IMG_6571In grade two we had a reading challenge. The challenge was simple: read a book, fill out a slip with the title, author and your parents signature (verifying you had in fact read it) and receive a sticker. The stickers filled a caterpillar. When your caterpillar had 100 stickers you got a free taco lunch.

I’m hazy on the specifics but I think I earned a few taco lunches that year. Eight years old and slightly shy, a little nerdy, I adored the world at my fingertips in books. I have vacillated in my reading over the years, becoming more dedicated to the act of reading in the last few. I’m learning – as with most important things – I simply need to prioritize my time in order to allow for reading in places I normally wouldn’t.  Mid- year I instituted x3 / weekly “Happy Hour” where I carved out 45-60 minutes to read at the end of my work day before dinner/ night training/ adult chores. Sometimes I would have a beer or a glass of wine with said Happy Hour. Sometimes the happiness would just be in having the time to read. As a result, I was able to double my six month reading tally (the front half of the year I read around 15 books, I slammed almost 38 into the back half). I’m still working off of the lists of some of my most respected reading friends; Crystal, Katie, Cait and Rhi. These women and a few others provided me with huge literary works to cross off my list. I am working them slowly, but mindfully picking what I’d like to read.

Nerdy as it sounds, I focused my efforts on efficiency (this included mastering the City of Calgary Public Library online reservation system. It’s fantastic) and priority. I know not every year in my life I will be able to read the way I can now, but I feel a hightened sense of awareness of the fragility of life after the past 365 days. If not now, when? If I want to read 100 books one year, why not 2016 instead of the year I retire? better yet, why not both years? Post on goals for the new year is forthcoming, but for now here is the full list of what I read in 2015. Note: *bc indicates book club and ** indicates my favourite reads.

Goldfinch DONNA TARTT

Orange is the New Black PEPER KERMAN

Crazy Rich Asians KEVIN KWAN

Z: Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald THERESE FOWLER

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day PHIL GAIMON

The Nasty Bits ANTHONY BOURDAIN

The Cuckoo’s Calling ROBERT GALBRAITH

Not that Kind of Girl LENA DURHAM

Shadow of Night DEBORAH HARKNESS

Ascent of Women SALLY ARMSTRONG *bc

Uganda Be Kidding Me CHELSEA HANDLER

Heat BILL BULFORD

Pigeon English STEPHEN KELMAN * bc

Silkworm ROBERT GALBRAITH

There is Cake in My Future KIM GRUENENFELDER

10% Happier DAN HARRIS

All the Light We Cannot See ANTHONY DOEER

Night Circus ERIN MORGENSTERN **

Travels with Epicurus DANIEL KLEIN

Flight Behaviour BARBARA KINGSOLVER *bc

I Take You ELIZA KENNEDY

The Next Best Thing JENNIFER WEINER

The Valley of Amazement AMY TAN

An Unquiet Mind KAY REDFIELD JAMISON *bc

Spinster KATE BOLICK

#GirlBoss SOPHIA AMORUSO **

Seabiscuit LAURA HILLENBRAND *bc

Eileen OTTESSA MOSHFEGH

When God Was a Rabbit SARAH WINMAN

Girls in White Dresses JENNIFER CLOSE

Worst. Person. Ever. DOUGLAS COUPLAND

The Girl on the Train PAULA HAWKINS **

Everybody Rise STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

They Left Us Everything PLUM JOHNSON *bc

The Summer of Good Intentions WENDY FRANCIS

The Heiresses SARA SHEPARD

Adultery PAULO COELHO

Where All The Light Tends to Go DAVID JOY **

The Interestings MEG WOLITZER

Devil in the White City ERIK LARSON *bc

The Boston Girl ANITA DIAMANT **

Baby Proof EMILY GIFFIN

Reckless CHRISSIE HYNDE

The Mountain Story LORI LANSENS

Lake House KATE MORTON **

Hausfrau JILL ALEXANDER ESSBAUM

Welcome to Night Vale JOSEPH FINK, JEFFREY CRANOR *bc **

Yes Please AMY POEHLER

The Paying Guests SARAH WATERS

Landing Gear KATE PULLINGER

Year of Marvellous Ways SARAH WINMAN