Friday, December 25, 2015

Reading Goals for 2015: A Review

Amazingly another year is about to pass away.  2015 was, I am happy to report, much better for my reading than was 2014.  I was able to read 22 books this year.  With a goal of 24 each year, I'd say I didn't do terrible.  Similar to 2014, my non-fiction reading was superb, but I struggled to consistently find works of fiction that were meaningful and compelling enough to really leave an indelible impression in the annals of my reading history.

Beginning with non-fiction, I read some excellent books of non-fiction, ranging from social commentaries, to religious treatises, to biographies.  Steve Jobs was one of the finest if not the best biography I've ever read.  The Lord's Way was an incredible commentary on Latter-day Saint doctrine and practice, especially best practices of priesthood leadership.  Along those same lines, reading Hugh Nibley's Temple and Cosmos was truly enlightening.  Reading Lolita in Tehran and From Beirut to Jerusalem were wonderful explorations into the cultures and people of the Middle East, which I will not soon forget.  From a more political and ideological perspective, Life at the Bottom was provocative and challenging.  I could list more works of non-fiction I read this year which are well worth the read.  I know that choosing my favorite work of non-fiction this year will be a special challenge. 

A few weeks back someone mentioned to me that they don't read fiction because it's a waste of time.  I certainly don't agree with that standpoint, and I believe we can learn profound truths from fiction we simply can't learn in any other way.  We need stories for a variety of reasons; however, I recognize the difficulty of finding good fiction.  I was painfully reminded of that struggle this year.  Freedom was an excruciating reminder of what can go so terribly wrong with modern fiction.  Most of the other works of fiction I read this year were very vanilla, hardly memorable, albeit they had some redeeming qualities.  Even Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles didn't thrill me in the way his other books have.  Although young adult fiction is not normally a preferred genre, I was entertained by Beyond the Strandline, which had interesting characters and a breakneck plot.  In addition, Gates of Fire was a brutal, bloody, and wonderful work of historical fiction--a definite highlight in my fiction reading this year.  Lastly, I finally read The Fellowship of the Ring this year.  I enjoyed it well enough and will certainly finish the series over the coming years.

2015 was a pretty good year numbers-wise.  I didn't quite reach my yearly goal, but for me and my schedule I was happy.  I learned a lot this year from my non-fiction reading and still appreciate the value of fiction, although I feel it's getting a little harder to find the truly great works of fiction.  And so we go into another year of reading, learning, and further into the intellectual frontier.

Other Topics of Interest:
Reading Goals for 2015
Reading Goals for 2014: A Review
3 Reasons Why We Need & Love Stories

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