Unlike last year and the year before, I didn't get to sixteen books this year. In fact, there were long stretches of the year where I didn't even have book started. Regardless, I still polished off a fair number of books.

As you read the list below I'm sure a one big theme will jump out at you and that is a heavy emphasis on WWII. I'm not sure how that happened but I need to balance it out with some reading about other topics this year. Having written that, I still need to get and finish the third volume of the Liberation Trilogy so 2015 will not be entirely WWII-free.

A Man and His Ship - Steven Ujifusa
A book about the ship building industry in America at the turn of the 20th century, particularly the passenger ship industry. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it when I picked it up, but Ujifusa did a great job with what could have been really dry material completely unconnected to modern life.
An Army at Dawn - Rick Atkinson
The first in the so-called Liberation Trilogy written by Atkinson about WWII. An excellent study of what went both right and wrong during Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of northern Africa. Atkinson’s writing is clear and direct and very enjoyable to read. It definitely filled in some gaps in my knowledge about the campaign to drive the Axis out of Africa.
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
A book that many people love that just didn’t resonate with me. I finished it but didn’t particularly enjoy it. Honestly, I'm not sure what the fuss is about.
The Day of Battle - Rick Atkinson
Another excellent book by Atkinson about WWII. This one focuses on the Allied campaign in Italy. While I had some passing familiarity with the Gustav Line and Monte Cassino, this book really brought home the terrible price paid by everyone in Italy (Allied, Axis, and civilians).
Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile - Nate Jackson
If this is the best memoir about the contemporary NFL written by an ex-player that’s really denigrating the entire genre. I couldn’t even finish this one. Repetitive and generally uninteresting. He isn’t a bad writer but he isn’t good either.
Overlord - Max Hastings
An extremely in-depth but still accessible account of successes, failures, shortcomings, and victories on both sides of Allied landings in Normandy.
The Stormcaller - Tom Lloyd
Awful, just plain awful. Couldn’t even finish it. Took every fantasy trope and used them all in one book. The nobody who just happens to be insanely powerful and the only person who can save the world. The mismatched band of characters who each just happen to be unique and key to helping that individual save the world. Etc., etc. Other books use those tropes and the rest of the book is done well enough that the fact that we’re walking over the same ground again and again can be forgiven. I couldn’t overlook them in this book.
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Went back to read this for the first time in probably ten years. Much quicker read and a shorter book than I remember. It was worth re-reading however. Tolkien’s work definitely stands the test of time.
The Last Policeman -- Ben H. Winters
Picked this up on a whim when I found out it was an Edgar award winner. Good decision. Compelling read. It’s a story about a detective trying to solve a murder in a world where an asteroid will hit the planet with disastrous consequences six months from now. The apocalypse is coming, and we know the exact date it will occur, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Blackett's War -- Stephen Budiansky
Coverage of how science and scientists were used by the Allies during WWII. Plenty of politics in here, primarily between scientists, and I got the impression that some of it was used to fluff out the actual science to make the book longer. Regardless, I enjoyed the book. Not a page turner by any means but a worthwhile read.
Brilliance — Markus Sakey
This was a page turner. Interesting exploration of what it might be like if insanely gifted people started appearing in society at much higher numbers than they currently do. A bit of a sci-fi/spy novel that isn’t particularly deep, but compelling.
Incarceron -- Catherine Fisher
This was an interesting book about people trapped inside a sentient prison and about people outside the prison trapped inside a rigid and regressive social structure. I generally enjoyed the book but I’m not necessarily sure that I’m going to read the sequel. Unfortunately, I can’t clearly explain why but given how the first book ended I’m not sure that I want to devote more time to the series.
Ready Player One -- Ernest Cline
I read this two years ago and every time I’ve seen it since the urge to read it again struck. When the chance to buy a digital copy for just a couple of bucks arose I grabbed it. I finished the book in a little less than 24 hours and it is still a great book. If you were growing up in the 1980’s and if you enjoy videogames or television or movies of the time period then you will likely enjoy this book.