The second fifty

Yesterday I read my 100th book of 2015! Let’s talk about books 51-100. (My very favorites are mentioned in bold, for those skimmers among you.)

AUDIOBOOKS

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  • Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
  • The Thickety by J.A. White
  • Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  • Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

You must listen to Food: A Love Story. Jim Gaffigan reads it and it’s just great. It’s literally just Jim’s commentary on different foods. It’s funny and relatable and a great way to “read a book.”

My favorite audiobook from the second fifty is definitely Mosquitoland. David Arnold, in the GoodReads review section, has been accused of trying to John Green things, but I didn’t make that comparison at all listening to the book. In fact, I enjoyed Mosquitoland more than any of the three John Green books I read. I listened to it quickly, in just a few days, because the story moves along quickly. It’s about a girl who essentially runs away from home back to home (divorced parents), making friends along the way. I would say that given the subject matter and age of the protagonist, I was unpleasantly surprised by the amount of f-bombs in the book.

Witch and Wizard was lame and The Thickety and A Spool of Blue Thread were loooonnnnggg. I did enjoy A Spool of Blue Thread though, but I think I would’ve rather read it. It’s a generations-spanning family story.

I listened to A Swiftly Tilting Planet while I did stuff like the dishes and mopping the floor. I just couldn’t get into it. So far my least favorite L’Engle.

NONFICTION

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  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  • The Life of King David by J.S. Park
  • For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
  • Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber
  • Binge by Tyler Oakley
  • Savor by Shauna Niequist
  • Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian
  • Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey

Wild is inspiring and so much more than the movie. It’s powerful stuff. It reminded me of the movie Into the Wild I had seen a couple of years ago and reminded me that I had never read that book, so I did. For some reason Christopher McCandless’ story just fascinates the heck out of me. So I highly recommend those two, especially for nature loving adventurers, but also for everyone else.

YouTubers really impressed me this year. Tyler Oakley’s Binge made me laugh harder than any book ever has. You have to read it if only for the Cheesecake Factory story that I now retell just so I can laugh all over again.

Christian bloggers definitely impressed me more during this second half of the year than they did the first. The Life of King David made me actually like David. I may have even learned a thing or two about him. (I totally learned something.) Jen Hatmaker is just great so For the Love was just great. Encouraging and freeing. Nadia Bolz-Weber is great because you don’t have to agree with someone on every aspect of everything in order ot learn from them. Accidental Saints was a breath of fresh air and a new and much needed perspective in my life. Out of Sorts is one of my new favorite books about Jesus. So, so good. Jesus + Nothing = Everything was a really good reminder, but Tchividjian basically has one point and it’s right there in the title. Read the quotes and you’ll get the lesson. Savor was way too long and should not have been labeled a devotional. It’s just the same story about how Shauna Niequist loves having people around her table for 365 pages. It’s a nice story, but it gets old.

SERIES

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  • The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

The Testing is the first Hunger Games book mixed with the second Maze Runner book only not as good as either of those with lameo characters. I read the first book and called it a day on that series.

If I have talked to you at all this year I have recommended Marissa Meyer’s work to you. The Lunar Chronicles is definitely one of my new favorite series. Like I’m putting it right up there with Harry Potter and Hunger Games. It’s got fairy tale romance with fleshed out characters and good versus evil and personal growth and all that good stuff. Meyer is a characterization wonder. That she writes a psychotic evil queen and a naive computer whiz and a narcissistic criminal and writes them all well is seriously impressive.

After watching The Giver I remembered that it was the first in a series. I had read Gathering Blue in middle school and enjoyed it, so I went ahead and read the rest. It was nice.

There have been so many takes on Oz and what happened after Dorothy’s visit and I’m not sure Dorothy Must Die is the best. It is imaginative and fun and certainly goes in a different direction than any other tales of Oz, but after reading the first two I have no desire to continue on. I’m not hooked.

FAVORITE FICTION

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  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingslover
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My two favorite stand alone fiction books of the second fifty are hands down I’ll Give You the Sun and Prodigal Summer. They are both full of the most beautiful language and the most beautiful people. Plus they both have like, three love stories in them and I’m a sucker for love. I’ll Give You the Sun is art about artists. It’s passionate and colorful and sticks with you. Prodigal Summer is like what the air smells like when you’re raking up leaves. It’s fresh and natural and deep and ancient.

The Good Girl is very Girl on a Train-esque but I enjoyed Good more then Train. It was like reading an episode of Criminal Minds. And, as always, I was floored and shocked by the ending. I never see it coming.

Fangirl is just fun, man. A college going writer girl superfan who just can’t help but fall for the bad boy? Yeah, that sounds familiar.

The Night Circus is magical! And mysterious and long and sweeping and fun and a little dark.

Confess was one of the last books I read in 2015 but I devoured it. In two sittings. It’s boy meets girl but it’s more complicated than that and I liked how real the characters are. They aren’t on any kind of pedestal in any way. They are real people with real stuff going on and they’re just trying to figure it out.

ONE LINE REVIEWS

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  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – Sad life lesson > story
  • These Are the Moments by Jenny Bravo – Super relatable for a little bit, then super repetitive for too long
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – I think it’s better if you’ve never read Pride and Prejudice
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Exactly like the movie, so… awesome
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe – Drug addiction, secret relationships, love triangle, possible kidnapping.. everything you never knew you wanted in a YA romance
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Terese Anne Fowler – Behind the scenes of the hot mess that was F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – 75% too long
  • October Baby by Eric Wilson – Not cheesy Christian novel about adoption and abortion

That leaves 10 that didn’t leave much of an impression. I hope your 2015 was full of beautiful words, both written and spoken. I’m ready for another 100 wonderful books in 2016. I started this morning with Scary Close by Donald Miller and am looking forward to Demon’s Heart by Emily H. Bates tomorrow. As with last year this year I want to stretch myself a bit in the books I read with more non fiction, fantasy, and sci fi. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I finally put my own book into the mix. Maybe The Nation by Suzanne Seidel will be on someone’s list of books read in 2016! Happy reading, readers.

 

**Don’t forget to check out Words, Wisdom, etc. where I post my favorite book quotes from the books I read and follow me on GoodReads for my thrilling reviews. (They are not thrilling. They are often short and slightly nonsensical.) You can also read my thoughts on select books from the first fifty of 2015 and find free, safe pdfs of some of the books I read in 2015 (and beyond!) on the Book Challenges page.

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12 Replies to “The second fifty”

    1. Oh the ever-growing TBR list! I’m sure you could get a physical copy of Food. I just chose to listen to the audiobook. I’m sure it’s just as funny either way!

  1. I’m with you on A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I love Wrinkle in Time, like A Wind in the Door, and just don’t get A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I just finished Cinder and can’t wait to read the rest of the Lunar Chronicles! I put it off for a long time but got thoroughly sucked in.

    1. Yes! I have loved everything else of L’Engle’s I’ve read… even rereading A Wind in the Door and A Wrinkle in Time multiple times. Someone else (maybe it was on GoodReads) said they didn’t connect with the characters in A Swiftly Tilting Planet and for me that was definitely a big negative factor. My current book crush is Demon’s Heart!! I’m loving it so much!

      1. Yay, I’m so glad!! I love reading your reviews, always honest and frank, so I’m dying to hear what you think–for better or worse 🙂

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