In 2015, I read 53 books. One was so good I read it a second time before the year was over.
Here is the list:
** = Definitely recommend
* = Enjoyed a lot
^^ = Hated. Stay far, far away
1. Sphere by Michael Crichton**
2. Authority by Jeff VanderMeer*
3. The Martian by Andy Weir**
4. Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott
5. Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer
6. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg*
7. A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin**
8. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg*
9. I Am Number Four: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore**
10. The Boomerang Clue by Agatha Christie**
11. I Am Number Four: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore**
12. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
13. Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut**
14. Paper Towns by John Green
15. I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Legacies by Pittacus Lore**
16. Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
17. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks**
18. The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg**
19. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty*
20. Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah*
21. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
22. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
23. Eerie by Blake Crouch and Jordan Crouch^^
24. Looking for Alaska by John Green
25. Finders Keepers by Stephen King**
26. The Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko
27. Oh Myyy! (There Goes the Internet): Life, the Internet and Everything by George Takei*
28. The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
29. Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot**
30. The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie**
31. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams**
32. I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Secret Histories by Pittacus Lore**
33. Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw*
34. The Stranger by Harlan Coben**
35. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut**
36. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
37. Half Way Home by Hugh Howey
38. The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore**
39. The Compleat Traveller in Black by John Brunner*
40. The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde**
41. The Night Lives On: The Untold Stories and Secrets Behind the Sinking of the Unsinkable Ship Titanic by Walter Lord**
42. Shirley, I Jest! by Cindy Williams**
43. Crooked House by Agatha Christie**
44. Through the Fog by Michael C. Grumley
45. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day*
46. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty**
47. From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne*
48. There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron
49. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith**
50. The Six Days by Anna Carolyn McCormally^^
51. The Lake House by Kate Morton**
52. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
53. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton**
The Martian- This is the book I read twice. I read it toward the beginning of the year, and I loved everything about it. Mark Watney is one of the greatest narrators of all time. He's smarter than most of the people reading the book, but he's so relatable. Instead of curling into the fetal position and waiting for Mars to kill him, he just figures out how to survive, one problem at a time. When I heard the author Andy Weir speak at Comic Con in July, I discovered he IS Mark Watney, at least in terms of personality. The movie adaptation is wonderful, too. Just a great story, beautifully told.
American Gods- I do not get the hype for this book. I really, really don't. There were a couple of interesting moments, but for the most part I was just so incredibly bored.
Finders Keepers- I enjoyed this follow-up to Mr. Mercedes. I was a little surprised that King brought in a supernatural element so late in the trilogy, though, since Mr. Mercedes worked so well as a straight novel. It seems a little unnecessary, but I'm excited to see where it goes.
Royal Wedding- Princess Mia is back! I have to admit, I was disappointed that we skipped so much of Mia's life, and then only spent a couple of days with her. But I still loved the book. I do hope it isn't setting up a sequel series with the new princess, though, because what I loved about the Princess Diaries books was Mia's voice. I hope this wasn't the end of the series, and that we get more.
The Girl on the Train- This is a very unpopular opinion, but I did not love this book. I didn't hate it, either, but I was very disappointed in it. I knew "whodunnit" 40 pages in, and not because I'm particularly good at guessing culprits (I am most definitely not). It just wasn't written well enough to keep up the mystery. Also, terrible protagonist. I had no interest in rooting for her, she was an awful person.
Career of Evil- JKR is a genius. That's all I have to say. Anytime someone dismisses her as just someone who writes children's books, I want to scream. These Cormoran Strike books are BRILLIANT.
The Lake House- Kate Morton continues to be one of my favorite authors. She is so good at weaving inter-generational storylines together. Paula Hawkins needs to read these books and take note of how to actually build up suspense and keep readers guessing.
Shirley, I Jest!- Oh, Lord. Look, I love Cindy Williams, and anyone who is a fan of hers will enjoy this book, but it is not well-written at all. So many exclamation points. Every other sentence. Super off-putting. But I did love reading about how she made it in Hollywood.
Looking for Alaska- I'm not a huge John Green fan to begin with, but this book is definitely where he lost me. His characters were not teenagers. He gave them ages that would make it seem like they were, but they acted nothing like teenagers. And the way they talked was utterly ridiculous. Like college freshman who take one philosophy course and suddenly think they are the most brilliant minds ever to exist. I wanted to smack every single one of them.
The Paper Magician Trilogy- The first book is not great. It's good, and it introduces some great characters and an intriguing world, where magicians "bind" themselves to one magical medium: paper, glass, metal, etc. But it's definitely worth reading the first, so you can read the vastly superior second and third novels. The first book is too expository, and focuses too much on the backstory of one person. But the world expands in the second book, and the plot gets more intricate.
This year's goals:
-Read 50 new books
-Finish the I am Number Four series (including companion novels)
-Read 5 classics
-Read at least 15 books that I have on my own bookshelves. I read a lot of Kindle books, because it's easier to read at work during lunch, and I also get a lot of books from the library. But I also have a ton of perfectly good books sitting on my shelves, and last year I only read a handful. I need to work on that.
-Finish my book goal with enough time to re-read His Dark Materials, especially with the BBC series coming next year