All the books I read this year

Towards the end of 2014 I realized I wasn’t reading books anymore. Sure there was always a book “I was reading,” but that basically meant there was a book I had started months ago sitting next to my bed. I decided to start reading again, and because I document things, I decided to keep a list of the books I read in 2015. It’s dumb, but that was basically all it took for me to start reading again, and I read more this year than I have in the last 10 years combined, probably. Below is a list of all the books I read this year. I didn’t start tracking the date I finished the books until the middle of the year. I bolded the books I recommend you read.

My 4 favorite books of the year:
Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel
The Martian – Andy Weir
Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick DeWitt
The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt

1. 11/22/63 – Stephen King – Pretty good, fast read. My first Stephen King book in 20 years after reading most of them up to that point.
2. Deep Down – Lee Child – I like Jack Reacher books.
3. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn – Better than the movie. Pretty big twist, in case you haven’t read it.
4. A Wanted Man – Lee Child – I like Jack Reacher books.
5. Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel – My favorite book of the first half of the year! READ THIS.
6. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. – Adelle Waldman – I can hardly remember how annoying the main character was in this well-written book.
7. High Heat – Lee Child – I like Jack Reacher books.
8. Never Go Back – Lee Child – I like Jack Reacher books.
9. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk – Ben Fountain – I remember liking reading this, and certain snippets of the story, but not much else.
10. Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel – I didn’t think I would like this, but I did!
11. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris – I thought I would like this, but I didn’t!
12. The Vacationers – Emma Straub – This book had a trick at the beginning I really admired. Enjoyable vacation read. READ THIS.
13. Annihilation – Book 1 of The Southern Reach Trilogy – Jeff Vandermeer – Ugh! I did not like this.
14. Graveyard of Memories – Barry Eisler – I like John Rain books.
15. Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith – I liked the first three fourths of this book before the author decided to turn it into a trilogy. This could have been half as long if you removed all the super detailed and interesting info about the former Soviet Union. READ THIS. (Weakest READ THIS on the list.)
16. The Secret Speech – Tom Rob Smith – Not bad, but not great. I read this because I read the first one.
17. Agent 6 – Tom Rob Smith – Not bad, but not good. I read this because I read the first two.
18. The Martian – Andy Weir – This would have been my second favorite book of the first half of the year if I hadn’t read Station Eleven. READ THIS.
19. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng – I don’t know quite why this one was something I liked, but it was. READ THIS.
Not A Drill – Lee Child – I like Jack Reacher books.
20. Personal – Lee Child – I like Jack Reacher books.
21. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr – Eminently readable and excellent. Everyone will tell you to read this and I wouldn’t try to convince you otherwise.
22. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins – Not as good as Gone Girl or even as good as the Gone Girl movie, but I bet the movie of this will be pretty good.
23. Authority – Book 2 of The Southern Reach Trilogy – Jeff Vandermeer – Ugh. I read this because I read the first one.
24. Sous Chef: 24 Hours On The Line – Michael Gibney – It was alright.
25. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi – This was great. READ THIS.
26. Wolf in White Van – John Darnielle – This was good and not like anything I’ve ever read. READ THIS.
27. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloane – This was good. Very pleasant to read. READ THIS.
28. Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City – Choire Sicha – Interesting story telling style. READ THIS.
29. Moonlight Mile – Dennis Lehane – The most formulaic book I read this year?
30. The Farm – Tom Rob Smith – I read this because I read the author’s other books this year. It was better than Girl on a Train, not as good as his other books.
31. Tree of Smoke – Denis Johnson – This took forever to get into and read, but was interesting eventually.
32. Bone Clocks – David Mitchell – I can’t remember what this is about, but I remember not being very excited about it.
33. Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan – I mean, it was well written, and sweet, but not terribly compelling.
34. Gray Mountain – John Grisham – I remember liking John Grisham books, but this was terrible. Was this the worst book I read this year?
35. Telegraph Ave – Michael Chabon (6/30/15) – This was fun to read, but took me forever to get through.
36. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty (7/6/15) – Better than Girl on a Train, at least, and the setting sounded amazing.
37. Skippy Dies – Paul Murray (7/13/15) – Depressing story, fun to read! READ THIS.
38. State of Wonder – Ann Patchett (7/19/15) – This was fine.
39. This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz (7/20/15) – I read this in a day and a half. READ THIS.
40. The Sandcastle Girls – Chris Bohjalian (7/26/15) – I did not really like this book at all, but it could have been much worse.
41. We Others – Steven Millhauser (8/11/15) – I had Milhauser as a professor in college. A lot of these stories were familiar if you’ve read Martin Dressler. It took forever for me to get through.
42. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn (8/19/15) – I had to watch the movie trailer to remember what this book was about, and even then, I’m still not totally sure it worked.
43. The Gold Finch – Donna Tartt (8/26/15) – I had no idea what this was about before I started reading it, except that it was very popular last year. It was good!
44. The Metropolis Case – Matthew Gallaway (9/6/15) – I wanted to like this book so much more, but it was only alright.
45. Open City – Teju Cole (9/16/15) – Lots of people say this is the best book in recent history. It was good, but I wouldn’t go that far. Big twist at the end makes the book a lot more thought provoking.
46. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nahisi Coates (9/22/15) – What more can be said about the book topping most of the best of lists? READ THIS.
47. The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman (9/27/15) – Fun on vacation. READ THIS.
48. Absurdistan – Gary Shteyngart (10/5/15) – Not very fun, even on vacation.
49. Undermajordomo Minor – Patrick DeWitt (10/7/15) – My favorite book of the second half of the year! I enthusiastically recommend you READ THIS RIGHT NOW.
50. The Big Short – Michael Lewis (10/12/15) – He’s written this book before, and it’s still interesting.
51. Nothing Lasts Forever – Roderick Thorpe (10/15/15) – This is the book Die Hard is based on, which as a super fan, I was compelled to read. It takes place in the 70s, and the John McClain character is a grandfather. Surprise ending!
52. Acceptance – Book 3 of The Southern Reach Trilogy – Jeff Vandermeer (10/25/15) – I only read this because I read the first two. I wanted to like the whole trilogy, but I couldn’t.
53. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin (10/27/15) – This was very fun to read. READ THIS.
54. The Tiger’s Wife – Téa Obreht (11/7/15) – What a unique story! Borderline READ THIS, but hard to get into.
55. Make Me – Lee Child (11/13/15) – I like Jack Reacher books.
56. The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt (11/17/15) – I liked this almost as much as I liked Undermajordomo Minor. READ THIS.
57. Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests – Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller (11/28/15) – There were a bunch of interesting stories in here, but it was also super long, and sections dragged.

All the books I read this year

70 thoughts on “All the books I read this year

  1. A few years back I discovered that I am not doing the two things which I had always loved doing – reading and embroidery. I had just stopped. I told myself that I was just taking a break. May be I need to do more outdoor stuff. But that was also not happening. Then I talked to a friend and she advised me to get my eyes checked and there where the problem was. The blogger’s first sentence brought back this memory to me and I could immediately discover a connect. Undoubtedly the blogger has read a lot this year and thank you very much for sharing your list. I am also happy that there are some of the books which I read. And I am definitely going to read the recommended books. I would also like to know how people actually choose their books. Which ones to read and which ones to avoid.


  2. katiejayhart says:

    Nice list! I think thats awesome you kept track maybe I’ll have to try that sometime. Putting some of these on my TBR list. 🙂


  3. Dear Unlikely Words – I’m a first time reader of your blog, and it’s very enticing!
    For me, however, ‘Unlikely Words’ is ironic. It would be highly unlikely that I’d read any of the books on your list of must-reads. Not because they’re not good, but realistically because I’d never read them, or get anything out of them even if I wanted to. I hate reading. It seems writing is my only way of staying connected to the written word. Why is that? I’m not sure. But I’m hoping to find out. I wish I could read like you, but it seems it will never happen. I’m writing a blog on this issue Sunday. I’d love to hear your feedback about this anguished reader who’s trying to seek serious answers while seeing the levity of it all as well.


  4. I must not read lists of books to read! I now have 2 little amazon packages winging their way to me… I’ve been keeping a list of books I read since 2011, I averaged around 75 a year. In summer 2015 I basically stopped reading (that’s when I started my current job, no coincidence I guess) and have only read 14 books since then! I’ve found my attention span shortening, I guess a combination of being more tired and being so hooked into technology all the time. Am now making a real effort to change that, losing myself in books has always been the greatest way of passing the time for me and I don’t want to lose that. Thanks for the list, it’s given me a couple of treats to look forward to!


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