Archives: Books Read in 2015

 

January

  • Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler (B – she might be funny, but she doesn’t seem very nice; Bossypants by Tina Fey was better)
  • What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman (D – largely about a woman who was involuntarily committed to a mental institute in the 1920s, this story had potential but was a bit too obsessed with sexual molestation)
  • On Writing, by Stephen King (A – this was a re-read and I’m glad I did – this guy is talented)

February

  • Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty (A – trashy beach read, but with a point; frivolous until it’s not)
  • The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton (D – too long, dumb plot, lame characters)
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman (C – interesting set-up with a Coney Island freak show but the plot never really took off)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins (B – frustrating suspense story because the protagonist is an alcoholic who proves to be an unreliable narrator and witness)
  • Choose Your Own Autobiography, by Neil Patrick Harris (A – so much fun – both his story and the structure of it)
  • Three Wishes, by Liane Moriarty (B – yet another beach read, not as good as her others – this one’s about triplets)

March

  • Are You My Mother, by Alison Bechdel (B- graphic memoir that analyzes Bechdel’s relationship with her mom through Woolf, Winnicott and therapy – a bit too meta for my taste but well done)
  • The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe (A – a memoir of his mom’s struggle with pancreatic cancer told through the lens of the books they read and discussed)
  • The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey (A – I’m not a zombie fan, but this is well-written and compelling)
  • Cartwheel, by Jennifer duBois (C – based on the Amanda Knox story, this had potential but was disappointing)
  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid (A – well written, clever and poignant novel disguised as a self-help book)
  • Fireflies in December, by Jennifer Erin Valent (D – strong potential, but the voice is a bit moronic so it reads like a religious Dick and Jane book)

April

  • We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart (B – good set-up of Kennedy-esque rich kids with a bit of mystery on a private island off Massachusetts, but a bit convoluted in its delivery)
  • Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini (B- interesting fictionalized look back at the Lincolns and DC 150 years ago) 
  • Lock In, by John Scalzi (A – near-future sci-fi about a disease that leaves people locked in their bodies? Totally fun, fast-paced and well-crafted; if it were a series, I’d be hooked!)

May

  • The Martian, by Andy Weir (A – great sci-fi survival story that is somehow both nerdy and a tear-jerker)
  • The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah (A – fictional account of French resistance in WWII – page turner)
  • Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova (B+ – a bit melodramatic, but hard not to be when you’re examining Huntington’s Disease; page-turner  moral quandary)

June

  • The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane (D – interesting fictional account of Boston in 1915 – but WAY too long and I didn’t really care about the characters)
  • Sales Acceleration Formula (B – read this one for work – how HubSpot built its salesforce)
  • Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll (C+ – book club – lame set-up with unsympathetic characters, but the middle is a page-turner)
  • Finders Keepers, by Stephen King (A – just what you expect and want from a summer release)
  • Secrets of a Charmed Life, by Susan Meissner (B – children sent to England’s countryside during WWII end up changing their fate with one decision)
  • The Letter, by Kathryn Hughes (C – over-reaching, melodramatic story filled with unlikely coincidences and unsympathetic characters – a WWII adoption gone wrong)

July

  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe (B+ – this was a sale book that was rated pretty highly, so although I’m no Lowe Groupie, it ended up on my list – and it was surprisingly entertaining and well-written)
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North (C- – lots of potential in this looping time travel adventure – but it felt tedious and over-reaching – I was bored)
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (B – entertaining quest like Willie Wonka’s Golden Tickets for gamers) 
  • Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng (B – Chinese family in 1970s Ohio is forced to look back at all things untold in the wake of their daughter’s death)

August

  • We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas (B – well-written look at a woman’s life, spanning the 20th century – from her Irish-American upbringing to her aspirational marriage and subsequent role as care-taker)
  • Love Life, by Rob Lowe (B – apparently I’m a bigger fan than I realized)
  • The Bees, by Laline Paull (D – is for dumb. Hard to relate – it’s about BEES.) 

September

  • Mean Streak, by Sandra Brown (D – definitely a page turner, but you can see the plot twist coming a mile away – and it’s just too trashy to be forgiven)
  • Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant (A – century-long tale of the daughter of Jewish Russian immigrants who was born in Boston – great sense of place/time and strong female characters)
  • A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman (A – the sweet story of a widower who has nothing to live for – until he does)
  • The Girl in 6E, by A.R. Torre (C – good for a thriller but unnecessary details about “camming” made it read a bit like porn)
  • Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel (A – fantastically fun near-post-apocalyptic story set in what was Michigan)
  • Tallgrass, by Sandra Dallas (D – I was hoping this would be a book about Japanese interment camps during WWII, but the aw-shucks child narrator made it feel like a Christian Reader)
  • The Last Letter from Your Lover, by Jojo Moyes (C – the sense of setting (London/Riviera in the 1960s) was fun, but the story was like reading a frustrating “missed connections” ad)

October

  • Dead Key, by DM Pulley (C – unnecessarily complicated thriller about a bank that locked its doors overnight – and the people who go missing along the way)
  • Just Kids, by Patti Smith (C – good snapshot of life as an artist/musician in NYC during the 60s heyday, but it read like a chore)
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, by Jonathan Evinson (B – well-written story about redemption, both funny and poignant – would’ve rated higher if the ending hadn’t been so abrupt)
  • The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson (C – trashy page turner) 
  • Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill (B – interesting, airy language about a marriage)
  • The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown (B – interesting, but not as gripping as people told me) 

November

  • The Book of Speculation, by Erika Swyler (D – promising start about a librarian on Long Island – then it does a death spiral into insanity)
  • In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume (A – solid portrait of Jewish NJ in the 1950s – and three plane crashes that impacted the town of Elizabeth)
  • Wool, Omnibus Edition, by Hugh Howley (A – solid post-apocalypse tale set in an underground silo of survivors with a strong female hero) 
  • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie King (C+ – updated twist on Sherlock Holmes – with a female perspective)
  • The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George (B – lovely little book for romantics and book lovers, likely the same audience)
  • The Last Anniversary, by Liane Moriarty (C – trashy chick-lit spun around the mystery of a “found” baby)

December

  • I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson (A – teen coming of age story with a flair of mystery; well written and fun)
  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helen Wecker (A – even though it centers around mythical creatures, I liked it because it is a well written morality tale and coming of age story set in New York)

Abandoned Mid-Read in 2015

  • Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris – ran out of time on the loan
  • Micro: A Novel, by Michael Crighton – started it because it was set in Hawaii, but too dumb to continue
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Schriver – interesting premise, but LAME to read
  • Blasphemy, by Sherman Alexie – solid writing and good short stories – but the themes were too repetitive 
  • Landline, by Rainbow Rowell – dumb premise, dumb dialogue, dumb, dumb, dumb
  • The Opposite of Maybe, by Maddie Dawson – proving you can’t judge a book by its cover – dumb chick lit
  • Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith – solid but my library loan expired

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