2015: My Year in Reading

All of the data that follows was collected by me using a combination of Google Sheets and Google Calendar. Once again, I elected not to track pages read—too much discrepancy between formats to generate meaningful comparisons.

A complete list of all the books I read in 2015 is at the bottom of this post.

I read 66 books in 2015. Fiction titles outnumbered nonfiction by 2-to-1:

  • 44 ficiton
  • 22 nonfiction

The year was top heavy with nonfiction: I read 15 nonfiction titles in January–June, but only 7 in July–December.

It follows naturally that my fiction reading displayed the opposite pattern: 17 fiction titles in January–June, and 27 in July–December.

On average, it took me 3.7 days to read a book:

  • 3.95 days for fiction titles
  • 3.23 days for nonfiction titles

Only 2 books took me more than a week to read: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eight edited by Jonathan Strahan, and Scattered Suns by Kevin J. Anderson. At 8 days each, they tie for the longest it took me to read a book.

My longest uninterrupted stretch of reading was 14 days from February 20–March 5.

My longest stretch without reading was 8 days from September 24–October 1.

My seasonal reading falls out fairly evenly:

  • 16 books in the winter (December-January-February)
  • 19 books in the spring (March-April-May)
  • 15 books in the summer (June-July-August)
  • 16 books in the fall (September-October-November)

I read 7 titles in May, July, and November, the most of any months. The lowest month was June, during which I only read 3. I averaged 5.5 books per month.

My favorites of the year were a mix of fiction and non: The Martian, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Seveneves, Saga, Chasing the Scream, Part of Our Lives, The Magicians series, Wendell Berry’s essays, Encounters at the Heart of the World, The Water Knife.

There were a few disappointments this year: I read books from Ernest Cline, Dan Simmons, and Kim Stanley Robinson which I found disappointing. I expected stronger work from all of them. I also found myself questioning some long-held opinions about a treasured author.

I undertook an unanticipated journey of reminiscence when I gave into the impulse to reread some of Clive Barker’s novels.

There were a couple surprises this year: I discovered the work of Nnedi Okorafor and William Sloane, and learned that I enjoy Mary Higgins Clark’s storytelling style—not something I would have anticipated.

I finally found time to dig into a series my mom has been urging me to read: Kevin J. Anderson’s The Saga of Seven Suns. I’ve completed 5 of the 7 titles in the series and plan to finish the rest in January 2016.

Last year, I set a goal of 50 books for 2015. Clearly, I exceeded that goal. For 2016 . . .

No goals. Just reading when I feel like it, or not when I don’t. And I’ll continue to make conscious effort to increase the diversity in what I read.

Books Read in 2015

I’ve linked titles which I’ve reviewed on this blog.

Title Author Started Finished
1. Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything Amanda Gefter 12/20/2014 1/11/2015
2. The Brilliant History of Color in Art Victoria Finlay 1/11/2015 1/13/2015
3. Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie 1/17/2015 1/20/2015
4. The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Eight Jonathan Strahan (ed.) 1/21/2015 1/28/2015
5. Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match Amy Webb 2/1/2015 2/4/2015
6. Ancillary Sword Ann Leckie 2/8/2015 2/12/2015
7. Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs Johann Hari 2/14/2015 2/15/2015
8. The Age of the Vikings Anders Winroth 2/20/2015 2/22/2015
9. Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age Cory Doctorow 2/22/2015 2/26/2015
10. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star Judy Greer 2/27/2015 2/28/2015
11. The Long Mars Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter 3/1/2015 3/5/2015
12. Seveneves Neal Stephenson 3/7/2015 3/12/2015
13. The Science of Interstellar Kip Thorne 3/14/2015 3/15/2015
14. The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets Simon Singh 3/15/2015 3/22/2015
  — I started this book two days before my wife & I moved into our new house. It’s the first book I finished there.
15. The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination Barry Strauss 3/25/2015 3/28/2015
16. The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game Mary Pilon 3/29/2015 3/29/2015
17. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson 3/31/2015 4/2/2015
18. The Magicians Lev Grossman 4/3/2015 4/7/2015
19. The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature Daniel Levitin 4/9/2015 4/11/2015
20. The Trojan War: A New History Barry Strauss 4/12/2015 4/14/2015
21. The Magician King Lev Grossman 4/16/2015 4/19/2015
22. The Magician’s Land Lev Grossman 4/21/2015 4/24/2015
23. The Long Utopia Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter 4/25/2015 5/3/2015
24. The Fractal Prince Hannu Rajaniemi 5/8/2015 5/11/2015
25. Lock In John Scalzi 5/14/2015 5/16/2015
26. Annihilation Jeff VanderMeer 5/17/2015 5/18/2015
27. Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America Richard Zoglin 5/19/2015 5/20/2015
28. Authority Jeff VanderMeer 5/24/2015 5/25/2015
29. Acceptance Jeff VanderMeer 5/25/2015 5/27/2015
30. The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays Wendell Berry 5/31/2015 6/14/2015
31. Armada Ernest Cline 6/6/2015 6/8/2015
32. The Abominable Dan Simmons 6/15/2015 6/26/2015
33. Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People Elizabeth Fenn 6/28/2015 7/3/2015
34. My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past Jennifer Teege & Nikola Sellmair 7/4/2015 7/5/2015
35. Who Fears Death Nnedi Okorafor 7/5/2015 7/10/2015
36. Sacrament Clive Barker 7/11/2015 7/16/2015
37. Into the Wild Jon Krakauer 7/17/2015 7/18/2015
38. The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror William Sloane 7/19/2015 7/27/2015
39. Forty Signs of Rain Kim Stanley Robinson 7/29/2015 7/30/2015
40. Cabal Clive Barker 7/31/2015 8/2/2015
41. The Great and Secret Show Clive Barker 8/2/2015 8/8/2015
42. The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland Robert Douglas-Fairhurst 8/9/2015 8/16/2015
43. The Windup Girl Paolo Bacigalupi 8/17/2015 8/24/2015
44. The Book of Phoenix Nnedi Okorafor 8/26/2015 8/29/2015
45. The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History Alice Crawford 8/30/2015 9/3/2015
46. The Water Knife Paolo Bacigalupi 9/5/2015 9/7/2015
47. The Martian Andy Weir 9/10/2015 9/12/2015
48. Aurora Kim Stanley Robinson 9/20/2015 9/23/2015
49. Saga, Volumes One through Four Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples 10/2/2015 10/18/2015
  — I read these volumes separately throughout the date range listed above, but chose to count them as a single title with two total days of active reading time. It didn’t take me more than an hour or two to read each one. If I counted each volume as a separate title, it would put my yearly total at 69.
50. The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories Ian Rankin 10/5/2015 10/9/2015
51. Old Venus George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois (eds.) 10/10/2015 10/17/2015
52. Old Mars George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois (eds.) 10/18/2015 10/24/2015
53. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll 10/25/2015 10/25/2015
54. The Shadow of Your Smile Mary Higgins Clark 11/2/2015 11/8/2015
55. Saga, Volume Five Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples 11/10/2015 11/10/2015
56. Cherokee Medicine, Colonial Germs: An Indigenous Nation’s Fight Against Smallpox, 1518–1824 Paul Kelton 11/11/2015 11/15/2015
57. Ancillary Mercy Ann Leckie 11/16/2015 11/18/2015
58. Hidden Empire Kevin J. Anderson 11/19/2015 11/22/2015
59. The Cold Between Elizabeth Bonesteel 11/22/2015 11/24/2015
60. A Forest of Stars Kevin J. Anderson 11/25/2015 11/29/2015
61. Horizon Storms Kevin J. Anderson 12/1/2015 12/6/2015
62. Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library Wayne A. Wiegand 12/6/2015 12/11/2015
63. Library of Souls Ransom Riggs 12/12/2015 12/13/2015
64. Scattered Suns Kevin J. Anderson 12/13/2015 12/25/2015
65. Of Fire and Night Kevin J. Anderson 12/25/2015 12/27/2015
66. Luna: New Moon Ian McDonald 12/27/2015 12/30/2015

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