01 January 2016

2015 Books

It's that time of year when there are summary posts! This year I read 32 books. My top 10% were:

  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande - Hands down, the best book I read in 2015. Everyone go read it so we can talk about death.
  • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Truthfully, beyond the first one, it was really hard to choose the other books. I read a lot of good-not-great books this year. Fingers crossed for better reading in 2016!

1. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan - Listened to this on audio the first time, and it was more enjoyable. Still a fun read without Jim's narration, but not quite as fun.

2. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson - I had heard such good things about this one, but it fell pretty flat for me.

3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I liked this, but it was really hard for me to keep track of the characters. That is not usually a problem for me, but the numerous characters combined with me taking about a month-long hiatus while reading, made me have to scratch my head a few times. Ultimately, though, a good read.

4. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr* - Eh. So many things I disliked about this book.

5. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor - I am so glad I read this book. It is about Sonia Sotomayor's life, up until her first position as a judge, and it is just so fascinating. I heard her speak a few weeks before reading the book and wish I'd finished the book before going to hear her.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I was so excited about this one, but the plot just didn't do it for me. The writing is very good, and I'd be willing to read something else by this author some other time.

7. The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman* - I read this first about eight years ago. I read it this time for book group, and it was good to read it again. It gave me some things to ponder.

8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I tend to like books that tell stories of several characters and how they all fit together. This is one of those books, and it's particularly good.

I have no idea what happened in May.

9. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen* - Certainly amusing writing, and I chuckled out loud many times. But there was a lot of her writing that just didn't resonate with me.

10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor* - Eric wanted to listen to this on our road trip after my effusive praises. He didn't love it as much as I did, but I'll forgive him anyway.

11. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - While I certainly didn't agree with all of her parenting methods, I think she makes some very valid points about Chinese verses Western parenting. I plowed through this book because the writing was very good, and the whole thing was really fascinating and amusing.

12. Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock* - Totally enjoyable YA fluff. I loved the audio.

13. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman* - I enjoyed this as much, if not more, than the first time I read it. Now that I have a few more years of parenting under my belt, there is a lot in this book that I can identify with. There were also many things that I feel like I can improve upon in my parenting. In all, reading this along with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother made me think about what I value as a parent.

14. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - This was my third time to read this book, and the whole time I just kept thinking, "I'd rather watch the movie." Maybe that's blasphemous, but there it is.

15. Getting to Yum: The 7 Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters by Karen Le Billon - Lots of good, practical advice for preventing picky eating in your home, and for turning around picky eaters. Many of the tips were things we already do in our home, but there was still a lot for me to learn.

16. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan - I couldn't put this one down, and then I couldn't stop talking about it. I'm very impressed with Evelyn Ryan (the contest-winning mother).

17. Wonder by R. J. Palacio - I liked this book. I hope I can teach my children to be kind to everyone.

18. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden - I thought this was interesting, but nothing overwhelming. It did make me want to watch the movie again.

19. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - I couldn't put it down. In many ways it's a frivolous gossipy book, but it actually touches on some serious issues.

20. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - I read this in high school, and I liked it a lot then. I didn't love it as much this time, but I still certainly enjoyed it. Now I'm ready to see the movie.

21. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - I read this a few years ago, before the rest of the trilogy was out, and I really enjoyed it. I decided to read it again to refresh my memory before reading the other two. I liked at as well the second time as the first.

22. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - I actually had read the sequel a few years ago, so it was good to go back and read the original finally. I liked it, and it gave me a lot to think about, particularly in steps I can take to be happier.

23. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton - I read this for first time since my initial reading of it in seventh grade. I still think it's a pretty terrific book.

24. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande - I just can't get over how good this book was. It raises a lot of good points about the flaws in our medical system when it comes to aging and dying. I loved learning more about the history of elder care. I also loved learning about the approaches good medical practitioners take when discussing end of life care for terminal patients.

25. The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - An enjoyable one to listen to. I was disappointed when it was over.

26. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder - Long and boring, but also interesting. It took me many tries to finally get through it, and it is the reason my reading slowed so much in October.

27. Paper Towns by John Green - Great writing, detestable characters.

28. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - At first I was really amused by the dialogue because many of the movie variations clearly have taken their scripts straight from the book. But eventually it got old and I just wanted to watch one of the movies instead. This one won't be an annual read for me.

29. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta - Didn't love it as much as Finnikin of the Rock, but I'm eager to see what happens in the third.

30. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta - Overall, a good conclusion to the Lumatere Chronicles.

31. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd - I'm baffled that this book is the first of a trilogy. How did it become popular enough to have two more made?

32. A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson - Not bad, but not great either. I enjoyed learning more about Ripley's travels, but more than that, I enjoyed learning about how his writings and cartoons were so popular in the U.S.


Feisty Harriet said...

Oooh, so many fascinating books here! I also loved "Being Mortal" and "All the Light We Cannot See", and I am adding Sonia Sotomayor's book to my list!


Jenn said...

How did you read so many books in September with a new baby?! I am no good at reading while nursing... I feel like I need both hands.

We read sever of the same books this year. I also loved Being Mortal, but I didn't finish it until after the 1st of January, so it's going on 2016's list of best books. I've been trying to read the Prize Winner book but my library doesn't have a copy.

Jenn said...

How did you read so many books in September with a new baby?! I am no good at reading while nursing... I feel like I need both hands.

We read sever of the same books this year. I also loved Being Mortal, but I didn't finish it until after the 1st of January, so it's going on 2016's list of best books. I've been trying to read the Prize Winner book but my library doesn't have a copy.