I read a mere 64 books this year which is more than I expected to find when I sat down and counted my posts this morning. In the past I’ve hung around the 100 mark, usually close to it, topping it a couple of times.
One reason why my total is so low is that I’m not reading any where near the large amount of YA stuff that I used to read. I should get back to reading more YA novels because being more on top of the current books made me a much better reading teacher. I could try for two a month in 2016, that would not be difficult for me since I can read most of them in just over two hours. I could do what an old librarian friend of mine used to do and read the first and last chapters.
And, to be honest, I haven’t been reading as much as I used to. Too much time on-line; too much time watching television. Both things that I can cut back on.
That said, when I sat down too look over what I have read, I came up with a pretty good list of favorite reads for the year. My long list is below. I’ll select a top ten for New Year’s Eve.
- The Duel by Giacomo Casanova. A surprise favorite. This is a selection from Casanova’s much longer memoirs. I found it very entertaining. Kind of exciting and very funny.
- The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante. Yes, I was one of those people this year. Ms. Ferrante swept me up her story of Neopolitan childhood. I’m saving the last two volumes for 2015.
- The Beach of Falesa by Robert Louis Stevenson. While this was not the pirate story I was expecting, it was a very good piece. A much more grown-up adventure story with something to say about colonialism.
- The Duel by Alexander Kuprin. The second duel to make my long list. Kuprin has that Russian sense of humor that makes Gogol so much fun.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read this one for Austen in August for the fourth time, I think. Loved it. It’s Jane’s world–the rest of us just write in it.
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. The first volume in the Neopolitan series. I found to be ground-breaking. More please..
- Edinburgh by Alexander Chee. This one I had forgotten until I re-read the review which was full of high praise. I hope I remember Mr. Chee’s name, just in case I spot more of his work on store shelves.
- As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Probably the funniest book I read this year, also maybe the darkest. If you’re hesitant about reading Faulkner because he’s difficult, don’t be. He turns out to be a very entertaining read.
- Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck. Another one that I had basically forgotten until re-reading the review. I do plan on reading more by Ms. Erpenbeck.
- Wide Open Town by Myron Brinig. This one will be hard to find, but it’s worth the effort. I loved it.
- Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. This book is now my fantasy retirement plan. The hero buys a mobile bookstore and the team of horses that go with it then takes to the open road, selling books. How great is that?
- Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard. Robinson Crusoe trapped between highways in modern London. A strange and compelling story.
- Hate: A Romance by Christian Garcia. Probably a guilty pleasure. Life and love among the gay intelligensia of AIDS era Paris.
- The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. Yes, the story of two dogs and a cat who travel across country to find their missing owners. But it’s full of wonderful writing and it never becomes unbelievable. I loved it.
- The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst. A guilty pleasure read about spiritually lost people who become physically lost in a town where missing things all turn up. There are lots of socks on the lawns each morning.
- A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr. A guilty pleasure read. The title pretty much sums it up.
- Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm. An old piece of science fiction I read when I was 17 that still holds up. What will humanity become when we are all descendants of clones?
- Hollywood by Charles Bukowski. Based on the authors time in Hollywood making the movie Barfly. My first Bukowski novel. I’m a convert. Funny, insightful, strange. Loved it.
So, not too bad for an off year.
What were your favorite reads of 2015?