My Year of Reading – 2015

In 2013 and 2014 I read on the bus and finished 28 and 33 books, respectively. Reading looked to be a casualty in my first year of retirement; I had so many interests I found it difficult to find time to sit down and read. In February I finished a book I had started at the end of 2013, but didn’t finish another book until June! But I rediscovered the joy of reading and finished with a total of 15.

2015 Statistics

  • Book count: 15
  • Author count: 22
    I read 9 authors as part of my Southern Short Story project which I counted as one book
  • Fiction: 9
  • Non Fiction: 6
    • Baseball: 1
    • War/WWII: 2
    • Biography: 1
    • Essays: 1
    • Crime: 1
  • Average rating: 3.40

Surprising book of the year: Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

An intriguing, fantastical, exploration of what our lives might be after death. (Spoiler alert)

  • What if we live our life backwards after death? Going forward we create a narrative of our life to fit our memories of the past. But those memories may be flawed leaving us confounded when the future/past facts don’t line up with our sense of self.
  • What if we hang around in a temporary afterlife until there is no more mention of you on earth. How quickly would you move on?

These stories show us how we can think of our lives in the present.

Favorite non fiction book of the year: The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 by James Shapiro

This was my only 5 star rated book this year. It gave me a whole new perspective on Shakespeare, showing that he was not just an artist for the ages but a man of his time.

Favorite fiction book of the year: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

To paraphrase my old work mate Jeff W.: I love me some Elizabeth Strout and not just a little bit.

The details

For only the second time in seven years I didn’t finish my reading year with A Christmas Carol. Wow.

I’m still frustrated by the difficulty of creating meaningful tables/spreadsheets in my blog; it was hard in Blogspot as well. Here is a rudimentary effort; to see all the book reports, click here.

Title Author Rating Type
Abide With Me Elizabeth Strout 3 Fiction
The Boys of Summer Roger Kahn 3 Non Fiction
The Naked and The Dead Norman Mailer 4 Non Fiction
In Cold Blood Truman Capote 4 Non Fiction
Helmet for my Pillow Robert Leckie 3 Non Fiction
Moby Dick Herman Melville 3 Fiction
Southern Short Stories Various 4 Fiction
Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout 4 Fiction
All the Little Live Things Wallace Stegner 3 Fiction
The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 James Shapiro 5 Biography
The Dick Gibson Show Stanley Elkin 2 Fiction
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives David Eagleman 4 Non Fiction
That Old Ace in the Hole Annie Proulx 3 Fiction
Things We Set on Fire Deborah Reed 3 Fiction
Inherent Vice Thomas Pynchon 3 Fiction

2016 Reading Goals
In the past three years I’ve read a lot of Alice McDermott, Elizabeth Strout, and Annie Proulx – in fact I have two books on my virtual nightstand now. But, as I say every year, I want to branch out a bit.

Those books plus my two novels lined up will get me to my annual goal of 8 books – 1 every six weeks.

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