In the spirit of Year End Listicles About One's Accomplishments, I've rounded up the books I read in God's year of 2015AD.
To ensure that this actually gets read, I'm keeping the synopsis for each book to three sentences, and I'm breaking this up into two parts. This is part one, where I'll go through the Books and Novels. Part two (coming soon) will be books of Poetry, Graphic Novels and Art Books.
I'm not going to give any spoilers, it's going to be more of how and why I read this book (and why you might like it, too).
Books and Novels
1. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story - John Berendt
I ended 2014 by reading the epic Harry Potter series, and I couldn't pick up a book for over a month after finishing that incredible series. When I found out the arts center across from my office was having a book discussion on this book, first I was annoyed that it wasn't a book written by a women, then I swallowed this book whole; it's incredible. Written in the 90s, the author would write a page, call his answering machine in NYC, read the page aloud, hang up, and then listen to the voicemail to decide if the page sounded "good" or not.
2. Yes Please - Amy Poehler
Who doesn't like Amy Poehler? I didn't expect to burst into tears after reading a passage about her buying a vintage bikini, and how when she put it on, she felt all the womanpower in her family and from the swimsuit itself to help her move on from her divorce. This book is great for the month of February.
3 John Dies At The End - David Wong
What can I say, I am a giant fan of Cracked.com and I was bored one day and downloaded one of my favorite columnists horror books. It was okay; I suspect I didn't LOVE it because I read it entirely on my iPhone 5, which just kind of kills my book-boner. There is one scene I think about all the time, which is when the main character walks into a trailer, and the back wall is painted really intricately in a fucked-up horror landscape; I'm waiting to walk into that trailer.
4. How to Get Dressed - Alison Freer
I pre-ordered this book in twos: one for me, and one for my grandma. Alison Freer is a costume designer for movies and TV shows and she's from Texas and you should probably read all of her xoJane columns, as well as buy her book. I like clothes and fashion trendy people who tell you about fashion "rules" and then why you should break them: voila, How To Get Dressed.
5. Wild - Cheryl Strayed
This was the best book I read all year, hands down. So good, that when I was telling my therapist about it, she said she had just finished it too; it's a memoir of the author hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to cope with her mother dying way too young. I was reading it one afternoon when I checked my phone to see the Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair cover; a "remember where you were when..." moment all around.
6. The First Phone Call from Heaven - Mitch Albom
My grandma gave me this book to read after I told her I broke things off with a guy I was seeing after learning he was an atheist. It took me forever to get through, and was kind of cheesy, but it was as cathartic as a "book from your grandma in an attempt to stitch your sad heart back together" can be. I would recommend you get this book for your grandma for the next holiday; she will love it.
7. Local Girls - Alice Hoffman ❤️❤️❤️
I first read Local Girls as a depressed, pink-haired Republican high schooler, and it was the first book that sparked my feminist awakening, like my analytical essays flowed. I felt like the characters really understood me (and I still do). For a long time I couldn't remember the name of the book, only the name of one chapter: Bake At 350.
I don't know what prompted me to buy this book, but I'm glad I did. If there's one thing I will never get enough of, it's books of essay collections wherein a person asks the author a question, and they answer it in an unconventional, makes-you-think way. This book is exactly that.
9. Going Away Shoes - Jill McCorkle
I got this book at a library book sale during the last hour (aka, free book time). I got about twenty other books at that sale too; this was the only one I read. It was a collection of short stories from the point of view of middle aged women (and I loved each one).
10. Rising Strong - Brené Brown
There's a reason that you've seen this book on the top of every blogger's "best books of 2015" list. Brené Brown is brilliant, and this book is so good. I urge you to read this in an attempt to feel more human (watch this, this and this, then imagine a book of that feeling).
11. Stuck in Neutral - Terry Trueman
My best friend read this book in middle school and suggested it might help me gain some perspective for my relationship with ten-year-old special needs cousin. It's about a fourteen-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who remembers everything he's ever heard; a quick read, and a must read. Really interesting, and it brings a great perspective to the "assisted suicide" / Terry Schiavo debate.
12. Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls. - Leandra Medine
As a bona fide man repeller myself, when I stumbled upon Man Repeller this year, I was hooked. Leandra's memoir was cool, light hearted and easy to read. Great for the beach, or like, light travelling?
13. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar - Cheryl Strayed
There are some writers (like yours truly) who try to get in your head. There are others who do get inside your head. Then there are others who rip your heart out of your chest and give you insights on things happening all around you: Strayed is exactly that, and I hate that I somehow missed this column when it was live on The Rumpus.
14. What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Guide to Sex and Safety - Jaclyn Friedman
Two things on this book: I'm not done with it, and I don't want to write about sex. HOWEVER, it would be inconsistent with who I am to not include this book on my list. It's a chapter-by-chapter sexual self help book (lol, welcome) and if I could turn back time, I would force myself to read at eighteen.
And there we have it! The fourteen books and novels I read this year. I can tell that there's an obvious string through these, I'm just not sure what it is exactly.
I also feel compelled to mention that I tried to read Infinite Jest after being rejected hardcore, but, I got over the rejection and I haven't picked the book up since. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Now You: What did you read in 2015? What should I read in 2016? I have a giant stack of dormant books in my room at all times whispering to me, but I'm always open to suggestions.
And of course, the selfie gallery:
PS - All these pictures are blurry and I'm sorry about that.