By James Wallace Harris, December 31, 2015
Novel of the Year
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 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
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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”
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.
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.
I recently bought Big Magic too and I plan to read it soon. I can use the inspiration. Ah! That makes me want to read them even more. And here’s Bolick’s article. It appeared in The Atlantic and is a really good read. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/308654/
Thanks for visiting my blog too! I surprised myself by reading so much.
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.
Oh I look forward to that. And the story of those women’s lives is what I’m looking forward to as well.