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The Not-So-Big Bookish Wrap-Up of 2015

December 24, 2015    Tags: , , , ,   

So, it’s been a crazy year. I’ve read fewer books, written fewer stories and poems, traveled less. But I also moved to a new home, finally finished a book that was eight years in the distilling, and kept a tiny new human being alive. And I became something new too–it’s been like opening a door expecting to find another room, and instead finding another world. It’s been the biggest, quietest, longest, fastest, rawest year of my life.

2015. You’ve been a good one.

As has become my tradition, here’s a list of what I read this year (a zillion board books not included). It’s scantier than usual — for obvious reasons. Rereads are marked with asterisks, and read-alouds are in bold:

THE ART OF ASKING – Amanda Palmer
THE BOOK OF THREE (THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN #1)* – Lloyd Alexander
THE LAST REPORT OF THE MIRACLES AT LITTLE NO HORSE – Louise Erdrich
REBEL BOOKSELLER – Andrew Laties
THE BLACK CAULDRON (THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN #2)* – Lloyd Alexander
LAUGH LINES: SHORT COMIC PLAYS – Eric Lane and Nina Shengold, ed.
REVOLUTION – Russell Brand
YES PLEASE – Amy Poehler
STUFF AND NONSENSE – A.B. Frost
WISH YOU WERE HERE: THE OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY OF DOUGLAS ADAMS – Nick Webb
THE CASTLE OF LLYR (THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN #3)* – Lloyd Alexander
KURT VONNEGUT: THE LAST INTERVIEW (AND OTHER CONVERSATIONS) – Tom McCartan, ed.
THE APE’S WIFE AND OTHER STORIES – Caitlin R. Kiernan
THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY – Gabrielle Zevin
SOUL ON FIRE: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF PETER STEELE – Jeff Wagner
HOW TO BE PARISIAN WHEREVER YOU ARE – Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas
HALF MAGIC – Edward Eager
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS: ADVICE ON LOVE AND LIFE FROM DEAR SUGAR – Cheryl Strayed
THE INNER VOICE: THE MAKING OF A SINGER – Renee Fleming
UNFATHOMABLE CITY: A NEW ORLEANS ATLAS – Rebecca Snedeker and Rebecca Solnit
TRIGGER WARNING: SHORT FICTIONS AND DISTURBANCES – Neil Gaiman
THE HALLOWEEN TREE – Ray Bradbury
MOONWALKING WITH EINSTEIN: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF REMEMBERING EVERYTHING – Joshua Foer
TARAN WANDERER (THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN #4) – Lloyd Alexander
I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN – Jandy Nelson
TRAVELING MERCIES * – Anne Lamott
THE SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN – Jill Lepore
THE REAL BOY – Anne Ursu
DEAD WAKE: THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE LUSITANIA – Erik Larson
TEA WITH MR. ROCHESTER – Frances Towers
THE ART OF NEIL GAIMAN – Hayley Campbell
THE HIDDEN LIFE OF DOGS – Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
COLLECTED POEMS: 1934 – 1952 – Dylan Thomas
THE POISON EATERS AND OTHER STORIES – Holly Black
PROXY – Alex London
PERSONAL EFFECTS – E.M. Kokie
GET IN TROUBLE – Kelly Link
THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE: ESSAYS – Ann Patchett
FAMILY MAN – Calvin Trillin
I AM MALALA – Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
VOYAGERS: PROJECT ALPHA – D.J. MacHale
THE SIGN OF THE CAT – Lynne Jonell
TELEGRAPH AVENUE – Michael Chabon
THE MAP TO EVERYWHERE – Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
WHAT TO EXPECT: THE FIRST YEAR – Heidi Murkoff
PERFECT DRAGONFLY: 15 YEARS OF RED DRAGONFLY PRESSΒ  – Scott King, ed.
ZERO TO FIVE: 70 ESSENTIAL PARENTING TIPS BASED ON SCIENCE – Tracy Cutchlow

Anne Lamott, Lloyd Alexander, and Michael Chabon were as wonderful as ever, but for me the standouts of the year were Kelly Link’s short story collection GET IN TROUBLE, which was gorgeous and strange and brilliantly crafted, like everything she does (I’m still thinking about “The New Boyfriend”), Ann Patchett’s THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE, which had passages that made me smile, get teary, and actually say “AMEN!” out loud, and THE SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN, which was so blow-you-out-of-the-water fascinating and encouraging that I wish I could scatter copies from a hot air balloon, watching them fall into the hands of present and future feminists and comic book fans alike.

As for Beren, current favorites are THE MITTEN, THE SNOWY DAY, and anything with ducks in it.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and peace, wonder, and joy to everyone. See you in 2016.

Beren and Cmas Tree

 

 

Spectacles

8 Comments (Leave a comment)

  1. Aww, love that picture of Beren! Merry Christmas to you and your family, and a very Happy New Year. What a wonderful list of books. The Map to Everywhere was one of my favorites too. All my best.

    Comment by Brenda on December 25, 2015 @ 8:56 pm


  2. Oh my goodness! Little Beren is ADORABLE!!! And I wish I could say I’ve read at least one of the same books as you, but no… πŸ™ Well, see ya!

    Say hi to Ryan for me! And give Beren a big hug from me!

    And as always, stay awesome!

    XOXO, Nicole πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

    Comment by Nicole on December 28, 2015 @ 2:06 pm


  3. Buenos dias Jacqui! Feliz cumpleaΓ±os! (English translation): Good morning Jacqui! Happy birthday! I’m currently eating breakfast… Ooh, and I got some polymer clay for Christmas! I think I know what I’m going to do! Yay!

    Oh, and I’m already thinking of COLLEGE. AGHHHHHHHHHH. Crazy, right? Well, I AM going to be driving in less than two years, because I believe you get your temps when you’re 15. Am I correct on that? I hope I am… Well anyway, I wanna go to UW Stevens Point, UW LaCrosse, NTC, or UW Eau Claire. (I don’t know what one I want to go to yet.) I think my best two options would be UW Stevens Point or UW Eau Claire. Stevens Point because one of my aunts went there, plus it’s close to home, and UW Eau Claire because another one of my aunts went there, and YOU went there. That would be really cool… If I end up going there, I’d probably be thinking, “Okay, Jacqueline entered through these same doors. She walked through these same hallways. THIS IS TOTALLY AWESOME OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!” Yeah. And both colleges seem good for what classes I want to take. I’m considering a few different careers. I want to possibly become a band, choir, art, communications, or Spanish teacher. I also would like to maybe become an author. Gee, I dunno who inspires me and who is my favorite author in the whole world… I don’t comment on her blog frequently at ALL. (Note the sarcasm in the previous sentences.) You might just know who she is… It’s YOU, Jacqui. Ever since I read your first book, I was hooked on your series. You inspire me SO MUCH. You know that first comment on your blog? I was considering not posting it. I’m glad I decided to post that comment.You have no idea how much you influence me. Say I have a bad start to the day and my mom notices. Then I’m at school or on the bus or home alone and I check your blog. I see you responded. I read your comment and immediately type a response. My mom gets home and notices a huge difference in my mood. She asks what happened and I say, “Oh, nothing… tee hee!” (This has actually happened. Several times.) I’m still in awe that you even read my comments and take what’s probably precious time out of your day to respond. I feel very flattered that you even write out a response that probably takes a while to type. I’ve been writing this comment for 25 minutes… It’s a lot of autocorrecting, rereading, deleting, and rewriting. That’s probably what it’s like to write a book. I don’t know how you can possibly juggle being an author, mother, and spouse, but it’s amazing. And that doesn’t even take into account going shopping for groceries, visiting family, visiting schools, and quite a few other things. You must be supergirl or something. Speaking of supergirl, I LOVE THAT SHOW!!!!!!!! And Once Upon a Time, Steven Universe, The Amazing World of Gumball, Girl Meets World, Scorpion, and a ton of other shows. What are your favorite shows/movies? Ooh, my favorite movies are ANY Disney movie, Rise of the Guardians, and that’s about it. Well, I gotta go. See ya! (This whole comment took a half an hour to type. Wow.) And happy birthday!

    And as always, stay awesome!

    XOXO, Nicole πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

    Comment by Nicole on December 29, 2015 @ 8:04 am


  4. Aw, thanks, Nicole. It’s a pleasure and an honor to have readers like you. (And as someone who attended four other colleges, I can say that UWEC provided me with a FANTASTIC education in music and English. I know my brother would say the same about his computer science experience there, and my husband would say the same for art, and my cousin would say the same about special ed… Not that I’m biased or anything. Nope. Not at all. (But you’ve got lots of time to make that decision — and of course you don’t have to take my word for it!))

    And yes, the snowy fountain is in my backyard. Our new place is full of crazy little treasures.

    Comment by Jacqueline on December 30, 2015 @ 11:20 am


  5. Hello again Jacqui! I just saw your latest Instagram post. That looks so beautiful! Is that out in your backyard? If so, LUCKY!!! And our backyard is covered in snow too. I’m still kinda tired… bleh. Time to go watch YouTube!!! Well, I guess that’s all. Give Beren a big hug for me, tell Ryan I say hi, and give Brom Bones a good belly rub for me. See ya!

    And as always, stay awesome!

    XOXO, Nicole πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

    Comment by Nicole on December 30, 2015 @ 7:56 am


  6. Okay, what colleges did you attend? Gosh, FOUR colleges? Wow! And nope, you’re not biased at ALL!!! Haha. And you’re lucky! I love that fountain! It’s beautiful! And, um, you know *the message* on Goodreads? The urgent and important one? Thank you for being so understanding! You are seriously so nice… I feel very special. πŸ˜€

    So thank you. Very much.

    And as always, stay awesome!

    XOXO, Nicole πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

    Comment by Nicole on December 30, 2015 @ 11:31 am


  7. I just saw your latest Instagram post! You’re a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder?!?! I have the whole Little House series! I probably sound crazy… Whatever! Seriously though. Well, see ya!

    And as always, stay awesome!

    XOXO, Nicole πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

    Comment by Nicole on December 30, 2015 @ 12:00 pm


  8. I think I’m coming down with something… My head and throat hurt, my cheeks feel warm, and my whole body aches a dull but painful ache. Gosh, I hate being sick… I think I’m going to go read and/or fall asleep. Because I do fall asleep when I read sometimes, but only when I’m not feeling good or I’m reading at a later time. And I’m starting to feel nauseous… Bleh. Well, see ya. I hope you’re not sick…

    And as always, stay awesome.

    XOXO, Nicole (Who really needs to take a nap)

    Comment by Nicole on December 30, 2015 @ 3:43 pm


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© Jacqueline West

[A] delightful tale filled with magic, adventure, danger and all the usual challenges of growing up. Written for young readers and featuring charmingly simple illustrations, this will capture the interest of adults as well and leave fans looking for the next installment…

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