It’s no secret that I LOVE to read and I also love to share the books that are favorites on my bookshelves! So here they are, ten of my favorite books for the year 2015 *note that these were books I read in 2015, not necessarily published in 2015.
- God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. Not a surprise that once again, Toni Morrison has given readers a gift. This is a book that will push you to think about the importance of all the small moments in a child’s life and the lasting consequences of decisions made in an instant. “What you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”
- Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. This book was in a word, fascinating. I loved The Paris Wife but have to admit that this is now my favorite by Paula McLain. Beryl Markham is a multi-dimensional and fully realized character and I loved every minute of her story. And after finishing it, I was inspired to go back to Isak Dinesen and reread my favorite stories. Beautiful!
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I loved this book. It is a mystery, but at its core, it is the story of a family. Each character is complex and compelling in their own right. Lydia, a seventeen year old high school student, is found dead, drowned in the lake near her house. The family is mystified, and so unravels the story of this family and how they arrived at this tragic moment in their lives. Read it!
- Girl at War by Sarah Novic. Amazing book. This is the story of a young girl living in New York, but her past in war-torn Yugoslavia is always part of her. With an adopted American family and a promising future in college, Ana travels back to her home country to explore the country, friends and family, and the heart-breaking memories she left behind. In looking backward, she is able to think about her future and her identity. Lovely.
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. The women of France during World War II – and sisters, friends, neighbors and patriots. The story is compelling and even though the book is long, you will keep reading till the end, thanks to all of the suspense and the surprises along the way! A great read.
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. I picked up this book because I saw it on a must-read book list that touted the ability to change readers’ lives. This is a hefty task. But this book has the power to inspire change and open the readers’ world more than you would think possible. Katherine Boo takes the reader into the heart-breaking and complicated world of a Mumbai undercity, a place that few visit and understand. She spent three years researching and developing relationships with the people who live in this often-ignored place. It is a must-read.
- Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Really. Something about this novel grabbed me the moment I started reading. The characters were unique, surprising and fascinating. Set in Montana, Henderson explores individual freedom, community, and the complexities of society. The storylines weave together in ways that surprise the reader and move us along further into a complicated web of suspense and the human condition. This is the debut novel of Smith Henderson and I am excited to read his next work!
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. A blend of stories and research, Dr. Gawande reflects on the process of death and the role of medicine and doctors in this part of life’s journey. It is both meditative and thought provoking, as he ponders the possibilities for doctors and family members when facing the unwanted and inevitable death of a loved one. How does medicine prolong life but also suffering, when death is still the end result? How do patients face these choices and what can they do to ensure that their wishes are met? Ultimately, he poses the difficult question, what does one want when facing the end of life? I found the entire book compelling and once I finished, I began rereading.
- Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. I read this book after Kent Haruf’s death, knowing that it was his last book. This added a new layer to a book which is beautifully written. He brings to life two characters who face the challenges of age, time, memories and grief, finding hope in their relationship together as they reflect on their lives.
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. I LOVE this book! Jacqueline Woodson is a wonder and this may be my favorite yet! I won’t repeat myself too much, as I wrote about it several months ago (you can read it here). This book is told in verse. Both the language and the story are mesmerizing – and this story will stay with you long after the last page. Beautiful!
So many great books in 2015, what were your favorites?