Monday, January 04, 2016

PBW's Book of the Month & Year

Reading in December was made particularly brighter by my LT Secret Santa, who among other books sent me my pick for December's Book of the Month, At Home by Bill Bryson. It was for me a revisited read, but the second time around I had more time to appreciate the author's remarkable handling of history, amusing writing style, and all those countless little details that Mr. Bryson somehow manages to include in all his works without making even the tiniest infodump pile of them.

At Home is probably the most intense history lesson ever written, and discusses in remarkable detail how every room (and virtually every thing) in the places where we live relate to the conflicts, disasters, discoveries, geniuses, inventions and crazy people that change the world. Mr. Bryson takes you through his own home in the UK while he talks about things you might never otherwise have realized had such illustrious --and often startling -- connections. It's not just a book for history buffs like me; it's the sort of read that makes anyone feel smarter, enlightened and entertained, all at the same time, which is Bill Bryson's particular mojo.

I mulled back and forth over whether or not to pick a book of the year. Every month I picked a favorite, though, and of those twelve books one did make me exceptionally happy. Not only was it a great read, it reminded me of my dad and his love of great food and all of the wonderful things he taught me in the kitchen. So my book of the year for 2015 really has to be In a French Kitchen ~ Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France by Susan Herrmann Loomis, which I received as an ARC from Library Thing's Early Reviewers Program. You can read my take on it here.

Finally, for posterity, here's the list of the 123 books I read for pleasure in 2015:


First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen*
In the Arms of Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan
Dead Drop by Carolyn Jewel
Raven Black by Anne Cleeves
Revival by Stephen King
Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger


Without Fail by Lee Child
Persuader by Lee Child
The Enemy by Lee Child
American Cooking: The Northwest by Dale Brown*


Inca Gold by Clive Cussler
Polar Shift by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos
The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day
Blush by Opal Carew
The Juliette Society by Sasha Grey
Time and Tithe by LJ Cohen
The Cooking of Vienna's Empire by Joseph Wechsberg
Prudence ~ The Custard Protocol: Book One by Gail Carriger*
The Cooking of Japan by Rafael Steinberg


Longing by Mary Balogh*
Beyond the Sunrise by Mary Balogh
Beauty's Kingdom by Anne Rice
The Cooking of Provincial France by M.F.K. Fisher
Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
The Ideal Wife by Mary Balogh
Skintight by Susan Andersen
The Arabian Nights edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith
Low-Fat Ways to Cook Pasta by Susan M. McIntosh
A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry
Reckless by Anne Stuart
The Mysteries Within by Sherwin Nuland


Governess by Ruth Brandon
White Nights by Ann Cleeves
One Shot by Lee Child
Red Bones by Ann Cleeves
The Hard Way by Lee Child
Dying Embers by B.E. Sanderson
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
Nothing to Lose by Lee Child
Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
61 Hours by Lee Child
Angel in a Red Dress by Judith Ivory
Worth Dying For by Lee Child
English Tea & Cakes by Celia Brooks
The Affair by Lee Child
A Wanted Man by Lee Child
Never Go Back by Lee Child
Simply Love by Mary Balogh
Simply Unforgettable by Mary Balogh
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz*
What Life Was Like Among Samurai and Shoguns: Japan, AD 1000-1700 edited by Denise Dersin
Quilting Art by Spike Gillespie
Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell


Japanese Quilt Blocks by Susan Briscoe
In a French Kitchen ~ Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France by Susan Herrmann Loomis*
Bond of Hatred by Lynne Graham
The Greek Tycoon's Convenient Mistress by Lynne Graham
Marriage at a Price by Miranda Lee
The Frenchman's Love-Child by Lynne Graham
Married to a Mistress by Lynne Graham
Greek Tycoon, Inexperienced Mistress by Lynne Graham
Outback Man by Miranda Lee
Shakespeare ~ The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
The Story of X by A.J. Molloy
Only a Promise by Mary Balogh
Consumed by Fire by Anne Stuart
Derelict by LJ Cohen (revisited read)*
Semi-Homemade 20-Minute Meals by Sandra Lee
Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Maxwell
The Spanish Billionaire's Pregnant Wife by Lynn Graham


Ithaka Rising by LJ Cohen*
Beck and Call by Emma Holly
The Sicilian's Mistress by Lynne Graham
Burned by Karen Marie Moning
Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard
Personal by Lee Child
The Cybrarian's Web 2 by Cheryl Ann Peltier-Davis
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson


The Falcon at the Portal by Elizabeth Peters
Horns by Joe Hill
Beginner's Guide to Silk Ribbon Embroidery by Ann Cox
Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples by Yasuko Endo
Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
Chill Factor by Sandra Brown
Double Dead by Chuck Wendig
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (revisited read)
Running Wild by Susan Andersen*


Play Dead by Anne Frasier (revisited read)
Stay Dead by Anne Frasier (revisited read)
Pretty Dead by Anne Frasier*


Only a Kiss by Mary Balogh*
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (revisted read)
Belong to Me by Shayla Black
Because You are Mine by Beth Kery
The Door Through Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Florida Land Boom of the 1920s by Gregg M. Turner
Faefever by Karen Marie Moning (revisited read)
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice


Victorian America ~ Transformations in Everyday Life 1876-1915 by Thomas J. Schlereth
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
A Storm in the Blood by Jon Stephen Fink
Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (revisited read)
Silent Thunder by Iris and Roy Johansen
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Shadows by Robin McKinley
The Lingering Dead by J.N. Duncan
The Taint of Midas by Anne Zouroudi*
The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Söderberg
The Deadliest Sin by Caroline Richards


The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Absolution by Patrick Flanery
News from Heaven by Jennifer Haigh
Aztec Revenge by Junius Podrug
Justice by Karen Robards
Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton
Ariel (the restored edition) by Sylvia Plath
At Home by Bill Bryson (revisited read)*

*My pick as book(s) of the month


  1. sandyH8:04 PM

    I have finally caught up on reading all the Jack Reacher books. I must admit I prefer David Baldacci's Will Robie or John Puller. Love Sarah Addison Allen and Robin McKinley. They are keepers. I think Robin McKinley's Deerskin is really good.


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