Archive | 10:56 AM

2015 Reading Year End Review: Top 10 Reads

4 Jan

I did this last year and it was so fun I decided to do it again! I read some amazing books in 2015 but I thought about it and I picked my top 10! I’ll list them here for you to ponder and disagree with. I listed age/gender recommendations for them if you’re thinking of getting a gift or tackling one yourself. Again, this is all opinion, but these are my favorites.

10. Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox. I’m a sucker for memoirs and with the Amanda Knox trial popping into and out of the news, I wanted to hear what she had to say. I went to study abroad in Spain soon after the Knox trial broke so I’ve always thought of it as a ‘What If’ to my life. Knox is a great writer and her story is so twisted it’s hard not to be engrossed. I recommend it for anyone 18+.

9. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. This is the second  year Flynn comes in at #9 on my list. Weird. I liked Gone Girl so I had some expectations of what Dark Places would be like. I was not disappointed. I liked the unlikable Libby and even though I TOTALLY CALLED the ending, I was engrossed the whole time. I recommend it for anyone over 18 though I think women would enjoy it more.

8. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. My second Stegner book and, again, I’m not disappointed. He has a mastery of the English language I can only hope to imitate. The story is basic, two couples going through their young adult years together, but we grow to love them beyond reason. I recommend this book for men and women over 20.

7. The Round House by Louise Erdrich. How a grown woman can write like a boy and do it this well is beyond me. The character is able to look back on his youth and it allows the book to transcend age and cover adult problems from a child’s perspective. I thought Erdrich did this wonderfully. I recommend it for readers 16+ and think men especially would enjoy it.

6. Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I’m not being biased toward Michigan authors, but this is only the first on the list. Malerman wrote an amazing horror story. It’s a genre I don’t read often (if ever) but thank God for book clubs! I loved this book and finishing it in a dark tent while I wanted for my husband added to the creepy factor for a delicious effect. I recommend the book to readers 16+

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. This is Rowell’s second year on my list as well. I’ve read a lot of Rowell’s books and what I absolutely love about them is that the characters are frighteningly real. I could swear parts of Eleanor’s life were from my adolescence and other parts from my friend’s. Her books address real issues in a startling light and I’m so glad there’s an author in our time who can talk about the things Rowell addresses, in this case, abuse. I recommend this book for female readers 16+.

4. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. The setting of this book alone sold me. 1920s? I’m in. Add into that a great fairy tale retelling and a strong female protagonist. I loved the 12 sisters, their bond, and their devotion to each other. I recommend this book to women 16+.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir. I’m sure this book will be on a lot of ‘top books’ lists and it deserves it. Weir told a great story with a main character who’s completely alone and wins us over with his voice alone. Amazing. Watney is someone I want to be friends with or, at least, share a beer with. He’s a very three-dimensional and I think America fell in love with him. I recommend the book for any reader over 16.

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I knew this book would end up on this list when I couldn’t get a single thing done until I finished it. I was blown away by the characters and how much Mandel had thought through the world they were living in. The society was very realistic and it was frighteningly easy to picture. I recommend it for readers over 16 though I think women are more likely to enjoy it.


AND my #1 book of 2015

Penumbra1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. This was the best audiobook choice I’ve made, hands down. We had an eight-hour each way drive to Southern Indiana and it was a breeze with this book to listen to. Sloan is my second Michigan author on this list, by the way. I loved the puzzle Sloan put together in this book and the way that we found out the mystery plus the characters we meet along the way. I’m smiling think about it. I recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet, especially men 16-35.

What were your favorite books of 2015? Are you surprised by anything on my list? I hope to find an equally good crop in 2016 to fill out another great list. If you want to check out last year’s list, click here. Have a great year and happy reading!

Until next time, write on.

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