Archive for January, 2015

My 2014 year of reading

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Happy 2015! Ahh, another year has passed and I feel the need to continue my tradition of blogging about the books I have read this year. I have been keeping track of the titles of books that I have read for quite a few years, and I have been blogging about them since 2009. I have had clients and family comment on this post and I have found many new books to read by sharing what I read–hence the tradition continues.

I thought that this would be a bumper year for reading considering I had a two week vacation in Hawaii and then spent another 5 months on a break from my job while traveling to New Zealand and Australia with my husband while he was on sabbatical. You should have seen my amazon wish list before I left! I spent all year adding books to my cart with grand dreams of catching up on lots of missed reads, but alas, it seems I read about the same number of books regardless of the country I am living or the demands of my job. I always say that if you are the type of person who likes to make resolutions, reading more books is a good one. This year I will try to take more time to read that isn’t just right before I fall asleep. I still feel guilty if I pick up a book during the day or anytime that I should be working, cleaning, cooking, exercising,¬†being a fabulous parent, etc. Maybe a good book on letting go of guilt is needed. ūüėČ

Now before I share my books a little disclaimer or two. These are not book reviews, just a small line or two to remind myself of what I read and perhaps give you some ideas about books you want to read. Since I only jot down blog titles throughout the year some of these books I hardly remember reading. Next, even though I barely write anything for this blog post it is still more than I have been accustomed to writing and I am way out of practice. I think my resolution needs to be to write more, this sure is painful when you don’t do it much.

*Can you believe it. After I finished writing this whole thing I tried to save it and my blog had signed me out and I lost everything!! Yes, I am an idiot for writing directly in my blog and not in Word. Lesson learned.


Island Girls by Nancy Thayer


This was an impulse library book grab. It was sitting on a display table tempting me with a warm¬†picture and quote about passing this book onto the women in your life that you love. I haven’t read a book that was so fluffy and had all the characters get what they want in a long time. If you need happy endings and very little conflict you will like this book. She only lets bad things happen for a few pages and then yeah! things turn out great. I did finish it, and it might have been just a little nice not to have to worry or think to much while reading it.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner


There were some good parts, but I felt no need to read the next book.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher


I had to grab one of my teenagers books while we were camping when my kindle lost power and this one was available. This might be a good discussion book for teens about suicide and how your actions or non-actions can have an impact on others. It was okay, but not one that I felt like my teenager had to finish (and she didn’t).

Divergent by Veronica Roth


Another book grabbed from my teenager. I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would, but again not enough to continue onto the other 2 books in the series.

Champion by Marie Lu 


This was the last book in another teen dystopian trilogy. This series grabbed me enough to finish the series, although I am still conflicted about how I feel about the ending.

The Bone People by Keri Hulme


And, now a move away from YA books. This book takes place in New Zealand and I started this book about 4 times and I could never get past the first 80 pages, but I gave it one more time once we were living in New Zealand and everything fell into place. This is one of those books that has a strange structure to it and it uses lots of Maori words that can be difficult to get used to. It was also my favorite book of the year. I am pretty sure I will read it again, but hopefully the next time with an English teacher. Highly recommend.

The Dinner by Herman Koch


This was a book club book. I hated it. Yuck, blah, poop.

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling


To quote the author: ‚ÄúThis book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It‚Äôs mostly pink. If you‚Äôre reading this book every night for months, something is not right.‚ÄĚ I had a great time reading this book. I thought it was honest, and real, and smart. I laughed, but was also inspired. I have given this book as a gift to friends and recommended it to older teens as well.

The Signature of All Things: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert


This book had a great start, but my interest in the story and characters waned towards the end.¬†Even though I didn’t love this book I did like it much more than Eat, Pray, Love, her other book.

Dat is Fat by Jim Gaffigan


If you have seen any of Jim Gaffigan’s stand up shows, you probably don’t need to read this book. If not, the book is really funny–especially for parents of young children. It would probably make a great book to listen to on a road trip.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle


This book was sitting on a shelf at the house we rented in New Zealand. It was so fun to read, but please do not read this unless you have plenty of wine and lots of good cheese in the house. OR, you could just give this book to someone you love with a plane ticket tucked into it. Actually, I don’t own this book so if anyone who loves me is reading this–what a great idea. ūüėČ

Book of Ages: The life an Opinions of Jane Franklin


This historical fiction book was about Jane Franklin, the sister of Benjamin Franklin. Since the author had so little to go on to create her story it is also a rumination on who history forgets, especially if they are women. It was a short book, and not entirely a page turner, but I did enjoy it.

Aimless Love by Billy Collins


Thank goodness for Billy Collins because I can now say that I read a poetry book this year. I love him–and I’ve even ordered a new poetry book to read for this year by another poet. I hope I won’t be let down.

Tracks by Robyn Davidson


I love a good adventure travel memoir and this one was great. It had violent camels, a sexy photographer, big snakes, a loyal dog. If you do read it I highly recommend that you look up the original photos that were done by the previously mentioned sexy photographer.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood


My sister-in-law recommended this series to me. It is another dystopian book set in a future where genetic engineering rules the world. I have read quite a few dystopian books recently and this one was the most believable to me and hence the scariest. I will probably finish the series.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach


J read this book first and it did seem sort of like a guy book (lots of baseball) so I didn’t pick it up until I was on a 14 hour flight and I needed something to read. I got really mad at this book a few times, but in the end I really liked it. I didn’t love it–and the middle dragged a bit, but I have passed it on to friends which is my measure of how much I liked a book.

We Were Liars by e. lockhart


I like to stay on top of the hot new teen reads and this book was getting a lot of attention, especially for a twist that you can’t talk about. I think this might been one of those teen reads that is actually just for teens. I didn’t really care too much for it, but I can see why teens like it.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner


This was my favorite book that I read for book club.¬† It’s based on the authors own experience during the regime of Cambodia’s Khymer Rouge. It was beautiful, and enlightening, and really really sad. I loved it.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


I couldn’t resist this book. It is a murder mystery with the murder taking place at a preschool fundraiser. It is funny, with great dialogue and a good ending. It is a quick fast read that makes me want to read another book by Moriarty.

The Fever by Megan Abbott


A while back I read an article in the New York Times about girls in upstate NY who were having verbal and physical tics. It got a lot of media attention with lots of speculation about what was causing the symptoms. In the end the cause of the outbreak was¬†found to be psychological. This book was inspired by that story, which is what interested me.¬†The book dives deeply into the world of teenage girls and a little bit into their parents lives. Being a teenage girl is scary and this book brings that fear to the forefront–fear from the girls, but mostly fear of the parents about their teenage girls.

Heft by Liz Moore



This was another book club book that I read on my own while we were in New Zealand. I had a lot of empathy  for the characters (a morbidly obese former academic stuck in his home, and a high-school star athlete of a drug abusing mother) and I  was sad to leave the characters when it was over. The premise sounds like it could get really depressing and sentimental, but there is a lot of hope in this book which was really well done.

Unfinished books:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I thought I would try to read this after seeing some hype about the tv show based on the books coming out. I tried, got about 100 pages in, but couldn’t really get into it. Maybe I will try the tv show instead.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I had great goals of keeping up with Echo’s 9th grade reading list. I loved this book when I first read it and it was just like I remembered it reading it a second time. I think I must have read it recently because I didn’t feel the need to finish it. Now they are reading the Odyssey and well…my goal of keeping up has been scaled back.

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

I saw this book all over the place in New Zealand and Australia. The author is Australian. I liked the start of this book, but I got sidetracked by Big Little Lies. I hope to finish it, but my track record on this isn’t great.

I also like to keep track of any live music or shows we see. With Sadie getting more involved in theater and Jason playing more I hope to see lots of great theater and music in 2015.

We had great travel this year, but we didn’t get to see much live music.The only live music we¬†saw was our friend and neighbor Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers and Wendy Ramsey and while I wish we had seen more live music we love seeing their shows.

Our big show this year was for Sadie’s birthday.

Matilda on Broadway. It was great–especially the talent of the kid actors.

Our favorite local shows we saw this year:

Hairspray and The Piano at Syracuse Stage

The Color Purple, The Penguin Tango, A Year with Frog and Toad and Tarzan at Redhouse Arts Center

Looking back it wasn’t a great year for reading. My kids didn’t want me to read aloud to them much, and I didn’t press it. We started a few books, but they always got pulled into their own books and we often didn’t finish. I am disappointed in this, and I miss it.

I also read zero non-fiction books. I make fun of my husband for his lack of fiction reading, but I am just as bad. This needs to change as well.

Thanks for following along, and please–if you have read a great book recently tell me about it. My amazon cart needs refilling. Thanks!