About a year ago, I started my months in review posts, where I recap the month on what I did and new entertainment I engaged with such as music, movies, television shows and books.
Here, I will review and rank all the books I’ve read in the last “blogging year” relative to each other:
Disclaimer: this post may contain spoilers.
The Martian by Andy Weir (★★★★): Made famous by the 2015 film, astronaut and botanist Matt Damon (just kidding, he’s called Mark Watney) gets accidentally stranded on Mars when his crew mistakes him for dead. The book and film follow Mark’s journey to survive and efforts to rescue him on Earth.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max (★★★): This work of nonfiction follows grade-A asshole Tucker Max and his college buddies on their adventures of booze and promiscuous sex. At first, I really hated him, and I still do, but it’s worth reading to hear about all the horrible yet well-deserved things he’s gone through.
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (★★): Made famous by the Netflix series, I was excited to read the work of nonfiction that inspired one of my favorite shows. However, the shoes is nothing like the book aside from the main character’s name. Piper is sentenced to prison for 15 months for a decade-old crime… and that’s about all that happens in the book. Her time in prison was very anti-climactic (which she is probably grateful for) which is quite the opposite in the show. I do not recommend this book, but I strongly recommend the first three season of the Netflix series.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (★★★): We were assigned to read parts of this book for an environmental ethics class, but I thought it made the most sense to read the whole book. Jon Krakauer tells the story of Chris McCandless as he goes off the grid and travels across the United States, most notably to Alaska, as he explores his personal land ethic.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (★★★): This book follows several different species and their decline as evidence for a colossal, man-made extinction that is dramatically altering life on earth as we know it. I got this book at a lecture given by the author, who also signed the book when I met her. Books like these have inspired me greatly to write scientific literature to reach a wider audience and inform the public of the damage we are doing.
The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason (★★★★): This book was also assigned reading for my environmental ethics class, but I decided to read it in whole, as well. This book explores different American diets and impacts they have on humans, animals and the environment.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (★★★★): Given to me by my Aunt Charlene, this fiction (although close to home) book explores the justice system and personal stories behind those affected by a fatal school shooting.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (★★★): Like The Ethics of What We Eat, this book discusses four different American meals and explores their origins and the relationship between food and society.
Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson (★★★★): This creative book explores different, out of this world examples of sexual selection. A fun read through and through for even the evolutionary layman.
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (★★★★★): This is without a doubt the best book I read this year and one of my new all-time favorites. Sage, granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, is asked to aide in the suicide of her former SS soldier friend. The book focuses on the story of the Holocaust survivor and the SS soldier as she makes her decision to help him die or let him live with what he’s done.
Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin (★★★): This book explores a tale as old as time: our evolutionary journey from fish to human.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (★★★★): Made famous by the movie, commuter Rachel sees something on her way to work that might have ties with a crime of passion.
As you can see, I quite enjoy a mix of fiction and nonfiction books. I’m really proud of myself for finding the time to read a dozen books this year and hope in the next year I can read twenty!