2015 was incredible. In the garden, we took down two old rotten sheds, paved a long section of pathway through the garden, and built a duck coop for our new animal additions, and built a greenhouse.
Outside of the garden, I took the trip I’ve been dreaming of for half my life to Iceland, Great Britain, and Venice.
I would have also published my first book, but I decided to delay it until I finished all three in the trilogy, and release them at the same time. So basically, I wrote three books in 2015. A little more tweaking, and they’ll be ready to go out in Spring, I think.
Additionally, this was the year of me being the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, according to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Seriously, I loved being 42.
And of course, I read a ton of books in 2015. I made my yearly goal of 150, just barely – hey, I didn’t read at all during my month abroad! I ended up with a total of 152.
Out of those, here are my favorites, beginning with nonfiction.
1: Real Food for Rabbits, by Laura Wheeler
I talked about this one in my last post. But basically, it’s a fabulous book for people with either pet or meat rabbits, who want to feed their animals with natural food, not commercial pellets.
2: Book Cover Design Secrets, by Derek Murphy
|| Sometimes a particular book comes to you at the exact moment you need it. This is one of those books. It’s absolutely brilliant – Derek tells it like it is, often going against the commonly believed and published “truth” about cover design. If you’re an Indie writer, this book MUST be on your bookshelf. I borrowed it through Kindle Unlimited, and then immediately went and purchased a copy – it’s that good!
3: The Compassionate Carnivore, by Catherine Friend
Really good explanation of what I’m trying to do on my little farm, and why I’m doing it.
4: The Nourishing Homestead, by Ben Hewitt
Yes. Just read this. He has a few things wrong (I disagree completely with his views on wheat, for instance) but the majority is so, so right.
5: My Garden, the City, and Me, by Helen Babbs
Wonderfully written, interesting little book about gardening on a rooftop in London.
6: Grow a Little Fruit Tree, by Ann Ralph
This book should be required reading for any backyard gardener with an interest in fruit trees. Wow – so much helpful info! Everything you think you know about planting, pruning, and growing fruit trees is wrong…read this book and find out why. It will completely change your gardening game plan.
7: Adventures in Yarn Farming, by Barbara Perry
I admit it; I’m fascinated by sheep and shepherds. I would love to own sheep, but I can’t quite figure out how to fit them in my backyard farm…plus they are just ever so slightly illegal where I live. So I read these books and dream of the day I can move to the country and have my own flock. Icelandic sheep, definitely, after experiencing the wonder of those sheep in their home country!
I’ve been reading far more non-fiction than I used to, and it’s heavily weighted in favor of practical books relating to homesteading, gardening, or animals. But I also still read tons of fiction.
8: Fool’s Quest, by Robin Hobb
So good. I can’t even…it’s just so good. I love how Hobb ties everything together in this one, all of her various series just fitting together seamlessly. Book one of this particular series made my Best Books list last year, and I expect she’ll make the list next year, too. My favorite series of hers, although to really get the most pleasure out of it, you really should read her others, first.
9: Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis
So charming and fun. It was a delight to read, and after I finished, I immediately downloaded the rest of the series. There were equally good.
10: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, by Catherynne Valente
|| Valente’s writing is SO yummy. It’s old-fashioned and modern and hip and nostalgic and you can’t skip even a single word. No one writes like Valente; she’s just incredible.
11: The Hollow Boy, by Jonathan Stroud
This book deserves way more than five stars. Take all the stars! Honestly I am just blown away by how good this series is, and this book in particular. Every one I know needs to read this book right now!
12: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
I’ve been a fan of Novik’s dragon series for a long time now, so when I first heard this was coming out, I was a tad disappointed. What, no dragons? No Napoleonic War? No men who (a tad disconcertingly) call their dragon ‘dear’? But yowza. I was blown away by this. It’s head and shoulders above her dragon series. It’s truly the best fantasy I’ve read for ages.
Okay, it was super hard this year to pick an over-all favorite, because numbers 11 and 12 were SO incredible. But I’m going to give the title to:
13: Miss Buncle’s Book, by D.E. Stevenson
This isn’t the most amazing, life-changing book in my list. It’s not even the best written. But it is a book that I hugged to my chest when I was done reading, because I grew so intensely fond of it. It made me happy, and once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I stayed up way too late, and skipped watching two of my favorite tv shows for this book. And the sequels are great, too – I think I may even like the second book a triffle more.
And there you have it: 2015 was a year of glory. But I have a feeling 2016 is going to be pretty spectacular too….