Favourite Reads of 2015

2015 was a great reading year for me! I somehow managed to read 147 (and I’m halfway through three others) books and comic trades, which is crazy considering I’m in graduate school. Thank you, audiobooks. I had a lucky reading year, and found a decent amount of new favourite reads; all of the books I’ve listed are ones I’d re-read in the future and absolutely loved. They’re really not in any particular order, because that would be much too difficult.
15) Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Poehler’s book is hilarious and genuine. I loved listening to the audiobook, and it was my favourite memoir of the year. The structure of the book is great and never feels stunted or out of place. I highly recommend it, though I will warn you that you’re likely to laugh out loud, just in case you listen to it in public places.

14) Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Ariel is a fantastic collection of poetry. I’m sad it took me so long to read it, but I’m glad I finally got to it. If you’re a fan of Plath and you haven’t read it, please do so. It has some amazing, heartbreaking poems, and is likely to strike a cord with a variety of readers.

13) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven was my first read of 2015, and a great book to kick off the year off with. It’s fantastically structured,  well written, and I adored the way she incorporated theatre and performance. If you’re a fan of dystopian literature, but have always wondered what might happen in the months after a major epidemic, check this novel out.

12) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I never thought much about hair and politics until I read this book. Not only is Americanah intelligent, it’s also well written. I flew through this nearly 600 page book. Do yourself a favor and read it immediately.

11) Fudoki by Kij Johnson

Johnson’s novel incorporates wonderfully crafted story telling and magical elements. I adored the book more than I thought I would, and highly recommend, especially for those who enjoy Asian folklore and cats.

10) Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Citizen is an important read, particularly for those of us in the US, and I think it should be required reading at the collegiate level. It’s heartbreaking, and powerful, and so wonderfully written. If you don’t know, it’s a collection of poetry/essays about the way black people are treated and perceived (in the US), and it also includes some striking visual art, as well.

9) A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan

I also read (and adored) Logan’s novel The Gracekeepers, but of her two works I read this year, I think her short story collection is a bit of a stronger and more well crafted piece of literature. I loved the way she incorporated folklore and Scottish mythology into the collection, and the way she structured it is fantastic. The overarching “theme” of the collection involves two mothers telling stories to their unborn child at night when they think the other is sleeping. Fans of short story collections will love this!

8) The Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan (includes The Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, and The Voyage of the Basilisk)

The Lady Trent series is just fun. Lady Trent is a fantastic character with so much sass and strength. I adore her. I adore the adventures she gets herself into. I adore the side characters. I love how the book is both fantastical, but also reads like a historical period drama. It’s just a fantastic series, and I cannot wait for the release of the fourth book in 2016!

7) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

I assumed I would love this book, because I love novels that take place during World War II, but Kavalier and Clay was more touching than I expected it to be. While I don’t necessarily love the characters, they felt so real and flawed. It’s just a wonderfully crafted story, and I love the way that Chabon incorporated the rise of comic book heroes and why they were so important during this time period.

6) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

I gushed about this book enough in my review for it, so all I’ll say is that it’s fantastic, and beautiful, and so well written, and you need to read it right now if you haven’t. Please. Buy it immediately, you won’t regret it.

5) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted is perfect for those who enjoy a quick, fast-paced yet still complex fantasy novel that incorporates both elements of learned vs. natural magic, as well as folklore (particularly driven from Eastern Europe). It has great, charming characters, and I actually quite enjoyed the romance that occurred–probably because it didn’t take over the entirety of the novel.

4) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Ng’s novel is another one that took me by surprise. I thought I might like it, but I enjoyed it far more than I assumed. It’s well written, it has wonderfully developed characters, and it’s tragic without being overly so. It’s a great read about families and identity and race–I highly recommend it, obviously.

3) Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

From the opening epigraph, I knew this novel would give me many emotions. And it proved me right. You know the ending going into the novel, as it’s about the last days of the last woman executed in Iceland, but it’s so beautiful and lovely. Kent handled the plot well, and I greatly enjoyed her writing. I’ve pushed this book on all of my close friends, so now I have to keep pushing it on the internet. Read it.

2) The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Probably my most surprising book of the year, I recently read this short story collection and fell absolutely in love with Marra’s writing and ability to craft interwoven stories. This is a beautiful collection that spans across about seventy years in Russia, and it’s basically perfect. I can’t think of a single thing that I thought could have been handled better. The writing, the characters, the scope of the collection–it’s all wonderful. It’s another piece of literature certain to tug at your heartstrings in moments, so be sure to have some tissues nearby.

1) The Final Empire (and The Well of Ascension) by Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn series by Sanderson may, at the present moment, be my favourite fantasy series, and I haven’t even gotten the chance to read the last installment yet. Though 600+ pages, I sped through these novels. They’re cinematic and so entertaining, with a great cast of characters, and wonderfully written action scenes. I love the magic system, I love the characters, and I love the world. It’s fantastic. If you’re a fantasy lover and have not read this series, do so immediately.

Honourable Mentions:

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley and The Bones Below by Sierra DeMulder.

And, there you have it. My long list of favourite pieces of literature from 2015. I’m excited for my 2016 reading year, and I hope I get as lucky as I was this year with what I choose to read.

What were your favourite reads of the year? Let me know!

Until next time, happy reading!

–E. Adeline

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