Books I Read in 2015

Time for my annual list of the books I read in the past year. As usual, it was mostly history and nonfiction, with a smattering of fiction, mainly sci-fi this year. My reading fell off in September, when I began my three-month coding bootcamp at The Flatiron School. I haven’t finished a book since September, although I started a few that I got tired of.

By far the best book I read this year was Mark Lewisohn’s two-volume, 1,600-page story of the Beatles from their ancestors and childhoods up through the end of 1962, when they were on the brink of nationwide fame. (Beatlemania wouldn’t come to the U.S. for more than another year!) Reading this took two months and some discipline, but it was so worth it, and I look forward to parts 2 and 3 of Lewisohn’s trilogy.

In fiction, The Martian was great, as were parts 1 and 2 of Cixin Liu’s trilogy, and Hugh Howey’s Wool.

Here’s the list:

  • Franklin Pierce (The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857), Michael F. Holt (1/1-1/7)
  • Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow (1/8-2/2)
  • James Madison: A Biography, Ralph Ketcham (2/2-2/20)
  • Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, Nick Bunker (2/24-3/7)
  • A Monarchy Transformed: Britain, 1603-1714, Mark Kishlansky (3/8-3/16)
  • Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty, John M. Barry (3/18-4/3)
  • Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body, Michael Matthews (3/26-3/27)
  • How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism, Eric Hobsbawm (approx. 1st half) (4/5-4/12)
  • Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, Stephen Kotkin (4/13-5/16)
  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu (5/18-5/25)
  • The Martian, Andy Weir (5/25-5/29)
  • Wool, Hugh Howey (5/30-6/5)
  • The Beatles – All These Years – Extended Special Edition: Volume One: Tune In, Book 1, Mark Lewisohn (6/10-7/5)
  • We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, Caseen Gaines (7/2-7/3)
  • The Beatles – All These Years – Extended Special Edition: Volume One: Tune In, Book 2, Mark Lewisohn (7/5-8/4)
  • Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Peter Ames Carlin (8/12-8/23) (about 30%)
  • The Dark Forest, Cixin Liu (8/24-9/18)
  • Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (9/21-?) (first few chapters)
  • Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow (10/5?-?) (first few chapters)
  • Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, Jon Meacham (11/10-currently reading)