2015 Reading Year In Review

2015 was not my best year in reading. Life just got the better of me. My daughters’ bedtimes (too late!) and the proliferation of tempting screens all over the house didn’t help me find more time for reading either. I tend to read in spurts, when I’m out of my routine on vacation and can enjoy guilt-free hours where I am not expected to do other stuff. Work trips when I don’t spring for airplane wi-fi also provide nice pockets of time. But in general, finding time to read is becoming more and more of a challenge. In 2016, I will do better!


I also found myself in reader’s rut a few times. I have so many books surrounding me that sometimes I didn’t know where to turn. I need to be more methodical about reading books that are recommended (and get over my bias against books that everyone else has read and loved). There is so much top quality fiction out there that there’s no need to read mediocre books.

Or maybe the problem is what Hugh McGuire expressed in this San Francisco Chronicle article: I am so addicted to the quick hits of social media and my iPhone that I have lost my ability to concentrate on long form media like books. How depressing is that?!

In 2014, I read 48 books, which I was bummed about because I wanted to hit 50. This year was even worse! I only made it to 44 books. 2016 (again!): I will reach 52! A book a week!

Here are my standout reads from 2015:

Best audiobooks were Small Mercies by Eddie Joyce (read by Scott Aiello) and Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (read by Mozhan Marno).

Most disappointing book: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.

Most creative read goes to Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

For the last three years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read, and the lists have been impressive. Here are some of the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2015: refusal to give dying child life-changing treatment, loss of a child, teacher in a coma, disappearing daughter, prison camp, apocalypse due to ravaging flu, infidelity, depression, suicide, the Communist revolution in China, 9/11, death of spouse, oppression of caged animals, plane crashes, Scientology, soulless startup, divorce, post-partum depression, mental illness, murder, adult autism, middle grade autism, rape, death of family in a fire, the whole second half of Fates and Furies, murder/suicide by child, disappearing mothers (x6).

The breakdown:

  • 36 fiction, 8 non-fiction
  • 7 repeat authors during 2014: Ian McEwan, Jane Smiley, Polly Dugan, Judy Blume, Hilary Liftin, Jean Kwok, Eli Gottlieb
  • 12 audiobooks
  • 11 male authors, 33 female authors

How was your 2015 in reading? What were the highlights?

4 Comments

  • December 30, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I hear you. Even when I do have some time to read, I’m finding myself distracted more and more these days.

  • Mona
    December 30, 2015 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t get into Hausfrau. Abandoned early. Looking forward to the Jane Smiley.

  • Tequila Minsky
    December 30, 2015 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I read Land of Love and Drowning, a first novel, by Tiphanie Yanique. Published in 2014–(is that too late for you to review.) I LOVED it! Takes place in Virgin Islands from the transition from Denmark to US. in early 1900s to a more contemporary time!

    Author is from V.I.,

    The pictures she creates in your mind are so vivid. The plot gives you lots of surprises as you follow three generations of Virgin Island women.

    As Edwidge Danticat’s cover quote says, “incredible storytelling will astound you and leav you breathless”.

  • December 31, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    My highlights were, as is typical for me, books that everyone else read a year or two ago. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Big Brother by Lionel Shriver, Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

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