2015 in books and bookish community

Though I hope to eventually blog about all the books read in 2015 that I haven’t yet reviewed, here is a summary of my past year in reading:

Number of books read: 65

Longest book: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 by Taylor Branch. 768 pages.

Shortest book: The Old Peabody Pew by Kate Douglas Wiggin. 60 pages.

Oldest book: The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon. 11th century.

Newest book: Controlled Burn (Boston Fire #2) by Shannon Stacey. November 24, 2015.

I am listing my top fiction and nonfiction reads further below, but I also want to give a boost to the following two books I read in 2015 and that I think more people should read:

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell [my review]

Intimate: An American Family Album by Paisley Rekdal [my review]

And though it was overall a very quality year for reading, here is a short list of my favorites from 2015:

Top three fiction:

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden

Top three nonfiction reads:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahesi Coates

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 by Taylor Branch

Wild by Cheryl Strayed


Bookish Community in 2015:

One of the most exciting bookish developments for 2015 was meeting with a group of bloggers (some from D.C. metro and some visiting) back in April and then starting a book club with the geographically proximate and all-around amazing Teresa and Leslie.

After attending the National Book Festival for the 11th time in September, my fellow faithful attender and friend Kristin and I decided we should have a Skype book club for our shared interest in nonfiction. (She lives in North Carolina). So far we have read one book, and plan to discuss another this month – Atul Gawande’s Better.

2016 promises more possibilities for connecting to people through reading. In December, after having supper with a group of people from church where the conversation was decidedly bookish, one of them emailed the group with Book Riot’s 2016 Read Harder challenge. I’m not sure I’ll complete all 24 tasks, but I’d certainly like to put a dent in it!





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11 responses to “2015 in books and bookish community

  1. I’m especially happy to see East of Eden here – it’s one of my all-time favorites! Between the World and Me was one of my favorites this year, too. Happy 2016!

    • I’ve been meaning to read East of Eden for ages. It definitely surprised me in many ways. I’d read Of Mice and Men, but felt that East of Eden was a completely different sort of novel.
      I’ve noticed that Between the World and Me has been on many favorite lists and absolutely deserves to be there.

  2. I am pleased to see The Rose Garden on your favourites list as it is still my favourite Kearsley novel. I also had Marianna by Susanna Kearsley on my 2015 Top 10 list. I wish you more great reading in 2016!

  3. I didn’t know you and Teresa and Leslie had a book club! I am so envious, that sounds amazing! If I am every geographically approximate to you in my travels can I come for a meeting one time? Be a special guest star? :p

  4. I think East of Eden was the book group hit of the year since it made both of our lists. I should have listed Greengage Summer in my honorable mentions, but I forgot about it, and the list was getting out of hand!

    • I’ve been slowly catching up on all my feeds – I just popped over to see your list, so I see what you mean about it getting out of hand. 🙂 But definitely a good sign, when there’s so many great books read that it’s hard to make the cut. And a good sign too that some of our book club reads are ranking so high on our lists.

  5. I LOVE Steinbeck but for some reason didn’t like East of Eden. I always wonder if I was just in a funk when I read it, so I’ve been meaning to read it again to solve the mystery.

    • How interesting! I’d only read “The Red Pony” and “Of Mice and Men” previously, and though I thought they were good, “East of Eden” is the first of his that I’ve loved.

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