Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Bookish Personalities

Another year of reading is done.  Reading literature is not just following words on a page; it becomes a journey, an experience that forms an enduring memory, beneficial or not.  On January 1, this blog turns four years old; but it feels much older because I have been all over the world, covered a variety of ages, and met countless people.  Some stories have remained close to my heart, some have pricked my conscience, and some have boiled my blood.  Nonetheless, I have walked in someone else's shoes a gazillion times already and am beginning to believe that man would be a little more compassionate toward his fellow humans if he would just read more literatureBut, I digress.

This is for pure entertainment: at the end of the year, I look back at what I have read and assign it a personality - the way I reflect upon a book now that I have experienced it, and always so grateful that it is now part of my life forever.

The Bookish Personalities of 2015 are...

Most Pleasurable Read for an Epic Poem
Beowulf (Tolkien)

Most Lovely Reread
Persuasion ~ Jane Austen

Most Unbelievable Senario
"A Doll's House" ~ Henrik Ibsen

Most Defaced (in a good way) During Reading
Robinson Crusoe ~ Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe, defaced

Most Enlightened Spiritual Journey
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners ~ John Bunyan

Most Horrifying Non-Fiction
Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson ~ Mary Rowlandson

Most Bewildering Plot (Where is Steinbeck going with this?)
East of Eden ~ John Steinbeck

Oh, Woe Is Rousseau Award
Confessions ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Most Reflective Reading Escapade (I get you, Virginia Woolf)
The Voyage Out ~ Virginia Woolf

Most Likely Author Still Striving for Perfection
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Least Likely to Find Any Worthy Characters Here
The Fortune of the Rougons ~ Émile Zola

Most Disheartening Historical Fiction (if any of it is true)
A Journal of the Plague Year ~ Daniel Defoe

Take Me Away to a Little Pond Somewhere Award
Walden ~ Henry David Thoreau

Someone-Got-Up-On-the-Wrong-Side-of-the-Bed Award
Ecce Homo ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

We're Not Talking Right Now Award
The Grapes of Wrath ~ John Steinbeck

Most Favorable Slave Narrative 
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl ~ Harriet Jacobs

Most blah Read (wasn't into it)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Best Make-Me-Feel-Like-a-Kid-Again Literature
The Wind in the Willows ~ Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows

Most Honorable Reread
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass ~ Frederick Douglass

We-Need-More-Leaders-Like-Him Award
Up From Slavery ~ Booker T. Washington

Best Moral of the Story Award
Lord of the Flies ~ William Golding

Best, BEST Escape From Reality
The Little House series ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Painter of Literature Award
The Kill ~ Émile Zola

The Kafkaesque Award (It's only a dream)
The Metamorphosis ~ Franz Kafka

The All-Time Grammy Award for Books (My Absolute Favorite Novel of 2015)
All Quiet on the Western Front ~ Erich Maria Remarque

Most Repetitive (You said that already) Award
Mein Kampf ~ Adolf Hitler

Eerie Fiction Award
Dracula ~ Bram Stoker

Most Impressive Biography
The Story of My Experiments With Truth ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Best Impression Made on This Reader (I want more Forster)
Howards End ~ E.M. Forster

Most Likely to Come Back as a Slow Cooker in Its Next Life
The Song of the Lark ~ Willa Cather

Most Ingenious Story Based on the Comparison of Two Words
Sense and Sensibility ~ Jane Austen

Most Likely Never to Reread (it is regretfully ingrained in my memory forever)
In Cold Blood ~ Truman Capote

Happy New Year!
What personalities would you award your books of 2015?


For previous Bookish Personality Awards:
2014 Awards
2013 Awards
2012 Awards, part II
2012 Awards, part I


o said...

I love this! :D "Oh woe is Rousseau" made me laugh :)

I was planning to read Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners in 2015 - one of the many books I didn't get to! Must read it next year. Another book I missed was East of Eden... should I be worried?!

Happy New Year! :)

Becca said...

I really love this idea! Great personalities.

Colleen Vanderlinden said...

Ah, I loved this post! I chuckled at "We're Not Talking Right Now." I am so grateful to have discovered your blog this year, and I'm looking forward to reading more in the year ahead. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Wrap-up 2015 is very intersting!
Howard's End is now in my to read list!
So many books waiting for you in 2016!
Good luck and happy New Year!

Joseph said...

***Thunderous Applause*** Marvelous and unique twist on the year in review Ruth. Great reads as well. Have a blessed New Year!

Ruth said...

Happy New Year, o!

About East of Eden, I would say it was one of those odd-feeling stories, though not unenjoyable. There were parts of the story that were lovely, and then there were moments where I felt like I did not understand why Steinbeck did what he did. Sometimes I'd wonder, "Where is he going with this now?" Definitely read it - don't skip it - but it's not urgent. (Sorry East of Eden fans.)

Ruth said...

Thanks, Becca.

Ruth said...

Happy New Year! Thanks, Colleen.

Ruth said...

Yay, Howards End.

Thanks, Happy New Year!

Ruth said...

Thank you very much, Joseph. Happy New Year!

RT said...

Forgive me for being a despicable thief (i.e., I will be stealing from your reading list for my 2016 plans), and as atonement for my low-down thievery, I send you this wish: Have a Happy New Year!
r/ Charles @

Jean said...

Ahahaha, that is brilliant. :) Love it.

Keely said...

You read some great books this year, so inspiring. I love this idea. A+ post. Happy New Year!

Ruth said...

No problem! We are here to inspire and encourage one another. Happy New Year.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Jean!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Keely. Happy New Year!

RT said...

Happy New Year from R.T./Tim at the new and improved

Anonymous said...

neat idea. But I read 109 books, so that would take a while. if you re interested, my recap is here, with link to part 2. come tomorrow to see part 3, where I do another type of fun with the book I have read:

Cleo said...

What a great idea! My favourite is your "Wrong Side of the Bed" award. I don't think Nietzsche would be a person who I'd like to know personally.

I hope you have a great reading year for 2016 and I'm happy that we're going to be doing some reading together outside the WEM project!

Ruth said...

One hundred nine would be a lot. True. You can limit your list to your top 40 or 50 favorites. I left some titles off of mine, too, b/c it grew too long.

Ruth said...

Thanks, and you, too.

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI Ruth! That is really hilarious. I also feel that Steinbeck was frustrating to read at times, but as a friend of mine said, "what can you expect from a hard drinking womanizer?"

I must say I don't agree with your conclusion about Lord of the Flies. Golding wrote the book in response to children lit of the Scottish writer R.M. Ballantyne who wrote about children in adventure stories doing the brave, heroic thing. Golding wanted to show that if social boundaries weren't in place, children would revert to barbarism. Now as a Christian I call this "sinful nature". Golding doesn't. He doesn't believe in God so discounts any supernatural interference with our natural proclivities. Having said that, I still like the book even if I don't agree with the author's world view. Have a blessed new year. I look forward to reading future posts!

Ruth said...

That makes a big difference when the author tells a story with a non-biblical worldview. It does leave a void.

What I took away from the story is that there is a struggle between moral law and order vs. violence and evil power, even within ourselves. I also liked how the author compared the boys' war on the island with the adults' war. It never ends, does it?

Oliver DeMille referred to Lord of the Flies as a broken story b/c in it good is good and evil is evil, but evil wins. (That always makes for a difficult story.) But trying to find truth in it, this is the point I came up with: good and evil conflict and sometimes evil wins. (But it would have been better had we a biblical resolution to the conflict.) Oh, well.

Happy New Year!

Lynn @ Smoke & Mirrors said...

Quite an entertaining way to highlight some of your year's reads! Love it! :)

Ruth said...

Thanks, Lynn.

Carol Apple said...

What a fun post. Sounds like 2015 was a very rewarding year of reading for you. I wish you even more rewards in 2016. I know it's already nine days into the new year but I am going to consider the whole of January a month for reflecting and thinking about the direction I want to go in 2016, in life, work, and reading. I see several books on your list I want to read or re-read and two I don't want to go anywhere near: Mein Kampf and Dracula. I tried Dracula about two years ago and go about half way through it before being overcome by the murky creepiness of it. Just couldn't go on.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Carol. While reading Dracula, about 1/3 of the way through I thought, "Should I be reading this?" There was one section that felt dark, and it was eerie to me. But I continued reading and there were no more parts that made me feel that way. So I know what you mean. Mein Kampf is no loss. I wouldn't bother.

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