Woohoo! I met my overall goal for 2015 – “30 books or 10,000 pages, whichever comes first.” As for wanting to “maintain my commitment to reading new genres, conquering classics, and throwing in some non-fiction here and there,” I did fairly well.
I ended up reading a total of 35 books and 12,214 pages. Genres/formats explored included: graphic novels, short stories, memoirs, YA (SO much YA), sci-fi, fantasty, historical fiction, mysteries, and non-fiction. The only area where I feel like I went a little light is “classics.” I suppose you could count the Tolkien and Hitchhikers Guide and Rebecca (which was a re-read), but I didn’t end up tackling anything really weighty (e.g. the ones you’re supposed to read in high school and/or undergrad).
Here are the books I read in 2015, with tiny tidbits as needed (for full reviews, see my Goodreads page) (as always my must-read favorites are marked with *’s):
- Birds of America, Lorrie Moore
I shouldn’t read short story collections by one author (because I get burnt out), but Lorrie Moore made it worth it.
- Yes Please*, Amy Poehler
Was it a little fluffy? Yes. But it was also wonderful.
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, Allie Brosh
Not a follower of the webcomic, but liked this! Did NOT make me want to get a dog though…
- Unwind, Neal Shusterman
This book’s premise is fairly ridiculous, but as dystopian YA goes it’s pretty great…
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, Wes Moore
Very engaging book club read. I got to see him speak on campus this year as well!
- The Martian*, Andy Weir
Loved this book! Go read it and then go watch the movie!
Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, Pual Delano Butler
A recommendation from Will that was less about hip-hop and more about jury nullification. Still super interesting though…
- Mystic River, Dennis Lehane
Love me some Dennis Lehane.
- The Hobbit*, J.R.R. Tolkien
Possibly the best one of the 4? Quite the easy, enjoyable read.
- Fangirl*, Rainbow Rowell
AAAAH I know I’m late to the Rainbow Rowell party, but I am a fan of hers, indeed.
- The Girl on the Train*, Paula Hawkins
My short summary: a readalike for Gone Girl with an ending that’s actually satisfying!
- The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
Entertaining, but vaguely repetitive at times. (Also, where are the ladies?)
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian*, Sherman Alexie
Yay for reading banned books!
- The Two Towers*, J.R.R. Tolkien
My favorite of the trilogy solely because of the Ents, who are my new favorite.
- At the Water’s Edge, Sara Gruen
Enjoyable (if problematic at times) book club read about the European home front in WWII.
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han
Thus began the summer of YA reads. I don’t read many romance titles and I definitely don’t read YA romance, but this came so highly recommended I gave it a shot. Turns out it was wonderful and the portrayal of sisterhood gave me the feels.
- Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Matthew Quick
I actually saw Matthew Quick promoting this book at ALA 2013. Very good, but a bit too gritty for me.
- First Test*, Tamora Pierce
AAAHH where has this series been all my life?!?! Katy recommended this to me as good YA and I blitzed through it like crazy. Go read Tamora Pierce now, you fools!!!
- Page*, Tamora Pierce
- Squire*, Tamora Pierce
- Lady Knight*, Tamora Pierce
- Revival, Stephen King
Oh my, this was a weird book club read. Have decided that not all Stephen King is for me (though some is very good).
- Rebecca*, Daphne du Maurier
Re-read of a college favorite while backpacking in Minnesota. Oh how much I’ve changed in the 5 years since I first read this. Still a favorite, for lots of (mostly different) reasons. Still need to watch the movie!
- Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic*, Alison Bechdel
This book packs quite the emotional punch. It has also been banned/protested (by idiots). Would recommend!
- P.S. I Still Love You, Jenny Han
I liked the YA romance so much I came back for more!
- Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
Saw this book on a ton of YA lists so I jumped in – VERY good intro to a dystopian YA series (with the exception of the inclusion of a love triangle).
- Just Kids, Patti Smith
Didn’t know much about Patti Smith, so I used reading this book as an opportunity to explore and look up songs, films, and poems she mentions. Quite the experience; would recommend.
- Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?*, Roz Chast
This book is good but incredibly heavy. You’ve been warned.
- Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
Surprisingly good mystery set in the culture of suburban helicopter parernts.
- Modern Romance*, Aziz Ansari
Really loved this! Already an Ansari fan, and his tone translates well to an introspective take on social science and modern relationships.
- The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
Finally came back and finished! Overall entertaining series. Major critiques: lack of lady characters with real agency, lack of lady characters in general, poorly written romance, and the whole thing could have been tightened up.
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
This book was surprisingly entertaining, mostly because I fit within a very niche audience – I know enough of the Bible to get most of the jokes he makes, and I’m not offended by them.
- The Gilded Hour, Sara Donati
This book was very good and entertaining, but the ending is blatant sequel bait.
- Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg*, Irin Carmon
This book is fabulous. RBG is fabulous. What are we going to do in a world without her on the Supreme Court???
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Listened to the audio-book version, narrated by Stephen Fry. Very funny and entertaining, particularly if you enjoy silly, sarcastic British humor.
Goals for 2016: Same numbers as last year – 30 books or 10,000 pages, whichever comes first. Continuing my commitment to a variety of genres, with the adendum that I get serious and conquer some hardcore classics this year. Also, non-fiction, of course (I love it, even if it is sometimes slow-going for me). Happy reading, everyone!