It can be difficult to write when there’s no pressing deadline. I promised myself over a month ago that I would write about this topic. Then life happened, as it does, and I found myself thinking about other (more important) things than my top favorite books of 2015. If this post is going to get written, it must be written now. I’ve set myself a new deadline: finish this dang thing before I turn 28. I have four days.
At the beginning of 2015, I decided I wanted to read 50 books in one year. I managed to read 56 because I’m an obnoxious, anxious overachiever. How did I do this? Mainly by taking really long flights across the world, listening to audiobooks while renovating the house, and being unemployed a long period of time. I can really only recommend the former.
I’ve developed what could be a possibly annoying tendency to recommend books to people (Laura S., if you are reading this- I promise you’ll love that David Sedaris book I lent you. Now go read it).
This bas habit has resulted in me pushing at least three books on a friend when she mentions in passing that she’s looking for a good book to read. It has also become a bad habit to insist that people create a Goodreads account.
If you’re a book lover, then you will love Goodreads.com. Not only can you write and read reviews, but you can set yourself a reading goal, like I did. Click here for a list of all the books I read in 2015 and here is a list of my top 10 favorite reads of 2015:
Still Life by Louise Penny (Mystery)
I want to package up Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and the entire town of Three Pines and gift it to you. I’ve read three books in this series so far, and none have disappointed. Gamache is a smart and lovable main character who I would trust with my life, if he wasn’t fictional. I wanted to take up residence in Three Pines after meeting the locals and hearing more about the town tucked away in the woods. The mystery part is good, but it’s the character studies that I enjoy the most. If you’re a lover of Agatha Christie, let me introduce you to Louise Penny.
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (Historical Fiction)
This book fascinates me. If you have an interest in World War II, then this is a must-read. Last year I accidentally read four books set in France during World War II: The Girl You Left Behind, Suite Française, All the Light We Cannot See, and The Nightingale. I feel kind of bad for The Nightingale, because by the time I got to it, I was weary of French women hosting attractive Nazi soldiers in their homes. But Suite Française was written during World War II. WHOA. Irène Némirovsky finished writing the first two books of the series in 1942, just months before she was arrested for being a Jew and sent to Auschwitz where she died.
Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Mystery)
I was one of the lucky ones and didn’t realize that Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym for a rather famous author. If you had no idea either, don’t Google to find out who Galbraith really is. Instead, read this fast-paced murder mystery and enjoy the ride without bias. Cormoran Strike is a war veteran turned private detective. His assistant, Robin, is lovely and bright and dreams of perhaps solving her own cases one day, AKA she’s a girl after my own heart. I’ve read the first two books in the series, and the third was just released a few months ago. This is definitely one of my new favorite series.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Fiction)
Everyone keeps sending me the movie trailer for Me Before You and I keep saying “Read the book first!” First off, I love movie trailers. Please keep sending me movie trailers. Second, this book about a woman who gets a job as a caretaker for a (handsome) paraplegic is both charming and heartbreaking. I may or may not have been sobbing at the end. If you are looking for a well-written, entertaining read that will make you think but also smile, then pick this one up.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Mystery)
The hype is real. People keep comparing Girl on the Train to Gone Girl, but I preferred Girl on the Train. This book is also being made into a movie, starring the gorgeous Emily Blunt. Though I have to wonder how the gorgeous Emily Blunt (you really can’t use her name without that adjective attached) will portray the hot mess of the main character, Rachel. An alcoholic who takes the train every day into London for work believes she is the witness of a murder. But will anyone believe her?
If you love books, then you probably love reading about books. A.J. Fikry is a rather prickly bookstore owner whose world and heart open up wide when he discovers an abandoned baby in his store. This is a charming read and reminds me that sometimes I have to let love in, rather than hiding behind my armor.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)
I decided to give this a read before seeing “Jurassic World” last summer. I hadn’t read Michael Crichton before, but I will probably be reading more of his works. If you don’t know the story of Jurassic Park, then get thee to a Blockbuster. Just kidding, those went the way of the dinosaur. My one complaint about the book is that Ian Malcolm will not shut up about chaos theory. Perhaps I would have found it a little less annoying if I could have been staring at a photo of Jeff Golblum while reading. Next time.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Historical Fiction)
Here’s another France in World War II novel. I may be a bit biased about this novel because the author, Anthony Doerr, lives in Boise. However, I didn’t know that the author was a fellow Boisean until after reading it and I still enjoyed it. The story is told through a blind French girl and a German boy who just wants to be a scientist, but instead must join the Nazis. A heartbreaking, beautiful novel.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy)
I have a soft spot in my heart for YA books. This retelling of the Cinderella tale portrays a world where our greatest enemy lives on the Moon, a plague is ravaging mankind, and Cinderella is a cyborg. I’ve almost finished the entire series and each book introduces you to a new twist on a familiar character: Rapunzel, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and Ariel.
Another book about books. I picked up The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend when I needed a new book to read on my flight home from Australia. The main character, Sara, travels from her home in Sweden to a tiny town in Iowa to meet her pen pal. Except her pen pal has died. She makes friends, opens a bookshop, explores small town life, and reads a lot. Make sure you have a pen handy, because you’ll want to jot down the numerous books that are name dropped throughout.
And for extra credit, here’s some authors I think you might like: Sarah Addison Allen (fun magical stories set in the South), Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce, oh how I love you!), and Agatha Christie (the true queen of mystery. Start with Murder on the Orient Express).
I’ve set myself the goal to read 65 books in 2016. We’ll see if it can be done. Have you read any good books lately? I’d love to hear about them!