2015 Year in Reading

By James Wallace Harris, December 31, 2015

Novel of the Year

The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert

For most of my life, my all-time favorite novel has been Have Space Suit-Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein. It’s now The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I guess I’m finally moving past my childhood. The Heinlein novel, which I first read in 1964, gave me a future to think about, but for the past several years, I’ve been looking backwards, especially into the 19th century, and The Signature of All Things captures, at least for the moment, where I’m at philosophically.

Runners Up (no order):

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • The Broken Bubble by Philip K. Dick
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

This was a very good year for fiction. I read many more great novels, but these are the ones that shook me up. If you look at the full list of books below that I read in 2015, you’ll see some astounding novels I’m leaving off. This was an excellent year for new science fiction (Aurora, Seveneves, The Water Knife), but I can’t bring myself to consider them in the runner up category.

Nonfiction Book of the Year

This Changes Everything - Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein is powerful statement about our future. Klein makes a great case that capitalism is at fault for our environmental problems. This is one of those books that everyone should read but won’t.

Runners Up (no order):

  • The Meaning of Human Existence by Edward O. Wilson
  • The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  • Spinster by Kate Bolick

It was also a great year for nonfiction. One of my reading goals last year was to read more nonfiction. I didn’t work as planned, but I do think I’m reading a bit more nonfiction.

Reading Log for 2015

Author Title Finished Format Year
Timothy A. Pychyl Solving the Procrastination Puzzle 2015-01-03 Audio 2013
Roger Zelazny This Immortal 2015-01-06 Hardback 1966
Albert Camus The Stranger 2015-01-06 Audio 1942
Ray Bradbury The Martian Chronicles 2015-01-09 Audio 1950
Kevin Birmingham The Most Dangerous Book 2015-01-17 Audio 2014
Edmond Hamilton City at World’s End 2015-01-19 Audio – Yahoo 1951
Edward O. Wilson The Meaning of Human Existence 2015-01-23 Library hardback 2014
Robert A. Heinlein The Man Who Sold The Moon 2015-01-26 Audio 1951
Elizabeth Gilbert The Signature of All Things 2015-02-03 Audio 2013
Evan Osnos The Age of Ambition 2015-02-10 Audio 2014
Hector Tobar Deep Down Dark 2015-02-13 Audio 2014
Elizabeth Kolbert The Sixth Extinction 2015-02-18 Audio 2014
Brian Aldiss Non-Stop 2015-02-21 Hardback 1958
Nick Bostrom Superintelligence 2015-02-28 Audio 2014
Naomi Klein This Changes Everything 2015-02-28 Kindle ebook 2014
Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens 2015-03-12 Audio 2015
Jack McDevitt Moonfall 2015-03-13 Library hardback 1998
Roxane Gay Bad Feminist 2015-03-15 Audio 2014
Olaf Stapledon Last and First Men 2015-03-22 Audio 1930

Lynn Kear and John Rossman Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career 2015-03-26 Kindle ebook 2006
Mary Doria Russell Epitaph 2015-03-29 Audio 2015
Nancy Kress Yesterday’s Kin 2015-03-30 Kindle ebook 2014
Eric H. Cline 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed 2015-04-04 Audio 2014
Emily St. John Mandel Station Eleven 2015-04-05 Kindle ebook 2014
Atul Gawande Being Mortal 2015-04-09 Audio 2014
Paula McLain The Paris Wife 2015-04-14 Hardback 2011
Benjamin Hale The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore 2015-04-18 Audio 2011
Liu Cixin The Three-Body Problem 2015-04-27 Audio 2014
Walter Tevis The Queen’s Gambit 2015-04-28 Kindle ebook 1983
Alan Paul One Way Out 2015-05-02 Audio 2014
Mary Shelley The Last Man 2015-05-18 Audio 1826
Madeline Ashby vN 2015-05-22 Audio 2012
Ross MacDonald The Moving Target 2015-06-01 Library hardback 1949
Paolo Bacigalupi The Water Knife 2015-06-06 Audio 2015
Frank Herbert Hellstrom’s Hive 2015-06-12 Library hardback 1972
Pat Barker Toby’s Room 2015-06-17 Library ebook 2012
Jules Verne The Mysterious Island 2015-06-21 Audio 1874
Daniel DeFoe Robinson Crusoe 2015-07-04 Audio 1719
Marie Kondo The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up 2015-07-10 Kindle ebook 2014
Robert M. Edsel The Monuments Men 2015-07-15 Library hardback 2009
Jack Williamson The Humanoids 2015-07-15 Audio 1947
Harper Lee Go Set A Watchman 2015-07-19 Audio 2015
Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird 2015-07-21 Audio 1960
Kate Bolick Spinster: Making A Life of One’s Own 2015-07-30 Library hardback 2015
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Lucifer’s Hammer 2015-08-10 Audio 1977
J. A. Johnstone Phoenix Rising 2015-08-11 Scribd ebook 2011
Kate Bolick Spinster: Making A Life of One’s Own 2015-08-12 Scribd audiobook 2015
Robert Silverberg Downward to the Earth 2015-08-15 Scribd audiobook 1970
Andy Miller My Year of Reading Dangerously 2015-08-19 Audible 2012
Nevil Shute A Town Like Alice 2015-08-23 Audible 1950
Aziz Ansari Modern Romance 2015-08-27 Audible 2015
Kim Stanley Robinson Aurora 2015-09-02 Audible 2015
Daniel Coyle The Little Book of Talent 2015-09-04 Audible 2012
Barbara Oakley A Mind For Numbers 2015-09-04 Audible 2014
M. R. Carey The Girl With All the Gifts 2015-09-16 Audible 2014
Neal Stephenson The Seveneves 2015-10-13 Audible 2015
Isaac Asimov Foundation 2015-10-23 Scribd audiobook 1951
Kate Wilhelm Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang 2015-10-27 Scribd audiobook 1976
Dan Harris 10% Happier 2015-10-28 Kindle ebook 2014
Robert Silverberg Thorns 2015-11-04 Scribd audiobook 1967
Samuel R. Delany Babel-17 2015-11-10 Audible 1966
Charles Dickens Bleak House 2015-11-21 Audible 1853
Clifford Simak The Heritage of Stars 2015-12-01 Audible 1977
Alan Weisman Countdown 2015-12-08 Audible 2013
Martin Ford The Rise of the Robots 2015-12-16 Audible 2015
Philip K. Dick The Broken Bubble 2015-12-20 Audible 1956
Hal Clement Mission of Gravity 2015-12-24 Kindle ebook 1953
Philip K. Dick The Man In The High Castle 2015-12-27 Audible 1962

I read 68 books this year, the most since I’ve been doing these yearly reviews.

Reading Goals for 2016

Every year I make big plans for what I want to read in the coming year, and every year I fail to follow through. So this year I’m not going to make any promises. I want to read more nonfiction, but there seems to be some kind of psychological barrier to how much information about reality I can take in on any given week. I sometimes think I need to read fiction to balance the psychic load.

Past Year Reports

Essay #992 – Table of Contents

5 thoughts on “2015 Year in Reading”

  1. That’s a lot of books. I’m curious to read Station Eleven because it has received such high praises. Also, Slate audio book club podcast had a wonderful discussion on it that really made me want to read it for myself. And I’m waiting for Spinster to be out in paperback. I wanted to get it since reading the article that inspired the book’s creation and learning more about the book itself.
    I recently bought The Signature of All Things so that I have more than one reason for why I say Gilbert is one of my favorite authors.

    1. I’m reading Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic right now. It’s wonderful inspiration for anyone who wants to be creative. I friends who read all kinds of books that are different from my tastes who have told me how much they loved Station Eleven. It’s a wonderful book I need to reread. I got Spinster from the library when it came out, and after I read it, I bought it on Audible and listened to the whole thing again just a week or so later. What article inspired it’s creation? I need to track that down.

      ZeZee, you were no slouch this year finished books either. I was just at your site reading your year-end review when this post came.

      1. A lot of the content of that essay is in Spinster but it does not have what I consider the essential part which I found great. What I loved was Bolick’s way of weaving in the stories of how five women writers influenced her creative and philosophical growth. Be prepared to go read more books when you read Spinster.

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