The Best Books of 2015 (So Far)

Posted June 30, 2015 by LeahAdmin in Literary Lists / 18 Comments

Best Books of 2015 (So Far)

2015 hasn’t been a great year for my personal life, but one thing that HAS been stellar is my reading. I’ve had my share of busts and slumps, but for the most part, I’ve read some really wonderful books. Here are my top ten favorites.

Best Books of 2015 (So Far)

1. Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce. Southern Gothic with a hint of magical realism, this short story collection is delightfully weird and deeply meaningful.

2. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This novel about abuse and loyalty is the definition of gut-wrenching. Six months after reading Yanagihara’s sophomore novel, I still can’t stop thinking about it.

3. The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac by Sharma Shields. Seeing his mother walk off into the woods with a gigantic, hairy hominid sparks a life-long obsession in a nine-year-old boy. This fun, surreal read explores deep themes of family and the demons we all face.

4. My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh. The assault of a teenage girl rocks her idyllic neighborhood in suburban Baton Rouge. Decades later, her neighbor looks back on that summer, contemplating the mystery of who did it, growing up and the loss of innocence, and the weight of guilt. Stunning and nostalgic.

5. The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija ParssinenA shocking discovery in a Texas oil refinery town shakes up the community and casts suspicion upon the teenage girls. Among them are golden girl Mercy Loius and the lonely wallflower who is fascinated by her. The Unraveling of Mercy Louis is both a wonderful coming-of-age story and a cutting criticism of the patriarchy.

6. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. An eight-year-old girl’s survivalist father takes her from her London home to a dilapidated cabin in the woods and tells her the rest of the world is destroyed. For the next nine years, they eke out a living from the land, until she makes a discovery that leads her home. An intricate puzzle, this book pulled me in, refused to let me go, and smashed me on the rocks.

7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Following two young Nigerian expats who are separated by immigration difficulties, Americanah is at once a tender love story, a glimpse into the immigrant experience, a fascinating tale of two countries, and a thought-provoking contemplation of  race and identity.

8. Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick. Part memoir about Bolick’s choice to remain single, part literary biography about the rebellious women who inspired her, and part cultural history of spinsterhood, Spinster is a thought-provoking exploration of marriage and singledom. This book gave me a lot to think about as I consider what shape I want my own life to take.

9. Citizen: American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. This collection of prose and poetry catalogues the microaggressions and blatant racism black Americans face on a daily basis. Books like this are always important, but Citizen feels especially relevant in light of the recent violence in Charleston and Baltimore. I want to force everyone I know to read this book and reflect on their own actions and attitudes.

10. Dietland by Sarai Walker. Although it make look like fluffy commercial fiction on the outside, Dietland subverts the status quo with a feminist guerilla group and a bold, daring take on conventional beauty standards and self-acceptance. Reading like a feminist Fight Club, it is equal parts fun and thought-provoking.

What are your favorite books so far this year?

  • Lots of great books here! I still need to read Hall of Small Mammals – it definitely sounds right up my alley.

  • I like your list! Our Endless Numbered Days is waiting on my bedside table, and Dietland definitely looks intriguing.

  • Great list! We have four overlaps…maybe b/c at least two of them I specifically remember picking up based on your reviews (Our Endless Numbered Days and Mercy Louis)! And – glad to see My Sunshine Away on someone else’s list as well 🙂

  • Many great books here, and many I have yet to read! My husband is reading Americanah right now, and I’m hoping to pick it up soon as well. Citizen definitely makes my list as well!

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    wow, haven’t read any of these! Mine is The Ravens, by Tomas Bannerhed

  • YESSSS… and noooooo. 🙂 I loved Dietland, hated A Little Life and really want to read Hall of Small Mammals. 🙂

  • Citizen is sitting here fresh from the library, ready for me to read! I have seen Our Endless Numbered Days on so many lists today, I think I need to get that one as well! Great list!

  • Great list! I’m going to have to check some of these out. I just finished Citizen and have rewritten my post a billion times.

  • Amy Sachs

    Great list! I definitely haven’t read enough of these, though I have Dietland on my ~read very soon list~

  • Yuuuuup two of these were on mine and three almost made it! I still really really need to read My Sunshine Away. I don’t know why I keep forgetting about it!

  • Yeah, I kinda want to read every book on this list, including Citizen (again).