24 Books in 2015: Due Tomorrow? Do Tomorrow.

Hipsters, I cut it down to the wire, but I did indeed read twenty-four books in 2015! I finished the twenty-fourth book on New Year's Eve, and I feel a strong sense of accomplishment in having met my goal.

Since I had gotten behind in the fall, I had a bit of catching up to do in December. Admittedly, I read some shorter books in order to ensure I could finish them all in time, but each one was a great addition to my list:

An Abundance of Katherines
 

I was a bit hesitant to read another John Green novel this year since I wasn't impressed by Paper Towns, but I decided to give this one a chance. An Abundance of Katherines ended up being a good choice, though. It's about a former child prodigy, Colin, who has a penchant for dating and getting dumped by girls named Katherine. After his nineteenth Katherine dumping, he and his friend Hassan go on a road trip and end up spending their summer in a rural Tennessee town. The novel is John Green writing at its best: smart, witty, and fast-paced. It's what made A Fault in Our Stars so wonderful and is what was missing from Paper Towns, in my opinion. Although the ending was predictable, the journey there was entertaining, especially the dialogue between the characters. There is quite a bit of intellectual discussion between characters since Colin is practically a human dictionary, but Green doesn't write it to go over the reader's head. Those parts are written like a hip textbook, one that people would actually want to read because it makes learning fun. If for no other reason, read An Abundance of Katherines for Green's footnotes; they are informative while also hilarious to read, as they often poke fun at Colin or a historical event.

Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl is about a girl, Cath, heading to college with her twin sister Wren. Wren decides not to room with Cath which leaves Cath in a sticky situation. The novel follows Cath through her first year of college and her exploration of dorm life, guys, and writing anything other than her Simon Snow (a Harry Potter-esque book series) fan fiction. The beginning of this book was hard for me to read because I didn't like Cath. She was incredibly socially awkward, in effect disadvantaging herself from happiness and fun in order to avoid people, and I couldn't stand it. Then I realized that I didn't like Cath because I at times act that same way (I once missed out on petting cute puppies at the pet store because I was too shy to ask an employee for assistance, for example), so I started to go a little easier on the poor co-ed and decided to stop acting that way myself. Cath grows through the novel, but the best thing about the story is that everyone grows. All of the characters learn and change through this year in time, and I love that Rowell paints that realistic picture instead of focusing entirely on Cath's growth. I didn't like that the plot line with Cath's mom went unresolved, but that's also realistic in that the plot lines of our lives aren't always resolved in a certain span of time. Overall, Fangirl was a delight to read, and my only regret is that I didn't get a photo of the book's cover before returning it to the library. Blogging fail.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

My in-laws got me this Harry Potter spin-off, written by Newt Scamander (aka JK Rowling) for Christmas. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a textbook written in order for wizards to identify the amazing magical creatures in their midst. The catalog of fantastic beasts is in alphabetical order, with a brief description of each beast and, of course, where it can be found. There are birds, insects, humanoids, etc. featured in this text, each with a rating explaining how dangerous they are (a rating of "XXXX" means you should absolutely steer clear, whereas a rating of "XX" means you can probably find a domesticated version to take home to the kids). My favorite beast was of course the dragon; my in-laws also got me a shirt for Christmas that says "Khaleesi" on it, so a fondness for dragons shouldn't really surprise anyone here. However, all of the beasts were fascinating and I was able to regale Tadd with descriptions of many of them after I'd finished reading. It was very similar to when I was in school and would excitedly rattle off information I'd learned to whoever would listen to me. After reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemI think I'd do well in Care of Magical Creatures, if only I had received my Hogwarts letter...

So, 2015 is over, my reading goal was met, and I'm going to do it all over again in 2016. I already have half the year's books in my possession, and hopefully I finish them all before December 31 this time. What books would you recommend I read this year, Hipsters? Comment below!

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