Monday, January 4, 2016

Best of 2015

In keeping with last year's decision, I've waited until the year was actually over to compile my top books for 2015. It felt like a weird year in reading for me. In 2014, I loved so many of the new releases I read, and read more new releases than I had previously. This year, there wasn't a lot of fiction that really stuck. I did read more nonfiction than I previously had, and a lot of it was very good. I look forward to including more nonfiction in my reading going forward.

For this list, I'm pulling from the140 books (46,386 pages, according to Goodreads!) I read last year, no matter the publication date. I'll note if a title was a 2015 release, and have linked to my reviews of the books where applicable. I didn't consider titles I have read previously that I re-read this year (or "The Night Circus" would continuously top the list, as I seem to read it every year).

If there a 2015 book you I missed? Let me know what your favorite reads were this year!

1. "Not My Father's Son" by Alan Cumming. A 2014 title that I didn't get to until early this year. This memoir would have been incredible whether or not the author was famous. Alan Cumming's memoir of coming to terms with his family's history will stay with me for a long, long time. I've recommended this widely since finishing it.

2. "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson. Another 2014 title that I read early in 2015. A depressing, moving, inspirational critique of the American justice system that should be required reading everywhere.

3. "Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things" by Jenny Lawson. The first 2015 book to make this list, and another memoir. My review of this is forthcoming, as I find the words to capture how perfect this magical unicorn of a book truly is. Lawson pulls off a memoir about her mental illness that is funny, relatable, and heartbreaking all at once.

4. "The Incarnations" by Susan Barker. Another 2015 release, and one of the last books I read in 2015. I'm so glad this twisty, layered tale made its way into my TBR this year. For fans of "Cloud Atlas," this novel of previous lives and intertwined souls is sure to please.

5. "George" by Alex Gino. This middle-grade novel about a transgender child who just wants to play Charlotte when her class puts on a play of "Charlotte's Web" had my teary-eyed and smiling while walking my dog. It's a capital-I Important book, and a thoroughly heartwarming and enjoyable read as well.

6. "Pure," "Fuse," and "Burn" by Julianna Baggott - The entire Pure trilogy had to make this list, since I read them in quick succession & loved them all. I've recommended this Sci Fi/dystopian/post-apocalyptic trilogy to everyone from my mom to college friends, and it seems to be going over well everywhere.

7. "Signs Preceding the End of the World" by Yuri Herrera - another 2015 release that sneaked onto this list at the end of the year. This slim little novel tackles family, immigration, and identiy with a hefty side of literary allusions.  Review forthcoming.

8. "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" by Candice Millard - Colleagues this summer turned me on to Candice Millard's biographies that read like novels & I am now a fan. This book opened my eyes to the President James A. Garfield's unique place in history and his wasted potential due to his assassination only four months into his presidency.

9. "All the Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven - Another 2015 release dealing with mental illness, but this time a YA novel. I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, and I'm glad I stuck with it.

10. "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" by Jon Krakauer - an important piece of reporting by a widely-respected journalist. This book brings much-needed attention to problems plaguing the American justice system's handling of rape.

My other five-star books this year, in no particular order:

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