Oh, SQUEE… Have I got a gift for you! I’m so stoked to share my best reads of 2015 with you. You might be thinking, Hey, she already has her top books listed here. And you’d be right. But… I want to go a bit deeper, in my own words, about why I adore them so much, and why I think you should read ’em (like… yesterday.)
So, whether you’re looking for a few last minute gifts for the readers in your life, or you’re just wanting to hide out and hunker down with a cozy tome while Aunt Ethel imbibes her seventh spiked eggnog, well then, here you go:
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness. Holy Hannah, I adored this book. L.O.V.E.D. it. One part Japanese myth, one part magic, and two parts awesome, I loved the ethereal quality of this book. It set the tone for my entire year of reading. I was constantly on the lookout for fiction based on the myths and folklore of other cultures. The prose of this puppy was flat out lyrical, breathtaking and full of substance.
The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel by Helene Wecker. I went wholly gaga over this book and read it twice this year. The characters and their natures… how they never strayed far from those natures—the story, the myth, the religion, what Wecker had to say… All of it was sublime. I’m always on the lookout for my trifecta: great character, great story, and what the author has to say about our world through her fictional world. This book had all that in spades.
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim. I have a bit of an addiction to books set in WWII and stories about slavery. This was the latter. I may not need to say anything but this: I started this book at 11:00 pm and read until I was finished. The characters were amazing, the tension tight throughout, and the symbolism was just the cherry on top of it all.
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. Above, I mentioned that The Crane Wife set me on a search for books based on myth. I feel like I fully lucked out in finding this lil gem. Wowza. If I weren’t afraid of commitment, I would say this was my top pick for 2015. It’s chock-full of Chinese folklore and awesome sauce. I don’t usually say this, but if done right, this would make one heck of a movie. *gasp*
Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan. Got a middle grade reader in your life? This coming of age and well, frankly, coming of transformation was a deep, deep delight to read. I love the main character’s voice. It won about every award under the sun and I wasn’t alone in calling it a best book of the year. Lots of great metaphor, in fact that may have been my favorite part.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This one. This. Just this. *jumps up and down and chokes on own saliva* Oh folks, oh!!! If you only read one book this year, or next, let it be this one. I’ve got a funny story around this one too. I’d had it on my Kindle for over a year. I thought it was literary fiction. When I finally dug in, I was shocked to learn it was a mystery. Now, I’ve got not a single thing against mystery, I just wasn’t expecting it. Let me tell you, it could have been baboon sex space opera meets horror with a toenail fungus antagonist and I wouldn’t have cared. I fell so deeply in love with the young main character Flavia de Luce, that I read all seven in the series in a matter of a few weeks, and then sobbed into my Cap’n Crunch because there weren’t any left to read. There’s nothing worse than soggy cereal, people. I blame Alan Bradley.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book was just plain dreamy, and I mean that literally. There was such a dream-like, ethereal quality to this story. I really loved the way Morgenstern plays with storytelling and point of view in this book. The characters were phenomenal. I’m not a huge fan of the circus, but I’d visit this one in a nanosecond.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. Hey, what’s happening? Yep… that’s pretty much how I felt the entire time I read this. I don’t read a lot of horror these days, but I try to go back to my roots and pick up one or two a year. It’s certainly not like my old heydey of reading every word Stephen King had ever written. (Gosh, I do still love him though.) Anyhoo… this book had a creep factor that’s hard to describe without spoilers. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Well… there you have it. Looking back over the year, I love how I can see the synergy among so many of these books—the ethereal, dreamlike, myth/folklore, magic of them. It was a fantastic reading year. 56 books and over 19,500 pages (57 if I finish The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton before the bell tolls midnight on 12/31.) Lord, I’m such a nerd. (And I love it.)
Happy Reading y’all. And do please share your faves of 2015 with me. The 454 books on my Wish List are lonely and shivering.
P.S. All links above are set to Amazon for ease, but by all means visit your indie bookstore to pick these beauties up.