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2015 in Books


So let’s talk books. After surpassing 50 in 2014, I set a similar goal for 2015, and I made it no problem. I actually reached my goal far earlier than the deadline, so I upped it unofficially to 75, but then the baby decided to take up most of my spare time, as babies are wont to do, and my exhaustion bumped reading (along with most everything else in my life) down a bit on my priority list. In the end, I only made it to 63. But that’s still better than 50, so I am not complaining.

This past year was the first year I was particularly intentional about what I was reading, in that I decided to stick mainly to women authors. I ended up reading a lot of non-fiction, which surprised me, but when you consider that most of those books were about parenting or pregnancy, that’s not so surprising after all. I also read my first real chapter book in German, and without using a dictionary, which was also a pretty big accomplishment.

I haven’t broken down my reading list into “stats” before, but I decided to do that this year as other readers I know have done the same and I find that interesting. Overall, 71% of the authors I read were women, whereas 29% were men, though a few of the books were co-authored so that threw the stats a bit. Still, not bad at all.

Books Read: 63
Books by Women: 47
Books by Men: 19
Books in English: 62
Books in German: 1

Without further ado, here is the list:

Book #1 of 2015: “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” by Pamela Druckerman
Book #2 of 2015: “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” by Aimee Bender
Book #3 of 2015: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
Book #4 of 2015: “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell
Book #5 of 2015: “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee” by Sarah Silverman
Book #6 of 2015: “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay
Book #7 of 2015: “Thirty Girls” by Susan Minot
Book #8 of 2015: “Men Explain Things To Me” by Rebecca Solnit
Book #9 of 2015: “Die Nacht ist Leben” by Sven Marquardt
Book #10 of 2015: “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
Book #11 of 2015: “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn
Book #12 of 2015: “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn
Book #13 of 2015: “Reunion” by Hannah Pittard
Book #14 of 2015: “Harry Potter The Prequel” JK Rowling
Book #15 of 2015: “Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami
Book #16 of 2015: “Sex from Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules” by Sarah Mirk
Book #17 of 2015: “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Book #18 of 2015: “Baby Proof” by Emily Giffin
Book #19 of 2015: “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Book #20 of 2015: “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler
Book #21 of 2015: “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls
Book #22 of 2015: “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer
Book #23 of 2015: “The New Pregnancy Bible: The Experts’ Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood” by Keith Eddleman and Joanne Stone
Book #24 of 2015: “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg
Book #25 of 2015: “The Hanged Man” by Francesca Lia Block
Book #26 of 2015: “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards
Book #27 of 2015: “The Real Instrument” by Emily Hostutler
Book #28 of 2015: “On Immunity: An Inoculation” by Eula Biss
Book #29 of 2015: “Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids” by Meghan Daum
Book #30 of 2015: “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia E. Butler
Book #31 of 2015: “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” by Gary Chapman
Book #32 of 2015: “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
Book #33 of 2015: “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
Book #34 of 2015: “Every Day Is for the Thief” by Teju Cole
Book #35 of 2015: “The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions” by Penny Simkin
Book #36 of 2015: “Hausfrau” by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Book #37 of 2015: “Girl in a Band: A Memoir” by Kim Gordon
Book #38 of 2015: “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League International
Book #39 of 2015: “Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles” by Jeanette Winterson
Book #40 of 2015: “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
Book #41 of 2015: “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros
Book #42 of 2015: “Gold Boy, Emerald Girl” by Yiyun Li
Book #43 of 2015: “The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer” by Harvey Karp
Book #44 of 2015: “Tiger Milk” by Stefanie de Velasco
Book #45 of 2015: “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Book #46 of 2015: “Go the Fuck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach
Book #47 of 2015: “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion
Book #48 of 2015: “Who Will Comfort Toffle?” by Tove Jansson
Book #49 of 2015: “Among the Ten Thousand Things” by Julia Pierpont
Book #50 of 2015: “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff
Book #51 of 2015: “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling
Book #52 of 2015: “Sleeping on Jupiter” by Anuradha Roy
Book #53 of 2015: “After Birth” by Elisa Albert
Book #54 of 2015: “Paper Towns” by John Green
Book #55 of 2015: “The Wolves of Bilaya Forest” by Anthony Marra
Book #56 of 2015: “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari
Book #57 of 2015: “The Circle” by Dave Eggers
Book #58 of 2015: “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl
Book #59 of 2015: “Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl” by Carrie Brownstein
Book #60 of 2015: “The Chimes” by Anna Smaill
Book #61 of 2015: “Berlin Blues” by Sven Regener
Book #62 of 2015: “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Jon Ronson
Book #63 of 2015: “Core Data” by Florian Kugler and Daniel Eggert

As for my favorites, here is my top five from the above (listed in the order in which they were read):
“The Real Instrument” by Emily Hostutler
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
“Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff
“After Birth” by Elisa Albert
“Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl” by Carrie Brownstein

In 2016, my goal is to read 65 books. I hope to read that and more (as I’ve done the past two years) but I’ve got to keep things realistic, particularly as I’m still adjusting to the juggling act that is being a parent with so so many interests. Already certain things have taken a backseat—things like making mixes, and going to shows, and interviewing bands, and baking all the time. I’d love to do all of these things and more, but being a good parent and partner is my number one priority, and books aren’t so far behind that. And after our recent 10-day getaway to Sweden (which I did not bring my computer with for), I realized that I might want to be stepping away from the Internet a bit more this year. Don’t call it a resolution, but… I want to keep blogging and engaging in the more meaningful aspects of online life, but more and more I realize how much of a time suck things like Facebook are. It’s not that they’re bad, but it’s just that I would rather do things like read, so I am trying to be more disciplined in that regard. Thus far, we’re less than two weeks into 2016 and I’ve already finished three books, so I guess I’m off to a good start.

What were your favorite books of 2015? What is your reading goal for 2016?

  • Mandi | No Apathy Allowed

    What a fantastic list! You definitely inspire me to spend more time reading. I personally LOVED most of the books that made it on to your top 5 list — All the Light We Cannot See, Fates and Furies, and Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl were all favorites of mine the last couple of years. Have fun in 2016!

    • Thanks! I am a bit disheartened that so many books I read in 2015 where “three star” books for me, but when I look at the ones I loved, I realize that they more than make up for it. Looking forward to seeing what books I can’t put down this year.

  • Nikki @Book Punks

    How did you like The Girl on the Train? I was thinking about listening to it.

    Bad Feminist is on my list for this year, excited about that.

    And holy shit From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler! I read that as a kid. Loved seeing it on your list, I haven’t thought about it in sooo long.

    • It was an OK book. I didn’t think it was amazing literature by any means, but the story was enthralling and it was a quick read (I think I read it in a day, maybe two).

      I am interested to hear what your thoughts on Bad Feminist will be. I had high hopes but thought it didn’t go as deep as it could have. I still like Gay though.

      And yes, the last one! I definitely tried to re-read some of my childhood favorites that I haven’t read in decades…

  • Really glad to hear the Carrie Brownstein book was good! It fell off my radar but hoping to get to it in the first half of the year.
    I’m with you there on the timesuck that is the internet (especially Facebook)… there are just so many things to do with one’s time so it’s nice to have the clarity to step back from something that you realize is serving little purpose for you.

    • I was a bit skeptical about it, especially as the new Sleater-Kinney album was kind of “meh” for me, but it was really good. There was a lot of personal information, plus in-depth stuff about the band, both of which I really enjoyed reading about.

  • I always love The House on Mango Street. I’m about to start All the Light We Cannot See, and I can’t wait. 🙂

    <3 Have Ashley, Will Travel

    • I hope you like it… but I haven’t heard a single bad thing about it yet! What was your favorite read of the past year?