Sunday, January 3, 2016

Books Read (and Listened to) in 2015

I didn’t read as many books as usual this year—just over 100.  I suspect that the number is lower because I didn’t read nearly as many children’s books as I usually do.  I was focused on my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge which required books 200 or more pages in length.  That steered me away from children’s books, I guess.  This is okay, I guess, being as I am an adult and all…though some of my truly fantastic and ageless stories are found in on the shelves of the Juvenile collection at my library—Watership Down, Johnny Tremain, Harry Potter, etc.
Deer tracks on my walk to work.
The reliable Christmas cactus at the library.
I passed the 52-in-52 with relative ease thanks to my affinity for being read to, for audiobooks.  I really enjoy being read to.  I even slipped in a skimpy 135 page book every now and then.  I discovered I am a fan of David Sedaris during the course of this reading year.  Almost none of his books qualified by the 200 page benchmark.  I read them anyways.  (And got to hear him do a reading at a theatre downtown in November, too.The perfect year to discover how much I like his work.)
Our little tree.
Lemon roast potatoes and squash from the garden.
As always it was hard to pick a small number from the larger list as my favorites for the year.  Initially I had Top Five.  Quickly I had to update it to Top Ten.  Even still I feel I am leaving some off the list that probably should be on there, but….I am sticking with it.
Matt flipping lefse on the griddle.  
Fresh, homemade lefse.
Beth’s Top Ten Books of 2015 (in no particular order)

Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average (Joseph Hallinan)

Welcome to the Monkey House (Kurt Vonnegut)

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (Mary Roach)

MaddAddam trilogy

The Cellist of Sarajevo (Steven Galloway)

The Martian (Andy Weir)

When you are Engulfed In Flames (David Sedaris)

The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak)

Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process (Irene Pepperberg)
Heart-shaped deer print.
My snowshoe tracks through the fresh, new snow.
My literary challenge for next year—because I must have a literary challenge, right?—is to read all the books that have won the Newbery Award since they started giving it out in 1922.  Many Newbery winners are old favorites of mine such as The Island of the Blue Dolphins or The Giver.   There are several others that I feel I should have read, but for whatever reason never have—A Wrinkle in Time, for example.  I look forward to finally scratching it off my to-read list.  I enjoyed reading all the Caldecott Award winners as one of my monthly challenges in 2014.  Reading the books in chronological order offers an interesting perspective on our ever-changing American culture.
My fantastic winter hat--my mom made it in 1973.
Fat snow hat on the patio table.
Below is the full list of books I read in 2015.  So many good books, so little time.  The numbers are in reverse order, as in number 1 is actually the last book I read for the year.
Sunrise on the walk to work.
Our little tree, out little Ginger kitty.
Books Read (and Listened To) in 2015. * indicates an audiobook


  1. Welcome to the Monkey House (Kurt Vonnegut)*
  2. The Dog Stars (Peter Heller)*
  3. Six Months Later (Natalie D. Richards)*
  4. On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave (Candace Fleming)*
  5. Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves (Laurel Braitman)*
  6. The Crippled Lamb (Max Lucado & Liz Bonham)
  7. A Light in Every Window (Josephine Baskin & Mira Singer)
  8. Stuart Little (E.B. White)
  9. Wings Over Montana: A Celebration of Wild Birds (Donald M. Jones & Daniel Casey)
  10. If You Were Here (Alafair Burke)*
  11. Burn (Julianna Baggott)*
  12. Fuse (Julianna Baggott)*
  13. Pure (Julianna Baggott)*
  14. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy (Seymour Reit)
  15. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible on Schindler's List (Leon Leyson, Marilyn Harran, & Elisabeth Leyson)*
  16. The Mind's Eye (Oliver Sacks)
  17. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident (Donnie Eichar)
  18. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories (Richard Matheson)*
  19. Roadwork (Richard Bachman/Stephen King)*
  20. Sisterland: A Novel (Curtis Sittenfeld)*
  21. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Marie Kondo)
  22. Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat (Gwen Cooper)*
  23. Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood (Julie Gregory)
  24. Long Gone (Alafair Burke)*
  25. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing (Anya Von Bremzen)*
  26. The Martian (Andy Weir)
  27. The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lost Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer (Dr. Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer)
  28. Witness (Karen Hesse)*
  29. The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family (Josh Hanagarne)*
  30. Long After Midnight (Ray Bradbury)*
  31. The Farmer and the Clown (Marla Frazee)
  32. The Night Strangers: A Novel (Chris Bohjalian)*
  33. Johnny Tremain (Esther Forbes)*
  34. The Healer: A Novel (Antti Tuomainen)*
  35. They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan (Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, & Judy Bernstein)*
  36. Dirty Beasts (Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake)
  37. Love in the Driest Season: A Family Memoir (Neely Tucker)*
  38. The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to be a Better Husband (David Finch)*
  39. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Carol Hall, Larry L. King, Peter Masterson)
  40. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (Mary Roach)*
  41. Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back (Clare & Mia Fontaine)*
  42. Drawings (Kurt Vonnegut)
  43. Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (Florence Williams)*
  44. Hitler Youth: Growing Up In Hitler's Shadow (Susan Campbell Bartoletti)
  45. American Furies: Crime, Punishments, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment (Sasha Abramsky)*
  46. Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process (Irene Pepperberg)*
  47. The Magic Finger (Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake)
  48. The Enormous Crocodile (Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake)
  49. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake)
  50. James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake)
  51. El Deafo (Cece Bell)
  52. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl)*
  53. Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions (Christian Lander)
  54. Fat Cat (Robin Brande)*
  55. Pig (Andrew Cowan)
  56. The Saffron Kitchen (Yasmin Crowther)*
  57. Iqbal, A Brave Boy From Pakistan & Malala, A Brave Girl From Pakistan (Jeanette Winter)
  58. Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children (Jonathan Kellerman)*
  59. The Robber Bride (Margaret Atwood)*
  60. Positive: A Memoir (Paige Rawl)*
  61. The Cellist of Sarajevo (Steven Galloway)*
  62. Too Much Happiness: Stories (Alice Munro)*
  63. We Are What We Pretend to Be: The First and Last Works (Kurt Vonnegut)
  64. The Passion of Alice (Stephanie Grant)
  65. Sleepless (Charlie Huston)*
  66. The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister (Carolyn Tomlin, Denise George, &Nonna Bannister)*
  67. Lost Boys (Orson Scott Card)*
  68. Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace (Kurt Vonnegut)
  69. Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth (James Tabor)*
  70. Naked (David Sedaris)
  71. Bagombo Snuffbox (Kurt Vonnegut)*
  72. Slaughterhouse Five: Or, The Children's Crusade, a Duty-Dance With Death (Kurt Vonnegut)*
  73. The Life of Objects (Susanna Moore)*
  74. One Man's Voice (Marsha Davis, ed.)
  75. When you are Engulfed In Flames (David Sedaris)*
  76. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos (Stephanie Roth Sisson)
  77. Homegrown and Other Poems (Bryce Burnett)
  78. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)*
  79. Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents (Mark Sakamoto)
  80. Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays (David Sedaris)
  81. The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts (Shinta Cho)
  82. Holidays on Ice (David Sedaris)*
  83. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Michael Moss)*
  84. Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary With the Bard (Laura Bates)
  85. Sucker's Portfolio (Kurt Vonnegut)
  86. Lila: A Novel of Trials and Triumph (Mae Schick)
  87. MaddAddam (Margaret Atwood)*
  88. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sederis)
  89. The Year of the Flood (Margaret Atwood)*
  90. Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)*
  91. The Suicide Collectors (David Oppegaard)*
  92. Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)*
  93. The Tales of Beedle the Bard (J.K. Rowling)
  94. The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)
  95. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it says About Us) (Tom Vanderbilt)*
  96. Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average (Joseph Hallinan)*
  97. Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked (James Lasdun)*
  98. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, Etc. (David Sedaris)*
  99. Light in August (William Faulkner)
  100. Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation (Samuel Alexander)
  101. 33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners (Jonathan Franklin)*
  102. The Husband's Secret (Liane Moriarty)*
  103. Open This Little Book (Jesse Klausmeier& Suzy Lee)
  104. Snail (Karen Hartley & Chris Macro)
  105. Snails (Kevin J. Holmes)
  106. The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak)*
  107. The Dressmaker (Kate Alcott)*
  108. The DUFF: Designated Ugly, Fat Friend (KodyKeplinger)*
Lights in the windows--bubble lights, even.
A Statistical Addendum from 1/7/2016:
Number of young adult or children's books:  20
Number of adult books:  24
Number of audiobooks (both adult and YA/children):  64

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