Favorite Books of 2015 (So Far)

Favorite Books of 2015 so farQuick looks at my what are so far my favorite books of 2015, since it’s close enough to halfway through the year. ๐Ÿ™‚ Links go to my previous posts if I’ve written one, Amazon if I haven’t.

Nonfiction

As You WishAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

I don’t generally read celebrity bios, but made an exception for this one, and am so glad I did. It’s funny and witty and oh so entertaining. Perhaps because it’s more the story of a movie, than the story of just a celebrity. Read it and then read The Princess Bride. And then watch the movie. Actually, skip reading it and go for the audible versionAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes – it’s fantastic!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Not sure if it really will be life-changing, but so far I think it just might be. Love the tone of this one, and how it is so gentle and kind. I also love her change in focus from what you’re discarding, to what you’re keeping.

Better Than BeforeBetter Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

I love her style and approach, and I love the focus of this book: how can I change my habits to change my life? It combines nicely with Kondo’s book too.

Cold TangerinesCold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist

She’s one of my favorite authors, and I finally read her first book. Not as good as her more recent titles (you can see how she’s grown as an author), but still an excellent memoir of sorts.

The Road from CoorainThe Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

A re-read for my book club, and it was just as good the second time around. It also made for a fabulous discussion at book club – one of the best ones we’ve had in awhile. Highly recommended if your book club reads memoirs!


Fiction

The Truth According to UsThe Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Loved this book. Don’t be put off by the length – it’s captivating and reads much quicker than you’d think almost 500 pages could possibly. You’ll feel like you’re there with them in Depression-era West Virginia, and you’ll appreciate air conditioning so very much.

The Thirteen ProblemsThe Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

Short stories featuring Miss Marple. I’m slowly working my way through all of Agatha Christie’s books and I can’t decide if I’m annoyed at myself for waiting so long to read them, or delighted that I have so many still to look forward to reading.

The Murder of Roger AckroydThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

More Christie, but this one features Detective Hercule Poirot. Perhaps her most famous of mysteries, and I loved figuring it out before it was revealed. She is so good at writing compelling stories without lots of extra padding.


Favorite Kids Books:

The War that Saved My LifeThe War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

A look at the children evacuated from London during WWII, but it takes a different perspective than you might expect. Hard to read at times because of tough content, it’s well worth the emotional effort, and I appreciated that the author skipped any easy resolutions that would have felt unrealistic.

National Geographic Kids Animal StoriesNational Geographic Kids Animal Stories: Heartwarming True Tales from the Animal KingdomNational Geographic Kids Animal Stories: Heartwarming True Tales from the Animal Kingdom by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple; illustrated by Jui Ishida by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple; illustrated by Jui Ishida

Gorgeously illustrated and engagingly written, this would make a great readaloud for any animal-loving children. Or it makes for a great book for any older kids or adults too, as I read it through the first time on my own, as I was deciding whether or not to read it to my kids. Fascinating looks at some animals in history.

Book of a Thousand DaysBook of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

A retelling of a not-very-familiar fairy tale. Well-written and engrossing, with a very satisfying ending. I loved the characters in this one, and how Hale manages to make the story her own, while still basing it so much on the original tale.

Inside Out and Back AgainInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Written in verse, this is another one that has tough content, although the format softens it a bit. Absolutely compelling.

Listen SlowlyListen, SlowlyListen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai by Thanhha Lai

Another gorgeously-written book by Lai, although this one is in prose, not verse. I kept wanting this to be more obviously connected with the previous book but it’s not. No matter – it’s still a wonderful story.

Winnie the PoohWinnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

A classic for a reason. Loved reading it aloud to my children, and they loved hearing the stories.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

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Comments

  1. I feel the same way about Agatha Christie! I just read The Man in the Brown Suit, and I think it might be one of my favorites!

  2. I just finished listening to As You Wish and loved it, too! I can’t wait to watch the movie again now after hearing more about the behind-the-scenes. And I just downloaded The Truth According To Us–can’t wait to get started on it!

    • Are you listening to The Truth According to Us? (Not sure if you mean an ebook or audio book by downloading). I listened to the sample of the audible version, but have hesitated to try the full book. I can’t decide if I like the idea of multiple narrators or not. If you’re listening to it, let me know what you think?

      • Yes, listening to it. I’m kind of having a hard time following it, but this might be because I’ve never just sat and listened . . . I’m always doing housework at the same time, so I zone out for a few seconds, then start listening again and don’t know what’s going on. I might just have to sit and read it. I don’t think the multiple narrators would be a problem for me . . . . as long as I could figure out the plot first ๐Ÿ™‚

        • I think this could be a hard one to start out listening to it and not focus on it completely – I think you’re right, once you get settled into the story and have a feel for the plot listening to it will be easier, but that initial foothold may be a lot tougher.

  3. How did I miss the release of As You Wish? Just sent it to my TBR pile. And just maybe I’ll need to listen to it, if the audible version was THAT good.

    • I don’t know, but you know about it now! And I did not listen to 100% of the audible version (kind of switched back & forth between it and the Kindle), but that’s just because I was impatient and can read faster than I listen. What I did listen to was fantastic, because it’s all the familiar voices from the movie. Plus, you get to hear Cary Elwes’ impressions, instead of just reading about them.

  4. Better Than Before and The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up are both on my nightstand waiting to be read. I love The Princess Bride so I definitely need to check out As You Wish, thanks for the suggestion! Dropping by from Quick Lit ๐Ÿ™‚

    • If you love the movie The Princess Bride I am absolutely sure you’ll love As You Wish – it’s so much fun!

  5. The War that Changed My Life sounds really good!

  6. I loved the audio version of As You Wish! It was wonderful.

    I would like to read Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I read the book about the power of habits (it had a yellow cover – I forget the full title) first because I read that it fit what I was looking for a little better, but that one looks good, too. I like the idea of the Tidying up book, because I know I love when my house is tidy haha.

    The Truth According to Us looks so great. I put the audio version on hold at the library just last night! Now I’m really excited.

    • The Power of Habit – I read that one too, several years ago. I liked Rubin’s book more, but really I like them both. They’re different enough that I think they’re both worth reading. Of course it helped that I did read them with a lot of time in between – I might have felt differently if I’d tried them one right after the other.

      Hope you like The Truth According to Us! I’d love to hear what you think about the audio version – I liked it so much I’m considering listening to it for a second time through.

  7. I had Kondo on electronic reserve at the library, and I got kicked off the list! Then, I lost interest in it after reading Laura Vanderkam’s review, but so many people have been changed by it that I want to sign up for it again. What Agatha Christie book should I start with??

    • Well that’s irritating that you got kicked off the reserves list? Do you know why? I’d be desperate to find out to keep it from happening again! (I use my library reserves list so so so much).

      I really wasn’t expecting to like the book as much as I did. I was convinced it would be too silly/strange/hokey, but it just didn’t feel that way at all. And I do mean feel. It’s a very feelings-focused book, which generally isn’t my thing, but for whatever reason it worked for me, and I’m a convert.

      Ok, on the Christie titles. I am a total purist when it comes to reading books in order. As in, That Is The Way It Must Be Done. So, I’m not the best to advise on which one to start with because my reaction is that of COURSE you have to start in order! Although you can read both Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot series, so your pick which one to start with, or you can alternate them like I’m doing. Book #1 for Miss Marple is Murder at the Vicarage , and book #1 for Poirot is The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

      She also has other series, and standalone titles so it’s not all Poirot or Miss Marple. I just haven’t read any of her titles beyond those two yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you don’t want to read in order, than the most famous of her books are probably The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (#4 in the Poirot series), Murder on the Orient Express (#10 in the Poirot series), and And Then There Were None.

  8. I read most of Agatha Christie’s books when I was in college. They’re all so very good. She was a master!

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