Sunday, January 31, 2016

My 2015 Books and Movies

I finished 34 books last year. I posted them on Goodreads.

I read a bunch of books that were made into popular (and current) movies: The Martian (Andy Weir), The Fifth Wave (Rick Yancey), LA Confidential (James Ellroy), Still Alice (Lisa Genova), Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates), Black Mass (Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill) and The Finest Hours (Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman). I also read some bona fide literary prize-winners: Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie) and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Michael Chabon).

Of my 2015 list, the book that stayed with me throughout the year was The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace (Jeff Hobbs). It's the non-fiction story of a young inner-city kid from Newark, NJ, who has received a golden ticket: a free ride to Yale University. He graduates, but doesn't entirely give up his inner-city mentality. He died in a drug-related shooting.

Jeff weaves a fine narrative about Robert's upbringing. He presents the good and the bad in a measured and neutral manner, which compounds the impact of Robert's decisions. It's one thing to know that certain decisions are bad, but it's another to consider whether one is capable of doing anything else. It's a superb book, and one that I highly recommend.

In 2015, I watched 23 movies. The Martian, Inside Out, and The Peanuts Movie were favorites, but the one jaw-dropping movie for me was Interstellar. It's a huge regret that I didn't see this in the theater.