2015 Reading List

This year, I’m challenging myself to read 100 books through the  Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge.  I usually read 2 or 3 books at a time, because I get too impatient to wait until I’ve finished one to start the next one.  There are just too many good books waiting! I know that books will crop up that I haven’t thought of, but here is a list of books on my must read list for 2015:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (*If I have to leave out one, it’ll be this one)
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Revenge of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
Blood of Angels by Michael Marshall
Collapse by Jared Diamond
American Gods by Neil Gaimon
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Books of Blood #3 and #4 by Clive Barker
The Intruders by Michael Marshall
The Peripheral by William Gibson
The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin (*Wishful thinking. I’m unrealistically optimistic for a 2015 release).

That’s 25 titles for the new year. That leaves me 75 to go. I tried to mix classics and contemporary novels, and I even put on a few non-fiction books on there.

Have I left anything out? Any recommendations for other must read books for the new year?

Book recommendation: The Straw Men

Earlier in the summer, I started watching Intruders on BBC America.  It immediately hooked me because (1) Glen Morgan, from The X-Files, is a writer/executive producer on the show, and (2) it was weird.  Like, really weird – I had no idea what was going on for quite awhile.  It was also genuinely creepy – not in the kind of way where something jumps out at you, but an uneasy creepiness that stays with you and pops into your head at 2 a.m.

Anyway, I found out it was based on a book by the same title by a man named Michael Marshall Smith, who also writes as Michael Marshall.  I decided to try this author out by reading The Straw Men.  That was a good decision on my part.

How do I even explain what this book is about?  There are basically two simultaneous primary plotlines:  one follows an FBI agent and a former cop as they try to track down a serial killer whose made his first abduction in years.  The other follows an ex-CIA agent whose parents died suddenly and under mysterious circumstances.  Amazon labels The Straw Men as a thriller, in the categories of “serial killers” and “conspiracies.”  It’s so much more than that.  Like Intruders, there is a subplot lurking under each of the main storylines that just makes you feel uneasy.  When everything comes together at the end, it’s wonderful.  More than that, I was impressed at the depth of the characters.  I love psychological thrillers and crime dramas, but let’s be honest – characters tend to be somewhat cliched and often fairly shallow.  This book was different.  By the end of it, I wanted to know what happened next in the plot, but I also just wanted to keep following these characters around.

Luckily, Mr. Marshall wrote two more books in the Straw Men series, so that will be my next endeavor.

If you’re interested, you can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Straw-Men-Michael-Marshall/dp/0515134279.  Highly recommend.