Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Reading List

2015 was a good year for books, although I'll never match the 105 I read in 2012, when the BG and I were in competition and I was on a heavy diet of YA for her fifth grade reading group. The full list is below my Top Five, and you can find the Goodreads version here. Although denominated hierarchically, they are not intended as a ranking.

If I had to choose my favourite book of the year, I think it would be Infidel, because it was a gripping story of personal triumph of a remarkable woman who escaped the hardship of Somalia and the death grip of religion. But the Pinker book was fascinating; the Hornby was a fantastically written book about books and reading; and the two works of fiction were delightful, each in their own way.


I gather she's become a darling of the right for her opposition to some of the tenets of Islam, but the remarkable stories of life for a girl in Somalia and Saudi Arabia, and her escape through the bureaucracy into Europe, an education and success, is equal parts riveting and inspirational. I read a bunch of books this year trying to understand what it's like to be a Muslim woman, and this was far and away the best.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
Convincing argument that human nature is largely a product of biology, and how culture, religion and politics have twisted the facts to fit preferred narratives. I learned a great deal from this book, and it seemed, to me, balanced and easy to read.

More Baths, Less Talking (Stuff I've Been Reading #4)
I'm a sucker for Hornby and book reviews, so the inclusion of this book should not be a surprose. What is a surprise, is that I happened on it at the library, while I was looking for something else, and was heretofore unaware that he had been doing a regular column. Great writing, and the fact that at the time (2011) he was working on a screenplay for Brooklyn--a movie that came out last December--only added to the enjoyment. He also pointed me to Murial Spark, and I've read and liked two of her books this month (I have a hold on The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie )

I understand why everybody wanted to make this into a movie. Portis is a great writer, and Mattie Ross might be the greatest young woman in American literature. Sarah loaned me Dog of the South last year, and I enjoyed it so much, I'd thought I'd give his best known work a try. Glad I did.

I think G Lo gave me this, with, as i recall, the instructions that I was to read this, but I wouldn't enjoy it. As a contrarian, I did enjoy it, partly for the WW I setting (particularly interesting a after reading a bunch of books in Belgrade in the centennial year of Gavrilo Princip); partly for the artful time shifting, which made the story all the more interesting; and finally, for the lyrical beauty of the prose.

2015 Books

1 comment:

  1. Just got a copy of True Grit - looking forward to it. I have a book to send along to you. Where should I mail it?