books of 2015

Posted by in books

Since January of 2015, I have kept a photographic journal of the books I read, in order, through the year.  I will continue this through this next year since i really enjoyed keeping up with a list.  I think it also helped me not to get in a reading rut…not knowing what to read next.  I follow podcasts and read book lists and look at others’ recommendations to line up my next books.  I don’t have a specific theme in the books I read…I only read what looks interesting to me at the moment.

The entire journal is at my Facebook page (if you want to see the entire list, you’ll have to friend me on Facebook!).  This blog post will cull that list down to my favorites.  The ones that I kept recommending…the ones I couldn’t put down, and stayed up late reading or finishing…the ones that gave me a book hangover.  These aren’t in any order…just the books that stood out to me and have continued to stay with me.

If you’re looking for inspiration and encouragement to enrich your life….
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
40

Kenny and I listened to this on our road trip to Boston this past week and both really enjoyed it.  I picked it up from the library after hearing an interview with the author on NPR back in October and thought it would be good for the two of us to listen to as we begin a new year of theatre-making.  What it did was inspire and encourage us both in different ways, and shed some light onto the creative life that she encourages everyone to follow.    4/5 stars.

If you’re looking for poetic prose that tells a lovely grace-filled story…
Lila by Marilynne Robinson

29

Robinson lulls you into her stories with a soft voice.  And the stories she weaves through her characters’ lives can belong to anyone of us.  Very relatable. 4/5 stars

If you’re looking for an American Classic…
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

15

I think I’ve owned this paperback since college, and have never read it. It’s an epic, sweeping, large, many generations type of novel.  ANd it’s worth every moment you put into reading it.  I will try to read Grapes of Wrath this year (and then listen to Springsteen’s album based on that novel). 4/5 stars

If you’re looking to get lost in an unsolved mystery in an unknown culture…
Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski

41

I couldn’t stop reading this.  Normally I can only read for a few minutes at a time when I’m in the car, but I finished this on our road rip (in between listening to Big Magic), and staying up late one night in our hotel room.  Very clever murder-mystery, lots of information on the study of anthropology (which I never thought would be interesting to read about in a novel), and it really reminded me of the next book… 4/5 stars

and
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

8

Probably my favorite book of the year, if I had to rate them.  I loved it for the mysterious characters, and their faults and charms.  The story was on-the-edge-of-your-seat for most of it, and it was a novel that ended.  It didn’t leave you guessing.  I love it when an author finishes the story they start.  So many don’t anymore. Patchett is one of my favorite novelists.  And you need to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic to hear an interesting fact about this novel. 5/5 stars

If you’re only slightly interested in science fiction, and apocalyptic stories, but love a great “what if?” story…
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
3
I heard about this from the Books on the Nightstand Podcast early last year as being one of the host’s favorites from the year 2014.  I think the story about the author writing this and losing his wife and vowing to not write another novel was the reason I read it, since I’m not really a sci-fi reader.  I’m glad I did.  It was definitely “out of my comfort zone” but this book was really stunning.  The aliens become real “people” as you read it, and it’s very easy to attach yourself to the characters in this story – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny…  I loved this book a lot.  4/5 stars.

And now..tell me your favorites from 2015!  I have an amazon gift card that I’m so excited to use!