Monday, January 11, 2016

New Reads from 2015

I didn't feel like I had much time to read this past year (not surprisingly), and I'm actually very proud that I was able to read the books I did.  Meeting my goal of 3 new books a year is important to me, and in 2014, I read 7 new books with no problem.  Earlier in 2015, I was worried I wouldn't be able to make my goal, but ta da, here we are!  Here are the new books I read in 2015!

My favorite reads from 2015

I haven't purchased a book for myself since gathering the collection of Harry Potter in 2010.  
I learned about Michael Malice, his research of North Korea, and the book he'd just published earlier this year.  I care for the people of North Korea a lot, and I wanted to get my hands on this book.  It's written from the perspective of Kim Jong Il, which leads to an incredibly interesting read.  One moment you'll be laughing about the absurdity of one point then another you'll be cringing about the validity of another.  The book does an excellent job in making the mind of Kim Jong Il accessible, as accessible as it can be, and for that reason and for a growing awareness of the atrocities the Kim regime inflicts on the people of North Korea, I highly recommend this book.  I'd even be willing to let you borrow my copy!

During our vacation to Yellowstone this past summer, I had a good amount of spare time.  (I also wanted to have something to help me zone out and take real advantage of the glimpses of solitude I had.)   Call of the Wild was one of Caleb's favorites growing up, it was free on my iPhone books app, and I remember not hating my picture-on-every-other-page version I had when I was younger.  All this meant it was a good candidate for vacation reading, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected to.  While reading, I pointed out many lines to Caleb that were especially poetic and beautiful.  No wonder this book is a classic!

This has also been one of Caleb's favorite books, and he recommended it to me after finishing my other books this year.  Despite our copy being very thick and very intimidating, I wanted to take crack at it.  To my absolute surprise, less than 20 pages in, I found it to be a total page turner.  Not only was I interested in the characters and their projects, but I was mad curious about what the plot would bring next.

The Fountainhead was actually very impactful and instrumental during my season of heavy stress in 2015.  The main character, Howard Roark, is a man of absolute integrity and purpose, and he holds himself to extremely high standards.  Watching him move through the world protecting his purpose was astounding and a great challenge to me.  This is one of the most striking moments I came across.  

I never had much to say when asked "What books have changed your life?"  Howard Roark stirred up courage and resolve inside of me and helped move me toward taking my life in my own hands.  I'm very grateful to this book.  Very grateful.

This book was given to me by my mother-in-law, along with a terrarium she had made for me (which I love!).  I desperately want to be a good gardener, and I want to take the best care of this terrarium and my other houseplants.  I drove through this book in two days.  It was actually a very fast read, and there are a lot of pictures, but I felt very proud of making it through a book in so short a time.

Terrariums is an easy read which shares first-hand advice, descriptions of all the tools you'd need, and terrarium recipes.  The author, Maria Colletti, sounded like she was straight out of Pinterest, by the way, and used "ever so" as an adverb a surprising and annoying amount of times.  Besides that, I would have liked to have seen more established fundamentals and basic rules for creating and maintaining terrariums, but Colletti did mention in the beginning of the book that she wouldn't be sharing research.  I think her book isn't meant to be a terrarium bible but more like talking with a friend who's been working with terrariums for a long time and getting to pick her brain about what tips she'd give to beginners.  It's all very friendly, honestly.

What were your favorite reads of 2015?  What would you recommend for someone needing to read one more classic and one more nonfiction book this next year?


  1. If you liked The Fountainhead you must must read Atlas Shrugged this year now! One of my favorite books of all time.
    You chose some intimidating reads this year. Impressive.

    1. Caleb and I were JUST talking about reading Atlas Shrugged last night! It's definitely on my list. Thanks for the recommendation!


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