Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books I Read in 2015

  • Whoooooooooo 2015 books!

  • Disclaimer: All of these ratings are awarded based on how much I would recommend the book--not how good I think the book is. I'll add the authors of books with ** or above, and provide links to and reviews of *** books. 
    NF = Non-Fiction, which in this case I'm using to mean non-narrative NF. Books that read like fiction, even if they're true, don't get the marker.

        = I would tell you not to read this book
      *=  I would not tell you to put this book back on the shelf.
     **= I would hand this book to you.
    ***= Traditionally means "READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW," but this year it's more of a "this book changed my life in a meaningful way"

  •  **4.48 Psychosis, by Sarah Kane
  •  **Are You My Mother?, by Alison Bechdel
  •  **Art of Asking, The, by Amanda Palmer
  •   *Beowulf
  •  **Birth of Tragedy, The (NF), by Friedrich Nietzsche
  •  **Blink (NF), by Malcolm Gladwell
  • **Bone Clocks, The, by David Mitchell
  •   *Book of Margery Kempe, The
  •    Brief History of the Romans (NF), A
  • ***Confessions of a Submissive, by Sophie Morgan
  •  **Dance with Dragons, A, by George R. R. Martin
  •   *Death in Venice
  •  **Diary of a Submissive, by Sophie Morgan
  • **Element, The (NF), by Sir Ken Robinson
  •   *Ezra Pound: Early Writings
  •   *Feast for Crows, A
  •  **Fellowship of the Ring, The, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  •    *Fifty-Year War, The: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War (NF)
  •  **Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
  •  **Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, A, by Eimear McBride
  •   *Hector and the Search for Happiness
  •  **Lancelot: Knight of the Cart, by Chretien de Troyes
  •   *Language and Sexuality Reader, The (NF)
  •  **Metamorphosis, The, by Franz Kafka
  •  **Misquoting Jesus (NF), by Bart Ehrman
  • ***Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf
  • **Ocean at the End of the Lane, The, by Neil Gaiman
  • ***On Writing Well (NF), by William Zinsser
  •   *Return of the King, The
  •   *Sacred Realms: Readings in the Anthropology of Religion (NF)
  •  **Saga of the Volsungs, The, author unknown
  •   *Salem Witch Hunt, The: A Brief History With Documents (NF)
  •   *Song of Roland, The
  •   *Supreme Court, The (NF)
  • **Swann's Way, by Marcel Proust
  • **Tipping Point, The (NF), by Malcolm Gladwell
  •   *Troilus and Criseyde
  •   *Two Towers, The
  • **Waste Land, The, by T.S. Eliot
  • **Witchcraft, Lycanthropy, Drugs, and Disease: An Anthropological Study of the European Witch-Hunts (NF), by H. Sidky


Sophie Morgan's first book, Diary of a Submissive, is a half-erotica half-memoir about the author's experiences with discovering BDSM and dating others within that community. It was pretty good, and I think that if I was also a single woman dating around, that book would take this spot.

Confessions is about Morgan settling into a committed relationship with a man who happens to be her complement both sexually and in personality. It's more about falling in love and how to merge the lives of two independent and goal-driven adults who have decided to commit to one another than it is about the sex. There's just also a lot of sex, and most of it happens to be kinky.

Honestly, this book meant way more to me in that it gave me a model for the relationship stage that I'm in (committed but not married, and only pseudo-living together) than it did in terms of being really good erotica. But it was super great on both levels.


What this book is actually about isn't really important to this review, because what changed my life is the genius of Virginia Woolf's writing. I wrote a paper about this book that I've submitted to a couple conferences, and right now I'm feeling like Woolf studies is going to be one of my fields of study in grad school.

The other great thing about this book is Woolf's portrayal of a bisexual heroine IN THE 1920s. REPRESENT.


As a writing tutor, this book is a big deal to me because it gives AMAZINGLY GOOD writing advice in a REALLY HELPFUL WAY. For each concept, Zinsser provides all kinds of examples from his own and other people's writing of both things to emulate and things to avoid emulating.

Also, it's HILARIOUS. He plays with words in a way that only someone who REALLY LOVES THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE would bother doing.

The book is geared at both people who struggle with writing and want to get better AND people who already love writing and just want to continue improving. Wherever you land on that spectrum, you will benefit from this book, because who doesn't EVER have to write things?

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