The books I read in 2015

I read a lot. Just check Instagram. At some point after college, I realized I had enough free time to read for pleasure that I was unsure how to handle all my glee.

The last few years I’ve taken the Goodreads challenge and have hit the mark every time. Last year I vowed to read 25 and I did just that. Here are some of my favorites.

📱 = iPad  |  🎧) = audiobook  |  📙 = hardcover or paperback

Gone Girl (📱)

Gone Girl

I read this book on New Year’s Day and maybe part of the day after. I could not put it down. Was a little late to the hype? Sure. But I didn’t even read Harry Potter until I was 25 (see below) so I’m not one to succumb to societal pressure here.

I enjoyed it enough, but I thought about the book a lot after. One woman manipulates literally everyone into thinking her husband killed her. What a different level of crazy that is. I most definitely considered which one of my friends would be that level of crazy. I could not think of one, and Florida is on a different level of crazy.

It’s pretty thrilling until the last couple dozen pages or so. Quick read and mostly enjoyable (if not downright terrifying to think about). My rating: 3/5

Harry Potter — Series (🎧)

I discovered Harry Potter very late, but I wasn’t completely oblivious to it growing up. I saw kids reading the books, I saw kids watching the movies, and I just assumed Daniel Radcliffe would always be referred to as the title character for the rest of his life. But when I started dating a man who vowed to get me to read them, I obliged. I later married that man, so you’re welcome.

Aside from the first year when I read the British versions, every year since I listen to Harry Potter audiobooks (Stephen Fry versions) with my husband following the football season. I try to put it off as long as I can, because I know I will swim right through them and then what else do I have to do with my time? Every year I discover something I missed before. Every. Single. Time. My rating: 5/5 (duh)

Bossypants (📱)

Bossypants

I really liked this book. Like really heavy laugh-out-loud moments. Tina Fey is so goddamn hilarious and I love her sarcasm, wit, and feminism so, so much. I enjoyed so much of her personal storytelling from the beginning of her life and throughout her career. She’s got a fantastic voice and I have no doubt I’ll be re-reading this one in the future. My rating: 4/5.

Yes Please (📱)

Well that must’ve been a given, eh? Golf claps for reading this book only a year after it was released. 👏

I read Amy Poehler’s book about six months after I read Fey’s. Both were strong in their own rights, but it’s hard to think of one without the other. Her writing on her divorce and her children were some of the best parts. I tend to fall for awesome working mothers and Amy is definitely on the list. My rating: 4/5.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (📱)

Obviously 2015 was the year I decided to read the best female memoirs. I can’t say I watch everything Mindy Kaling is in but I do enjoy her work when I see it. Everyone I know that has read it said it’s hilarious and amazing. Others told me to listen to the audiobook because she reads it all herself and it’s even better. I didn’t get the chance to get to the audiobook but I did like it a lot. Her points about her weight and basically not giving a single fuck has me a bigger fan than anything she’s actually starred in. Sorry Mindy, but… words win me over. My rating: 3/5

Modern Romance (📱)

Modern Romance

Oh look at me for reading a book the same year it was published!!

I have to admit: I watched Aziz Ansari’s standup enough to hear his voice the entire time I read this book. I saw parts of his standup throughout the book but this book was a huuuuuuugeeee extension of his standup work that it most definitely deserved to be its own entity like this.

As much as I’m on the Internet constantly, I’m really not into Internet dating in its most official form (specifically, sites that tout finding your mate). So I was super interested in the topic because I felt like I was never and would never be that type of person — so let me learn about the people that are like that. Eric Klinenberg’s massive research and Ansari’s comedy weaved throughout, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading about something I will never do. People are so, so weird. Hug a friend, look someone in the eye, go outside. You don’t need the Internet to find love (but please keep it up so we can read more books about it). My rating: 4/5.

Between the World and Me (📙)

Let the records show that I won a copy of this book and had the great pleasure of reading it for free. This book had a ton of exposure in the weeks and months and rightfully so: 2015 was a year that put race at the very front of the line for political issues. I’m so oblivious sometimes because I live in a very diverse area and I absolutely love it. South Florida culture surrounds me with so many people from various religions, countries, and backgrounds. But I never truly put myself in someone else’s path to walk when it comes to race and I fully admit that I should. We all should.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has some very heavy messages to get through, if you can stand it. But it really should be required reading for everyone. Many men of color have already experienced what Coates details, but so many others who don’t fit the same profile have no idea what it is like to live that life. I hope you never have to experience, but I do hope you can understand it and rightfully fight for change. My rating: 4/5.

Kitchen Confidential (📱)

Kitchen Confidential

Anthony Bourdain is so funny. Like so so funny. And I found him kind of backwards.

I watched his shows on Netflix starting with Parts Unknown and then worked my way to The Layover. I finished Kitchen Confidential around the time I was in season 4 of Parts Unknown. I’m sure I’ll work my way around to No Reservations soon enough. Don’t you worry.

I worked in restaurants for seven years before finally leaving for good when I was 23. The money was (usually) great and (most of) the people were, too. But you really tend to see the worst in people —customers and workers alike. Bourdain details his rise in the food scene from the time he started in Provincetown to his last stint in New York City. Restaurant employees will nod and laugh a lot and everyone else will furrow their brows and maybe question some restaurants they’ve been to. My rating: 4/5.

The Book Thief (📙)

Coincidentally, I stole this book.

When I was visiting my Grandmother a few years ago, I saw she had it and told her I was borrowing it. My cousin was there and proclaimed it his and yes, of course, I could borrow it. My aunt requested it when I was done. I never gave it back. I loved this book.

I tend to enjoy most World War II books because I feel some sort of strange connection to them. Jewish guilt, I suppose. But The Book Thief is exceptional in that it gives a completely different take on Jews during the war. I cried when I finished it. And while it wasn’t a full-on ugly cry, I had a few tears and couldn’t even pick up another book once I finished it. It took me a full week to look at anything else. My rating: 5/5.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (📙)

I read this in two days and only because I had shit do to or else I would’ve finished it sooner. Bruno’s World War II story is made for children to learn, not for 20-something ladies. But I really liked it nonetheless, even with how sad it ended. My rating: 4/5.

A Wrinkle in Time (📙)

This was the first time I read this book and I got a few weird looks when people learned that. Should I have read it in high school? Probably. Did I? Well… I am a product of the FCAT generation, soooooo…..

I read this in a week and better late than never, amirite? I plan to read the whole series soon. My rating: 3/5.

On Writing (📙)

On Writing

Probably a little too cliché to say this book is a must, but I don’t need to. Writers will find anything that drives them to do the craft they love. I have a terrible love for writing and King puts into words ways to make that relationship a little more manageable. It’s also part memoir, which may have been way more enjoyable than King wanted it to be. I loved this book and think about it often since finishing in August. My rating: 5/5.

The Secret Life of Bees (📙)

I did mention that I’m loving the ladies now, didn’t I? Sue Monk Kidd’s tale of a white teenage girl who ends up at the home of four black sisters is soul-moving kind of stuff. It was the best lady-loving story I read in 2015, and definitely one of the best stories I’ve read recently. My rating: 5/5.

How many books do you want to read this year?

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