Looking back at my 2015 reading

I have to start with the most memorable thing that I read in 2015, that most excited my fevered brain, causing me to bring it up in conversation early and often-- the descriptions of the food in The Tournament at Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice). The first part of the book is mostly a bunch of rangers travelling around, and I would much much much rather travel with them than with Strider, a ranger with no appreciation for food.  When John Flannagan's rangers stop of the evening, one of them quickly gathers "wild greens" for a salad, and just happens to be carrying around a supply of vinaigrette dressing.  They bake bread in the coals of the fire, stop travelling early to fish for a salmon or hunt a deer, and have a plentiful supply of butter on them, which makes both the bread and the salmon tastier.  The butter especially preoccupied me with regard to logistics.  But also the fact that these guys are supposed to be hurrying, yet still have time to go for a quick deer hunt and butcher the dear and roast the deer just for supper and are weighing themselves down with all those condiments.  One supper-- "The rich taste of the venison contrasted pleasantly with the astringent taste of the salad and the warm bread was ideal for soaking up the delicious meat juices."  Another supper-- salmon "liberally covered in butter and slices of wild-growing onion and lemon." They are also traveling with coffee and wine. They need to work harder on dessert though.

Now I've gotten that out of the way--

In 2015 I read 325 books (according to what I put on Goodreads, + 3 read twice), so probably a few more than that).  106 were review copies, 118 were from the library, and the rest were presents and purchases and a few, a sad few but better than nothing, came from the languishing depths of the tbr shelves.  And I re-read one book from my shelves just for pleasure (What has happened to me?  I used to re-read like a fiend....).

My criteria for "favorite" books is whether or not I will re-read them (maybe I can count "re-reading" them in my head while doing domestic tasks?).  Two books I first read in 2015 I have already re-read--Bayou Magic, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Moon Rising, by Tui T. Sutherland, both of which (uncoincidently) were just shortlisted for the Cybils Awards.   I loved Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones. The Hob and the Deerman, by Pat Walsh, is lovely (it's a continue of the Crowfield Curse series).  All of these are middle grade; there are only two YA  books I'd be interested in re-reading-- The Scorpion Rules, by Erin Bow, and Stranger, by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, and no adult books, because most of the adult books I read are non-fiction and once is generally enough.

The book I most enjoyed (sorry, you probably won't be able to get hold of it unless you make friends with my sister and she lends you her copy) is Beaux, by Evan Commager.  It is always a fraught thing to read an older children's book set in the South, because of the very real risk of intolerable racism on the part of the writer or the characters.  Commager (perhaps because she moved north as a young woman) managed to actively offend me only once.  So I was able to take great pleasure in the growing up of a really engaging, literate, young heroine and her best friend, with the added bonus of a nice young man who is interested in sustainable farming methods.  Possibly I liked it as much as I did because it is illustrated by N. M. Bodecker, who did Edward Eager's books, so it felt friendly and familiar.  Possibly I was just hungering for someone to address in a children's book the dangers of monocropping in early 20th century South Carolina.

Misc. final thoughts:

Book I read that I would least like to have as my one book on a desert island--Beating Gout: A Sufferer's Guide to Living Pain Free (read when my poor mother was afflicted)

Worst cruelty to kittens--The Sign of the Cat, by Lynne Jonell.  I really liked this adventure fantasy, whose hero could talk to cats.  It's a good book.  But the horrible thing the villain does to kittens is so awful that I can't actually recommend it to any young readers who love kittens, which is a large chunk of them. I will go ahead and spoil it (highlight to see)-kittens are thrown alive into a meat grinder on a regular basis so that bad guy can eat them.

Worst plausibility issues-- Judy, Patrol Leader (scroll down), by Dorothea Moore.  Every school girl danger imaginable (the falling cliffs, the burglars breaking into the school, saving people's lives right and left, thwarting smugglers) is here, but it it's actually not a bad read.   (bought in Sacramento while shopping with Maureen after Kidlitcon 2014, so I'm fond of it)

Goal for 2016-- re-read more.  Do household tasks more efficiently so that there is more time for reading.  Take the bus to work more for same reason. Read all the books.


  1. I always want to re-read more. I just kind of never seem to find the time!

  2. I never seem to find time to reread! I was kind of sad no one shortlisted The Ranger's Apprentice.. oh well..

  3. Read all the books! It shall be our rallying cry! Loved Unusual Chickens but wasn't as bothered by the food in the Flanagan. I hardly ever reread anymore, which is just as well, since I only buy books I feel a need to reread. Saves money!

  4. I wish I had time to reread, but I have found some time to read new to me classics this year instead.

  5. I'm about to start Moon Rising. Looking forward to it!

    You'd be surprised how many backpackers carry wine with them. I carry butter and maple syrup. Some things are worth their weight.


Free Blog Counter

Button styles