Books and films of 2015

Most of the books that affected me strongly in 2015 were non-fiction. And the majority of my 10 favorite movies of the year aren’t movies at all, but British TV dramas. They did not necessarily come out in 2015 but are the ones I most enjoyed this year, and they are listed below in no particular order.


“This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein. A call to action on climate change, and a critique of capitalism, which I wrote about here.

“All the Truth is Out” by Matt Bai. A flashback to 1987, when reformer Gary Hart’s presidential candidacy imploded and private behavior became political.

“Leaving Before the Rains Come” by Alexandra Fuller. A white woman who grew up in Africa gets a divorce and moves to America.

“The Unspeakable” by Meghan Daum. Brutally honest essays with titles like “Matricide,” “Honorary Dyke” and “My Misspent Youth.”

“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande. Reflections on how we perceive the last phase of life, written by a surgeon, and thoughts about his father’s death.

“Double Down” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. A colloquial behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 presidential campaign.

“Pastrix” by Nadia Bolz-Weber. A 6-foot-2, heavily tattooed former alcoholic and comedian creates a church for marginalized people in Denver.

“One Day at Fenway” by Steve Kettman. A single Red Sox game told from a variety of perspectives, including fans and owners.

“Don’t Even Think About It” by George Marshall. Why it’s difficult for most of us to think rationally about climate change. I wrote about it here.

“Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear. I read five of these mysteries about a  British World War I nurse who becomes a detective and psychologist.


“Selma” There’s a you-are-there quality to this film about the 1965 march, with a brilliant portrayal of Martin Luther King by David Oyelowo.

“Call the Midwife” This British series is about a group of young midwives who work with nuns to help poor women with childbirth.

“Poldark” The remake of the beloved mid-1970s series about Cornwall in the late 18th century didn’t match the original, but the two lead actors were scrumptious.

“City Island” This 2009 movie is about the secret lives of members of a dysfunctional family in a Bronx neighborhood called City Island.

“War and Peace” This 20-part 1972 BBC series starring Anthony Hopkins really drew me in. A more lavish BBC production is due out in 2016.

“Home Fires” A portrayal of how the people of a small town in England, mostly women, reacted to the upheavals of World War II.

“Grandma” Lily Tomlin at her cynical best as she tries to find money for her granddaughter’s abortion. I loved her reunion with ex-love Sam Elliott.

“A Place Called Home” An Australian series about a woman with a past who comes to a small town in the early 1950s and shakes up the wealthiest family.

“The Crimson Field” Three volunteers come to a field hospital behind the lines during World War I, and most everyone there harbors a secret.

For new readers of this blog, here’s a quick overview of 150 past posts in 13 categories, including simple living, frugality, cooking, gardening, living without and climate change. Or click on “Index” above to read all the posts in a particular category.





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