2015 Reading Challenge: 50 books

Real Education by Charles MurrayThe Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle TaylorThe Martian by Andy WeirBrooklyn by Colm TóibínOrphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I have to give A Little Life 5 stars because it was truly an ambitious and masterful work. It is 700 pages of pain, heartbreak, and devastation with a smattering of joy. Yanagihara’s writing style was mostly gripping, but at times difficult to follow. This book kept me turning page by page hoping for redemption but wary and braced for the fact that this was not the kind of story that was going to give me a happy ending. This book was raw and emotional. It’s long, but worth the commitment if you’re looking for a story to get lost in.
Alone by Robert J. CraneBroken Silence by Natasha PrestonSilence by Natasha PrestonWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëNeanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
The Beautiful Tree by James TooleyRobbed of Soul by Lois D. BrownOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Well done, Aziz. Well done. I honestly picked this up expecting it to be in a similar vein as Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling. Right from the outset I was surprised to find it was actual a pseudo-scientific study. It’s an aggregation of social science experiments complied by a comedian and written for the misguided and jaded twenty-something trying to make their way in our tech-savvy dating generation. Aziz mixes in enough fact with jokes and personal experience that I found myself simultaneously laughing because it was hilarious and experiencing heart hurt because some of these dating stories were so sad. There are som really mean people in the world!

Aziz painted a picture of both the pros and cons to our current dating atmosphere. He toes the line between jaded serial dater and an optimistic romantic. This is the first book I’ve read of this sort where I really felt that the author was trying to make the facts known rather than to praise or condemn technology.

I loved the chapters regarding various cultures as well. I don’t think this is the definitive book on dating and he definitely dives a mile wide and just a few inches deep, but there is so much research already done, and to be done, on this topic that I felt Aziz tackled a pretty good chunk without getting too bogged down. I, for one, very much enjoyed the read.

Darken the Stars by Amy A. BartolI Am Number Four by Pittacus LoreContrition by Lee StraussVolition by Lee StraussThe Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsPerception by Lee Strauss
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Dawkins just tried to pick apart every religion in existence in one book. To make a case against a single religion is an undertaking enough, but to claim that every religion is wrong and to try and undermine it and beckon individuals away from the belief in ANY God is just too large of a scope for one book. The repeated use of generalities and his tendency to draw examples from the most whacky and right-wing sources frustrated me. I’m giving this book 3 stars though because I do believe Dawkins raises valid questions. However, anyone of any belief should be able to speak to the reasons WHY they believe. He does not leave any room for faith in this book and repeatedly demeans it as unintelligent, however, to a true believer, this book will not be a call to immediately take up the atheism; it will be a picture of the weaknesses religion has and how believers can be better equipped to answer the very real criticisms and complaints atheists have of the church and religion as a whole. There is value in this book, if only to find the ways at which Christianity needs to be doing better. The God (or lack thereof) depicted in this book, is not the God I know and it is not the God of so many Christians I know that are hard at work trying to right the many wrongs done in the name of “religion”.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff KinneyBeyond the Hole in the Wall by Sugata MitraThe Plane That Wasn't There by Jeff WiseThe Good Nurse by Charles GraeberSea of Stars by Amy A. Bartol
Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
Another favorite book of mine. I was always fascinated by the history of Bonhoeffer and his involvement in WWII, but this book weaves his life story with his role in history better than I ever could have hoped. Definitely a book to re-read again with time, as Bonhoeffer has so many lessons to share.
Wild by Cheryl StrayedYouth by Joseph Conrad Youth – Joseph ConradPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This book reads like music. I know that sounds strange, but the words are lyrical. It was a wonderful story told with a strong and poetic voice. Amazing read and well worth your time.
Brilliance by Marcus SakeyWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieMiracle on Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
I have never been more impressed by a historical non-fiction book. Larson drew in prominent characters and scattered their stories throughout the book in a way that I found refreshing and that kept me from ever getting bored. His writing is eloquent and fitting of the time period he was writing about and I loved that he wove the dark storyline of H.H. Holmes into the backdrop of this magical time during the World’s Fair. I thought this book was beautifully written and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates history and wants to become more familiar with the Gilded age.
My Sister's Grave by Robert DugoniWar Brides by Helen BryanAn Unexpected Twist by Andy BorowitzAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAnimal Farm by George OrwellBossypants by Tina Fey
The Glassblower by Petra Durst-BenningWhen I Found You by Catherine Ryan HydeUnder Different Stars by Amy A. BartolBe Right (Romans) by Warren W. WiersbeInterrupted by Jen HatmakerIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
When I first heard this was a novel using poetry I was skeptical, but it immediately grabs you. She has a way with words that is made even more rich by the fact that they are poems. Each separate, but woven together into an amazing story. I loved this book!

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