Here we are at the end of the year, and I simply adore lists, so here is my list of the Top Ten Books that I read during 2015. Some of these are older releases, and some are newer. You’ll also get a bonus in my absolute, hands-down, worst book read this year as well. But first, the good stuff!
10. Buster Midnight’s Café by Sandra Dallas – Part historical fiction, part chick lit, this is a cute, sweet, fun book with friendship at its’ heart. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love with the characters Whippy Bird and Effa Commander.
9. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – This non-fiction account of one woman’s trip on the Pacific Crest Trail is astounding. What Cheryl goes through on her trip is very powerful. This is a book that I continue to think about, and discuss with friends, and it makes me want to go out and find a trail. No other book besides The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has made me want to walk so much.
8. The Hours by Michael Cunningham – A beautiful, heart-breaking book about humanity.
7. The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory – Tells the story of Kateryn Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife. With fascinating historical detail and illuminating church history, this book is one of Gregory’s best.
6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – What can be said about this pillar of fantasy literature? It is flat-out amazing. Transporting, magical, and dream-like, I never wanted this book to end. I still need to read the rest of the series, but this book felt so familiar to me, it seemed my soul knew the book before I read it.
And here is my Top Five!
5. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver – This was a book that was selected for my book club, and I must admit, that had it not been for my book club, The Page Turners, I would’ve given up on this gem of a book. It takes awhile to get into it, but once the plot truly hits it is spellbinding. Taking you from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s Mexico to Washington DC and McCarthyism, this is a powerful book full of life, love, and food.
4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – You’ve got strong female characters, a great plot, and this series is definitely the most fun I’ve had this year which is why I’ve ranked it higher than some of the better written and/or heavier books on my list. I lumped the whole series together in this listing, but my favorite is the first book, Cinder.
3. Z For Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien – What an ending! What a book! Go and read this book if you haven’t ever done so. You’ve got an amazingly strong female heroine, and interesting “what would you do?” scenarios.
2. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult – Oh.My.Word. Hands down, her best ever. I think I went through an entire box of Kleenex while reading this one.
And before I get to this year’s top book, since I didn’t have my blog last year, I want to do a special tribute to the best book that I read in 2014 – Glendon Swarthout’s The Homesman. Read the book, skip the movie, and prepare for a gut-punch. Powerful in every way with unforgettable characters.
And …. Drum roll ….. The Top Book I read in 2015 is ….
- Actually a series! It is the Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin, and just the original trilogy, since I’m still working my way through the books. A Wizard of Earthsea and The Farthest Shore may be the most perfect books I’ve ever read. Short, but oh-so powerful. Scenes and quotes keep replaying in my head. These books encompass so much of what I love about reading. They take you on a journey to another world, you meet interesting characters, and you’re sad when the books are over and you must face real life. Fun and imaginative, but with a definite weight to the stories, so they feel grounded in reality. I’m still working through the series. Trying to read them slowly to savor Le Guin’s writing.
And those are my Top Ten Books that I read this year!
And I promised my worst book … and.. Here it is:
- Deep Doo-Doo by Sheri Graves – I feel absolutely terrible saying this is my least favorite book, since it is written by a local (to me) author, but I just flat out did not like this at all. Poor plotting and annoying characters makes for a frustrating read. This book came highly recommended to me, and … no. There are some very humorous scenes involving some geese, and some people really enjoy it, but I just couldn’t. There was just too much ridiculous behavior for me.
And for curious folks, here’s a random selection of books that didn’t make the list: Mrs. Dalloway, Jane Eyre, The Girl on the Train, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Storyteller, A Fall of Marigolds, Go Set A Watchman, First Frost, The American Heiress, The King’s Curse, Before I Fall, Die Trying, and The Shopaholic Ties the Knot to name a few.
And there you have it! My Top Ten and my least favorite book … what were your favorites? What was your least favorite? Are there any books you think I should read in 2016?