I had less time for pleasure reading in 2015 as compared to years past. Ironically, this is because my daughter is no longer an infant and is more independent. She was a catnapper as a young baby, so rather than go down for one or two long naps, she slept an hour or less every few hours. The slightest noise (my joints cracking, a cough, the door shutting) would wake her. So, I made the most of those naps by reading. My phone, iPad, and later, Kindle, made it easy to read any kind of lighting. Those devices also allowed me to read one-handed (because, did I mention my daughter only would sleep while being held?).
New changes in my professional life—a tenure-track Assistant Professorship at Radford University—also influenced this past year’s readings. Owing to a generous two-course release in my first year at Radford, I’ve been able to pursue more research and publication opportunities. Although that work is pleasurable, the list below doesn’t reference any academic titles except for #11. It’s a fascinating book, but I’m really including it here for superstitious reasons: 2016 could be the year that my research on public health official S. Josephine Baker and early twentieth century well baby care comes together. Interestingly, that project grew out of some pleasure reading I completed in 2014.
Without further adieu, here is my “year in books,” a partial and alphabetical list of books I read for fun in 2015:
- After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, Michael Hainey (memoir)
- Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug (how-to guide)
- Drowned By Corn, Erika Hyaski (narrative nonfiction)
- Epilogue: A Memoir, Will Boast
- Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng (contemporary fiction)
- Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir, Eddie Huang*
- The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins (contemporary fiction)
- The Grownup, Gillian Flynn (contemporary short fiction)
- The Martian, David Weir (contemporary science fiction)*
- Out of Orange: A Memoir, Cleary Wolters *
- Perfect Motherhood: Science and Childrearing in America, Rima Apple (academic; history)
- Stitches: A Memoir, David Small (graphic memoir)
- We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (essay)
- Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, Suki Kim (memoir)
- The Year My Mother Came Back, Alice Eve Cohen (memoir)
What about you? What books did you read for fun in 2015? Can you recommend any favorites?
Books that I especially enjoyed—that impressed me with craft, style, and substance—are highlighted and linked to author’s sites, when available.
*Books that I didn’t finish also are marked. I wanted to like #6 and #7, but they have some style and craft issues that I found irksome. I have no excuse for not finishing #8. Things got busy, and I guess I figured I could just watch the movie. True confession there, folks.