2015 Reading List Wrap-Up

Remember my 2015 Reading List? I’ve made progress and had a mid-year update with mini book reviews. Feel free to check it out if you missed it the first time. Details for the giveaway are at the end of the post.

At the time these are the books I had read from the original list:
“What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey
“Simple Weeknight Favorites” by Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
“The Fault in Our Starts” by John Green
“Letter to My Daughter” by Maya Angelou
“The Make-Ahead Cook” by Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein

Not on the list, but I read anyway:
“Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed” by Glennon Melton
“Don’t Panic — Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead” by Vanda Howell, Susie Martinez, Bonnie Garcia
“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brene Brown

Since then I’ve knocked out a few more from the list and a lot more that weren’t on the list.

“Packing Light” by Allison Vesterfelt

Allison has a unique voice as she tells her coming of age story. I was inspired by her courage, but left wanting more. I don’t think I’m the intended audience for this book. If you have a college age young adult on your shopping list, this is a book for them.

“Garlic and Sapphires” by Ruth Reichl

I loved Reichl’s memoir of her days as a food critic in NYC. Fun to hear about the ins and outs of journalism and NYC restaurant scene. It reminded me that we all wear costumes in life to disguise our identity, because we fear people really seeing us. The more we wear the get-up, the more you become the person you have constructed. Are you wearing the costume of who you want to be?

“Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace” by Anne Lamott

Meh… I had too high of expectations for this book. Perhaps a little too far out there for me, but can see how others would absolutely adore this compilation of Lamott stories.

“Unlucky 13” by James Patterson

Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series drew me in a decade ago and I keep reading. The characters are familiar friends. The plots are less developed than they once were. If you like an easy-to-read mystery with great heroines, start at the beginning of this series.

“It Was Me All Along: A Memoir” by Andie Mitchell

I’ve loved Andie’s blog for a long time and was excited to read her book. It was everything I hoped for and more. Her writing is like the conversations I have with dear friends where you take off your shoes, crawl up on their couch with a cup of coffee, and spill your soul to someone who is going to love you anyway. I’ve never been overweight, but I’ve definitely hated my body. Her journey shined a light on my need to accept myself as I am.

“14th Deadly Sin” by James Patterson

More Women’s Murder Club… see above.

“Listen to Your Mother: What she said then, what we’re saying now” by Ann Imig

Two friends produce our local show by the same title, which I saw for the first time in April. After witnessing the men and women tell their stories of motherhood in their lives, I needed to read the book. It was fantastic and the perfect book companion on our beach vacation. Each story was fully encapsulated, so it made for easy picking up and putting down.

“Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling

I read this excerpt from the book on Glamour’s website and had to have the book. I devoured it on our trip to Sonoma this fall. It was funny, but lacked the depth of the essay that had enticed me to buy it.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais

Really tough for me to get into, but I ended up enjoying it. Culturally I was out of my comfort zone, which made it difficult to contextualize. It reminded me how privileged I am to have an endless supply of reading written by and for people just like me.

“Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from ‘Dear Sugar’” by Cheryl Strayed

I’m not sure where I got the idea to read this book, but it was amazing. I couldn’t put it down, because each column reminded me of my own strength and ability to overcome challenges. If you have someone in your life looking for answers, this would make a great gift.

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

Totally behind the times, but a friend recommended this one (and lent it to me.) I had a hard time getting into it, but once I was in it hooked me. To the point where I watched the movie when I finished the book while the kids had quiet rest time. Then at bedtime I watched the second one. Already looking forward to movies 3 & 4. I’m not sure I’ll read the other books. The movie was very well done and didn’t miss much from the book.

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

I had read an article in O Magazine years ago when the book was first published, but after reading Amazon reviews set aside the idea of reading it. After reading “Tiny Beautiful Things” I had to read Strayed’s memoir of her trek on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was everything I had hoped it would be. I think I loved it more because of the tenderness she had for the human condition in “Tiny Beautiful Things,” and the story of where that came from.

“Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes

Immediately after finishing this book, I lent it to a friend with a promise that we would have our own book club to discuss it when she is done with it. Although, I might read it again then too. I found so much of Rhimes’ story relatable and her wisdom unbeatable.

Books that remain in my To Be Read pile from the 2015 list:
“Body of Work” by Pamela Slim
“Self-Compassion” by Kristin Neff
“Fresh 20” by Melissa Lanz
“Secrets of the Best Chefs” by Adam Roberts
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

UPDATE 1/16/16: Contest closed. Rebekah was the winner. Please check your inbox for claiming your prize. Want a copy of one of the books from my 2015 Reading List? TO ENTER, simply leave a comment on this blog post anytime until midnight CST on Thursday, January 14. Any comment will work to enter, but if you are looking for suggestions I’d love to hear what your favorite book of 2015 was.

P.S. If you have read any of the books that remain on my list, please leave a comment with your review. I could use some encouragement (or discouragement) if it is worth my time. Plus the comment counts as an entry for the giveaway. Win-win, friends.


10 thoughts on “2015 Reading List Wrap-Up

  1. What a list, Lars! I’m impressed and admire the dedication you have to reading. I’d like to say I lack time to do it but it’s probably that my eyes lack the willpower to stay open long enough to read more than a few pages a night. 🙂 I’m embarking on a new book (The Lives we Bury by Allen Eskens) in 2016 after finishing three Brad Meltzer books in 2015. The most recent being The President’s Shadow.


    • I bet you do other things to relax and take care of yourself. Books are one of my things, but don’t have to be everybody’s. 😘 I’ve enjoyed Meltzer’s books too!


  2. I unfortunately haven’t made time for as much reading as I would have liked this year, but I’ve enjoyed these:
    Dead Wake
    The Secret History
    All the Light We Cannot See
    Into the Wild

    Fun to get some new ideas from your list and I like that you include cookbooks – some days (weeks), it seems like that is all I read 🙂


    • I’m squealing over all these recommendations. Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” changed my life and how I thought about the events leading up to my postpartum depression and the struggle I went through. It helped me let go of the blame I placed on myself and recognize that I weathered a natural disaster of sorts that was unforeseeable and unavoidable. I’ll have to read his “Into the Wild” now!

      As for cookbooks, I love to read them cover to cover. I make a book mark for each book with a list of all the recipes I want to try from my read through. It’s quirky… maybe just strange.


  3. My favorite books of 2015 were All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh (my coworker’s husband!). I love your list!


  4. I need to start reading more again… I might have to request some of these from the library in the next couple of weeks. From the books left on your list: I’ve read Gone Girl and found it to be a quick and interesting read. The movie is a poor adaptation, but still interesting.


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