CultureEducationLearn

Every year we set resolutions to read more. While we read a lot as it is, there are so many great books that are waiting to be read and we want to get to as many as we can. Of all the books we read in 2015, these were the ones that stood out the most.

If you love beautiful writing and a compelling story…

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Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See was impossible to put down. The way he strings words together is unlike anything we’ve read before. This novel is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. With short chapters, alternating story lines, and descriptions that will make you want to re-read lines twice, All the Light We Cannot See is powerful and vivid. Read it here.

If you’re into history and classics…

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The Good Earth by Pearl Buck is an unforgettable and heart-wrenching story about a farmer, Wang Lung, and his selfless wife, O-Lan during the 1920s in China. Follow this family’s journey through the many changes China undergoes during this turbulent time. Read it here.

If you loved The Goldfinch

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt is a haunting and mesmerizing story about a group of college students in Vermont who . It feels as though you’re being let in on a big secret, and you’re the only one who knows. We adore Donna Tartt’s writing and the way her stories have depth, unique descriptions, and a whole lot of mystery. Read it here.

Astronauts, space, and the wives of America’s Mercury Seven…

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We met Lily Koppel, author of The Astronaut Wives Club at BookCon this year, but that’s not why we loved reading her latest book. The wives of America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were brave and strong, and overnight they were turned into American royalty, with their every move scrutinized by the media and public. This book gives an inside look at who these women were and just how important they were in getting to the moon. Read it here.

If you’re fascinated by time and fate…

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A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is one of those books that really makes you think. We’ve never read a book quite like this. Each chapter alternates between a 16-year-old Japanese girl, Nao, writing in her diary and the women, Ruth, who finds Nao’s diary washed up on the shores of the remote island she lives on. Covering topics such as bullying, time, and fate, A Tale for the Time Being is engaging and truly brilliant. Read it here.

If you want to laugh and feel empowered…

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If you read and loved Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), then you’ll appreciate her second bookWhy Not Me? In her new book, Mindy shares a more behind-the-scenes coming-of-age look at her life as creator, star, and writer of The Mindy Project, as well as her other endeavors in Hollywood. This book may be a light read, but it is both hilarious and empowering. You’ll have a great time reading it. Read it here.

If you’re intrigued by dark and heartbreaking humor…

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If you don’t have bounds of time to spend reading but you hate leaving a book unfinished, Fortune Smiles is a great solution to this dilemma. A collection of riveting short stories, Adam Johnson creates fascinating yet realistic stories about people dealing with a complicated personal life tread on by political confusion. This book will get stuck in your mind and keep you thinking all day. Read it here.

If you want to learn more about women’s roles in Nazi Germany…

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Hitler’s Furies is about Nazi Germany and the women who played a role in the horrors that occurred is not one to pass-over. Although the content is often graphic, the book does a very good job of presenting and exploring a side of history that is predominantly buried and purposefully forgotten. Read it here.

If you’ve been wanting to read an American classic that’s more relevant than ever…

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This classic book (The Tortilla Curtain) tells the story about immigrants – both legal and illegal – and the ways they interact with American society and the way society interacts with them. There are plenty of twists and turns in this exciting novel that will keep you engaged and flipping the pages as fast as you can. Read it here.

What books did you read and love in 2015?

Image by Lou Levit

CultureLearn

With low temperatures and high winds keeping you inside, you’re going to need some reading material. These great reads make late winter look pretty darn appealing…

late 6THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BY PAULA HAWKINS

We’re excited to read this novel about a woman who sees something
shocking during her commute on the train. Reminding us a bit of
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (because of the mystery
and the train, of course), we look forward to being completely consumed
by this story.

 

 

 

late 5

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE BY ANTHONY DOERR

This novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths
collide in occupied France as they try to survive the devastation of
World War II looks powerful and emotional.

 

 

 

 

late 3FUNNY GIRL BY NICK HORNBY

Author Nick Hornby is back with Funny Girl, a story set
in the 1960’s in London and follows the adventures of
an innocent young woman and her transformation into
a television starlet.

 

 

 

late 2LAUGHING WITHOUT AN ACCENT: ADVENTURES OF
A GLOBAL CITIZEN BY FIROOZEH DUMAS

Firoozeh Dumas explores her Persian heritage and shares
stories about her family, culture, and being a citizen of the world.
Dumas’s wit and insight makes this book look like a humorous
and fun read.

 

 

 

late 7WE MAMMALS IN HOSPITABLE TIMES BY JYNNE DILLING MARTIN

This book of poetry looks captivating. Jynne Dilling Martin spent six
weeks living in Antarctica shadowing scientists and writing about
what she witnessed. We’re already hooked.

 

 

 

 

late 10 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BY HARPER LEE

We can’t help but love this classic novel from our childhood.
Author Harper Lee is releasing her anticipated novel Go Set a Watchman
in July 2015, and we can’t wait to re-read this beloved book.

 

 

 

 

late 9 THE GOOD EARTH BY PEARL S. BUCK

Pearl S. Buck writes a beautiful and painful story about China
in the 1920’s. The story of farmer Wang Lung and his wife
O-Lan spans decades, and the changes in history and tradition
are apparent as the years pass.

 

 

 

late 8AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED BY KHALED HOSSEINI

We loved The Kite Runner so much, and it’s almost embarrassing
that we haven’t yet read Hosseini’s newest novel. Hosseini
explores the way families nurture, betray, and sacrifice for
one another.

 

 

 

What’s on your late winter reading list?