My Favorites of 2015

2015 was big for me in so many ways. I celebrated two years of living in the Chicago area. Networked and made many new friends and collaborators. Saw my photography business start to really take off (2016 is going to be even better). And completed 45 books while doing it all. 45!

I'm still riding the high of surpassing my original goal of 40 and thinking back on all those that really stood out. While many have been saying that 2015 was a stellar year, it really was one of my least favorite years in terms of enjoyable reading as I found I started and abandoned more books than ever before.

Even though many of these are probably on every year-end list, I decided to compile my own top ten for 2015 and share... even if it is a couple weeks late.

Top Ten for 2015

1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This should be required reading in every high school in the United States. On the most basic level, Coates demonstrates that discrimination based on race has been, and continues to be, an integral part of America's foundation. Raw and heartbreaking and complete truth. 

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Dystopian tale based in Toronto forcing readers to contemplate life and death in a sobering light.

3. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Connected stories from Stalin's USSR to present day Russia. It takes serious skill to successfully build an entire cast of authentic characters who also keep the story alive and moving. Marra did that and more-- I couldn't put it down.

4. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, does it again with her hilarious documentation of her own battles with mental illness to shed light on this very painful and often overlooked disease. Plus, she talks about wearing granny panties as a leotard, so, really, do I need to say more?

5. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

Condensed family history devolving into individual stories after tragedy strikes. Heartbreaking but so worth it. 

6. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

A record of a very interesting marriage, Groff approaches each narrative separately, showing readers that there are always two sides to every story.

7. Euphoria by Lily King

An exploration of anthropology in its infancy (Euphoria is loosely based on the work of Margaret Mead) and the way in which professionals viewed "primitive" peoples around the world at that time. There's also a bit of a love story for those who love some drama.

8. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

A fun, and sometimes sad, story of a New York City movie ticket booth worker during the jazz age, and the people in her life. Read it for the atmosphere and Attenberg's Mazie.

9. Liar Temptress Soldier Spy by Karen Abbott

A nonfiction title exploring the role four females spies played during the American Civil War. Readers might be tricked into thinking they're reading fiction with Abbott's gift of engaging prose and the unbelievable tales of daring.

10. The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

A family secret comes to light when a stranger takes residence in their small town and begins documenting its history. 

I'm also taking part in the #24in48 Readathon this weekend! Woot woot.

Here's my stack:

What are you reading?


  1. Great list! I haven't read a single one of these yet, but many are on my to-read list (and I have a few holds placed at my library!). I'm embarking on the Lord of the Rings trilogy right now - something I've meant to do for years. Just started book 2 and enjoying it.

    1. I really need to try to read those again. I attempted the Hobbit ages ago and never finished (even though I did like it!). Let me know if you finish any of these!!

  2. So many great 2015 reads! We are currently reading Did You Ever Have A Family for book club. :)

    1. Ahhh... great pick for a book club! Let me know what you and the group thought!

  3. I've only heard wonderful things about Fates and Furies, so I was thinking of giving it a try, but a marriage falling down? That'll be hard to read.

    1. Hmm... I wouldn't say the marriage fails in any way. You'll have to read to find out! Plus, I'd look at it as purely a work of fiction, which it obviously is, but to put in perspective, I read with my husband and it was not a reflection of any marriage we'd encountered.

  4. Station Eleven and Euphoria were on my top for the year too. Looking forward to checking out a few of your others - The Truth According to Us sounds like it might be a good one to curl up with in these cold days. My latest read was (finally) Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. A good one!

    1. I really loved The Truth According to Us, but found that it got pretty lousy coverage overall. I actually reviewed it a while back and did note that it's not groundbreaking, but more a comfort read, if that makes sense? I loved the family and the town and the overall feel of the story. Let me know what you think!

  5. I would love to read Liar Temptress Soldier Spy! This is a lovely list. :)

    1. Yes!! You must.. it's so good! Abbott is just so incredibly gifted.

  6. Happy New Year! Station Eleven also made the my list of 2015 notables. It's actually one of those books that comes to mind often. I'm looking forward to reading more from her. Furiously Happy made it to a lot of lists so I have to look at it more carefully!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...