Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: My Year in Books

Good lord, I read a lot of books in 2015.

How many? Try 123. That's the highest number that I've read in years and a full 23 books more than I read in 2014. Wow.

Of course, the majority of this year's books (once again) were graphic novels. There are a few pretty good reasons for that. First off is the incredible Portland library system: they stock so many graphic novels that I have wanted to read for a long time -- along with quite a few books that I never even knew existed. Second, I spend most of my days reading and writing articles, so turning to a visual medium is a nice change of pace for my evenings. Finally, even though I read a lot, my reading schedule is a bit unpredictable. I'd rather get in and out of a book (or comic, or article, or poem, or short story, or whatever) when I know I can finish it than start a book and not know when I'm going to be able to pick it up again.

Looking back, I'm actually a bit disappointed in this number. I wanted to read even more books this year -- especially novels -- but that wasn't in the cards. Too much work, too much stress, too many responsibilities.... but oh well, I still knocked quite a few volumes off the "to be read" pile.

Even though I didn't get to every book that I wanted to, I managed to read some amazing books this year. Here are a few of the standouts:

Best Fiction Book: North American Lake Monsters, a stunning short-story collection by Nathan Ballingrud

Best Non-Fiction Book: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, a wonderful memoir/history book/cultural study by Jennifer 8. Lee

Best Graphic Novel: The Sculptor, Scott McCloud's amazing opus is a work of rare genius (runner-up: March: Book Two, an important piece of first-person history by John Lewis and his artistic collaborators)

Best Art Book: Nextinction by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy, a true feast for the eyes and a blow to the soul

Well, that's that. On to 2016. I have a few days off from work (a rarity, let me tell you), so maybe I'll get a head-start on this year's list. I have a few shelves of unread books staring at me from the bookshelf next to my computer, so I have plenty of options to choose from.

As for you, here's to a year of great books, no matter how many you read!


  1. Your tally continues to amaze me. Adding the Fortune Cookie book to my "to read" list. I've been wanting to check that one out for a while.

  2. It's a lot of short books, but it does add up. Definitely read Fortune Cookie -- and see the documentary based on part of it, the Search for General Tso.