2015 Reading: Second Half

Dec 30, 2015

I had a goal to read 65 books this year. When I recapped the first half of the year, I was a little worried because I was only up to 30. But between taking a three-week blogging break and reading some quick reads (shhhh), I managed to read 38 books during the second half of the year, which brought my total up to 68. Maybe 2016 will finally be the year when I break the 70 mark.

Here's what I read from July-December. (Book titles are linked to my full reviews.)

1. Henry and the Clubhouse by Beverly Cleary, 8/10 (readaloud)
Ramona is in fine form, and Henry takes it all in stride (except for the part when she locks him up in his own clubhouse--then he kind of loses it).

2. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary, 8/10 (readaloud)
A little more serious than some of the other Ramona books. Having your dad lose his job will do that to a story.

3. It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan For Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff by Peter Walsh, 7/10 (audio)
I appreciated that he treated stuff as stuff rather than faithful companions, but his actual outline for purging got a little repetitive and tedious.

4. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Ewles, 9/10 (audio)
This book totally transformed my attitude towards The Princess Bride from indifferent, maybe even a little cool, to devoted fan. Also, the audio version is a must.

5. Conversations With a Moonflower by Christine T. Hall, 5/10
The metaphor was a little overdone in this short book, but it made us plant a moonflower in our backyard and the flowers really do open up extremely quickly.

6. Design Mom: How to Live With Kids: A Room-By-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair, 8/10
A design book about living with kids that makes you think the author must have actually lived with kids (she does, in fact, have six of her own).

7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, 8/10
A book about books and the unpredictability of life. Told in sparse but mesmerizing language.

8. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, 8/10 (audio)
A poignant story that surprised me in a dozen delightful ways.

9. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, 5/10 (readaloud)
My kids enjoyed this book far more than I did.

10. Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain, 8/10
If you're looking for a good book club book, pick this one.

11. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, 8/10 (readaloud)
Pippi gave us plenty to laugh about. She's one of a kind.

12. Emily's Quest by L.M. Montgomery, 8/10
My favorite of the trilogy, and it has a good nail-biting scene at the end.

13. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, 7/10 (readaloud)
My kids are still singing the song about Boggis and Bunce and Bean.

14. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, 7/10
I liked it, but I think I'd be praising it a lot more if I actually enjoyed post-apocalyptic fiction.

15. The Story of the World: Early Modern Times by Susan Wise Bauer, 7/10 (readaloud)
Perhaps the most challenging book I read to my kids this year, but so rewarding. (And you have to check out our timeline . . . that's my favorite part!)

16. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, 8/10 (audio)
Really loved the way this story was told--with the events of the past eventually colliding with the present. I like happy endings though.

17. Believing Christ by Stephen E. Robinson, 8/10
The parable of the bicycle, which has made this book so well-known and loved, was not worth reading this book for. Other parts, however, were.

18. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, 10/10 (readaloud)
What can I say? Harry Potter is casting his spell on a new generation, and my kids are included.

19. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin, 5/10
I started out being completely fascinated by this book, but by the end, I was completely disgusted. Two thumbs down.

20. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, 9/10 (audio)
This book has one of the best twists I've ever read.

21. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, 3/10
In spite of a good 100-page run in the middle, the beginning was too confusing and the ending was too horrific for me.

22. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, 8/10 (readaloud)
My kids love a despicable villain, and Miss Slighcarp is one of the best (i.e., worst).

23. Morality For Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith, 6/10 (audio)
Mma Makutsi gets the gold star for this book. She basically saves two businesses and then solves a mystery in her downtime.

24. The Little Leftover Witch by Florence Laughlin, 6/10 (readaloud)
Cute story, but I'll probably have forgotten most of it by next Halloween.

25. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, 8/10
There are things I could complain about (and I do in my full review), but overall I loved this creative spin on The Jungle Book.

26. The Unrest Cure and Other Stories by Saki, 8/10
I searched (and searched) (and searched) for a short stories collection that I would like and finally struck gold. Witty, with a touch of the morbid.

27. Honey For a Child's Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life by Gladys Hunt, 8/10
The book lists that make up the second half of this book are treasures. (Also, sometimes I get overwhelmed by all of the good books I haven't read yet, and this was one of those times.)

28. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande, 10/10 (audio)
Probably the book I talked about and recommended the most during 2015.

29. Dominic by William Steig, 7/10 (readaloud)
Dominic's adventurous spirit and positive attitude are contagious.

30. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, 10/10 (audio)
If you think you can't find parenting advice in fiction, read this book.

31. Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar, 8/10
I read this book because Aaron was reading it, and I enjoyed it just as much as he did.

32. Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace, 6/10
I couldn't get a single new fluffy Christmas book from the library, so I reread this one from a few years ago. Although still entertaining, it didn't hold up very well to a second reading.

33. The Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron, 4/10
Feeling really sad that I wasted so much of my year on this book. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I was hoping for either.

34. My Life in France by Julia Child, 8/10 (audio)
I think I would have been totally intimidated by Julia Child in real life, but I sure loved reading her memoir.

35. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, 10/10 (readaloud)
Contented sigh. I love this book.

36. The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made by Bruce Watson, 7/10
Really fascinating biography about A.C. Gilbert, the man who invented the Erector set. (Full review coming soon.)

37. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, 8/10 (readaloud)
Perfect read for this time of year. (Full review coming soon.)

38. Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar, 8/10
I wasn't really planning on reading another Wayside book, but Aaron told me I had to.  And I'm glad I listened to him. (Full review coming soon.)

It has been such a great year of reading for me, and I hope you can say the same. Have you read any of these books? Tell me what you thought about them!


  1. So fun! I love your long lists so I can easily pull from only the greats!

  2. Love reading your lists:) Have read some of these books, also own some and haven't read, others I'd like to read if only I could source through my library

    1. Which ones have you read? I'd love to hear your thoughts on them!

  3. Congrats on meeting all your reading goals! 68 is such an impressive number, and I love seeing them all in this list format with your star ratings. Are they listed in the chronological order you read them?

    1. More or less, yes. And thanks! It totally depends on what company I'm in whether I think 68 is a large number or a small number.


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