As you may recall at the beginning of the year I set myself with the task of reading from a few specific books in 2015. Since we’re more than half way through the year I thought I’d report on my progress so far.
“The List” Books I’ve Read in 2015
- The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help – By Amanda Palmer. A delightful, highly enjoyable, honest read on creativity, vulnerability, and just doing THE WORK it takes to get somewhere.
- My First Summer in the Sierra – By John Muir. Hiking the John Muir trail is officially on my bucket list after this one.
- All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr. I confess I didn’t find this one as captivating or interesting as I hoped I would. I ended up putting it down in favor of something new.
Books I’ve Read in 2015 (That weren’t on “The List”)
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. My favorite book this year. So good, in fact, I was angry at my friends for not telling me about it sooner. If you love geeky stuff, computer/video games, and/or 80’s culture give this one a go. You’ll love it.
- The Martian by Andy Weir. Think Castaway meets Apollo 13 meets The Things They Carried. This is a great read, and Weir’s ability to make technical, scientific detail interesting is very reminiscent of Tim O’Brien’s writing style. At first I was a little upset that they chose Matt Damon to play Mark Watney, but then I saw this teaser “behind-the-scenes” trailer and I’m a little less grumpy about the choice.
- The Fold by Peter Clines. Remember the movie Event Horizon? It scared the CRAP out of me when I was younger and this novel has a very similar premise: Scientists invent a machine that can fold time/space so that moving across distances is as simple stepping through a door. As you can imagine, doom and gloom ensue. This one is a must read for scifi fans who have already finished Ready Player One and The Martian.
- Fog Island Mountains . This one got great reviews, but I’m not gonna lie. I couldn’t finish it. It was a little too depressing for me. I’m sure I’ll pick it up again in the future.
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Laron. There’s a really great documentary on America’s first serial killer, a man who called himself H.H. Holmes. This interesting non-fiction story tells Holmes’ dark, disturbing tale juxtaposed with the creation of the Chicago World’s Fair and the world-renowned “White City.”
- The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins. The protagonist of this mystery/thriller novel is as unreliable as narrators come. Half the time reading this one I found myself practically shouting at Rachel, “NO! Why would you do that?!!” “OMG, are you completely crazy?” “Whyyyyyyyyy???” She does everything she shouldn’t and then some. Reading this novel is just like driving by a car crash. You simply can’t look away. You can’t stop reading. You just HAVE to see the root of her damage.
- A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver. Each poem from this collection is a treasure. I loved taking this one out with me on my morning walk and reading a verse or two before settling into work and “the real world.”
- One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing. I think this lasted exactly one day for me, but fun none-the-less.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Maria Condo. Maria Condo is crazy. She almost lost me with the whole “socks have feelings” business, but I persevered because she is also a straight-up genius. My drawers and closets have never been this majestic. My socks “feel” better, and I actually take pride in opening my closets and drawers (crazy, right?). Even my scarf collection is color coordinated (if you know me even a little, you know that this is awe-inspiring).
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Sigh. Swoon. Wow. The circus theme threw me off, so I avoided reading this one despite being told about it’s awesomeness by numerous people. I’m glad I finally caved. This is one of those “I wish I could read it for the first time again” novels, and my #2 favorite for the year. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read this one.
- The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick. The story was so-so, but I am eagerly anticipating the Amazon series.
The New List (Books I want to finish in 2015):
- Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence (Rick Hanson) – I heard a really wonderful interview with Rick Hanson on The One You Feed Podcast and was inspired to give this one a listen.
- Armada (Ernest Cline) – I loved Ready Player One so much, I’m pumped for Cline’s next book.
- Go Set a Watchman (Harper Lee) – Do I need to explain why?
- Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day (Todd Henry)
- Still Life with Woodpecker (Tom Robbins)