This was a weird reading year. I read 80 books total and while a lot of them were good (I can’t really pick out one or two that I hate), there was nothing that I loved like last year. There are no books joining All the Light We Cannot See on my favorites shelf. But, there were some good ones. I picked a couple of honorable mentions and then I listed the top 15 books I read (though not all were published in 2015).
Honorable Mentions: The Girl on the Train; Luckiest Girl Alive; Big Magic
I have to hand it to these books—they got me out of reading slumps, or, in the case of the last book, creative slumps.
15. The Martian by Andy Weir
This book was immensely readable and, though I skimmed the parts with the science, I laughed a lot at Mark Watney’s interior monologue. My favorite parts were him establishing contact with earth and all the attempts NASA made to bring him home.
Bonus: Learned a lot about Mars and hydroponics
14. Brain on Fire by Susanna Cahalan
I gobbled this book up. It’s better than any medical mystery show on TV. And the fact that the author got a lot of her information from watching videos of herself in the hospital that she can’t remember…chilling.
Bonus: Learned that the brain is one of the world’s biggest unsolved mysteries
13. The Runaways by Brian K. Vaughn
Brian K. Vaughn is my gateway into the world of comics and I loved this volume about teenage misfits who band together when they find out their parents are the bad guys. I enjoyed the twist at the end and loved me some Gert. Gert forever.
Bonus: I now don’t hate comics.
12. The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
This YA love trilogy is expertly told and Kestrel is a compelling heroine. The sequel (Crime) improved upon the first book.
Bonus: I’ve pimped these out to my students. They’re really popular.
11. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Despite some negative reviews, I’m in the minority of really liking this book. I liked the main romance and the erie twist at the end.
Bonus: I’m grateful I am not an East Coast trust fund baby.
10. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
A post-modern delight that followed a family through life in London in the 90s. It tackled things like immigration, class differences, and religion. The characters were great and I recommend it for anyone who likes multi-generational family stories.
Bonus: Now I want to read more Zadie Smith.
9. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
This was short, sweet, and scary.
Bonus: Had only one nightmare about this book.
8. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
A mystery told in the unfolding of the parents’ past and the current lives of their children. I so enjoyed it.
Bonus: Got to read about small town Ohio. Memories!
7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This behemoth was worth it. I loved all the characters and I’m still thinking about that ending! More Tolstoy, please.
Bonus: Understood a little more why women had affairs back then.
6. City of Thieves by David Benioff
I picked this up on a whim off my friend Kathryn’s coffee table and devoured it. The narrator was compelling, I loved his sidekick, Kolya, who made me laugh, shake my head, and cry, and that ending…Well, I won’t spoil it, but it put a smile on my face, which is saying a lot considering this book is about the siege of Leningrad.
Bonus: Continuing gratitude that I’ve never been a part of Russia’s history.
5. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
This was a delightful audiobook that sparked conversation and gave me a lot of respect for Aziz Ansari.
Bonus: I can now wow my older co-workers with facts about modern dating.
Double Bonus: Continuing gratitude that I don’t have to participate in Tinder.
4. The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton
It was like Gone Girl, but only in the Netherlands in the 1600s. I read the book in one sitting and adored the author’s style and the erie plot.
Bonus: Learned a lot about Dutch history.
3. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
It’s definitely not Harry Potter, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Rowling channeled Dickens and it was great, even though every character is despicable and the ending is good, though it crushes your heart.
Bonus: Another gentle reminder that things are not always as they appear.
2. The Diviners and Liar of Dreams by Libba Bray
I want to hug Libba Bray in gratitude for these books. I just loved them. The characters, setting, dialogue, and plot were all perfection. It was scary and parts and hilarious at others. I have a soft spot for the 1920’s and these books made my heart soar and more.
Bonus: New couple to ship! Same and Evie. Forever. Sorry, Jericho.
1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Oh, this book! First of all, there is one passage that made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed while reading a book. Second, I loved the style of the book which kept me entertained. Third, the book was very realistic, which meant it was sometimes painful. And, last but not least, I freakin’ love Earl. He’s a really, really, REALLY wonderful character. Jesse Andrews needs to write another book.
Bonus: Movie adaptation came out this summer. Verdict: I loved it, except it needed more Earl!
Leave a comment below sounding off on the books! What were your favorites of 2015?