As a child, I had a voracious love of reading. My dad used to say that I went through books like a fish swims through water. I always had a huge stack of books on my nightstand and I went through them pretty quickly.
On the SAT tests, I was always at least two grades above my own grade in reading and comprehension.
As a teenager, I still devoured books as much as possible, but other distractions took over my time: t.v., friends, school reading, email chain letters, etc. The busier life got the harder it was for me to keep up with my reading. There was even a phase of life where I didn’t read much at all! *gasp*
But ever since starting this book club in the summer of 2013, I’ve got my reading mojo back! Now, don’t mistake me, I definitely don’t read as much as I did when I was a kid. Unfortunately, real life sometimes gets in the way of sitting around reading all day. But there is always a book that needs reading because of the book club reading list.
We try to read a 300 page (or less) book every two weeks. If it’s longer than 300 pages we might bump it out to 4 weeks. And last year, I got to read a lot of books. I keep up with all my books on GoodReads. (All my reading friends, go sign up, it’s awesome!)
At the beginning of 2015, GoodReads had a “look-back-on-your-year-in-books” kind of thing.
So without further ado, here is a list of the books I read last year and a brief synopsis of what I thought, I hope you enjoy!
1) Divergent – Veronica Roth: Yes, this book club is made up of mostly adult women and yes, we all have a soft spot for young adult fiction! Of course we had to read it! Especially with the approaching release of the movie. I definitely liked the book better than the movie. I really like how the whole story revolves around personality types. We talked a lot about Meyers-Briggs personality traits–ESFP’S for the win!!–and we took a test to see which faction we’d be in; I was Dauntless and proud!
2) Insurgent – Veronica Roth: I went and read the sequel separate from book club. It was okay, definitely a filler book in the series. I don’t know if I’ll fully know what I think about it until I’ve read the last one.
3) Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky: Those who know me well know that I am a hardcore fan of this book. I’ve read it several times! This one I read separate from book club because I finally got my own copy. It’s a beautiful, messy, coming of age story that makes me cry. And can we talk about the movie guys? Wow!
4) It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Ned Vizzini: The book was more potent to read in light of the author’s recent suicide. The story follows a severely depressed/anxiety-ridden boy who almost commits suicide and checks himself into the hospital. He spends a week in a psych ward and it follows the friendships he makes with others there and the lessons he learns while he’s there.
5) Looking For Alaska – John Green: Oh John Green, how can I even begin? I love his writing, although this is probably my least favorite of his. It does take place right here in Alabama, at a school. It follows the story of a kid who falls in love with a girl named Alaska at his new school. The first half of the book is his life before her death; the second half deals with the aftermath. Was it suicide? Was it an accident? You decide….
6) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens: A just-for-fun read of mine. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, especially since there was a movie with, like, half the Harry Potter cast in it!!!!!!!!!! So I swore, before the movie, I HAD to read the book. I forgot how hard it was to read classic literature after your brain gets used to modern language! But I enjoyed it. Miss Havisham fascinated and completely captured my attention. Such a compelling character!
7) Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple: Uuumm, can we just talk about how this woman helped write the script for Arrested Development? (Any fans of that show?) This book was hilarious! Bee’s hermit of a mother (Bernadette) just up and disappears one day…no note, no nothing. Young Bee is left to pick up the pieces and find out where her mother is. Riotously funny, written with such wit, a very clever story!
8) Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter: An Italian man, living in a secluded, island town, has a young movie star show up at the hotel his family runs. She’s sick and he falls madly in love. And as an old man, he’s trying to find her again and tell her what he wishes he had told her way back when. It was a beautiful read.
9) The Book Of Lost Things – John Connolly: The fairy tales are darker than we thought they were. A boy finds himself in a magical kingdom after the death of his mother. He’s desperately trying to get out and to make sense of everything.
10) And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini: A beautiful story about family and growing up. If you are a fan of The Kite Runner, you will absolutely love this book!
11) Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan: A young man looking for a job, a bookstore with shelves so tall they disappear into darkness and the mysterious owner who is almost wizard-like. The bookstore has a mind of its own and words are more powerful than we think. What’s with this place?
12) Rebecca’s Tale – Sally Beauman: Non-book club reading here; a fan-made sequel to the infamous Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier. It gives us a more in-depth look at the dreadfully captivating Rebecca and her mysterious death.
13) The Wednesday Sisters – Meg Waite Clayton: This story follows the lives of 5 women during the uncertainty of the 60’s. It deals with life, death, friendship, and everything in between. It made such an impact on our book club that we have named our book club the Tuesday Sisters.
14) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling: Amazing. Funny. Almost as good as Bossypants by Tina Fey. It was the perfect beach-read and now I want to be best friends with Mindy.
15) The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom: The first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time. A girl who doesn’t want anymore time in her life. A dying man who wants more. A very poignant and powerful read. It will leave you thinking for weeks.
16) The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker: A wicked rabbi, dabbling in dark arts, creates a Golem out of clay as a bride for a man traveling to America. A Jinni, captured in a lamp found by a man in Little Syria in New York. These two creatures, earth and fire, unlikely friends, try to make sense of their differences from the rest of humanity and try to lay low in New York City. A fascinating read!
17) Joyland – Stephen King: A just for fun read that a friend gave me. A young man works in a theme park one summer and tries to investigate the murder that took place in the haunted house years ago.
18) The Giver – Lois Lowry: I had never read this book before and I loved it. I don’t know what else to say except it was a fascinating study on humanity. I’m not even going to talk about what a disgrace the movie is……
19) Yes Please – Amy Poehler: Can I just talk about how much I love Amy? She’s so funny. I miss the days when she was on SNL. This was a wonderful book and the section she wrote about her boys is what I aspire to be as a mother.
20) Inferno – Dan Brown: I loved reading The Da Vinci Code and this was no different! From the beginning, it’s a page turner. Professor Langdon wakes up in a hospital in Italy and has no recollection of the previous two days. Addressing issues like global over-population and such, it’s intense and captivating.
Have you read any of these books? Do you have any good books you read last year? Do you have a reading goal this year?
Tell me below in the comments, I’d love to hear!