, I mean a bog standard, everyday, low paid job so that I have an income when my student loan dries up that will also give me some up padding for my CV (as opposed to a grown up, well paid job in the field of psychology).

3.) Begin driving lessons. Because public transport sucks. The thought terrifies me because WHAT IF I’M RUBBISH but y’no, it would be kinda useful. I don’t plan on starting this until late in the year though, so this resolution does not include aiming to pass a driving test in any way!

4.) To not worry about not having a plan. It looks like 2015 is going to be both exciting and terrifying. It will be exciting because if all goes well I will achieve what I have been working towards for such a long time – graduating, but it will also be terrifying because I will be entering the adult world well and truly, and I have no idea what I will be doing with my life. It will be the first time I haven’t had a plan. Some may say that sounds reckless, even stupid, and I admit the idea makes me feel as if my stomach has plummeted into the fiery pits of Mordor because I AM A PLANNER. I’m already bombarded with the ‘what are you going to do after uni’ question on a regular basis which has the potential to make me freak the heck out. Which is why I’m making this resolution, to remind myself that it’s okay not to have a plan sometimes, and it’s okay not to know what I want to do with my future at the age of 20. I would rather be sure about my next move than to race into a career path that doesn’t make me happy, and while sometimes I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a cavern, I want to be the person admiring the view, rather than the one who is terrified of falling.

book resolutions

1.) To continue to finish off some of the book series I have started. I’m keeping this resolution from last year because I still have a heck of a lot of series on the go, and without this resolution I will definitely be getting into dangerous territory!

2.) Finish The House of Night series specifically. Because seriously, I’m so ready for this series to be done now. I’m determined to finish it in 2015! Only two more books to go, I think I can do it. :S

3.) To continue working on The Rory Gilmore Challenge. I’m aiming to read 5 books off the list this year!

4.) To keep up to date with review posts. I’ve really struggled with this lately because of university, and getting behind on reviews makes blogging feel more like work than fun because it becomes like ticking off a list, which is definitely not what I want! I also don’t like getting behind because it means I don’t get to do as many discussion post which I really enjoy doing. So this year my aim is to be a bit more strict with myself about staying on track – which will hopefully make blogging more fun!

 

So that’s a wrap! Hope the recap was vaguely interesting. Happy new year everybody!!! 🙂

Image Sources:
All book covers taken from Goodreads.
Other images my own, please do not reuse.

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33 thoughts on “2014 In Review: A Personal and Bookish Round Up!

  1. I’m astounded at the level of detail you can go into when recalling the entirety of the last 12 months. About the only memorable things I can think of for 2014 are the Sochi Winter Olympics, the football World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and, er, me taking up track cycling at the London velodrome.

    Bookish wise you got me reading some classics in Dickens (which was surprisingly enjoyable) and the Mockingbird one, which was very good. Non-fiction wise I found myself ploughing into books about social history, something that has given me a new perspective on things – reading about the Suffragettes being sexually assaulted en masse by the police just because they had the temerity to march for the right to vote was quite a shock.

    Don’t bother getting a job. They’re boring and you have to sit around doing stuff for other people all day. Lounge around with Lord of the Rings stuff and sponge off your parents for as long as you can.

    And of course you’ll be rubbish at driving, but so is everyone else on the road… which means you’ll be nothing more than average and you’ll just blend right in.

    Plans are poo, so I don’t really bother with resolutions. Instead, I just seethe at the influx of new year members clogging up the place at my gym for the first few weeks of each year.

    • Haha, if it makes you feel any better I really struggled to remember! I mostly used old blog posts and photos to remind myself, lol. The track cycling is a pretty awesome thing to have done in 2014!

      Yay, so glad to hear that I got you reading a few different books, especially Dickens and To Kill a Mockingbird AND that you enjoyed them as well, that’s awesome. 🙂 Wow, I had no idea about the Suffragettes, that’s awful. I guess they always focus on the positive rather than negative parts in history classes…hmm. Sounds like a fascinating book though.

      Haha, jobs are kind of a necessity unfortunately as you grow older, as good as Lord of the Rings is. Shame I know!

      Phew, that’s a relief, at least I’ll be as rubbish as everyone else!

      I understand, most people don’t bother with resolutions because they just break them, but that’s why I pick ones that are actually fun or that I really want to keep, I like being able to look back at my plans and see how they’ve changed! HA, I bet. That would be hilarious to observe. 🙂

  2. Happy New Year! Graduating is the biggie for you, I wouldn’t worry too much about anything else. Remember, not all those wander are lost… 🙂

    Great resolutions, and some of your reads have ended up on my TBR lists. TROUBLE was as great as you said it was!

    Hmm, although I notice a lack of self-published authors on your resolutions… * cough * Medusa * cough * 😉

    • Thanks Tony! Graduating is a huge, huge biggie, it’s surreal. Don’t want to jinx it though, heheee. Not all those who wander are lost, perfect quite in this situation. 🙂

      Glad my review posts have been at least slightly useful for giving people recommendations, it’s always really great to hear that!

      Eeeeep *hides behind a book looking guilty.* I’m determined to get round to that this year, I swear! I’ve been putting it off until I catch up with the rest of my reviews so that I can give it the full attention it deserves, but well, I haven’t been able to catch up with my reviews yet. 😛 See final resolution, LOL. 🙂

  3. Happy New Year Becky! I totally get what you mean about not having a plan (I’m a total planner too) and blogging becoming a chore – I’ve had both of those exact problems this year, but I’m sure you’ll be fine! I hope you have a fantastic 2015 🙂

    • Thank you, Sophie, back at ya! Yes, being a planner can be so beneficial in some instances but not in others, when you rely on plans so much it can be difficult when you run out of them! Hope you find the fun in blogging again this year. 🙂 Thank you!

      • Thank yooooooooou 🙂 hope you’re not nursing a hangover from hell today! It’s true, and then when things don’t go to plan it makes you freak out a bit, but I’ve learnt that sometimes you can plan so much and then in practice realise that it’s not what you wanted, not having a plan can be exciting 🙂 Aww thank you! I have a post going up in the next few hours :). No worries, thank you!

      • Haha, not feeling too bad actually, just very fuzzy/foggy and tired! Which is good. 🙂

        Yes, exactly. And that’s a very good point, sometimes not having a plan is a good thing and can make you end up in place you weren’t expecting but end up being better!

        Oooh, look forward to reading it. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on such a successful year, Becky! I wish I could comment more on your blog than I do, but as I just wrote in a reply to one of your comments on my blog, your dedication to reading inspires and amazes me. I appreciate the diversity of your reads, too – not every blog would have Game of Thrones and To Kill a Mockingbird within the same post. (:

    May I ask you what you are studying in your Psych degree right now, or what area of Psych you specialize in?

    • Thank you, Thomas!

      Awhh shucks, that means a lot. The thought that I might inspire even one person makes me feel ecstatic. 🙂 I do love my books, and I hope my blog posts convince a few people to pick them up more and fall in love with the fictional world. Don’t worry, I totally understand about the commenting, it’s hard when your busy and follow so many blogs. I’m just glad to have you as a reader at all!

      Sure! I think it works a little differently here than it does in America, currently I don’t really have the opportunity to specialize, in fact, I have very little choice about what I can study because the majority of my modules are compulsory ones all people here in the UK have to take if they want to be ‘recognised’ in the field. Last semester I studied things like psychobiology and eyewitness testimony for example. In terms of where I plan on heading next… I’m quite interested in counselling, developmental psychology and personality psychology, but I have no idea if I will end up going in any of those directions! 🙂

  5. Lol I like you description of GOT as a “brick of a book” because it does look like a brick on my shelf. I’ll look forward to your Fahrenheit 451 review. It seems to be a hit or miss book for folks. I couldn’t make it past the first few pages on my first read. I kept getting distracted.

    Hopefully your jitters will fade away. It’s scary not to have a plan for after graduation–I was terrified as well–but soon enough one formed (based on reflecting on what I want to accomplish and my dreadful student loans). 🙂 I think you’ll be okay though.

    • Glad you agree with my description! It really is a brick of a book, it’s short and squat but really big, and it’s even the right colour, haha! Ahh yes I’ve noticed that as well, I know a lot of people who didn’t get on with it and I was worried I was going to be one of them when I first started it. It took me a while to get used to the writing style and it’s definitely a weird book, but I think if you stick with it you’ll hopefully be rewarded. 🙂

      Yes, I hope so. I think it’s a pretty natural feeling but it’s just strange to know that so many things are going to be changing and ending this year, it’s both scary and exciting! Awwh, thank you. 🙂 I hope so.

  6. Pingback: Reflecting on 2014: Reading | Zezee with Books

  7. Happy new year!

    I love that you gave Fangirl an award! It was such a cute read and I’m guilty of crushing on Levi too, haha. And man oh man I gotta get my hands on Trouble.

    Good luck with all your resolutions! 2015 seems like it’s going to be a year of many great achievements! I’m going to be learning driving too. Or re-learning because I was rubbish the first time and almost ran someone over but we do not talk about that anymore. >.>

    • Thank you, Zen!

      Hahaa yes, I had to fit Fangirl in there somewhere so I squeezed it in at the end. It was such a sweet story. Yes, yes yes, you MUST read Trouble! That is an order. 😉

      Thanks muchly, it does seem like it’s going to be a big year for many reasons *gulp*, but hopefully in a good way!

      Oooooh, good luck. You have no idea how loudly I just laughed when I read that. xD

  8. I’m glad you had such a successful 2014! I wish I could cut down on my use of petty words – I hear myself saying them all the time (especially like, I hate that one!) and it makes me cringe 😦

    As for 2015 it looks like it’s shaping up to be an exciting one! I definitely think personal resolution number 4 is an important one. I graduated over four years ago and still don’t really know what I want to do with my life. I did a PhD because I had no other plan which turned out to be a massive mistake so don’t go rushing into anything because of fear!

    I’m not making personal resolutions but in terms of bookish ones I’m definitely finishing the two books I started this year and hate. Going to read ten of The List and get back to blogging on a more regular basis. Let’s see how that goes…!

    Happy 2015 🙂

    • Thank you! Haha, I don’t think I’ve managed to cut down my use of petty words in speech – that would be much harder! But I have cut down my use of them in writing a lot, mostly by editing, editing and more editing. 😛 I cringe when I use ‘like’ as well!

      Awh thanks, I hope so. Ohh wow really. Why was the PhD a mistake? (If you don’t mind me asking). I’ve been wondering if it’s worth going on to postgrad for lack of other things to do, but it seems a whole lot more complicated than getting a degree, especially money wise! So I’m definitely not ready to jump into that pool yet. I don’t think that’s a very good reason to do it either.

      I love reading about your progress with the list so I think that’s a good one!

      Happy 2015 to you too. 🙂

      • It is so hard to change a speech pattern I just don’t want to go around sounding like an American teenager.. Maybe I should make that a resolution for 2015!

        Basically I rushed into doing a PhD without really considering what it involved (mostly because I didn’t know what else to do and everyone else I knew was doing one). What it involved was a lot of REALLY hard work – I’m talking 10 hour days here – and while I really love the subject I didn’t like being in the lab and actually doing the work, I’m more of a thinker than a doer. It’s possibly different in psychology but I would highly recommend talking to people who are actually doing one and being certain that it’s what you want before you sign up for anything. I wish that I’d got a bit more experience first because then I would have known what I was getting myself into. Postgrad study is always going to be there as an option and the people I know who were happiest were those who took a few years to consider their options before doing it. Having said that I don’t want to put you off entirely, if you think of something you really want then go for it, seize the day!!

        Knowing I have an appreciative audience is exactly the kind of encouragement I need so thanks for that! 🙂

      • Haha tell me about it, and the harder you try NOT to say something the more you say it as well! Maybe. 😉

        Ahh right I see, I imagine that’s a pretty easy thing to do! With education people are always trying to push you onto the next level and the next, and then you get pressure from the people around you as well. I remember I felt similarly when I started university, I wasn’t really going because I ‘wanted’ to go, but because it was what you were ‘supposed’ to do. Sometimes doing it that way works and sometimes it doesn’t! I can imagine that a PhD must be SO much more intense. I’m more of a thinker than a doer as well so I relate. 🙂
        That sounds like a smart idea, thanks. That’s kind of my view on things as well. I want to spend some time in the real non-student world – and if that doesn’t work out then I may come to the conclusion that I want to go back, and by that point hopefully I’ll be more sure what I want to do!

        Haha don’t worry about that, I’m in no way decided to go in that direction, I haven’t even looked at it. I think I will be taking at least a year out.

        Thanks for the chat, it was really interesting and helpful. 🙂

        Hehe no worries, you’ll always have a blog reader in me!

  9. Slow reader? Good one, Becky. 🙂 I have to read Fangirl, been meaning to get to it for months.
    Enjoy university, socialise a lot, study hard, keep up with you friends, and take time to look around you. A lot of people say the college years are some of the best of your life – believe it. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be back in university in my early twenties having a ball. Don’t worry about planning ahead or not planning ahead. Things have a way of falling into place and working themselves out.
    Happy New Year.

    • Hahaa, I am in comparison to most people I know on the internet!

      Yes Fangirl is great, definitely worth the wait. 🙂

      That is great advice, Emma, thanks. I will definitely keep that in mind. Like they say, you never really appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone! One thing’s for sure, things will never quite be the same when I exit student world, lol.
      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the falling into place theory works. 🙂

  10. Hope you’re having a lovely 2015 so far! Sounds like we’re at the same sort of stage in our lives – graduating (and all the scary life things that come with it), reading more books and keeping up with blogging. I can assure you that driving is actually quite liberating once you get into it, but it took me a year and a half of learning not to hate it to actually pass last summer. I look forward to reading more of your reviews!

    • Thanks, Emma! Unfortunately 2015 has already graced me with a nasty cold so I’m not speaking to it right now.
      YES. The scary life things *gulp*. Looking forward to that, kind of, sort of… maybe.
      Thanks for the driving thumbs up, it’s good to know that it can still be scary right up until the moment you pass! I’m hoping that the gain will override the fear. 🙂

      Awwh, ta, back at cha!

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