Books of 2015

The time is ripe—or it was when I started this article in December (!)—to take a literary look back at 2015. Here, then, in no particular order, are my four favorite reads of the past year.

My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary

The beloved creator of Ramona and Beezus recounts with humor and wisdomher life in a world still marked by the Great Depression. (Though Cleary picks up where she left off in A Girl From Yamhill, this book can be read on its own.) The memoir sees her off to university and all the way to the successful publication of her first children’s book.

This tale of independence in 1930’s America—a 21st birthday present—rang true for me as I wobbled on my own two feet in Germany.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Set during WWII, All the Light We Cannot See follows the mingled tales of a blind French girl with a passion for marine life and puzzles, and of a young German soldier from a sooty mining town. The characters are vivid and human and the time period well rendered. Sink into this strong, sad story and quickly find yourself walking along with the characters.

 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This classic follows Francie, an eleven-year-old in early 20th century Brooklyn. Underfed and lonely, she still finds joy and escape in her library books. It is a tale of stark poverty, but also of family and love; of strength, survival, education and hope. I gulped it down—thank goodness it was such a big book.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure — The “Good Parts” Version Abridged by William Goldman

The Princess Bride movie is a great favorite in our family, yet, inconceivably, I had not yet read the book. It proved to be, dare I say, even better than the film. The writing makes you laugh out loud. Guffaw, guzzle, giggle, roar. Can it really be so utterly ridiculous, so incongruous, so silly? It’s one of a kind. Read it.

Other good reads

  • Little Princes by Connor Grennan: An interesting personal story, but also a wise and deep reflection on humanitarian aid amid the trafficked children of Nepal.
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: Young Oliver’s adventures in despicable 19th century London as well as his involvement with persons both kind and quite crooked.
  • Americanah by C. Ngozi Adichie: An immigrant’s view on the US, that questions larger issues such as “blackness” in the United States, while offering an outsider’s perspective on American habits (such as the restriction on double dipping!).
  • Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer: This memoir by the father of VeggieTales explores subjects such as faith, dreams and business management.
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell: A fascinating book on the underestimated power of snap decisions. This report is full of interesting case studies and research projects — so much so that I’m currently rereading it!

Now you have a bunch of good reading ideas!
Have you read any memorable books recently?

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