After joining Goodreads.com last year and getting through 12 books, I set a goal to read at least 15 in 2015. I managed to just surpass my goal with 18 books (and still have two in progress at the moment on December 31). Here is my 2015 in books.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I started off January with this novel I picked up at the airport during one of my business trips. It was a short read but I really enjoyed it. It has those magical elements to it I often enjoy in a novel.
Next up, I picked up this novel by Sandra Cisneros at my fave local bookstore (which is sadly closing next month!). First of all, I love Sandra Cisneros. I’ve had the chance to see her speak in person and she has the most amazing positive energy. She’s from Chicago and randomly, as I was reading this on the train one day, some guy who identified himself as her relative stopped me to ask about the novel. I liked reading this family saga that takes you from Chicago to Mexico City and back.
We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves
This is a bit of an offbeat book. I’ll just say that it follows a girl who has a chimpanzee for a sister. It got a lot of mixed reviews and when I gave it to my mom, she couldn’t get through it. But I liked the story. It was surprisingly touching.
I heard about this book from a fellow Evening Associates board member at the Art Institute. She applied its overview of tribal culture to larger society, but this book focuses also on how tribal cultures affect workplaces and corporations. A great look at what “culture” can mean.
Annihilation & Authority
These are the first two books of the Southern Reach Trilogy, and they represent my continued obsession with sci fi conspiracy theories. Is a story about an abandoned area with mysterious happenings ever NOT interesting? (Side note: if you agree, you might also want to watch season 2 of The Helix, now on Netflix.) In 2016, I’ll have to finish up this trilogy.
The Art of Fielding
This was one of my fave books of 2015. It follows a couple baseball players at a small Michigan university, but it’s really a compelling story about a group of characters that really made an impact on me. I’m not a baseball fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.
This is one of those classics I’ve had on my required reading list for years. I didn’t love it. It kind of creeped me out. But it was an interesting read, if nothing else.
The Word Exchange
Randomly picked this one up and I’d put it on my the-world-is-heading-to-crisis-conspiracy-theories reading list. Being a grammar nerd, I could appreciate the crisis of people losing their ability to remember words.
This novel reminds me of Caramelo mainly because it also follows a multi-generational family across countries…this time, even continents. I especially found it interesting to read about Detriot over the years from a Greek immigrant’s perspective.
Aziz Ansari, my modern-day hero. This was truly the year where he made some surprisingly deep observations not only about love and dating, but millennial life in general (see: Master of None on Netflix). I can’t stop recommending this book. It’s not a comedy book; it’s an insightful look at relationships today rooted in research. As someone still in the dating world, it especially resonated with me.
It pains me when I don’t like a book. I really try to enjoy everything I read and find something appealing about it. But I just did not like this one. It was fine to read, and a quick read at that, but it just did not affect me like my 2015 faves did.
I randomly picked up this collection of short stories at Barnes & Noble, and I went through mixed reactions as I read it. Some of the stories I absolutely LOVED. Some were just ok. It is certainly one of those books where I marked several pages throughout to remember the passages that were so poetic and truthful. Here’s a sample: “The truth is just fucking with him and he’s suffering narrative problems.”
This is another random one – I grabbed it at Shake Rattle & Read because of its title and my obsession with ancient Egypt. It had some odd characters in it, but reading the primary narrator’s delusional account was really interesting.
The Master and Margarita
I don’t know if I “got” all the historical implications in this novel, but it’s a pretty well-known Russian classic. And it involves a huge vodka-drinking black cat.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Jonathan Franzen. And I was fully engaged reading this novel. But after you’ve read a couple of his books (this is the third for me), you pretty much know the formula. Young people trying to find their way, global issues, an international trip.
A Brief History of Seven Killings
I’ve already written about this one after meeting the author this fall, so feel free to read more here. But in a nutshell, this is one of my top reads of 2015.
The Little Prince
What a classic. I love this story as much for the writing as for the famous illustrations. It actually reminds me a bit of The Alchemist (another fave of all time) in that it’s a simple story with meaningful lessons. Make sure you read this one if you never have.
I’m in the midst of reading Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days as well as The Misfit Economy, but those will have to count for 2016! Follow me along as I attempt to read 20 books in 2016.