For someone who wants to be a writer, I honestly don’t read too many books. Most of the books I read throughout the year are books assigned for school, and I don’t get too much time to read books for pleasure other than summertime. And, when I do read for pleasure, it typically takes me a very long time to complete a book because I tend to read slow. Despite all of that, I read a decent amount of books in 2015—both for school and for pleasure.
Listed below are some of my favorite books that I read (and completed) in 2015.
(Click on the book’s title to check out its Amazon product page.)
Boy Meets Depression was the last book I read in 2015, and I first heard about it from Jamie Tworkowski. His non-profit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms was promoting it back in September. I read up a little about it and was intrigued by its premise, so I decided to pre-order it. Plus, Jamie had approved of the book, and I trust him.
Another reason I bought the book was because I hoped it could give me insight similar to Jamie’s book, If You Feel Too Much (which I’ll get to later). It didn’t give me quite as much insight as IYFTM, but it certainly made me think in the way I had anticipated.
BMD is a memoir of Breel’s life and draws on his experiences with depression. He is really honest about what happened in his life and how he felt, and that’s really uncommon in today’s society.
I’ve never suffered from depression or dealt with quite as much emotional pain as Breel describes in his book, but there are definitely still things I could relate to, and I also feel there are things any person could learn from reading BMD, whether that be they aren’t alone or that there are ways to help others who feel such pain.
I ordered Pau Gasol: Life / Vida after reading an article from K.C. Johnson, the Bulls beat writer for the Chicago Tribune, in late December 2014. I had never heard of the book prior to the article, but I really enjoyed the article, prompting me to order the book when I had the chance.
It’s a bilingual book written by Gasol, so there’s an English and Spanish version of each passage. There are also a plethora of really nice photographs taken by award-winning photographer Lori Shepler (formerly of the Los Angeles Times) that accompany the copy in the book. That was particularly exciting for me, as I enjoy both writing and photography, so Shepler’s photography made me want the book even more.
This book was also done before Gasol came to Chicago, but it’s still a great book that gives insight on Gasol’s life off the court and who he is other than a professional basketball player.
This is one of the books I had to read for my Internet Writing and Rhetoric class, and I wouldn’t say it was my favorite one of the assigned books for the class, but I found This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things the most interesting.
Phillips’ book is all about trolls and trolling culture, and, while I already knew about trolls prior to reading the book, I later learned that was so much that I didn’t know, that there’s so much more to trolling than being (or maybe just appearing) rude to other internet users. It’s an interesting and worthwhile read for anyone even slightly familiar with trolls and internet culture. The cover of the book, though, is my favorite part because it’s really creative and represents trolling culture really well.
I found out about this Jordan book from Twitter after seeing a photo of it in some random tweet. I decided to look it up and promptly bought it afterward.
The book is composed as a comic book or graphic novel would be, so there aren’t many words or much information that a dedicated basketball fan wouldn’t know. It’s actually described as a “graphic biography” because of all of the illustrations—which look really cool and are quite detailed—but it’s definitely worth buying. I even bought a copy of the book as a part of a Christmas gift for my favorite teacher, so it’s also a good buy for any Bulls/Michael Jordan fan.
If You Feel Too Much is, by far, my favorite book.
I first read IYFTM on May 26, the day I got it, and I finished it that same day—which is really rare for me. Part of the reason for that is it’s an easy read, because the book is divided into parts and further split by the stories themselves.
I actually wrote an entire blog post about IYFTM and Jamie’s words back in June after meeting Jamie at a book signing. Part of the post is about actually meeting Jamie and what the experience is like, but it’s also about what I got out of IYFTM and why I ended up enjoying it so much, so I won’t just restate everything I said about the book in an earlier post.
I will say this, though: My twin sister Amanda and I have bought a combined total of nine copies of IYFTM for ourselves and as gifts for others because it’s not only that great of a read, but it’s also a book anyone can learn from—even if they don’t “feel too much.” So please do check it out. Maybe it won’t help you much, and maybe you can’t relate to it even slightly, but chances are someone you know could benefit from it or even just enjoy Jamie’s honest words.
This is another book I read for school: I read it for my sports history class that was focused on integration in American sports. Baseball’s Great Experiment was the first book assigned for the class, and, as the title suggests, it’s about Jackie Robinson.
Despite being a huge sports fanatic all my life, I was never really into baseball—which isn’t to say I’m not a baseball fan, because I am a baseball fan—but I never became too interested in it. I didn’t watch a lot of baseball growing up, and I never went out of my way to learn much about its history. I, of course, still knew who Jackie Robinson was, but I didn’t know that much about him other than the basics. Reading BGE changed that for me, though.
It did a good job of providing information about who Robinson was, what his life was like, the impact he made, but doing so in a way that makes all of the information easy to grasp and enjoyable to learn.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ― Oscar Wilde