My 2015 Reading

goodreads 2015

Before getting too far into 2016, I feel a compulsive need to gather in one place a list of the books I read in 2015. Each book we read changes us a little bit, so this list represents some of the ways that my perspectives evolved in the past year. Instead of doing a top five or top ten, here are some more or less random observations about these books.

First of all, I read a lot of graphic novels this year, especially in the fall as I served as a judge for the 2015 Cybils Awards. I was impressed with the breadth of approaches in this platform. Some of the works were stunning in how they conveyed stories and effects by combining visual and textual elements. The stand-outs for me were Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Don Brown’s Drowned City, although there were many other excellent titles. (You can see my ratings and reviews elsewhere on this blog or on Goodreads.) I also dipped into manga for the first time. After acclimating to reading manga-style backwards, I began to appreciate what separates the strongest manga from the rest: great stories and detailed drawing. The artist’s approach to the backgrounds in the panels says a lot about how much craft has gone into a particular book.

Nonfiction titles outnumber the novels this year. I tended to focus on books about baseball, American history, and the music I like (country, classic rock, and bubble gum pop from when I was a kid). No surprises there. (I’ll post my annual round-up of baseball books soon.) In addition, I admired two of Walter Isaacson’s books about American thinkers: The Innovators and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. I hope to get around to his books on Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs in 2016.

Although it wasn’t a goal, I feel like certain books were accomplishments. How had I gotten this far in life without reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea? What a great read.  If winter is getting you down, grab that slim book and head out to sea with Santiago. I’m also caught up on Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford and Hannah Smith thrillers. (The twenty-third Doc Ford book comes out in March!) These novels are set in Florida and other tropical locations, so they are also good winter-busters.

There were five authors with three titles in my 2015 reading: Bill Bryson, Jimmy Carter, Jane Smiley, Noelle Stevenson, and Mo Willems. I wonder if anyone else in the world has those five writers clustered together for anything.

My list has one omission that I need to explain. One of my favorite books published in 2015 is Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles. It’s not on the list below because I read it in 2014 before it was published, but when I blogged about my 2014 reading, I didn’t think it was right to promote something that wasn’t available. It’s out now, and I hope readers who haven’t yet experienced Read Between the Lines will like it as much I do.

I was also in a book published in 2015! Schooled: Ordinary, Extraordinary Teaching in an Age of Change by Anne Lutz Fernandez and Catherine Lutz (Teachers College Press, 2015) focuses on how American teachers do their jobs in a challenging era, and I was over the moon to be featured in a chapter of that fine book. If you want to understand American schools today, Schooled is a great place to start.

So many good picture books came my way in 2015. I tend to like funny ones, like I Will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems, but the two that are sticking with me are animal stories: Trouper by Meg Kearney and The Stranded Whale by the venerable Jane Yolen.

Finally, here is the list of the books I read in 2015.

  1. A. S. King:  Reality Boy
  2. Kadir Nelson:  We Are The Ship
  3. William Kuhn:  Reading Jackie
  4. Walter Isaacson:  The Innovators
  5. Randy Wayne White:  Haunted
  6. Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang:  In Real Life
  7. Bill Bryson: A Walk in the Woods
  8. Allison Hoover Bartlett:  The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
  9. Meg Kearney:  Trouper
  10. Dan Santat:  The Adventures of Beekle:  The Unimaginary Friend
  11. Anna Kang: You Are (Not) Small
  12. Katheryn Russell-Brown: Little Melba and her Big Trombone
  13. Mo Willems: Waiting Is Not Easy!
  14. Yuyi Morales:  Viva Frida
  15. Alan Rabinowitz: A Boy and a Jaguar
  16. Lauren Castillo: Nana in the City
  17. James M. McPherson:  Embattled Rebel:  Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief
  18. Anthony Doerr:  All the Light We Cannot See
  19. Bill Bryson:  I’m a Stranger Here Myself
  20. Armando Galarraga, Jim Joyce, and Daniel Paisner:  Nobody’s Perfect
  21. Misty Copeland: Firebird
  22. Amy Dyckman: Wolfie the Bunny
  23. Chris Haughton: Shh!  We Have a Plan
  24. Jimmy Carter: A Call to Action:  Women, Religion, Violence, and Power
  25. Jane Smiley: Charles Dickens
  26. Jennifer Fisher Bryant and Melissa Sweet:  The Right Word:  Roget and His Thesaurus
  27. Phil Klay:  Redeployment
  28. Anya Kamenetz:  The Test
  29. Andrew Smith:  The Alex Crow

    FullSizeRender (1)

    I finally had the chance to meet Andrew Smith, author of The Alex Crow and many other books, at the NCTE convention in Minneapolis in November.

  30. Lester Laminack: Saturdays and Teacakes
  31. Jane Yolen:  You Rest Here with Me
  32. Lynda Mullaly Hunt: Fish in a Tree
  33. Matt Tavares: Growin Up Pedro
  34. Al Michaels:  You Can’t Make This Up
  35. Kathleen Flinn: Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good
  36. Jane Smiley:  Some Luck
  37. Ian McEwen:  The Children Act
  38. Randy Wayne White:  Cuba Straits
  39. Holly Hughes, Ed.: Best Food Writing 2014
  40. Matt Tavares: Becoming Babe Ruth
  41. Jimmy Carter:  A Remarkable Mother
  42. Jon Ronson:  So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed
  43. Kwame Alexander:  The Crossover

    FullSizeRender (5)

    Kwame Alexander (left), author of The Crossover, won the 2015 Newbery Medal in January.  In November, he put me in a friendly headlock at the Nerdy Book Club party in Minneapolis.

  44. Greg Pizzoli:  Tricky Vic:  The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower
  45. Brian Grazer: A Curious Mind:  The Secret to a Bigger Life
  46. Louis L’Amour:  The Haunted Mesa
  47. Amy Krouse Rosenthal: The OK Book
  48. Mary Oliver: Dog Songs
  49. Jeffrey J. Selingo: College (Un)bound
  50. Emma Yarlett: Orion and the Dark
  51. Gretchen Rubin: Better than Before
  52. Sarah Darer Littman:  Backlash
  53. Elizabeth Green:  Building a Better Teacher
  54. Kevin Fenton:  Merit Badges
  55. Bobby Hart with Glenn Ballantyne:  Psychedelic Bubble Gum
  56. Cristina Henriquez: The Book of Unknown Americans
  57. Ernest Hemingway:  The Old Man and The Sea
  58. Cece Bell:  I Yam a Donkey
  59. Tim Green:  Baseball Great
  60. Ben Fountain: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  61. William Joyce: Billy’s Booger
  62. Heather Lende: Find the Good
  63. Zachariah OHora: My Cousin Momo
  64. Salman Khan:  The One World Schoolhouse
  65. Kazuo Ishiguro:  The Buried Giant
  66. Louise Borden:  Baseball Is …
  67. Silas House:  Eli the Good
  68. Allison Bechdel:  Fun Home
  69. Jonathan Safran Foer:  Eating Animals
  70. Charles Dickens: The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  71. Kent Haruf:  Our Souls at Night
  72. Ben Clanton:  Something Extraordinary
  73. Barry Svrluga: The Grind:  Inside Baseball’s Longest Season
  74. Willie Nelson: It’s A Long Story:  My Life
  75. Jane Smiley:  Early Warning
  76. Harper Lee:  Go Set a Watchman
  77. Elizabeth Bram: Rufus the Writer
  78. John Green:  Paper Towns
  79. Anne Lutz Fernandez and Catherine Lutz:  Schooled:  Ordinary, Extraordinary Teaching in an Age of Change
  80. Emily Jenkins: A Fine Dessert
  81.  Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  82.  Charles Sobczak:  Six Mornings on Sanibel
  83.  Alan Cumming:  Not My Father’s Son
  84.  George R. R. Martin:  A Game of Thrones
  85. Derf Backderf: Trashed
  86. Jimmy Carter:  A Full Life:  Reflections at Ninety
  87. Frann Preston-Gannon:  Sloth Slept On
  88. J. Ryan Stradal:  Kitchens of the Great Midwest
  89. Don Brown:  Drowned City:  Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
  90. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm:  Sunny Side Up
  91. Jane Yolen: The Stranded Whale
  92. Tom Angleberger: McToad Mows Tiny Island
  93. Ken Robinson:  Creative Schools
  94. Alex Gino:  George
  95. Kevin Henkes: Waiting
  96. Walter Isaacson:  Benjamin Franklin:  An American Life
  97. Brian Selznick:  The Marvels
  98. Melanie Watt:  Bug in a Vacuum
  99. Anna Quindlen:  Good Dog.  Stay. 
  100. Becky Cloonan:  Gotham Academy, Vol. 1:  Welcome to Gotham Academy
  101. Jack Baxter:  Mike’s Place
  102. K. P. Kmitta:  Curveballs and Changeups
  103. Eric Colossal:  Rutabaga the Adventure Chef:  Book 1
  104. Nadja Spiegelman: Lost in NYC:  A Subway Adventure
  105. Gareth Hinds:  Macbeth
  106. Scott McCormick:  Mr. Pants:  Trick or Feet!
  107. John Allison:  The Case of the Simple Soul (Bad Machinery #3)
  108. Maxwell Eaton III:  The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race (The Flying Beaver Brothers #6)
  109. Wes Moore:  The Other Wes Moore
  110. Noelle Stevenson:  Nimona
  111.  Michel Chikwanine: Child Soldier
  112. Mary Karr: The Art of Memoir
  113. Deb Lucke: The Lunch Witch
  114. Craig Thompson: Space Dumplins
  115. Philip Pullman:  The Golden Compass Graphic Novel, Volume 1
  116. Robert Venditti:  Attack of the Alien Horde (Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape Book 1)
  117. Colleen Frakes: Prison Island
  118. G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal
  119. Chris Ballard: One Shot at Forever
  120. Judd Winick: Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth
  121. G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why
  122.  Yvan Pommaux :  Orpheus in the Underworld
  123.  Alexandra Robbins: The Nurses
  124.  Svetlana Chmakova: Awkward
  125.  Jorge Aguirre:  Dragons Beware!
  126.  Doug TenNapel:  Nnewts:  Escape from the Lizzarks
  127.  Ta-Nehisi Coates:  Between the World and Me
  128.  Andi Watson:  Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula
  129.  Jacob Chabot:  Hello Kitty:  It’s About Time
  130.  Beth Ferry:  Land Shark
  131.  Victoria Jamieson:  Roller Girl
  132.  Marika McCoola:  Baba Yaga’s Assistant
  133.  Noelle Stevenson:  Lumberjanes Volume 1:  Beware the Kitten Holy
  134.  Emily Jenkins:  The Fun Book of Scary Stuff
  135.  Mike Maihack:  Cleopatra in Space #2:  The Thief and the Sword
  136. John Robert Lewis:  March:  Book One
  137. Jennifer McMahon:  The Winter People
  138. John Robert Lewis:  March:  Book Two
  139. Lark Pien: Long Tail Kitty:  Come Out and Play
  140. Mara Rockliff:  Mesmerized:  How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France
  141. Hiroshi Sakurazaka:  All You Need is Kill
  142. Dasha Tolstikova:  A Year Without Mom
  143. Noelle Stevenson:  Lumberjanes, Vol. 2:  Friendship to the Max
  144. Susan Casey:  Voices in the Ocean
  145. Ben Hatke:  Little Robot
  146. Kadir Nelson: If You Plant a Seed
  147. Sally M. Walker:  Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
  148. Maggie Thrash: Honor Girl
  149. Kate Beaton: The Princess and the Pony
  150. JonArno Lawson: Sidewalk Flowers
  151. Gene Luen Yang:  Secret Coders
  152. Russell Hoban: Jim’s Lion
  153. Maris Wicks:  Human Body Theater
  154. Deborah Underwood: Interstellar Cinderella
  155. Daniel Miyares: Float
  156. Henrik Rehr: Terrorist
  157. Frank Cammuso:  Dinosaur Dilemma (The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, #4)
  158. Sam Garton: Otter in Space
  159. Michael Hall: Red:  A Crayon’s Story
  160. Stacy King:  Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter
  161. Emmanuel Guibert: Ariol:  Where’s Petula?
  162. Matt de la Pena:  Last Stop on Market Street
  163. Jimmy Fallon:  Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada
  164. Scott McCloud:  The Sculptor
  165. Nanette McGuinness:  Light, Camera, Stilton!
  166. Mo Willems:  I Will Take a Nap!
  167. Sara O’Leary:  This Is Sadie
  168. Dr. Seuss:  What Pet Should I Get?
  169. Katie Cotton:  Counting Lions
  170. Ben Towle:  Oyster War
  171. Phil Bildner:  The Unforgettable Season
  172. Jenny Lawson:  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
  173. Mary Lyn Ray:  Goodnight, Good Dog
  174. Sean Koo:  March Grand Prix:  The Fast and the Furriest
  175. Otis Frampton: Oddly Normal Vol. 1
  176. Debbie Ridpath Ohi: Where Are My Books?
  177. Robert Goodin: The Kurdles
  178. Peter Guralnick:  Sam Phillips:  The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll
  179. Ray Benson: Comin’ Right at Ya
  180. Kate Clifford Larson:  Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
  181. Bill Bryson: The Mother Tongue
  182. Bob Shea: Ballet Cat:  The Totally Secret Secret

Please let me know if something here sparks your interest and leads you on a great reading adventure in 2016!




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One Response to My 2015 Reading

  1. cricketmuse says:

    I like the eclecticness of your list…


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