Books Read in 2015

Stacks of books

In which I set forth their titles…

For someone who loves to read and write, the following is a lacking number of books I have read this year. Between insufficient time and procrastination, this list could easily be twice as long. 

  • The Hobbit ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Silmarillion ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
  • A Brief History of Tim~ Stephen Hawking
  • The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land ~ Thomas Asbridge
  • Time and Space ~ Barry Dainton
  • Into the Woods:How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them ~ John Yorke
  • Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking ~ Susan Cain
  • Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety ~ Daniel Smith
  • God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything ~ Christopher Hitchens
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
    • A Study in Scarlet
    • The Sign of the Four
    • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Return of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    • The Valley of Fear
    • His Last Bow
  • Interstellar: Beyond Time And Space – Mark Cotta Vaz
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Official Movie Guide by Brian Sibley

 ***

The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

I feel like this blog explains enough of what I think about these books, so I don’t think I need go any further.

***

A Brief History of Time ~ Stephen HawkingA Brief History of Time

Stephen Hawking has a wonderful gift. Apart from being a brilliant physicist, he is able to explain the most complicated subjects in the most clear and concise ways. This pivotal book is one such endeavour. Tackling complicated physics, Hawking presents the beauty of the Universe in precise detail and vivid comprehension. It’s a work full of theories about how we and everything around us has come to be, and the possible answers it provides are ground-breaking.

“. . . if we do discover a complete theory […] If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.”

***

The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land ~ Thomas AsbridgeThe Crusades

I just love Medieval history; the culture, the literature, the warfare. Thomas Asbridge’s 800-page tome is THE definitive book on the Crusades. Balancing precise historical accuracy with a strong storytelling style, he brings forth a rich (and brutal) chunk of history that has shaped the world of today.

“Eleventh-century Europe was not in a state of fully fledged anarchy, but the ravening violence of feud and vendetta was commonplace, and lawlessness endemic.”

***

Time and Space ~ Barry DaintonTime and Space

For a truly complex read, Dainton’s book on Time and Space is Doctor Who on steroids. I felt like I was reading The Silmarillion for the first time, without actually being able to read.

Picture that? Good, that’s how it felt. Fascinating stuff, nonetheless. Truly remarkable.

Is a world without anything that is more than a potentiality, a world in which the activation of any potentiality can only bring about alterations in other potentialities, really possible?

See what I mean?

***

Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them ~ John YorkeInto the Woods

I’ll admit that this book was read primarily as part of my studies. Nevertheless, I found it a compelling read. Yorke explains in concise terms the essential elements of storytelling, providing useful examples should anyone be interested in becoming the next J.R.R. Tolkien … well, sort of.

***

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking ~ Susan CainQuiet

A fantastic book and morale-booster if you’re that kind of person. At times informative, at others introspective. It’s a great mix of feel-good reading and educational awakening.

***

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety ~ Daniel SmithMonkey Mind

A humorous account of Smith’s travails and adventures with anxiety. The writing flows from one scene to the next, making this a pretty fast reading experience filled with great anecdotes and a fascinating insight into the author’s thoughts and emotions.

***

God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything ~ Christopher HitchensGod is Not Great

Christopher Hitchens is somewhat of a controversial figure in the “Science vs Religion” debate. Nevertheless, Hitchens is a superb writer and a great debater who offers some strongly convincing arguments for science and against religion. Whether you’re swayed by his argument or not is besides the point. Whatever your faith or belief is, this is a truly brilliant book on one facet of the debate.

“Philosophy begins where religion ends, just as by analogy chemistry begins where alchemy runs out, and astronomy takes the place of astrology.”

***

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection ~ Arthur Conan DoyleComplete Sherlock Holmes

There are many literary characters that are successfully adapted to TV and film. The hype surrounding the stories and the characters becomes so strong, that sometimes it overshadows the original character from the book itself.

None of this is the case with Conan Doyle’s stories. The character of Sherlock Holmes is as whimsical and brilliant as film and TV adaptations depict him. The stories are simple and elegant. The writing is concise and witty. The Victorian world comes to life through the relationship between Holmes and Watson bustling through the streets of London; but one cannot get enough of the detective’s brilliant deduction methods and eccentric character. If you like any of the TV or film versions, I strongly urge you to read the original source material, in all its cleverness and genius.

Out of the 4 novels and 56 short stories that Doyle wrote down, I’m about to tackle the last 12 short stories under The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. I honestly don’t know what to do after I finish. Start again from the top, I guess …

“And now came the great question as to the reason why”
“… when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”

***

Interstellar: Beyond Time And Space ~ Mark Cotta VazInterstellar Beyond Time and Space

Peter Jackson isn’t the only film director I’m an ardent fan of. Christopher Nolan created another masterpiece last year and I couldn’t miss the chance of acquiring a copy of this book. Beautifully illustrated with informative behind-the-scenes commentaries, this is one of my best reads this year.

Yes, it’s not your typical non-fiction book or novel. But hey, it’s still “reading” right? 🙂

***

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Official Movie Guide ~ Brian SibleyBOTFA Official Movie Guide

As with the previous installment of Sibley’s book, I was disappointed by the lack of information given about the film the title supposedly refers too. The consequence of publishing these books a month before the film’s release means that much of the content will not make it to print, in order to avoid any spoilers.

This makes these books somewhat redundant. Half-way through the official guide for The Desolation of Smaug, I found myself wondering why I’m still reading about scenes in An Unexpected Journey. With this third and final publication, most of the content included should have made it into the previous book.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy these books. On the contrary. There is much too enjoy and the wealth of images is staggering.

Nonetheless, some disappointment remains.

***

So that’s it for this  year! I’ve started reading other books and with 2016 on the way, I have made another list of what I’m aiming at reading.

So stay tuned 😉

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7 thoughts on “Books Read in 2015

  1. I’m curious how Hawking’s theorizing is “brilliant?” Just asking because people like he, Bill Nye the Science Actor and Neil Tyson come-off as extremely condescending when someone dares not to lap-up their unproven theories as though they were already proven.

    • Hey RK, thanks for your comment. I didn’t stay his “theories are brilliant”. I think Hawking’s brilliance lies in his writing: explaining such complex theories in ways the general reader can understand. And as one reads through the book, one tends to start mixing theories with actualities; but Hawking actually does emphasize that most of what he’s writing about is not yet fully proven. 🙂

  2. Quiet is a fantastic book. I read it this summer, and she makes some great points. Now if only the corporate world would read it.

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