This year I read 282 books. Yep, you heard that right. Two hundred and eighty two books. I love to read. I read a lot. I read at night before bed, while my husband is playing video games. I listen to audiobooks when I run and read eBooks on the elliptical. I read books to my daughters (although I don’t count those in my totals) and ridiculously love the fact that they, at ages almost-four and two, can pick up many of the books in our house and “read” them, page by page.
I read to relax and unwind.
I read for stories and laughter, for the pangs and the leaps of my heart.
I read to get inspiration for my own writing.
Here are my Top Ten of 2015!
- Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (Adult Nonfiction) Is it weird to say that this book basically changed the course of my life? I’ve been reading Glennon’s Momastery blog for years, but finally reading her book, filled with her posts and words compiled together, finally made me start this blog. It finally made me decide to put myself out there. And now it’s making me want to write my own inspirational book, for a younger audience.
- The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (YA/Adult–straddles the line) This book was So. Damn. Fun. Basically a retelling of Prince William and Kate’s courtship and engagement, but with Prince Nick and Bex, an American who meets Nick in college. The characters are so well-developed, and the plot is dishy and scandalous.
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (Adult) Big Little Lies was on my “Best of 2014” list and this earlier work of Moriarty’s did not disappoint. I was rapt while reading the intertwined stories of three women: Cecelia, the model wife, who discovers that her husband is hiding the titular “secret,” Tess, a mother whose husband recently revealed he has fallen in love with another woman, and Rachel, a mother still trying to pick up the pieces from her daughter’s murder. The stories intertwine seamlessly, and Moriarty nails the reveal/aftermath.
- The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen (New Adult) A few Twitter friends recommended Sarina Bowen’s The Ivy Years series to me, and I quickly became utterly addicted. This, the third in the series, like the others revolves around Harkness College and the men’s hockey team. However, The Understatement of the Year deals with a male/male relationship, and how Graham deals with his guilt over his betrayal of his first love when his ex suddenly transfers to Harkness. The only problem: Graham is still in the closet . This book is painful, heartwarming, and affirming. Sarina Bowen creates the most deeply drawn characters and relationships and I so loved seeing these two find their way to each other.
- When We Collided by Emery Lord (YA) Emery Lord is fast becoming one of my favorite YA authors, and this book, her third, is her best yet. I was lucky enough to get an early copy (it comes out in April of 2016), and Lord nails the intertwined voices of Vivi (a free spirit dealing with a mental illness diagnosis) and Jonah (burdened with taking care of his family after the death of his father). Vivi’s sections were perhaps the most spot-on definition of “voice” I have read in recent years and Lord handles mental illness so sensitively.
- Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (YA) A fantastic and utterly real story about Samantha, a high schooler with obsessive-compulsive disorder, whose new friends introduce her to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room in their school where a group of misfits and loners bond through the spoken and sung word. Oh, how I loved this book.
- Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Adult) Taylor Jenkins Reid has also quickly become one of my favorite women’s fiction authors and one whose books I will pre-order immediately. I did so with this one after reading an advanced copy. I love parallel universe tales and this one delivers, telling the two different split lives of Hannah after she moves back to Los Angeles and chooses (or doesn’t choose) to go home with her high school boyfriend after a night out at a bar.
- A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (Middle Grade) I’ve been hearing about this book’s awesomeness ever since it came out and I finally picked it up. It follows Hansel and Gretel as they travel through various Grimm-like tales. It’s dark, gruesome, and hilariously endearing.
- The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer (Middle Grade) This book is quirky and utterly endearing, telling the story of twelve-year-old Ella Mae, whose life is upended when her cousin, who died during WWII, is reincarnated via something called a “bio-pod.” However, when he emerges, her cousin isn’t who he was before; he’s a Japanese man named Takuma. This book covers prejudice, Japanese-American relations, family, and growing up. It’s honest and heartbreaking. Newbery Award-caliber stuff.
- I Was Here by Gayle Forman (YA) A book about one teen girl’s investigation into the truth behind her best friend’s suicide may not sound like the best choice for a running audiobook, but I was so excited to hit the road while I was reading this book. I adore Gayle Forman’s work and even though it was depressing in some ways, I was captivated by Cody and Meg’s story. A sad, poignant, and yet strangely heartwarming book about love, loss, and moving
Notable Mention: Humans of New York: Stories. I adore the Humans of New York Facebook page, and this compilation of photographs/narratives from the past few years is absolutely incredible. I love the flashes of humanity, the micro-fashions and the insights into life.
Reading Year Observations: This was the year of the Princess Diaries re-read (oh, how I adore those books), the cozy mystery, and the discovery of New Adult books.