The Joy of Anticipation – My 2015 Reading List

“I have lived in books, for books, by and with books; in recent years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to live from books. And it was through books that I first realized there were other worlds beyond my own; first imagined what it might be like to be another person; first encountered that deeply intimate bond made when a writer’s voice gets inside a reader’s head.”
– Julian Barnes

I don’t read many ’current’ books. Most of my book choices are the result of time consuming vetting, meticulous research, and hours of pondering, contemplation and mulling over choices.

Well, maybe I don’t put quite that much effort into my book selecting. Still, in the last two to three years, books I’ve read that were recently published make up a pretty short list:

Steve Jobs (2011) by Walter Isaacson
The Art of Fielding (2011) by Chad Harbach
Washington: A Legacy of Leadership (2011) by Paul S. Vickery
The Casual Vacancy (2012) by J.K. Rowling
The Dog Stars (2012) by Peter Heller

Most of my reading consists of books at least 5-10 years old, frequently 20-30, and often even 50-100 years old or more.

Perhaps it’s the test of time, the books that are still on people’s minds 10, 20, 30 years later that attract my attention.

Once I found the joy of reading, late in life I might add (see previous post on my 2014 reading), it became an indispensable part of growing, learning, understanding.

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Benedict Cumberbatch said in a video for children, to advance the importance of books, “Reading is one of the joys of life, and once you begin, you can’t stop, and you’ve got so many stories to look forward to.”

Thus, as I look to 2015 in planning my reading, here are the books that are in my pile (or on my ‘to purchase’ list) to read:

My Non-Fiction list:
The Presidents Club (2012) by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
1776 (2005) by David McCullough
Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr’s Epic Challenge to the Church (2013) by Edward Gilbreath
Bonhoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (2010) by Eric Metaxas
Evenings with Cary Grant (1991) by Nancy Nelson
Mere Christianity (1952) by C.S. Lewis
Cinderella Man (2005) by Michael C. DeLisa
Steven Spielberg (1997) by John Baxter
Kenneth Strickfaden: Dr. Frankenstein’s Electrician (2005) by Harry Goldman
The Film Club (2007) by David Gilmour

And here is my list of Fiction reading for 2015:
The Princess Bride (1973) by William Goldman
Calico Joe (2012) by John Grisham
Twelfth Night (1602) by Shakespeare
The Moviegoer (1961) by Walker Percy
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee
The Lady in the Lake (1943) by Raymond Chandler
American Gods (2001) by Neil Gaiman
Eye of the Needle (1978) by Ken Follett
The Green Mile (The Complete Serial Novel) (1996) by Stephen King
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) by Ian Fleming
Ender’s Game (1985) by Orson Scott Card

As you can see from my lists, especially the fiction, I’m a big fan of books made into movies.

There are a few books that were on my 2014 list that I never got to: The Princess Bride and David McCullough’s 1776.

Others include a few worth a second (or third) reading: To Kill a Mockingbird, Mere Christianity, and The Moviegoer.

Every year around March, with the approach of Opening Day for baseball season, I read something appropriate; this year my choice is John Grisham’s Calico Joe. Grisham’s books The Rainmaker and The Testament are favorites and I’m hoping Calico Joe doesn’t disappoint.

Also listed are a couple of books I discovered on blogs I follow. The review on Adopting James for The Presidents Club intrigued me, and Bob on Books made me eager to read Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr’s Epic Challenge to the Church.

The Bob on Books blog also inspired me to pick up a copy of American Gods. My Daughter, a big Fantasy fan, also gave American Gods a Two Thumbs Up. My daughter’s favorite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, is also included.

So, in a way, my reading is spread over a good variety of topics. Good biographies are always of great interest to me. A variety of interesting fiction is essential. Consequently I expect 2015 to be a pretty good year for reading.

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“Oh! it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn’t. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read.”
– Oscar Wilde

The list will change over the year, as usual. The important thing for me, and I would hope for anyone who reads, is to be open to learn something, to grow a little, to deepen my understanding of myself and others. I’ve always felt that guys in general (myself included) can often have too narrow a focus, be a little too, for lack of a better word, superficial. Often we don’t dig deep enough to truly understand ourselves.

I’m so thankful for the gift of books – a vast reservoir of wisdom, knowledge, experience, and not to forget – simple delight.

“Please stop patronizing those who are reading a book – The Da Vinci Code, maybe- because they are enjoying it. For a start, none of us know what kind of an effort this represents for the individual reader. It could be his or her first full-length adult novel; it might be the book that finally reveals the purpose and joy of reading to someone who has hitherto been mystified by the attraction books exert on others.”
– Nick Hornby


About VocareMentor

Walk with the wise and become wise - Prov. 13:20 A lot of my blog comes out of the way I grew up. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and I didn’t see much of my father. I had no understanding of how the lack of his presence in my life affected every choice I made as I grew up. Much of my adult life has been attempting to sort things out and catch up. Thus, what you’ll find on my blog are musings, thoughts, wisdom and ideas from history and pop culture. Themes: mentors, father/son, male/female, self-discovery, courage, stepping up, friendship and more.
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11 Responses to The Joy of Anticipation – My 2015 Reading List

  1. Kate's Reviews says:

    I want to eventually get to a lot of these books too, in particular to kill a mockingbird and enders game. I have read the princess bride and would definitely recommend it. I watched the film for the millionth time tonight and it is a great adaption from the book.

    • VocareMentor says:

      Ender’s Game is another book my daughter loves and suggested I read. The Princess Bride is one of my Top Ten all time favorite movies. I plan to read the book in January or February.

  2. There are many shared titles in our readings lists, so I will suggest another: “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land” by P.S. Duffy. It is her first book, and I was impressed with her ability to construct a historical novel I found believable and “true.” Most historical novels seem phony. Although I admit I loved the “Flashman” novels by George MacDonald Fraser, which were wonderful because the were over-the-top, intentionally phony.

  3. rtrube54 says:

    Steve Jobs by Isaacson is on my TBR pile, what did you think of it? Will be interested to hear what you think of Gaiman. That was a recommendation from my son.

    • VocareMentor says:

      Personally, I liked Isaacson’s Steve Jobs a lot and will read it again. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. The only Apple product we own is a single older iPod Touch. But I admit I’m a bit predisposed to certain ‘Pop Culture’ icons and themes (movies, 60’s T.V., 20th century Americana). I give Isaacson’s Einstein biography 4 out of 5 stars only because a fair amount of the science (maybe 15-20% ? of the book) was over my head. I’ll make a note to reply to your review after I read American Gods.

  4. Jessie says:

    Nice lists, lots of books I liked on there! And kudos to you for embracing reading and passing the love of it to your daughter even after a slow start. I don’t think many would do that.

  5. VocareMentor says:

    I give my daughter a lot of credit for inspiring me by her great love of books. She is an ESL teacher and truly loves language and words.

  6. Dave Astor says:

    Great post, VocareMentor — with a very interesting, eclectic list of books you’ve read or plan to read!

    To talk about just four of them, I thought J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” was excellent; so different from “Harry Potter,” but still very absorbing. “To Kill a Mockingbird” deserves the countless accolades it has received, and Walker Percy’s understated “The Moviegoer” is fascinating. I felt John Grisham’s “Calico Joe” was not even close to being a page-turner like “The Client,” but good in its way.

    • VocareMentor says:

      I thought The Casual Vacancy was well written and full of, for lack of a better word, ‘interesting’ characters that I cared very little about. – Years ago when I picked up The Moviegoer I was expecting something different. Yet it was so surprising and satisfying that I made a mental note to wait until time had helped fade my memory and I could pick it up to delight in again. – Thanks for your comments.

      • Dave Astor says:

        You’re welcome! Certainly a lot of the characters in “The Casual Vacancy” are very petty and unlikable.

        “The Moviegoer” is indeed a gem that should have more renown. And Walker Percy also deserves kudos for helping John Kennedy Toole’s wonderfully quirky “A Confederacy of Dunces” get published posthumously.

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