The Book List 2015

I. Love. Books. Books that you can hold in your hand, to dog-ear the pages and underline poetic/inspirational/touching phrases and paragraphs. Books to tuck into your bag, or to keep in the car, always at the ready for the unexpected quiet moment. Books to return to, year after year, like a treasured friend.

This time of year, I have the habit of collecting books and stacking them in a neat pile, in delicious anticipation of new reads for a new year. Perhaps you do this too?

If you are seeking suggestions for your reading list for the coming year, below is my complete list of books from this past year. Titles in bold are those which I would read or refer to again, and thus highly recommend.


The 2015 List

  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  2. Saving Italy by Robert Edsel
  3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (re-read)
  4. Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner
  5. The One and Only Ivan* by Katherine Applegate
  6. The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley
  7. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  8. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Italian History and Culture
  9. The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander
  10. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  11. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  12. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (re-read)
  13. Boo by Neil Smith
  14. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss
  15. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  16. Wonder* by R.J. Palaccio
  17. Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales (re-read)
  18. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  19. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  20. An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
  21. Brain Rules by John Medina
  22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (re-read)

*Daughter is a voracious reader and insisted I read these. I enjoyed them both and do recommend them for youth literature.

Top picks of 2015

Without question, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Just typing the title has me itching to read it again.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein also should not be missed, particularly if you are a dog lover.

If you are a fan of history, art or Italian, Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales is a must-read.

For those of you who are fascinated by the science of joy and gratitude as am I, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor is the best I have read on this topic.

In Progress

  • Florence: The Birth of a City by Christopher Hibbert
  • The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art by Richard Stemp

I love reading non-fiction but find it a bit daunting to read straight through. For some of the thicker books, I have a new system which is to read a chapter or two on the weekends. In this way, during the coming year, I am hoping to finish some books I have long wanted to complete, such as Vasari’s Lives of the Artists and a couple of Renaissance anthologies I have lying about.

First up for 2016 

  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • What else should be on my list for 2016? Please share your recommendations with me in the comments!

Happy reading to you all.

This post first appeared on Prayers and PiazzasFeatured photo of  Thomas Jefferson’s collection in the Library of Congress by Stacy di Anna .




8 Comments Add yours

  1. jgroeber says:

    I am so impressed that you get so much reading done in a year. I just cleaned out our large canvas beach bag (to turn it into a bag for boots and snow pants) and I found All the Light…, still shamefully unfinished. I just threw Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking into my bag to re-read. If you haven’t read it yet, do. Sad but exquisite. Here’s to more reading and writing in the new year. Cheers!


    1. Thank you for the suggestion, I will put Magical Thinking on my list! My kids are older now and that has allowed me to steal a bit more reading time. Last year, I committed to reading 25 pages a day (or trying my best), which was motivating. Did I read in one of your recent posts that you have a connection to All the Light’s author? I so loved that book and I hope you are able to pick it back up soon. Blessings to you and yours. 🙂


      1. jgroeber says:

        An obscure connection, but yes. And as for Didion, I’ve just re-read the first chapter and am reminded of how searingly sad the book is. Sad but stunningly beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Bird by Bird” is always an encouraging read. I also enjoyed Hibbert’s “The Story of England” so I shall check out “Florence.” Hales’ work about Mona Lisa also sounds fascinating. May 2016 be filled with the pleasure of great books for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same to you, and thank you for the Hibbert suggestion. I hope you enjoy the Mona Lisa book!


  3. Debra Kolkka says:

    I look forward to reading Dianne Hales’ books about Mona Lisa, it sounds interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy it! You may also like her previous book, La Bella Lingua, if you haven’t read it yet.


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