Another year in the bag, completing’s reading challenge.  While I had a goal of 50 books, I only read 40.  But there were some good ones.

I’m trying to work through a couple “classics” per year.  During 2015, I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies.  Now I see why we are told to read these in school.

Favorite Book of the Year

The Martian by Andy WeirThe Martian – Andy Weir

I have never recommended a book as much as I did for The Martian.  If you are a geek or nerd, if you are into engineering or science, or if you just like a good Robinson Crusoe type tale, this is the winner.

This is the most accurate science fiction book I’ve ever read; so much so, you half think it isn’t.  The movie is going to be amazeballs.

Runner Ups

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Nearly everyone is assigned to read this in high school, and most suffer through it.  It always tops out the “best of all times” lists, and now as a “real” reader, I understand why.

This book is wonderful, all around.  The character development, moral issues, and story arch are nearly perfect.  Mockingbird is now likely one of my favorite books of all time.  If The Martian was not so damn entertaining, it would have taken the top place for the year too.

The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

I cannot wait for the movie for this.  This was a very entertaining read, beginning to end.   It is a mystery thriller that doesn’t reveal too much, but keeps you guessing just as much as Rachel the protagonist.

Highly recommended.

Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben MontgomeryGrandma Gatewood’s Walk – Ben Montgomery

“We’re not worthy” – Wayne and Garth….That about sums it up.  This 67 year old woman walked the length of the AT, without any planning or supplies.  Then when she was done; she did it a couple of more times.

If you have any interest in the AT or any through hiking, this is a MUST READ.

Some of my Favorite Highlights

  • “Edison invented the lightbulb the way Steve Jobs invented the MP3 player: he wasn’t the first, but he was the first to make something that took off in the marketplace.”
    – How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
  • “She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.”
    – Station Eleven: A Novel
  • “Most times when folks ask for advice, they already know what they should do. They just want to hear it from someone else.”
    – The Silver Star: A Novel
  • “The entropy of a closed system never decreases.”
    – All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
  • “I’m traveling 90 kilometers per day as usual, but I only get 37 kilometers closer to Schiaparelli because Pythagoras is a dick.”
    – The Martian: A Novel
  • “The only difference between the sane and the insane is how many people you can get to agree with you.”
    – A Pleasure and a Calling: A Novel
  • “I don’t think secrets should be kept from children under the pretense it is for their own good. It isn’t for their own good; it is for the convenience of the secret keepers.”
    – A Sudden Light: A Novel
  • “There is one almost infallible way to find honest food at just prices in blue-highway America: count the wall calendars in a cafe. No calendar: Same as an interstate pit stop. One calendar: Preprocessed food assembled in New Jersey. Two calendars: Only if fish trophies present. Three calendars: Can’t miss on the farm-boy breakfasts. Four calendars: Try the ho-made pie too. Five calendars: Keep it under your hat, or they’ll franchise.”
    – Blue Highways: A Journey into America
  • “What are we, if not an accumulation of our memories?”
    – Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel
  • “There are just some kind of men who—who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
    – To Kill a Mockingbird
  • “For the record, I was homeschooled for hippie reasons, not God reasons.”
    – You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir
  • “Like my grandmother always said, “Your opinions are valid and important. Unless it’s some stupid bullshit you’re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.””
    – Furiously Happy: A Book About Horrible things
  • “People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?”
    – The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
  • “Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves.”
    – Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

The Whole List

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day Lord of the Flies by William Golding To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng Camping in Comfort by Lynn Haney Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman Missoula by Jon Krakauer The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins Guns by Stephen King America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money by Steve Economides Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon Virtualization Security by Dave M. Shackleford Undeniable by Bill Nye One Light Bag by Dean Roberts A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless The Martian by Andy Weir Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt The Kept by James Scott RV Vacations for Dummies [With Post-It Flags] by Shirley Slater Before They're Gone by Michael Lanza All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides The Good Girl by Mary Kubica Follow Me To by Murad Osmann The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery


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