The List of Books to Read 2015

From the Fellowship of the Farmy.  The readers of the  This is a long list. A wonderful list. Good books we have read so far this year. Because some of you may want to print it out I have included no photographs.  This will certainly take me and maybe you right into the reading winter of 2016.

All the Light we cannot See,  by Anthony Doerr and The Martian, by Andy Weir. First one is a historical novel set in WWII. The second one is set on Mars. Both wonderful.

The Art of Letting Go, by Chloe Banks or any of Robin Hobbs trilogies for me.

A Tale For The Time Being.

The Vegetarian: A Novel.

The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (highly recommend!).

The Southern Reach Trilogy.

The Snow Child.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

The Samurai’s Garden.

The Art of Crash Landing, by Melissa Carlo (fast, fun with real life dialogue – loved this).

I’m late discovering Mary Wesley and have read two of her books this year – Jumping the Queue, and An Imaginative Experience.

Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts.

Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan.

When You are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris.

One of the best books I read this year was Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins. It’s a memoir, about her walk of the Natchez Trace, partly about her relationship with her father, and so much more! Her novel, To Live Forever, is brilliant, too!

The Cherry Orchard, by Lucy Sanna and The Nightingale, by Kristen Hannah. Both set in WWII, the first in the US, the second in German occupied France.

The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown.

The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, by Janisse Ray, (if you haven’t already read it, you’ll appreciate this one.)

The Third Plateby Dan Barber (a must read, about food, farming, sustainability and the role of chefs, and much more.)

City of Women by David R. Gillham.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walte.

Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup.

I keep coming back and re-reading these time and again: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.

Kim by Rudyard Kipling.

Deborah Harkness’ trilogy A Discovery of Witches.

Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Coming Home and September by Rosamund Pilcher.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.

Furiously Happy.

Daring Greatly.

Trails, Trials and Tears – The Life and Legacy of Texas Lil.  I personally know Lil.  She is the mother of one of high school friends and what a character she is!!!!! Please try to get this one and read it. It is a great story about a women who has brass you know whats!

Daily Coyote.

The best book I have read this year though is The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks.

The Master Butcher’s Singing Club.

The Glassblower Trilogy.

Book Thief.

The Hurricane Sisters by Dorthea Benton Frank.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins .

King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. I’m sure you all know these knight’s stories, that I read this for the first time and enjoyed it very much. I even fell in love with that extraordinary, lovely knight Sir Tristan.

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern, a young Irish novelist. It’s told in such a lovely way, I enjoyed it very much. It’s about a young journalist who has got a very special and sensible project to  solve. Heart wrenching and heart-warming.

A very old one, but lovely: Charles Terrot, The Angel, Who Pawned Her Harp.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

The Feast Nearby: How I Lost My Job, Buried a Marriage, and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Eating Locally (All on $40 a Week)
by Robin Mather.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Circling the Sun by Paula McClain about Beryl Markham.

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery about an octogenerian hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline.

Fiona MacIntosh: The Lavender Keeper and The French Promise are absorbing reading. Convincing characters cover the troubled times before, during and after the second world war mainly set in rural France and eventually progressing to Tasmania. Adventure, suspense, history, and romance all figure in these beautifully written books.

Firefly Lane is Kristin Hannah –  the same author as The Nightingale. They are very different types of work, but both are excellent.

The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis is fun to read.

The God of Small Things by Roi.

A Fine Balance by Mistry.

Animals’ People by Sinha,.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Barbery.

A Little Life by Yanagihara.

I just finished Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, a native Minnesotan. This is a novel, with a few recipes tossed in, that is rooted in Minnesota. This book is unlike any I’ve ever read. It’s about family and food and life journeys and relationships. A great read, which I devoured in less than a week. When the book ended, I wished that it hadn’t. That’s the best endorsement I can give a book of fiction.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler.

The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley.

Serena, by Ron Rash.

The Far Pavilions,  by MM Kaye).

Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, (books 1-3, later books not so much).

The Crimson Petal and the White  by M. Faber.

The English Patient,   by Ondaatje.

Cold Mountain, (C. Frazer).

A couple of newer (well, newer to me) selections for mystery lovers are Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Ferguson mystery series (set in New England, with a deliciously irreverent female pastor as the MC), and for Jane Austen fans, Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mystery series (Barron captures the voice of Austen perfectly, so I have to remind myself often that Austen did not actually write them).

I read two of Alice Hoffman’s this year, A Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers. Really enjoyed them both, and am looking forward to reading more. The first is set on the Island of St. Thomas in the 1800’s and tells the life story of the woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism. The second tells the story of four women during the siege of Masada.

Recipes from the Bartolini Kitchens…great read and has my favorites of John’s recipes. I’m a total space, sci-fi and fantasy geek so here are a few I’ve read this year or prior and would recommend.

Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear (the third of the trilogy is coming), George R.R. Martin’s entire Game of Thrones series…the show is good but the books are a whole different animal, and I’ve just started another 5 book series beginning with Dan Simmon’s Hyperion. If you want further escapist and wish to step back in time to the American 60’s, John D. Macdonald’s Travis McGee series are fun.

Anything Phillipa Gregory  particularly The Cousins War Series & The Tudor Court Novels.

Anne Rice’s Blackwood Farm.

Michael Pollan’s Second Nature & Cooked.

Anything John Steinbeck, most recently for me Travels with Charley in Search of America.

Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

Just finished reading (for maybe the hundredth time) the entire series by Tony Hillerman. The Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee characters are as interesting as the country they drive you into. The Southwest Four Corners. Get to know about my part of the world.

Back to the Damn Soil by Mary Gubser. There is not even a good description on Amazon. Mary Gubser wrote about her experiences as a city girl in WWII moving to a farm in rural Oklahoma. It is the most delightful read.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister as well as the sequel, The Lost Art of Mixing. And the unrelated Joy for Beginners.

The Shepherd Life by James Rebanks.

I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and found Olive Ketteridge by Elizabeth Strout an interesting look at a woman’s ‘life over 25 years.

Taller When Prone by Les Murray, especially the poem about the mute cat. You’ll feel as though you could have written it.

Cutting For Stone – Abraham Verghese . Pretty sure you will not want this one to end.

War Brides – Lois Battle (excellent and fairly quick read).

Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walker.

Currently I am reading “The Boys in the Boat” – Daniel James Brown. My all time favorite book was “Breakfast with Buddha” by Roland Merullo. I couldn’t put it down.

Series by Louise Penny featuring Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, in the village of Three Pines, in southern Quebec, Canada: beginning with Still Life, then A Fatal Grace and 9 others.

Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams; Bone Horses and Ladies of the Canyon by Lesley Poling-Kempes have been books I’ve enjoyed lately.

Just finished A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.

Enthusiastically recommend: Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann.

Meet Me in Malmö by Torquil McLeod.

My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse.

To the Field of Stars: A pilgrim’s journey to Santiago de Compostela.

I would highly recommend Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz (anything by him is great) (non-fiction) about the voyages of Captain Cook.

The Leopard by Guiseppe di Lampedusa (I’d only seen the movie years ago.)

I also read A Fine Romance by Cynthia Propper Seton.

The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard .

Hi, I love any books by Fannie Flagg. At the mo I’m reading Ann Cleeves books about detective inspector Vera Stanhope.

Circling the Sun, Paula McLain.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

The Nightingale, Kristin Hanna.

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins.

Last Night in Montreal, Emily St John Mandel.

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr.

Splinters of Light, Rachael Herron.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple.

Fave out of all of them ..The Luminaries.

The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. by Jonas Jonasson. Also his book The Girl Who Saved the Kind of Sweden. Both of us loved these!

For anyone who enjoys Fantasy/Sci-Fi, I highly recommend “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson. Getting into this book will ensure that you have plenty to read for a long time since it is 1,000 excellent pages.

For general bookworms, I also highly recommend “Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians” by Brandon Sanderson as an easy read. It’s the first in a hilarious set of youth novels that can keep kids entertained while having plenty of funny moments .

Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb, a magical realist sort of book set in Italy before the war about a man who leaves his wife on their honeymoon.

Sky Time in Gray’s River by Robert Michael Pyle my favorite American nature writer.

News From Tartary by Peter Fleming about an early 30’s overland journey from Peking to Kashmir. Beautiful description of a vanished world (Brother of Ian Fleming).

At the moment, reading Crash and Burn, by Lisa Gardener. She writes psychological thrillers, but this one is different, no bodies, just a woman with a traumatic brain injury who has memories of being afraid but she doesn’t know of what.

Two biographies, both set in Tassie with a similar theme. A Table in the Orchard by Michelle Crawford, she says……whiIe living a high flying life, I dreamed of growing my own food, making cakes and jam, and wearing gumboots every day. Beautifully illustrated and some yummy recipes. The other is A Story of Seven Summers by Hilary Burden, with a similar background, who turns a a ramshackle old house – The Nun’s House – into a home and productive garden, has chooks with attitude and a couple of alpacas……….both charming reads.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. Guernsey was occupied during WWII & the people had interesting coping mechanisms. A VERY good book.
The Book of Eve – Constance Beresford-Howe Eva gets her first pension check & walks away from her comfortable life with one suitcase, clock radio & new wool coat.

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown.

A Very Small Farm, William Paul Wincester (I read this every winter).

His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman.

I recently read a wonderful book called The Other Side of the World — the characters seemed so real and it’s got a kind of haunting, magical quality in the writing.

Also, The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows is very good. Small-town America during the Great Depression, secrets, family and memorable characters.

Stones from the River and Floating in My Mother’s Palm by Ursula Hegi, a brilliant book written by an American German author describing life in a small town in post- and prewar Germany. She is a brilliant author.
The Shoppenhauer Cure by Irvin d. Yalom, being confronted with mortality a psychotherapist is forced to re-examine his life.

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson (anything by B. Bryson is good).

A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving.

My Life in France – Julia Child.

The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaug.

The Aviator’s Wife – Melanie Benjamin.

The Paris Wife – Paula McLaid.

WILD – Cheryl Strayed.

Flight of Passage – Rinker Buck.


Amy Snow by Tracy Rees.

Circling the Sun was wonderful as is Love in the Driest Season by Neely Tucker.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is phenomenal.

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester is a fabulous true story about the Oxford English Dictionary. While the idea of reading about a dictionary may sound dull, the book is captivating and based on a true story.

I love Funny Girl by Nick Hornby about a woman comedian in the fifties.

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon-  very funny family dysfunction around a wedding.

The Children Act by Ian McEwen about a judge’s involvement with a teenager who wants to choose not to have chemotherapy. It asks what our responsibilities are to one another once we have acted.

Anne Rivers Siddons’ The Girls of August, a funny and touching exploration of growth and grief among friends when some move on (sounds heavy, but isn’t).

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin about a crotchety bookstore owner brought into the world by a baby left in his shop.

Penelope Lively’s perfect gem of a book, Moon Tiger about an accomplished woman and the love she lost in the Egyptian Desert in the Second World War.

Memory Man by Balducci…haven’t read it yet but was highly recommended by a friend.

Teardown ~ Memoir of a Vanishing City…..the city I grew up in Flint, Michigan but could describe many, once great, American cities. Author, Gordon Young.

Organic Wesley By William C. Guerrant Jr.

Vera: My Story by Vera Wasowski & Robert Hillman.

A Wake of Vultures by Mary Earnshaw.

My favorite was For Whom the Bell Tolls. I also loved A Moveable Feast, The Garden of Eden and Ernest Hemingway On Writing (although two of these are non-fiction).

Isaac’s Storm and Dead Wake by Erik Larson.

I loved A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre.

Lambsquarters, by Barbara McLean (a farm story).

An Irish Country Doctor (first of a series).

Patrick Taylor; Mistress of the Art of Death (first of a series).

Ariana Franklin, sadly deceased, about a medieval female medical examiner; Lights Out Liverpool (part of a series)byMaureen Lee.

Three Bags Full, Leonie Swann, sheep detectives – amazing book, by Dana Stabenow.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, can`t remember the author, first of a series about a young girl in England who is a scientist and detective, young adult, but great.

There you are! The List. Have fun!

Love celi

PS: Upon returning to the actual comments  from the other day, (I cut off at bedtime) I  discovered about a hundred more book recommendations – I tried to enter them all but I am swamped. You guys are amazing. We have too many! Please pop back and have a look – there are even more recommendations in the comments- we could write a book of book recommendations! I am going to hand write the ones I have not read  onto my own printed  list.  Maybe you could too. Magnificent.  c

63 Comments on “The List of Books to Read 2015

    • Yes, isn’t that great, I have already read many of these too – (and many more but the list go too long for me to add mine!) Birds of a Feather do flock together! c

  1. I am going to enjoy the librarians face when I present her with THIS list hehehee 🙂 Sadly I probably won’t be able to get the majority. Laura

      • I think I might gift myself a kindle in December 🙂 Amazon is not great in SA and the SA equivalent is pretty poor in comparison. But I will try some of the other sites, who knows I might get lucky. Laura

        • I live near Cape Town and have great success buying e-books from Amazon for my kindle.

  2. Interesting to see how many duplications there are; it makes you think that book is definitely worth reading. Should keep you interested for a month or two, Miss C, not to mention some useful plane reading. I do hope you have a Kindle or e-reader, or you’ll have nothing but books and knives in your luggage!

  3. So many books to read and so little time to read them. Never enough time.

  4. Hi Celia, Quite a list. I noticed that the greater percentage if not most of these books are fiction. Perhaps you could have a list of non-fiction. I sent you my list I give to my students and interns about gardening and Permaculture. I’ll bet many of the fellowship have areas of passion or pursuit and the best conveyance of that knowledge. That would be valuable to me and others I’m thinking. I’ll bet within our group has an incredible skill set we could all draw on. Di

    • HI Di. So sorry your list came in too late . The list we make every year is all light- hearted fun really. And the idea is to share books you have discovered this year! Your favourites to share. Something new. Something I can read on the plane. Though I am sure the reading list for your students is great reading too but I am not going to do categories . I just don’t have the time.. So sorry.. c

  5. I’m the book hoarder with stacks that are not quite finished or not begun. I have an e-reader and an app on my phone. But with blogging, I get very little time to read for myself. I only recommended the one book that sat in my soul and still speaks to me. The fact that it is a novel is even better. Not many books can do that after all these years and different genres speak to to each of us in unique ways. My stack of waiting books insulates the walls of my house. The access to books is limitless. I’ve copied this page and saved it in my documents folder. Most of the books that have meant the most to me have literally fallen off the shelf at me. I do many things but live to read. Thank you for taking your valuable time to compile this list.

  6. Thank you so much for adding Booklistcompilation to your many chores. I’ve printed out the list and already have bought a couple of them for my Kindle! Like “Insearch of it all” (who needs a name) I have a pile beside the bed which threatens to topple and create mayhem. I still read several books a week in between quilting, and writing poetry.
    I shall go through comments later to make a supplementary list.
    ViV xox

  7. Wow! What a gem of a find this morning! I use Goodreads to store my ‘Wish Lists’ … and I certainly have added a LOT today. Thanks for sharing these Celi.

  8. Thanks for compiling the list. I copied it to my computer where it sits along with the lists from 2012 and 2013. Maybe you were too busy to do a list in 2015. I use my public library private list to store my TBR list, then these in my computer and also a notebook. I do actually read some on the lists throughout the year.

  9. What a great list! I’ve read quite a few of these and almost all of the non-fiction local food and growing your own food themed ones. How exciting to have so much more to pull from. Like you and Rosemary, I MUST read before I go to sleep…often the the detriment of how many hours of sleep I can then get.

  10. Oh this is a wonderful book list for the new Year! I can’t wait to read some, most, all of them! 🙂 C. you mentioned you sometimes give the list as Christmas gifts…how do you do that? Give paper copies wrapped up or sent in an e-mail? What a great idea! I think a children’s book list would be nice to have too…just for that special child you know!
    Thanks so much for gifting all of us this reader’s treat!

  11. What a list. I’ve picked out four of them all actually. Let’s see whether I get the chance to get one of them anyhow here. I envy you all, that you can read so much and I remember the times back, when I was still “a reader”, too. Today I’m just with “Insearchofitall” and Viv: Books around my bed (but none ended) and booooks insulating the walls – that made me smile a lot! Good thought. I did a promise not to enter a bookshop again and not to order or to bring home a book anymore (it’s too too much).

    Great header shot. Uh. Made by Hugo? I had the urge again to give it a title: „The wheel. – Life goes on and on and on“. Even if there are breaks, cracks, things to celebrate or farewells to bid – life goes on. Ever and ever. We just can agree, take it as is, being thankful and accept. And not to overlook that little light (that is encluded in this pic too! :-)) and that accompanies all our being.
    Seeing that picture an airplane tire came to mind … and the impending leave of Hugo – btw how’s he doing about that? I’m sure he never ever will forget this months with you at the Farmy.

    • PS – My chosen books: Sorry, I wanted to say that I want to have a closer look on them. They for sure might be available (at least by amazon)…. As I found out already one of them is available in my language… 🙂

  12. Awesome list Celi, thanks so much for compiling it. I noticed when reviewing my 2014/2015 Goodreads list for ideas I gave very books over 3 stars, possibly due to the lack of 2014 Fellowship list! Already I can see a few contenders for my new to-read list 🙂

  13. I hope you realize you’ve contributed to my ‘house needs a cleaning’ lament! Much rather read than clean. While grousing about winter with a friend last year she commented that there just aren’t that many good authors to read to pass the winter. My thought was ‘huh, I’ll never live long enough to finish my TBR lists’.

    • I also do the Big Clean in the Autumn – it makes so much more sense to us out doorsey types. The winter is when we are stuck inside looking at the cobwebs! Spring cleaning makes no sense to me at all.

    • My readers are a very discerning bunch – we love your work! Many thanks for doing the hard yards and creating such sparkling writing. Have a gorgeous evening! c

  14. thank you Cecilia and team. I love your blog and dip into it every week or two as a form of meditation, always lovely and uplifting. I just read The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, unusual for me to Laugh out loud but did this frequently, the 1950’s Des Moines not unlike (but also quite different from) the 1960’s New Zealand. I think anything by Bill Bryson is good but it is yrs since I can remember myself laughing hysterically alone when reading a book!

      • Thanks. I’m in awe of your reading list, and I wouldn’t want to waste your time, but I do think that anyone interested in agriculture, food, the Midwest, and American history in general would find something of interest in it. Also, if you travel at all around the Midwest, my MidwestMaize blog offers lots of info on interesting places to see in the region. I think people don’t realize that this really is an interesting part of the country.

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