Book Challenge 2015 revisited

December 31 and I’m finally finished my 2015 reading challenge. I feel like I’ve accomplished so much. And because I feel like this accomplishment should be acknowledged by everyone commemorated, I thought I’d do a little review before jumping into 2016. So, without further ado:

Total books read: 49

Total authors read: 38

Total books reviewed: 38

Continue reading “Book Challenge 2015 revisited”

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart


A stunning love letter to pianos:

“We invest it with our dreams, we touch it offhandedly as we walk by, we crown it with favorite photos and treasured objects until it becomes a kind of domestic shrine. But when it is gone from our lives, it can’t really be replaced, not for what it encompasses as part of life’s progress … We can start over and a good instrument will still open the way to the realm of music. But the associative power of this thing, this great hulk of wood and metal, resides in the individual specimen.”

The reverence with which he writes makes me yearn for my own piano (which currently sits no more than 15 feet away).

Finally, no. 11 on my challenge—only because I thought it lost forever.

And with that, on the very last day of 2015, I complete my very first year-long book challenge. Happy New Years!

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway


I do believe I’ll read more Hemingway in the future. I quite enjoy his witty characters and staccatoed sentences.

Besides, he wrote this: “I drank a bottle of wine for company … A bottle of wine was good company.” I think we would have gotten along splendidly.

No. 25 on my challenge. This year marks its 90th year.

Lyrics and Poems by John K. Samson


I won’t lie, I read this strictly because my book challenge called for a book of poems. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it—some of my favourite songs by the Weakerthans are in this book—poetry just isn’t my first love… or my second, or third.

No. 15 on my challenge. It’s no coincidence that this book came so late in the game.

Book roundup!

I love books and I love lists, so what better way to celebrate the end of the year than with a bunch of Best Books of 2015 lists (a two column bulleted list that I coded myself, I might add):







And from Brooklyn Magazine, a list much like my own: The Best of the Bests: Ranking the 2015 Best Books Lists.

Finally, to commemorate the near end of my book challenge (I’m working on the last three books as you read), here’s an exhaustive gallery of the books I read in 2015 (including those not read for the challenge), in no particular order (my apologies, the covers aren’t linked to their reviews—I couldn’t figure out how to code around that particular impossibility in gallery view):

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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I’m just going to go ahead and accept that I tend to have lukewarm feelings for classic literature (unless it’s The Great Gatsbywhich is truly great). This novel was no exception. Though I did enjoy a great many things uttered by Lord Henry:

“The masses feel that drunkenness, stupidity, and immorality should be their own special property.”
“Sin is the only real colour element left in modern life.”
“I have talked quite enough for today … all I want now is to look at life.”
“One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.”
“To get back to my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”
“As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing as that. Art has no influence upon action. It annihilates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. That is all.”

No. 9 on my challenge.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (2)


For years I’ve been telling people this is my favourite book and recommending that they read it. I am so glad that it held up on my second read. I still love this book. I will always love this book. It’s especially well-written, the Walls family reads like a cast of fictional characters too incredible to believe, and the ingenuity and resilience of Jeannette and her siblings continues to be nothing less than marvellous. I don’t usually read books more than once, but this is one that I will continue to read, and continue to share.

No. 24 on my challenge. If you’ve been following my reviews from the beginning, you’ll understand why.