For prudence’s sake, I have decided to break my book list of 2015 into two halves. So, I will first present the 25 I had completed by the end of June, then assuming I make the target, I’ll post my second half in January. Perhaps you’ll find something in this group that you like. Enjoy.
|Title/Author||Genre/Rating||App/file format||My 20-Word Summary|
|The Escape, David Baldacci (Puller Series||Crime Fiction, 3.5/5||BARD Audio||John’s brother Robert breaks out of federal custody to avoid killer, then must outrun more feds in crosscountry adventure.|
|Buccaneer, Maycay Beeler||True Crime, 4.5/5||iBooks PDF||Adventure, ride with pilot as he smuggles drugs from Caribbean to US and is finally caught by the Law|
|Kindred, Octavia Butler||Sci-Fi/Fantasy, 5/5||Audible Audio||Black woman snatched inexplicably from 1970s, made to live as slave and help ancestor|
|The Girl In The Road, Monica Byrne||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 5/5||Kindle Text||Great work by local author: Futuristic, 2 women travel different continents but are deeply connected|
|Black Moon, Kenneth Calhoun||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||BARD Braille||Scary, seemingly possible tale about sleep disappearing from society, and its unhinging effects|
|Ticket To Die (Southern Ghost Series II), Elaine Calloway||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4/5||Kindle Text||Ghosts stuck in amusement park till “gifted” human convinced to help free them. Great characters and coaster/carousel descriptions|
|Tracks, by Robyn Davidson||Nonfiction/Memoir, 4/5||Audible Audio||Author admits story a bit raw, nevertheless a fascinating recounting of journey through Aussie outback with dogs and camels|
|All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr||War Fiction, 4/5||Kindle Text||WWII: blind French girl ultimately helped by German to escape, found by radio. Decent blind character|
|Still Alice, Lisa Genova||Medical Fiction, 5/5||iBooks Text||Harvard prof with increasing Altzheimer’s, touches on family relationships and heart-wrenching lapses in her classroom. Powerful.|
|Gravity, Tess Gerritsen||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||BARD Audio||Space station and shuttle contaminated with what appears to be unusual, deadly virus, tough decisions about returning to earth|
|Long March to Freedom, Thomas Hargrove||Nonfiction/Memoir, 4/5||Audible Audio||Man kidnapped by FARC in Colombia, interesting but repetitive tale of near starvation and brutal treatment|
|The Girl on The Train, Paula Hawkins||Crime Fiction, 4/5||Audible Audio||Woman routinely takes London train, observes couple, then female of couple disappears, setting off a “who-done-it” style chase.|
|The Survivor, Gregg Hurwitz||War/Crime Fiction, 4/5||BARD Audio||Man joins military after 9/11, has hard time returning to Civilian life till forced to save daughter from Ukranian hitmen.|
|The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd||Historical Fiction, 4.5/5||Audible Audio||Fictionalized life of Sarah Grimke in Charleston, during time of planned slave revolts. Education, travel, women’s rights.|
|Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King||Crime Fiction, 4/5||Audible Audio||Man mows down job fair attendees in car and conducts other actions largely due to difficulty dealing with childhood slights|
|Dead Wake, Erik Larson||War Nonfiction, 5/5||Audible Audio||Recounts sinking of Lusitania, from perspective of land, ship, and German U-Boat that carried out the action|
|The Road, Cormac McCarthy||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 3/5||Audible Audio||Man and boy wander near some fictional city on a largely destroyed earth. Some good spots, but mostly dry|
|A Conflict of Interest, Adam Mitzner||Crime Fiction, 4/5||Audible Audio||The lives of rich lawyers become entangled in marrital discord, death investigations, and office takedowns|
|Don’t Fear the Reaper, Michelle Muto||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||Kindle Text||On sisterly love that transcends death, and the challenges of breaking free of earthly realm with unsettled business left|
|Twelve Years A Slave, Solomon Northup||Nonfiction/memoir, 5/5||BARD Braille||Black man in 1840s kidnapped from DC and sold into slavery, must fight to survive and escape Louisiana plantations|
|Natural Causes, Michael Palmer||Medical Fiction, 4.5/5||BARD Audio||Man founds weight loss clinic that dispenses drugs that actually end up killing lots of women|
|Blue Labyrinth, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Pendergast Series)||Crime Fiction, 4/4||BARD Braille||Man discovers Pendergast’s ancestor created dangerous alexir, becomes angry, and tries to take out Pandergast. Travel, museums.|
|Deadline, John Sandford (Vergil Flowers Series)||Crime Fiction, 4.5/5||BARD Braille||School board conducts illegal financial activity, literally burns tracks to try and throw cops off. Also dognappers.|
|Mission to Mahjundar, Veronica Scott (Sectors Series III)||Sci-fi/Fantasy, 4.5/5||Kindle Text||Man travels to far-flung world to save blind princess. Always interesting flaura, fauna, and character names in her stories.|
|The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot||Nonfiction/Memoir, 5/5||Audible Audio||Amazing story of cancer cell theft that likely led to a lot of important research, and the people behind it|
So many books! I feel like for the first time in my life, I can just read all the time. Let’s check out some of the trends.
< p>First, I’m surprised that I’ve read so many science Fiction/Fantasy novels. Nine so far. I hadn’t generally thought of myself as all that into this particular genre, unless I can find a bit of realism in it. I have to feel that it connects to me somehow. Many of the authors in this category were located via Twitter. I especially like Veronica Scott, who features a blind character in her latest full work. This character, Sharira, isn’t as independent as we might think she should be, but it is also important to look at the society in which she resides. Scott writes a series of Science Fiction Romance titles that are generally grouped into The Sectors, a conglomeration of worlds that in many ways resemble Earth’s countries and cultures.
Speaking of blind folks, though, there have been a proliferation of us in literature lately. I’ve of course already talked about Anthony Doerr’s character Marie Laure, who did turn out to be a lot more functional and able to navigate society. Yeah the counting steps thing happened, but I guess some of us do use that method sometimes. I liked that she had a great career though, and just seemed competent overall.
I’ve made a deliberate effort to read as many books by women as by men, and I pretty much succeeded: 13 men and 12 women. Yay. I’m not as certain about minority representation, but I definitely consumed some books by African American authors.
Many have also examined slavery and all of its wrongs. Sue Monk Kidd’s, The Invention of Wings might seem especially relevant after the unfortunate mass shooting in Charleston, since she profiles that very church and Mr. Vessey’s attempts to start it.
And finally, the biggest boon to my ability to read so many books during one year has been the introduction of my Braille display. Even so, I’ve read 14 in audio and 11 in Braille. I guess it’s easier to take in the recorded medium in the workday. I think that imbalance will be corrected with time, though.
< p>So that’s the first half. I felt that I was getting off to a bad start for the second, but as long as I complete my current two titles I’ll be good for the month of July. We’ll see how things hold up as the summer travel season intensifies. Happy reading!