2015 in Books

Last year I didn’t really make any Bookish Resolutions except to read more (which is always a goal for me). I did read two more books this year (73 total) than last year so that’s a success. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the one reading challenge I did in 2015, Amy’s Newbery Challenge, and I intend to join in again this year.

Some years when I reflect back on books read a clear theme emerges. Some years are the year of non-fiction or the year of the short story or the year I rediscover young adult fiction. In 2015 I read more broadly without any clear theme emerging. I don’t like to pick my favorite book of the year or even a top 10. Below are a few thoughts on the one’s that stand out when I look back at the year. If you’re interested here is the full list.
The Book that I will Never Forget Reading

I read Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocolyptic Station Eleven (about the world post pandemic flu outbreak) while lying in bed feverish and coming down with the flu. I was on my yearly birthday getaway in a hotel room alone and reading about a woman in a hotel room coming down with the flu and wondering what was going on outside her door as the flu ravaged the world. The book itself is fabulous and stands alone but sometimes the circumstances of reading a book are such that you will never forget the actual experience of the reading. This was one of those for me.

Other fiction books that were especially memorable this year:
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Redeployment by Phil Klay

The Author I Was Most Glad to Finally Get Around to Reading:

I have had Rebecca Stead on my TBR list for a long time but finally read When You Reach Me for Amy’s Newbery Challenge. I loved it and also read and enjoyed her newest novel, Goodbye, Stranger. Yes, she writes for middle-grade kids but her books are complex and intriguing and defy the category of “juvenile fiction”. I was very glad to discover how much I enjoyed her this year.

The Author I was Most Glad I Gave a Second Chance:

I listened to Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten-Year Nap on audiobook a few years ago and really didn’t like it. Maybe it was the wrong book at the wrong time but it was just too whiny and navel gazing for me. However, I decided to read Belzhar, her new young adult novel this year and really enjoyed it. I kept seeing it compared to her earlier novel The Interestings so I decided to give it a try, this time on audiobook. This time I was totally captivated by the world of her characters.

Vocation meets Avocation:

I used to read more books about medicine, but in the past few years I’ve gotten away from it somewhat. Maybe it’s because I’ve been looking for more of an escape in reading than reading about something close to what I do. This year I read several outstanding books about the medical profession:

*Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine by Paul Offit.

*Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

*Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

I’m reluctant to make big reading resolutions for the year except again to read more. Semicolon is hosting her usual Saturday Review of Books this week and it’s got oodles of book lists if you’re looking for books to add to your own TBR list.

2 thoughts on “2015 in Books

  1. I’m interested in several on your list, especially Station Eleven and The Interestings. I have wondered what you would think, as a doctor, about one of the nonfiction books I found most memorable from last year: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. I say memorable instead of good because I still remember the book in some detail even though I read it almost a year ago in January, 2015. However, I’m not sure still what I think. If it is true and fair, it’s a really disturbing indictment of how far our society has come in terms of devaluing human life and becoming self-centered and bureaucratic. But I’m not sure it was fair or took consideration of all the possibilities and elements involved in the decisions people had to make. Anyway, it would be good to hear what you think if you’re inclined to read it.
    My review: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=23812

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