Ok, I must begin with a sheepish confession: I didn’t officially win the challenge. Sad, right? But, well it can be argued that I did actually read 50 books! My mistake was being sucked into This New Ocean: The story of the first Space Age, by William E. Burrows. It’s a good one, which you’ll see later, but it’s like a thousand pages! Anyway I’m reading it and the one on Charleston, so those make 49 and 50 respectively. And I’ve read half of it, making probably near 2 regular books. Can that be accepted as finishing? Weigh in.
So without further delay, I give you the second 25 books I read in 2015. There may be diamonds, and there may be duds. Only you can decide that.
RELATED: First 25
|Title/Author||Genre/rating||App/File format||My 20-word summary|
|Mean Streak, Sandra Brown||Crime Fiction, 4/5||BARD Audio||Action-packed especially at end, woman kidnapped in NC mountains; does rely too heavily on Southern stereotypes|
|A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson||Nonfiction Memoir, 4.5/5||BARD Braille||Man attempts walking Appalachian Trail, sprinkled with amusing anecdotes, adventurous, pretty funny|
|Impasse, Royce Buckingham||Crime Fiction, 4/5||BARD Audio||Boston-area lawyer sent by friend to wilds of Alaska for birthday trip, not superb writing but craz|
|The Deepest Secret, Carla Buckley||Crime Fiction, 5/5||BARD Audio||Mother of son with rare condition commits accident, runs away, causes suffering to all, more than I can summarize!|
|This New Ocean: The story of the first Space Age, William E. Burrows||Historical Nonfiction, 3.5/5||BARD Braille||In-depth telling, from ancients to US/Soviet Space race to Shuttle development, very political and can drag for long swaths|
|The Forgotten Room, Lincoln Child||Sci-Fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||BARD Audio||Story of sonic machine in old secluded lab that could produce horrifying effects, breaking up friendships and lives. Page-turner|
|Ready Player One, Ernest Cline||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 5/5||Audible Audio||80’s meets 2045, contestants compete in computer game to unlock billions by referencing old movies, also warring with big business|
|The Fold, Peter Clines||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||Audible Audio||Essentially 2nd in series, California company opens “door” shrinking distance, with unforeseen consequences|
|Missing You, Harlan Cohben||Crime Fiction, 4/5||Audible Audio||People inexplicably disappear, discovered that it is due to online dating scam|
|The Secret of Fair Hill, Faith Cummings||Religious Fiction, 3.5/5||Kindle Text||Woman grows up in 18th-Century Vermont, grapples with feelings on God, marriage, and family|
|The Solomon Curse (Fargo Series Book 7), Clive Cussler||Adventure Fiction, 4/5||BARD Audio||Couple seeks to unearth treasure on Solomon Islands, must survive deceit from those known and unknown, and uprisings|
|What Is Visible, Kimberly Elkins||Historical Fiction, 4.5/5||BARD Braille||Fictionalized telling of the story of Laura Bridgman, deafblind woman educated at Perkins in 1800s|
|Sycamore Row, John Grisham||Legal Fiction, 4/5||BARD Audio||Black housekeeper is willed inheritance from white man, children try to fight it|
|The Art of Forgetting:Rider, Joanne Hall||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4/5||iBooks Text||Boy separated from family in faraway land, taught to fight for army, primarily on horseback. Deals with adolescence, sexuality|
|Locke and Key, Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||Audible Audio||Amazing multi-narrated story about ghosts, a magic residence, and a New England town. Hard to follow at times, though|
|Charleston: A Novel, John Jakes||Historical Fiction, 5/5||BARD Audio||Fictional family that follows the arc of real Charleston SC history, from late 1770’s to middle 1800’s|
|Middle Passage, Charles Johnson||Historical Fiction, 3/5||BARD Audio||story about a freed black man on slave ship in mid 1800s, slaves revolt then must survive return to New Orleans|
|Descent, Tim Johnston||Crime Fiction, 4/5||Audible Audio||Girl is kidnapped while hiking trail in Rockes, family spends 2 years living in region to try and find her|
|The Bullet, Mary Louise Kelly||Crime Fiction, 4.5/5||BARD Audio|
|Darkness, Take My Hand, Dennis Lehane||Crime Fiction, 4/5||BARD Braille||Story about organized crime in 1990s Boston, couple of detectives battle to solve case that has links to their childhood|
|The Wright Brothers, David McCullough||Historical Nonfictional, 5/5||Audible Audio||Tells great and fairly simplified story of the famous aviators’ track to the air|
|Liars and Saints, Maile Meloy||Family Fiction, 4.5/5||BARD Braille||Sex, between family members and adult-teenage, results in many and varied consequences|
|Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 5/5||BARD Braille||New Hampshire girl searches for her mother, a prominent elephant researcher in Africa, enlists psychic for help|
|The Transcriptionist, Amy Rowland||Psychological Fiction, 4/5||BARD Braille||Transcriptionist at New York paper becomes fascinated by encounter with blind woman, finds ways to work through issues|
|Shadows Over Paradise, Isabel Wolff||War Fiction, 5/5||BARD Audio||Englishwoman ghostwrites story about another’s experiences on Java during World War 2|
Whew! That record-shattering challenge took a lot to pull off, at least to the extent that I did. No question, I won’t be able to try it again for the next couple of years at least. Let’s take a look at the trends.
Most of the books I read this time were via BARD, not surprising as I don’t have to pay for that ha ha. Eight were audio, and 5 in Braille. I did also enjoy the Joe Hill book that came free from Audible around Halloween.
< p>I also didn’t stick as closely to half and half men and women as I had last time, with only 10 being by women during this 25. I suppose that’s still a fairly decent number. The most important thing was to hear from a number of voices and backgrounds. Probably my favorite thing was taking in work from authors whom I’ve known, at least online, for a long time: Faith Cummings and Joanne Hall.
I don’t know what kind of challenge I could come up with for 2016, but think it’ll mostly be trying to survive grad school! Stay tuned, and thanks for your support.