Nonstories (and Reflecting on the Last Few Reads of 2015)

I think it’s a lot of fun to read books during the time of year that they take place or when the topic is timely. For example, I like to read spooky stories or books like Dracula around Halloween and books set at the beach in the summer.

For the last few years, I’ve been making it a point to read seasonal books around the holidays. In fact, when I’m out at library sales during the year, I’ll pick up some Christmas-themed books so I can stock up and tuck them away until December rolls around. At first it was just one seasonal book a year, then a couple more, and this year it was six.

These are the seasonal books I read in 2015:

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  • Matchless by Gregory Maguire
  • Christmas Legends to Remember by Helen Haidle
  • Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans
  • The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon
  • Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah
  • A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve

Deciding on the last book to read for the year was no easy task. (Nor, for that matter, is choosing the first book of 2016!) I’m really glad that for me the last book I read in 2015 was Shreve’s A Wedding in December. I loved the complexity of each of the characters as well as the historical story within a story that develops as we get to know those characters better. In the book, the characters each reflect on the things that have happened to and around them over the years, the consequences of their own choices, and even the nonstories of their lives…the things that could or might have happened, but didn’t. The nonstories are some of the most important parts of the plot and some of my most favorite things about the book.

Nonstories actually occur to me often (both my own potential nonstories and those of others) and since finishing the book, I’ve been thinking about how important nonstories really are to us, whether or not we are aware of them.

What if we took the other job? What if a different neighbor moved in next door? What if we were a few minutes early or late the day of the accident? And there are so many others…

As we welcome in the new year, I can’t help but wonder if these nonstories might be fodder for our new year’s resolutions? Either way, I’m so happy that Shreve’s beautiful words and this notion of nonstories are helping me bridge 2015 and 2016. I haven’t quite figured yet out what sort of bridge it is, exactly, but I’m certainly looking forward to all of the stories and nonstories that 2016 are going to bring.

Though I did complete my reading goal of sixty books in 2015, there were many books that I didn’t read but would have liked to…more nonstories, perhaps?

Do you ever save books for a certain time of year? Do you like to read books “out of season” so that you can celebrate Christmas in July or escape to the beach in the middle of winter? What do you think of nonstories?

Leave a comment below, or join the #SixtyBooks discussion on Twitter.


(And…remember, you can still sign up for the
#SixtyBooks in 2016 Reading Challenge
if you haven’t already!)

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