Books Read in 2015

Chasers of the Light | Tyler Knott Gregson

“We are the only people I have ever known who can make love across a crowded room.”

The Fifty Year Sword | Mark Z. Danielewski

“Ah yes, how hard it is to imagine that Forest of Falling Notes. I know, I know… Imagine. Imagine every sound a sigh of but one thing dying and instead of coming one after another it sighs a sigh of all at once. What would that sound like?”

Waiting for Godot | Samuel Beckett

“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”

Love Does | Bob Goff

“I want to go barefoot because it’s holy ground; I want to be running because time is short and none of us has as much runway as we think we do; and I want it to be a fight because that’s where we can make a difference. That’s what love does.”

The Crazyladies of Pearl Street | Trevanian

Something Like the Desert | Kristen Hedges

“We are built of stories. They grow in spiny-soft thickets around our bones, reach through our veins, leak from the corners of our eyes, from our fingertips, from our mouths. And because they are so deeply scarred and stained into our skin, we cannot shake them. We are built of them. All of them. Even even the little ones.”

Great House | Nicole Krauss

“I don’t support the plan, I told you. Why? you demanded, with little angry eyes. What will you write? I asked. You told me a convoluted story about four, six, maybe eight people all lying in rooms joined by a system of electrodes and wires to a great white shark. All night the shark floats suspended in an illuminated tank, dreaming the dreams of these people. No, not the dreams, the nightmares, the things too difficult to bear. So they sleep, and through the wires the terrifying things leave them and flood into the awesome fish with scarred skin that can bear all the accumulated misery. After you finished I let a sufficient amount of silence pass before I spoke. Who are these people? I asked. People, you said. I ate a handful of nuts, watching your face. I don’t know where to begin on the problems with this little story, I told you. Problems? you said, your voice rising and cracking. In the wells of your eyes your mother saw the suffering of a child raised by a tyrant, but in the end the fact that you never became a writer had nothing to do with me.”

Cold Tangerines | Shauna Niequist

“To all the secret writers, late-night painters, would-be singers, lapsed and scared artists of every stripe, dig out your paintbrush, or your flute, or your dancing shoes. Pull out your camera or your computer or your pottery wheel. Today, tonight, after the kids are in bed or when your homework is done, or instead of one more video game or magazine, create something, anything.

Pick up a needle and thread, and stitch together something particular and honest and beautiful, because we need it. I need it.

Thank you, and keep going.”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Ransom Riggs

“Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.”

Slaughterhouse Five | Kurt Vonnegut

“Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment.”

Worn Stories | Various

“Because I’d like to think I can still summon the total carpe diem, reckless abandon, bulletproof sense of invincibility that I once had wearing that shirt.”

The Opposite of Loneliness | Marina Keegan

“So what I’m trying to say is you should text me back.
Because there’s a precedent. Because there’s an urgency.
Because there’s a bedtime.
Because when the world ends I might not have my phone charged and
If you don’t respond soon,
I won’t know if you’d wanna leave your shadow next to mine.”

Steal Like an Artist | Austin Kleon

“The manifesto is this: draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use–do the work you want to see done.”

Comfort Me With Apples | Ruth Riechl

“‘I need to ask a question,’ said Coleman. The sun was coming up, and we all looked blearily across at him. ‘Why did you come?’

Bradley said for adventure and Jonathan, for the sheer craziness of it all. Lydia had wanted to work with Alice, and Alice had liked the group…

Coleman turned to me. I knew he had been hoping that we had come to learn about Catalan cooking, and I didn’t want to disappoint him.

But that wasn’t the truth, and it was too early, or too late, to lie. ‘When I got on the plane,’ I said slowly, ‘I didn’t really know why I was coming. But I do now. I needed to find out that sometimes even your best is not good enough. And that in those times you have to give it everything you’ve got. And then move on.’”

Bitersweet | Shauna Niequist

“If I’m honest, I prayed the way you cook: this is what I want. Period. This is what I want. Aren’t you getting this? I didn’t pray for God’s will to be done in my life, or at any rate, I didn’t mean it. I prayed to be rescued, not redeemed. I prayed for it to be easier, not that I would be shaped in significant ways. I prayed for the waiting to be over, instead of trying to learn something about patience or anything else for that matter.”

Women in Clothes | Various

Blue Like Jazz | Donald Miller

“Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon.”

The Year of Magical Thinking | Joan Didion

“A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.”

3 thoughts on “Books Read in 2015

  1. Wow, what a beautiful list of books. I greatly appreciate that you choose quality over quantity–it seems to me that these days I see book bloggers say, “Oh, I read [insert huge number year, like `100 or 500] books this year!” instead of reading books that actually matter. The quotes you supply here show that your choices were excellent. I applaud you for that :)

    As for me, I didn’t finish my GoodReads goal, haha…but the 14 books I did read were mostly good ones:
    A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
    Matched by Ally Condie
    The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
    Crossed by Ally Condie
    Hidden Pearls by Hayden Wand
    Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde
    It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig
    Dark to Mortal Eyes by Eric Wilson
    Collective Retribution by D.S. Edwards
    Adrift on the Nile by Naguib Mahfouz
    The Hostage by Zayd Mutee’ Dummaj
    The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat*
    Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander
    *One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. Morbid, but psychologically fascinating.

    I will be adding your list to my TBR shelf forthwith :) Happy New Year, Rachel!
    Dance A Real

  2. Blue Like Jazz was on my read list too! My Writing/ English teacher admires Miller’s work, and after commending it to me, got me hooked on his writing. Your books look so interesting, not only the covers, but what they stand for, their overbearing message and themes. Some of my favourites this year were:

    -Blue Like Jazz
    -Scary Close by Donald Miller
    -Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (finished it and left wanting about five more of these types of books. Cannot recommend this book enough, a great study in jealousy)
    -Season of Fire by Lisa T. Bergren (what a great sequel!)
    -Villette by Charlotte Bronte (could not stand male character, but other than that was almost as good as Jane Eyre)
    -By Myself by Lauren Bacall (better than her sequel by a long shot. So much humility poured into one book)

    Looking forward to reading some of your books!

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