Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Books

I'm a bookworm. That's the way it is. Like Thomas Jefferson, "I cannot live without books." This year I read 79 books, not quite up to my goal of eighty, but almost. 
38 fiction and 41 nonfiction.
Page count: 23,438 (11,784 pages of fiction, 11,654 pages of nonfiction)

The oldest book I read (by a long shot): The Art of War by Sun-Tzu, written around 600 BC
The longest book I read was: Dune by Frank Herbert, with 794 pages
Best first line: "Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable." -The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson)
My favorite dedication: "To Dinah, Because she asked for another book." -Linda Sue Park in A Single Shard

Only books I read for the first time this year were considered for the top ten. Otherwise we'd see Harry Potter up there every year.



Top Ten Books of 2015
1. Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, & the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr-- Some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read. READ THIS BOOK.
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn-- When a major plot point was revealed, I gasped out loud. That never happens. This book is thrilling.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett-- People have been telling me about this book for years, and it was as good as they said.
4. The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays & Stories by Marina Keegan -- Marina was 22 when this was published, and she does a lovely summary of the "happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time" feelings that entails.
5. George Eliot in Love by Brenda Maddox -- The best biography I read all year.
6. Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea's Elite by Suki Kim
7. Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
8. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
9. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Resistance, Resilience, & Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
10. We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, A True Story by Josh Sundquist-- One of the only dating books I've ever really related to.

Honorable mentions
Fiction: To the Lighthouse -- Virginia Woolf
Nonfiction: A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler  (Jason Roberts) & Dr M├╝tter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue & Innovcation ta the Dawn of Modern Medicine (Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz)


And now, a list of all the books I read this year: (Recommendations are bolded, rereads  are marked with ***)

Non-fiction, alphabetical by author
  • The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher-- Debby Applegate
  • Dr M├╝tter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue & Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine-- Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz
  • Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America-- Rocky Barker
  • Shakespeare: The World as a Stage-- Bill Bryson
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother: A Story About a Mother, Two Daughters, & Two Dogs-- Amy Chua
  • Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding & Losing Myself in Books-- Maureen Corrigan
  • You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)-- Felicia Day
  • Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, & the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World -- Anthony Doerr
  • I, Justine: An Analog Memoir-- Justin Ezarik
  • Insurrections of the Mind: 100 Years of Politics & Culture in America-- Edited by Franklin Foer
  • The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases-- Deborah Halber
  • Myself & the Other Fellow: A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson -- Claire Harmon
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, & Redemption-- Laura Hillenbrand
  • Poe-- James Hutchisson
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) -- Mindy Kaling
  • The Disappearing Spoon: & Other True Tales of Madness, Love, & the History of the World From the Periodic Table of the Elements-- Sam Kean
  • The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays & Stories -- Marina Keegan
  • Without You, There Is No Us: My Time With the Sons of North Korea's Elite-- Suki Kim
  • Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of PL Travers-- Valerie Lawson
  • The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness (And We Were Too Distracted By Her Beauty to Notice)-- MG Lord
  • George Eliot in Love-- Brenda Maddox
  • Divine Fury: A History of Genius-- Darin McMahon
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House-- Jon Meacham
  • The Real Thing: Lessons on Life & Love From a Wedding Reporter's Notebook-- Ellen McCarthy
  • The Bicycle Runner: A Memoir of Love, Loyalty, & the Italian Resistance-- G Franco Romagnoli
  • A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler-- Jason Roberts
  • The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Public Coups -- Ron Rosenbaum
  • The Sound of Music Story: How a Beguiling Young Novice, a Handsome Austrian Captain, & Ten Singing von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time-- Tom Santopietro
  • Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let us Down, & Changed Who We Are-- Katherine Sharpe
  • The Immortal Game: A History of Chess- David Shenk
  • The Secret Lives of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession-- Eric Simons
  • The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT-- Debbie Stier
  • We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story-- Josh Sundquist
  • The Art of War-- Sun-Tzu
  • A Three Dog Life: A Memoir-- Abigail Thomas
  • Frank Sinatra-- John Frayn Turner
  • Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping & Sexualizing of Girlhood -- Melissa Atkins Wardy
  • Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution-- Caroline Weber
  • The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour & the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of the Women in TV News-- Sheila Weller
  • Martin Van Buren-- Ted Widmer
  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11-- Lawrence Wright



Fiction, alphabetical by author
  • Watership Down-- Richard Adams
  • The Frogs-- Aristophanes 
  • Mansfield Park-- Jane Austen
  • The Naturals-- Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • ***A Christmas Carol-- Charles Dickens
  • The 42nd Parallel-- John Dos Passos
  • 1919-- John Dos Passos
  • Middlemarch-- George Eliot
  • Gone Girl-- Gillian Flynn
  • Looking For Alaska-- John Green
  • Paper Towns-- John Green
  • Dune-- Frank Herbert
  • The American-- Henry James
  • 'Salem's Lot-- Stephen King
  • ***The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks-- E Lockhart
  • Alice in tumblr-Land (And Other Fairy Tales For a New Generation) -- Tim Manley
  • Daughter of the Forest-- Juliet Marillier
  • Life of Pi-- Yann Martel
  • The Magical Fellowship-- Tom McGowen
  • Appointment in Samarra-- John O'Hara
  • ***A Single Shard-- Linda Sue Park
  • Silver Linings Playbook-- Matthew Quick
  • The Last Lesson-- Joseph Ramirez
  • ***Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets-- JK Rowling
  • ***Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban-- JK Rowling
  • Franny & Zooey-- JD Salinger
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret-- Brian Selznick
  • Othello-- William Shakespeare
  • Rumors-- Neil Simon
  • ***Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie-- Jordan Sonnelblick
  • Zen & the Art of Faking It-- Jordan Sonnelblick
  • The Help-- Kathryn Stockett
  • Candide-- Voltaire
  • The Age of Innocence-- Edith Wharton
  • The Importance of Being Earnest-- Oscar Wilde
  • Carry On, Jeeves-- PG Wodehouse
  • Uneasy Money-- PG Wodehouse
  • To the Lighthouse-- Virginia Woolf

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