Recapping the First Half of 52 in 2015

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Jul 082015
I don't feel comfortable unless I've got a book backlog - these books are waiting on my night table, and I've got another virtual stack in my kindle

I don’t feel comfortable unless I’ve got a book backlog – these books are waiting on my night table, and I’ve got another virtual stack in my kindle

So half the year is done (wha. . . ?) and I’m taking a look back at how I did towards my goal of reading 52 books in 2015 (one a week on average). I managed to read 20 books, which is respectable but puts me behind for the second half of the year – I’ll have to average 1.2 books per week for the rest of the year in order to make my goal. I made more of an effort to read than I might have without trying to hit 52 so that’s positive. I also helped start a book club and we had our first meeting after reading Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder. I have to say I didn’t love the book but I really enjoyed the discussion we had about it, and I’m looking forward to hosting our next meeting this month!

Looking over my list, I’ve managed quite a mix of genres from both fiction (14 books) and non-fiction (6 books). The fiction books were almost entirely sci-fi and thrillers, although one of my favorite reads was decidedly chick-lit. The non-fiction was more of a mix of memoir and historical novels. I decided to come up with a top 5 list from the first half of the year, which was harder than I thought it might be since I really liked a lot of these books.

1.The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins. Wow this was a great thriller – I really didn’t guess any of the twists beforehand which is totally satisfying. One of those books that pulls you right along and is almost impossible to put down – sorry family!

2.The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan. This chick-lit novel is written by the Fug Girls and has just the right mix of flirty gossip, fun fashion and a kicky storyline. It’s nothing deep but it was a great summer read for sure.

3.The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir. Anything that’s soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon is probably pretty good, and The Martian is no exception. It’s a fun read, full of great inner dialogue as the main character figures out how to save himself from quite a jam. I think it’ll be a great movie – in fact as soon as I finished the book I went online to see if it would be made.

4.The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel by Michel Faber. This novel seems at first to be a straightforward sci-fi story about colonists on a distant planet, but I soon realized it was more the story of a husband and wife negotiating the shifting terrain of their marriage, and its conclusion is devastating yet hopeful. I was deeply surprised by this book – it was much more than I thought it would be.

5.Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo by Matthew Amster-Burton. I’ve always enjoyed the author’s writing, especially his first book “Hungry Monkey” about cooking for and with his young daughter. They’re from Seattle and his daughter is just about V’s age so that adds a layer of interest for me, and I love traveling with my kids, so reading about his travels with his daughter was great. This book is part travel memoir and part travel guide with a lot of Japanese food history thrown in as well. I was ready to book a trip to Tokyo when I finished!

Now it’s on to the next half of the year – got any suggestions for a book I’ve just got to read? I’d love to hear it!

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