2015: My Year in Books

In 2015, I read 105 books, consisting of a total of 30,038 pages (I stopped reading two of these books before finishing them; the page total does not account for this).

The average (mean) books read per month was 8.75, and the average (mean) per week was 2.02.

Of these, 75 were fiction (including children’s books), 8 were memoirs, and the remaining 22 were other nonfiction.

I read 3 books from my Cavalcade of Classics list during 2015. To date, I’ve read ~20% of the 89 classics on my list. If I’m going to read all of them by 2017, I’ll need to average nearly 7 classics per month from here on out. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this just isn’t going to happen.

So many of the books I read this year were awesome, but my favorites were probably Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, and Lila by Marilynne Robinson.

Christmas Gifts
Christmas Gifts

I am currently reading The Histories by Herodotus (not ready to give this one up yet even though I’ve been reading it since March 2015) and The Turner House by Angela Flournoy, which is one of five books my spouse got for me from the library for Christmas. The other four books are Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson, No Time to Lose by Pema Chodron, Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich, and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li. I’ve also got one whole shelf of books I’ve acquired over the years that I hope to finally read and clear out. I vow not to enter any ARC giveaways until this shelf is empty. (And of course, there are those seven classics a month I need to read, and I’m stupidly busy with volunteer work until May, and did I mention that I homeschool my kids? 2016 does not look good for reading. *sigh*)

Below is the book list for 2015, by the month I finished each book. Click on the month name for the “Bookends” for that month, which includes links to reviews and other information about my reading progress throughout the year. I also cross-post most of my reviews on Goodreads. If you’d like to just go straight to Goodreads to see my reviews there, here’s the link to my Goodreads profile.* You can also go there to see all 965 books I’ve read and logged on Goodreads.

You will also see references to the 2015 TBR Challenge, which was a lovely, ambitious idea, but I only ended up reading (or jettisoning) six of the twelve books and two alternates I had on that list.

(A note on the children’s books: I read many more picture books than this, but I only list/review the ones that really speak to me.)

December (you can count this as my “Bookends” roundup for December):

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Cavalcade of Classics)

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein (for the 2015 TBR Challenge)

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (read-aloud)

Hoot by Carl Hiassen (read-aloud)

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast (SBC December Selection)

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde (SBC November Selection)

The Make-Ahead Cook by America’s Test Kitchen


Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (audiobook)

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Messenger by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

One Grain of Rice by Demi (read-aloud picture book)

Once a Mouse… by Marcia Brown (read-aloud picture book)

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel

Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric Kimmel

Exodus by Brian Wildsmith (read-aloud picture book)

The Artist’s Way for Parents by Julia Cameron (for the 2015 TBR Challenge; stopped reading)


Some Luck by Jane Smiley (SBC October Selection)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (re-read, audio)

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (read-aloud)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (re-read, audio)

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (read-aloud)

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (re-re-re-read, audio)

I Will Take a Nap by Mo Willems (read-aloud picture book)


The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (SBC September Selection)

Is That Me Yelling? by Rona Renner

Famous Baby by Karen Rizzo (LibraryThing ARC)

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (audiobook)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (re-read, audiobook)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (re-read, audibook)

The Golden Sandal by Rebecca Hickox (read-aloud)

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (read-aloud)

Mummies and Pyramids by Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne (read-aloud)


Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (SBC August Selection)

The Point of Vanishing by Howard Axelrod (ARC from Beacon Press)

Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup

The 5 Choices by Kory Kogon

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read, read-aloud)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein (audiobook)


The Qur’an: With a Phrase-by-Phrase English Translation by Ali Quili Qar’ai

The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an by Andrew Rippin

How to Read the Qur’an by Carl W. Ernst

The Story of the Qur’an by Ingrid Mattson

Approaching the Qur’an by Michael Sells

Understanding the Qur’an by Muhammad Abdel Haleem

Major Themes of the Qur’an by Fazlur Rahman

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (SBC July Selection)

Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright (audiobook)

The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood (audiobook)

The High King by Lloyd Alexander (audiobook, re-read)


Children of the Same God by Susan J. Ritchie

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (just the title story in this collection)

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson (SBC June Selection)

Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright (audiobook)

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (audiobook, re-read)


Called to Community by Anita Farber-Robertson, Dorothy May Emerson, and Mary McKinnon Ganz

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (read-aloud)

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (audiobook, re-read)

The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander (audiobook, re-read)

The City of Ember by Jeanne DePrau (audiobook)


The Simpler Family by Christine Klein

The Peabody Sisters by Megan Marshall

China Dolls by Lisa See

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Paddington at Work by Michael Bond (read-aloud with my son)

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (audiobook)

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright (audiobook)

The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright (audiobook)

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (audiobook, re-read)


The Positive Power of Negative Thinking by Julie Norem (for the 2015 TBR challenge)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (re-read, audiobook)

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (audiobook)

Paddington Helps Out by Michael Bond (read-aloud)

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (re-read, audiobook)

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall (re-read, audiobook)

Alvin Ailey by Andrea Davis Pinkney (read-aloud)


Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche (SBC February Selection)

Chaos, Wonder and the Spiritual Adventure of Parenting by Sarah Conover and Tracy Springberry by Jon (for the 2015 TBR challenge)

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

Kim by Rudyard Kipling (Cavalcade of Classics) (read-aloud)

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (read-aloud)

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (read-aloud)

More About Paddington by Michael Bond (read-aloud)

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (read-aloud)

Strangers Don’t Look Like the Big Bad Wolf by Debbie Hunley (read-aloud picture book)


The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (SBC January Selection)

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Symposium by Plato (Cavalcade of Classics)

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams, et al

Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn (for the 2015 TBR challenge; stopped reading)

Everyday Blessings by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn (for the 2015 TBR challenge)

Redeployment by Phil Klay

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At Her Majesty’s Request by Walter Dean Myers

*My Goodreads year-in-review lists only 100 books because it didn’t capture my re-read of the five books in the Chronicles of Prydain.

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23 Replies to “2015: My Year in Books”

  1. I read the Qu’ran many years ago, but I don’t remember it well and it was a library book. I am looking at studying it this time but have no idea what a good edition would be. You seem have an extensive list of resources that you read in July. Do you have an recommendations or suggestions as to a good study resource for the Qu’ran or just a good English edition of the Qu’ran? Thanks.


    1. I’ve really enjoyed learning about the Qur’an, and I do have a couple of ideas for starting points. Note that my experience with the Qur’an is mainly just this graduate course I took this summer and then some reading on my own afterward, so this is just what I’ve found helpful in my limited experience.

      The translation I used for my class was by Ali Quili Qar’ai, but there’s a study Qur’an that just came out November 2015 from HarperOne (the link is to the listing on Goodreads). I read sections of it prepublication during my Qur’an class, and I was very impressed. Amazon has that “Look Inside” feature for this book, if you’d like to get a sense for what it includes and how it’s laid out.

      You could easily start with just the Study Qur’an, but if you’re looking for more, here are some other resources I’ve found useful: The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an (ed Andrew Rippin) has essays from a variety of scholars of Islam. I found the different perspectives very interesting and helpful in understanding different ideas in the Qur’an. Carl Ernst is a good resource for guides for people just encountering the Qur’an. Since you’ve already read the Qur’an, it may or may not be as useful to you. I have mixed feelings about Michael Sells’s Approaching the Qur’an, but purchasing that book also gives you access to mp3 recordings of Arabic recitations of sections of the Qur’an, which I found incredibly enlightening. Even if you don’t get that book, I highly recommend seeking out a variety of recitations as you’re reading various passages. The emotion of the different reciters helped me better understand the passages, even though I don’t speak Arabic. I’ve also very much enjoyed the perspective of Fazlur Rahman. It was a chapter in his Major Themes in the Qur’an that introduced me to a different, more figurative reading of the Qur’an that really enhanced my experience reading the text itself.

      So, probably way more than you were asking for, but once I got started, I had a little trouble putting on the brakes.


      1. Wow, thank you so much. You have given me so many options to look for. A few of these I already saw on Amazon, and I’ll probably save some on my wish list so I don’t forget to look at them. Thanks, again!


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