A New Year’s goal for you: Resolve to read 15 in 2015

Most of us read every day in one capacity or another. We check our email. We scan the headlines. We might read a few articles that by the end of the day we have largely forgotten. 

But how often do we allow ourselves to get lost in a good book? It seems as though distractions abound, and finding the time to enjoy reading takes a bit of effort.

Why, in the midst of our busy lives, should we allow ourselves the time it takes to get lost in a good book? Besides being entertaining and enjoyable, there are other valuable reasons for reading. Like exercise or eating vegetables, engaging in literature is good for us. 

It challenges us to think critically. It helps us develop empathy. Reading or listening to a book is a way for us, in the comfort of our own homes, to get inside the minds of real or imagined characters. It challenges us to see the world from a different perspective. 

Unlike more passive entertainment, reading demands that we use our imagination. 

The reasons for reading are as numerous as the distractions that keep us from it, but the staff and the Friends of the Homer Public Library would like to help the adults and teens in the community with this dilemma. In 2015 we invite you to get lost in a good book. 

Or rather, get lost in 15 good books.

The staff has compiled a list of 150 books in 10 categories that we think are worth reading. Our challenge to you is to choose fifteen books from the list to read over the course of the year. Each time you read a book from the list, let us know and we’ll enter you into a monthly drawing. 

At the end of the year, participants who have read 15 or more of the books on the list will be entered into a grand prize drawing. Throughout the year we’ll post reviews and updates. 

The list of books includes something for everyone whether you’re a history buff or a fan of science fiction, whether you enjoy true stories or those that are purely made up.

Some of the books are long and will require a commitment. Others are short and can be read over a weekend. Some are serious. Some will make you laugh out loud. There is mystery. There is romance.  There’s even poetry.

Have you ever read a graphic novel? Now is your chance. What about a book from our young adult collection? You might be surprised to find that you have plenty in common with the young protagonists within their pages. 

All of the books on the list are available for checkout at the Homer Public Library, and many of them in more than one format — meaning you might be able to find them in eBook or audiobook through Listen Alaska or we may have them on CD.

So as you’re thinking about the New Year, why not resolve to read? Stop by the library after the New Year and we’ll help you get started. In the meantime, grab a pencil and start marking the list. This is going to be fun.

Teresa Sundmark works at the Homer Public Library.  If you have questions about the 15 in ’15 reading program, she can be reached at tsundmark@ci.homer.ak.us.

 F-Fiction, NF-Nonfiction, YA-Young Adult, GN-Graphic Novel, AK-Alaskan



  1. Road Song by Natalie Kusz (NF)
  2. The Wake of the Unseen Object by Tom Kizzia (NF)
  3. A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow (F)
  4. Shadows on the Koyukuk by Sidney Huntington (NF)
  5. Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (F)
  6. Cold Storage by John Straley (F)
  7. Where the Sea Breaks its Back by Corey Ford (NF)
  8. My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson (F) (YA)
  9. A Long Trek Home by Erin McKittrick (NF)
  10. The Raven’s Gift by Don Rearden (F)
  11. If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende (NF)
  12. Dominion of Bears: Living With Wildlife in Alaska by Sherry Simpson (NF)
  13. Faith of Cranes by Hank Lentfer (NF)
  14. Coming Into the Country by John McPhee (NF)
  15. Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie (NF)


  1. Redeployment by Phil Klay (F)
  2. The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (F)
  3. The Round House by Louise Erdrich (F)
  4. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (NF)
  5. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (NF)
  6. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (F)
  7. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (F)
  8. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (F) (YA)
  9. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (F)
  10. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (F)
  11. The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (NF) (YA)
  12. In One Person by John Irving (F)
  13. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (F)
  14. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson (F)
  15. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (F)


  1. Every Riven Thing by Christian Wiman
  2. Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds
  3. Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith
  4. Thrall by Natasha Trethewey
  5. Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo
  6. Duppy Conqueror by Kwame Dawes
  7. Here, Bullet by Brian Turner
  8. Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
  9. The Cinnamon Peeler by Michael Ondaatje
  10. The Simple Truth by Phillip Levine
  11. Approaching Ice by Elizabeth Bradfield
  12. Poems, New and Collected by Wislawa Szymborska
  13. Akhmatova Poems by Anna Akhmatova
  14. 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri
  15. Holy Heathen Rhapsody by Pattiann Rogers


  1. The Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
  2. Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders
  3. The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
  4. Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
  5. A Tale For the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  7. The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion
  8. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  9. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
  10. Revival by Stephen King
  11. The Martian by Andy Weir
  12. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness
  13. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  14. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
  15. Americanah by Chimamanda Nozi Adichie


  1. Daniel by Henning Mankell (F)
  2. Independent People by Halldor Laxness (F)
  3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (F)
  4. Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (NF)
  5. The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky(F)
  6. The Bad Girl by MarioVargas Llosa (F)
  7. The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (F)
  8. The Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta (F)
  9. The War Within These Walls by Aline Sax  (F) (YA)
  10. Blindness by Jose Saramago (F)
  11. The Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson (F)
  12. 70% Acrylic 30% Wool by Viola DiGrado (F)
  13. A Dream in Polar Fog by Yuri Rytkheu (NF)
  14. The Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz (F)
  15. Crabwalk by Gunter Grass (F)


  1. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast  (GN)
  2. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
  3. Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer by Alan Huffman
  4. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  5. Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan
  6. Blankets by Craig Thompson (GN)
  7. Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch
  8. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn
  9. To Russia With Love by Victor Fisher (AK)
  10. I Never Met A Story I Didn’t Like: Mostly True Tall Tales by Todd Snider
  11. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  12. Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz
  13. This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
  14. This House of Sky by Ivan Doig
  15. Blonde Indian: An Alaskan Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes (AK)


  1. The Brothers K by David James Duncan (F)
  2. Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann (NF)
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (F)
  4. He, She and It by Marge Piercy (F)
  5. The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley (F)
  6. Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar (NF)
  7. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (F)
  8. Zen Confidential by Shozan Jack Haubner (NF)
  9. The Push Man and Other Stories by Hoshihiro Tatsumi (F)(GN)
  10. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (F)
  11. 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write by Sarah Ruhl (NF)
  12. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (NF)
  13. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (F)
  14. Stiff by Mary Roach (NF)
  15. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey (F)


  1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (F) (The Big Read selection for 2015)
  2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (NF)
  3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (F)(YA)
  4. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (F)
  5. The Black Hole by Charles Burns (F) (GN)
  6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (F)
  7. The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle (F)
  8. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (F)
  9. The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher (NF)
  10. The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin (F)
  11. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (F)
  12. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (F)
  13. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (F)
  14. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (NF) (YA) (GN)
  15. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg (F)


  1. Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football by Michael Weinreb
  2. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
  3. The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
  4. On Immunity by Eula Biss
  5. Apocalyptic Planet by Craig Childs
  6. Savage Harvest by Carl Hoffman
  7. The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook
  8. Searching For the Sound: My Life With the Grateful Dead by Phil Lesh
  9. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (YA) (GN)
  10. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbot
  11. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  12. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
  13. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  14. Never in a Hurry by Naomi Shihab Nye
  15. Bossypants by Tina Fey


  1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  3. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  4. Reality Boy by A.S. King
  5. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  6. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  7. Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
  8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  9. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
  10. Winger by Andrew Smith
  11. Boxers by Gene Luen Yang (GN)
  12. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson (GN)
  13. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer
  14. Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  15. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan


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