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Books we have talked about > What were your favorite reads of 2015

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message 1: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Hey GFY'ers, we are coming to the end of the year. I know some of us have a book or two left in us for 2015, I thought it would be great to hear what people loved reading this year, and (if you are so inclined) why that specific book was a favorite. This will be great for my TBR and for my gift list.


message 2: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
I will get the ball rolling

Fiction
Bitter Greens. This is a book I would never have picked up but for doing the Book Riot reading challenge. One of the book descriptions in the challenge was a retelling of a fairy tale or classic story. I don't generally like fantasy (which is what this is identified as) and don't usually like retellings, whether the source material is Jane Austen or Brothers Grimm. So imagine my surprise when this turned out to be one of my favorite reads in ages. For those who shy away from fantasy, this is a blend of the magic and beautifully researched and rendered historical fiction. So good.

Frankenstein has been on my TBR forever, but I never seemed to get to it. Props to the Book Riot Challenge -- A book written by someone under 25 gave me a chance to slot this in. Turns out it is as good as people say it is, and as relevant today as it was nearly 200 years ago.

I will post other genres later.


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 25, 2015 01:28PM) (new)

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed was one of my favorites this year. I LOVE love love her compassionate, honest take on the world and this collection from her stint as the Dear Sugar columnist for The Rumpus filled the hole in my heart left by Wild.

I also adored Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. This memoir by the inimitable blogger The Bloggess made me literally laugh out loud, tears flowing from my eyes, on a plane. One of the funniest, most self-revealing, healing books I have ever read.


message 4: by Martha (new)

Martha (martha_waters) So, just to clarify, these aren't books necessarily published in 2015 (though some were!), just ones I happened to read for the first time in 2015.

Silent in the Grave and the rest of the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn
A Brief History of Montmaray and the rest of the Montmaray Journals series by Michelle Cooper
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy and the rest of the Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Circling the Sun by Paula McClain

These are the ones that IMMEDIATELY jump to mind...it's an eclectic group -- kids, YA, adult -- I know, but hey.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Martha wrote: "So, just to clarify, these aren't books necessarily published in 2015 (though some were!), just ones I happened to read for the first time in 2015.

Silent in the Grave and the rest o..."


Ooo! The Penderwicks had me at "perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager." Adding to my TBR list.


message 7: by Kris (new)

Kris | 254 comments Mod
Tell the Wolves I'm Home was my favorite. Liked it and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (from December of 2014) so much, I had my IRL book club read them.


message 8: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Nikki wrote: "Slade House
The Aeronaut's Windlass
Jimmy Bluefeather
How to Start a Fire
Delicious Foods
[book:Between the World and..."


Glad to see you recommend these Nikki. I have Slade House and the Buried Giant on my Overdrive holds list. Epitaph is sitting next to my bed as is Between the World and Me. Now I need to check out your other recommendations!


message 9: by Katie (new)

Katie (faintingviolet) | 88 comments Its been a good reading year:
Jane, the Fox, and Me - graphic novel about coming of age and Jane Eyre.
Between the World and Me - a must read about America's social climate, race, and privilege.
All the Light We Cannot See - its award winning for good reason.
Station Eleven - my favorite book of the year, I lead a book club for it over on Cannonball Read.
The Year We Hid Away - favorite romance read.
You're Never Weird on the Internet - celebrity memoir that's actually a beautifully relatable memoir.


message 10: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Bonnie wrote: "I will get the ball rolling

Fiction
Bitter Greens. This is a book I would never have picked up but for doing the Book Riot reading challenge. One of the book descriptions in the ch..."


I adore Frankenstein. I took a MOOC in early 2015 on Sci Fi and Fantasy books; we read lots of classics like this, Dracula, Dr. Moreau, Alice in Wonderland, etc. I highly recommend it if they offer it again: https://www.coursera.org/course/fanta...


message 11: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Kris wrote: "Tell the Wolves I'm Home was my favorite. Liked it and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (from December of 2014) so much, I had my IRL book club read them."

Tell the Wolves I'm Home is very popular with our library patrons in Chicago. I love that title.


message 12: by Nikki (last edited Nov 28, 2015 07:22AM) (new)

Nikki Bonnie wrote: "Nikki wrote: "Slade House
The Aeronaut's Windlass
Jimmy Bluefeather
How to Start a Fire
Delicious Foods
[book:Between..."


It was a great year for books (every year is a great year for books). How To Start a Fire is probably the GFY-est on this list; I love Lisa Lutz. I look forward to her new one next year: The Passenger. Delicious Foods has, bar none, the most unique narrator I've had the pleasure to read. And Jimmy Bluefeather is a little, tiny indie book I treasured and hope others will get into; if you like books with the literary theme of memory and forgetting (Sense of an Ending, Buried Giant), Jimmy is worth a try.


message 13: by Sara (new)

Sara | 106 comments My two five star reviews this year were two new releases:

Uprooted - This book reads like a folk tale but from a modern perspective, although it's not a modern setting. It's excellent and I would recommend it to anyone.

The Fifth Season - This is more skewed towards SF genre readers, although I think it has a lot to say to any reader. It's fantastic world-building and a great set up for more books to come.


message 15: by Erica (new)

Erica | 5 comments High Road to Saffron which is also titled Shades of Gray. This was my only 5 star rating of the year. Weird, quirky, impossible to explain and I completely loved it.

A few of my favorite 4 star ratings include
Shadow of the Wind
Nation
Cuckoo's Calling
The Secret Place
The Book Thief


message 16: by Nikki (new)

Nikki My library announced its choices for Best of 2015 today: http://www.chipublib.org/news/best-of...


message 17: by Scarlet (new)

Scarlet (scarls17) | 2 comments My favorite book of 2015 was A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC! My favorite YA (mostly bc I loved both so much) was A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES.


message 18: by Leah (new)

Leah (leahnahmias) | 76 comments Truth: I haven't read a single 5-star book this year. Everything I've read has been underwhelming in one way or another--nothing that truly has carried me away. A couple more weeks of the year, including time off around the holidays, so I'm hoping to find some jewel before 2015 is out. I'm enjoying reading everyone's favorites here--gives me a direction to go in. May take a crack at The Buried Giant based on some of the posts here :-)


message 19: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Nikki wrote: "Bonnie wrote: "I will get the ball rolling

Fiction
Bitter Greens. This is a book I would never have picked up but for doing the Book Riot reading challenge. One of the book descrip..."


I had no idea this existed! I love the reading list for this class, which is weird because fantasy is not really my thing. (Or maybe I was defining "fantasy" too narrowly.) I am going to explore what other classes are available. Than you for clueing me in!


message 20: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Nikki wrote: "My library announced its choices for Best of 2015 today: http://www.chipublib.org/news/best-of..."

I just checked this out. Several on the "Best" list are on my library holds list. The tow I have read were two of my favorites of the year. Ghettoside and H is For Hawk were both top of the heap 5-star reads for me. Sapiens I am not familiar with so I need to learn more. Thanks for the list. My TBR list is about to become even more out of control!


message 21: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 4 comments Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher, and most especially The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. All fantasy, which is unusual for me, and I generally prefer science fiction. Also A God in Ruins, of course.


message 22: by Margaret (new)

Margaret I second Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. And this is a very late discovery on my part (the first book of the series was published in 2008) but I read and loved all the Spellman books in quick succession -- the first is The Spellman Files and it's quirky but with a little sadness mixed in.


message 23: by Bonnie G. (last edited Dec 21, 2015 01:37PM) (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Bonnie wrote: "I will get the ball rolling

Fiction
Bitter Greens. This is a book I would never have picked up but for doing the Book Riot reading challenge. One of the book descriptions in the ch..."


I recently finished M Train and loved it beyond words. Patti Smith is a beautiful soul, there is no doubt of it.

Other favorites this year (it was a REALLY great year for books for me):

Non-Fiction: H is for Hawk, Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.

Fiction: A God in Ruins and The Burgess Boys, (honorable mention to My Year of Meats and Station Eleven.)

Short story: Redeployment and A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories.

And on the romance front: Wicked Intentions and all the others in Hoyt's Maiden Lane series (I am on #5) and Romancing the Duke.


message 24: by Allie (new)

Allie (allieeveryday) | 118 comments I felt like I had kind of a "meh" reading year overall, but these are the ones that I thought were really great…

Station Eleven
Bad Feminist
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
All the Light We Cannot See
Tell the Wolves I'm Home


message 25: by Kelly (last edited Dec 28, 2015 05:22PM) (new)

Kelly (kellyeh) Of the 27 books I read this year (a personal best for me in quite some time) most were YA/YA fantasy but the five I gave five star reviews were to were all adult-oriented. I try to read at least one serious book for all the 'fluff' that I read the rest of the time. (and that's not to disparage fluff, I clearly love it)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
If I could give this book six, seven, ninety-nine out of five stars I would. So compelling, so touching, so sad, so beautiful. I had to read it with pauses between sittings to really absorb it all. Quite possibly one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone. I will read it again

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
A compelling, heart-breaking read weaving together the stories of an 82 year old English woman in 2012 spiralling downwards into dementia, the mystery of her sister's disappearance in 1946 and the whereabouts of her closest friend Elizabeth. Told from Maud's point of view, you spend the entirety of the book in her muddled head as she forgets, and remembers, eventually confuses and fuses past and present until the final chapter. There is a certain charm to the dialogue and storytelling, even in it's dismal and depressing reality. It will no doubt hit too close to home for many, but if you can bear the subject matter I can't recommend it enough.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Highly engaging story that takes a Grimm-like fairy tale and makes it better. Self-contained but I wouldn't be upset if the story of the two main characters was continued, or a different tale was told. Reminded me of The Night Circus, if only because of how pretty some of the story-telling was.

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1) by Robert Galbraith
What a fantastic story! I didn't know what to expect, really. Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary Robin are two superb characters and their interactions are just so touching and engaging. And a well-played whodunit on top of it. Super enjoyable. More adventures of Cormoran and Robin, please.

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
I didn't put in words a proper review for this book. It was a challenging read at the beginning, but the story really pulled me in. It was out of my usual realm of reading and I'm glad I did it. Looking forward to the next book City of Blades.


message 26: by Kohinoor (new)

Kohinoor | 1 comments The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman , This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper , The Traitor's Wife The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America by Allison Pataki , The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin , Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty , Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and The Martian by Andy Weir were my favorite reads this year!


message 27: by Sara (last edited Jan 03, 2016 03:00PM) (new)

Sara C | 5 comments The best two books I read this year were Between the World and Me (which is winning awards for a reason, and TNC has long been one of my favorite writers) and Song Yet Sung, which is fiction about the Underground Railroad and a proto-Harriet Tubman character which had one of the most exciting scenes I've read in a really long time (in which information is being passed back and forth between slaves in front of their owners. It's actually pretty badass and amazing).

I also really enjoyed Dream City, which is about the political history of D.C., which I would recommend to anyone who lives in or around the District.


message 28: by Bonnie G. (last edited Jan 04, 2016 10:26AM) (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Sara wrote: "The best two books I read this year were Between the World and Me (which is winning awards for a reason, and TNC has long been one of my favorite writers) and Song Yet Sung, which is fiction about ..."

Between the World and Me is on my super short list (waiting for the audio from the library, and there is only 1 person ahead of me-finally!) I have heard nothing but praise. I am going to check in on your other choices right now, especially Song Yet Sung since I loved the Good Lord Bird.


message 29: by Sara (new)

Sara C | 5 comments Bonnie wrote: "Sara wrote: "The best two books I read this year were Between the World and Me (which is winning awards for a reason, and TNC has long been one of my favorite writers) and Song Yet Sung, which is f..."

Bonnie: I liked Song Yet Sung significantly more than The Good Lord Bird! (I liked GLB, too, but loved SYS.) I hope you like it!


message 30: by Sara (new)

Sara | 106 comments Sara wrote: "The best two books I read this year were Between the World and Me (which is winning awards for a reason, and TNC has long been one of my favorite writers) and Song Yet Sung, which is fiction about ..."

Song Yet Sung sounds really interesting! Added to my to-read list.


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 8 comments I absolutely inhaled the first three books of the Neapolitan series: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. Really looking forward to starting the fourth book, The Story of the Lost Child.


message 32: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "I absolutely inhaled the first three books of the Neapolitan series: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and [book:Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay|23156..."

My Brilliant Friend is coming up on my library hold. Can't wait!


message 33: by Louise (new)

Louise (louvits) Although not a book published in 2015, this book was recommended to me in 2015 and it was dark and delicious.

Geek Love

If anyone watched American Horror Story: Freak Show, upon reading this book I wondered if Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk read this for inspiration.


message 34: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 324 comments According to my Goodreads 2015 in books

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Station Eleven (if you want to get away from me, don't bring up this book, I am obsessed with talking about!)
The Martian
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
A Vintage Affair

Also read all the Phryne Fisher books and loved them all!


message 35: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "According to my Goodreads 2015 in books

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
Station Eleven (if you want..."


I really loved Station Eleven as well, and it is not a genre in which I read generally. It was the most truly human dystopian book I have read. I loved how anti-heroic the heroes were.


message 36: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 324 comments Bonnie wrote: I really loved Station Eleven as well, and it is not a genre in which I read generally. It was the most truly human dystopian book I have read. I loved how anti-heroic the heroes were. "

I think that was the magic of it- it was SO real. What would happen if the world fell apart. How would I as an individual live? I always thought I would walk to my parents in a little village in New Hampshire (I live in DC). But after reading this book, do I have it in me to survive and fight to survive? I really liked its realism of how people would communicate and band together and interact. And I liked how even though there were lots of coincidences and such, there was no great scene where everything was tied together. Cause in real life you are unaware of lots of coincidences. The whole thing was so real and so sudden, it really really makes you think.

I did pretty much decide I didn't really want to survive.


message 37: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "Bonnie wrote: I really loved Station Eleven as well, and it is not a genre in which I read generally. It was the most truly human dystopian book I have read. I loved how anti-heroic the heroes were..."

I came to the same conclusion. The lucky guy was the one who dropped dead just before. Life at any cost is not for me.


message 38: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 324 comments I know- killing people or be killed? No thank you! Let me catch the flu!


Oh, another good book but I've only gotten halfway through it is The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. It's been my "when I don't have a library book to read" book so moving slowly but so fascinating!


message 39: by Bonnie G. (new)

Bonnie G. (narshkite) | 1338 comments Mod
Pamela wrote: "I know- killing people or be killed? No thank you! Let me catch the flu!


Oh, another good book but I've only gotten halfway through it is [book:The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pan..."


I will look into that one. It sounds intense but great. I live right near the CDC (our neighborhood is actually designated Emory/CDC in real estate listings) so many of my neighbors and friends have been working on ebola the last couple years. I find what they do fascinating, and this seems closely related.


message 40: by Pamela (new)

Pamela | 324 comments It was an article in the New Yorker years ago which remains my favorite article ever. So have to read the book as well-but it's take time to get around to it. The first part was devoted too much to the professionalization of medicine and med schools, which while fascinating and scary, didn't hold my interest. But I'm in the spreading of the flu now- way more interesting!


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